Sunday, March 29, 2020

We Didn't Start the Rona (Billy Joel Parody)

Bats and lizards, 14-Days, Wuhan China, Chest X-Ray
Ventilators, Teleworking, Andrew Cuomo
Trump Twitter, Tony Fauci, Eating cookies on your couchie
North Korea, South Korea, streaming those shows

Coughing, fever, pounding heart
Can you stay six feet apart
Silkwood shower, wash your paws, human boogers are the cause
There is not a vaccine, you will have to quarantine
Viral truthers, CDC, Boris Johnson Goodbye!

We didn't start the Rona
It’s been replicating
And it’s devastating
We didn't start the Rona
We don’t understand it
And we didn’t plan it

Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, Steph Curry, crashing banks
Laid-off workers, unemployment, plummeting stock
Toilet paper, panic-buying, zombie preppers testifying
Hashtag Flatten The Curve, Trump is a cock.

Pandemic, hunker down, health care workers, ghost town
Zoom meetings, PPE, social distance is the key
Health insurance, business loans, cancellations, hot zones
Prince Charles, "Tiger King", trouble with math.

We didn't start the Rona
It was circulating
While we’ve been debating
We didn't start the Rona
It was zoonotic
And it’s been chaotic

Drive through testing, symptomatic, socialism, democratic
Home school, soap and water, it could be your son or daughter
NYC, alcohol, there will be no baseball
Broke, bored, stuck inside, sibling fighting multiplied

Online classes, NPR, Mike Pence, shuttered bars
Italy, death tolls, travel is a no-go
Face masks, sterile gloves, masturbation self-love
New York Times, CNN, Fox n’ Friends is on again

We didn't start the Rona
It’s a bad contagion
You should not engage in
We didn't start the Rona
It is pretty frightening
But we’re out here fighting

Reagents, testing swabs, Huckabee’s corn-cob
Podcasting, Instagram, No one really gives a damn
MAGA wingnuts in denial, Libtard leftists on the pile
NBA, NHL, concerts, churches gone to hell
Vatican, bouncing checks, doggie style corona sex
RNA, DNA, what else do I have to say

We didn't start the Rona
It was always spreading
Cellular imbedding
We didn't start the Rona
It is inconvenient
But we can’t be lenient

Mental health for the win, when can we go out again
Not by Easter, Fake News, inside-trading, drinking booze
Stay indoors, cut your hair, no Pilates, it ain’t fair.
YouTube, ICU, our President is huffing glue
Frozen pizza, microwaves, trying not to hibernate,
Netflix, making memes, shelter-in place.
These talking heads are a bore, China’s under martial law
Alex Jones, info wars, I can't take it anymore

We didn't start the Rona
It’s a novel virus
Just like Miley Cyrus
We didn't start the Rona
But when we’re gone
Will it still go on, and on, and on, and on






Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Ask Science: Ending Social Distancing Now is a Deadly Idea

Below is an illuminating Twitter thread from yesterday that I copied and pasted here from Tom Inglesby, Director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Inglesby has an MD from Columbia University and completed his internal medicine and infectious disease training at Johns Hopkins. He sees patients in a weekly infectious disease clinic. I’ve lightly edited this only for non-Twitter clarity.

In last 24 hours there've been prominent US voices calling for a stop to social distancing, citing rationale that they're worse than impact of COVID itself. It’s worth looking very closely at that claim, where we are in the US COVID epidemic, and what happens if we stop.

COVID has been spreading with exponential growth in the US for some time, and we're just beginning to get an understanding of how extensively. There are nearly 40,000 cases recognized in the US as of today, with about 100 deaths today. A few weeks ago, we had recognized 70 cases total.

Some hospitals have said publicly that within a week they will not have ventilators to treat everyone with COVID anymore.

There continue to be big diagnostic limitations.  Shortages in reagents, swabs. We don’t have rapid diagnostics in many hospitals yet, so it can be days before doctors and nurses can find out if a patient in front of them has COVID.

We don’t have capacity to diagnose many of the COVID cases that are not sick enough to be in the hospital, so those numbers aren’t counted in our national totals.

There continue to be terrible shortages in the masks that health care workers need to keep from getting sick with this disease.

