THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #217

LOVE:

Trostel’s Dish:

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You haven’t forgotten that I’m going deaf, I hope? I won’t let you. I was told today that I have a non-functioning ear. I cackled because I was too depressed to cry. I went through a few more rounds of hearing exams, but they all said the same thing: “You deaf as shit.” So I was referred to a hearing specialist to do a treatment that probably wouldn’t work but was better than doing nothing. They were going to call me as soon as they had an opening since the place is apparently always booked. I was surprised to get a call the next morning while I was at work telling me to be in their office in two hours. Feeling like a fool, I left work once again to talk to yet another doctor. I swear I know more doctors than medical students do. Anyway, I’ll get to my point eventually. I had to fill out like a dossier of information when I arrived, which I found ridiculous. Then I was given yet another hearing test. Can you guess the diagnosis? “You deaf as shit.” I was then shown samples of some really hideous hearing aids, but don’t worry, I didn’t cry, I just sniffled a bit and sadly smirked. Then I was led into another examination room where a charming doctor and I chatted about the absurdity of my situation. I’m not so sure she appreciated the million questions I had. Surely doctors must be appalled by places like WebMD! She confirmed that the odds for my complete recovery were low, but just to be sure we tried everything, she was going to, and I’m serious, SHOOT STEROIDS INTO MY EAR THROUGH MY EARDRUM. I gasped and recoiled in horror but then shrugged and accepted my fait. Surely it would be a good story. So, the doctor numbed my inner ear, which actually hurt, and then a few minutes later she stuck a hypodermic needle through my eardrum. A bitter tasting fluid filled my sinus canals and then the room started spinning. Like legit, it was wild. When liquid is inserted in the ear you get hella dizzy, so this is normal. After letting the medicine settle and the world stop spinning, I was allowed to leave the office with a huge chunk of cotton hanging out of my ear. Now onto my story. I was distraught. There’s something abjectly odd about willingly having a needle jammed into your skull. So, I needed something nice for a late lunch. I walked over to Trostel’s Dish, which I have heard about forever but never visited. I’ll be back a million times. It’s elegant on the inside and wouldn’t look out of place in New York City. I had a cup of mushroom soup and a grilled cheese that was smothered with caramelized onions and mushrooms on rustic bread. IT WAS SO LIT. Like, that was some of the best food I’ve had in AGES. I had a glass of red wine from near where my cousin lives in California, and even though I was deaf and miserable and feeling very lousy for moi, gastronomically, I was living the definition of my best life. You have to go. I can’t wait for my next visit. 

Apple TV Screensavers:

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I have been meaning to blather on about this forever. I think I mentioned it in the Why Don’t You? series, but I forget. I’m old and I have multiple sclerosis and depression and deafness and I about had rabies yesterday. I was chased by a skunk in broad daylight, reader. It was traumatic. This has nothing to do with nocturnal animals, though, it had nothing to do with anything I was just mumbling about actually. It has to do with technology. I have nothing but compliments for Apple TVs. They are the epitome of chic. They turn all of my televisions into the smartest of TVs. I can play all my music, with telenovelas on every screen, and ask them the weather. They’re fabulous. And with a Direct TV Now subscription, you don’t even need cable! Thankfully I share with a friend and life is fabulous. I don’t have to watch my shows a day later, and that makes me feel so luxurious. I’ll stop gushing about everything so that I can gush about one of the specific features that makes these devices worth owning. You can have a screensaver of your own pictures, which I used for a long time, but then I bought a new Apple TV and allowed it to use one of the built in options and I lost my mind. The most beautiful footage of a city was filmed with what looks like a drone and everything is too beautiful. It’s so relaxing to fly into San Francisco and swoop over the Ferry Building and then soar over rooftops all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. I was hypnotized, reader. And even better than this is when it takes me to Dubai. I have not yet been to this modern city in the middle of the desert, but I am completely entranced. Every time the screensaver in Dubai pops up, I find myself absolutely captivated, watching the cars and public transport and the lights on the buildings as they flash and glimmer in the evening. It’s too beautiful. I wonder if they have it uploaded to YouTube for you? Yassss!

