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#MeToo

Like the church a few years ago, Harvey Weinstein and lots of other big Hollywood bozo’s suddenly collapse under the force that’s the united complaints of loads of people who finally go and tell who exactly harassed them when they were young.

I hear many men complain ‘oi, it’s not ALL MEN?! I was actually raised pretty properly!’ and I can imagine it feels like being trapped in the ‘guilty’ box even though you’re pretty sure you’ve never done anything.
First of all: hello and welcome aboard the Shittrain Of Accusations that women endure when they even so much as try to report what happened to them.
First questions asked aren’t ‘what did he wear? What does he look like? Shall I punch him in the face for you?’ most likely it’s:
‘What were you wearing? Did you say something that might have given him the idea you wanted it?’ or ‘how did he get to be alone with you?’
It’s mostly trying to see if it could be blamed on you. You. The one who just reported the harassment.
As a society we’re clear: it’s NEVER your fault.
Then again, as a society, our first approach is still that is COULD BE your fault after all. Maybe it’s not how you intend it, but it is how you approach it, quite likely.

Ages ago, when I was quite heavily underage (or at least very heavily underdeveloped as I recall), an aquantaince found a way to spend time with me. I hadn’t realised I had never been alone with this man, nor what the look in his eyes had meant when I had been wearing a bathing suit around him some time before that. I do recall -afterwards- that I had never seen anyone look at me like that. Not knowing what it meant, I didn’t act upon it in any way.
One afternoon his wife went out. It then happened. I am not a person to actually verbally say ‘stop that, please’. Even without the please. I just freeze. I’m quite introvert. I have learned from a young age that telling ‘stop, I don’t like it’ doesn’t help. Being the daily target of bullies at school, I had in fact learned that usually had the opposite effect.
I did try to turn my legs away, but being in a rather small space, that wasn’t a real option. It was caressing, touching, without actual looking at me. I got up, in hopes of escaping, but my leg was caught in his arms and he pulled me closer to him. As I couldn’t use my leg to keep my balance, my automatic response was to wrap my arm around his head. So he got to touch my breast aswell in his next move. Given that my leg was now free, I got to walk away from that scene after that.

It took me quite some time to get over that. I had no idea what just happened, why it happened and especially not why it had happened to ME. I have never found myself attractive in any way whatsoever, people have always told me I look far too skinny to be that in case I might think different: so WHY me, really? And for the record: I had been wearing short skirts and dresses around this man for quite some time (it was summer and I was a daily visitor to the pool that was less than 10 feet away) but I was actually wearing trousers and an oversized T-shirt that particular day. Just so you know.

I decided to tell someone that same day, as I couldn’t stop crying for a full hour when I got back to where I was staying. I told the right one, thankfully, as the aquaintance who did it got an angry visit after that right away. I was told, before that visit ‘you have done NOTHING wrong, it wasn’t your fault and I’m glad that you have told me’. To be fair I have no idea what would have happened if the first one I told it to hadn’t responded like that.
I do recall telling some of my family members, and at least one of them responded with:
‘Are you sure it was that bad what happened? Uncle Blahblah has sometimes touched me weirdly too, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything’. I was a bit shocked by that. Not just Uncle Blahblah apparently not being able to keep their hands away -something I never have endured, thankfully- but also the idea that my interpretation of the experience could be questioned.

I’ve noticed something else too, with the #MeToo hashtag: women are being far braver than ever before. They still hardly mention any names though. Only when it’s one of them big bastards, like Harvey Weinstein, they do. He is already proven guilty after admitting he has done wrong things. So women do feel they no longer have to keep silent on his part. Good for them. But these other men, why still protect them?
I get it and I don’t get it, is all. And yes, I’m aware I’m doing exactly the same, but I think everyone’s story as to why they protect their harasser is different. I’m just curious to why others do it.
In my case, I find the fact that this man was already confronted with what he had done and afterwards apologised to me with the demands of the one who confronted him, he’s had his punishment. He thought he could get away with it, he couldn’t. I told, it was solved.

 

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Posted by on October 20, 2017 in Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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The Lovely Bones

This incredibly long film stuns mostly by not being boring even one moment. And it even stuns more by not being boring without actual ‘quick’ parts. It even has quite some bits that are a bit more slow, and still: it works.

The story is quite dreadful and you need to be in the mood for drama. On her way from school to home, Susan Salmon (very well played by Saoirse Ronan) is tricked and as such killed by her neighbour, played by Stanley Tucci. The film is mostly about how both parties -the living and the dead- deal with the situation.

Susan Salmon is the voiceover and tells everything in an at times warning voice, but mostly nearly excited. Her voice does its work really quite well, and all the things that keep happening after her disappearance and the things that happened before, make this film a sort of perfect mix of loss and not loss altogether.

