Friday, July 10, 2009

Can you smell what the Rock has cookin'?

I'm not sure what was cooked in the lunch room's microwaves. But if you go by the smell, I'd say Lean Cuisine has a new entree: Ass Stroganoff.

Gots the giggles

Last night, I don't know. Maybe I was just tired. But everything was making me laugh. I was at the Target. It's my happy place [When under stress I visualize there - You're in the linens section. Look they have a new towel set in sunflower yellow and hot pink. . .] But it doesn't usually lead to giggle fits.

Fer instance, I'm checking out the movies section. Lots of dealios to look at. Then I see Lars & the Real Girl. Hmmm. My eye is caught. Got good reviews, but an indie flick that I didn't manage to get out to see. Waaaaait . . . What's that banner?



It's part of the "White Wedding Collection". Snort. I don't know, something about the story of a shy guy and his latex lady love just seemed like a slightly, mm, odd pick for a marketing promo tied to weddings. And look! Includes a CD of wedding music favorites. Wonder if Super Freak is in there?

I don't know. I just started doing that sort of surpressed snorggle in the movie aisle. I couldn't decide how insane I'd look laughing by myself in the Target, so I veered between outright chuckling and trying to shush myself. And of course, taking photographic evidence.
Then I wander over to the clothing department. Mmmm. Stuffs kinda chintzy. Other than a retro reversible car coat in teal wool, with a lavendar satin lining. Tres chic at $40. But I'm coated up at the moment, so I pass. But what's this. A super 80s over-sized tank? Why the 100 and humid weather tells me this might be just the thing. Love the color . . oh, waaaaait.
What does that say?
Stay!
Free
Stay!Free.
Stayfree.
Ummmm. Do you suppose anybody thought about that before they slapped it on a tank top? The really fun part is that there was only ONE left on the sale rack. How many women are walking around wearing this - "Yeah, girls! Stay free! Right on!" Whip out that camera phone.
12 hours later, it's still funny.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back at the Chicken Ranch

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090709/ap_on_re_us/us_ensign_affair

I understand that if you live in Nevada you might be slightly unclear on the terms. Things can get a little slap dash when you're looking at job titles. But Senator Ensign's people should note, for clarification purposes, that when you hand over $96,000 to a woman for sex, that's no longer a mistress. That's a whore. A pricey whore. But a whore none-the-less. There's a line there, my friends. And you have crossed it.

Perhaps she should make note of that when she fills out her 1040: Ocupation: ho. And no Mr. Ensign, that isn't classified as a business expense. Even for a senator.

Frogs

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090709/lf_nm_life/us_france_tourists

An article on who makes a bad tourist, in which a French guy manages to sound like an arrogant asshole by explaining why the French come off like arrogant assholes. "Eet ees only becauze vee have such a vonderfool cauntry. People only need to be see zhe world vhen zheir own cauntry . . . how shall I say? Sucks, yes?" Is it a coincidence that the word "chauvinism" is from the French? I think mais non. God love 'em. They gave us brie and revolution. But discretion? Not so much.

If you're me, or someone like me

There’s an article in the Washington Post about generational differences, and with it is a cheat sheet on how to read each generation (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/08/AR2009070804339.html?sid=ST2009070901288) that includes traits. To which I thought, bite me. You don’t know me. Then I read it. Pretty dead on. Kind of eerie. Here’s the case against Gen Xers (along with how I think we answer on each count of the indictment):

-- Pragmatic – I actually do think we’re pretty pragmatic as a group. We may have invented the phrase “It is what it is.” We don’t really get involved in pie-in-the-sky causes, and would rather do something that has clear results. Once burned by “Hands Across America”, twice shy.

-- Self-sufficient - Don’t get us started about those punk-ass, lazy bitch millenials. There’s no free lunch, kiddies.

-- Skeptical – See the “bite me” above.

-- Flexible – Our parents got divorced. Our friends came out of the closet. The world changed at least 6 times before we graduated high school. We learned early that if you’re hard coded in your ideas, you’re toast.

-- Individualistic – We gotta be different. Which is among the main reasons we’ve been naming our kids effed up things like Puma and Tiger Lily.

-- "Me" Generation – I write a blog that’s mainly about . . . me. ‘Nuff said.

