Saturday, March 18, 2017

that time when Cocoa went adventuring

Here are the facts:

  • around the country, folks have been experiencing "unseasonably" warm and/or frigid weather of late
  • we, here in Southern California, have had about a week or less of truly (gloriously) WARM and sunny days
  • we, here in our specific household, have opened up the apartment for the past week or so, and last night was the first that I went to bed feeling "cold" enough to allow the heat to run if it reached lower than 75º inside, once the windows were closed
  • my breathing has been for shit for the past two weeks or so, so I can pretty much attribute it to "seasonal allergies" and/or the weather changing
  • in addition to general breathing issues, I've also been doing my damndest to cough up a lung or two, rather than just "clearing my throat"
  • TODAY was a cooler-than-of-late day, hovering in the 60's and very low 70's for most of the day (and definitely "cool" now that it's nighttime)
  • Stephen had a late night last night (just couldn't sleep) and a fairly "crap" day today; he works early tomorrow, so he had a nice warm soak in the tub and went to bed early
  • it's hard to sleep when there's someone coughing up a lung in the other room
So here's what I did, in just the last hour or so:

I took my laptop, cough drops, and glass of wine out into the courtyard, so any noise I made coughing would escape UP into the sky rather than be trapped in the living room (and echo down the hall).

Cocoa sat in the (open) front window and watched me, meowing her version of "bless it" every time I coughed.

When I opened the front door just enough for a furbaby to venture out, it wasn't long before she peeked her head out, and then carefully investigated the courtyard area adjacent to the front door. While she was checking out the smells in front of Josh and Janette's place (immediate neighbors), Smokey poked his head out to stand guard.

Cocoa ventured as far as the foot of the stairs to the second level (not quite to the other adjacent neighbor), and past the potted plants of the neighbor across, and around the table where I sat watching her, to not-quite the top of the stairs leading down to the parking garage, when Smokey sent her some subliminal cat signal that she'd had enough adventuring for the night, Dearie, and she skulked back into the apartment.

I wasn't too far behind her tail, as we both needed to pee. ;)

But now she's begun acting like "outside" is where she belongs, dammit, and why haven't I opened the front door for her for more adventuring? I mean, c'mon, Momma! It's only not even 10 o'clock yet!

I love my brave girl. I gotta keep that bravery in at least a little check, right? They're both good furbabies.
Smokey guards the back while Cocoa snuggles in

Monday, March 13, 2017

I blame Netflix.

I haven't worked much on set this last quarter/"semester", as you know. And as you also know, I'm really only happy when I'm working on set.

I managed to NOT slide into my standard winter SAD or any Depression, despite not working much on set. Probably because I picked up my crochet hooks, and because I started re-binge-watching The West Wing.

So now that the weather is improving and my breathing is worsening and I'm still not working enough and I'm caught up on all seven seasons of The West Wing, I seem to have become
a mashed couch potato.
So even though I have been meeting my nonFitbit-thingy's daily "step challenges", I haven't regularly hit 10,000 steps in a looooooooooong time. With my breathing/coughing/allergy issues in flare-up, I feel good about the step challenges but would really like to re-build my energy to the 10K level, which should help me tone up ^that^.

Now, this post is not in any way meant to body-shame you or anyone else you know. It's my own dissatisfaction with what I have allowed to happen to MY body('s shape). Pretty sure I was hoping/planning to get fit in the recent past/nearish future. I haven't, and

I Blame Netflix.

Friday, March 10, 2017

when Breathing is a difficult thing

It's becoming a chore, kids. It's a real drag. Some days, I struggle to fill my lungs to 75% capacity. Some days, I struggle to fill them to 50%.

And on days where the act of breathing isn't the problem, then I cough my fool head off. Or I clear my throat All. Day.

