Friday, February 29, 2008

Old Habits

Specifically, getting-old habits. I just saw The Family Stone on HBO. I know, so last year, literally. I won’t bother reviewing, bottom line, I give it a C, for cable-waitable, though the point is moot since it’s no longer in the theaters. They packed a lot of nice diverse characters and plot points, but the journey and end were predictable (though I will confess my eyes welled up at the final tableau).

The one thing that is sticking from that movie was when Rachel McAdams’ character remarks on Sarah Jessica Parker’s character’s irritating “throat-clearing tic” she would do when she was nervous. While we were watching, Paul remarks, wow, you do that, it’s kind of maddening.

Well, point taken : I’ve noticed that I’ve been doing a lot more throat-clearing but it’s not a nervous thing, it’s a getting-old thing. Like I'm just more phlegmy in general. I clear my throat in the morning. I clear my throat after coffee with a lot of half-n-half. I clear my throat if lounging in some obtuse angle for a while watching tv.

Sooo, as I get older, will I get even phlegmier? Will I be like those old dudes on the streets of New York who would hawk a loogey on the corners or air hank in the gutter? Ech.

And that's not the only thing. A long single whisker makes an appearance on my chin every other moon. I pass out in front of the tv on the couch if I'm not upright. I wave my fist at these young punk drivers on the road. I often start sentences, "when I was young..." I wake up with a sore back because I've spent the last 7 hours vigorously sleeping.

Anybody else getting older and grosser/more annoying/lamer?

Or is it just me?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A good read

Here's a pile of stuff I've started reading:

Here's what I've been actually reading:

Man, I am so hooked.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Who knew?

- Who knew that Bourne Ultimatum would kick a$$ in the post production awards?
- Who knew there wouldn't be the sentimental vote in the actress categories? Maybe because those ladies won other awards already...
- Who knew Helen Mirren had such a smokin' bod? That red dress was total wowee wowee.

Other questions:
- Did anyone else want to throw up at the sight of the guy with the chili & cheese beard in the Carl's Jr chiliburger commercial?
- What's up with the creepy MasterCard commercial with that dude's "searching" eye?

Last thoughts:
- All those "Enchanted" songs up for Original Song...really? All three?
- Watching the Javier Bardem's clip for Best Supporting brought me back. We don't really hear his character speak until that scene and between the conversation and the timbre of his voice--you are riveted. The actor who shared the scene with him was also perfect--who didn't know exactly what was going through their minds?
- You know the joke, if you're one in a million, there's a thousand of you in China? I can't help but think that Marion Cotillard is Leah Remini's French twin sister.
- Ugh, my worst year--only 14 right out of 24 categories. Good thing I didn't do any pools this year. Well there's always next year...

Happy Oscars everyone!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2008 Oscar Picks

Where have I been? I totally meant to post these sooner. These are my predictions (though not necessarily what I believe should win):

Best Picture: No Country for Old Men (I did like this film, but I feel Atonement deserves it)
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Best Actress: Julie Christie, Away from Her
Best Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men
Best Supporting Actress: Ruby Dee, American Gangster (I think this will be a Paul Newman/Color of Money award--more a nod to significant lifetime body of work)
Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody, Juno
Best Adapted Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Best Director: Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Best Documentary Feature: No End in Sight
Best Documentary Short: Freeheld
Best Foreign Language Film: The Counterfeiters
Best Animated Feature: Ratatouille (everyone loves Pixar!)
Best Art Direction: Sweeney Todd
Best Cinematography: There Will Be Blood
Best Film Editing: No Country for Old Men
Best Original Score: Atonement
Best Original Song: "Falling Slowly", Once
Best Costume Design: Atonement
Best Makeup: La Vie En Rose (though it would be hilarious to see Pirates or even better, Norbit win)
Best Animated Short: I Met the Walrus
Best Live Action Short: At Night
Best Visual Effects: Transformers
Best Sound Editing: There Will Be Blood
Best Sound Mixing: Transformers

Off to watch the Oscars!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Because we sure didn’t get to see a Total Eclipse of the Moon!

