Jonny Approved: The Update Returns
My sophomore year of college, I thought I’d be totes adorbs and write a weekly email to friends. It’s honestly a lazy man’s way of keeping people informed on what he’s doing. So essentially, a blog. Here I am, older and definitely not wiser, falling into my lax ways and giving you facts and details of daily life. You can blame the countless people (probably 4-5, including my mother and my dog Scamper, RIP Scamper, you loveable hound) who sent me adoring praise of my emails. I must include a disclaimer here: I have no record of my beagle reading my emails, but perhaps my father printed them out and she used them in addition to her blankets as warmth in surviving the bitter San Antonio winters. Come to think of it, my mother didn’t know how to turn on a computer back then, so perhaps the voices in my head are at it again (at least giving me a slight reprieve from the complete Sufjan Stevens discography playing in my noggin).
My 20-year old self is now a 37-year old self, and I feel like I’m back where I was then, totally lost on what I want to do when I grow up. Rather than spend my free time wallowing in a mire of self-loathing, I decided to burden you with reading about it all. So congrats, you’re reading the first edition of what should be countless ramblings added to my archive from Jonny G: The College Years (soon to be available on Netflix and Hulu). I’ll save you from some of the fine details, including how I forgot I had corn but remembered the next day, or even the finer details of how many glares I got at the yoga studio after flowing the morning after a night filled with local pints interspersed with what I lovingly call “brown spirits.” I’d give you a long summary of how this damn thing will be formatted, but I’ll save you the details because you’re all brilliant minds, or at least brilliant enough to be reading my Opus.
What Jonny is Watching: I woke up early Tuesday morning to watch the Oscar nominations. By early, I mean 7:22 am, a time of the day I only see when I’ve been suckered into taking a friend to the airport or if I stumble into the kitchen for a glass of water. The leading nominee this year is The Shape of Water. There are a lot of haters out there, and I admit, I was skeptical going into the movie because of the supernatural aspect. In my ever so humble opinion, you need to get off your lazy ass and go see the movie. Sally Hawkins is brilliant as the mute woman who befriends a creature that reminds me of some of my above-average dates of the past (though I wish I didn’t know so much about Sally’s birthday suit). Richard Jenkins is absolutely, heart-breakingly wonderful as . . . well . . . I don’t like giving away anything so just know his character resonated. And Octavia Spencer . . . the script seems written with her in mind for the role. Her delivery is superb and her nomination was well deserved. It’s really an acting master class, with Michael Shannon being absolutely frightening and stomach churning. A special moment when the Michael Shannon goes in to buy a car . . . the Theme from A Summer Place is on in the dealership. I know nothing about A Summer Place, but road trips through my childhood always included that cheesy ass song. It’s the stuff that therapy session are built around, but it did bring a smile to my face.
What Jonny is Listening to: Not an endless loop of Theme from A Summer Place. Slate has a fascinating podcast entitled Slow Burn which focuses on the Watergate hearings. I love the construction of the episodes from week to week, giving great recaps of elements that are often forgotten about the whole dramatic saga of Nixon and his shady dealings. It is a good reminder that the Watergate scandal took months and month to develop, aptly developing as a “slow burn”. If I hear the word “timely” one more time, I’m going to barf. But seriously, this thing is timely (pass me a trash can please). Episodes are perfect for that awful commute from Dallas to Plano or whatever suburb you’re coming from, you sad sad people. I binge listened on a recent trip to SA. Impossible to listen to just one episode at a time.
What Jonny is Reading: Thanks to my friend Stephanie Krall, I was introduced to Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World. Jeez, that’s a long title. I’ll have to message Tracy Kidder about why he couldn’t slim that down, but the book is quick and fascinating read. You know how somebody supposedly called Haiti a “shithole” or a “shithouse” the other day? Honestly, I don’t care if he used the word or not . . . it’s the sentiment that counts. And I can safely say that it doesn’t fit in my moral, ethical, or spiritual wheelhouse to talk horribly about a country who has dealt a shitty hand time and time again. You can go elsewhere to read about the factors that have left Haiti as an impoverished country, but there are millions of people there who could use a boost. Do you know what moral leaders do? They don’t shit talk them, they find out ways to help. In the case of Dr. Paul Farmer, he developed a clinic in Haiti to help stop the spread of infectious disease in that country, specifically HIV and tuberculosis. Kidder’s book is a great look at the work of Farmer and his colleagues in Haiti as well as Peru and Russia. Tracy Kidder does a fine job of giving a three-dimensional look at Farmer, warts and all, but you definitely finish the book knowing the man has a yearning to help those less fortunate. This is a great read about the power of a few individuals to make a lasting impact on a wide group of people.
Final Thought: Sufjan Stevens received an Oscar nomination for one of his original songs for Call Me By Your Name. If you invite me to your Oscar party, be warned. If my boyfriend sings his song, I’ll be the wet puddle on your couch. I’ll also be sure to put myself together to yell at the tv when one of those damn catchy songs from Coco or The Greatest Showman wins the Oscar.