-- Distrust authority – Watergate, Iran Contra, Lewinsky Gate, WMDs. Who would trust those guys?

The City of New Orleans

Well, I did it. There was a smoking sale from Southwest Air and I booked a trip to New Orleans in September. By myself. You have no idea what a “wow” making idea this is.

In the past I’ve taken the big summer trip with friends. But last year, I said I’d had enough of the stress for awhile, and I wasn’t going to wrangle a big trip again until somebody else did one. On the one hand, it does cause me a fantastic amount of stress. I worry about everybody’s schedule, and what the weather will be like, and are there enough things to do, and is the rental house big enough, close enough, cheap enough, and who’s bringing what and cooking what, and is everybody happy and having a good time, and blah blah blah. On and on. Stressful.

But the stress is only part of the equation. I need somebody to feel my pain. Because as it is, I start planning early, and making people make decisions early, and everybody thinks I’m this giant nervous Nelly, who is bugging them with all these silly concerns. But because I’m the one who’s handled the details, I know that if you don’t get people to commit to a day, people’s schedules book up. And if you don’t get a rental house early, all the reasonably priced places are gone in the week you need. And if you don’t organize food ahead of time, you get five people showing up with buns, and nobody showing up with hot dogs. What I need is somebody else, anybody else, who has done the wrangling too. And if they’ve been through what I’ve been through, the next time that I organize one of these things, there’s another voice saying, “Seriously, guys, she’s not nuts.” Cause right now it’s like herding cats. And I’ve had enough. Or if I actually am over planning this whole extravaganza, then they can tell me, “Seriously, you’re making this harder than it is. Chill.” And I’ll accept that too. I just need a second pair of eyes here.

But that was a year and a half ago. Nobody has stepped up. And I’m tired of waiting. I want my vacation. And I have a sneaking suspicion that everybody thinks that if they wait me out, I’ll jump in and fix it all. Nuh uh. Not happening. I’m not going to play cruise director for everybody, but I sure as shooting will do it for myself. I guess I’m kind of making a point.

So. NOLA. I’ve always wanted to go. Southwest has a sale. It seemed like a sign. Of course, I also booked in hurricane season, cause I’m smart like that. But since it’s just me that I need to wrangle, I’m not all that uptight about it. Whatever will be will be. Laissez les bons temps roulez.

But, still, being me, I’m already starting my little folder of stuff to do. I only have 4 days (I’m not sure how much I’ll like my own company – I’ve never been on vacation by myself before. Oh, my.), and I don’t want to over book myself so that I have time to do the Tennessee Williams thing and write, but I also want to get a good taste of New Orleans. So if anybody has a “don’t miss” they’d like to recommend, I’m up for suggestions. I’m all ears.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Where's my pot o' gold?

So, I pull up the temp to see if we hit the triple digits. Valid concern. And I see this warning "Severe Thunderstorm Alert."


I'm like, what are you smoking? Sunny as hell out there. I pull up the doppler radar. There's a big cell, but it's way out east of town. Buh low me, weather.com. You don't know what you're talking about.


2 hours later, out of the 45th floor window, is it raining out there on the horizon?


5 minutes later, is that hail?


Big ass hail. Quater sized hail. Cracking agains the windows. And a full giant double rainbow blazing across downtown. Looking like it's ending directly in front of the old Grand Hotel. A truly improbable spot for a pot of gold to show up. [My camera phone doesn't really capture how truly stunning this was.]


I apologize for mocking you, weather gods. You are fearsome and mighty.

To quote Han Solo: Don't get cocky, kid.

There’s this bunch of commercials for AT&T cellular touting the rollover minutes. Mom wants Sonny Boy to use the rollover minutes, because they're just as good as the new ones. But profligate, wastrel brat that SB is, he just wants the fresh new minutes. And to start out it was kinda funny. Every parent and child have had the “you don’t need to use half a roll of toilet paper every time you go to the bathroom”, “shut the door are you trying to air condition the entire neighborhood”, “don’t pour a full glass of milk if you’re only going to drink a sip” conversation at some point. Oh, ha, ha, ha. It’s funny because it’s true.