How do we gain time to let hospitals get more supplies and prepare for high number of patients? How do we lower the speed of spread of COVID in the US?  How do we lower the odds that ICUs will run out of ventilators and hospitals will run out of space?  

The answer for now is large scale social distancing.

In Asia, we've seen these interventions work to lower
the pace of the epidemic, lower numbers of critically ill, lower the number of people who get COVID. In
Asia where big social distancing measures have been in place for two months, they have had very strong impact. 

In Asia they've slowed the disease by slowing social interaction. Left to its own, this disease spreads from 1 person to about 2.5 people, and then they do the same, and so on. For this disease to stop, we need to make it so that the average person spreads it to <1 other person. 

These big social distancing measures take time to work. The impact of big interventions in Wuhan China took about three weeks to start to reverse things. And then everyday after the situation got better. In the US, we're about 7 to 10 days into this, depending on the state.

To drop all these measures now would be to accept that COVID patients will get sick in extraordinary numbers all over the country, far beyond what the US health care system could bear.  

Many models report that health care systems will be completely overwhelmed or collapse by the peak of cases if major social distancing is not put in place. 

If a health care system in a given community stops working, and can no longer provide care to the ill, the case fatality rate for COVID will be far higher than 1%. We would not be able to care for some or all of the expected 5% of recognized cases that get critically ill.

Beyond that, if hospitals were completely overwhelmed, they may struggle to provide even oxygen for some or many of the 15% of recognized cases expected to be “severely ill,” let alone provide care for other life-threatening conditions.

Anyone advising the end of social distancing now needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that. COVID would spread widely, rapidly, terribly, and could kill potentially millions in the year ahead with huge social and economic impact across the country.

Before considering big changes to social distancing measures now, we should as quickly as possible get to the strongest possible position for COVID response – we're nowhere near that now.  We'll need rapid diagnostics in place at almost every location where a patient can be seen for care.

We'll need extraordinary quantity, reserve, and production lines of masks and PPE so that shortages at hospital and clinical sites around the country
are no longer possible. We'll need to have more ventilators on the way. We'll need capacity to provide medical care to many more that we can now.

We'll need to reduce the number of cases to such a low level that we could again do contact tracing and isolation of cases around the country (as they can in many countries in Asia now).

We will need a system of screening at airports
so that no person comes into the country with the disease without being diagnosed and isolated.

We'll need a serology test that can be used to identify those that have been infected and recovered already, and to know how prevalent the disease is in the US.  We would hopefully have therapies developed and in a quantity that we can treat at least the sickest patients with COVID.

Once we have those things in place, it would be a far less risky time to take stock of social distancing measures in place and consider what might gradually be reduced with trial and error. We would have learned more about the experience in Asia as they try to do that.

For now we need to keep production running, doctors offices working, groceries, pharmacies, and banks open. It is ok to have science-informed dialogue about which businesses need to be closed versus what can stay open in some way if social distancing can be put in place in them.

But we need to press ahead for now with closed schools, mass telecommuting, no gatherings, strong advisory to stay home unless you need to go out – all are needed to slow this epidemic.

We also need to put every conceivable economic program in place to help those being hurt by these social distancing measures. And move ahead rapidly to get our country far better prepared to cope with COVID before people recommend we abandon our efforts to slow this virus.




Friday, March 20, 2020

FACE COVID (By Dr. Russ Harris)

My Mom sent me this and I liked it so I decided to share it here.

‘FACE COVID’ 

How to respond effectively to the Corona crisis 
by Dr Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap 

‘FACE COVID’ is a set of practical steps for responding effectively to the Corona crisis, using the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Here’s a quick summary of the key steps, and we’ll explore them all in more depth:

F = Focus on what’s in your control
A = Acknowledge your thoughts & feelings 
C = Come back into your body
E = Engage in what you’re doing
C = Committed action
O = Opening up
V = Values
I =  Identify resources
D = Disinfect & distance

Let’s now explore these, one by one

F = Focus on what’s in your control

The Corona crisis can affect us in many different ways: physically, emotionally, economically, socially, and psychologically. All of us are (or soon will be) dealing with the very real challenges of widespread serious illness and the inabilities of healthcare systems to cope with it, social and community disruption, economic fallout and financial problems, obstacles and interruptions to many aspects of life ... and the list goes on.

