Monday, May 26, 2008

Nice Work If You Can Get It

Ash and I are in his hometown overnight, on our way to a wedding in Defiance, Ohio. The groom is his best friend from high school, who also stood in our wedding. Ash is his best man, and I'm really looking forward to dancing with him all night, as we didn't get to at our own wedding.

This morning, we got up at 5 a.m. so that we could visit his father before he left for work, since we'll be gone by the time he gets home and we may not get another chance to see him before next Christmas/ Thanksgiving*.

It was a nice but short visit, though we only got to see his dad, and not his sister (who grunted when Ash's dad tried to wake her up, and promptly went back to sleep) or his stepmom (who was busy getting ready for her own early workday). I did, however, get to share some special time with their very adorable cat, who was good and wound up, and took a good nip at me just for the fun of doing it, then ran crazed circles around the living and dining rooms, jumping on random things and pretending to scratch stuff.

After we left his dad's house, Ash and I made a little trip to Tim Horton's. Having spent two years living in the City of Light, I have more than a passing familiarity with Timmy's, and I can't say that I've ever understood the adulation for this chain, and especially for it's coffee, that I encountered everywhere I went. I mean, it's not bad, it's just nothing to write home about. Ash, like others who grew up in Timmy's sway, loves the place. Once we had consumed 8000 calories a piece in fat and sugar, we took our coffees and stopped at a park where Ash used to come and feed the ducks with his dad.

Apparently, this park has undergone a major renovation, and according to Ash, it's not for the better. There were only a handful of ducks around, including this fine fellow:

There were also lots of little signs posted, telling us that feeding the ducks is Evil. It makes them sick! And they become dependent on humans! And they get eaten by predators! Now, I am certain that these things are true, and it may be for the best that people don't feed the ducks at the pond. But. A) The tone of the signs was "If you feed the ducks, the terrorists win!, and B) Each sign ended with a phrase like "Enjoy the waterfowl responsibly!", which made me want to laugh for some reason.

Being disgusted with the changes in this park, Ash took me back to a park I'd visited with him once before.

On our previous visit, it was wintertime, and we were freezing, and it was dark. The highlight of that visit was the discovery of a piece of graffiti that read "This town is ours bitchs", which has since occasioned many choruses of "Bitch-S!" in our house ever since. This time, it was sunny and cool, and everything was just bursting with life.

Remember that scene in Office Space where Peter is talking about how back in high school, your guidance counselor would ask you what you would do if you had a million dollars and didn't need to earn money, and whatever you answered, that's what you're supposed to be? If we won enough money that we didn't need to work ever again unless we wanted to, do you know what I would do? This:

* The holiday schedule has not yet been negotiated.
** He's declawed, so it's all for show.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

That Movie Post That Everyone Else Did Three Months Ago

Citizen Kane (1941)-- Listen, I know this is supposed to be the best film in the history of films. But I can't say that I really enjoyed it when I saw it. At all. I guess I am just a total philistine.
2. The Godfather (1972)-- I did consider bolding this one, but the truth is that I've never actually watched it from start to finish. I've just seen a bit here and a piece there so many times on AMC that it seems that I must have seen the whole movie by now.
3. Casablanca (1942)-- Ash and I saw this together on the big screen, which was a really fantastic experience. I loved the moved so much.
4. Raging Bull (1980)
5. Singin’ In The Rain (1952)-- I remember liking this movie very much when I was in high school, but I haven't seen it since then, so I am not sure whether I loved it because it was a good movie, or because I was completely obsessed with musicals.
6. Gone With The Wind (1939)-- Hulio loves this movie. I cannot make myself sit down and watch it.
7. Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
8. Schindler’s list (1993)-- After my grandfather's funeral, I went back to my apartment alone. My roommate was in classes, and I sent Finbar away so that I could be by myself. I put this movie in the VCR, operating on the theory that I needed to cry, just let it out, find some catharsis. This movie will forever be entwined with that memory for me. The book is just as devastating, maybe even more so, because it's more complex and layered than the movie.
9. Vertigo (1958)-- I haven't seen this. In fact, I'm not sure that I've ever seen any of Hitchcock's movies, including Psycho
10. The Wizard Of Oz (1939), unless you count seeing clips of the movies on television.
11. City Lights (1931)
12. The Searchers (1956)
13. Star Wars (1977)-- Yes, of course, and like every other kid my age, I spent hours playing Star Wars with my friends, hitting each other with plastic lightsabers until our mothers took them away. Though truthfully, it was actually Return of the Jedi that lured us into the Star Wars universe.

