Saturday, May 31, 2008

Boring stuff

My new toilet seat is beautiful. Have I mentioned that? It was only $17.99 at Home Depot, and it's one by the same manufacturer as my toilet, so is exactly the right tone of white. (Because no matter what they say, whites are different enough that you notice when there is a perfect match and when it is slightly off.)

I have not had another accident/spill since the pickles last Saturday.

Fingers crossed.

Fingers uncrossed to type.

* * *

I spent some time on the roof deck in the last few days while working at home, although the visibility of the laptop screen is so poor I can't manage it for more than 45 minutes. In that time, though, I've managed to get some color on my arms (in the "farmer tan" pattern, since I had short sleeves) and my reverse freckles (white spots that don't gain color) are standing out. Next time I'll remember sunblock. Meanwhile, my neighbors continue to stretch out on deck chairs in their bathing suits, moving with the sun to even out their tan.

I mentioned to a friend that I am startled whenever people "lie out" in the sun that way these days (especially when not at a beach or by a pool), what with all the evidence about skin cancer. She said that now studies are saying that we went overboard and don't get enough vitamin D because we're always covered in SFP 30 or more. Even if that's true, I don't think it means we should stop any kind of protection and start broiling again, though. Happy medium anyone?

* * *

Remember I said that I never had the baby-urge? Okay, I'm starting to get the puppy-urge. (Clearly I am suffering from arrested development, as you are supposed to get that when you're in grade school, which means I'll be crying over other peoples' babies when I hit my late 50's.) This morning one of the news shows* had a segment on tips for traveling with your pets, and they had a series of dog "models" demonstrating the latest gear in pet carriers, harnesses, and even car booster seats. At the end they said that all the dogs were from the kennel and were available to adopt and the camera lingered on a little white terrier-type poking his sad little face through the top of a nylon carrier bag, and I thought I was going to cry right then and there.

* my continued reference to morning news shows means that - yay! - I'm being diligent at getting to the gym

Yes, I went to see "Sex and the City" on opening night

I hadn't planned on it; if anything, I prefer to avoid the crowds. But then, after two back-to-back intense days of working at home, glued to my computer and phone without a break, I saw that there was a 4:30 Friday showing in the local theater that would be a) matinee priced and b) earlier than the later rush hour, so likely less crowded. Bingo!

I am glad I went then, too, as part of the experience of the movie was the excitement of the crowd: laughs, shout-outs, sighs, giggles, hoots and calls. About 90% were female, most in clumps of 3 or more (sitting alone during the pre-preview commercials amidst all the chatter made me feel conspicuously alone), the majority under 30, I'd say. (The latter most likely a result of the starting time; I imagine for the 7:30 show, which was already sold out when I arrived at the box office, the average age rises to one closer to the movie's heroines' ages.) They were a fun group to be with during the movie, and made me wonder if, for once, I should have invited friends and made it an "event." (I prefer to see movies alone. It's a terribly anti-social habit, but I am so set in my movie ritual patterns that I don't like when someone suggests we sit in the back, or chooses a spot blocked in the claustrophobic center of a crowded row, or god forbid, tries to talk to me during the film. I'm a freak.)

Oh, the movie? I enjoyed it, pretty much, although the plot did exactly what I dreaded by - MINOR SPOILER AHEAD - throwing Carrie a curve ball which was exactly the same curve ball she'd been thrown again and again. Yawn. Fortunately, her response, and the resulting actions of her friends, felt a bit fresher, either because of the amount of time the movie format allowed it to unfold, or because the characters have matured. The movie was long, but it didn't seem to drag for me, maybe because there was always something new to see: clothes, hair, apartment decor.

I could have lived without Charlotte's big comedic scene - which I heard Kristin Davis interviewed about on a morning news show, in which she said she worried that it might be too much - well, for this viewer (MAJOR SPOILER AHEAD), pooping in your pants is too much. It just wasn't funny, it wasn't in keeping with the tone of the rest of the movie (this isn't Harold and Kumar), and made Charlotte more of a buffoon than she deserved. I read a review that said Charlotte was dumbed down for the movie, and I agree. Maybe it's because at 40, her blatant optimism naturally comes across as idiocy.