Tonight was the Big Lunar Eclipse--the last one until 2010. I saw the clouds clearing in the afternoon—so I raced to pick up the girl after work but by the time we got home there were huge wads of clouds in the sky. We wandered outside for a while. She had a sack of goldfish crackers and I had a sack of Trader Joe’s Honey Sesame Cashews.

I thought the sky had that promised vague orangey tinge behind the clouds, but that was probably wishful visualizing on my part. We bumped into other people also futilely hoping to catch a glimpse of the eclipse. One couple claimed to see the start of the lunar eclipse between two clouds. Snort. Show-offs.

We went home deflated as our empty snack sacks.

Well, there’s always 2010.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Feeling a bit guilty

Exhibit A:

This is an 8" marzipan cake from Gelson's. I guestimate that it is approximately a thousand calories per sliver. It was gone in 24 hours. We are a family of 3. That's counting the 8-year-old.

I'm not even going to mention the heart-shaped cheesecake we acquired on Sunday. Which is just about gone too.

Exhibit B:

This is my new page for Elise Blaha's Paper Adventure. It is for week 6--the theme was Color. My personal connection is to bright, rich, moody, passionate colors. I don't connect well to pastels or neutrals. Like Beige. You say beige, I say cage. Anyone else feel this way?

Anyhoo, as the Paper Adventure is on week 8, I've fallen behind. Again.

Guilty? Oh yes. Not to worry, I'm still trying. I'll catch up. As long as my gallbladder doesn't give out first.

Monday, February 18, 2008

hubba, hubba

Happy Birthday to Paul who rocks my world. Like he rocked the model paint when he was 12. (BTW, it's NOT non-toxic and he highly does NOT recommend application to your face...or your skin...or any other organic matter).

He shares his birthday with these other luminaries, according to the OC Register:

We'll be celebrating his birthday with buffalo burgers from Fuddrucker's, a marzipan cake from Gelson's, and a Lord of the Rings (extended versions!) marathon.

Sorry ladies, he's all mine.

Have a great President's day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day Suckers!

For those that know me well, they know that I boycott going out on Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.

Has anyone gone out to a restaurant on Mother's Day recently? I haven't, but the last couple of times I went, it totally sucked. Unless you think making a reservation for a block of time (what seating are you reserved for?), choosing from a prix fixe menu (sorry, we're not serving items from our regular menu, just the prix fixe--would you like the chicken or fish?) or the ubiquitous "Mother's Day Brunch Buffet", and then getting hustled out (here's the check, umm...we're getting ready for the next seating) doesn't suck.

No. I'm not bitter. I just think carrying a child for 9 months while fretting about not eating sushi, coffee, beer and not sleeping on my back, culminating in the physical equivalent of pooping out a watermelon, not to mention raising a decent, considerate, caring human being, deserves service and choices above those that usually require a hairnet, big ladle, and Sani-Gloves. At least on a holiday putatively acknowledging all that mothers do, pitching that we deserve to be treated like a queen and not feel guilty about anything we want to eat.

It's my experience that Valentine's Day has headed in that same direction. And calling it a "Prix Fixe a Deux" doesn't make it any better just because it's in French.

Anyhoo, despite my thoughts on going out on these holidays, we still celebrate them, just a day before or later. And we still make cards:
And we still do sweet things:

Have a good one folks!


By the grace of my friend's Netflix, I caught Chopper, Eric Bana's breakout movie in the States in 2001.

First, what I wouldn’t given for a subtitles/closed captioning option on this DVD. My ears couldn't always keep up with the Australian accent. Second, I hope if I ever get shivved multiple times by my best friend in prison, I take it as well as Chopper: (stab) What are you doing mate? (stab) What’s going on ‘ere? (stab) and so on for about 6 or 8 more pokes. Third, Eric Bana is great as Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read, the convict who wants to be notoriously known as the biggest bada$$ in Australia. We see not only the tough guy Read wants us to see but also the disturbed and paranoid egomaniac he cannot control.