Here are "just the facts, Ma'am":

  • we moved in October
  • adjacent to our new building is a church that's been under construction for something like 4 years (timeframe per our upstairs neighbor)
  • I started having shortness of breath issues in November
  • I had health insurance through Warner Bros. until the end of November
  • I called Kaiser on a 50% day to make an appointment; I was seen the next day as a walk-in to fill a cancellation void
  • my appointment was likened to taking your noisy car to the mechanic but the car purrs like a kitten - my breathing that day was probably at 90 - 95%
  • the doc found nothing physically wrong with me (I'm not sick, kids) but did prescribe for me a rescue inhaler of Albuterol, with the admonition that if things got worse in the next week or so, I should follow-up with him
  • my rescue inhaler started with ~200 "hits"
  • I no longer have health insurance
  • the construction is nearing completion
  • the weather has changed to warm, sunny days (from cold and wet)
  • I'm down to fewer than 20 "hits" on my rescue inhaler
We walked over to CVS yesterday, because my non-productive cough was worrying for Stephen. The lung capacity is more of an issue in my mind, but I understand that if my coughing keeps either or both of us awake, then our sleep is interrupted, and our next day is likely to be pretty crappy all around.

So we picked up some Mucinex DM, which is both an expectorant (to make my coughing productive) and a suppressant (to quiet me enough for us both to sleep). I have taken three dosings so far, and my cough is more productive. I do not know how long I will need to continue taking Guaifenesin (the active expectorant ingredient). According to my nonFitbit-thingy, I slept pretty damn well last night, and I guess I can blame the Dextromethorphan (cough suppressant) for that one. Also, I've been feeling a bit sleepy since about 9 p.m., so I'm thinking that one of the "inactive" ingredients may also be contributing something there.

But I have been unable to reach a person at Social Services to see if I qualify for Medi-Cal or if I'm supposed to be paying out of pocket for health insurance that I cannot afford at this time, and my inhaler has fewer than 20 hits left. The CVS pharmacist told me I could get the doc I saw to refill my Rx, or I could go to a CVS insta-clinic (he called it something else) or an Urgent Care center to get a new Rx, but without insurance, how much will that cost me? I just don't even know.

And right now, Breathing is a difficult thing.

What advice would you give me, since I'm pretty sure you can't just send me a cartridge of Albuterol or any Prednisone (steroids) to help open my airways?

Sunday, March 5, 2017

I'm Ba-ack! (Maybe. We'll See)

So I worked a total of three days in January, and that was GLORIOUS. I mean, I really thought it meant I'd be working my "regular" shift of at least once per week, throughout 2017, until the Scripty gig for that show I'd worked in the late summer picked up for season two (which would mean MORE than once per week). So January left me feelin' pretty good about myself and my industry.

And after I marched in the #WomensMarch, I crocheted myself a Pussy Hat.

Then I crocheted a smaller version, thinking one of the young nieces (or nephews, 'cuz I won't say no) might want one. No takers, so I unraveled the thing and made another Moebius Scarflet to match my Pussy Hat. Because, why not?

Meanwhile, I kept looking for work. I ran into one of the actors from last summer's show, and he told me that he'd been contacted about going back to work in late March. It makes sense that they'd contact the cast before crew, because you have to build your shooting schedule around their availability. He also told me that the writer/director had gotten his SAG card in the meantime, so there was a good chance the project would be a SAG Signatory. That's great news for the cast, and it's not bad news for the crew, because IATSE Signatory comes next (usually by Season 3). So I shot an email off to the director/writer, checking in, congratulating him on his Union status, and hoping to hear back regarding crew scheduling soonish. This was February, so it's not like I had any worries. Just trying to do my own "due diligence".

But I did not work a single day in the month of February, and Depression crept in. I reached out to the producers on Friday (March 2), and the email response that I received, pretty quickly, was that they were all crewed up but thanks for checking in.

When they (the production) made the announcement that there would, in fact, BE a second season, one particular producer seemed to go out of his way to Promise Me the gig.

Now, if you know me at all, you know that ANGER is not one of my go-to emotional states. Sure, there are things that will piss me off, but I usually get over those things and get back to Optimism or Joy or at least OKAY. But for most of Friday, I was LIVID. I couldn't see straight. My world was burning.
And then, when I finally was able to focus enough on "now what?", I got really sad/upset/crying... about the fact that I had somehow done something to lose a "promised" gig.

So Now What?

I called Warner Bros., because when my temp assignment ended last year, I was told I should reach out to HR if I wanted to come back. The job I had done for them was listed on their careers website, so I went ahead and completed a new application. But the group assessment for potential new hires had just happened on Thursday, so my odds of "perfect timing" were 50/50.

And I continued submitting for other appropriate gigs, and Wouldn'tYouKnowIt? I booked work for tomorrow. It's a semicasual background role on the last day of the season for a show I've worked very sporadically in the past. It should be a pretty laid-back day, from what the casting director has said, and it should (hopefully) reboot my psyche back into "work begets work".

