Monday, December 31, 2007

The Pope doesn't get unpleasant.

Happy New Year's Eve! Courtesy of my dad, this is my very favorite annual rant, BEAST'S 50 Most Loathsome People in America, 2007. Usually there are a few undeserved ones in there, not so much this year.

Just ripe for the picking this year, apparently. For unmatched vitriol and justly deserved (hysterical) punishments, look no further.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm the distraction that's going with her to England, sir.

My mother is totally crazy. I really enjoyed Once. You'll have to put the subtitles on for those thick-ass accents, but it's a really great movie. I have only minor beefs with it. Very enjoyable and sweet and some great music. And I really wasn't in the mood when I sat down to watch it; it turned me around.

Technically it came out in 2006 but we didn't get it til 2007, so does that mean I can cheat and put it on the 2007 list?

Only the meek get pinched. The bold survive.

Wow, the big dinner turned out to be a pretty painless affair. It was for D's parents. The whole thing was mostly his brother's idea, and all their friends were invited, which was what kind of brought me dread.

The parents have two major couples for friends, let's call them the Peacocks and the Mustards. The Mustards are cool and mellow and Mrs. Mustard especially is neat. The Peacocks, or rather, just Mrs. Peacock, is a fairly intolerant fuck. Angelic facade, but judgmental as hell. She's ok in small doses but does seem to be altogether oblivious to the world and anyone other than herself.

However, they have a son and daughter who are very cool. The daughter married D's brother, so technically she's my sister-in-law. She is definitely conservative but she couldn't be nicer. The brother, whom I just met last night, is really cool. I have heard lots of interesting, rebellious stories from D about this guy whom we'll call Todd. There was even a story involving "road beers" at an otherwise stuffy wedding party. But Todd has evened out, mostly finished rebelling against the oppressive mother and is now quite normal.

He also brought his live-in girlfriend (apparently Mrs. Peacock originally had more than a few choice words for Todd about how she should refer to this woman, "Your wife? Your live-in lover?" and was pretty snotty about the whole thing). But I really like the girlfriend. Very neat lady, good interests. She's a local reporter but I can't say I'm too embarrassed I don't watch local news. I should probably give her station a peek now and again. At least we live in a big city, they don't all have to run for the cat-rescue stories.

So there were two tables and as you might imagine, we sat at the cool table. I'm sure the other table was fine, but we had wine at our table. I mean, at one point someone said, "Did you realize Aaron Sorkin wrote Charlie Wilson's War?" and it wasn't me. Though I did probably talk too much.

Most importantly, the parents were surprised by the big event and our duties of getting flowers and cake all went very well. Everyone was in love with the cake, asking where we'd gotten it or who made it, and we had to mutter, "Albertsons." (We had two days notice!)

So I really lucked out last night; I kept telling D how surprising it was for Mrs. Peacock to have such neat kids, but I guess that's how it works sometimes...

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mr. Garrison, every Christmas you suggest we get rid of the Mexicans and every Christmas we tell you no.

So yesterday D and I were at the grocery store buying a cake and started questioning the cake girl about what was in each. We've been assigned the task of buying one for D's parents 40th anniversary (surprise) dinner this Saturday. More on that in another post.

I thought Italian cream cake had coconut (I was right) and then we weren't sure about what was in the Tres Leche cake, as it was just white with nuts and somewhat mysterious looking. The girl started to describe the icing and how it really wasn't up her alley, personally. Then she kind of sized us up, paused, and said, "Ok, not to make it a race thing...but Mexicans buy that cake. Always. All of them."

I thought it was a hysterical segue to be talking about cakes and then start a sentence with, "Not to make it a race thing..." I mean, I really wanted to know where that was going. She herself was an albino African American, so at least it could have been worse. But still. I wasn't even sure what it meant (it didn't sound like she was dissing the cake, but then again, I'm not sure what we were supposed to infer from Mexicans buying the cake), but we laughed awkwardly and just ordered a white frilly thing we thought his mom would like.

If I went out more I think these blogs would just write themselves.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We'll eat porridge.

