Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in California

M & I are in California visiting C&L&M - we rented a cabin in the mountains around Lake Arrowhead and have been having a grand time the last few days. There's a bit of snow on the ground here, a great deck, gorgeous view of the lake. Cabin very cozy and has fireplace and out-of-tune piano to amuse us all. Yesterday morning we opened presents and was really fun to watch Little M unwrap and flip his lid. Otherwise we (I?) have been drinking a lot of wine, making lovely meals (xmas dinner: ham, cornbread stuffing, corn pudding and mashed potatoes followed by strawberry triffle [auth. British dessert] - sure, everything was white, but, it was delicious!) I'll post some pics later. Missed folks back home but numerous phone calls assured all are well. We're back to LA this afternoon and some sunshine and warm weather!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Last night we saw Avatar in X-3D (whatever that is). I was one of about 5 women in the theatre and probably also only one of about 5 who didn't cream my pants watching it. Look, I don't like James Cameron, he's a giant fuckwit and a major d-bag and this movie absolutely stinks of him. Exhibit A:
PLAYBOY: How much did you get into calibrating your movie heroine's hotness?
CAMERON: Right from the beginning I said, "She's got to have tits"...
Sure, Avatar has just about the coolest visual effects you've ever seen, but would it have killed them to put a decent story behind it? It goes like this, some US corporation has gone to a foreign planet to harvest their... get this... unobtainium and, metaphorically, what is clearly being acted out is the destruction of Native American populations by the settlers. The "noble savage" naturally has a closer relationship to the earth and their culture and knowledge is far reaching and more sophisticated than the settlers can even imagine. That's a story that's been told over and over again (by decedents of the settlers, mind you) and Cameron certainly doesn't bring anything new or interesting to the table and I have to wonder what his point is. And, knowing that he's a giant douchebag, I naturally assume his point has something to do with assuaging his massive white privilege. I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last to bring this up. Here's an article that spells it out rather eloquently:
These are movies about white guilt. Our main white characters realize that they are complicit in a system which is destroying aliens, AKA people of color - their cultures, their habitats, and their populations. The whites realize this when they begin to assimilate into the "alien" cultures and see things from a new perspective. To purge their overwhelming sense of guilt, they switch sides, become "race traitors," and fight against their old comrades. But then they go beyond assimilation and become leaders of the people they once oppressed. This is the essence of the white guilt fantasy, laid bare. It's not just a wish to be absolved of the crimes whites have committed against people of color; it's not just a wish to join the side of moral justice in battle. It's a wish to lead people of color from the inside rather than from the (oppressive, white) outside.

Also the lead actor's an Australian guy playing an American and he loses his accent all the time. And the eyes are gross. I've heard some people say it's a kid's movie, but it's definitely not. It's very violent. I wouldn't necessarily recommend not seeing it, but watch it with your brain turned on and ask a lot of questions.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

A bit of snow and some sudden cold (but not actually *that* cold) in Chicago and suddenly we're all in the holiday spirit! We're busy doing our part to revive the economy by shopping and traveling. Last weekend we went to Indiana to visit our families. For the first time ever, I had a cuddle with my nephew that was mutually satisfying. If he could talk, I think he would have said, "Take me away with you, Auntie K!" haha. All I could do was buy him the most expensive toy in the store and hope that someone tells him it's from his aunt and uncle.

Last night we went to M's office party - it was in a huge antique shop called Salvage One and we had a nice time, if not successfully mingling, then walking around the store and plotting the purchase of a Herman Miller vintage chair (if it could talk, I think it would have said...) I don't know if this is a wide-spread phenomenon - I also saw it at a party in Vegas - but... mashed potatoes in a martini glass? I am both captivated and repulsed. Speaking of, there were a couple of photo booths at the party and we took these Twilight-inspired pictures.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This weekend we saw the latest Wes Anderson movie - Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on a book by Roald Dahl. The film is shot in stop motion with little animal dolls. I think Anderson, like me, must have been fascinated by the stop motion films of our youth - I used to LOVE that stuff.

The story goes: Mr. Fox is an adventure-seeker and despite promising Mrs. Fox he would stop stealing chickens, he goes back for "one last job". Local farmers try to kill him and Mr. Fox and his friends and family have to go underground to escape. The plot is simple - what's fun is the characterization and the attention to detail you'll find in any Anderson film.