Everyone else is more one-note, too - Miranda is the hard-working, husband-ignoring, asexual hardass she was always going to be, and Samantha, sadly, winds up watching more sex than she's allowed to have as one of a monogamous couple, but her storyline is still all about sex and how "different" she is for not wanting commitment. The only character I actually liked in the movie was Carrie, oddly enough, as she was the one I usually hated on the TV show, but here, where she should have been the most self-centered, she displayed more compassion for her friends' varied troubles. I also really like her as a brunette.

I said I liked it, right? And I did. Not loved, but liked.

Funnily enough, rather than running out to drink a cosmo (which - NON IMPORTANT SPOILER AHEAD - makes a celebrated return in the film) or buy a pair of insanely priced shoes, I had the urge to buy roses and chinese food. (Why is that if any character in any move is shown with chopsticks and a white take-out container, I start craving rice and shrimp?) I bought the roses but avoided the unhealthy food, although I did open another bottle of left-over party wine when I got home.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Loved, loved, loved the Lost finale

Nine hours later and reading online comments and my head is buzzing with new theories. It will be a long 8 months until the show returns in January.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dear Neighbor

When you sit outside in the yard and have a phone conversation, we can hear every word.

Love, your neighbors on all four floors of the five buildings within your sight

PS I don't think he really loves you. Break up with him.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When it rains

In movies, when it rains, windows are always covered with slick sheets of running water. This never happens in real life no matter how heavy the downpour - I imagine because our windows are protected by roof overhangs and eaves, etc. But sometimes on a rainy day, don't you just want to stare out through a blurry curtain of wet?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Second - or Third?

A few months ago we had a presentation at work on business possibilities related to "Second Life" and other similar worlds. Immediately after I joined "Second Life," created my avatar, and proceeded to get stuck on Orientation Island. So I gave up and forgot about it.

This weekend the icon on my desktop caught my eye so I went back only to discover an upgrade in the program that, when loaded, completely changed my experience. Apparently there were required tutorials that I never knew existed, but once I completed them, I was awarded my "passport" off Orientation Island and was free to go wherever I pleased.

Of course I have no idea where to go.

I'm experimenting a bit, but now have run into another problem. Twice while "teleporting" to another location my wireless router has shut down. This has never happened during normal internet use. I've had to exit "Second Life" and reboot my router.

I guess I need to wait for another software release?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

good... yawn

slept until 10:30, might be the latest in several years

Equilibrium of sorts

I started thinking maybe something is wrong. Maybe my equilibrium is off or I am losing hand muscle coordination, but then I smack myself into reality and recognize that there is no pattern here of dropping things with my right hand, say, or stumbling forward when I first stand up. All unrelated coincidences. Although sometimes lately when I get up to go to the bathroom during the night I feel like I am swaying, unable to walk straight.

* * *

I keep running into the blind man who lives next door. I saw him in the East Village earlier this week - I recognized both him and his dog, who once again was being difficult by running towards other dogs it passed, dragging his owner with him. It was really odd to see him in another neighborhood, another borough. I almost said hello, but then thought, I've never greeted him before, he can't recognize me by sight, how do I expect him to realize who I am, that I live on his block?

Today he and the dog were sitting in the park, he with his ukulele/guitar (I'm not really sure what it is.) After I was there a few minutes they stood to leave, and of course the dog headed over to a woman on a nearby bench to say hi, dragging the man again. He managed to get him out onto the sidewalk and then the dog started into the street, between two parked cars - I thought he was going to dash into traffic but apparently the man understood, for he let go of the harness and took up the longer leash, stepped back on the curb, and waited for the dog to circle, squat, and do his business. I forced myself not to look until they had gone, not wanting to see the blind man groping around for the dog's pile, but also not wanting to know if he was just going to leave it.

There was a large pile just outside the building yesterday. They used to be all over the block, but have slowed down some. I have never wanted to think it's the seeing-eye dog, but really, why do I assume that the blind man is a nice conscientious guy who diligently cleans up after his dog? Just because he's blind doesn't mean he's good. He could be a total prick.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

starting not to be funny

Today i dropped a jar of pickles on the kitchen floor. Broken glass, pickle juice, random pickles everywhere. My apartment smells like pickles, despite mopping and mopping.

