Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

  1. Be even more glamourous and awesome
  2. Invent something (like segway?) and become a billionaire
  3. Travel around the world 3 times (on a yacht) 
  4. Open a hit restaurant and get at least 24 Zagat rating
  5. Become the editor of a famous magazine, like Vogue or something
  6. Get to know Kate and Will's baby pretty well.

Best Reading in 2012

These are what I published in Newcity... I have some other top 5s there that *I* think are amusing.

Top 5 Books (published in 2012)
“NW” by Zadie Smith
“A Hologram for the King” by Dave Eggers“The Age of Miracles” by Karen Thompson Walker“HHhH” by Laurent Binet“Treasure Island!!!” by Sara Levine

I read Junot Diaz's This is how you Lose Her after I wrote that.... I really it belongs on the list.  I suppose I might bump Treasure Island!!! to get it on there.

But, my Top 5 Books I Read (Not necessarily published in 2012) were:
The ColonyJillian Weise
Swamplandia, Karen Russell
A Hologram for the King, Dave Eggers
The Age of Miracles, Karen Thompson Walker
The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides

Top 5 YAs I Read (Not necessarily published in 2012):
SpeakLaurie Halse Anderson
Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler
Beauty QueensLibba Bray
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
Little Brother, Cory Doctorow

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best Conversation of 2012 while awaiting surgery

I had this conversation with my mom when we were waiting for my foot surgery to start.  She did a very good job of distracting me from the task at hand.

Mom: We saw Life of Pi and it was just amazing.  That tiger was incredible.
Me: It was a CGI tiger, right?
Mom: What is CGI?
Me: Computer generated.
Mom: No, it was a real tiger.
Me:  You know how like, sometimes actors are people and sometimes they are animals?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Are you saying that the actor who played the tiger was a real tiger?
Mom: Yes.
Me: I don't think it was a real tiger.
Mom: It was real. You should have seen his face, when he was holding on to the side of the boat.
[she mimes a tiger holding on to the side of a boat]
Me:  A real tiger... IN A BOAT!  No.
Mom: And at the end, he was so skinny.  It was very sad.
[she mimes tired tiger]
Me: They starved the tiger!
Mom: No, they just got a sick tiger to play that part.
[enter nurse]
Mom: have you seen that movie, Life of Pi?  It's amazing, it has a beautiful tiger in it.
Me: It can't be real.
Nurse:  Oh. Animatronics.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best of 2012

Gee, I can't believe Christmas is over, just like that!   We ended up having a whirlwind trip to Indiana - less than 24 hours because a big blizzard was coming and we didn't want to get snowed in.  We had a great time - saw both my grandmas, and M's too.  We went to my Grandma J's, as per tradition - even though she has a tiny house, a ton of people come over and we usually have a very jolly time.

On Christmas day, my parents and M & I had coffee and opened our stockings, then Mom and M made a ton of food in a seemingly effortless fashion.  My nephew was a bunch of fun and was a super-sweet little guy all day long.  M & I gave him a bike, and even though he's only 4, he started riding it all over like a total pro.  It ended up being a shorter trip than we intended, but it was really fun.

Highlights from 2012:

Best Play: Metamorphoses 

My most popular blog post: Skins (Some Spoilers) by a long shot.

My most popular bookish post: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian.  I shudder to think how often my book blog is plagiarized for middle-school book reports.

Best time I had filling the gas tank:  with MZ on the way to Culver

Best Meal: in a tiny, two table restaurant over looking the Trevi Fountain in Rome

Best invention: The animated gif review.

Best Husband: M (12 years running!)

Best Sister: My sister

Best Neighbor: My neighbor

Best Cat: Miss Kaya

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Hobbit

We went to see the Hobbit tonight.  Would have gone opening night, I'm sure, but I had my foot surgery that day and this was my first big adventure out of the house in more than a week!  Whew!  Was it worth it?  Uhm....

First of all, we saw what I believe was meant to be the optimal viewing experience: XD, ReadD 3D, & the High Frame Rate.  Supposedly Peter Jackson thinks the 48 frames per second thing is the best way to view the film, but I thought it was really disconcerting and looked completely awful.  It distracted me through the entire movie.  It was like a shitty sitcom from the '80s.  I felt like I was watching fekking Fraggle Rock.  The other Lord of the Rings movies, which I grew to love, were fun to watch the first time around for a non-fangirl like myself because the films were so absolutely gorgeous!  Moody and rich - I mean, the first peak at Rivendell was so exciting, right?  But, honestly, it looks like utter shitballs in the Hobbit.  Like, in the previous movies, I really loved Bilboe's house?  But, it just looked like crap in this HFR nonsense.  So, if you haven't seen it yet, I beg you to not see it in this version.  Also, the 3D is worthless - there's just like one second where it kind of looks like a flaming pinecone gets tossed at your face, and that's it.  It's not even fun when the eagles fly around.

Otherwise, I hate to say, I didn't love it.  I think they're mostly Tolkien's fault... like, does every goddamn scene have to end with a deus ex machina with that guy?  It's like, Oh, Crap! We're surely done for now!  Nope, there's Gandolf coming over the fuckin' horizon with the rising sun!  Nope, there's a bunch of goddamn eagles to glide everybody carefully to a safe resting place!