I'm sure it will be called twee and quirky, as if those are terrible things - my only complaint that it was a little too old-fashioned - I found the lighting/coloration really overly-orange/brown and, dare I say? Ugly? I thought it was a weird choice. It felt like, in the search for throw-back imitation, someone got stuck on the wrong end of the color wheel.

George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Jason Schwartzman were fabulous as the Fox family - there is some very funny dialogue and great language. All the characters use this phrase "What the cuss?" which M & I have been repeating ad nauseam ever since.

My favorite thing about the movie is that even though the characters wear suits and have little houses with furniture, they frequently "revert" to their wild-animal nature - they growl at each other and tear into their food like, well, foxes would. Ultimately what saves the Foxes and their friends is capitalizing on their strengths as wild animals. I couldn't help but think of that other not-quite-for-children-kid's-movie: Where the Wild Things Are. Must be something in the current cultural milieu that wants to see/embrace children acting "wild".
If you're interested in the creation of the movie, there are a couple of good articles worth reading:
Wild, Wild Wes from the Nov. 2, 2009 New Yorker
and an interview in the AV Club.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

OMG! New Moon!

Uhm, OMG. So, Sunday night? I went to see New Moon with my friends? And, it was totally awesome. I mean, the movie was so stupid it was ridiculous, but we had like, the best. Time. Evah.

I didn't write about New Moon on my book blog because, well, I could barely read that shit. In New Moon, Bella, dopy teenager, gets dumped by her vampire boyfriend CLEARLY because he thinks he's protecting her (from all the associated ills of dating a vampire) but she doesn't know it, and I believe that even we, the audience, are not meant to understand this very clear and outrageously obvious plot device. Bella spends a lot of time literally clutching her gut and moaning about the hollowness inside her. Then, for various reasons, Edward goes to Italy and tries to get his ass killed by the Volturi, who are like, "vampire royalty." And have British accents. For some reason. Meanwhile, Bella's bff is a werewolf, and he's like, totally in love with her.

Sounds like a really lame plot for a movie, right? It is! But, somehow, it's just about the funniest thing you'll ever see, and we all had a terrific time laughing our asses off at the slo-mo, shirtless, ridiculousness of it all.

You know, even though the Twilight series is just about the worst piece of trite, moronic literature to come out in a very long time, and I think that it is, yes, very dangerous to young women and if I were a dictator (one day!), I would have the books burned in the street - they've spurred some pretty hilarious and awesome writing and creativity. Here are some of my favorites:

Girls Just Wanna Have Fangs, by Sady Doyle

Thirty-Four Ways New Moon the Movie Is Better Than New Moon the Book

Frankly, I can't wait until the NEXT movie, the book-version of which I read approx. every 50th page. In it, even though Bella wants nothing more than to become a vampire so she can spend the rest of eternity with her vampire boyfriend, she's pretty skeeved out by the idea of marrying him. That's like, a little too much commitment.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Oh, my! What a weekend we had! I took the day off on Friday (I believe the appropriate term is "mental health day" and a much-needed one at that). Had coffee with a friend, did some sewing and relaxing, and then that night saw Margaret Atwood read from her new novel, The Year of the Flood. It was amazing. Then I stood in line and she signed my Handmaid's Tale while I effused. Dream come true.

Sat. we cleaned out our garage, did a little yard work (it was amazing weather this weekend in Chicago area - 70ish), then we went over to a friends house for pizza and Project Runway and a bizarre not-quite-horror movie called The Haunting of Molly [Something-or-Other].

Today we went on a bike ride in the Forest Preserve up to the Chicago Botanical Gardens. Oy! My aching toches. I think we rode about 15 miles. The gardens were lovely today, but everyone and their mother and their screaming child had the same idea, make it less of an idyllic stroll through the gardens and more of crawl through a roving mob of humanity. Oh, the teaming masses. How I detest them.

I'm sewing farm animals for some 2 year old twins that we're going to visit in NY next week - will post when I finish - think will be really cute. Here are a few pics from the gardens:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Trick or Treat

Had a really nice Halloween yesterday - we got a LOT of trick-or-treaters - I was afraid we were going to run out of candy and had to start rationing. One of the kids said "Happy trick or treat" to me, and made me laugh for the rest of the day.

