Friday, January 15, 2010

run, run, as fast as you can

Well, what was going to be a very placid weekend has suddenly blossomed. Or blown up. Depending on your perspective. I scored half-price tix to August: Osage County. Even half-price, they’re still a bit pricey from my perspective, but this is being billed as a “must-see”. And well, I must. And speaking of must

And, I’m knitting a baby egg for my sister’s imminent little one, which I needed to finish ASAP. It’s this little knitted bowl thingy that you put a newborn in for pictures. You have to get them in the first 10 days, while they’re still bendy. And they get folded in so it looks like they’re all cuddled up. So infinitely cute. But since Little Man could show up any day now, I have to have it finished tomorrow to make sure it’s available for his photo op. He was supposed to show up in mid-February, and has kind of been trying to jump the gun for a couple of weeks. So the fingers are flying. Don’t want the kid to run around naked. At least not until the summer. Then he can free bird all he wants.

Also going to do a happy hour, and a movie (Colin Firth in A Single Man – staring at Colin Firth is always a good thing), and a birthday party, and the usual dinner with the girls. And maybe going with a friend to a seminar.

Geez-louise. How did a 3-day weekend get so short all the sudden?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A journey of a thousand miles

Well, I had decided that for Lent (yes, I know, still not Catholic) I was going to give up processed foods. With the overall goal being to eliminate as much crapola as possible in my diet. I rely a lot on breakfast bars, peanut butter crackers, frozen meals, boxed cookies and store bought bread. As a result, I can’t even begin to think about how much salt, sugar, corn syrup, trans fats and preservatives I take in during the day. A lot.

Of course, I don’t think I can go cold turkey. I live in America. I have a job. I have a black thumb. I don’t like to cook. But I can make an effort. Move more fresh fruits and veggies (ick, ick, ick, I can’t believe I’m saying it) into the diet. Learn to cook beans, breads and, maybe, meat. I hate cooking meat. I’d much rather leave that to experts. Avoid fast food. I’m not going to suddenly be Lola Granola. But I can take baby steps.

And part of the process is going to be making deals with myself. What counts as processed foods? If it comes in a box, does that mean it’s off limits? What about what goes into making what’s in the box? What about apple sauce cups? I LOVE apple sauce cups. White rice has only one ingredient, but it’s been screwed with so much that it has no nutrients or fiber. Baby carrots in the bag are just whittled down regular carrots. Does the fact that they’ve been cut down mean that they’re “processed”? I could actually get a real carrot and cut it up. The fresh bread at the Tom Thumb is made by hand, but has tons of fillers and short-cut ingredients. If I’m in a restaurant, do I have to grill the waitress on exactly what goes into the salad dressing?

It’s complicated. I’m going to have to spend a lot of time thinking about food. Eating food, I love. Thinking about food, not so much. This is going to be a journey. I’m hoping by Easter, I’ll have a good idea of what I can and can’t do. And have some idea about what the healthier diet is going to look like.

And last night, as I was researching ways to keep myself from starving, because one simple way to not eat processed foods is to just not eat much, and I’m not okay with that, I decided that if this is the right thing to do, and I’m going to do it anyway, I might as well start now. Slowly! Slowly. I’m going to start not replacing my convenience foods as I run out. And I’m going to start wedging in healthier foods, and hoping that they’ll start to push the convenience foods out. So, by the “official” start, I should be well on my way.

Not to say that I won’t go whackadoodle and eat Twinkies and tequila (oh, poop. I hadn’t even thought about booze yet) until I pass out on Mardi Gras. But isn’t that really what Mardi Gras is for?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In Memoriam

Miep Gies has passed away. For me, she was important less for having helped hide Anne Frank and her family than for thinking that it was just an ordinary thing to do. She did not see herself as a hero.