How the fuck old am I, anyway? I was wrapping up a critique of Charlie Wilson's War and found myself writing, "It may be too early to call Oscar nominations, especially with some great pictures still emerging..." Excuse me? "Some great pictures?" Jesus. I changed it to "films", you know, like anyone under 90 might say.

Real Americans fail geography.

So my geography knowledge is tragically embarrassing. I can usually refrain from humiliating myself in regards to US states and their locations (not always), and my knowledge of the state capitols is minutely above mediocre I suppose. But Europe is my huge downfall. Don't get me wrong, I know nothing of Africa, either, I'm not even going to pretend.

My dad once sent me this cool geography quiz for all over the world, and it's pretty addictive. In my search for some good books on Europe's geography (my history of its changes and current state is also a bit of a catastrophe) I found this other quiz, The Traveler IQ Challenge, which is also totally bitchin' and has some other cool quizzes, like picking the country that goes with which flag, where famous locations are, etc. (And you can pick other parts of the world, too, of course).

I'm still looking for a good book or two on European geography and/or its history...I don't know how great these quizzes are for my actually retaining information.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

I've had it with all this crap! All you care about is fruit and touching yourself.

woo hoo!

"Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" to Return in January--Without Writers

I'm excited to be able to watch the shows again, but that's certainly going to be a little on the tricky side. Are the Daily Show correspondents still going to be on, as they are writers as well? And then Colbert doesn't really have on-air correspondents so that's got to be pretty may at least make for interesting television...

And a couple days ago, Alex and I squeezed in a viewing of Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

It was fun. Not sure I need to see it again, but it definitely made me laugh and had an incredibly well-done soundtrack. It was clearly made by people who have a real love of the genre...and who have seen each and every music bio-pic ever. The film was all John C. Reilly (obviously, I guess), he really made it worth watching.

Today, with any luck, may bring Charlie Wilson's War...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Is this my blossom girl?

Christmas Movie Recommendation #5: Miracle on 34th Street, 1947

I hadn't seen this in years and though I recall it fondly, it wasn't necessarily one of the ones I usually sought out, even of the black and whites. But D got it for me not too long ago and I rewatched it with my dad last night. I think I really might appreciate it more as an adult.

Obviously the sentiment is the same but I enjoyed the first half more this time; the dialogue was pretty clearly geared towards an adult audience (while still being child-friendly). And clarification really shouldn't be necessary, but I am of course referring to the 1947 version, directed by George Seaton starring Maureen O'Hara.

Christmas Movie Recommendation #6: The Man Who Came to Dinner, 1942

Definitely one of my favorite Christmas movies and one of my favorite Bette Davis movies (exceeded perhaps only by All About Eve)

When searching for pictures I ran across one of Nathan Lane in the wheelchair. Ok, Nathan Lane is a lot of fun, but he is certainly not Sheridan Whiteside. I'm sure Nathan Lane can be a shit, but there has to be lots of charisma in there, too. And of course he can do charisma, but they sort of have to happen at the same time. It would be a difficult play to see with anyone, perhaps, as Monty Woolley would be a near-impossible act to follow.

I also forgot ot mention some of my Christmas prezzies from D: two bottles of Napa Valley Cabernets (one nice, was consumed with our xmas dinner and another very nice bottle from a small family vineyard, for Oscar night, as always). Also got Robocop (special edition, the case is metal and heavy!), The Shining, The Last Unicorn, and The Departed. My big gift was something for the kitchen--it's a big multicooker. I can deep fry in it (fried pickles!) or steam things, the latter of which I'm really excited about since before now I've been doing makeshift steaming and it doesn't lend itself to pork buns.

I've been in Denton for the past few days, but no one is more relaxed than my Mouche. (I brought him with me, but not Bourdain, as he's the one who barfs and shits in the car he hates it so much). Mouche has been catching up with Alex's cat Toshi...

Toshi. Check the white spot.

Mouche hates the camera, but there he is in the background, happy to put on a show if it means I'll stop playing with Toshi...

Look at me, look at me!

He glares at me at home when I take pics...

Friday, December 21, 2007

For toast! Get over it.

I got an early Christmas present!

And wow, if you don't already know the movie you might think this is going to be a really interesting post.

