Monday, May 29, 2006

Rockin' the Suburbs

I couldn't go a whole three day weekend without seeing a movie, but I've seen three of the movies playing across the street, which left: "The Da Vinci Code" (not really interested), "X-Men" (even less interested), and "Over the Hedge." Guess which won out? Yes, "Over the Hedge," 90 minutes of animated fun. Now, I haven't seen most of the animated films that have come out, oh, since the 60's. I saw "Shrek" because my niece made me watch the DVD with her, but never "Toy Story" or any of the newer Disney films ("Little Mermaid" or "Lion King" or any of that.) So you can gauge the level of my desire for air conditioning and popcorn this afternoon. Red Alert.

So, it was cute. Funny. Whatever. Didn't knock my socks off, but was pleasant enough. I spent too much time trying to identify the actors who voiced the characters. I didn't get Avril Lavigne, but then again, I've never gotten her. (Rim shot!) And William Shatner was her possum father? Didn't recognize him, either.

Not having a familiarity with recent animated films, I was thrown when suddenly a maudlin song broke the action so we could moon with the characters while some bloke crooned something obviously designed for the Oscar song category. Sadly, it was Ben Folds, who I love, so now he's joined Jack Johnson in the world of cartoon crooners. Maybe he has kids? But, wait, it gets worse. One of the tracks, a bouncy little ditty called "Rockin' the Suburbs" (it sounds exactly as you'd imagine) is a duet between Ben and William Shatner.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Post Trauma

Phew. This morning I was having major computer trauma, but it seems to be better now. I don't know what I did to cure it except that after restarting my computer four times, I completely shut it down, left the apartment for three hours, and returned to find it all better. I guess shutting down is better than restarting, but I was really nervous about not being able to get it back on.

I hate feeling hopeless with my computer. I'm fairly tech savvy, and have developed a decent ability to scour the internet for solutions and fixes. This time I thought I'd found it - and maybe I really did.

But the aggravation that I feel when I can't fix it eats at me. Is it any wonder that I am still stuck on a strict antacid regimen?

Saturday of a long long long weekend. A promising to be beautiful weekend, too. I have no firm plans, just usual weekend errands and bull-shitting around the house, although a friend left me a message to call her if I'm up for something. I'd just as soon stay in my little bubble, but I need to start socializing more. It's too easy to huddle by myself and soon enough I'll be an old woman living alone without even a cat to talk to. (Fish, though!)

Friday, May 26, 2006

Who else is working?

I have new glasses. My prescription changed slightly, but it's the first new prescription in 3-4 years (I've replaced glasses, but had no change) and so things are a bit off. Like depth perception. Walking down the iron stairs from the optical place was a little tricky. And everything on my computer screen looks bigger. Weird.

I'm not bigger. I'm smaller. 45 pounds smaller. That's a lot, isn't it? I feel weird even writing about it because a) I'm not interested in this becoming a weight loss blog and b) I feel like my devoted readership will pause and say, "wow, she was huge." Funny how I can worry about feeling judged for something in the past.

I have about 15 more to go, maybe a few more, depending on how I look and feel then. I am currently in between sizes, which is difficult because some smaller things I bought a few months ago are already too big but I'm not quite comfortable being tight in the next size down. So I wait it out. Another few weeks, maybe. Wherever I settle, I'd like it to not be in between two sizes, though, so I can just buy clothes and wear them!

Friday before a holiday weekend. Can it get any quieter in the office? A chance to get a lot of work done, get caught up. I am sure everyone else will leave early but I am blessed with an afternoon meeting from 4-5 pm. How cruel is that?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Dustin & Steve

I rented "Shopgirl" based on the positive reviews both Ebert & Roeper gave it. I should have followed my first instinct and skipped it because I hated it. Steve Martin having sex with Claire Danes is as obscene as I imagined it would be. He's 61 years old; she's 27. And, if I could get past that (which I tried to, using the fast forward button), it still was one of the emptiest stories I've seen in a long time. The characters talk little, just stare off into space in their own homes, thinking. It's nearly impossible to figure out their motivation - except for when the Steve Martin voice (acting as if he's an independent narrator describing the life of his main character, who of course is played by him and has HIS SAME VOICE) jumps in to obnoxiously tell you what you should have been seeing on the screen. Sadly, it's one of those situations where if the film had already told that story, there'd be no need for the voiceover.

