Monday, February 07, 2005

Mental Health 101

Today was a self-decreed mental health day. I'd like to tell you that I spent the day eating chocolate and watching trashy TV. I'd like to tell you that I read a book. Or a newspaper. I'd like to tell you that I meditated and became one with my inner whatsits.


I bulldozed TinyTunas bedroom. I carted memories to the basement. I hauled a carload of memories to the local charity. I laundered and dusted and vacuumed and straightened and organized. When TinyTuna saw her room, she cried. Fortunately, they were happy tears.


As I waded in the never-ending stream of unfolded laundry and lonely socks, I watched The Story of the Weeping Camel, which has been nominated for Best Documentary category. Technically it's called a "narrative documentary" -- meaning, real people portray themselves in a story inspired by their lives. The story itself is very simplistic: Set in the Gobi desert, it follows a family of nomadic herders. Within their herd, a newborn camel is rejected by its mother. Two brothers set off to bring back a musician who will play a song in hopes of bringing about a close encounter of the camel kind.

That's about it. No, actually, that IS it.

Now, I'm all for documentaries, and I love foreign films. But this thing moved about as slowly as you could move. It's slice of life film, to be sure, but keep in mind, I just told you the ENTIRE story. Although it runs a scant 87 minutes, it felt like from here to eternity. I can't really say the movie was "bad" -- it was just nowhere as good as I was expecting it to be.

In other news, someone asked about MY Oscar picks. Well, the answer is "too early to say." I'm trying to get a few more movies under my belt before I construct my Oscar dartboard and make up all my answers. I worked in the movie theatre biz for a long time (once upon a time a long time ago), and I remember fondly getting the annual "Handicapping the Oscars" publication. We used to go through that thing with a fine-tooth comb, reading all the statistics for the various categories. It's a science, you know! Then we'd just guess anyway, and hope that somebody else was dumber than we were.

In other other news, I was asked about my secrets regarding sucky television. Specifically, sucky kid-centric television. I don't have any concrete answers here. All I can say is that I have enjoyed a couple of inexplicable parenting victories. The first was successfully convincing TinyTuna for the first 9 years of her life that she HATED gum. Sadly, she finally figured out that wasn't the case. The second victory I can claim is in the TV department. TinyTuna has so little time to sit down and watch, that it isn't as much of a battle as it could be. (Oh, and she is also one of those poor unfortunates that has no television in her room. Nope. Not gonna happen). Plus, for a long long long long time, her choices were: PBS or ... PBS. That was it. No discussion. No argument. Now that she's ten, she does make it around the dial a bit more often. I have relented with Scooby-Doo reruns, but that's about it. I'm not anti cartoon -- I'm anti bad cartoons, and bad animation. I've also come up with a bit of a compromise. I have DVDs of Loony Tunes (uncut classics) and Rocky & Bullwinkle. It's been great fun "educating Tuna".

That being said, it's time to put this Mental Health patient to bed. Tomorrow is another day.


Gary said...

"Educating Tuna" - that sounds like another Oscar winning movie title! Yeah, classic tunes are best - I don't even get the point of half of the ones nowadays, except maybe for their toy-product advertising value.

Did anyone else used to be fans of the Gerry Anderson 'puppet animation' shows, like Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet?

Gary said...

Did I say "tunes"? Well, of course I meant "toons", but really I have the same feelings both ways...

Sarah said...

I used to let my daughter watch 'toons on public tv on saturday mornings -- and then one early saturday morning I decided to take my coffee and my sleepy self in the den and watch with her.

I was horrified at the sex stereotypes and the race prejudices and on and on. I tried to ban them, but to no avail.

So we did a lot of talking, she and I, and throwing popcorn at the screen every time it was another ugly assumption and generally "talking back" -- I hope it worked, but only time willl tell.

The dog liked the popcorn.

TV Junkie said...

Saturday mornings are all about cartoons for me. Cartoons and bill paying .. but cartoons are the best part.