And when we are facing a crisis of any sort, fear and anxiety are inevitable; they are normal, natural responses to challenging situations infused with danger and uncertainty. It’s all too easy to get lost in worrying and ruminating about all sorts of things that are out of your control: what might happen in the future; how the virus might affect you or your loved ones or your community or your country or the world – and what will happen then - and so on. And while it’s completely natural for us to get lost in such worries, it’s not useful or helpful. Indeed the more we focus on what’s not in our control, the more hopeless or anxious we’re likely to feel.

So the single most useful thing anyone can do in any type of crisis – Corona-related or otherwise - is to: focus on what’s in your control.

You can’t control what happens in the future. You can’t control Corona virus itself or the world economy or how your government manages this whole sordid mess. And you can’t magically control your feelings, eliminating all that perfectly natural fear and anxiety. But you can control what you do - here and now. And that matters.

Because what you do - here and now - can make a huge difference to yourself, and anyone living with you, and a significant difference to the community around you.

The reality is, we all have far more control over our behavior, than we do over our thoughts and feelings. So our number one aim is to take control of our behavior - right here and now - to respond effectively to this crisis.

This involves both dealing with our inner world – all our difficult thoughts and feelings - and our outer world – all the real problems we are facing. How do we do this? Well, when a big storm blows up, the boats in the harbor drop anchor – because if they don’t, they’ll get swept out to sea. And of course, dropping anchor doesn’t make the storm go away (anchors can’t control the weather) - but it can hold a boat steady in the harbor, until the storm passes in its own good time.

Similarly, in an ongoing crisis, we’re all going to experience ‘emotional storms’: unhelpful thoughts spinning inside our head, and painful feelings whirling around our body. And if we’re swept away by that storm inside us, there’s nothing effective we can do. So the first practical step is to ‘drop anchor’, using the simple ACE formula:

A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings 
C = Come back into your body
E = Engage in what you’re doing

Let’s explore these one by one:

A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings

Silently and kindly acknowledge whatever is ‘showing up’ inside you: thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, sensation, urges. Take the stance of a curious scientist, observing what’s going on in your inner world. And while continuing to acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, also ....

C = Come back into your body

Come back into and connect with your physical body. Find your own way of doing this. You could try some or all of the following, or find your own methods:

• Slowly pushing your feet hard into the floor.
• Slowly straightening up your back and spine; if sitting, sitting upright and forward in your chair.
• Slowly pressing your fingertips together
• Slowly stretching your arms or neck, shrugging your shoulders. 
• Slowly breathing

Note: you are not trying to turn away from, escape, avoid or distract yourself from what is happening in your inner world. The aim is to remain aware of your thoughts and feelings, continue to acknowledge their presence .... and at the same time, come back into and connect with your body, and actively move it. Why? So you can gain as much control as possible over your physical actions, even though you can’t control your feelings. (Remember, F = Focus on what’s in your control) And as you acknowledge your thoughts & feelings, and come back into your body, also ....

E = Engage in what you’re doing

Get a sense of where you are and refocus your attention on the activity you are doing.
Find your own way of doing this. You could try some or all of the following suggestions, or find your own methods:

• Look around the room and notice 5 things you can see.
• Notice 3 or 4 things you can hear.
• Notice what you can smell or taste or sense in your nose and mouth
• Notice what you are doing
• End the exercise by giving your full attention to the task or activity at hand. (And if you don’t have any meaningful activity to do, see the next 3 steps.)

Ideally, run through the ACE cycle slowly 3 or 4 times, to turn it into a 2- 3 minute exercise.

If you wish, to help you get the hang of this, you can download some free audio recordings of ‘dropping anchor’ exercises, varying from 1 minute to 11 minutes in length. You can listen to these and use them as a guide to help you develop this skill. You can download or stream them from the left hand box on this webpage:

NOTE: please don’t skip the A of ACE; it’s so important to keep acknowledging the thoughts and feelings present, especially if they are difficult or uncomfortable. If you skip the A, this exercise will turn into a distraction technique – which it’s not supposed to be.