How’s this for coincidence? Kate Beahan from “The Wicker Man” (which I just saw!) plays his girlfriend, Tanya. Tanya works in a brothel, which I would assume would have some inherent conflict and trust issues. That notwithstanding, Bana illustrates Read’s arrogance and mistrust when he gets violent with her because he suspects she’s cheating on him with someone he previously shot.

Considering I first saw Eric Bana in "Troy" as the lean and lethal Hector, it took me a while to realize this was the same actor playing Chopper...oh right, he looks like Hector if...Hector was bloated and shaved his head. Also, I loved how the 80’s were captured as this beefy cross between the Madonna "Get into the Groove" video and an Aqua Velva ad. I picture the stylist holding up Don Johnson's old suit from Miami Vice asking, does this come in a Husky?

Overall I give this movie a B-. You’re better off watching this on DVD so you can pause and rewind whenever you go, what was that? What did they say? What’s a Bobby?

Anybody else see this movie? Would love to hear your opinion!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My existential Valentine

My girl needed to decorate a shoe box for the valentine exchange in her class. I covered a shoe box with some paper that she picked out (Basic Grey and Sassafrass Lass in the house!) and then she decorated it further:

I loved how she painted the word "tough" on the side. Wow, to express the absurdity and alienation of Valentine's day so simply--who knew such existential thought would come from an 8-year-old. Alas, Velina corrected me--it actually spells "laugh". Not quite the next Simone de Beauvoir, but it'll do...for a 3rd grader.

getting out of the box

I love getting out of my safety zone and trying new stuff--hence a weekend of classes at the Oasis. First, I made my first acrylic album with Maria Grace. If people were the solar system, Maria Grace would be the sun. I took her class just to bask in her warmth and energy. Her project reflected her spirit, reflection, and colorful creativity. My friend Karen and I loved the class and Maria Grace, courtesy of Fontwerks, gave all of us the Ringo Starrs stamp--my new favorite!

The next day was an all day affair with Karen Russell, broken up with a trip to the Costco (am I really going to eat 4 lbs of grapes and 3 cantaloupes before they go bad?), with her Photography and Interactive Scrapbooking classes. Karen is ridiculously generous, honest, and sweet and just shares so much info. Loved her photography class--tried new things already and am itching for more info and new lenses! I had never done an interactive layout before and had to get my head around, per Karen, "not scrapping every picture" (!!!). My friend Veronica and I had a great time!

And last but certainly not least, I had an awesome time with Shimelle's Kill Your Television project. What a lovely, lovely young woman. I had a chance to chat with her and learned a few cool things about her: though she lives in the UK now, she's originally from Kansas City, Missouri, until last year she was an elementary school teacher, and...AND, she spent 5 years training to be an astronaut with NASA when she a young teen!

Isn't that wild and inspiring? She had gone to some space camp for kids and she was scouted by NASA for a special training program. Unfortunately for our space program, she didn't meet the height and sight requirements and was released after 5 years. Isn't there times you want to say, "hey, it's not Rocket Science, and I should know"... Well Shimelle can!
I don't know if it's the angle of the pix, but I look ginormous, like some female version of Andre the Giant or Bentley from the Jeffersons.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Boggling the mind

I had a great time at the classes at the Oasis! I'll post pictures and an absolutely fascinating fact about Shimelle later.

Right now, here's what's boggling my mind: Fool's Gold. #1 at the box office. Did none of those folks read the reviews? Everyone panned it. Patrick Walsh at Cinematical had a convincingly discouraging review and even summed up in his blog that it was as "compelling as a two-hour fart". Seriously, at over $10 a pop to see a movie, that was enough for me to spend that money more wisely on, say, Spam. And I'm a vegetarian.

The other thing boggling my mind: Epic Movie. Caught it on cable today. Most critics panned it but Owen Gleiberman at EW gave it a B-. Considering that and the cast included some of my favorite actors (Fred Willard, Darrell Hammond, Jennifer Coolidge, Crispin Glover), I wanted to chuckle. I'd be satisfied with some good ol' scatological humor, but ugh. Aren't spoofs supposed to be funny? Overaged, pregnant Hermione? Overly amorous Aslan (oops, that's Aslo here)? The White Witch is, wow, how clever, the White Bitch? And since when is "Click" considered an epic movie?