I’ve read on InternetMovieDataBase that Stanley Tucci was actually quite uncomfortable with the kind of personality he was supposed to be playing, so he did everything he could to make the role physically as far away from himself as possible (wearing a fat suit, dye every hair he got in a different tone, wear colored contact lenses, even dying his skin in a different shade), but still you immediately recognise him. At least I did.

There’s also the early years of Rose McIver to enjoy (who we now know as the iZombie leading part) and as a whole, the parents and grandmother of Susie.

All in all I’d say it’s a film well worth watching, expect quite some mixed emotions here and there, as it’s the killed one versus the killer who doesn’t want to be discovered. Logically.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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The Drowning

With Julia Stiles, Avan Jogia and Josh Charles amongst the actors.

A psychiatrist is confronted with his past influence in court, when he saves a drowning young man who turns out to have been his patient, years ago.

This film is actually quite boring and it feels, at times, a lot is left out, without being explained. That doesn’t make it better. In itself Josh Charles’ play is good, but it seems out of character for any loving husband to not tell his wife so much. Julia Stiles is a properly annoyed wife, not understanding what’s bothering her husband about certain contacts she has.
Avan Jogia is brilliant as annoying bastard. Too pretty, too young, too luring. In that sense it’s a bit too obvious that he is the dangerous factor in here. His actions seem weird and aren’t too well explained either, not until the end.

The people in court aren’t of much help either. The colleague of the psychiatrist asks him for favors, but in return doesn’t give any information either.

It’s not a bad film, and the tension is properly build up at times, but the only moment where you think ‘ah, finally something is explained’, it’s only one thing and you agree with the character there: ‘why didn’t you tell me before?’

If you’re a Julia Stiles fan like myself, you will probably enjoy yourself. Josh Charles is doing a far better job in The Good Wife.

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Our Souls At Night

With Jane Fonda, Robert Redford and Iain Armitage.
A curiously dull film, to be fair. One night, Addie Moore (played by Jane Fonda) knocks on Louis Waters’ (Robert Redford) door. She has a proposal of sorts.
She would like to sleep together on a regular base.

‘Not for sex, I’ve long lost interest for that’, she explains, making the proposal a little less awkward and in a way funny, but still: Louis Waters doesn’t know what to say to that??

The storyline itself is very unsignificant. It’s basically what happens when two elderly people who are alone get together to spend the night -just to talk and not be alone. They are the talk of the town amongst their peers, but it’s not really that shocking. It still is two people who have the age and the maturity to choose for themselves. Louis Waters does get angry with his peers for a bit, but that’s about it.

For people looking for an exciting film: this isn’t it. It’s a very demure, peaceful story about two elderly people who spend time together, with minor incidents like a grandchild coming over, some friends who become curious and so on. The biggest event is one of their children protesting against the parent being happy.

Given that Jane Fonda currently also stars in the series Grace & Frankie, this film will disappoint. Jane Fonda actually tries to look attractive in that series and is a lot more progressive. Besides, the film Barefoot in the Park, that has both Jane Fonda and Robert Redford in it, has a lot more to offer when it comes to weird and sillyness entering the building.
Robert Redford actually has feelings in that film too. He is far more of an introvert here. He barely talks about himself. He asks her why she picked him. In the end you still don’t really know.

In short: if you love the actors, go for it, but don’t expect much of it. It’s really quite dull.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Knock, Ireland

To say I ended up here by accident is weird. You don’t end up in a city or small town such as Knock by accident, right? People don’t end up at a pilgrimage that way. You were supposed to go there. Or the sweet Lord has guided you there.
To be fair I would have thought the same if it had happened to anyone else. Not because I’m an atheist, that’s the least of the problems in this scenario, but simply because I was guided through the loveliness that Ireland has to offer by my two aunties.
Both lovely, but severe nutcases. Each in their own right and each with their own set of charming characteristics. I’m named after one of them, so how bad can they be, eh?

So how did we end up there, then??
I’ll tell you. First one thing you have to know: both my aunties are incredibly sweet and funny, and incredibly stubborn. The one who was doing most of the driving, hates maps. Even satnav. She refuses to use any of those. It’s not that she can’t read a map, but during driving, she likes the whole experience, thank you very much! She literally drives the car the way vikings and skippers sail(ed) their boats: by looking into the sky. She looks at where the sun is and she keeps in mind where she wants to see it at the end of the day, that’s the direction she will drive in. This could be by highway, but she takes D-tours just as easily. She is the kind of person to like the tour just as much as a the destination.