Dropping anchor is a very useful skill. You can use it for handling difficult thoughts, feelings, emotions, memories, urges and sensations more effectively; switching off auto-pilot and engaging in life; grounding and steadying yourself in difficult situations; disrupting rumination, obsessing and worrying; and focusing your attention on the task or activity you are doing. The better you anchor yourself in the here and now, the more control you have over your actions – which makes it a lot easier to do the next steps: COVID

C = Committed Action

Committed action means effective action, guided by your core values; action you take because it’s truly important to you; action you take even if it brings up difficult thoughts and feelings. Once you have dropped anchor, using the ACE formula, you will have a lot of control over your actions – so this makes it easier to do the things that truly matter.
Now obviously that includes all those protective measures against Corona – frequent hand-washing, social distancing, and so on. But in addition to those fundamentals of effective action, consider:

What are simple ways to look after yourself, those you live with, and those you can realistically help? What kind, caring, supportive deeds you can do?
Can you say some kind words to someone in distress – in person or via a phone call or text message?

Can you help someone out with a task or a chore, or cook a meal or play a game with a young child?

Can you comfort and soothe someone who is sick? Or in the most serious of cases, nurse them and access whatever medical assistance is available?

And if you’re spending a lot more time at home, through self-isolation or forced quarantine, or social distancing, what are the most effective ways to spend that time?
You may want to consider physical exercise to stay fit, cooking (as) healthy food (as possible, given restrictions), and doing meaningful activities by yourself or with others.

And if you’re familiar with acceptance and commitment therapy or other mindfulness-based approaches, how can you actively practice some of those mindfulness skills?

Repeatedly throughout the day, ask yourself ‘What can I do right now - no matter how small it may be - that improves life for myself or others I live with, or people in my community?’ And whatever the answer is – do it, and engage in it fully.

O = Opening up

Opening up means making room for difficult feelings and being kind to yourself. Difficult feelings are guaranteed to keep on showing up as this crisis unfolds: fear, anxiety, anger, sadness, guilt, loneliness, frustration, confusion, and many more.

We can’t stop them from arising; they’re normal reactions. But we can open up and make room for them: acknowledge they are normal, allow them to be there (even though they hurt), and treat ourselves kindly.

Remember, self-kindness is essential if you want to cope well with this crisis – especially if you are in a caregiver role. If you’ve ever flown on a plane, you’ve heard this message: ‘In event of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.’ Well, self- kindness is your own oxygen mask; if you need to look after others, you’ll do it a whole lot better if you’re also taking good care of yourself.

So ask yourself, ‘If someone I loved was going through this experience, feeling what I am feeling – if I wanted to be kind and caring towards them, how would I treat them? How would I behave towards them? What might I say or do?’ Then try treating yourself the same way.

V = Values

Committed action should be guided by your core values: What do you want to stand for in the face of this crisis? What sort of person do you want to be, as you go through this? How do you want to treat yourself and others?

Your values might include love, respect, humor, patience, courage, honesty, caring, openness, kindness .... or numerous others. Look for ways to ‘sprinkle’ these values into your day. Let them guide and motivate your committed action.

Of course, as this crisis unfolds, there will be all sorts of obstacles in your life; goals you can’t achieve, things you can’t do, problems for which there are no simple solutions. But you can still live your values in a myriad of different ways, even in the face of all those challenges. Especially come back to your values of kindness and caring. Consider:

What are kind, caring ways you can treat yourself as you go through this?
What are kind words you can say to yourself, kind deeds you can do for yourself?
What are kind ways you can treat others who are suffering?
What are kind, caring ways of contributing to the wellbeing of your community?
What can you say and do that will enable you to look back in years to come and feel proud of your response?

I = Identify resources

Identify resources for help, assistance, support, and advice. This includes friends, family, neighbors, health professionals, emergency services. And make sure you know the emergency helpline phone numbers, including psychological help if required.
Also reach out to your social networks. And if you are able to offer support to others, let them know; you can be a resource for other people, just as they can for you.

One very important aspect of this process involves finding a reliable and trustworthy source of information for updates on the crisis and guidelines for responding to it. The World Health Organization website is the leading source of such information:

Also check the website of your country’s government health department.
Use this information to develop your own resources: action plans to protect yourself and others, and to prepare in advance for quarantine or emergency.

D = Disinfect & distance physically


I’m sure you already know this, but it’s worth repeating: disinfect your hands regularly and practice as much social distancing as realistically possible, for the greater good of your community. And remember, we’re talking about physical distancing – not cutting off emotionally. (If you aren’t quite sure about what this means, read this. This is an important aspect of committed action, so align it deeply with your values; recognize that these are truly caring actions.

