THINGS I LOVED/HATED THIS WEEK #232

LOVE:

“La Reina del Sur” Return:

She’s coming back. Teresa is coming back. LA REINA RETURNS! I honestly don’t think that I’ll be able to handle this. I can barely function trying to type this, so I beg your forgiveness in advance. If you have missed my wildly enthusiastic expositions on this telenovela that absolutely enraptured me and changed my life. I’ll give you the easiest recap that I can, but if you have ever watched a Spanish soap opera, I know that you’re well aware of how impossible that would be. So here’s my best, but I’m doing no justice to it. Okay. Picture it. We are in the state of Sinaloa in Mexico, a region run largely by a drug cartel. In the city of Culiacán lives Teresa Mendoza, a poor young woman who earns her living by changing money on the street. She meets a handsome pilot named Guero who works for the cartel and falls madly in love. Unfortunately for her, Guero was double-crossing the cartel and is killed. Teresa knows too much so she needs to escape and with the help of the cartel leader, who looked at her like a daughter, she flees the continent. Arriving in Mellilla, a small territory in Northern Africa that is run by the Spanish government, she gets a job as a waitress in a pleasure house. There she befriends the wonderful prostitutes and the owner realizes what an asset she is at managing the books. She’s happier than she’s ever been, but misses her beloved Guero. Thankfully the stunningly handsome Santiago comes into her life and reintroduces her to the drug trade. Teresa was done and wanted nothing to do with it, but Santiago was the best boat pilot in the Mediterranean. Let’s fast forward to Teresa and Santiago becoming successful smugglers in the south of Spain and then it all goes wrong and they’re chased by the authorities and the boat explodes. Santiago dies and Teresa ends up barely alive and on her way to prison. In prison, she meets and befriends a bisexual socialite named Patricia O’Farrell who had gotten mixed up with the Russian mafia. While in prison they befriend another woman who murdered her husband and stepmother by putting bleach into their wine. So obviously they’re all getting out and it’s going to be an empire. Patty knows where an actual metric ton of stolen Russian cocaine is, and they use this to launch the largest drug smuggling operation in all of Europe. It’s addicting and I can’t get over it and I think about it quite literally every damn day. I skipped dozens of important plot points. You can watch it for yourself on Netflix. Eight years later, and in what still feels like a miracle, the show is coming back for another season with the original cast. Kate del Castillo is coming back as Teresa sometime this year! Allegedly somebody steals her daughter and TERESA IS OUT FOR BLOOD. I’m so excited. I’m on pins and needles. Look at this! Look at it!

This is going to be an amazing year. God bless me and Teresa Mendoza.

Boy de Chanel:

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I’ve had a love affair with Coco Chanel since before I really knew who she was. It was really a lifelong and inexplicable obsession with Karl Lagerfeld, who is the creative director at Chanel. He seems immortal and like a wonderful remnant of the Renaissance Men of the late 1890s. Becoming a Renaissance Man is a lifelong  calling of mine. If I had been born in a different time and place, say contemporaneously with Oscar Wilde as a London socialite, well I would have found plenty of delights in life. Not so easy to do in the middle of the cornfield in Iowa. So that might explain some of my peculiarities that people grapple with. That’s irrelevant to the post, much like the majority of my endless ramblings on here. When I visit Paris, which I haven’t been managing to do as often anymore, I always stop at the Chanel boutique on the Rue Cambon. For me, that’s Paris. I buy myself a bottle of cologne and fully luxuriate in the experience of high end fashion. I about lost my mind the other day when I saw an advert for something called a Boy de Chanel. I assumed it was a new fragrance for women, something maybe a bit muskier like Pour Monsieur, my signature scent, even though I’ve been happily cheating on it lately with Gucci Guilty Black. That is so good. Oh my god. Anyway, I was curious and looked Boy de Chanel up and then I started absolutely screeching and running for my wallet. Thankfully it hadn’t been released at the time, but I will be treating myself to this line of products soon. I’m getting ahead of myself. I need to tell you what it is.

Boy de Chanel is basically a makeup line for men. I generally think things branded for specific genders is the highest height of absurdity, but this line is made specifically with the cosmetic needs of a typical man’s face. And the more I learned about it, the more I appreciated it. There is a long lasting matte lip balm which I need. There is a blurring foundation that I can’t wait to get ahold of. All you have to do is gently rub it into your under-eyes and nose and forehead and then pores and blackheads and whatnot are harder to see. I will be getting that too. There is an eyebrow pencil too, but that is something that I don’t think I’m ready for. I think my eyebrows are fine. But I’ll be getting those other products and I will be feeling fancy and Parisian and I will be living the very definition of my best life. Time to get to Chicago to pick some up at the boutique under the Drake hotel!