My other aunt will give away how we ended up in Knock, so that’s why I saved her for last: she collects holy water trays. You know the ones you keep on your wall, for instance, to make a quick pray?
They are a hard find. This is one of the things collectors of anything get a kick out, yes I know. To find a trinket of your collection when abroad is the big thing there too. But her collection is really quite specific, so as soon as we saw signs for a carboot sale, she would go: ‘oh, let’s check it out, they might have some!’ and most of the time, she was right about that, too. She had collected a few during our roadtrip. Given that we were travelling with a camping van, there was quite enough room for her collection to grow. Then, one morning, without any specific plans -except for ending up in a place I do no longer recall the name of, we drove there.

We were driving through, what we didn’t know was the main road in Knock. Whilst the aunt driving was watching for directions to go, the other, collecting aunt, goes:
‘Hey, this place has holy water trays!’ and after that:
‘This place too!’ and so on. And so on. And so on.
So, we parked the van, auntie tried to remember exactly where she saw the trays, then noticed:
‘Oh wow, every store here has those trays?!’ it was like a Walhalla for her. She went nuts in one store after another (from having to search for any, she now suddenly had to pick, as buying all of them would’ve been impossible) and then there was the chapel and the whole story of Knock.
Because of course, as true idiots, we had entered the city backwards (typical), so the explanation came last.
While being in awe of all that we had just discovered, the square where one can actually fill up anything that might contain fluids with Holy Water showed itself to us. I was reminded of the many holidays I’d had as a child on campingsides in France instantly. Because yeah, basically that’s what they looked like. With far smaller taps, as the stores all sold bottles in a massive range of varieties of shapes. Mother Theresa, Mary, Jesus, Joseph, anyone who looked holy enough. With a small blue cap. All to fill up these beauties of Holy Water Trays that my auntie collects.

It was a magnificent find.

Later, I visited the place with my (then) fiancé. We then actually went to the museum to see what had happened, to learn about the story of Knock. It’s a lot more convincing than anything I could put here. So knock yourselves out and go visit Knock. Even if you’re not religious, it is a friendly and not so crowded pilgrimage to take.

 

 

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Ricki and the Flash

A remarkable filmchoice for Meryl Streep. AGAIN. Though I genuinely enjoyed watching her in Mamma Mia, it didn’t make sense to me at all. Why would a class actress do such a film? But then it hit me: because it was simply just a FUN project. Even actors and actresses need fun projects, the in between snacks, right?

This film is probably a bit like that. Meryl Streep can sing. Not like a songstress (she would’ve become one of those if she were that good), but still: she can sing. I think this is why she ends up in films that contain music and involve her singing. She can do it and she likes it. She won’t pull it off like Kate Winslet did for that Christmas Carol film) but still: she can carry a tune.

This film is about Ricki, part of a very dated and mediocre band, called The Flash, who receives a phonecall from her ex-husband. Their daughter is going through a rough period, he would like her help to pick up the pieces for their daughter Julie (so very fine portrayed by Meryl Streep’s real life daughter Mamie Gummer).

Basically, it’s a trip down memory lane for the family. Because, as it turns out, all of her children will be there, and the new Mrs of her ex is out, as her father is having an episode and therefor needs care and isn’t present.

To be fair I’m not sure if Meryl Streep had a say in how her hair was done, but it’s distracting quite a bit. Especially as anyone could tell you that that’s not especially any type of ‘rock’ hairdo. They either should have gone with an actual rock look (her face worked out far better) or she should’ve just not washed her hairs for weeks or months or something like that. It’s really weird. I can’t think of any rocker, male or female, who would go for such braids/plaits. They’re the type your little sister would make, not a grown woman.

Other than that, the film is fine. It’s not the best acting you’ll ever see, but it’s certainly not the worst. Can you skip it and live your life with a clear conscious? This is also very possible….

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2017 in Films, Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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Health Care in The Netherlands vs USA

It’s an interesting comparison at the very least.
Especially between these two countries.
For the contrast couldn’t be bigger, it seems.

We have proper health care. We do. It’s nearly unaffordable these days, but up to a certain point, people who fall ill, have the security of being cared for and it doesn’t cost them (too much).

The sights you see (in films, series etc) where people, upon arriving at the hospital, are handed out a form to fill out, is something that doesn’t happen here.

In order to achieve that, everyone who works, pays taxes and also a part of insurance for all the people in this country. If you have a better paying job, that means you pay more, as it’s a percentage of your wages.

Insurance companies build plans. Until about a decade ago, the plans were devided between people who could actually afford care and people who couldn’t. If you see that as seats in a plane, it was devided between ‘Economy Class’ and ‘Business Class’. In Economy Class you didn’t actually have a say where you were seated or how comfortable you were, but given that you didn’t pay that much, it made sense that someone else should make the decision (more) for you. Business Class was the opposite: you pay more, you had a say and at times even a choice of Care.

