LISTENING

SPORTS is an Ohio band that first popped up on my Spotify Discover this summer. It came with a slew of other “melodic punk” (am I using this term correctly?) bands like Swearin’ (based in NYC, but totally channeling their midwestern roots) and All Dogs (like SPORTS also from Ohio and also formed in 2012)*. Anyway, this week I listened to their only LP on Spotify: All of Something. The music seems perfect for the late summer, early fall period when you’re driving around in the crisp air and things are turning orange. A thumping drum and bass section provides the fast-paced beat overwhich guitars explode some delicious, clean licks. My favorite track is the poppy “Saturday“, but another fave includes “Town“. They have some shows coming up so you should check them out if you’re into it!

 

WATCHING

SO MUCH BINGEING. I’m staying with my sister and we watched the entire first season of NBC’s Blindspot in one week. It is SUCH A THRILLING SHOW. The conceit it kind of ridiculous (the Google description reads: “when a beautiful woman with no memory of who she is or how she got there is discovered naked in New York’s Times Square”… okay Google…). Basically this woman’s tattoos point the FBI in the direction of ongoing crimes that involve government agency misconduct on personal and organizational levels. The first season comes to a DRAMATIC end that I won’t spoil for you. Basically some shit went down that I DID NOT LIKE (someone important dies) but I still tuned in for season 2 because I am a TV addict and this show is a quick fix. Also it’s an interesting meditation on personality and memory.

I also watched From Dusk Till Dawn (Rodriguez, 1996) as part of podcast I’m doing with my friend. The film was just okay. Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez it certainly feels like a film written by Tarantino but not directed by him. But the “just okay” rating comes as much from the script as the direction. George Clooney and Tarantino play fugitive brothers who take Harvey Keitel‘s mixed family hostage in order to cross the Texas-Mexico border. They take refuge in a bar (open “from dusk ’til dawn”) that unfortunately is run by vampires who pray on bikers and truckers. So that sucks for them. The opening scene (with John Hawkes!) is fabulous, as is customary in Tarantino films. Clooney and Keitel give great performances; without them I probably wouldn’t’ve wanted to keep watching. But it lags in places and there’s nothing too interesting to keep me invested.

 

READING

I’m a slow reader and easily bored and distracted, so when I read a book in one day, it means I really like the book. I read Josephine Ensign’s Catching Homelessness: A Nurse’s Story Falling Through the Safety Net in one day. Ensign recounts her experience running a health clinic for homeless populations in Richmond, Virginia, and how social and political forces led her to become homeless herself. It’s such a compelling story told through clear, compassionate prose that explores her personal journey and some aspects of the racial/political history of Richmond as it related to health and medicine. Her observations of herself and the people around her (her patients, peers, and family) – the way she tries to understand and explain their behavior and her own – feels so relatable. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed this book so much; it felt like something I would write if I’d had this type of experience**. Several gems I highlighted:

  • When helping a patient buy food: “As I traded the scrip for food, people in the store looked at me funny and seemed to wonder why a clean-cut white girl in khaki pants and a button-down shirt was using food stamps.”
  • “But now I realized that safety net health care in our country was only tolerated when it was contained as charity care, volunteer-type health care that made the colunteers and the agency behind the care feel good about their generosity. It wasn’t tolerated when charity care challenged the status quo. And nurses were only tolerated when they were subservient.”
  • “There was a sense of safety in living within rigid expectations.”
  • “How do you work with this sort of material every day, keeping lists of dead people, picking maggots out of wounds, being named as next of kin to people dying alone of AIDS, and not getting bitter, angry, resentful at the world, at the people you are ostensibly trying to help, and angry at yourself for caring and for even being there?”

I recommend it highly to anyone who works in low-resource environments or who has the desire to do this kind of work.

 

*Basically the midwest is great and there is music here and why would you want to live on either coast?

**How completely self-centered is this statement. Very. I understand. Are you eye rolling? Did you roll your eyes?

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