But that kid is just staring to piss me off. Like the one in the car where he smarts off with “saving minutes saves money” all mocky like. At this point I’m just rooting for the mother to turn around and whip her phone at the kid. And I’m not just talking a warning shot. I want her to peg him right in the forehead. Not that I’d advocate child abuse. But sometimes. . . you know what I’m saying? It’s a little warranted. Mom needs to regain the upperhand. Just give him a nice little mark right between the eyes so that Sonny Boy knows with whom he’s messing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Final Wishes

The one thing that bothered me about the Michael Jackson memorial (other than the fact that Mariah Carey was wearing a dress cut down to there and up to there for a funeral – it’s called decorum, Meems. You should look into it.) was that they put the kids up on the stage at the end. Just not right.

If there is one person who would have known how much being in the public eye at too young of an age can inflict damage, it was Michael Jackson. And if there was one thing that he did right, it was to try to keep his kids out of the view of the rest of the world. Other than the balcony incident. And the putting them in veils. And the naming them all Michael or Something-Michael. And the odd baby mama situation. But otherwise. To the best of his ability. And, to put it mildly, he was constitutionally . . . ill-equipped for the role. And given that he didn’t exactly have the best role models for protective parenting, I think he did his best.

Then of course, once he’s gone, his family just plops them right out there, front and center at the Staples Center. In front of God and the Internet. Michael must have been spinning in that Cadillac Escalade hubcap of a coffin. I kept looking at poor little Paris and thinking of Christina Onassis. Lord, I hope there’s somebody stable in those kids lives. I'd bet good money that it would have been their father's final wish that they'd have a better shot at a normal life than he ever did.

Okay, addendum: I just saw Al Sharpton's comment. D'oh.

Given that those kids went beyond the point of sheltered and into bunkered territory, what do you suppose the odds are that they had any clue that anyone thought their father was strange. Most kids think their family is normal. Well, until they get to be teenagers, and then you could be June Cleaver and your kid is going to think you're the weirdest thing on the planet. But his kids are still pretty young. This could have been news to them. Sitting there at a funeral, in front of 20,000 people, may have been the first time they had heard Dad was a little "unusual". Thanks, Al. That may have been a discussion better held over milk and cookies back at home.

Feeling betrayed, in a completely non-rational way

I can't express how gacked out I am by the SciFi channel rebranding itself as Syfy. Ugh. Double ugh.

Just how dumbed down do we have to get in this world? It's not cute. It's not funny. It's not what the cool kids are doing. It's just stupid. Syfy. Bah!

And I wouldn't say that science fiction fans are any smarter the general population (I'd think it, but I wouldn't say it), but I do think we are bright enough to handle a slightly non-intuitive graphology of a common abbreviation. So, what is Syfy (yuck) trying to do with the re-brand? Capture a "wider audience"? Is this an indication of trend toward watered down, genericized, scifi-lite programming? Well, go ahead. Whore yourself out. Sell yourself to anyone who will buy your tawdry goods.

But don't think I'm going to settle for sloppy seconds programming. I have other options. Heard of a little thing called . . . Torchwood? Oh, yeah. I said it. There's also going to be a new Dr. Who, in case you hadn't heard. And Being Human is starting up (vampires, werewolves and ghosts, oh, my). BBCAmerica, baby. Where, apparently, they know how to treat a scifi fan. Suck it.

And don't think you can tempt me back with new Eureka and Wharehouse 13. Okay. Well. Maybe you can. Maybe. But, seriously, guys. Syfy? Bleh.

Monday, July 6, 2009

All I need to know about life I learned in The Preppy Handbook

I needed to bang out some knitting this holiday weekend (I’ve always thought Kali was the patron goddess of knitters - too much yarn, not enough arms), so I spent a number of hours with my butt planted on the couch fingers flying like a fiend. Usually I’ll have the boob tube on for noise while I’m knitting, but it doesn’t need to be anything fascinating. Low level reality programs are pretty much ideal. Clean House, Ace of Cakes, You Are What You Eat. Mildly amusing, not terribly taxing.

This time, I landed on Bravo, which is usually a bit more strum and drang-y than I like for getting yarny with it. But I was just not in the mood to surf. So what I was stuck with was NYC Prep.

Good lord.