Here's an example of the sloppiness of the story: Claire Danes's character Mirabelle is always seen alone, going to and from work, hanging out at home. We get the sense she has no really close friends, which works with the character. At one point a co-worker "befriends" her with ridiculous advice about how to win a man ("Fellatio, and lots of it. Then cut him off.") Clearly this isn't really a friendship, but that's okay, as again, it underscores her isolation. And then.... there is a scene where Steve Martin's character is explaining a conversation he had with Mirabelle to his therapist, giving a clear "he said" version of what was discussed. To contrast this, the scene is intercut with Mirabelle talking to... two girls who seem to be her friends. ?? No, really: ?? They were not seen before this moment and are not seen since. Who are these random girls who she is pouring her heart out to? This same character who we've seen live a very private and solitary life? Oh, wait, they're not really friends, they are plot devices. Silly me.

Yeah, I hated it.

Last weekend I passed Dustin Hoffman in Central Park. He was smiling and chatting on a cell phone. You can't mistake that nose or that mass of thick longish grey hair. I smiled to myself, thinking, here is one of the most famous actors alive today, enjoying Central Park just like I am. And then I started thinking, is he really that recognizable to someone in, say, their 20's? (Except for from "Meet the Fockers"?) Am I really that old?


Today at a doctor's appointment one of the receptionists asked me my birthdate. When I told him, he said, "How old are you?" I told him and he said, "I was just checking because you really don't look like you're over 40." I think he was flirting with me.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Da Brooklyn Code

Yesterday two neighborhood women were protesting in front of the movie theater. Two Italian-American women, one seemingly in her 50's, the other possibly her mother. Harmless types with a lawn chair and a hand-written sign calling "The Da Vinci Code" blasphemous. I don't know why I stopped but I did.

"You do know it's fiction, right?"

Yes, they said they did, but they were still offended by what was up on the screen because it defiled the name of Jesus. I asked how did they know, had they seen the movie? They didn't answer right away, but kept talking over me about blasphemy.

I repeated, "Did you see it?" and finally the younger one said, "We read the script."

Okay, I respect that. But I said again, it's just a movie, and not meant to be taken seriously, and the younger woman cut me off. "Tell that to the Muslims who were offended by the cartoons," and I had no response. I mean, she was right, but they weren't standing on my block, and hadn't been, but she was. It just seems to me that there are more important injustices out there to protest than a silly summer movie.

I gave up and walked away.

At least I stopped myself before I said something about how I think the Catholic Church is offensive for its policies against women's and gay rights. Or its practice of shielding child molesters.

The truth is I no longer have any desire to see the film. Reviews are mediocre and about the best I have heard is that Ron Howard is a better filmmaker than Dan Brown is a writer. I'm really glad I never read the book. I'm sure I would have been up in arms about how once again, poorly written literature is outselling quality writing.

But this also means no movie this weekend - I've seen everything else that's playing across the street, and there's nothing compelling enough to pay subway fare to see. It's raining, though - the perfect Sunday afternoon to sit in a theater. Darn.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


A long busy work week ends. I'm being lazy this morning, soaking up the inactivity. Ever since I started my new job, weekends are so much more relaxed, probably because I am less stressed in general.

Here's an example of how cool this company is: because we had a good year, they are giving every single employee four extra days off this summer! Four! Not one, or even two! FOUR! That's on top of the announced holidays (and we get off the day before July 4 and the Friday before Labor Day) and vacation. Other companies I worked for might send you a pen with the company logo or something. MIGHT. More likely, they would just take the money and run.

Example two: Yesterday I received a package at home - they sent everyone a 1gb flash drive. For free. We're encouraged to use it for backing up work files to bring home (never underestimate the preparation plans for a company displaced by 9/11 for months (years?))

I'd be in pig heaven if it weren't for some kind of pump thingy that is working on the basement of a building across the street, with a LOUD NOISY generator thing sitting in a truck bed below my window. Did I say loud? It's like someone is running a lawn mower through my bedroom. But it's too beautiful out to close the windows... Muffled loud sound not being much more palatable than straight loud sound...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Lost & Fish

I hate when a presidential address takes over the tv. I hate it even when I don't think the president is a stupid ass, so you can probably imagine how much it sucks when it's the current idiot. I don't know how anyone can watch him for more than two minutes without wanting to scratch off all of their skin.


One of my favorite podcasts right now is Lostcasts. They do a very thorough, yet very entertaining look at each week's Lost episode, complete with their own theories, listeners' theories, and some great research on literary and cultural references brought up on the episodes. They make me feel smarter for watching the show. And who doesn't need her brain massaged after staring at the tube for an hour?


The Baby Jane legal secretary was missing again today. I really am curious. Not yet worried.