What next?

I've had a string of clumsy mini-disasters lately, including, of course, the broken toilet seat I wrote about the other day. But there are more.

Last weekend I heated up some leftover Indian food for lunch and carried it to my desk to eat while I went online. I guess the plate was too close to the edge because when I put my fork to it for the first bite, the entire plate flipped onto my lap and the floor. Rice, spinach, sauce, shrimp, everywhere. It was inedible. I had to mop it up, throw my area rug and skirt into the washer, and eat peanut butter and toast for lunch. The whole time I was on the floor wiping rice kernels off the cords from my various computer components, I felt like crying. I'd been really looking forward to those leftovers.

The next day I was cleaning and somehow knocked the vacuum against the baseboard and a picture crashed to the floor, its glass smashing into pieces. I swept, vacuumed, put the picture back up glass-less, and temporarily hung the plastic bag holding the broken glass from the doorknob of my bedroom, to keep it out of the way. Except, of course, when I walked past on my way to the bathroom and just barely brushed up against a long shard that managed to slice my leg through three layers of plastic, leaving a long thin gash down my shin.

Last night I was carrying a glass half-filled with Diet Coke into the bedroom, with a book in the other hand, so I could lie in bed and read before sleep. For some reason, instead of tossing the book on the bed and setting the glass on the nightstand, I did the opposite - set the book down and tossed (no, really, playfully threw) the glass onto my warm and waiting bed. I just stared for a minute before running to get a towel, not understanding how I could be so stupid. I had to strip the sheets but the mattress was still wet and I was still tired, so I slept on the living room pull-out sofa.

Now, that's four things, so I can't just say things happen in threes and be done with it. All of them happened within a ten square foot radius, too (the bathroom is on the other side of the wall where the picture hung, which is next to the bed, which is across from the desk, which is next to the doorknob, which leads back to the bathroom.) My own private circle of bad luck.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Home, home

On mornings when I'm going to work from home, I wake up and feel immediately and deliciously happy. When it's like today - sunny and bright - it's even better.

Sex and the City

I am tired of all the "Sex and the City" backlash. Suddenly it's cool to hate it, to make fun of the TV series, to list multiple tortures that would be preferable to sitting in the theater next week for the movie. You know what? Then just don't go, but shut up about it. Did you hear me bitching about how I'd rather retch than sit through the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy?

Well, publicly?

Maybe because I'm a woman of a certain age, but SATC was always a guilty pleasure, despite how annoying Carrie could be or how unrealistic the women's lives might be. It's an escape, it's fiction, it's ridiculous clothes and pretty clothes, unbelievably gorgeous men and ridiculously flawed men, simple life-lesson proclamations and silly pun-filled catch phrases, but even at its most mediocre it was always entertaining.

So, yeah, I might not be with Indy this weekend, but I expect to be with Carrie and gang next.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Confession: I have not seen any of the "Indiana Jones" movies.

Which makes it easy to decide to stay away from crowded theaters and long lines to see the latest.

things can't go on perfectly forever

My toilet has been somewhat slow at refilling after flushing, and sometimes doesn't have the power to, er, fully empty the bowl on the first flush. I chalked it up to a water-saver effort. Today, though, it just wouldn't flush. I opened up the lid on the tank and it appears to be barely filling at all. So I tried filling it with a bucket of water and all kinds of stupid things that really don't do anything but make me feel like I'm doing something. Then I lifted the top of the tank back up to replace it and dropped it, smack, on the toilet seat.

Luckily, the tank top didn't break, but the toilet seat (more easily replaceable) did. The top half cracked right off near the hinge.

So now I need a plumber not just to figure out why my toilet doesn't want to flush, but to replace the seat (although chances are I could manage that on my own.) I don't want to deal with this right before a holiday weekend. Not to mention that today is a super busy day at work, I'm now running late (or outright missing) going to the gym, I have my writing group tonight and a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning and a trip upstate tomorrow night.