On the one hand, yes, she risked her life. That’s big, dramatic, epic. On the other hand, many of the things that she did were so small, yet so significant. Gathering supplies by traveling all over Amsterdam, finding small gifts for the people in the annex room so that they would know that though they were hidden they were not forgotten, saving a teenager’s diary so that when she came home from the camps she would have something of her own, giving a bereaved father a place to live after his daughter did not come home from the camps,. Any of us could have refused those simple things. I’m too busy, I don’t have enough money, I have to take care of my own family. I’m too small. I’m not a hero. But really, we are more powerful than we know. All we have to do is try.

And it’s such an important idea – how much simple power every human has. Anyone can stand up to hate. Anyone can refuse intolerance. Anyone can help another person in need. We don’t need to be brave as heroes. Just a little brave. Just as brave as Miep Gies.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I'm a sucker for a boy with wings

Okay, I’m seeing this movie based on the movie poster alone. I’m actually quite shocked that I wasn’t aware of this one previously. And I’m trying to forgive you all for not keeping me informed of this kind of development. Even if it was on a need-to-know basis, this is something I NEED TO KNOW. He has BLACK WINGS.

And seriously, who knew Paul Bettany was packing? Yowza. Touché, sir. I underestimated the threat you posed.

Angels with guns, oh, my. I’m going to have trouble concentrating for the rest of the day. That list of movies just keeps on growing.

Welcome to the Imaginarium

So, I went to see The Imagninarium of Dr. Parnassus on Friday. I made a point of not inviting anyone along. One, because I just was not in the mood to jump on my cutting pony with my best dog Boo and do the amount of wrangling it takes to get even one person to a 7:30 show. Who’s had dinner? What’s close? No, I’m not going to see another movie. I swear it’s like herding cats sometimes. And I just wanted to enjoy a Friday night at the picture show.

The other reason I didn’t invite anyone is because it’s a Terry Gilliam movie. Either you’re a fan or you sit there for the entire movie wondering what the hell is going on and hating the person who dragged you to this insanity. I’m a fan. And I especially wanted to see this because when I went to see The Brother’s Grimm, I spent the entire film wondering if Heath Ledger was the only one who had been told that they were making a Terry Gilliam film (the idea that Gilliam may have directed the entire movie in disguise is not entirely unbelievable, and would actually make a pretty good premise for a Terry Gilliam film). Anyway, I wanted to see what they’d come up with on a second try.

And well, of course, poor Heath.

Is it the perfect Terry Gilliam film? No. I’m not entirely sure that the internal logic is completely consistent. The special effects are disconcertingly uneven in quality. Some lead to images that are just enchanting (I particularly liked the ladders to the sky and the floating monks). And others are so hokey they just throw you right out of the movie. Is it a good Terry Gilliam film? Yes. He is one of the few filmmakers working now who deals with the big issues: life, death, love in all its forms, art, honor, good vs. evil. And even dealing with those giant issues, he still keeps a lunatic sense of humor. Gilliam is willing to really reach stretch himself way, way out there trying for that brass ring. Yes, I’ll admit, in this instance he failed. But it is still an impressive leap.

And everyone from start to finish is most certainly aware that they are in a Terry Gilliam film. The performances are wonderful. The use of the other three actors (Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Ferrell) to fill in after Ledger’s death comes off seamlessly, and is one of those instances in art where (not to get to film snobby, but) improvisation yields something that you could never have imagined, but reveals a new layer in the story. The interplay between Christopher Plummer and Vern Troyer is incredible. Gilliam may have found his new muse in Vern Troyer. And Tom Waits as the Devil. Obvious, yet genius. And alas, poor Heath. We really did lose a very fine actor there.

In the end, the movie was like being at a carnival. So many sights and sounds and amazements, you may not be entirely sure just what exactly you saw. And as the credits rolled, I momentarily wondered what would happen if James Cameron and Terry Gilliam collaborated on a movie. It would certainly cost a billion dollars. And there would be an equal possibility that either they’d create an utter, embarrassing, career immolating fiasco or something blindingly brilliant. If they didn’t kill each other in the process.

TIME: Quotes of the Day