Aaaaaand I made another thing. It's amazing to me that crocheting has such an impact on my mood. I started this thing on Friday, and finished it today. It's a prototype, really, because I can't figure out when or where I will actually ever have a real opportunity to wear this rather-dressy-while-still-very-casual "summer sweater", out in the real world. But I made it myself, without a pattern, tweaking as I went along, and I'm pretty happy with it, for a first attempt at brain-vomiting a wearable thing.

Whatcha think? Should I go yarn shopping and make more things? Should I come back to blogging? Would YOU (or your female SO) wear the boobalicious bulky summer sweater above? WHERE would you (or your female SO) wear it?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Week Later...

and I made another thing!

Okay, it's actually been almost a year since I'd set the crochet hooks down. Once I completed Emily's Moebius Scarflet, finished in February or March, but not in time for her to need it, I didn't mail hers to her until this Christmas. So in the meantime, I packed all of the handicrafts away for colder weather.  Then I recently picked it all back up, finished
the wrist gauntlets
that I had started with the small remainder of InnerHippie's yarn (but had kept connected to each other, making them impossible to actually wear), started a new something-or-other that turned into
a headband,
using more of Emily's yarn, and then pining for a bulky yarn like I'd had with
my own, original Moebius Scarflet,
but doing nothing about that yearning.

Then, last weekend, millions of men, women, and children marched in the #WomensMarch, and large numbers of them were wearing "(Grab 'em by the) Pussy Hats", mostly in pink, and ALL hand-knitted or -crocheted by the wearers or by crafters who couldn't physically march but could contribute warm headgear. I marched, but without the hat, because I hadn't gotten around to figuring out how to make one, or buying the appropriate yarn, or anything else.

See, prior to the march, all of my crocheting was single straight lines, back-and-forth, until I was ready to connect the thing to itself. Well, except for the gauntlets, which were essentially tubes, straight lines of stitches that spiraled until I was out of yarn. But really, I had no idea how to make anything that wasn't a straight line, and I didn't feel I had time to learn a new stitch. So I marched without any headgear.

However, upon my arrival at the subway station beneath the starting point of the march, I commented on one hat in particular, and indicated that I only knew straight-line crocheting. The wearer told me that you just stitch a big rectangle, fold it in half, and stitch the sides. The "corners" become "ears" once you put the thing on your head! Voilá! ... too bad I didn't know that two weeks ago. Hrmmm...

So. The march itself was super-energizing, even with the 1.5+ hours of standing still, waiting. I got home from it, blogged, and then found time to make a dummy hat with more of Emily's yarn, break the hook I was working with (I'd always used plastic, rather than metal hooks, and the finer the yarn, the smaller the hook, meaning the "weaker" the hook. I've broken two plastic crochet hooks in my time doing it; probably the same size. Thankfully, Jo-Ann has allowed me to replace the full sets each time). I completed my dummy purple hat (without "finishing" the stitches), tried it on my head, liked how it looked, for the most part, but ended up taking it apart (because an inspired dream gave me a better plan than "folded rectangle"). The purple-dummy-hat-rectangle is currently another Work-In-Progress, a soonish scarflike something.

When I returned the broken hook, I "upgraded" to a metal set. They are not as comfortable to work with, in my hands, so I'm glad that while I was at it, I also picked up a coupla skeins of really bulky "baby" yarn. This stuff is SO soft! And with it being "bulky", I get to use my larger (stronger) plastic hooks.

So here we are,
one completed "pussy hat" 
and one just started, in a smaller size, just in case any of my nieces would like to wear a soft pinkish kitty on her head!

Who wants one? I also have the super-soft bulky yarn in purple (of course, DUH!)

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The last of the reviews (for awhile) PART TWO

Moonlight A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.: It would have improved my viewing of this film (possibly our viewing? I dunno; you'd have to ask Stephen) to have read ^that^ little IMDb blurb before watching our screener. We had no idea what this fucking story was about, or who we were supposed to be rooting for (I mean, okay, we had an inkling) or who were the antagonists (again, the bullies were clearly "bad guys", but who else?), or where the hell the story was going (nowhere, truth be told). We did not care for this film. We were impressed with the casting, but other than that? Meh. You may hear otherwise. I have heard glowing praise. I also heard glowing praise for Fences. Didn't care for that one, either.