Monday, May 19, 2008

So, yeah

I had a party, right? And when I was planning it I was told that a co-worker was planning a party possibly on the same weekend, so I emailed him and confirmed that we were looking at different dates. Cool. I sent out my invites, he came (with his boyfriend), and all is lovely. Right?

Except, that, it just dawned on me that his party date has come and gone. And I wasn't invited. I could maybe think that it was cancelled, but I heard another person talking about it.

Why do I feel so weird? I have to remember, I'm decades older (well at least 15-18 years) than most of these people.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"The Visitor"

"The Visitor" is another in the recent genre of films about depressed academics (like Dennis Quaid's professor in "Smart People," although that film hit the double whammy of also having an almost-40 year old woman pining for a baby), with Richard Jenkins (the dead father in "Six Feet Under") as the professor who is living a dull, empty life, until he crosses paths with a young couple who have been tricked into renting his apartment. The rest of the film is not much more than an unfolding of the plot that you may have seen in the trailer (I think I saw it a dozen times myself), which normally would annoy me. For once, though, the details surrounding the basic plot points were the magic of the movie experience - the quietness of Jenkins's acting as his character evolves is both believable and heart-wrenching.

I also developed a little crush on Haaz Sleiman, the actor who plays the drummer living in the professor's apartment. He looked really familiar to me, and although his credits include "24" and "The Ski Trip," I am going to have to assume it's from the episode of "Veronica Mars" where she investigated a hate crime against a Middle Eastern family.

I meant to see another movie this weekend, but didn't make it. It was a weekend of catching my breath, getting errands done, sitting in my apartment and feeling relaxed.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Then She Found Me, Young @ Heart

It's raining, I'm working from home, it's Friday, I'm burned out from a long work week, and I just checked movie times and I can easily leave here in 1/2 hour for a $6.50 matinee of "The Visitor." I am such a slacker. (Am I? I just worked two 11 hour days in a row, and have been stuck at this computer now for 6 today without moving.)

(Which reminds me, I should shower before going out in public.)

Last week - well, nearly two weeks ago - I saw both "Then She Found Me" and "Young @ Heart." (No, I am not being whimsical, that's how it's titled.) When I tell people about "Young @ Heart" now I am quick to say that I loved it, but the truth is that I felt somewhat bored during the documentary portions of it and felt cheated that there wasn't more concert footage. The film is about a senior choir in New England who has traveled the world performing a series of songs that include rap, pop. rock. Think the rapping granny from "The Wedding Singer" but with serious musical talent. Still, part of the joy of watching is admiration for how well they can do despite their advanced ages and multiple infirmities - one of the standouts is a man on an oxygen machine who still manages to pull off a heart-wrenching version of Coldplay's "Fix Me" while seated in a chair. There is no soundtrack, but I did find a CD of theirs on iTunes, and am playing it often.

"Then She Found Me" is the directorial debut of Helen Hunt, who stars as yet another almost-40 year old woman desperate to have a child. (Remember when the trend was buddy cops?) I keep coming at these from a strange place, being a woman just as childless only even older, with fewer prospects, and something is starting to bother me. It's not what you'd expect, that these films awaken in me a yearning to have a baby, but that they don't. I am 45 and I never had that driving desire, and it saddens me some wondering why I haven't. I sit in the dark theater and watch frame after frame of cooing babies, and yes, they are adorable, but I don't want my own, and I feel odd admitting it.

It's a decent film, though, with Bette Midler dialing down some to play the birth mother who gave up Helen's character for adoption, and Colin Firth playing a decidedly non-traditional love interest (he's messy and complicated and has issues, but then again, he's Colin Firth so he's hot even when being an ass), and Matthew Broderick as a shlumpy childish husband. And it also earns points for tackling the issue of adoption vs. birth head-on, where most films simply allow the main characters to get away with saying "nothing against adoption, but I want my own flesh and blood child," which is difficult to accept when you are part of a family that has been filled with adopted children. ("Get over yourself" would be my response if asked.) In this movie, we have the dynamic of the adopted girl, now a grown woman, wanting to carry her genetic child, while being forced to bond with the genetic mother she isn't sure she needs or wants in her life. I won't give away the rest of the movie, but I think it came around to a positive, responsible, place without being preachy.

