THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #206

LOVE:

I, Tonya:

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Like country music, the world of figure skating was something that was a part of my childhood that I had forgotten about. I may be remembering incorrectly after all these many decades — I’m ancient, reader — but I recall my sister being obsessed with Kristi Yamaghuchi. To my knowledge, Jessica never wanted to be a figure skater, but we watched a lot of skating. And then one time the Olympic team went on a tour — or maybe it wasn’t the Olympics, I dunno — but I recall being in the back of a van late at night going to a venue with Jessica and my mother and her friend. The rest of my memory is a blur, but that stands out for some reason. Anyway, that’s a long introduction to say that I am vaguely familiar with the scandal surrounding Tonya Harding allegedly busting Nancy Kerrigan’s knees in to ensure an Olympic victory. That’s about it, though. Late last year, I began to see people posting about a movie called I, Tonya about the story. I didn’t think it was going to be that big of a deal as the people who were discussing it were chatting about the campy elements. But it quickly became clear to me that this was a black comedy that I needed to see. And so a friend and I went last weekend and, reader, I was absolutely riveted to the screen. Instead of being a basic reenactment of the drama surrounding the media storm, I, Tonya, tells the story using interviews with each of the main players. This could have gone wrong, very easily, but the editing and transitions were masterful. The film was deeply touching at times, hysterical at others, and always a good time. You don’t leave the theatre feeling bad for Tonya, but you certainly do feel for her. If any of the movie is based in truth — and who knows? that’s the point of the movie — you can’t blame Tonya for being the way she is. In fact, I celebrate Tonya for being herself, for not giving two hoots about what the media thinks of her even though she wants their love and adulation. And while Margot Robbie as Tonya was a wonder and completely deserves the Oscar, if Allison Janney doesn’t take home the award for her portrayal of LaVona, there is no hope for Hollywood. The character of LaVona is vile, but I loved her utterly.

I understood her in a deep way. She’s a person that life has run over, but she still puts on her battered fur coat, lights up a cigarette, dumps alcohol in her thermos of coffee on the ice rink, and heads out the door in the morning never letting herself be a loser. She is a triumph, and if the real LaVona is like that, with a bird sitting on her shoulder, then I want to be her best friend. Run to the theater, reader. This is the best movie I have seen in ages.

ALDI Nespresso Pods:

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I never thought this glorious day would arrive, reader. I never thought that I could go to ALDI, of all places, and buy Nespresso compatible espresso pods. To fully convey the impact, we have to go wandering back again, back through the seasons of my youth. (Holla at the Dolly reference!) Picture it, Paris 2009, a cozy winter night, me in a vintage Dior suit, snow gently falling and making the streets glitter under the yellow streetlights. There I am in a highly regarded restaurant on Left Bank just a stone’s throw from Notre Dame. That evening would prove to be one of the most influential in my gastronomic life. There I had grapefruit for the very first time, a flavor that would take over my palate, and there I had espresso for the first time. From that night, I welcomed the caffeinated beverage into my life like a long lost son. When I returned to America from Le Cordon Bleu, I bought myself a Nespresso machine, and my addiction to espresso took off. Today, nearly ten years later, I own — or have owned — seven different espresso machines. I have one at work, one at my sister’s place, and one on every level of my home. Back in Paris a few years after this addiction began, I fell in love with generic pods for the Nespresso machine. I would veritably fill my suitcases up with these pods whenever I flew home. And then when they were gone, I had to wait for my next trip to Paris to have those pods again. I couldn’t buy them online, I couldn’t find them here, I couldn’t find them anywhere. It was devastating. And then last night I went to ALDI. And reader, do you know what I found? You probably can guess where we’re going with this. I found generic pods for the Nespresso. I couldn’t believe that they were there. I felt like I was in a dream. It was surreal. I looked around, trying to see if this was real life. I was — it was real. And so I grabbed a box of each flavor. The next day, when I arose luxuriously exhausted at noon, I used the espresso machine next to my bed and tried each of the pods. Reader, they were as good, if not better than the official Nespresso pods. I couldn’t get over it. I was so happy. I am so happy! Every day we come closer to living in Iowa like it’s 2009 in Paris. I suppose my discomfort here is the fact that we are a decade behind my beloved Paris. And now I’m so delighted. I’m truly giddy. I woke up early today before work just to have time to enjoy an espresso in bed. Nothing is quite so decadent. I’m living my best life right now. I’m thriving. I have coffee.

Tut’s Treasure:

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The other night I was scrolling through the DirectTV Now app, which is a revelation. Have I told you all about this? It’s basically a cable subscription, but you stream everything through WiFi instead of relying on a satellite dish. You just login and then you can stream on your iPad or your iPhone or your Apple TV. A friend let me use his account, and now I have cable again. It’s glorious. Anyway, I caught sight of something tantalizing — KING TUT. Now, you all know that I’m a high class ho for ancient Egypt. I haven’t seen a new documentary in years, so I immediately tuned in, pouted a bit that it was already half over, but then was completely captivated at once. The program is all about the artifacts being brought out of the Egyptian Museum basement to be restored before being transferred to the new Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau. This has been a very long time coming, and I am on pins and needles to visit the museum when it finally opens in the next year or two. It’s going to be fabulous. And I’m going to be fabulous in it. Oh god, what should I wear???????? But this new museum does admittedly fill me with some melancholy. The original museum in Tahrir Square is not able to keep up with the demands of modern archaeology and it’s stuffed to bursting, but the building is so incredibly iconic. I have been filled with wonder thinking about it all my life. So far, I have only visited once. I meant to go up again the last time I was in Egypt to visit Cairo for a day, but I was so swept away with my all consuming love for Luxor that I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I don’t know when I’m getting back to Egypt, but it needs to be sooner than I expect. I need to see the old museum again, and the new one, and I want to wander through Old Cairo. But I’m off track as always. The old Egyptian Museum has several basements full of artifacts and archaeological remains that haven’t been looked at or studied since they were first dug out of the sand. It’s long been my dream job to spend the rest of my life in the basement, putting together beautiful books and exhibits of the forgotten artifacts. But somebody seems to have beat me to the job. With all the museum’s artifacts hopefully going on display at the Grand Egyptian Museum, reports come out all the time of the fascinating objects that are being restored. That was the premise of this show. Salima Ikram was there discussing the artifacts and I swooned. I adore her. She’s a much more palatable Egyptologist than Zahi. Anyway, the show featured a leather tunic that I have never seen before, I don’t even recall reading about it in Howard Carter’s field notes. It was sensational. We saw stunning bows and, oh reader, I have already gone on long enough. Just know that it was wonderful and that I was so happy and that for the millionth time I knew just what to do with my life. Egyptology is my life. And then I discovered it was a three part series and this is a ghost typing right now.

Ingobernable:

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Look, I know that I’ve already written about this show once or twice, but I have realized that I am never going to shut up about it. I finished yesterday on my lunch break, and I was literally shaken to my core. It was amazing. I cried a bit, I nearly screamed. If I wore pearls, I would have clutched at them. It’s taken me longer than I wanted to finish all fifteen episodes of the first season; life gets in the way, you know? I’ve been trying to watch one episode every other night, and there has been little else on my mind when I’m not watching the program. Each episode has captivated me, thrilled me, delighted me, horrified me. I know I should have waited to complete the entirety of the program before sharing it with you months ago, but even those first few episodes were perfection. Well, now that I’m wrapped up, I can tell you quite plainly, reader: Ingobernable is easily one of the finest shows ever created.

The plot was seamless. Yes, it left many lingering questions, but there was never a plot hole. The writing was fabulous and I learned so many new Spanish words. And the cinematography was LEGENDARY. When I first tuned in, I just watched because I wanted to see Mexico City. And that’s what drew me in at the start, but every episode built on the next, and it was divinity itself to see so many sides of the city that I adore so much. But I cannot say enough about the acting. If the show isn’t given every single award it is eligible for, then Hollywood is a lie. Kate del Castillo as Emilia, Urquiza, the first lady of Mexico, is a REVELATION. She imbues every scene she is in with perfection. I would easily believe that she was on the run from a corrupt government — then again Kate does know a thing or two about that. I can’t even find the words to adequately praise her. Maybe they don’t exist? I can’t go on anymore, reader. I don’t want to give anything away to you. I want you to watch every episode. And then maybe you, like me, will weep when Chela turns to Zyan and says, “Go ahead, Bitch.” It means something so different in context. The next season is supposed to come out some time this year. Reader, I cannot wait. I will cancel all my plans, grab a box of red wine and a bowl of popcorn and binge watch every moment. Truly, Netflix is a revelation to give us such quality content. Now stop reading and go watch. I’ll see you in fifteen hours.

HATE:

Failed Snowstorms:

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Look, reader, I’m having loads of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, there are few things in this world that I loathe more than snow. Nothing about it pleases me. I don’t find it beautiful, relaxing, or cozy. No. It makes me feel trapped, frozen physically and emotionally, and ever more impatient for the arrival of spring. It can never come soon enough. And yet, on the other hand, there are few things more decadent than a snow day away from work. (Don’t get me wrong, reader and potential future employers, I really quite enjoy my job, but the pleasure of an unexpected day at home is intoxicating.) And so yesterday, I was on the edge of my seat with enthusiasm. After lunch the snow started to fall and it did nothing but pick up speed and quantity. The thrill of an early out wasn’t satisfied, but the weather forecast predicted to eight inches of snow, so I felt fairly confident that my night classes would be cancelled or postponed. And even if that didn’t happen, how could there not be a late start the next morning? Or a complete cancellation? What could possibly go wrong? Well, let me tell you a tale of woe. My night class wasn’t cancelled, but we did get dismissed early since the threat of snow was so real and present. That was fabulous. We did a test and then we could go. I sped out as fast as I legally could without making my traditional stops at the gym (to tan) or at McDonalds (to gorge on French fries). I stared up at the heavens with delighted panic, waiting for the demonic flakes to start falling. The weather app said there was a 96% chance of school being cancelled in my zip code. I stayed up late, waiting for the cancellations to start rolling in. But they never did. And the snow never came. And my dreams didn’t come true. And I woke up late and exhausted. And my car was stuck in the driveway. And my hair was a joke. And everything was awful and life had lost all meaning. I felt like I felt the morning after Election Day 2016. Nightmarish. Truly, there is nothing so devastating as a failed snowstorm. Never trust a man who promises you eight inches. LOL I HAVE BEEN WAITING SO LONG TO TELL THAT JOKE! Anyway, I’m glad there’s not a fresh mountain of the powdery devil, but I’m so sad I’m not typing this in bed.

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