If you haven’t seen it, the show follows a cohort of teenagers who go to prep school in Manhattan. Actual preppies. Not just people who wear polo shirts and deck shoes. Honest to god preppies. I started to wonder if all those desperate rich kids movies from the 80s were actually really incredibly accurate about the way the upper crusties live and act, or if that Less Than Zero vision of urban prep has just become so ingrained that these kids think that’s the way they are supposed to act. Honestly, if NYC Prep was a movie made in 1989, there’s a kid who would be played by Robert Downey Jr. In fact, the whole thing was like a Brett Easton Ellis story without the cocaine. The early James Spader oeuvre as docudrama.

Though, I always thought all those society girls were demi-anorexic. But half the Muffies and Buffies (who don’t seem to be named Muffy and Buffy any more – replaced with Madison and Peyton; pity) were border-line chubby. It truly is a sign of a weight crisis in America when the preppy girls look like they eat something other than mineral water and iceberg.

I don’t think I’ll become a regular viewer. I had my left eyebrow raised so high for so long watching this show that I gave myself a migraine. Take the Real Housewives of New York and cross it with My Super Sweet 16 and you’ll get something close to the monstrous egos and sociopathic entitlement that was on display in NYC Prep. I don’t think there’s enough aspirin and cockeyed optimism in the world to get me through a full season.

Full Moon

So, on my lovely day off on Friday, I went to see Moon. One of the brave and hearty few who did. Because of if you read the reviews, you’d have avoided it like a suspicious stain on the sidewalk. The Dallas Morning News (frankly, not a cultural touchstone for me) reviewed it as “boring. Agonizingly, deadeningly, coma-inducingly, they-could-bury-you-alive-accidentally boring.” Ow. But even if I had seen that bit of a shank job, I probably would have gone to see it anyway. It takes place on the MOON, people. And has Kevin Spacey as the voice of the shipboard computer (typecasting?). What else could I possibly want? I’m actually glad my lunar fetish drew me in. Because, in spite of being an imperfect movie and admittedly slow to the point of molasses at some points, it was really enjoyable for me.

There are basically 2 extremes of sci-fi: blow-‘em-up, slimy aliens, dogfights in space extravaganzas, and stories in which speculative science is used to show human drama in unfamiliar situations. It’s the difference between I Robot the book by Robert Heinlein and I Robot the Will Smith movie. And if you’re drawing that Venn diagram, there is space where those circles overlap. Moon is not in the overlap. It is firmly in the category that does not include much of anything flying across the screen in flames.

In brief, Sam is the only worker in a lunar energy harvesting facility, kept company only by his trusty computer pal, Gerty. And he’s tired and going a little stir crazy at the end of his 3-year hitch on the moon, and is ready to go home. But when his sketchy state of mind leads to an accident, he wakes up in sickbay to find he’s not alone any longer. Except that the other occupant of the station is another Sam: younger, healthier, and kinda pissed off. Much of the rest of the movie involves Sam and Sam trying to figure out WTF is going on, and what the hell to do about it.

A big, tent pole, summer blockbuster, popcorn flick it ain’t. Which is not to say that it isn’t thrilling in its own weird, intellectual way. It explores issues like identity, isolation, corporate responsibility, self examination, hope and how we chose our actions in extreme situations. The slow pace allows your brain to keep up with the mass of ideas that are being thrown at you. A big slimy alien really would have just been distracting. The obvious comparisons are to 2001 and I Robot. But I also saw some shades of Red Dwarf and a few other oddball sci-fi classics. [Also, given that the director is Duncan Bowie, son of David, I’m sure it’s going to get hammered with Major Tom allusions. And they aren’t unwarranted. But, in a good way. If Ziggy Stardust’s kid isn’t qualified to explore identity issues, who is?]

Sam Rockwell is about 90% of the movie. And I wouldn’t put him in my top range of favorite actors. Though after this, I’d consider re-evaluating my assessment. A really demanding character that he plays in a fine-tuned performance works with the subtleties of character between two versions of the same man, separated by different experiences. Low key, but bravura. And he’s got a surprisingly good rearview, that looks distractingly good in a pair of coveralls. And since he spends a lot of the movie talking to himself, his tush is in the frame a lot.

So, if your idea of sci-fi is limited to laser blasts and guys getting it on with green chicks, give this one a pass. But if you like your speculative fiction with a side of indie film talkiness, keep this one on your radar. Definitely worth a look if it comes to an art house near you.

TIME: Quotes of the Day