We had a Halloween party with the theme "Your Childhood Nightmare" and our friends had some great costumes - have a look:

M almost went as Santa as well. And then our friend G. came in dressed as a creepy uncle and I said, "OMG! I almost went as an uncle too!"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Purchasing Tickets for Football Game

Me:  Hello, I'd like 4 tickets to Friday's game, please.
Her: Uhm, Friday?
Me:  Oh, I was thinking of Friday Night Lights.
Her: That's high school, college is on Sat.
Me:  OK then.
Her: I've got tickets on the 30 yard line and
Me:  Listen, I don't know from yard lines.
Her: These are the best I have.
Me:  What time should we pick them up?
Her: The gates open at 8.
Me:  What time does the game start?
Her: Eleven.
Her: No, in the morning.
Me:  Friday NIGHT Lights.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I never thought I'd be a fan of the zombie apocolypse genre (I wonder if anyone ever anticipated it becoming an actual genre), but there are some great movies out there dealing with the undead who crave human flesh! My faves include Sean of the Dead, 28 Days Later and I Am Legend*.

Zombieland seems like a nice addition to the group and I quite enjoyed watching it. Jesse Eisenberg has made a nice transition from the horrible, unwatchable, awkwardness that was The Squid and the Whale into Adventureland and now Zombieland (both of which involve theme parks, what's up with that?) I think he's a very charming and likeable actor. How long he can milk his charming, virginal, nice-guy thing, I don't know.

Zombieland is fairly gross, in case you're wondering, and sometimes it really stressed me out because it glorifies violence in a sort of slow-mo heads-smashing way that's still really disgusting even if the person getting its head smashed is a zombie. But, it's also funny and actually has a good story. Woody Harrelson, who I usually find a little tiresome, is only slightly tiresome. V. funny guest star bit from Bill Murray.

* I know this one's technically vampires, but, come on.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Cover Me

This weekend a certain husband and I went to Rockville, Indiana to visit his granny and go to the Covered Bridge Festival. My parents drove over and we had a really nice time visiting with everyone. Trips to Indiana are alway full of surprises - something I find infinitely amusing is how many tiny little towns with crazy names there are - this weekend Tangiers and Montezuma were on our radar. Who came up with those names, long ago? I'd like to know.
I found a pile of religious tracks and was also given one (seemingly without irony) by my own mother. No matter, I laughed heartily at them all!
(Dad, this one's for you!)

Bit sorry to miss my hometown's Fall Foliage Festival (leave a report if you went!) - but, maybe next year!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Whip It

I scored a couple of pre-screen tickets to Whip It on Thursday (I've never had so much advanced-movie-viewing play my whole life!) and I really enjoyed it.

Whip It is Drew Barrymore's directorial debut and features a slew of terrific actresses: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, and Zoe Bell (a stuntwoman - check out Double Dare, it's awesome). It's about a young woman who joins a roller derby team. There's nothing revolutionary about the story, aside from the fact that the entire cast is about 90% women. At a time when women are becoming scarce characters in films, the sad but true fact is that watching this movie, with a bunch totally bad-ass women (that, here's the key: doesn't exploit them, but celebrates them), is a pretty rare event down at your local movie theatre.

If you ask me, there aren't nearly enough positive role-models for young women on tv or in the movies. Watching a movie where tough girls fall down and then get back up again nearly made me weep with joy. There are some awesome lines, like the one you probably saw in the trailer:
Bliss: You guys are like, my new heroes.
Maggie Mayhem: Put some skates on - be your own hero.
That - may I be so bold? - rings like a sounding bell for a new grrrl revolution.
I'd recommend seeing it with a gal-pal or a budding young feminist. The movie also inspired me to learn more about roller derbies - I'd like to watch a game for realsies. Here's the Chicago team - Windy City Rollers, and here's LA: Derby Dolls - check out the women's names, they're effing hilarious.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Last night M & I went to a pre-pre release of Where the Wild Things are at the Music Box theatre - it was a benefit show for 826 Chicago. It was very exciting because Dave Eggers was there and spoke about writing the screenplay, and then he brought out the kid who plays Max in the movie, and he was a cute kid, and people asked him dumb questions like, "Are you going to do more movies?" and he said - get this - "If the right project comes along." And then we watched the movie and afterward Spike Jonze and Catherine Keener spoke. Fancy, right?