On an unrelated note, I reviewed a contract between my company and George Lucas several months ago. Yes, that George Lucas. I also once reviewed a contract between my company and the Queen of England. It was great, because the introductory stuff included her full title, which was a couple of lines long. Sometimes my job is fun.
14. Psycho (1960) Furthermore, I'm not sure that I want to see this movie, as I do love a nice shower, or a long soak in the tub, and I don't want to spend the entire time jumping every time the cat wanders into the bathroom.
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)-- This is one that I'm really torn over. On the one hand, I want to see it because it's iconic, blah blah blah; on the other hand, it looks really boring. Also, I already know the ending, because, well... it's so iconic. Kind of like The Sixth Sense.
16. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
17. The Graduate (1967)-- Like the Godfather, I've seen most of this movie, but never all the way from start to finish, and never on purpose.
18. The General (1927)
19. On The Waterfront (1954)
20. It’s A Wonderful life (1946)-- The older and more sentimental I get, the more I love this movie.
21. Chinatown (1974)
22. Some like It Hot (1959)
23. The Grapes Of Wrath (1940)-- My tenth grade English class watched this, but I have almost no memory of it. This is one of my very favorite books, just in case you were wondering.
24. E.T. The Extra-terrestrial (1982)-- My parents took my sister and I to see this at a drive-in. I remember the pink fuzzy flannel pjs with feet on them like it was yesterday, and I also remember how my Dad bought us Twizzlers because we didn't like the popcorn.
25. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)-- This is, in my opinion, one of the best movies ever made, as well as one of the best books ever written.
26. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
27. High Noon (1952)
28. All About Eve (1950)
29. Double Indemnity (1944)
30. Apocalypse Now (1979)
31. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
32. The Godfather Part II (1974)-- see, The Godfather, above. Same comments apply.
33. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)-- No, no, no. God almighty, I hate Jack Nicholson. Also? I bought the book while I was on the Great Bad Girl Road Trip of 2001, during a long stretch of the South where I could not find a copy of Time or Newsweek anywhere, no matter how hard I tried. And despite the lack of reading material back then, and despite my curiosity about this cultural icon, I have never been able to read it, even after multiple attempts. It finally went to Half Price Books a few months ago.
34. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)-- This was the first movie I ever saw in a movie theater. My dad took us after Sunday morning church, but before we left the church parking lot he told us we were going somewhere awful. I can't remember where he told us we were going, but I do remember that when we got to the theater parking lot, my sister and I started to cry hysterically, and kept crying, even after we walked around to the front of the building where we could see that it was the movies, not somewhere horrible, and even after we bought the tickets, and even after multiple attempts by both my father and my mother to convince us that it was just a joke, that we were really there to do something fun. I bet my mother really wanted to kill my father when all the crying started, and I bet my father was totally bewildered over the hysterics. He probably imagined that we would only be excited to find out that we were getting a special treat, not that we would focus on what he originally said we were going to do.

Still, I had fond semi-memories* of the movie until it was released on video years later and I saw it again, and I swear I totally wanted to smack the crap out of Snow White and her breathy voiced wishy-washiness. What total tripe.

