Wednesday, August 31, 2005


I resigned today! It was hard - even though it's what I really wanted, I think it's always difficult to "break up" with someone, even a boss. She asked me if there was anything she could offer me to make me change my mind, and I had a deja vu from when a priest at a charity dinner asked me what it would take to get me back to the Catholic Church. In that case, it would be "women priests, married priests, gay priests, pro-choice, pro-birth control." (I didn't say any of that, of course. I just smiled and finished eating my salad. We were both there showing our support for a girls' educational program in the south Bronx - not really the appropriate place for heated debate.)

When my boss posed a similar question today, my answers would have been just as implausible - so I kept my mouth shut again, told her I appreciated the offer, but had made my decision.

I've told a handful of people, need to tell more tomorrow. It's a weird position to be in, the lame-duck that not everyone yet knows is lame.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I might have a new job. I mean, I have the offer - just have to finalize everything and accept it. Part of that is telling my current boss tomorrow that I'm leaving. I'm dreading that - not the leaving, the telling. Once that's done, I'll feel like I can celebrate.

Update to follow.

Monday, August 29, 2005

40 Year Old Virgin

"40 Year Old Virgin" is a funny movie. No, really. I wasn't sure either - it has that quasi-"Deuce Bigalow" vibe in its marketing, but rest assured it's a thousand times better. (Estimate only - I admit I didn't see "Deuce Bigalow." But this film is a thousand times better than I imagine the other was.) For once in a really long time, there are more jokes in the film than had been in the trailer - and the best ones weren't already given away!

I was set up to love it because it's written by Judd Apatow - whose "Undeclared" tv series is Amazon-ing its way to me as we speak.

Catherine Keener is one of the actresses who can do no wrong in my book. She's the perfect combination of hot and awkward and smart and quirky. I think she and Maggie Gyllenhaal should play sisters in something. (Although Catherine Keener boffed Jake Gyllenhaal in "Lovely & Amazing" so it's getting incestuous.)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I already said that.

The latest issue of Radar has a column about all the fuss about iPods changing our lives dramatically.

Are iPods really responsible for the fragmentation of American and the decline of social intercourse? "The iPod people," said the New York Times, are "corked off from reality by their ear buds." How dare you fiends listen to music! "As for the Walkman," said Fortune, answering the obvious question raised by iPod sociology, "it never impacted behavior... quite the way the iPod has."
Funny, that's not what they said back in the early 80's. Indeed, there's very little that people have written about the iPod that wasn't claimed of the Walkman 25 years ago. "They've become an everyday part of American culture," the Washington Post gushed in May 1981, "not to mention an indisputable index of hipness." Celebrities used them - Suzanne Somers! Vitas Gerulaitis! - and members of the club would tip headphones at one another, "like Mercedes Benz owners honking when they pass," one devotee told the Times. "The Walkman has become so pervasive that it may help define a new style of music," said the Post. But there was a dark side, too. The Walkman was "insidious," the Post warned nine months later, "a potent symbol of an antisocial electronic future."

Hmmm... sounds familiar.

Friday, August 26, 2005


There's a lot of movement in my office lately - post-reorg, people are being relocated, are being laid off, or are outright quitting. What was once a fairly bustling floor is now almost dead silent. Today, a Friday in August when half of who's left is on vacation, feels more like a Saturday or a Sunday.

For all the people they are moving out (into another building), there seems to be no unified plan. I've worked for large corporations before, and there usually was a facilities staff, something that doesn't seem to exist here. Everything is pretty much self service, and a lot of the support functions are outsourced. If you are moving, you go online and fill out forms and one person comes and unplugs your computer equipment, and another shows up and packs it, and another transports it, etc. etc. But in the meantime, the closets and file cabinets and storage rooms are filled with stuff: old files, excess office supplies, boxes of forgotten personal stuff, etc. Nobody has responsibility for those areas - and nobody is taking any, and so it just stays behind.

It boggles my mind - maybe because I'm a Virgo, or maybe because I hate unnecessary clutter, or maybe because I'm stuck here surrounded by it. But I imagine that years and years after I leave here, there still will be cartons of white 2 1/2 inch ring binders behind the coats in the hall closet and several dozen boxes of staples at the back of a drawer in the corner cubicle.

