Wednesday, December 19, 2012

One shouldn't Eat and Run. It might be dangerous to your Health

The old adage is some people cannot walk and chew gum at the same time. I've been able to do that. However, it looks like I need to draw the line at eating a sandwich and running to catch the bus!

Sounds logical, eh? Well, I tested that adage and learned a valuable lesson last Sunday.

As I left church after the AM service, I checked the copy of ACTransit AnyStop on my cell phone. It looked like it would be about 25 minutes, which meant I'd be able to grab a quick sandwich at Lucky, and eat before the bus arrived.

A block away from the church I noticed the #40 bus about to pull up to the stop on Foothill Blvd. I considered grabbing that so I could eat at home. However, I blew that idea off and headed towards Lucky. Mistake #1.

I went into Lucky and grabbed one of their pre-packaged Turkey, Bacon and Cheese Wraps. As I was in line I saw a #14 bus pulling up to the stop. I commented to the cashier that I just missed my bus. He asked me, "Don't you hate that when that happens?"

Then, before I could respond, he added, "You'll have plenty of time to eat your sandwich, sit, and watch the girls walk by." (a reference to an old song that I can't remember the name of).

As I cut across the parking lot to the Athol Avenue bus stop, I notice the #18 bus about a block away. I debated quickening my pace to catch it, since I didn't know if it was early, or the last bus running late. But, decide not to.

I got to the middle of the strip and stopped because a car coming of and I'm technically crossing where I really shouldn't be. However, that car stopped, ushering me to go ahead and cross.

Waving "Thanks" I decide to try and catch the bus after all, sprinting across the street (Mind you I haven't sprinted in years, let along ran anything faster than a quick jog of a few steps). Mistake #2.

The fateful Mistake #3 came when I decide to try and take a couple of bites of the sandwich as I'm running because I know the bus driver will give me grief about no eating on the bus.

As I get about 10 feet from the sidewalk I start to stumble. It was like my upper body was moving in full speed, but my legs were in quick sand. I started pitching forward, thinking to myself that I'm going down and there's nothing that's going to stop me!

I basically did my best imitation of someone sliding into home with the catcher blocking the plate and ended up landing a couple feet away from the curb. As I turned over and tried to get up there was a severe pain in my right thigh and knee, and I couldn't put any weight on it.

Now, I've had knee problems for years, with them popping out of place every once in a while. I know how to pop them back in so I figured this was just one of those times. Unfortunately, as I went to adjust it, I felt more pain, and it was obvious it wasn't a case of being out of joint.

Dragging myself over to the curb, I once again tried to get up. However, my leg told me that wasn't going to happen! I ended up sitting there on the curb, looking down at part of my sandwich strewn in the gutter and pondering if I had broken my leg.

At this point I called my sister to see if she could come and get me. It freaked her out when I told her what happened, but she said she'd be on her way that moment. However, it was going to take a while to get there.

What does sadden me is that during that 30 minutes, or so, nobody who walked by asked me if I needed any help, or if there was anything wrong. NOBODY!

Granted maybe some might have felt intimidated by a big guy dressed in a camo jacket sitting on the curb. But, I wasn't sitting there hassling everyone that walked by for change, nor was I raving drunk…and I was obviously in distress.

I guess I should give the bus driver the benefit of the doubt that he didn't see the incident, though I can't see how he missed it because if I'd been five feet shorter I would have been right in his lane of traffic! And I can't remember whether that car, which stopped, had already driven past.

I crawled into the back of my sister's Forester for the long ride home. Sort of reminded me of the ambulance ride when I had my appendix out many years ago, where you basically just stared at the ceiling, and had to ask ever few minutes just exactly where you were.

The good news is that it's now three days later and the swelling has virtually disappeared, with mostly some stiffness and occasional joint pain remaining. The bad news is that since I've been camped out on the couch for most of that time, I've got the World's worst back ache. Hopefully, sleeping in my bed tonight will take care of that.

I cannot publicly thank my sister enough for her coming to my rescue and also for her checking on me daily to make sure I was OK.

You might be asking, why did you go to the hospital or doctor to get it looked at? Simply put, NO health care. I wouldn't be able to afford the doctor's bill.

It seems like it turned out in my favor this time. But, I can't help but think of all those people out there that get permanently crippled or are stuck on the streets who really need health care to even provide a semi-normal existence.