35. Annie Hall (1977)
36. The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
37. The Best Years Of Our lives (1946)
38. The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948)
39. Dr. Strangelove (1964)-- One of Finbar's mother's favorite movies, I've seen this often enough that I ought to have it memorized. But I don't like it enough to devote the brain cells to it, and I don't dislike it enough to end up remembering it out of pure hatred.
40. The Sound Of Music (1965)-- Every. freaking. Easter. My father, surprisingly enough, loves this movie. I was very excited to recognize some places in Salzburg when I was there, though I never considered taking one of those Sound of Music tours. It also totally blew my mind that none of my new German friends had ever heard of the Sound of Music. I spent a lot of time trying to explain to people, most of whom just humored me out of kindness.
41. King Kong (1933)
42. Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
45. Shane (1953)
46. It Happened One Night (1934)
47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
48. Rear Window (1954)
49. Intolerance (1916)
50. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)-- On opening day. In a packed theater full of nerds, one of which was Finbar. It was a perfectly fine movie, I suppose, but so effing loooong, and I came within a hairsbreadth of strangling the two high school boys with the fake elf ears who kept kicking the back of my seat-- accidently, it should be said; they were just so excited about some stuff that they couldn't seem to control their limbs properly. I've also seen most of the second one, once when Ash and I were sick at the same time, beached in our bed with nothing but the cable tv to entertain us.
51. West Side Story (1961)-- Loved this one, too. See, I told you I was totally into musicals. I always wanted to play Anita in some summer stock production of West Side Story.
52. Taxi Driver (1976)
53. The Deer Hunter (1978)
54. M*a*s*h (1970)-- Never seen the movie, but the book was pretty good. Is this turning into a theme yet?
55. North By Northwest (1959)
56. Jaws (1975)-- Oh, man, my best friend in elementary school and I were scared to death of this movie.
57. Rocky (1976)-- Yes, and also several of the sequels, all in an attempt to keep up with the boys at church and not to be seen as a Stupid Girl.
58. The Gold Rush (1925)
59. Nashville (1975)
60. Duck Soup (1933)
61. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
62. American Graffiti (1973)
63. Cabaret (1972)-- No, but I did use the title song as my audition piece for awhile, to much success.
64. Network (1976)
65. The African Queen (1951)
66. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)-- The fact that this is not bolded right now is one of the great sources of despair for Ash.
67. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
68. Unforgiven (1992)
69. Tootsie (1982)-- Yes, several times, and yet, and yet, when this was one of the categories at Pub Quiz, I could not answer most of the questions. Neither could any of the rest of our team, even though we'd all seen the movie.
70. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)-- I was so traumatized by the D-Day scenes in this movie that I literally did not sleep for several days afterward. But the rest of the movie is wonderful.
72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)-- The fact that I hate this movie is another source of despair for Ash
73. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)
74. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)-- The movie was pretty good, but I saw it after I read the very very very very creepy book, which I loved. The sequels/ prequels were increasingly terrible, to the point where, after I stayed up to finish Hannibal, I ended up continuing to stay awake to read it again because I was certain that I'd missed something the first time that would have made the ending make some sense, then being so pissed off that I threw the book in the garbage. Let me tell you, I'd have to be pretty pissed off to throw a book in the garbage instead of putting it into the "sell to Half Price" pile
75. In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
76. Forrest Gump (1994)-- I saw this with a high school friend back when we were both working at K-Mart together. I was in Layaway, he was in Electronics, and we usually had time to kill on our hands, so we would call each other on the store phone. In order to make it look "legit" if a strict manager was on shift, we would page the other's department. After seeing this movie, Mike developed a fantastic Forrest impression, and would always page me as "Jenn-ay, please dial EEE-lek-tronics, Jenn-ay".

And I know that it's not cool anymore, but I love this movie beyond all reason and will bawl my eyes out by the end.