I thought about it after 9/11 - it was almost easier to deal with the horror of the buildings and the people just disappearing if I concentrated instead on the stuff that vaporized with them. The boxes of binder clips, the drawers of unused computer cables, the shelves of copy paper. Thousands of staplers crushed into nothing.


Why are so many of my recent posts titled with questions?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My ship coming in?

I had a job interview yesterday, the first one in weeks that wasn't during 95 degree weather. It was actually nice, and I almost didn't mind that I had to wear a suit and pantyhose. Almost. I took the subway, only to discover that the stop I wanted was closed (not just closed - closed until next February! Yikes!) and I had to walk several blocks more on the unfamiliar streets before reaching my destination. In heels. Luckily, I am a nervous nellie about time, and so I got there super early even with the delay.

I sat outside for a bit to cool down and relax. The company is one of those in the World Financial Center downtown, across from Ground Zero, and along the water. If I worked there, I could step outside at lunch time and watch boats go by. It's easy to forget that you're on an island in NYC - or that we are a port city - so it's nice to be reminded.

I didn't have such a positive feeling after the interview - actually, I was convinced that I'd blown it, that my answers to some of the questions were transparent crap, and it depressed me. But... not to count chickens, but I actually got feedback this morning that indicates just the opposite. So we shall see.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Is this ocd?

Sitting in the nail salon waiting for nails to dry is excruciating. It's not like waiting for a bus to pull up or a doctor to call you in or a friend to walk in, because those all are very specific events that happen or don't happen, and you react accordingly. Not like drying nails - you just want them to get to the stage where you can walk out and go about your business without smearing or completely messing them up. If you leave now, will they be strong enough to handle grabbing the key, putting it in the lock, opening the door, climbing upstairs, another key, lock, another door, -- or should you wait another minute? Two?

Pedicures are okay, because as your toes sit under the little floor fan you can read a magazine, use your cell phone, play a game on your palm pilot... but when it's your fingernails, you can do nothing, but wait. How long again? Have I been sitting here 4 minutes or 7? Are they almost dry?

So I made up a game where I have to count sets of five things - usually the first five unique things I see out the window. Bicycles, dogs, strollers, children, cell phones, hats, white cars driving by, umbrellas (when it's not raining), yellow taxis, people holding cups of coffee. I pick four or five and then have to sit until I see 5 of each.

Today it was 5 bicycles, 5 hats, 5 strollers, 5 bicycles, and 5 cell phones. I got hung up on the strollers. It all depends on the time of day, you see, and at 6 pm there just aren't that many strollers out. Nannies have returned home to await the parents, and parents who are lucky to be home already are not yet out for an evening stroll for Italian ices or blockbuster. Or dog walking with the stroller.

I cheated and left without meeting the stroller quota. Usually this is a blatant tempting of fate, but as of now, my nails are still pristine. Yay!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Where do the days go

It's Sunday, a shortened weekend because I had family stuff to do yesterday that took me out of town for the whole day. Meaning that today I have to do all of my usual weekend errands (except those I can only do on Saturday - a surprising number of businesses are closed on Sundays. Welcome to Brooklyn, Borough of Churches.) I am already tired, and just want to laze around all day but if I do I'll have no food in the fridge, no clean clothes, dried out and dying plants, no clean dishes, etc.

Luckily I don't have to feel guilty about not writing because I sent a draft of a story to my writing group for critique at our next meeting, so I'm in a holding pattern until then. Yup, it's the story I agonized over earlier. Sad thing is I didn't really manage to finish it - I started too late and there just wasn't enough time, so I sent it to them saying it was the start of something longer. And maybe it is. Or maybe I was just being lazy. We'll see

Friday, August 19, 2005


I am obsessed with Ellis G.'s sidewalk art. He has spent the summer creating pieces like this, using chalk and the shadows created along the sidewalks of my neighborhood. And, as I've been able to learn online, some adjacent Brooklyn neighborhoods. Time Out NY did a piece on him back in June:

If you've been hitting the strip along Brooklyn's Smith Street lately, you may have noticed the chalk sidewalk drawings outlining the shadows of utility poles—all signed ©ELLIS G. It turns out they have an only-in–New York back story. About a month ago, artist Ellis Gallagher, 31, was mugged in the foyer of his Cobble Hill home. "I saw this shadow on the front door," he recalls. "It was this guy with a two-foot-long machete saying, 'Gimme your money!'"