As for the movie, I really enjoyed it. We are treated to a little back-story for Max and his family and (I can't imagine I'm ruining it for you) when Max journeys to the land of the wild things, it's a real visual treat. What comes across in the movie is the emotional fragility of the child - when Max is playing - one minute he's laughing like crazy, the next minute everyone's screaming and someone's crying. Oy, remember how that used to be?

The wild things throw rocks and trees when they play - Max is not only emotionally fragile, he's physically vulnerable. The wild things are dangerous, but they're innocent, like children, or the most immature adults you ever met. They quarrel amongst themselves and wear their insecurities on their uh, hairy gigantic sleeves.

It was beautiful, like watching a poem. I think if you're a big fan of the book, like I am, you'll be pleased. It doesn't try to recreate the book, but it very cleverly interprets it.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What to Watch

I finished a PBS documentary called Manor House that was filmed in England in 2001 (I think it was shown in 2002). It's a reality show where these people volunteer to live in an 1800 century Manor House, and some of them live as the "landed gentry" and the other work as the servants. It's a three month project, and it's pretty remarkable. The family that's chosen to be the temporary owners of the home are in hog heaven. I'm honestly not sure why anyone would have volunteered to be a servant - they literally must work for like 18 hrs a day, emptying chamber pots and lugging incredibly heavy things this way and that way. While the douche-y family talks about how special and pampered they feel, the servants downstairs are plotting the various ways they would like to murder them.

Something I find interesting is how it seems to be a natural inclination to assume that if we like, lived in another century, we'd be the owners of like, Versailles, but, it seems pretty likely that most of us schmucks would be the servants (if we're LUCKY!) The Manor House website confirms this for me with a lovely little quiz. I'm somewhat cheerfully informed: You are in Service in a Country House! AND! Not only that! But, apparently, I get PG out of wedlock and die alone in a work house. It told me that. For realsies.

If that's too erudite for you, you might enjoy Drunk History - a hilarious bit of comedy involving drunk people explaining historical events while actors like Michael Cera and Jack Black act them out. #3's my favorite.

And if even Drunk History requires too much thinking, may I offer you "Baby Dancing to Single Ladies"? You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pledge a Protester

A bunch of A-holes in St. Louis are planning 12 hrs long protests at a local Planned Parenthood, 7 days a week. They are focused on harassing the staff and patients of the clinic. In the wake of the murder of Dr. Tiller, I hope these people aren't able to pull any shenanigans. A lot of these groups are basically terrorists and I don't understand why they aren't treated as such.

I was very pleased to make a donation to a very cool program called Pledge a Protester. I detest what they do, and it makes me smile to think that because of one of them, I've made a donation (if only I could do it in their name!) to Planned Parenthood.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

11 years

Yesterday M & I celebrated our 11th year of marriage - not too shabby, right? We celebrated by taking a bunch of collage students to 6 Flags - not exactly our idea of a romantic day, but, alas, a seemingly unavoidable timing issue due to my job, the start of new school year and the 6 Flags schedule. Oh well, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and we'll go away for a weekend later to celebrate for realsies.

I haven't ridden any roller coasters for a long time and wasn't sure if it was still my bag, and was mildly distressed to find them outrageously terrifying. Why do we (by which I mean the Human Race) go to places like that? It's sort of ridiculous when you think about it. Well, whatareyougonnado? I just rode the rides and screamed my head off (M seemed to enjoy categorizing the types of screams - one he described as a "kind of keening"; another, "like a small animal being repeatedly squeezed.")

Here we are, 11 years ago:

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I get high with a little help from my friends

Having an alternately outrageously fun and recovery-heavy weekend. Friday night went out with friends and then had a late dinner with beloved brother-in-law who's in town for a gig. Last night we had friends over for Beatles Rock Band - that game is really fun. I'd recommend it to anyone who's like, even vaguely into the Beatles, but espec. aficionados.