In Summary

So again and again and again, as problems pile up in the world around you, and emotional storms rage in the world within you, come back to the steps of FACE COVID:

F = Focus on what’s in your control
A = Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings 
C = Come back into your body
E = Engage in what you’re doing

C = Committed action
O = Opening up
V = Values
I =  Identify resources
D = Disinfect & distance

Well, I do hope there’s something useful in here for you; and feel free to share this with others if you think they may find it helpful. These are crazy, difficult, scary times, so please do treat yourself kindly. And remember the words of Winston Churchill: ‘When you’re going through hell, keep going’.

All the best, Cheers, Russ Harris

© Russ Harris, 2020 www.TheHappinessTrap.com www.ImLearningACT.com




Sunday, March 15, 2020

If Lincoln Was Around to Give the Coronasburg Address

Four months and seven hours ago, seafood, birds, or snakes (scientists don't know for sure), brought forth upon all 7 continents except Antartica a new virus, circulated among bats and dedicated to replicating itself in human host cells again and again, killing elderly and immunocompromised people but not necessarily always showing symptoms in younger, healthier populations.

Now we are engaged in a great info war (not the Alex Jones kind) testing whether our nation--or any nation with the internet and too much time on its hands--can long endure social distancing measures and the economic and mental health implications of a pandemic.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war. It's called math and science and also your couch. We have come to dedicate a portion of our lives to figuring out what is fact and what is fiction; whether things like exponential growth curves, statistics, biology, virology, and epidemiology are useful, which they are, because they are indeed facts--whereas "COVID is a bioweapon" and "we have to panic buy toilet paper and raid Trader Joe's or we're doomed"--are not.

We have come to realize that our health infrastructure is ill-equipped to absorb the peak of a pandemic without some pretty severe forms of social distancing, and we are here to cancel our gatherings of 50 or more people so that others might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. 

But, in a larger sense, we cannot abdicate — we can maybe fornicate— but we cannot abandon — our fellow citizens. 

The brave men and women, living and dead, who are in the medical and first responder fields and are struggling mightily day and night to contain this virus, need our help to do it, and it is well within our power to add or detract from the burden on our fragile medical system. 

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget that Trump's plan was to delegate management of a national emergency to Google and CVS. It is for us, the living and healthy, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work like that dresser you were going to Marie Kondo, which you may now have the time to so nobly advance but realistically probably will not.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these canceled basketball games and birthday parties we take increased devotion to that cause for which we should give our full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that we shall not have suspended MLB spring training in vain--that this nation shall have a new birth of cooperative kindness and empathy based on science, ethics, and math.

And that a government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth.




Thursday, March 12, 2020

We Must Fight Fear With ... A FUCKING FRENCH SMURF RALLY, Bien Sur!

Unbelievably, this is seemingly NOT fake news.

Lost amid the World War Z-esque dystopian pandemic that's descending upon us all with disturbing alacrity is this little tidbit from Corona-embattled France. 

In Landerneau, 3,500 cos-players (about 20% of the total population of the small town) painted themselves blue and dressed up as Smurfs in order to break the Guinness world record for largest Smurf gathering. (I was today years old when I learned that this was even a valid Guinness record-breaking category).

Anyhoo, not everyone thought this was a good idea, obvs, with social distancing replacing social networking as "la mode du jour." After all, we are supposed to be encasing ourselves in Purell-soaked bubble wrap--not swapping airborne phlegm pathogens with other humans dressed as tiny blue muppets.

Let it be said at the outset that the Smurfs was my absolute favorite cartoon growing up, although now it's unclear why. I didn't question why there was only one girl Smurf in a community of hundreds. I didn't think Papa was creepy. I didn't ask why they lived in mushrooms. I didn't marvel at the lack of a plot in every episode. I didn't ask why Gargamel and Azriel never got anywhere with whatever it was they were trying to achieve. I didn't think about why every other verb of dialogue was replaced with "Smurf." I didn't view the entire series through the lens of one big recurring acid trip. I simply woke up every Saturday morning, poured myself a giant bowl of Cap'n Crunch with whole milk, turned on my TV, and waited for LALALALALALLALALALLA to come on.