After 9/11, I was talking to the owner of the nail salon down the block about how she might not even notice if a regular customer disappeared until she hadn't seen them for a few weeks. Sometimes you have customers who you don't really talk to, but they come in often, you exchange pleasantries, and then they stop coming, and you don't know whether it's because they found another salon they liked or moved away or dropped dead.


Out of 17 baby fish, 15 are still alive! Seven now live in a separate 5 gallon tank, with the other eight in the main tank with the other fish. Both tanks are too crowded, but other than turning my apartment into a low budget water world, I don't have much choice. There are some that are smaller than the rest, not growing as well, and I could "cull" them but I can't kill a fish. I never thought that so many would survive!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Strangers in the Park & the Bar Mitzvah

Yesterday I went to Central Park with some people I'd met on the internet. I'm sure if I say it that way to someone like my grandmother (and it's Mother's Day, so I'll be talking to her later so it's likely) it sounds a bit shady. But, no, it was bright sunshine (after a dim cloudy morning) and thousands of women at the Self Magazine Workout in the Park, where I met three women from the online fitness forum we all frequent. It was strange, as much as meeting anyone in person you've only know from an online communication usually is, but also fun. The event itself was rich with goodies, freebies from the magazine's advertisers, and some fun workouts, including a Bollywood hip-hop and cardio striptease.

But am I too paranoid? Two of the women took pictures, which was fun, and they emailed them to me and the other woman who was there. The others on our fitness forum, all non-NYCers who were envious of our ability to get together and do this, can see the ones that each of us attaches to our own postings. But many of the others are now asking to have the whole set emailed to them. I don't know why it bothers me that someone who wasn't there is interested in having copies of the photos that she can see on the message board (albeit in a smaller version), but it does. I just think it's weird to have photos of me emailed to someone who I've never met and never will. Can't she just see them on the message board? Is it just me?


Two young women at checkout registers today asked me if I were a "Mom" so they could wish me a "Happy Mothers Day." I'm not, and neither were either of them (because I felt it my duty to ask.) It didn't bother me, although the second time I walked out feeling a little sad. Not because I'm not a mom, but because they were being kind. It's not often that you get kindness from retail workers these days, and I was reminded of how much I like living in my neighborhood-y neighborhood, where real people work and live.

I think it's PMS, too. I got really weepy during "Keeping Up With the Steins" today. (That's a tough title - I keep thinking of "Kissing Jessica Stein.") It was an okay movie, a little dull, but with a very realistic and human tone. A competitive father wants to throw his son a bigger and better bar mitzvah party than his business rival. It sounds like it could be a really bad slapstick comedy, but it's thankfully not - more of a small, family-centered comedy, with some truly nice moments. (A split second of frontal nudity and several long seconds of backside nudity of Garry Marshall not included.) (The film is directed by his son Scott.) (I'm not sure why I thought that important to mention at that moment.)

Anyway, I'm not Jewish, nor have I ever been to a bar mitzvah, so I have no sentimental associations to blame, but I found myself getting choked up when the boy was reading during the ceremony. I guess it's fitting that my hormones make me sensitive to a kid who's about to grapple big time with his own.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I had something in my head to write here, but took care of some other computer-related errands first, and as soon as I signed on to blogger and opened up this window, I completely lost whatever I wanted to post.

Well, here's something - just now, as the Today Show's opening music started, my cable box reset itself and went blank. Is it trying to protect me?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Where is she?

On the weekdays when I go to the gym in the morning, I walk a slightly different route to the subway than usual. Yet every single time I pass the same woman coming in the other direction. You can't miss her - she looks to be in her late 60's (judging by her face and her gait), yet dresses as if she's in her 20's. Short black mini skirts, black hose, stack-heeled black pumps. Her hair is bleached blonde and hangs straight around her face in a direct contrast to the coiffed and curled blue-hairs who are her contemporaries. Did I mention how silly she looks? I think she might look older because she's so out of sync. The lines on her face would not appear so startling if she had different clothes on.

So, yeah, she's strange and I'm a critical bitch, but today when I didn't pass her I felt strangely worried. Where is she? Did something happen to her? Maybe she's on vacation.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hard Candy

On Saturday I saw "Hard Candy," a truly bizarre independent film that stars a young actress with a fairly long resume with almost nothing I've ever seen. (Mostly Canadian tv, it appears, though she will be in the next X-Men movie, not that I'm likely to see that, either.) It's basically a two character film - the fourteen year old girl played by Ellen Page, and a thirty-something photographer who she meets in an internet chat room, and then, in person.

Side note: Why is it in movies and tv, the people you meet in internet chat rooms always live in your town? How realistic is that? Even if you live in a major city, what is the likelihood of being able to tell someone, "Let me take a shower and ask my sister for a ride, and I'll see you in an hour?"

