Thursday, December 26, 2002

I have a sore throut. I have sniffles. I had a fever all day yesterday and I feel shivery and weird. Jen has exactly the same thing, which is either amazing or a coincidence, since she came from Champaign-Urbana and is staying in Green Valley and I came from NYC and am staying in Tucson. How do diseases get around? Is it possible that we could actually have the same virus, or its cousin? I wonder.

It's sad. I had big big plans to do some hiking and some shopping, and maybe even go skiing and stay at my dad's mountain house. But no, I have been mainly laying in bed making disgusting phlegm sounds.

Well, my visit was partly motivated by the fact that my parents are selling the house I grew up in, and being sick and all, I've spent a lot of this week in the house, shuffling around and feeling sorry for myself. Major activities have included leaving glasses of water and used tissues all over the place, and taking hot showers in all the bathrooms. It's been very cozy and comforting.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Last night I had this dream in which I saw the movie Adaptation again, and the ending was totally different than it was the first time I saw it. In the dream, that was the big gimmick...that the movie was different every time you saw it. In the dream, that was the most brilliant thing I'd ever heard of.

In reality, I have such very very mixed feelings about that movie that I haven't been able to review it. I feel so terribly lowbrow for thinking the ending was stupid. I know that it was self-consciously stupid. I know that it was a statement about the "inevitable" stupidity of trying to put a dramatic ending on a movie that is so un-dramatically structured. But I have seen enough movies with stupid endings, I don't really feel like talking about how brilliant this particular stupid ending was. I really don't see any reason, if Charlie Kaufman is so damn brilliant that he couldn't have come up with an un-stupid ending to his movie.

This paragraph is going to be a spoiler, so don't read on if you would like the stupid ending to come as a stupid surprise. I think that after his twin brother died, the movie should definitely have reverted back to Charlie's writing style. That would have been a lot more satisfying in that way that coming full circle is satisfying, and it would also have been funny and added another layer to the layers of reality that made up the movie.

It is interesting that Adaptation is all postmodern and self-conscious about the exact problem that Carolyn and I had with Dirty Pretty Things. Directors definitely seem to be struggling to get out of the traditional narrative arc, but they aren't finding ways to end their movies that are in keeping with their experimental beginnings. I have to give big props to The Good Girl (possibly the best movie I saw this year) for maintaining it's sense of disaffected distance all the way to the logical finale. On the other hand, the second best movie of the year, Secretary, had the ending problem. Which is why it is only the second best movie of the year. (Speaking of Gyllenhaals, can there be a new Academy Award category for coolest brother-sister act in Hollywood? To go with the other new category, best performance by a Gollum?)

Friday, December 20, 2002

Gollum Gollum Gollum! Can that little bastard act or what?!
I just bought some pants that are rather larger than previous pants of mine. What has happened to my anorexic little ass? I am becoming old and lumpy. Also, I bought a jacket that is a size 2, so apparently I am deformed. A freak of nature with a shriveled upper body and bulbous lower regions. (Appealing, eh?)

There are only two options.

I can stop taking my medication, become horribly depressed and agitated, break up with Sascha, stop eating and spend all my time in a coffeehouse drinking coffee and chain smoking until my hipbones protrude from the surrounding flesh.

Or I could work out.

Oh dear.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Photos of New Kitty!

Facts about new kitty:
1. His name is Meyer Lansky.
2. He was born on Rikers Island.
3. He has grey stripes and yellow eyes and white feet.
4. He likes to jump on Maude and break things.
5. He is still scared of people.
6. Except when they are feeding him or playing with him.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I would like to express how very very much Maid in Manhattan sucked. But there are not words. However much you might think it would suck, it sucked ten times more than that.

1. Sexy Ralph Fiennes plays a Republican. Eww.

2. A Republican!

3. J. Lo looks like utter crap in her big Cinderella scene. She wears this hideous shiny peach colored lipstick and matching hideous pink dress that sort of mashes down her boobs so that they squirt halfway out the top. She has her hair pulled back so tight she can hardly blink, and somebody covered every inch of her with bronzer except, oddly for the area around her eyes and the bridge of her nose. So she looks like a raccoon in reverse.

4. Egregious product placement includes lascivious description of Harry Winston necklace, pathological devotion to white Dolce & Gabbana coat, compassionately conservative GOP love interest.

4a. In international news, the wife of the president of Syria wore the same D&G coat when she and her husband visited Tony Blair in London. Looks cute.

5. At no point does this movie ever acknowledge that it actually isn't very nice to borrow other people's stuff without asking.

6. Fat black lady dancing = comedy.

Monday, December 16, 2002

We have a new kitty. He lives in a box. I want him to come out of the box and play. He wants to stay in the box and stare. It's a standoff. Maybe I'll go on strike.
My magnets are being auctioned at Lots of other good stuff there too...go bid on something for a good cause.
No transit strike this morning, at any rate. They haven't settled their contract either, so it's all up in the air. It's starting to feel like a movie that is going on way past the point where it should have ended one way or another. Don't these union workers know anything about dramatic arc?

I'm just kidding, of course. I hope they get all the health insurance and human dignity they can handle. And I hope they get a big fat raise. It makes me a little sick to hear Pataki and Mayor Millionaire Bloomberg talking about how these are hard times for all of us, blah blah blah, when they are clearly not going to have to worry about finding affordable health insurance for their kids.
This is my post from 11:30 last night--for some reason I couldn't post it then.