I *like* the Beatles but I don't know that much about them. It's not unusual for me to hear a song and the radio and say, "Wow, that's great, who is that?" and then a certain husband gives me a look that can only be interpreted as Who is this strange woman I married? and says, "Uhduh. The BEATLES?!?!?!" with the same inflection you would use to answer someone who just asked what planet we lived on.

Anyway, I'm discovering a few songs that I didn't really know before that I really love - Two of Us? Awesome.

Did anyone catch Glee? That so show is SO GOOD. I espec. love Jane Lynch, who I have neglected to rave about for her role in Julie and Julia as well. As the sister of Julia Child, I thought Lynch and Streep had the most amazing chemistry and they were just so charming together. Their scenes together alone where worth the prize of admission. (But it made me miss my sister all the more...) That scene where they're having dinner and Julia points to her husband and says, "Well, that's! That's who I married!" -Kills me (think is same sentiment for certain husband re: Beatles and wife).

Anywho, good friends and good times have been hand in hand this weekend and despite the fact that M and I are still lounging around in our jammies nursing hangovers, I really couldn't feel any better.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Things to say

We had a really terrific weekend at my friend's lake "cottage". Our gang of friends went and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves playing games, gazing at the lake (the brave ones taking a dip) and drinking what might be considered a ridiculous number of margaritas. Actually, it was not as ridiculous as we anticipated because M&I wanted to take 100 limes, but, in the end we only took 64. If you don't know me, I have some kind of crazy compulsion/worry about not having enough food.

On the drive through Indiana my friend and I like to text each other. This is what she wrote to me:
OMG. Just saw a sign for 'Pumpkin Fall Fest' and my cell keeps having no coverage. We don't know where TF we are. We're going to be raped and mu [some text missing]

That's what it said, for realsies.

Something has been weighing heavily on my heart. Some time ago, perhaps rashly, I blogged about cat litter. I knew it would come to haunt me, perhaps sooner than this, but I must... I MUST SPEAK OUT! Loathe I was to admit my dad was right, but his prescient remarks in comments were all too true. Again, I quote verbatim:
And you can flush it down the toilet! Now that's Gross! I can't wait to hear about the drains of Evanston being clogged-up....Headlines of the news..."Kitty Litter Stops Up Drains"! Now that's a lot of kitty s_ _ _!

Not long after that ill-begotten post of April Ought-Nine DID our pipes begin to back up, and lo, were we forced to call the plumber and spend ungodly plumber-money having it fixed.+ Whether the back-up was due to the kitty litter, I cannot say for sure, but we don't dump it in the toilet anymore, we just do it the old fashioned way.*

+Now my conscience is clean!

*Bake it into cakes and feed it to our enemies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some movies I'm excited about

Here are a few movies that I'm really excited about. Links to trailers.

Whip It
In theaters: October 9, 2009
Directed by Drew Barrymore, starring Ellen Page, about girl roller derbiers? Yes, please!

Good Hair
In theaters: Oct. 9, 2009
A documentary starring Chris Rock about black women's hair. Also features Maya Angelou.

Where the Wild Things Are

In theaters: October 16, 2009
Directed by Spike Jonze
Co-written by David Eggers and in collaboration with Maurice Sendak - OMG, I'm pretty sure we can trust these guys. Right?

Fantastic Mr. Fox
In theaters: November 13, 2009
Directed by Wes Anderson - whatcha been doin', Wes Anderson? Oh, making this movie? With George Clooney? Ok, then!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jackson, WY

The last few days of our trip we stayed in a spa/hotel in Jackson - we had a lovely little luxury cabin and indulged ourselves with massages, soaks, and gourmet food.

Here we are at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar":

The Tetons

We camped and hiked in the Tetons. The best hike was back in Cascade Canyon. We saw gorgeous views, beautiful wildflowers, and tons of animals: bison, elk, prong horn antelopes, pika (at high-risk for extinction due to global warming *frownie face*), and mooses! (Meeses?)


M & I got back from our trip out west this afternoon. Have been doing that weird re-adjustment thing one does when they come home from a vacation. One of the first things we did was put ALL of our clothes in the wash - they were DIS-GUSTING. One pair of pants, I couldn't even bring home - I threw them in the trash, they smelled so bad. Hiking, camping... I tell ya...