As I said, about a decade ago, this changed. We all became Economy Class people. It is now illegal to not have insurance. It is now no longer possible to have a choice between things needed in Care, you only have a choice in amounts of money to pay. Which is:

-A Lot,
-A Very Big Lot, or
-An Insane Mountain of Money Lot

Usually you pay the first if you don’t actually have (much) money. You pay the latter if you’re chronically ill and can’t bare life without medical assistance.
Also, the insurance companies have a huge influence on medical supplies in any way. The idea was to persuade doctors to prescribe medication that was less expensive, so that pharmaceutical companies would be forced to kneel down and ask less high prices for their meds. It now has come down to insurance companies having so much power that no human being has a right to any Care, unless they can proof they’re not lying and really need it. This also means giving up a lot of privacy. Even the privacy one would expect at their doctors’ office.
You see, in order to get a prescription, you need your doctor to write down what it’s for. The dosages are restricted to certain diseases, illnesses and this also includes mental illnesses. So unless a doctor declares on a form what the meds are for, you won’t get the right amount, And yes, the insurance companies really are that strict.
Then there’s pharmacists. Pharmacists have actually studied medicins (along with doctors) and know the chemical base of the patient. They know what medicins can and can’t be combined, something that a doctor doesn’t always know. S/he is your GP, not the one you see for absolutely everything. So, sure, if you’re a diabetic, s/he’ll know more or less what meds you take, but not necessarily if it will or won’t effect other meds you’re taking. When there’s other doctors involved, that’s even trickier. That’s where a pharmacist comes in.

Then, there’s insurance companies.
Who say they’re willing to pay you (some) of the money you have to pay in order to get well again. The problem is: they see you as guilty of lying. They do not believe you actually NEED these meds/therapies/medical supplies until you proof that you DO. And everything that’s not in your health plan, you need to pay for yourself. This even includes (nowadays, it didn’t used to) the instructions pharmacists’ assistants give you when you go there to pick up your medications. Which makes people furious at these assistants for even trying to explain.
I have studied to become a pharmacist’s assistant, and this was the main reason not to become one. Insurance companies are such vile bastards, they need human boxing balls for the patients who become more angry for not actually getting any meds for ‘free’ (they actually pay quite a lot) for medications they need. As a pharmacists’s assistant, that’s who you are. I was instructed to tell patients why they had to pay for their meds. There was no real reason, it’s just that the insurance companies don’t want to give it. I’ve had colleagues who had their faces scratched, being spat on, kicked in the shins and all that, for frustrated patients who needed to go somewhere with their agression. Inexcuseable, definitely, but sort of understandable, in a way.

And also, insurance companies don’t listen to doctors. I’ve had a mother in law with cancer. For her treatment, she had discussed with her oncologist (chosen by herself, approved by her insurance company) how to take her pills, a chemo.
She wanted to take 10 pills each day, for 10 days, so that she could feel like bloody shit for a relatively short period, then three weeks of feeling quite OK. The other option was to take a pill each day and feel relatively shit the entire year.
That sounds like an option one should have, no? To take pills in the order that you want. If you have your doctor’s approval, why not?
Not for the insurance company. They told her that if she wanted to take her pills that way, there was a certain bonus of 50 euros she wouldn’t receive. It’s a mild amount of money, I am aware. But the guts this insurance bastards have, to tell a terminally ill patient how s/he can/has to take their meds! Sometimes I hear prisoners complain about inhumane behaviour. I think insurance companies here are going that same direction. Who the f*** are they to tell patients of doctors who have been verified, accepted and acknowledged, to tell that they want the treatment to go elseways, or otherwise you won’t get money?

I do understand why something like crowdfunding is a thing in the USA. If you don’t have insurance, it’s pretty much the only way to go. That or suing a company who you believe is responsible for the lack of health in your life.
The thing with crowdfunding is, people can decide whether or not you are cute enough, have a point in not getting treatment for free or affordable prices yet. But it’s a tricky business, as you give up all the privacy you have.
After all, you’re gonna have to show people you don’t know, exactly how sick you are. Your name, your family, your neighbours etc: everyone will know who you are. People will see to it that their money is well spended. You are being watched. You’re an investment of sorts.
And people don’t want to save just anyone. If you have had an unhealthy lifestyle, or people don’t like your race, your gender, your religion or the place you’re coming from, they get to tell you: no, you had it coming, you’re not worth saving.
Or they simply will not give you any money.
With insurance companies, you don’t have that ‘convincing’ part of others, who simply have no other choice than pay taxes etc. You have to convince the insurance company you’re not a fraud, yes, but other than that: it doesn’t matter who the hell you are, if you fall ill, things will be taken care of.

So, when I hear someone say: the government should meddle less in people’s health care, I think: that’s something one could say here, at times. Insurance companies should definitely been told that they’re not the doctor.
But in the USA, where everyone tries to work just for themselves? You’re only just getting started.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2017 in Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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