Now, off to "The Visitor."

Driving Miss Scaredy-Cat

Last night I took a cab home from the airport, and had an overly friendly driver who happily told me where all the traffic pitfalls were before setting out on some convoluted short cut that probably would have taken twice as long if he hadn't been driving so fast. I've had madly racing cabbies, but this guy was insane. He also tried several times to initiate a conversation about the presidential campaign, but I think politics is a hot button topic anyway, best to be avoided, and even more so when the person who might be vehemently on the other side of the debate is tearing down the highway with your life in his hands. "It will be interesting," was all I allowed myself to say, as he started playing with the window next to me, lowering and raising it just slightly.

Here's the thing: even when I'm petrified (and usually it's more of an "oh-god-this-is-how-I-am-going-to-die" feeling, like I'm watching it from outside the cab), I can't ask the driver to slow down. Somehow it seems that if I criticize his driving I'll only anger him into being even more reckless. I know it's stupid, and if I'm really scared, I should spare the anxiety and speak up. Maybe I secretly like the danger.

Still he got me home in 20 minutes, plenty of time to unpack and change clothes and arrange myself on the couch before "Lost" started.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Back and away again

I got back home last night, and this morning am readying to jump on a plane for a two-day meeting in another city. (There goes that vague attempt at anonymity again.) I thought it would be tough to unpack and pack, but the harder part is switching my brain from family-farm-mode to business-traveler. I spent three days being jumped on by three and four year-olds, and now I need to put on heels and sit in a conference room for hours and hours in an unfamiliar chair and be alert and productive.

I spent my small window of back-in-Brooklyn time (thank you, Amtrak, for wasting an extra hour of my life for no discernible reason other than sitting on the track waiting for another train to pass by in the other direction, like, aren't these things worked out in the schedule ahead of time? And are the tracks really in such bad shape that two trains can't pass each other at normal speeds? And why did one of those other trains not sit and wait 1/2 hour for us - why was the time of our group of passengers dispensable?) getting a manicure so that I could feel slightly presentable today. And catching up on the TV stored in my DVR.

Now we'll see if Delta can get me to my destination and back without any trauma.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Oops! I thought I'd posted this before I left Saturday, but I guess I just saved it as a draft.

I am about to leave for a family weekend upstate, a family reunion of sorts, at least of my immediate family (siblings, their spouses and kids, mom.) A gathering that, due to one's cross-country relocation, now happens only once a year. So we will celebrate Mother's Day and one toddler's birthday and shore up memories for another long span of time (longer, it seems, when you don't see the littlest ones for so long that their physical and intellectual growth is numbing.)

I shouldn't say it's so bad for me - I have the freedom to fly out west this fall or winter or at Christmas, breaking up the long wait, unlike others in my family who can't fly for various reasons. My last Delta shuttle fiasco also rewarded me with 10,000 miles that will make my trip virtually free.

I know I've said this before, but I find that when people only have cell phones, I feel much less connected to them. It's not just the sense that when you call them you only have half their attention (although that's part of it), but the bottom line fact that the reception is never that good. (Is this an emperor's new clothes thing? Because I never hear others complaining about cell reception, but half the time I can't really hear what others are saying. And I'm usually on a land-line phone, which I know is not the issue because when Mom and I talk land-line to land-line (we're both baby boomers, coincidentally, poised at the either end of the time period), it's crystal clear.)

* * *

Update on my utilities trauma - it appears that one of the large corporations who was making my life so miserable in the first weeks I lived here has mistakenly credited me $150. I don't know why - it appears to be unrelated to any issue I had, but I'm just sitting back and enjoying the fact that my last couple of bills had no balance due, as the credit slowly gets used up. I am enough of a pessimist to fear that they will realize it soon and I'll be stuck with a whopper bill, but I'm also enough of a cynic to think that their previously (and repeatedly) demonstrated ineptitude means that will never happen.