I hope I can sleep tonight...

Friday, February 8, 2008

Be Still My Heart

Today, as an awesome Christmas/Mother's Day gift from my sister and Paul, I got this:

I'm graduating from a point & shoot and taking Karen Russell's photography class at the Oasis tomorrow.

I'm going to take an Ali Edwards moment and say imagine the possibilities.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

UFC 81: Breaking Point

Most of my crafty friends probably don't know that this was me years ago, when I trained with Erik Paulson:

That's me on the right, less 5 years and 20 pounds of soft butter. Anyhoo, I'd love to start training again (or exercising period) but nowadays, my daughter's activities take priority and the commute to north county has worsened tenfold. Plus, truth be told, I'm much slower and softer, so it'd be a bit more painful. In the meantime, I still enjoy watching MMA (mixed martial arts) matches, especially when Erik is coaching, so last Saturday night's UFC 81 (where Erik coached Brock Lesnar) was an exciting one for me.

I won't bother reviewing the fights, play by play, but I do have some observations:

* Where is Big John McCarthy? I haven't seen him in months. I don't hit the MMA boards so if anyone has a clue--I'd love to hear it.

* Best Entrance music goes to Jeremy Horn with AC/DC's "Back in Black". Close second is Nogueira's "Gimme Shelter" by the Stones, though I do give props to Tyson Griffin jogging in with "Eye of the Tiger".

* I still think that the Joe Rogan/Mike Goldberg combo is such a key to UFC's success. Rogan's ability to translate specific fighting locks, strikes, etc. into layman terms combined with his excitement and respectful knowledge of the fighters' skills make for great commentating. Mike Goldberg, with his sports emcee cadence and friendly humor, complements Rogan well. I love/hate how his sportscasting experience won't allow any bout of silence and he'll often break them with comments like, "How good was it to have Rocky at our last UFC?"

* Still love an upset - Tim Boetsch's surprise beatdown of David Heath marked him as a contender, especially considering he took the fight 10 days before Saturday night. Unfortunately, Rob Yundt didn't fare so well taking the fight against Ricardo Almeida 3 days before Saturday (and got choked out in about a minute in the first round).

* Talk about "damning with faint praise": acknowledging prolific fighter Jeremy Horn as "still standing and still relevant" to the UFC. Taking a fight on short notice with Nate Marquardt, Horn came close to a submission via Omo Plata but eventually succumbed to a standing guillotine. Maybe stealing Seth Rogan's hairdo from "Knocked Up" was the lucky move for Marquardt...

* Lesnar's loss to Mir with an ankle lock was a huge surprise to me given that those are Erik's specialty. Erik has a ridiculously encyclopedic knowledge of leg locks... I did giggle when Lesnar referred to Mir as Frank "Murr".

* Poor Kyle Bradley. They are going to be replaying that footage of the ref stopping the fight and Kyle blindly putting the ref in his guard for a while...

* Nogueira. Love the comeback within a fight. Got a little worried when his face was getting puffier than mine gets in the morning after a hard night of beer, anything with more than a grain of salt, and a screening of the Joy Luck Club. But he pulled through...

* Nakamura v. Emerson. Shouldn't lightweights at least be fast? Ugh--fell asleep during the fight! I don't even know who won.

I welcome any feedback--

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I'm Not There

Unfortunately this is not about the famed Bob Dylan biopic, but my state of mind while whammied by this annoying cold. It's apparently a bug that was in full force in December and the girl and I caught it on its way out. I woke up with a sore throat on Sunday and was in and out of consciousness all day where I had this crazy dream that the Giants beat the Patriots in the Superbowl. Anyhoo, by the end of Sunday it deteriorated to an annoying cough.