We happened to catch Grand Geyeser going off - it only goes off once or twice a day and not regularly, like Old Faithful.

Here's M in front of the terraces at Mammoth - they were amazing, like another world. Nearby was a hot spring which fed into a river - we went for a soak there - it was so fun, the river was freezing, but this boiling water was puring into it. It felt delicious!

This was one of my favorite views - the repetition of these tall lodge-pole pines - so different than the forests I grew up with!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

When there's something strange...

Special husband has been playing Ghostbusters on PS3 recently and admitted that it's a bit boring. We're now watching the movie on dvd. I can't help thinking that if this movie were made today, it'd be amovie about like, the psychological consequences of containing ghosts - you know, to like take all these spirits and lock them in a vault. In any event, it's true that they just don't make songs to go along with movies like that anymore.

Last week I saw a lovely play at the Steppenwolf called UP by Bridget Carpenter. It's based partly on this guy and partly on this guy, but what I took away was that sad but true reality that you can't escape our socio-economic paradigm. Unless you like, move to a commune or something. Or buy a farm in Minnesota and live off the grid. I figure I'd last about three months on a farm.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

You scream, I cream

Over the weekend M & I went with some friends to an very interesting dessert shop - here's a pic of what it looked like (shamelessly stolen from my friend's fb):Those are classic KitchenAid mixers with metal tubs attached to them - at the other end - guess what? Friggin' liquid nitrogen. You order ice cream or yogurt flavorings, even color; they pour in cream and whatnot, turn on the juice, and a few seconds later, Bob's your uncle. Ice cream verdict: Not bad. Venue name (i cream): ick.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Funny Farm

Had a great weekend at my friend A's ancestral farm house in rural IL - just had the most fun hanging out on porches, playing games and chatting with everyone!

We went to an Amish quilt auction. Amish people make good donuts, but they are very strange AND they wouldn't sell me one of their bonnets.

We like to hug
When people leave, they have a cool tradition: ringing this old school bell!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Saw HP and the H-B Prince today. Wanna hear how lame I am? Wanted to go on Friday night, but couldn't get tickets until 9:55 was too sleepy to go. Am old.

Anywho - I really liked it! It probably wasn't my favorite (that's #3), but it was fun to watch - I thought this one was so full of detail, I loved the shots of the great hall, the various offices, the evolving love stories... I just recently re-read the book, and I think they did a pretty good job of sticking to the key parts of the story - even added a bit (without giving too much away: fire, field) that was super-cool.

Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman were just delicious - they must have been having the time of their lives, and Jim Broadbent - what an actor, he's so terrific.

Ah HA! So, it IS true - the final book will be split into two movies, released Nov. 2010 and May 2011. I was just talking with my sis about this today and we agreed that it would be best if they released them like, max, one month apart, but... whatever. If only we had been consulted. *sigh*

Thursday, July 16, 2009

cow pie

Here are a few pics from my trip to IN last week. We saw these lovely, friendly, lickity brown swiss calves that were as soft as cats (tongues like cats too!)

Isn't little M the cutest thing you ever saw? He was "feeding" the cows by dumping straw on their heads.
and here's moi and my adorable sister! I miss you, C!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Movie Madness

I've seen a lot of movies in the past few weeks and way behind on my bloggin'! More to come later on my trip to IN after I download my pics and see if there's anything great in there to share.

Saw Moon several weeks ago with husband in an outflux of wifely generosity when really wanted to see Away We Go. Sam Rockwell plays an astronaut who's been on a solitary mission for, I forget, three or five years - I don't think I'll ruin it by telling you that he finds a man who looks just like him on the moon (you'll learn that much from the trailer). The story is a kind of mystery with a rather interesting exploration of the concept of identity. It's obviously going for, and I think achieves, a real 2001 vibe, complete with an all-powerful robot that follows him around and talks to him. Rockwell kills.

Away We Go seems to be the indie favorite du jour and was certainly one of the best movies I've seen recently. Featuring John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph and written by Dave Eggers - how could you go wrong? Simply amazing supporting cast, including Allison Janney who almost steals the show as an unorthodox mother and friend. For me, it rather wonderfully captured that perhaps universal idea that Everyone Is Completely Bonkers Except Me and partly the ol' I Certainly Wouldn't Raise MY Kids Like THEM. As my friend J.D. wrote on my Facebook: the two leads were, well, they were basically US. True that.