* * *

I am in trouble - about to get on a train for an hour and then in a cramped car for another 2 1/2. I woke today at 4:30, although my alarm was set for 6. The gym doesn't open til 8 on weekends so that wasn't an option, so I just got up and caught up on some TV and wrapped presents and packed and then went out to the ATM and Starbucks.

Lately, when I order a venti iced latte, they ask me if I want a free fourth shot. I think I figured it out - the machine makes the shots in pairs, so using only three means they have to toss the fourth (if there is no other drink waiting, which today, at 6:45 on a Saturday, there wasn't.) I always say no - well, until today. Now I will be both wired and full-bladdered for my long journey.

* * *

I've always played this silly game of trying to keep my identity secret, mostly from family and friends who might stumble upon this blog and realize it's me. I want to be anonymous only in the way you'd not want your friends to read your diary, not because I think I have said anything rotten about them. (But if I knew they read, I'd always be self-conscious.) The ridiculous thing is that almost anyone who knows me well would guess it by the blog title and one or two entries. So I'm going to allow a few details to slip past my self-censor.

Mainly it's that my family has a farm upstate. The reason I mention it is that it's lambing time, and so the weekend will be busy not only with nieces and nephews but visits to the barn to see baby lambs. On top of that, there is a tiny runt lamb who is too small to nurse from her mother (legs not long enough to reach), and is living in a small box in my mother's bedroom, fed by a bottle. This is going to be an interesting weekend once we all descend upon the house (did I mention in addition to kids, one family is bringing their dog?)

* * *

I went to a book reading/signing the other night, put on by an independent book store in my neighborhood, held at a nearby school since the crowd was anticipated to be too large for the store to accommodate (and they were correct - about 300 seats filled and several rows standing in the back.) I don't want to name the author, because I really love her writing, but the reading was disappointing. She read a story that was published in the New Yorker recently, even though her book is a collection and there were obviously others to choose. Then, after I stood on a long line to have her sign the book (a hardcover, which I rarely buy, except in unique circumstances such as this), I was really put off by her attitude. I approached the table and said "hello," and she said nothing, stared off into the distance without looking at me, quickly signed the book (as is protocol, the bookstore staff readies those in line with a post-it indicating who to make it out to, to keep everything moving), and handed it back to me without another word or a glance. I said, "Thank you," and she still said nothing.

I mean, I get that this was the end of her long book tour, that she had already signed many, that the line stretched behind me, but a pleasant smile or one-word greeting or eye contact or any kind of acknowledgement would have been nice. I felt like I was bothering her, that the whole thing was a mighty imposition, and I had half a mind to return the book.

* * *

Okay, I've wasted enough time. I need to feed the fish and get ready to start my journey.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fiddler, sans fiddle

I missed most of the nice weather days this week, stuck inside for client events or meetings. Today when my schedule is more flexible it's gray and sprinkling, and tomorrow, when I plan to work from home, it's supposed to be a downpour. Joy!

I did manage to grab a few minutes on the roof last night when I got home, to enjoy the last bits of the sun. My cell phone (the work one, that doesn't work inside my apartment) got enough reception to make calls. (My personal cell phone was nearly out of battery power so I left it downstairs, plugged in.) I like sitting up there, although I've yet to run into any of my neighbors, and I don't think I'll like it as much if I have to share and lose privacy and not feel like it's my own space.

Morning becomes Medusa

There are moments lately when I feel very calm and happy and satisfied with my life. Content. And then there are mornings like this when I wake up the morning after a long, brain-numbing day at work, and realize I have to face another, and to top it off, I've overslept and don't have time for the gym and I feel fat and lethargic and just want to curl up in a ball and go back to sleep.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I've been really happy with the return of new TV shows, but now of course comes the necessary wind-down of the abbreviated season, with promos already cropping up for "Next week's season finale!" and we'll be back to the same sad drivel as during the writers' strike. (Yes, I know, much of the new stuff can still be considered "drivel," but now it's balanced with some likable drivel as well.)