La Reina del Sur:

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I finally finished. La Reina del Sur was the greatest show I have ever seen. I loved every episode. I have never in all my life felt so attached to fictional characters. What a thrill. What an adventure! What a journey Teresa Mendoza took me on for the last few months. I don’t know if I can fully explain the depth of feeling I have for this telenovela. I didn’t think I’d fall in love with it the way I did. I can’t even form a rational sentence right now. I’m overwhelmed! Where do I begin? At the beginning I suppose. I have always loved telenovelas with an unreasonable passion. In high school, I would not miss an episode of Así es la Vida. It was on Univision without subtitles and I couldn’t understand a thing. It was brilliant. Eventually it became the foundation of my Spanish education, which is surely why it’s easier to talk about my cheating husband than it is the weather. Still, no knowledge is bad knowledge. After visiting Mexico City last year and falling head over heels in love, I needed to find a way to bring more Mexican culture into my life. I do this pretty regularly where I live, but I craved more. So I watched Ingobernable and fell passionately in love with the star, Kate del Castillo. She’s one of those women that I would be if I was a lady. Like Joanna Lumley or Joan Rivers or Ina Garten. All very different of course but all wonderful people. After I finished that BRILLIANT show, I was having Kate withdrawals, so I started her most beloved role as Teresa Mendoza in La Reina del Sur. From the first moment, I was entranced. I will not even attempt to do the show justice because I can’t. In sixty-three episodes that span a dozen years, we follow Teresa on a whirlwind from Mexico to North Africa to Spain to South America and then back to Mexico. She starts out as a money changer on the streets of Sinaloa, just a poor girl with a sad background and no prospects who meets a man involved in the cartel. OR IS HE? He gets killed by another gang — ALLEGEDLY — and the cartel wants her dead too, so the boss her husband worked for sent her to Spain. In Spain she gets work as an accountant in a brothel in a town called Melilla which is governed by Spain even though it’s in North Africa. I’m fascinated. It’s quite near the top of my travel to do list. Anyway, there she befriends the wondrous Fatima and falls in love with the absurdly handsome Santiago — CRIMINALLY ATTRACTIVE REALLY — who also wants to burst onto the illegal narcotics ring…Teresa definitely has a type. This doesn’t go well and he dies and she winds up in prison where she meets the LEGENDARY Patty O’Farrell, an aristocrat who got mixed up with the Russian mob. Well, in prison they become best friends along with a woman who killed her husband by putting bleach in his wine. They’re freed after a few years and Patty leads Teresa to a half ton of primo cocaine that her old boyfriend had hidden away from the Russians. Teresa is a natural businesswomen and hustles the cocaine back to the Russians. The head guy, Oleg, sees potential in her and they start a shipping company that is really for smuggling drugs. It’s wildly successful and Oleg supports and defends her and is her BEST friend. I have never seen such a pure and beautiful and honest friendship. Just wait for episode sixty-two…it’s worth the wait. Then Patty spirals out of control after losing the love of her life, a woman the government sent to infiltrate the organization. And then her next boyfriend is a RAT. And the police are after her. And there are shootouts, loyal bodyguards, deep friendships, true romance, impeccable acting, shocking twists, solid bops playing at the Russian’s nightclub, so many martinis, dramatic boat rides, yachts, hideous hair in flashbacks, SO MUCH TEQUILA, heartbreak, Arabic, and more that I can’t even come to terms with. Let me tell you, one episode near the end left me BROKEN. I will never get over this. Reader, get on Netflix immediately and start watching. You are welcome. I might start it again. I never do that. And then I found out it’s coming back.