I saw Public Enemies, the John Dillinger film, in Indiana, which was rather appropriate because everyone I know in Indiana has a Dillinger story. When I was a kid my friend unwrapped a gun (!) from a cloth and told me it had belonged to him. An erstwhile uncle claims his grandma had gone on a date with him. (If you've got one, leave it in comments, please!) It's a surprisingly boring movie that rather plods along despite bank robberies and prison break-outs. The fabulous Marion Cotillard is underused. I once again broke my No Movies With Less Than Two Women Rule - and I paid for it! (See also: Moon.)

Saw My Sister's Keeper with my mom and sister with the slightly bizarre but not unusual gleeful anticipation of bawling our eyes out. The promised tear-jerker did contain a few heart-string pulling moments, but, for the most part it was ridiculous, manipulative and contrived. The three of us, quite familiar with the emotional devastation of a family member in a near-death experience called bullshit on most of the film. Also stars Alec Baldwin who I'd been watching nightly in some Thomas the Train thing (also staring a v. creepy Peter Fonda) with beloved nephew - I managed to stir up a few illicit snorts by whispering "See you in Shining Time!" (not quite sure what that even means) at the end of the movie.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

back home again, in Indiana

I've been in Indiana for the past week visiting my family - beloved sister and nephew are visiting and having the best time talking with little M and hanging out with C. Every day we've been here, have had a rash of visitors and go everywhere in huge packs. Is fun.

Highlights include:
  • drinking coffee every morning and admiring M and his various talents
  • showing folks the video I made: An Aunt is Born
  • a visit to a local creamery with some youngsters
  • Setting off fireworks with me da'

  • a soggy 4th of July ):
  • My M couldn't stay the whole time
  • A crazy ultra-conservative church service (excluding the baptism of K's C, which was lovely)

    I'll be sad to head back tomorrow - but looking forward to seeing my husband and have a fun weekend lined up in the hinterland.
  • Sunday, June 28, 2009

    Our city ruined, and sorrow evermore to sorrow added

    There are a couple of interesting articles in the NYT about the new museum in Athens that houses ancient art right at the base of the Acropolis - apparently it's amazing (Greece is near the top of the list of Places I Want To Go). Art critic Michael Kimmelman reviews the space and brings up the issue of the most glaring missing pieces - the Elgin Marbles - which have been in the British Museum since 1816. In case you're less aware of early 19th century British/Ottoman art history, Elgin stole them all those years ago, and then sold them to the British govt.

    Blow-hard Christopher Hitchens (who I agree with on this account) rightly calls for the frieze pieces to be returned to Greece, especially now that they have an excellent facility to house them. (For a long time, the claim was that the marbles were better cared for in England - an imperialist argument if I ever heard one!).
    I think it's great that the Acropolis museum is re-opening the conversation about the return of the pieces to their home. These are hard decisions and if it did happen, a great reshuffling might occur in museums all over the world, but I think people have only to look at the relative success of the policy on the return of Nazi looted art. While a museum or individual's return (no refunds/no exchanges) of a piece might be a momentary financial hardship - what it earns the individual or organization is a lot of respect for doing the right thing.

    O my country, O unhappy land,
    I weep for thee now left behind;
    now dost thou behold thy piteous end;
    and thee, my house, I weep, wherein I suffered travail.
    O my children! reft of her city as your mother is, she now is losing you.
    Oh, what mourning and what sorrow! oh, what endless streams of tears in our houses!
    The dead alone forget their griefs and never shed a tear.

       The Trojan Women
       415 B.C.E

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    the thing about my baby

    Poor Michael Jackson hasn't been much more than a punch line the last few years, but his sudden death is reminding me of all the good times we had together. Like many people, Thriller was the first real album (I'm talking about a record) I ever owned (really was shared by me and brother and sister) - we would carefully place it on my parent's gigantic sterio and try to impress each other with our moonwalks. The truth is the guy had a real influence on my love of music, dancing, fashion (uh, as a kid), and even you know, being an invironmentalist and a good person... Sure, he was a wacky, but his music was joyful and innovative.

    Go put your top fave songs by Michael Jackson on Top Five.