Nope, that's just Jeffrey, one of my very favorite films I, for some reason, still didn't own on DVD but had on VHS. The funny thing is, as soon as I started hunting for pictures I got a ton of Studio 60 shots. I definitely think Studio 60 fans should watch Jeffrey to see Steven Weber in a, oh, minutely different role.

I'm sure it's a great play and I would certainly love to see it, but I also think it's one of the rare ones that somehow makes an even better film. It's so over the top and tongue-in-cheek, it never gets old.

It was good timing, too, as I had just subscribed to Playbill for the upcoming season. I am tickled as shit to know Equus doesn't seem to be opening until the end of 2008, starting in September. That works, as the beginning of the year is already getting a bit full. D's 30th birthday is in March (though we're celebrating in February, more on that later) and I'm trying to get back to Japan for a week for uh, well, no reason really. It's Japan.

And my best friend is getting married in May! My maid of honor Emily is marrying Gene in San Francisco. They're trying to keep it small but Emily is still going to have family coming from overseas in Japan and Korea. I cannot imagine many more expensive places to get married than San Francisco (they're doing it outside) but I also cannot imagine a more beautiful place. I have still not even been once.

Sadly, I heard the news from Michael, the ex, who is trying to handle it. I was a tiny bit miffed at his lack of consideration for me, but then again, I couldn't be terribly mad considering his own situation. I think I was miffed for five minutes. And I didn't mention it to the bride. The bride...who...I think maybe does check in here from time to time? Anyway, it's no big deal at all for me to hear it from someone else--him hearing it from someone else would be the disaster.

And he is dating someone I think. I would hate to be dating someone while they found out the person they were still trying to not pine for was getting married. Hard not to feel like second fiddle. Anyway. I have that feeling like it's time to stop before I put my foot (further) into my mouth.

Christmas Movie Recommendation #4: A Garfield Christmas

Just to be different. And while I don't have a clip to post (each clip is a third of the show at nine minutes), I do have this creepy-ass McDonald's commercial. Why is the old man hoarding the dolls?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Now, I have to kill all of you.

Christmas Movie Recommendation #3

(And it came out in 1988, same year as Die Hard...weird).

Give 'em a show that's so splendiferous, row after row will grow vociferous.

We went out to look at lights last night; D used to sort of dread it and now I think he kind of likes it (maybe). Maybe he only dreaded it because I like to put Christmas music on the radio (and as he still works retail it's sort of like hell). He gets to change the radio when it's truly awful, of course. If the ipod worked in his car, of course...

But anyhoo. Last year we did Interlochen, an Arlington neighborhood that is the lighting competition to behold. We weren't terribly impressed, save for a few houses. So this year I opted for Grand Prairie's thing called Prairie Lights, which is a big park you can drive through that's all decked out. Um, that was lame. And it cost money, unlike driving through neighborhoods. It was a little on the bizarre side, which was cool but overall, we didn't really dig it.

Apologies for the shake...

Hi, I'm a squirrel. There were several of me.

Buffalo are very Christmas.

So are butterflies.

You've got me. A pile of snow? A pile of crap? Could be.

We know now this was part of a "12 Days of Christmas" set, but for way too long we were like, why are there polar bears on the Eiffel Tower? Some of these, I think, needed to be further away from the cars than they were.

The very cool finale. It was actually a little disorienting as you drove into it (good times) as it kinda zooooooomed in and out as it flickered.

After work tonight I'm picking up custom-tinned popcorn. It's a three-way (that's right) and I learned last time it works best 1-sweet 2-spicy/flavorful. So it's to be Honey, Loaded Baked Potato and Spicy Hot Cheese. I love this store. He advised me he's low on his specialty tins but if he gets his new stock in I can have one. I told him flat out it can be in a cardboard box for all I care, we're really just into the popcorn. (Who gives two shits about the tin, seriously?)

And I'm also terribly excited that Charlie Wilson's War and Sweeney Todd both come out tonight at midnight. I mean, if only I could be in two places at once! But luckily, Owl taught me otherwise.

Obviously, considering my husband, Todd is going to win. I'm remotely curious about Dewey Cox as well (which also comes out at midnight), as I heard the director and John C. Reilly on Fresh Air a few weeks ago and was intrigued. Great soundtrack, but unsure about the film itself...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My boyfriend wears one when we have sex and it makes his junk smell like pie.