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I’m going to pass out

Dreaming of Egypt:

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Every once in a while I will dream of Egypt. It’s always quite special because I don’t often recall my dreams anymore. I used to have quite a good recollection for what my subconscious was trying to tell me, but as I get older, I seem to have lost that ability. A real shame. Years ago, I had the most strikingly real dream where I was in Cairo at the airport. This was long before I had ever set foot in Egypt, and I took it as an omen that it was my destiny. The details are all fleeting now but I remember quite clearly that I was in a huge glass terminal and outside, a desert landscape flooded with sunlight stretched endlessly out in all directions. I couldn’t stand being inside, so I left the airport, even though I wasn’t supposed to for some reason, and took off through the sand, trudging along, making my way to the Pyramids. I could see them on the horizon and slowly they grew ever larger until I stood at the base of one of the great monuments. And then I woke up and it has stayed with me ever since. Last night I had another dream that I can’t stop thinking about. This time I was in Luxor on the West Bank. Details are somewhat murky now but I feel like I was there with an archaeological dig. I had my keys from work with me and I decided to go out very early one morning and see if my keys would open up any of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. It’s more likely I was up late and decided to go exploring. I don’t know what would have prompted me to do this. But I soon found myself in the wadis of the Valley and all the rocks were a dark brown and red from a lack of light. It was thrilling and I wandered as quietly as I could, but rocks were constantly crunching underfoot. I came across a tomb and used my key fob from work and held it over a sensor. The gates opened at once and I plunged inside. Everywhere were locked doors with padlocks and all of them yielded to my keys. I was thunderstruck and decided to wander further into the wadi to look in at the excavation going on with Zahi Hawass. The entrance to to the tomb he was working in was weirdly high up in the Valley, and though it was difficult to reach, I had no trouble finding the sealed entrance. Like all the other doors, my keys opened this one and I was presented with what looked like an offering chamber carved of dark Aswan granite. That didn’t make any sense so I stood there studying it for a long time before I heard Zahi’s voice getting nearer. I panicked, for he has quite an infamously short temper, and hurried back to the dig house where I was staying, giddy at having seen such a remarkable discovery. I remember no more but I can’t stop thinking of it. 

MEH:

Winchester:

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I wanted so much from this movie. It was inevitably going to let me down. I knew it would. The film was gorgeous and starred Helen Mirren. How could it go so wrong in almost every conceivable fashion? Even now, days after finally sitting though the film, I struggle to understand why the creators decided to make such drivel? What happened? Surely this wasn’t the original vision! IF SO, why am I not currently one of the highest paid producers in Hollywood like Sylvia Browne told me to be? Well just the producer bit, she never did give me a salary. And now she’s dead. Damn. Anyway, back to Winchester. The source material screams for a quality picture. (If you don’t know, the film is about Sarah Winchester, the widow of the guy who started the incredibly successful gun company. She believes that the souls of victims taken by her family’s guns were haunting her. So, she channels the spirits and builds rooms for them to materialize in so that she can apologize and send them on. The house still stands in San Jose, California, and I need to go see it this summer. And now you know.) The attention to detail in the design, the costuming, and even in the acting were superb, but it doesn’t matter how great a cast set you’ve assembled, you can’t fight bad writing and editing. As I watched, this is like watching classically trained Shakespearian actors in that new SpongeBob Squarepants musical. Nonsensical! The film needed, more than anything, for a nonobjective viewer to give feedback before the thing was allowed out into the wild. It leaves you with too many unanswered questions. I suppose, though, that I should start this irritation from the very beginning. None of this is really going to spoil a plot because it wasn’t designed well enough to matter. First off, and if you haven’t seen it, don’t bother, just skip ahead to the next post. Anyway, why is that doctor, of all doctors in the world selected? Was he in one of the books? And why did the Confederate dude decide to show up? And why did he possess the kid with the unfortunate bowl cut? And why wouldn’t Sarah just check her family into a hotel? And why would you build a gun museum and fill it with loaded guns? And why nail the ghosts in if the ghosts can take out the nails? And if all the ghosts there wanted to work together to make a ghost utopia against the Confederate guy, why didn’t they just pass on to the Other Side? And was that an earthquake or some spooky scary nonsense? And why did Helen Mirren agree to this? WHY DID SHE DO IT? She has an Academy Award. They set it up for a sequel, and I pray to all the gods of all believers that it doesn’t come to pass. Unless I get to write it. I have ideas. A psychic told me, and isn’t that qualification enough to write such a film? I rest my case.

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