Well, just a few short days ago, Landerneau's mayor, Patrick LeClerc, was on the same page as me circa 1985. He more or less said "Mangez de la merde!" to the CDC, WHO, and other acronyms that would dare to use medicine and science to squelch the wisdom and joy of gathering 3,500 Smurfs in one square mile while on the cusp of a global pandemic. 

"We must not stop living," he said, vowing to fight the "ambient gloom" with a Smurferama and some baguettes I guess. Only in 2020 could insisting on holding a 3,500 person Smurf rally when the globe is poised to enter quarantine constitute "living." 

YES. We must not stop living, people. Forget about food, water, and basic necessities. It's commonly known that "Smurf Rally" is the foundation of Maslow's hierarchy of needs pyramid. I guess my question is what's going to happen if any of these smurfs get sick. Will they be treated with Smurfberries? Will there be a pop-up testing clinic housed in a toadstool? A lot of questions remain unanswered and we are just gonna have to wait and see how this plays out, I guess.

BON CHANCE!




Friday, March 6, 2020

The Best Worst Movie of 2020 (Spoilers!)

Guys. Guys guys guys. 

I'll be straight with you: This may come as a surprise (AHEM!!), but I don't get out much. I haven't been to a movie alone with an adult human since before Pixar. And ever since then, 99% of the movies I've seen in the theater have starred CGI muppets voiced by Jack Black or Dwayne the Rock Johnson or some shit like that.

And so it was that in this, the Year of Our Lord 2020, I watched a movie called The Invisible Man, starring that white lady from the Handmaids Tale, but without the Little Red Riding Hood cloak and giant coffee filter/veterinary cone collar bonnet thingie.

So yeah. Imagine a movie starring that lady. Imagine her in an amalgam of the Gas Light (the 1938 play from which the infamous psychological torture technique takes its name), Sleeping with the Enemy, Spider Man, Fatal Attraction, Harry Potter, American Psycho, and a 1991 ABC After School Special about healthy relationships and domestic violence.

Imagine, if you will, the best worst movie of 2020. 

I knew it was going to be the best-worst, because it came out in March, which is the notorious post-Oscarish time of year that studios release their biggest duds. And the Invisible Man did not disappoint in that department.

Start with the title. Someone was def mailing it in for that one. Like, oh, let’s make this movie about a man who stalks a woman while invisible and call it ... wait for it ... INVISIBLE MAN. All the side eye to that ALONE!

Here's what I remember. (Keep in mind, I don't remember much, because I had my feet up on a heated recliner seat that doesn't exist in Juneau. Frankly, these seats came from Mars as far as I and my fellow traveling skate mom were concerned, since Juneau just graduated from folding chairs and, as I said, I don't get out much).

Anyhoo, Elizabeth Moss plays the abused girlfriend of a tech bro douche billionaire named Adrian Griffin. Because of course that's his name. That WOULD be the name of a genetically-modified organism bred to look like a hybrid of Jake Gyllenhaal (who side bar, I legit went to summer camp with for three years in the '80s, true story), Adam Levine from Maroon Five, and a pangolin. 

In short; boyfriend has good hair, five days of stubble, the personality of a Portobello mushroom burger, and the empathy of a Great White shark.

THAT guy is definitely named Adrian Griffin.

So anyway, Adrian Griffin is a computer engineering genius who made an invisibility cloak out of a million tiny cameras in his fancy basement somehow. This becomes an important detail, as we come to learn that Adrian Griffin met his very boring girlfriend at "a party" and honed in on her as the best prospect to lure and imprison in his sprawling, minimalist compound overlooking the ocean in the San Francisco Bay. 

It is now we learn that Elizabeth (I'm calling her that because I forgot her character's name and am too lazy to Google it) has plotted an elaborate escape from the estate in which--again for reasons unknown--she does a Mission Impossible where she drugs Adrian, tiptoes out of bed in her lingerie, disarms 18 different alarm systems, grabs a bug-out bag she's been hiding in a secret ceiling panel, changes into a Cal Poly hoodie so we know she’s no bimbo, hurls herself over a ten foot cement wall, and jumps into her sister's Audi. 

All when it was apparent she could have just walked out the front door all along. But then the movie would have ended after 13 minutes, and it didn't. It went on for about 117 more.