The thief made off with $82. Gallagher called the cops, who caught the perp later that night. End of story, if not for an admitted case of posttraumatic stress. "I'd jump every time I saw a shadow," Gallagher says. "That's when I started the drawings—as self-medication."

Since I got my new camera, I've been carrying it around hoping for a good example to post here. The bikes are my favorite - the intricacy of the spokes are beautiful - and he seems to have been focusing on more bikes in the past week or so. The difficulty in getting a good pic, of course, is that chalk disappears - shoes, delivery carts, rain, stores with diligent sidewalk cleansing routines. Ellis G. has started signing his art with copyrights for 2006 & 2007, and one blogger suggested that it's to give it a future presence that it otherwise wouldn't have.

Note: I don't know what all of those black dots are, but you see them randomly on the sidewalks, esp. on corners. My theory is that they are wads of gum that get welded into the concrete over time. I could be wrong - but they are all over this picture.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


This morning on the Today Show they were talking about a game kids play where they choke each other until they pass out, just for the sensation of passing out and coming too. (A natural "rush" one girl called it.) Several kids have been killed by doing it on their own using belts, ropes, etc., then passing out completely before they can loosen the thing from around their necks.

It reminded me of a game we used to play at slumber parties when I was about that age (10-12) - one person would lay down and another would rub both temples in a circular motion. The idea was that you would go into a trance/hypnotic state - basically, though, you would just pass out. None of us were very good at it, and I think some girls pretended it happened because there was this sense that something was wrong with you if it didn't work for you. My friend's mother was a nurse, and when she heard about it (or maybe she walked in during a slumber party? I can't remember), she told us that it was dangerous and we had to stop. I don't think we did it again.

Another thing I remember from a slumber party was sucking on hard candy sour balls - there was something about keeping them in your mouth for a long time because the sensation was really cool. (get your mind out of the gutter!) I remember waking up the next morning and the whole inside of my cheek was raw from the sour candy being pressed up against it as I slept - although the candy had dissolved. Now that I think about it, how stupid was I? Why didn't I choke to death?

Of course, at later junior high parties, (with boys!), there was this rumor that if you took a huge mouthful of Taco-flavored Doritoes and then breathed in deeply, you'd get high. (Not anything you ever see in the Doritoes ads.)

I guess my point is that kids will do all sorts of crazy things for that "rush" - and it doesn't really seem to matter if it's dangerous. Or at least, on the surface it doesn't seem dangerous - it's not drugs or cutting or sniffing aerosol cans - so I totally can relate.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Am I Being Rude?

I am coordinating this very complicated project at work, with lots of moving pieces. Not going to bore you with details, but every now and then I receive requests for something that can be resolved through compromise between two managers (of equal stature and in similar roles.) So one guy sends me a request, and I respond that the guy in the office next to him might possibly be able to help him. He replied that he was traveling and could I ask the other guy for him?

Hmmm. So he could reply to my email, type in a few sentences, and hit "send" on his blackberry, but he couldn't just forward to the other guy and ASK HIM HIMSELF?

Things like that boggle the mind. So I just hit "Forward" and sent the email as is to the other guy, with no explanation. Because what could I say? "Here's a request from X. He wanted me to send it to you because he's only able to type my name using those tiny blackberry keys."


The Other Scrubs Soundtrack

Last night I watched a couple of episodes of "Scrubs" season 1 on DVD. I missed most of that season - there must have been something else in the same timeslot I preferred. (It's hard to remember, as it's been so long since I've had a show I absolutely had to see every week.) (Except "The Amazing Race.")