I am on the edge of my seat waiting to find out if there is going to be a transit strike tomorrow. The seat I am on the edge of, by the way, is a very solid and elegant dark-wood desk chair from the 1940s. It is really practical and attractive looking. It also hurts my ass like I cannot believe. I need a cushion.

When I contemplate the transit strike I feel all thrilled and excited in the pit of my stomach. I know that it will mess up a lot of people's lives and cause inconvenience and misery. I am not going to enjoy getting up at 6 am. and walking ten blocks and waiting in the snow and standing on a crowded bus getting bus-sick for god knows how long. But there is an unpleasant little part of my brain that really likes chaos. Does that make me evil? If it does mean that I am evil, what can I do about it?

Sunday, December 15, 2002

You know, I used the word beautiful three times in the post below. I need a bigger vocabulary. Or a thesaurus.

Friday, December 13, 2002

This afternoon in the 51st Street subway station, there was this bowlegged white guy with a moustache and an acoustic guitar singing Against the Wind on the other platform. It was quite beautiful, and as he was singing, in the middle of the song, a black guy carrying a newspaper stopped in front of me and started singing harmony with him, across the tracks. It was unspeakably beautiful, and even after the newspaper guy walked away, the moustache guy kept singing louder and even more beautifully until the train came.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Just burst into tears in my boss's office, and blubbered all about how we don't get any training on anything and are expected to get it right the first time, and why can't they ever tell us how to do anything before we do it and I'm so stressed out and blah blah blah. Why do I think he would care? What is wrong with me? Why can't I just shut up and do my job, which I rather like and seem to be good at, and stop worrying about the little stupid hypocrises of corporate life?

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

This is an amazing invention. I am in awe of the simplicity of the idea, and the extent to which it will change people's lives.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

My favorite new show on the TV is Firefly. There are so very very many reasons to enjoy this show that I hardly know where to start, but in my opinion the best thing about the show is that they curse in Chinese! I think that is even better than the way the goodguys manage to be all hot and all sort of wholesome and freshly washed all at the same time. It is even better than the fact that one of the girls is loony in the head because she was abducted by the totalitarian government of the galaxy and they did things to her. Things! Horrible things! And not only that, but she is being tracked down by an infinite number of bounty hunters with impassive faces and businesslike suits and blue blue scary blue hands.

Also, all the characters dress like Han Solo and talk like Han Solo and fly around through space making wise cracks and fixing the bits of the spaceship that fall off sometimes like Han Solo. It is like a whole show full of Han Solo, and lets face it, Han Solo was very very cool.

Last Friday on Firefly they started up with the Chinese cursing and one of the guys said "blah blah blah Woda Pigu." Woda Pigu means "my ass"! Somebody said something in Chinese and I understood it! and it was "my ass!" That is really really great.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

This is the best line from today's paper: "By 1994 Leif Askeland was the chief engineer for Hasbro's Playskool division. One task there was to make sure that additions to Playskool's line of rocking Weebles figures would still wobble but not fall down."

I want to be a toy designer.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Carolyn and I saw Stephen Frears' new movie Dirty Pretty Things last night. I don't know what to say about it, except that if you are at all interested in how other people live, especially those poor foreign people that do all that car-parking and house-cleaning, you must go see it. Or maybe it doesn't really show how people like that live at all, because you know what? I wouldn't know. I am a rich American.

And even with all the grimness, the movie is really funny and surreal.

Audrey Tatou (the cutie-cute-cute girl from Amelie) plays a character who is abrasive and kind of hard to take. That is an interesting change of pace, but I was distracted from her good acting by her nose. Her nose is just so damn perfect. It glows.

An actor named Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the main character--an African refugee in London. He looks just like every cab driver/desk clerk/deli manager that you have ever not really noticed. Partly that is the costumes which are perfect. Sascha pointed out the other day that if we bought all of our clothes at the cheap-o department stores in Queens, we would look just like the recent immigrants from Mexico/Southeast Asia/Egypt who live in the neighborhood (except quite a bit whiter, obviously). Where do those clothes come from? Who designs them? Why don't they just design them to look like other cheap clothes - the ones at K-Mart and Target? They're not ugly, they're just slightly different - the pants are more pegged, the jackets are shorter, the sweaters have complicated swirly patterns in them, and there are some very strange looking polo shirts. Why?

Dirty Pretty Things made me think of how much I don't know about the world around me. I don't think it really anwered anything, it just pointed out that there are a lot of different kinds of people in the world, doing different kinds of things, and there is no way you can know about all of them.

UPDATE (12/5/2002)---Carolyn pointed out that there is a strange disjunction in the film between the first part, which is a very intense social commentary, and the last half-hour or so which is sort of funny and exaggerated. The second part made us wonder how seriously we should take the first part, and I think the movie lost something there.
Our pictures from Miami are up here. I think I am getting a little chubby and funny looking. And I seem to have a bit of a mustache. Fortunately I live in a Greek neighborhood so it shouldn't be too hard to find some hair removing goop. Or bleach. It will be a nice little project for me...Operation Mustache-Go-Bye-Bye.