Anyway, although something about this film feels like a small town, (a coffee shop everyone knows, one local mystery that seems prevalent, a suburban mom selling girl scout cookies), but I think it's LA or a suburb of LA. This doesn't really matter, of course, I'm just circling around the center of the film. Why?

I saw it on a beautiful Saturday and the theater was fairly empty, but enough to exhibit audible and strong reactions as the movie progressed. It's fairly disturbing, although not in a visually graphic way (you see absolutely nothing, not even a single sultry teenage girl photo.) It begins as you would expect with the key ingredients of older man/photographer, internet chat room, precocious young teenage girl, visit to his house after a flirtatious morning meeting of lattes and chocolate. And then it turns completely upside down, and for the rest of the film you're questioning who is the victim in this scenario, and who has your sympathy. That's about all I'll say, except prepare to be unprepared. There are some incredibly grotesque moments, even without much to see, but the power is in the language and the wonderful acting, especially by Ellen Page.

Sandra Oh turns up as a somewhat-meddling neighbor, oddly, which could make you question the way the film ends, although I'm not sure if we're supposed to think she later manages to affect how this plays out. It's somewhat of an open question, which isn't a bad thing, and I have to fight my instinct to have the filmmaker spoonfeed me a hint by showing us where she was during the last crucial scene (a witness? or far, far away?)

Trying to talk about this film without giving it away is difficult. But I'd read reviews and knew the direction it would take, and it still was surprising, because you just can't imagine how far it goes. (Two women in the ladies room after were comparing stories of how absolutely shocked they were, having figured it was your typical big bad man seduces innocent young girl film.)

Friday, May 05, 2006


The other day I was sitting at my desk at work, and saw something strange at the edge of my blotter. It was a business card, but not one I'd ever collected from anyone. This card has a bright rainbow graphic and the words "With God all things are possible" in fancy script ("God" appearing in huge red letters.) Below is an invitation to "Have a Heavenly Time" at a church.

It honestly freaked me out a bit - like someone had invaded my space or was stalking me. I have no idea how long it sat there, or who dropped it off. A cleaning person? A co-worker? This is a very secure office, requiring corporate ids or visitor passes and security access and metal detectors. So it has to be an employee or contractor.

The other thing that flew across my mind is, why me? Nobody else in the immediate area got the card. Am I too openly atheist? No, really, I don't discuss religion at work at all, ever. Maybe it was because I didn't say "Bless you" when someone sneezed? (I struggle with that sometimes. I wish there were an alternative to "Bless you" that I could say that was still polite but didn't evoke a deity I don't believe in. Back in the height of the "Seinfeld" phenomenon, I could have said "You're soooo good looking!" But I'm not sure everyone gets that any more.) (Do you?)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I need sleep.

I'm really really tired this morning. Last night we had a retirement party for a co-worker and I got home pretty late, got to bed much later than my usual, and still woke up at 4:30 unable to fall back to sleep again. But at least I won't be hungover in the office like some of my co-workers.


I have to figure out some kind of sleeping-in-late remedy. I'm reluctant to because unless it involves cement plugs in my ears, I fear I'd get my body happily adjusted only to have a neighbor kabosh the whole thing with elephantine footsteps. On Saturday night, the upstairs one woke me at 2:30 when she came home and after I'd fallen asleep again, the next door one woke me at 4:00. He also woke me at 4:30 on Sunday night/Monday morning.


I ate poorly last night. Typical mass catering food: fried appetizers, big pans of saucy and greasy buffet options. I don't eat meat and the dinner choices were beef or chicken. I could have just had pasta but it was cheesy tortellini that I could sense would taste like wallpaper paste and sit in my stomach like the same, so I stuck with salad slathered in dressing and string beans swimming in oil. I probably consumed more calories in those two greasy dishes than in any day in the last month. But there wasn't much I could do - the party was on a boat without any room for choice.

(Don't feel too sorry for me - I also had a few crabcakes during the cocktail hour.)


So, last night I dreamt I was on the boat and Lindsay Lohan was there. She was upset because people were treating her like she was a freak, and I told her that although I didn't know her personally, I think she's a brilliant actress and that says something about her character. She latched onto "brilliant" like I was handing her an Oscar and wouldn't stop thanking me and telling me how she wanted to turn her life around and focus on her "art."

I am not in the habit of dreaming about teenage actresses. Really. I might have fallen asleep to a trailer for her next movie. And I don't really think she's brilliant, although I think she has talent.


I can't believe it's already May.
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