The bedroom is cooler than the living room (where the dvd player is attached to the TV) so I decided to curl up in bed and watch via the laptop, and, since the laptop speakers suck, headphones. But I kept jumping up, pulling the earpieces out of my ears or hitting pause, because it sounded like people were in my apartment. What I've never noticed when watching "Scrubs" on regular TV is that there is a constant patter of background noise - voices, beeping machinery, squeaky wheels, etc. - the sort of thing you'd hear in any hospital. It's always there in the background of every scene, but only becomes really obvious when it's right in your ear.

It's actually pretty cool.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

A Lemon Is Not A Lime

I am in the middle of another frustrating online shopping experience. Sometimes I wonder why I even try. But the process of getting packages delivered really has gotten easier - there now is a store on the first floor which is 1)open every day and 2)friendly and happy to sign for things for us in the building.

Except... when a package is sent via restricted Fedex. Didn't know there was such a thing, did you? Well, apparently you can send something with the instruction that nobody but the intended recipient can sign for it. Not sure why this would be something that would work very well in a city where a lot of people have doormen or supers that sign for things, but hey, it was an out of town company, it might not have occurred to them.

But the kicker was that I found all of this out on Thursday, when Fedex left a Door Tag saying they couldn't deliver the package - WITHOUT A NAME ON IT. Did I mention I live in an apartment building? So you get that there are more than one of us living here, right? Guess the Fedex person didn't. Still, I thought it might be for me, so brought the Door Tag into my apartment, looked up the number online, only to realize that while I could see the tracking information, it doesn't actually say who the sender or recipient is. So I had to call their 800#, which is one of those damn voice-activated systems that never gives you all of the options you need, so you (or is it just me?) wind up screaming "NO! I SAID CUSTOMER SERVICE!" and "GIVE ME A FUCKING HUMAN TO TALK TO, YOU AUTOMATED MORON!" until finally you get defaulted to a service rep. She looked up the ticket number, verified it was my package and not one of my neighbors', agreed that the driver should have left a name on the ticket, but told me the sender had chosen the restricted signature option so really I would have to be home to sign for it because they couldn't leave it with the store. They would try to deliver again on Monday (although I said I still wouldn't be home) and then, if I still wasn't there (because I would be at work), return to sender.

Okay, so I was pissed, but not much I could do, right? I'd leave a note with the ticket on the front door on Monday, asking them to please leave at the store, and maybe they'd actually go ahead and do that. But no sense putting the note out on Friday morning, right? I mean, Fedex's own service rep told me that they wouldn't make a second attempt until Monday.

Yeah, you guessed it. I come home Friday evening and there's another ANONYMOUS Door Tag. So I called the 800# again, got no satisfaction, and just decided to tape the damn note/door tag on the door all weekend, just in case. And it worked! Monday Fedex honored my note (unsigned) asking for delivery to the store, and I got my package.

So I'm happy now, right? Ah, you just don't appreciate how bad my luck is. I get the package, tear it open, all excited to see the pretty lime green digital camera case I ordered - and it's lemon yellow. It's not just that it's a yellowy green and I'm being picky - the box clearly says "LEMON" and the packing slip says I ordered LIME. I don't like yellow. I like green - and I paid for green and have already gone through a lot of hell to get this thing and you know what? I want what I ordered.

This morning I sent it back and now will wait for the company to send me the right one. I gave them my work address this time, so hopefully the delivery will be easier. (The Fedex guy in the office knows me - and he's cute.)

I do think that if shopping on the internet were too easy, I'd be a pauper. (With a very crowded apartment.) And you know when I finally get that camera case I'm going to really love it.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Aristo - oh, crap

Blog Explosion has listed my blog as containing some profanity because I used the F word a few posts below. (Yeah, that's how profane I am usually - I say "the F word" without irony.) Oh, well - if someone actually blocks sites that allow any profanity (which is different from adult sites) I probably don't care if they skip me.