(the new) Ghostbusters Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.: OMG, kids, if you have any love for the original, then you have to watch this one! It isn't a sequel; it isn't an "homage" (altho it does pay mad respect to the original); it is simply a different take on "what if there were ghosts invading New York City?"

It is So Much Fun, this film. Every character is FULLY defined, and the acting is So Good. We picked up our Blu-Ray at Target, both because it was on sale for $TEN (what?) and because Stephen had "won" a Target gift card at his place of employment, so we watched the flick on a night before I was booked for work, and then we watched all the special features on the following night, after we were both home from work. We laughed our asses off, probably the entire time. I don't think it's even up for any awards at this point, but so what? Acquire a copy to add to your collection, and prepare to laugh your ass off. <-- That is my recommendation. #ChrisHemsworthOMGSoFunny

Captain Fantastic In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.: Okay, so I had to stream this over my laptop screen, because the #SAGAwards folks hadn't made it available on hard disk, and the one or two screenings I'd tried to attend didn't pan out. I may have said this before; I'm not a fan of streaming video. Every six seconds or so, it would do a micro-pause, which, of course, I got used to. But that is not optimal viewing, and everyone knows it. If I get my wish, next year, ALL of the films and shows that are up for even a single award will arrive in hard copy in my mailbox, WITHOUT all the extra mailers that are trying to get me to vote but are essentially wasted trees.

So. That said, this was another I had no idea before I watched it, what it would be about. Honestly, with its title, I thought it was an off-brand superhero film. I was looking forward to it. It had good moments, I won't lie, but overall, I'm not sure whose "side" I ended up on. There are some really difficult choices made, and there's no clear "good vs. evil" fight. So whilst watching, you sort of float along with the family, who are clearly more used to floating along than you are. Recommended IF you've ever wanted to live simply, off the land, and "home-school" your kids out in the wilderness, with an excellent library and minimal civilization. NOT Recommended IF the wilderness would kill you in your first week.

The Girl on the Train A divorcee becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life.: I started (streaming, yes, again) watching this under the impression that it was a thriller. And it is, sort of. There are definitely plot twists, and there's definitely a murder to solve, and there are definitely people to like or not like. But you follow along for a rather long time, not entirely sure if this person you kinda like is okay, or if this person you're kinda creeped out by isn't, in fact, heroic. So, yeah, thriller.

This film has been compared to Gone Girl
in its storytelling. I guess, maybe. We only liked Ben Affleck's character in that one (honestly, in our opinions, that was his #RoleOfALifetime). I don't see Emily Blunt in the #RoleOfALifetime here. Not that her character isn't full of depth and well-portrayed. I mean, you do kind of hate her, then pity her, then "root" for her. But this Girl film is not, in fact, anything like the other Girl film. So stop comparing them!

Ennyhoo. Recommended if you're a fan of 1) thrillers 2) trains 3) pretty people who are slightly psycho 4) murder mysteries 5) Emily Blunt. Otherwise, take it or leave it. I don't see it finding a space on our wall o' movies, unless it appears before us really super-fucking cheap, in which case, okay, fiiiiiiine.

And that's it. I dunno what I'll review for you next, as I've gotten through this #SAGAwards season's screenings and screeners. Think I'll take a break and find other shit to talk about. Tell me here what you'd love for me to talk about!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The last of the reviews (for awhile) PART ONE

Jackie Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy.: Okay, so the "plot" of this revolves around an interview Jackie Kennedy gave to a LIFE magazine reporter a week or so after the assassination of JFK. It's a real interview that she gave and the magazine printed, but it's told with many flashbacks, and Jackie is understandably emotional/not emotional (she's grieving, DUH). But there's a lot we're told that the reporter is not allowed to print. The moment that stands out for me, that made me question the script source (is it real or fantasy?), is when the reporter reads back to her something along the lines of "as she lit another cigarette, she...", Jackie responds "I don't smoke" (even though we and the reporter have been watching her chain-smoke). So, has the statute of limitations run out on Ms. Onassis' control over the subject matter, that we somehow now have access to the original notebooks the reporter filled? Because if so, maybe there should have been a tag "based on true events" or even a more complete "disclaimer" in the end credits. Hell, there may have been one, and I just didn't see it, because the movie left me feeling... meh. Natalie's portrayal of the new widow was fine. It was probably rather harrowing for the actress to embody such an iconic figure, capturing her speech patterns and other mannerisms, whilst also GRIEVING on camera.