Modiodal:

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Listen up, y’all, because I have an absolutely wild tale to spin. All my long life, I have been incredibly sleepy. I could never get up when it was time to go to school and it’s a miracle that I make it to work on time. I rely desperately on naps. I could sleep for days at a time. And on Fridays when I get home, I have a tradition that has been going on for decades where I walk in the door and fall asleep on the first surface that I find. I might wake up that night or Saturday. Who knows? No matter how much I sleep and no matter how much I try to find solutions, nothing seems to work. In 2018, things got progressively worse. I got to thinking about my disease, multiple sclerosis, that invisible demon always riding on my back. The single most common symptom of multiple sclerosis is fatigue, and I certainly have it. I wonder if perhaps I’ve had MS for decades now? Who cares, I shouldn’t worry about things that don’t matter all too much. This summer in Mexico City, I found myself unable to get out of bed no matter how much I wanted to. It was not depression, though patients with MS suffer this too. It was complete and utter exhaustion. When I couldn’t find the strength to walk down the street to buy a taco or ten, and when I sat for days on a sofa instead of enjoying my surroundings, I knew that something had to be done. What follows is an unusually serendipitous story, one of those occurrences that make me shout, “Coincidences aren’t real!” from the rooftops. (Holla at your boy, Lady M!) I read the New York Times religiously and I was fascinated by an article that was about brain boosting medication that busy people and university students use. Black market Ritalin and Adderall are commonly abused medications for people who need to be more alert and get things done. I wasn’t really in the mood to get hooked on something that was just a sidestep away from meth, so I started to research another suggested medication, Modafinil. This was developed by the armed forces and given to pilots so that they could fly for nearly twenty-four hours without getting tired. I was immediately intrigued, but there was no way to get it in the USA without a specific prescription or a perusal of the Dark Web, something that I’m still too scared to look at. In my research into the drug, though, I was stunned to see trials were being done on patients with multiple sclerosis to deal with the chronic fatigue, or lassitude, that is so common with this condition. It held some promise, so I decided I simply had to get some. In another highly not coincidental incident, this pill is commonly available without a prescription in Mexico for a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the price it costs in the USA. In Mexico, the name is Modiodal, so I went to my pharmacy and asked for it. They didn’t have any but the pharmacy around the corner did. So I bought a box and immediately began to experiment. Reader. It was insane. I could feel my will and desire to accomplish things come rushing back. Because of my unstructured schedule this summer, I didn’t take it often because it causes insane insomnia if taken too late in the morning. Now that I’m at work, I have been using it every morning and the difference is truly astonishing. I had an appointment with my neurologist yesterday and discussed the various trials I performed on myself. He came back to Adderall and Modafinil. He was of course aware of the studies being done on multiple sclerosis patients and wrote me a prescription for Previgil, the name brand version. I laughed my way out of the pharmacy. The price for a month is nearly $800. I could fly to Mexico a few times a year and pick up the medication much cheaper and still have leftover cash. It is absurd! We are working on getting a different version or a different pill, so I’m not sure what the final answer will be. (UPDATE: I do now, but that’s a story for next week. Just know that there is a very happy ending.) All I do know is that when I go back to Mexico City — so wonderfully soon, but I’ll tell you more about that later — I will be stocking up on this wonderful pill. It is the first thing that has started to give me my old life back and I am just so content.

ALDI Wine Chiller:

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When I met Dame Angela Lansbury a few years ago, you might remember that it turned me into the hottest mess that I have ever been. That might not be true as I’ve frequently been a hot mess since that divine moment, but it was that moment when I truly understood what the expression meant. I was weeping as I walked past the White House — but Obama was still President so it wasn’t for the reasons you might expect. I had been near my idol. I had helped her into her car. She had touched me and talked to me and I would never be the same. I still haven’t had the blazer I was wearing dry-cleaned. I doubt I ever will. I think I floated back to my apartment that was next to the Library of Congress. When I was there, I went to the wine fridge that I had filled with pastries, and gorged myself on cakes and macarons. It was a wonderful night, and ever since then, I have reasonably had the need of a wine chiller of my own to fill with pastries. Back then I wasn’t drinking wine all that often, so it wasn’t really something I was looking into. But now that I have multiple sclerosis and have adhered to a Mediterranean Diet that suggests I have a glass of red wine a day, I always have wine in my house. You know my passion for the boxed wine at ALDI, but then you might also know I support literally everything from them. I can count the times ALDI has done me wrong on one hand. Well, dear reader, for the holidays this year they released an eight bottle wine chiller. It was just a matter of time until I had one. Well, I bought it the other week. I saw it and knew I didn’t need it, but also deep in my heart of hearts, I knew that I wouldn’t be leaving the store without it. I was shopping with my friend, Faye, and well it doesn’t take much to convince me to shop at ALDI. The chiller now sits proudly in my lounge filled with a variety of ALDI wines and it is the most pointless and divine thing I own. It was absolutely worth the $79, which is worth it for a little luxury in life. Do you know how elegant it feels to walk to your personal wine chiller and pour a glass and then cork the bottle and then put it back in your personal wine chiller? And then go back and get the bottle and finish it? If you don’t, I highly recommend joining me on this journey. Life is very short. Remember this always. Treat yourself to the little delights that life can offer you. It makes it so much more worth living. 

Ankhsunamen’s Mummy:

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If you don’t know about my overwhelming obsession with all things Egyptological, well then I really don’t know how you found me here. It seems like I write something about Egypt once a month if not in every post. If I could write lengthy papers about Egypt every day, that’s what I’d be doing. Someday that might happen, but not for awhile, and that is perfectly all right, but still, this has absolutely nothing at all to do with this post. I need to stay focused on the degree I’m working on right now because, y’all, this is the final year of my bachelor’s degree in secondary education. That is insane. Egyptology has always been and will always be the absolute love of my life, so I fill my life with it in every way possible. I subscribe to nearly every periodical that deals with the history of Egypt, and I eagerly pore over each page of densely printed research. KMT is probably the oldest magazine that amateur and professional Egyptian archaeologists devour. There have been other such things, but they were more dedicated to the scholarly and the wealthy. KMT, which derives its name from the word the ancient Egyptians actually used for their country, is for everybody. I was absolutely shaken to my core by the very last installment, because it was reported quite plainly that both the mummies of Ankhsunamen and Nefertiti had been found, confirmed, and the mystery was over. If that means nothing to you, I fully understand, but if that does mean something to you, you’ll understand my wild whoops of delight and bewilderment. It all has to do with Dr. Zahi Hawass. We’ve never met, but our paths have crossed, and in all seriousness I would be surprised if he hadn’t at least read my name once or twice. I have said some disparaging things about his methods and his personality, but I truly have nothing but respect for the man. Last summer in Los Angeles, I ordered a copy of his latest book and paid extra money to the museum shop to have them send me an autographed frontispiece to attach. It’s been over half a year, and I don’t think it’s coming. I like to think that Zahi saw my name and decided not to fill out the paper for me. Or I could be reaching…but I don’t think so. Anyway, the article in KMT was about Zahi and the two mummies that I mentioned above. I was shaken that there was fairly incontrovertible DNA evidence — and I’m a skeptical believer in the viability of ancient DNA at best, but that’s a rambling tale for another time — that links the mummy to the mummified unborn fetuses found in the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Tutankhamen was only known to have been married to one woman, he had no royal harem that has ever been established, so it is more than likely that these are his children and this was his royal wife. That was wild enough since it has been speculated for years that the successors of Tutankhamen found a way to rid themselves of Ankhsunamen. Colorful theories have included: shipping her off to another empire, tossing her into crocodile infested waters, and abandoning her in the desert. It seems that none of this happened. Wild. But weirder and more wonderful was the alleged identification of Nefertiti, which for some reason did not get the worldwide press that I would have imagined. After all, we were all waiting with bated breath when Nicholas Reeves postulated that she was buried behind the walls of Tut’s tomb. There’s a lot of good evidence to suggest that Nefertiti is this damaged mummy in KV35 and nowhere in a supposed hidden chamber behind Tut’s mural chamber. It seems such a sad ending for one of the most intriguing women in history if true. After all, she wed a pharaoh who changed Egyptian theological practices, ruled the country after his death, and is remembered today as one of the most iconic images of ancient Egypt. I’m dubious that it’s her, but what a wonderful story. I was absolutely engrossed. Egyptology will never ever fail to thrill me.

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