Ah, but it's been a profanity-laden weekend. Movie #3 of the Heat Wave Week was "The Aristocrats." A nice, full, yuppie/artsy crowd (my neighborhood breeds good cinema partners) on a brutally hot afternoon. The movie was funny. Now, I'm not saying the "joke" itself that the movie is about is that funny - it's crude and offensive and can be dull in the repetitive telling (despite the endless varieties.) The funny is the comedians themselves - the way the talk about the joke (before the tell it), the way they make each other laugh, the glee in which they attack this joke to try to make it their very own. Some are really funny. But you know, once you accept that the middle of the joke is designed to be as offensive as possible, it really isn't all that shocking. In fact, I think the Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson last night was just as vulgar - and it had many of the same comics. (Sarah Silverman & Lisa Lampanelli - hilarious in both.)

The only thing I didn't get was why the mime (who suprisingly had one of the funniest tellings of the joke) had on a body mike. Anyone out there care to explain that one to me?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

I'm doing it.

I'm writing the story based on my family member. It's actually turning into a story combining two different family members. Anyone in my family reading this would see right through it - but I'm determined not to let that impede my ability to write it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


I want to write a story about something horrible that is happening in my family. Now, that's not really new - I've done it before, but always felt weird and awkward and guilty. And, I think, it created a distance between me and my characters because I was trying hard not to think of them as who they were masking, and so pulled back too much.

This time, it's worse because I want to write about a family member who recently tried to kill himself, but in my story he will have succeeded. Is that horrible or what? I already had started a story about this relative, set in the past, before I realized how that past was still influencing his present. Can I continue it, now? Can I create the ending he wanted but hasn't yet met? What happens if I write it and then he manages to actually commit suicide?

The irony is that I am always worried about what people will think when I get published and they read my stories. Like I'm really getting published.

Nobody likes it Hot

It's so fucking hot. The streets are nearly empty, because walking outside in the direct sun is so brutal. I imagine the whole city is holed up in their apartments as close to their air conditioners as they can get, surviving on whatever is in the refrigerator or cupboard since the thought of braving the outdoors to shop is impossible. For me, even the thought of take out - of leaving the a/c to walk down two flights of stairs, open the front door and breathe the horrid air, then walk back up two more flights - no. And who wants to send the poor delivery guys out on their bikes in this mess?

Broken Flowers

It's just so hot... sitting in a movie theater is really about the only thing I have energy for. Broken Flowers opened last night across the street, so of course I had to see it. (I used to go to a film every Friday night with a friend - for almost 10 years - but that's another story. Still, it's ingrained in my brain that Friday is movie night.)

I didn't really think it was that great. I am someone who likes movies that don't have neat and tidy endings, that don't over explain, that let the audience feel and think rather than simply accept what they're being told. And yet, this movie ended so abruptly and awkwardly that I seriously thought maybe there was a reel missing. (Don't laugh - in college a group of us saw "The Natural" and were later discussing with some other friends, who'd seen it at an earlier showing, our theories on the "mystery." We quickly discovered that there really wasn't supposed to be a mystery about that particular plot point - a crucial scene in the start of the film had been somehow cut/lost out of that particular print.)

I'm not liking this trend that Bill Murray can just be silent and moody, and that can make a whole character or worse, a whole film. It worked in "Lost in Translation" but it isn't going to keep working into perpetuity. There really has to be a story built around him, if not a fully realized character.

In this movie, there is a story - but it's painted with such brief strokes that it doesn't even register. I'm not spoiling anything here, I don't think (to my millions of blog readers!) but he visits four ex-lovers from two decades earlier, to find out which wrote him a letter telling him he was a father. Any one of the four could easily have been twice as long - they were too brief and too meaningless. Part of the trouble I suppose is that the director didn't want Bill Murray's character to actually discover anything, so any more time spent with any one of the women would naturally have revealed too much information that would only have proved they were, or weren't the mother of his child. It was a fine line to walk, to create four different conversations where four different women, in four different ways, never directly answer his (indirect) questions but leave him wondering still. Seriously, I just wanted him to fucking ask one of them outright. "Did you write this letter?" "Do you have a 19 year old son?" "Am I the father?"

I understand that it's supposed to be part of his character that he doesn't deal that directly with people (esp. the women in his life) and that he doesn't really care enough, or is too frightened of the resulting entanglements, to find out the truth. But you know, if he doesn't really care, and that emanates from the screen, how am I supposed to?