But this film season has shown us plenty of GRIEF. I'm tired of it. Particularly in this one. Jackie is neither protagonist nor antagonist in this flick. She just happens to be the title character, living her life (or at least, we are led to believe that). So, if you happen to be a huge fan of 1) history 2) 1963 in American history 3) Jackie Kennedy (Onassis) or 4) Natalie Portman, then you will probably enjoy this movie more than I did. Most of the grief movies I've watched this season, I've shed a tear or two with the protagonist. Not during this one. I just didn't know if I was supposed to like her or not. Tough call. I can't recommend, but see ^above^ to decide for yourself.

Arrival When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.: The first time we saw this one, we saw it in a theater (at a screening), knowing only that it had to do with space aliens arriving, with all that wonderful "First Contact" stuff that sci-fi fans (like Stephen and myself) love. We LOVED this movie. The opening sequence had us (well, maybe us but possibly only me) crying, and then everything got so complicated and interesting from there. The lead characters are Louise (Amy Adams) and Ian (Jeremy Renner), so shout-out to my Daddy's neighbors and besties, Ian and Louise! Y'all are heroes!

Um, sorry (to the rest of you who are not Daddy or Ian and Louise). Where was I? Oh. How AWESOME this movie is! Yes, it is sci-fi. Yes, it's set in "present day". No, you can't just let it wash over you, even though there are some very interesting special effects here and there. You have to use your brain. You WILL root for the good guys. ALL of them (and there are many). After the film ends, you will have questions and thoughts, and you will discuss it amongst yourselves.

Recommendation: Hells, yeah. Just see it with at least one other person, so you don't have to discuss it alone with yourself (unless you're into that sorta thing).

The Crown The early reign of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is portrayed.: This is a series on Netflix, which we had managed to view the entire first season of prior to my attendance at the screening with Claire Foy and John Lithgow, as well as prior to our receipt of the very cool Netflix boxed set. We were riveted by every episode, so we managed to blaze through the series pretty quickly (without binge-watching in two or three nights). Epic.

At most screenings in LA, the guests who are featured in the Q&A that follows typically do not sit through the screening; rather, they wait in a green room somewhere away from the show. This can be for any number of reasons, including flight or drive-times delaying their arrival at the theater/screening room, having seen that particular episode or film so many times they are personally sick of it and to be gracious would be painful, not ever watching themselves on screen ever (like that Kylo Ren dude at the Paterson screening), etc. So no one expects the guest to have joined you, the audience, in the audience seats for the screening. But John Lithgow did, at the screening I attended. And he and Claire were incredibly gracious and funny and fun, and we all felt badly that Winston Churchill won't appear (much? #FingersCrossed he appears #AtAll) in Season Two. But we are looking forward to Season Two, and beyond, so if you need a recommendation, here it is: Hells, yeah. Check it out on Netflix, at your own pace.

Stranger Things When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.: This one is another Netflix original series, and because it's set in the 1980's, it speaks on numerous levels to my generation. Winona's one of US, ya know? Portraying one of our MOMS, right? I mean, it's weird or meta or something not grody to the max.

But we loved this series. Season One is only eight episodes, so if you have the time and the energy, you can totally binge-watch it in, like, two days. Totally. I think that's what we did. The main story arc is compelling; the characters are very real; the acting and direction are superb. We can't wait for Season Two. So, It's Bitchin', Dude. Totally rad.

Here are #ThreeGoodThings (in no particular order):

  1. I have watched all of the screeners I intend to watch this awards season. I thought I wanted to be on the Nominating Committee, but frankly, who has the time? I'm surprised I got through what I got through!
  2. I have voted for the SAG Awards. My electronic ballot was due by this Friday at noon, and I got 'er done this afternoon. Yay, me!
  3. I have made a pretty penny on set this week (short day on Monday, lots of "bumps" today;I could still book work on Friday or get rush-called for tomorrow). #IAmBlessedToWorkInThisBizILove
Whatcha got? Sumthin'? Ennythin'? C'mon! I love hearing from you!