* * *

UPDATE (12/23/12): The knee has been becoming less stiff each day, and the horrendous back problems are going away, little-by-little. However, my sister noticed a red mark on the back of my knee, and shot a photo of it. Added it at the top for all to see.

Thinking I tore something, which might explain the lack of stability issues. SIGH…..

Thursday, December 13, 2012

movie review: Lincoln (2012)


(reviews may contain spoilers for those that have never seen the film or are unfamiliar with the characters.)

* * *

LINCOLN (2012)

I've been meaning to catch Lincoln ever since I saw the first trailers during the summer. For whatever reason, I kept putting it off until I found out it's showing at the Rialto Cinema Cerrito, in El Cerrito. Being this is in walking distance I had no excuse not to escape the real world for 2 1/2 hours of movie magic.

* * *

After all these years you'd think that movies on Abraham Lincoln have been done to death (no pun intended). Most seem to cover Lincoln with a global view, all the way from his days as a Congressman to that fateful day when he was murdered at Ford's Theater.

This movie takes a different angle, concentrating on the short three month period of time between the 1864 Presidential Election and the House of Representative's passage of the 13th Amendment.

Partially based on Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, we see the political intrigue which was common place in the 1800s, when you needed a score card to know which way any politicians might swing on a topic, even within the same political party!

* * *

Be forewarned. If you hate films laden with dialog and are only entertained when things go boom every ten seconds, or when special effects turn a character's skin from tan to blue at the drop of a hat, this film is NOT for you.

Lincoln relies heavily on dialog, and the relationships among several Washington DC power brokers, as they jump though all sorts of hoops in an effort to abolish slavery in the United States.

Makeup was fantastic. While Longstreet's beard in Gettysburg still  draws chuckles, there should be no laughs here. Everyone's makeup was very believable and, with the exception of Tommy Lee Jones' very recognizable face, blended into the history books I used to read in college.

Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln is a career performance. Prior to this my favorite performance of his was Bill Cutting (Gangs of New York). However, a good portion of that screen time was shared with Leonardo DiCaprio. Though there are plenty of other actors with important parts in Lincoln, they are clearly playing second fiddle to Day-Lewis, who character carries the film.

I was intrigued by Day-Lewis' vocalization of Lincoln. Normally, he has a very forceful voice in most of his roles (see Daniel Plainview, in There Will be Blood, for an extreme example of what I'm talking about).

By 1864 the real Lincoln had been worn down by several bloody years of war, not to mention a tenuous reelection battle. Day-Lewis spoke in character with the usual "folksy" tone that many an actor have portrayed Lincoln with, and there was a "frailness" sound to it.

Interestingly, Day-Lewis was not the first choice as Lincoln; Liam Neeson was. However, Neeson pulled out before actual filming started. It's 20/20 hindsight, but I just can't see him giving a performance anywhere near what Day-Lewis accomplished.

Sally Field did an adequate job as Mary Todd Lincoln, especially considering what she had to work with, as Mrs. Lincoln had a small amount of screen time when compared to the male characters.

The supporting actor list is absolutely thick with talent; too many to name everyone. Three particularly standing out are David Strathairn (William Seward), Tommy Lee Jones (Thaddeus Stevens), Bruce McGill (Edwin Stanton) and Lee Pace (Fernando Wood)

It should be no surprise that any film dealing with Lincoln and the Civil War will usually end with Lincoln's assassination. However, Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner chose not to show the actual event, instead wrapping up with inspirational oratory.

This morning Lincoln received seven Golden Globe nominations, the most for any movie, and it won't surprise me if they repeat a similar feet when it comes to Oscar nominations in mid-January, especially  Day-Lewis (Lead Actor), Kushner (Best Screenplay) and Best Picture.

Perhaps a little picky, but I did knock off a star because of a bit of time compression at the end and for a couple of scenes that, while adding to the flavor of the movie, are doubtful at ever happening, according to some historians. (Though only a sub-plot in passing, I would have liked to have seen more information on the peace overtures from the Confederacy).

RATED: 9.0 out of 10 STARS

* * *

Lincoln will be showing at the Cerrito at least through December 21st, and is also showing at several other theaters throughout the area.  Further information on show times and locations can be found at Fandango.