Edited to add:

Just read the NYTimes review. They liked it a lot more than me, but said some similar things.
We go to the theater expecting to see experience tied up in a neat, attractive package, but the best movies, the ones that insert themselves into our own experiences and ways of looking at life, frustrate that expectation.

Each of the actresses brings an indelible, eccentric individuality to the screen. We wish we could spend more time with them, or go back in time to see them with the younger Don.

It leaves you wanting more, which I mean entirely as a compliment.

Hustle & Flow

Some films I just fall in love with. I walk out and think, wow, that was fantastic - I loved everything about it. Sometimes there is even a moment when I'm watching the screen and this feeling just washes over me that "omigod, this is brilliant." The earliest instance I can remember was at the very end of "Big Night," the morning after, when the brothers were in the kitchen making breakfast. The camera followed every move, quietly and simply, and all of a sudden it hit me - the film is going to end like this, without any grand Hollywood reconciliation or forgiveness scene, but in a quiet moment like this - because that's how life really is. It was startling, and yet, so very very perfect.

It's happened since, but I still always think of it as the Big Night moment.

It happened again in "Hustle & Flow." It was during a scene when the characters are creating music in their makeshift studio, and the combination of the music itself and the way in which the actors were portraying the wonder they felt at the music coming together - it was as if the magic they were feeling in that room were spilling out from the screen. It wasn't just sharng the magic of the music coming together, but as an audience member, seeing the film itself crystallize in that very same scene. I just didn't want it to end.

I loved Terrance Howard in "Crash" and he's absolutely the only reason I wanted to see this film. On the surface - rap music, pimps, hos - completely not my cup of tea. But I am so glad that I decided to move out of my comfort zone, because it really isn't as much a film about rap as it is about people pursuing a dream.

I had already downloaded the podcast of Elvis Mitchell's interview with Craig Brewer, the writer/director, but I waited until after seeing the film to listen to it. He described the long process of selling his idea to the studios, who all wanted to categorize it as a black/urban film, while he envisioned it as "Rocky" or one of those Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney films where they build a stage in the barn and put on a play. (I'm not sure if he actually used that example, or if I am re-imagining.) It's also the story of Memphis, of locals whose music grows out of their neighborhood and how the industry pulls them away from their roots - and away from the inspiration that made them.

I even liked Ludacris - who I've now seen in two films (he was also in "Crash") and impressed me both times. Who would have guessed? Even more surprising is that after leaving the theater with one of the film's songs running through my head, I was really disappointed when I found out that iTunes doesn't carry the soundtrack. (It's already out on CD, so it's apparently a licensing thing.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Living a block away from trendy restaurant row has its obvious advantages (including incredible take-out choices on the way home from work.) But it also has its drawbacks, especially in the heat of the summer. The walk to work each morning is a challenge. Trash collectors have taken away the big black bags of food garbage, but left behind the seepage from the night which now festers in the sun and the humidity to create a horrendously vile smell. Soon, the street cleaners will come by, and then the restaurants themselves will open and send someone out with a sudsy bucket and mop, but for those brief hours of morning it's horrifying. It's hard to imagine wanting to eat in any of them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I love living across from a movie theater. It's so easy to be spontaneous, especially as I pass it on the way home from work when I'm tired, hot, and bored. Especially on Tuesday and Thursday, when there are matinee prices - $5.50 vs. $8.50. (The lower prices are also in effect every day before 5 pm, which is why it's so hard to avoid movies on "sick" days.) Manhattan theaters don't generally have reduced prices - and some of them are up to $10.75 already.

Last night I walked past the box office window at 5:20 and saw that "Hustle & Flow" was playing at 5:40. Perfect timing to run up the stairs to my apt, change clothes, drop off excess stuff, and dash back out.

More on the film later.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Which way to write?

I have to turn in a story to my writing group next week. I have a stack of semi-finished pieces that they've seen 3 or 4 times. They're not perfect; they need work. Yet, can I subject the same people to them again?

The other option is to come up with something completely new. But then I think, why am I adding yet another horse to the stable when not one is race-worthy yet?