I read the book, oh 20mumble years ago and don't remember it that well, but moi's husband is something of a Hobbit/LoTR expert.  His quibbles were based more on what Jackson added to the movie - surely to stretch it out to the eventual NINE HOUR TOTAL VIEWING TIME.  I mean, it's like a 200 page book, come on.  He did seem to like the songs, though.  Also, M spied one Bret McKenzie in a non-ironic Elf role.  I thought I spied Lee Pace as a non-speaking elf (wtf?) and was so busy noticing during the credits that it was indeed Lee Pace that I missed Benedict Cumberbatch's name!  I tell ya, the Pie Man shows up in the weirdest places.  So, we go to IMDB to find out who the heck B.C. played, and get this!  He played the "Necromancer" which is literally just like, no kidding, a SHADOW in the movie.  Like, a CGI ghost shadow that I don't even think said anything!  Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?

so that's what he looks like without a beard...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Year of the foot

Hello, my pretties
Well, it's just been a hell of a year for me and my dogs.  Earlier this year I had procedures done on both my feet, which, unfortunately did not fix my Plantar fasciitis, so, Friday I had another surgery on my right foot that was a bit more dramatic (and I'll do the left foot in a couple of weeks).  Since M simultaneously came down with the flu, my mom came out to help us get through it - and thank goodness she did because the whole thing was much more, well, dramatic than before. Plus... I have to use crutches for a few days.  What in the...?  How in the world do people get around on those things?  It's impossible.

I spend a fair amount of time wondering if I'll every wear anything in my beautiful shoe collection again besides my tennies.  I finally found a pair of Kate Middleton-esque shoes, but I haven't even worn them.  So sad.  I mean, is that one of the saddest stories you ever heard?

In other news, I have been wearing this song OUT on youtube (I know, I know, mildly sacrilegious to shun the Pretenders version, but I really prefer this faithful version by KT Tunstall, I can't help it.)

My nephew lost his TWO FRONT TEETH (can you believe it?) a week before xmas.  The news of a lost tooth is somehow nothing short of delightful to the whole family.

Monday, December 03, 2012

w00t pWn: Zuma

A litte twist, today, on the usual w00t pWn:  I review a game that *I* played.  Yes, my friends, I, too, play video games.  Well, this one game.

It's called Zuma and M first introduced me to it a long time ago because he found out I like this other video game called Puzzle Bobble.  There are a lot of games like Puzzle Bobble in apps so you might have played something like it on your phone - basically you shoot a colored marble at some other marbles of the same color and try to make them fall down.

Anyway, then M got me this game called Zuma a few years ago and I loved it.  You have this little frog guy that shoots colored marbles out of his mouth - and you point them at similarly colored marbles so that they explode.

Describing these games reminds me of talking to my sister on the phone over the weekend, and overhearing beloved nephew say, "Mommy, can I have one of those things that you put in your ear and has like a ball on the ends?"  "QTIP!" I said, "He wants a Qtip and he is a genius!"  My sister said he had somehow innately discovered the true nature of the Qtip because they NEVER put them in their ears (Like I would really believe that. Why else would you even HAVE Qtips?)  Also, my nephew says "like" a lot?  That means he truly is my own nephew.

Well, M bought me Zuma 2: Zuma's Revenge or something like that on the PS3, and it was really fun.  The little frog ponds where you play were quite pretty and there were some "Boss Challenges" or whatever that were fun.

The games gets more and more challenging, and... I must tell you, I am very good at it.  I hardly lost a game.  When the whole thing was over I was kind of surprised.  For some reason, I thought it would go on forever?  I guess I need to restart it or something because I can choose whatever level I want now.

There is basically no way to improve upon Zuma except to remove the possibly offensive Polynesian stereotypical sounds and music that make me cringe a little.  But, otherwise, it is challenging and not annoying.  In short, I wish I could play Zuma forever and no other games existed.  Oy, this game M is playing right now.... wait'll I tell ya...

Sunday, December 02, 2012

It is, it is a glorious thing

This weekend I saw the Pirates of Penzance at the Chopin theatre. The Chopin is a great theatre in Wicker Park.  The waiting room looks like an eccentric granny's living room.  While we were having a pre-drink, they announced that the house was opening, and we were welcome to go in, hang up our coats, and find a seat… although, they said… there weren't really seats.  Whhaaaaaaaaa?  

We go in and there's a long pier in the middle of the room, hipster actors wandering around with a variety of instruments, guitars, banjoes, mandolins, washboards and even a damn saw.*  They were dressed in old-timey bathing suits and the whole room had the madcap air of 1960s lyric summer camp, which focused on south-seas musicals.  It was like the whole thing was designed by Wes Anderson and Andrew Bird.  They were throwing around beach balls and handing out sunglasses, singing and getting all of us to sing too.  It was super-fun, and the show hadn't even started yet.  Right before the show stared, they told us the actors would be moving all over the space and so would the audience.  They said if they pointed at us or tapped us on the shoulder we should move aside.  Woo - I've never been on my toes so much as an audience member.  

At first I thought, ugh, this is gonna suck, because, during my undergrad theatre years, I saw plenty of standing theatre and, it does, indeed, suck.  Because it hurts to stand in one place for a long time.  But, it was more of an up and down thing, and if you lost your seat, you could easily find another.  And, no pesky leg pain from sitting for ages - we should all probably stand up that often and stretch our legs.  

I LOVE the 1983 movie version of Pirates of Penzance, which you really should look up if you haven't seen it.  It's finally out on DVD!  Kevin Kline!  Angela Landsbury!  That guy from The Greatest American Hero!  Linda Effing Rondstadt!  It's really great and really funny.  So, I was a bit worried that this performance would never live up to that great show.  But, they were such different approaches, it  was never a contest.  

It was a really unique theatre experience.  It was downright joyous - and if you're in the area, I beg you to get a ticket, and take a young person - one great thing about the show was that there were a lot of kids (10 or so in our audience).  Usually when I go to the theatre, I'm like, the youngest person there.  It was great to see kids and such engaged kids!  Maybe the theater isn't dying after all!  

* I actually love the saw as an instrument, but it's so darn twee I can barely stand it.  A paradox (a paradox a most confusing paradox!)