Well, needless to say Adrian is sad to lose Elizabeth, and so he does what any other jilted lover would: he fakes his own death with the help of his younger brother slash trust attorney, leaves her a large inheritance, dons a high-tech invisibility cloak, and proceeds to gaslight the ever-loving shit out of Elizabeth for months on end.

In the interim, Elizabeth moves in (asexually?) with a hot single dad Black detective and his daughter, who seems to be her niece, but is maybe just a family friend? It's unclear. And basically, Adrian follows Elizabeth around in his cloak and does poltergeist shit like break dishes and step on sheets and also more hardcore stuff like sabotage her job interviews with other misogynists, send emails from her email account, and frame her for slitting her sister's throat at a hipster sushi bar.

By this time, I have about a gallon of Diet Coke threatening to rupture my bladder, but I gotta see how this ends. SWEET VINDICATION!! After driving Elizabeth into a secure psychiatric facility, Adrian finally takes his tech one step too far and tries to take out her entire medical and corrections team in a firing squad. This causes various substances to get into the hardware of his camera suit, and he starts short-circuiting and FINALLY THEY BELIEVE HER!

You can probably tell by now that this movie has more loose ends than a thread factory.

Adrian finds out that Elizabeth is pregnant with his baby, even though she was supposedly on birth control, and here's where we get to the After School Special part. Elizabeth rattles off an entire checklist for Domestic Violence 101. This would be laudable, but these awkwardly-placed “red flag lessons” are lost amid the sheer ridonkulosity of a movie that ends--SPOILER ALERT--with Elizabeth giving Adrian a taste of his own medicine.

How? Well, by stashing an invisibility cloak in a different ceiling panel, going to his house, getting it, putting it on, and murdering him during dinner to make it look like a suicide.

I mean, the end. Just THE END.




Thursday, February 27, 2020

How to Show Up for Your Friends When All You Really Care About is Tacos RN

Being a good friend is hard, especially as an adult. We have so many demands on our time and attention: spouses, homes, children, jobs, and--especially--tacos.

Back in high school or college, your friends were probably your top priority. You had more time to really sit down with your friends and shove tacos in your face at all hours of the day and night, but now you have to carve out the time to be a good listener and really show up, which is hard to do when all you can think about is the carne asada tacos you're going to eat later, as soon as you're done listening to your friend describe her child's experience of being bullied on the school bus, maybe also with guacamole, though that can get messy.

What does it mean to really show up for your friends? Without thinking about tacos? 

Well, it's hard to explain, but you know it when you see it: maybe you send them a handwritten note, or a care package. Maybe you call them on the phone, instead of just texting or liking one of their posts on social media, just to let them know you're thinking about them and not exclusively about fried halibut tacos with a mango slaw and a tiny bit of sour cream. 

Maybe it means trying to make them feel seen, to validate their experiences and to listen without judgment. You should strive to truly BE in any given moment with your friends, even though it's hard to be present when you can't decide if you prefer hard shell or soft shell corn tortillas, and even then, whether you prefer the soft shell ones fried in oil and sprinkled with cojita cheese as opposed to simply warmed up in the microwave because that's faster and easier.

Think about what brings you peace and joy: Maybe it's your tribe. Maybe it's your village. Maybe it's being savage (when called for). Maybe it's your spirit animal. Actually maybe it's recognizing that loosely throwing around any and all of those terms is deeply problematic if you're not indigenous. So if you aren't, maybe don't do that?

Also maybe try to put yourself in the other person's shoes: how would you feel if you were telling your friend about your mom's hysterectomy and she was staring off into the middle distance, and when you asked her if she'd ever had an ovarian cyst she said "Huh, what? Oh sorry, I was just daydreaming about pico de gallo with extra cilantro and how weird it is that some people think cilantro tastes like soap when it is obviously an herb of the gods. Can you repeat the question?"

That would suck, amirite?

One strategy you might try is to eat tacos before you go to an important event like a wedding, graduation, or funeral. That way, you're thinking a little bit less about how great tacos are going to taste a few hours from now, and instead focusing more on trying to stay awake because you're in a taco-induced coma.  

The point is, be gentle with yourself. It's a heavy lift, but it's actually possible to be a good friend and also only really care about tacos.