My metaphors stink. Hopefully that's not a reflection on my fiction.


I had a job interview last Wednesday - another 95 degree jaunt in full business attire. I thought it went okay - not great, but I still felt hopeful.

Yesterday (Monday) I got a rejection letter. It was dated Thursday. Which means that they sent it to me even before I emailed my "thank you for meeting with me" emails that evening.

That's true rejection. Couldn't they have just waited a bit so it doesn't look so obvious that they wanted nothing to do with me?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Wedding Crashers

Never go see a movie after a friend tells you that it was the funniest thing he's seen all year and that he laughed so hard he cried, not once, but three times. Not only will you walk in daring the film to make you laugh, you'll be desperately searching for those three hysterical moments - was it this? Could he have meant that? What is his kind of humor, anyhow?

Also, don't go see a silly comedy during a weekday matinee several weeks after it's been released, so that you can only count on about 6 or 8 others in the audience. Chances are they won't sit near you (and you'll be annoyed if they do anyway) and there is a limit on how many rows infectious laughter can cross.

But whatever you do, don't let your reaction color your review of the film. I mean, it's really funny - it just would have been funnier if I'd seen it opening weekend with a big crowd of people who hadn't heard any of the jokes before.

Oh, and make sure you don't get stale popcorn. Nothing funny about styrofoam kernels.

Digital Camera #2

My niece sat on my camera - she wasn't hurt, she has diaper padding, and it was more of a tap downwards in her constant struggle to stay balanced and upright. But the lens was extended and received the brunt of the pressure.

After a few email exchanges with tech support, and a more than a few attempts to get it functioning, it became clear that this was the end for my inaugural digital camera. (It even survived being dashed to the sidewalk in front of the White House!) I hadn't even realized it was over 2 and a half years old.

You can get so much more now, for a comparable amount of money. I did a bit of online research, but because I am an electronics obsessive (I have gadgetitis, my friend says) I had to re-structure my week so that I could get to J&R and pick one up. It has more settings than the other, and I am now playing with it wherever I go.

More Than Ever

Yesterday I visited a friend upstate and we wound up running an errand in a local Barnes & Noble. Lately I've noticed that most of the people I know in the suburbs tend to shop not in mammoth malls but in small strip malls anchored by a specialty super-store: B&N, Home Depot, etc. I don't know if this is an actual trend or just a series of coincidences I've arbitrarily assigned a pattern to. But I can't recall the last time I was in a mall - you know, the kind with stores that open up onto an enclosed lobby/atrium, with benches and foliage and small awful chain stores that sell cheap tawdry clothing and personalized t-shirts and jewelry. Where have they gone?

But back to B&N - this one might not have been in a mall, but it still felt vaguely off. The staff too smiley, the stacks of books too exact, the magazine racks too full. Of course I prefer the smaller local bookstores even in the city, so I'm not one to embrace the whole super-store concept. But there was a moment on the escalator when I looked down at the familiar green and white signs and felt depressed. I could be anywhere, in any town across the country and they would still have the table of "Idiot's Guide" books at 20% off. Blink once, and all of the sales help speaks in a Texas drawl. Once more, a Midwestern flatness.

It wasn't just B&N; there was a few hours of jumping in and out of the minivan in assorted parking lots to go into assorted wide-aisled stores, all of which left me feeling depressed. They are so clean! So bright! Shouldn't this be a good thing?

Back to the city with its chaos - the 4 train wasn't running to Brooklyn this weekend, so I left Grand Central to walk across 42nd Street to the F train. Not half a block and my heart began to swell. People, sidewalks, buildings, my city. I passed the public library, Bryant Park. A young girl was curled up inside a circular window on a brick building of the park, smiling down at her mother's camera. Everyone who walked past caught the smile until we were all grinning.

I crossed the street again when I saw Coliseum Books, one of my favorite non-chain book stores. I went in and saw the same books that I'd seen in B&N, and I bought two, because suddenly I couldn't be without them.

Friday, August 05, 2005


I keep thinking of things to post when I'm nowhere near my computer and then I sign onto Blogger and my brain is empty.
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