I am a "Lost" junkie and so was ecstatic when the season started in January with episodes made pre-strike, followed by a relatively short break before the new post-strike episodes. The creators have a commitment from the network for an end date, which means that everything is focused and zipping steadily toward a planned ending, and that would be great enough, but the strike has meant that there are even fewer episodes left to get there, so it's a very wild ride indeed. Luckily I have a few friends who need to talk the previous night's episode every Friday morning, and once or twice in the intervening days as we gear up for what might be next.

I also watched the first three seasons on DVD while doing much of the packing of my old apartment so I would be caught up for the January season premiere, which means I've been living with "Lost" for awhile now. Although I'd seen every one of those older episodes, seeing them again, with the knowledge gained later, was really like seeing them for the first time. (Except for some of the more tedious non-island mythology flashbacks - how many episodes did we need to figure out why Jack's marriage failed? Which is exactly why the faster-paced seasons rock.)

All of this is to say that when this season ends in a few weeks I will be sad. (I wanted to say I'd be lost, but that's too goofy even for me.) (Except that I just did say it.) (ugh.)

In the road

I dreamed that I was on a bus and we were driving through a park, past an outdoor stage on which actors were lip syncing and acting out songs (I don't have the song in my head any more, but it was a real song, or it felt like a real song, in the dream.) We drove past and kept going along a winding dirt road down the side of a hill and near the bottom I saw that additional people in costume were lining the road, this time lying on the dirty ground in full-body, hooded leotards, with their arms and legs extended in dramatic directions. They didn't seem to hear us coming and from my window I could see that our bus, wider than most vehicles who must have passed them, was going to run over the splayed arm of a woman in a beige leotard covered with a fine layer of mountain dust. I tried to shout to her but she wasn't listening, it was if she, all of them, were deaf, and I watched as the bus tire came within centimeters of her arm and then she winced as we passed her and I looked out the back of the bus window and she had merely pulled back her arm to another angle closer to her body but had not stood up, as none of the actors had stood up, but were still lying there in the dirt road, pretending to be - what exactly?

Friday, May 02, 2008

Found money

Just over a year ago, I found a $20 bill in the subway. I still have it. I planned on saving it for something special or important (in the "I am making a statement" sense) but it stayed folded and tucked into a corner of my bulletin board until I packed it with my desk things before the move, only to position it back neatly in the same spot in the new apartment. This morning, prior to my Starbucks run, I realized I had very little cash on me, but I also knew that it wasn't the right time to crack the twenty. I'll know when it is.

Last week I found a $5 bill on the sidewalk. It didn't seem quite as momentous, although I did promise myself I'd give it to any homeless person I passed between that spot and the CVS I was headed toward. Of course, unusually, I passed none. So I used it to buy batteries.

I Know This Show's Trash

One of the trashy reality shows I'm watching now is "I Know My Kid's A Star" with Danny Bonaduce. It's one of those VH1 shows that seems to serve no purpose but to give past-their-prime celebrities a paycheck. Although the premise is unique - Bonaduce, a former child star himself from "The Partridge Family," has enough of a familiarity with how the business can fuck up a kid's life that he's set himself up as the right person to determine who's got the stuff to make it in Hollywood. Or, more precisely, who, along with his or her parent, has the stuff. The show judges the parent as much - or more - than it does the child. (Which makes it nicely less squirm-inducing.)

But like any good hour of trash, the drama comes not from the competitions themselves (even though these are often about acting) but from the interactions in the house where the competitors live - in this show, the kids with their parents. Right now it's all moms, but at the start of the season, there were a couple of dads. You can imagine the cat fights when one mother crosses the path of another's ferocious defense of their child. One accused another of wearing hair extensions and even searched through all the trash cans looking for evidence of a discarded weave! Last night Danny even said that with their repeated "You went after my daughter, now I go after yours" sounded a lot like "The Sopranos."

I think the only reason I watch it is that the crazy is balanced with some really interesting and talented kids. One, a biracial girl who looks disarmingly identical to her icy-pale redheaded Mom (but with light African-American skin and kinky dark hair), is so good you know she's going to be a star. But then you wonder if being on this show is the right way to start that career, or is there too big a stigma attached to reality these days? Maybe she'll grow up to be a professional reality star, joining the stable of post-Real World and Road Rules quasi celebs who eke out a living doing other reality shows about reality shows.

