Friday, April 10, 2015

Three Beautiful Things 04/09/15: Doc Says Heart is Strong, *The Grand Budapest Hotel*, *The King's Speech*

1.  Today the kidney transplant evaluation process, which began on March 2nd, ended.  After taking the G12 to Greenbelt Station, I rode the C2 for the first time and rode through the U of Maryland campus on through a few suburbs to Wheaton Station and then, as planned, walked a mile and half or so south on Georgia/Rt. 97 for my third visit to the cardiology center and had another first-rate experience with the friendly, superb staff there.

I now have passed every test without a hint of a heart problem:  my blood pressure has been near perfect; the EKGs have been great; the echocardiogram showed nothing of concern; and, I huffed and puffed my way through the echo-stress test and the doctor was very pleased with everything he saw as he gradually ratcheted up the treadmill and then looked at the pre- and post-treadmill pictures of my heart.

The story remains the same.  My kidneys are diseased.  There's no going back on that. But everything else inside of me checks out great -- no exposure to TB, good chest X-Ray, no prostate problems, no additional blood problems, no need for a colonsocopy for another three years, and a strong ticker.

I am transplant ready, with the only question being how far in the future the transplant might be.

I celebrated by continuing my walk south on Georgia/Rt. 97 over a mile to the Forest Glen Metro Station, rode the train to Silver Spring, and then walked a half a mile to Denizen's Brewery for a pint of Indian black lager (Sexy Panther) and a plate of bbq and then walked back to the Metro and made my way home on the train and the G12.

I not only learned that my heart is strong, but I walked over 9000 steps over the course of the day.

A good day.

2.  I settled in at our apartment home and dove into a movie double feature and watched two movies entirely different from each other, but both featuring a cast of superb actors.  First, I watched Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel.  I have to admit that I am always at a loss for words to describe the pleasure Wes Anderson's movies give me.  As a writer, Wes Anderson spins odd stories, written with existential oddness.  In The Grand Budapest Hotel, the world is exquisitely detailed and the story is like a ten cent paperback adventure story, featuring bravery, romance, loyalty, cunning, atrocity, and intrigue, always deepened with its explorations of aloneness, emptiness, and its heroes searching for beauty and purpose in life. I loved watching the movie's magnificent cast.  I know I've written this before about Wes Anderson:  it must be a blast to work with him, to occupy the worlds he creates, and speak language so beautifully crafted, and to tell such odd and wonderful tales.

3.  The King's Speech took my evening in another direction.  It is a very different existential story than The Grand Budapest Hotel.  The plot is simple:  can Lionel Logue, a self-trained, undegreed speech therapist and frustrated stage actor help the eventual King George VI overcome a lifelong problem of stuttering?  Bertie/George VI's stammering alienates him, throws him into deep self-doubt, and forces him to wrestle with the very meaning of his existence, not only as a royal, but as a human.

Geoffery Rush plays the audacious Lionel Logue brilliantly as he develops a deep relationship with Colin Firth's Bertie/King George VI, a role Firth completely occupies.  Firth's Bertie is insecure, haunted, quick to anger, determined, and courageous -- he's a difficult client for Lionel Logue -- and I deeply enjoyed the depth of human flawedness and humaneness both characters embodied as they worked together throughout the story with Bertie's deeply embedded stammer.  Tonight, for me, was as moving an evening as I've had in a long time watching exquisite acting.  Lord.  The King's Speech featured, for starters, Geoffery Rush, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Derek Jacobi, Guy Pearce, Eve Best, Claire Bloom -- oh my! this was a movie that made me ache with pleasure to watch such superb acting, listen to such an exquisite screenplay, and to be moved by such a noble story.

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