Since I work holed up in an office, I figured I could go in Monday morning and spare folks my germs by warning them not to enter while I hammered on some spreadsheets. Though I hope I got the first part right, I was about as high functioning as a lump of clay with a photocopy of dazed visage crudely scotch-taped to the front. Besides the two pounds of glue in my head where my brain should be, I have this insane cough where I feel like I'm being beaten with a bag of oranges from the inside. I've been susceptible to horrible chest coughs ever since my smoking days (yes I quit) so I have these karmic coughing fits that just pack a wallop with me.

I crashed on the couch after work and pretty much passed out from 8pm to 2am, vaguely coherent as the girl sat on the couch with me eating popcorn while Orangutan Island played on the tv. Unfortunately after another kidney-beating coughing fit, I haven't been able to fall back asleep. So here I am.

I caught the last 10 minutes of The Wicker Man with Nicholas Cage and Ellen Burstyn. I don't think I'm ruining it for those waiting for it to arrive in their next NetFlix by asking, wow, did the stylist hate Ellen Burstyn? To those who have seen it, you know what I'm talking about--her getup in the end with her free-flowing locks and free-loving muumuu topped with face paint that would get her screen time at a Colts game? Yikes--this kind of killed any desire to watch it from the beginning. Plus I know how it ends. If you loved this movie, I do welcome any advice to do otherwise.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Good day

So it turns out there are Others. Others who also dig Dymo almost as much as me. Cheryl and Rebecca each bought my spare Dymo Signmakers at the Oasis flea market today and I hope they dig them as much as I do! With the credit, I immediately spent almost all of it easily, including other stuff at the flea market. The purchase I'm especially pleased with wasn't a scrapbook supply but the cute painting above by Rebecca. Fortunately for those who didn't make it to the flea market today, she has an Etsy shop where she has her paintings and photographs for sale.

I can't wait for next weekend when I'm taking classes with Maria Grace, Karen Russell, and Shimelle at the Oasis. Talk about filling my creative well!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I recently saw The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, which was based on the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby of the same title.

First, if I have to hear another male reviewer remark on the copious female beauty in the movie I will just throw up. Yes, yes, I get it. It’s so French! Sexy French women who are mothers! Gorgeous speech therapists who could seduce you by reciting the alphabet! His beautiful impetuous much younger mistress! He was the editor of Elle! FRENCH Elle! Second, am I the only one who was reminded of Roman Polanski? Between Mathieu Amalric’s physical likeness, Polanski’s real-life wife (Emmanuelle Seigner) playing the devoted ex and mother of his children, both men’s reputations as playboys, and both infamously struck with life-changing tragedy, I couldn’t help but think the resemblance was on purpose. Third, does Julian Schnabel really need to wear those yellow-lensed glasses? No wonder Sean Young heckled him, drunk or not. I really can’t think how it improves his eyesight or blocks out dangerous UV rays (or even mild sunlight, for that matter). Which means, it’s a fashion choice. To which I ask, isn’t fashion supposed to be flattering? And finally, this movie is great.

The film opens from Bauby’s point of view as he awakens from a coma due to a massive stroke and discovers he is paralyzed entirely except for his left eye. This POV adeptly conveys the confinement of his paralysis and the resulting maddening frustration of his inability to communicate. In fact the expression of this stifling interior life was so effective, I nearly started to feel the need to claw out of my seat in the movie theater. Mercifully, the film moves out of this angle, revealing Bauby in his current “locked-in” state as well memories of his life before his stroke and flights of his imagination. The film has humor despite its protagonist’s situation and you can’t help but feel the triumph of a man who blinks out his memoir. The movie avoids a maudlin air by balancing his achievements with seemingly benign, everyday events that evince the exasperation of his incarceration. It also eludes deifying him, particularly in a painful scene where his devoted ex is translating his end of a phone conversation with his mistress.

Overall, I give it a B+. You won’t regret spending movie theater dollars on it and it’s worth seeing on the big screen. The cinematography is fantastic, Mathieu Amalric is great, and the overall direction is inspired.

Anybody else see it? Would love to hear any other opinions--