77. All The President’s Men (1976)
78. Modern Times (1936)
79. The Wild Bunch (1969)
80. The Apartment (1960)
81. Spartacus (1960)-- This was one of the movies that my 12th grade U.S. Government teacher showed during class, in lieu of actually teaching. I'm so glad that I had to come back to my U.S. high school to get that half credit of U.S. Government, instead of being allowed to graduate after 11th grade when I had all of my other credits completed and was leaving on a fairly prestigious exchange scholarship.
82. Sunrise (1927)
83. Titanic (1997)-- I may be the only woman in my age group in the Western World who has not seen this movie. It is, however, responsible for the development of my extreme aversion to Celene Dion.
84. Easy Rider (1969)
85. A Night At The Opera (1935)
86. Platoon (1986)
87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
89. The Sixth Sense (1999)-- As I explained above, there would seem to be no purpose to seeing this movie now.
90. Swing Time (1936)
91. Sophie’s Choice (1982)-- see M*A*S*H, above.
92. Goodfellas (1990)
93. The French Connection (1971)
94. Pulp Fiction (1994)-- You know, I really liked Reservoir Dogs, but I didn't think this movie really lived up to the hype.
95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
96. Do The Right Thing (1989)
97. Blade Runner (1982)
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
99. Toy Story (1995)-- Pixar is so awesome.
100. Ben-hur (1959)-- Another annual Easter phenomenon in our house growing up. Ah, the chariot scene. So classic. Love the cars in the background.

Maybe I should see more movies. There's not a lot on this list that's bolded.

* After all, I was only about five at the time, maybe six. My memory isn't that clear.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Things I Am Excited About Right Now, TV Version

I didn't realize this was out already-- and just now, I've discovered that Season 3 is about to come out, too!

I am torn between so-excited-I-could-just-spit and dreading-the-inevitable-ruin-of-the-best-reality-show-ever over this. The bit about simplifying it has me quite worried. There's more than enough utterly insipid crap on TV, ABC!

And right now, I am watching the M*A*S*H series finale, which I have always wanted to see, but have never once caught on re-runs.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Interviewing Skillz

I don't often watch TV in the mornings. I may have mentioned this before, but I am really not a morning person. I prefer to stay under the nice warm covers as long as possible. In fact, there are times when I stay under the covers longer than is really advisable, since I am a lily-livered fool who finds it difficult to appreciate the action-consequence connection before coffee and at least a half hour of being both conscious and upright simultaneously. But springtime is unpredictable, weatherwise, in this neck of the woods, so I find that, even if I checked the weather the day before, it's often advisable to flip on the Weather Channel and wait for the Local on the 8s to come along.

As it happens, the next channel up from the Weather Channel rebroadcasts the local morning news, and the next channel up from that is CNN. So, some mornings, when I'm waiting for the weather to come along, I flip between these three channels, watching a few minutes of this, a few seconds of that, until I find out what direction my wardrobe should go. So this morning, I witnessed this little gem of a human interest-y story, about a baker somewhere-- California? Oregon? I missed the introduction to the story, so I'm not sure-- who has decided to try and grow his own wheat in an effort to cut his costs, in light of the rapid rise in flour prices over the past year.

At the moment that I joined the story, the interviewer asked the baker what the tipping point was for him, what made him decide to do this. The baker said something to the effect of Well, the price we've paid for flour has increase threefold over the past year-- TRIPLED!-- and we'd been talking about this for a while anyway. As you know, we're an organic bakery... hard to find the flour to begin with... etc, etc. Seems like a possible solution, and we're very attracted to the community aspect of the project, too. (Apparently some of their customers/ friends/ neighbors are going to help by planting some plots of wheat on their own land, which is kind of cool.) The interviewer was kind of going "uh huh, uh huh" while he was talking, and when he came to the end of his thought, she kind of looked down at her desk, as though she'd gotten caught not paying attention in class and was hoping to find the answer to the question the professor just asked magically written there...

and said "So, your costs doubled, then?"

The baker fixed her with a beady eye and said "No. They tripled." He didn't actually say "Jackass", but the tone of his voice definitely implied it.