Because you know how cannibalistic MTV/VH1 is about their own successes - right now they are already calculating how long they need to wait before scheduling the "My Kid's a Star - Where Are They Now?" series. (You think I'm kidding? "Which child do you think will be in rehab first" was a question posed to the parents during an interview in a recent episode.)

In the wee small hours of the

I've been sleeping better, overall. I've even migrated to being one of those people who needs an alarm to wake her in the morning, and then rolls over after turning it off and loses another 1/2 hour of time. (I'm not conditioned enough to use the "snooze" button since actually falling asleep again is so foreign a concept to me.) I guess this is better than waking each morning at 4:30 cursing the fact that my alarm is set for 5:20, and being wide awake after. But I don't want waking up late to be an excuse to skip the gym, so the end result is that I have been getting to work later.

Not that anyone notices or cares. I've always been one of the first in, which helps me feel less guilty about being one of the first to leave each day. (I'm still putting in 9 or 9 1/2 hours a day.) Luckily it's an environment where no one really cares, as long as you're getting your work done.

So, after that promising preamble, I have to admit I woke up at 3:45 today and have been up ever since. I blame "Lost" - I fell asleep before it even started last night, woke up briefly for one scene, pulled out the sofabed to try to watch the rest, fell asleep again. So at 3:47, after returning from the bathroom, I decided to watch it from the start. (DVR-love. Sigh.) And when it ended, I decided to watch another show I had recorded. Then another. Then next thing you know, it's 6:00 am.

I planned on working from home today anyway. And also on it being a non-gym day (good, as I'm really feeling a bit nauseous from my stupid schedule.)

I think I will need to hit up Starbucks before I swap my home laptop for my work one.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Harold and Kumar & the Baby Mama

I never went into detail about "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" other than I liked it, but I don't really have much more to say than that. It's exactly what you expect, a bit slow in some parts, but really funny in most. It made me laugh out loud, which I never do, even to the point of tears.

"Baby Mama" was also pretty much what you'd expect if you've seen a trailer (and if you haven't, kudos for you for finding that blissfully silent rock to live under) or have a basic idea of the movie's central premise and the structure of a mainstream comedy. I admit, the beginning was somewhat agonizing, with way too many minutes of Tina Fey's character mooning over baby after baby just after she learns that her ability to get pregnant on her own is 1 in 1 million. (Of course as a 40-something woman with no children and even weaker odds, I could be accused of taking it too personally rather than simply growing bored with the piled up sappiness - although I don't think it was just my armor of cynicism that made me roll my eyes repeatedly.)

Once the film kicks into gear, though, which pretty much means when Amy Poehler appears, it finally starts to be funny. There are some brilliantly funny moments, although not even a week later I am struggling to remember one to try to describe. (And I can still laugh to myself remembering Paul Rudd's surfing lesson in "Sarah Marshall." "No, do less!") But Poehler and Fey have great chemistry, and I'd love to see them start cranking out buddy comedies where they can have fun with different roles and situations. (Of course Fey will be the Martin and Poehler the Lewis.)

And then we have Harold and Kumar, not that anyone is probably giving them the Martin Lewis mantle. "Escape from Guantanamo Bay" is probably not much more of a silly goof-out implausible gross-out comedy than its predecessor, but it felt much more tedious to sit through. (It didn't help that I went at an off time and was the only one in the theater. No, I mean the only, single, individual person. I have been one of a handful, but never completely alone. I felt very self-conscious, especially as the 40-something white woman sitting in the audience for a film directed at 20-something male stoners.) Yet when I tried to figure out why the first movie was funnier, and started recalling specific scenes in the first, they're really not much different. Harold and Kumar escape Guantanamo with relative ease? Yup, as implausible as Kumar performing surgery on the fly. Backwoods hunter invites the duo to smoke pot with his incredibly hot wife in his bizarrely upscale home? Yup, as silly as the insanely ugly mechanic who invited them to have sex with his incredibly hot wife in the first film.

But I still didn't laugh, not once. Maybe I need a crowd to laugh with me, around me. Or maybe this time it just went too far, without being fresh enough.
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