We got some of our Oscarly duties out of the way yesterday, beginning with Juno.

Now I realize I'm just starting to get caught up on my 2007 films, but oh how wonderful this film was. My favorite of the year so far. So cute, great lines, great soundtrack, cute and endearing and every time it approached a trite opportunity it went the other way. I totally recommend and plan to buy it as soon as it comes out.

Best thing I've seen in AGES. D was in complete agreement and adored it.

And then, we went to see Margot at the Wedding. We definitely have (mostly) different feelings about this one.

I really respect the film, it was incredibly well done. Bleak as shit, not a likable person in the whole movie, pretty damn depressing. Full of neuroses and people inflicting more insanity on those around them. It would make a great Christmas movie for dysfunctional families (put things in perspective?)...

D loathed it immensely and infact cannot discuss the movie without it pissing him off all over again. I really appreciated it though I don't think I need to see it again. Though I did think a lot about it afterwards and still am...

This is from Noah Baumbach, who went from Kicking and Screaming and Mr. Jealousy to 2005's The Squid and the Whale. If you saw Squid, this is ten times more depressing. I kinda liked the ending, the more I think about it.

Obviously, D did not have a dad who inflicted Ingmar Bergman films on him over the years.

We also saw two previews for Sweeney Todd, which I am starting to salivate rapidly over. My dad sent me this link this morning, just to's going to be so amazing...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Well, might I ask what you expected to see out of a Torquay hotel bedroom window? Sydney Opera House, perhaps?

D and I are doing our Christmas tonight, as it's hard for us to both be off on the same day, especially during the holidays. Apparently I've gone a little crazy for the past two years so I'm supposed to keep it low key this year. I got a couple things for him and told him I'd make dinner--this delicious spread from an older Fine Cooking involving oysters, pork shoulder roast and a pasta dish with caviar.

I went to Central Market last night and oh holy jesus. I think I spent more at last night's visit than ever before (in one go, anyway). I had to get a different cut of pork but it was still hella pricey (I mean, it's eight pounds) and the caviar was a little more than I expected but at the same time, fuck it. I got Royal Transmontanus Caviar. Yes, it's this brand. No, was not as pricey as on this site. They did have a different type of caviar at CM for $440 for 30g, and it wasn't even beluga. I did not get that one, either. I laughed at the man and he said the beluga would have been more.

My caviar!

The pork has a cranberry marinade, seen here...

And then adorning said pork...

On a bed on onions... (It was supposed to be pork shoulder roast but they were out and center cut loin had to be substituted instead. Whatever, right?)


Oh, and a brief interlude to mention our tree, Niles Firguson. He's a Fraser Fir, so we thought it only appropriate.

and the lights are out!

I also prepped the pasta-egg-caviar dish. It uses parpadelle pasta and poached eggs. I had never made poached eggs. It was sooooo cool.

I could make these all the time. Not sure if I'll like eating them, but whatever. I have to store them in cold water til tonight (below, though you can't really see the water). The yolks should be a little runny so they mix with the butter on the pasta.

And there will be caramel cake for dessert. Made the sauce (which is also used in the batter)...

Tasty batter.

And the (hopefully) finished product. It had to cook THIRTY MINUTES LONGER than the recipe suggested. WTF.

And the sauce waits.

It's break time. AKA, lunch time. With which I'm going to watch Through a Glass Darkly, which I don't think I've ever seen. What? I heard it was a really upbeat Christmas movie, is it not?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

She thinks you're shit. And deep down, you know she's right.

Lol, we actually just watched the episode of Planet Earth Dooce was mentioning--you know. The one about "bat poo." I have seen this mountain--this 300 foot tall mountain--of guano. And that was fine. Really.

It was when they showed the all cockroaches eating it. It put Creepshow to fucking shame. All D and I could think about was that some poor fucker had to film it. It made me shudder to my very core.

We had been having a debate as we watched, about which would you rather do--spelunking and scuba diving in the cave water (totally scary shit) or mountain climbing Everest-style? I went for mountain climbing. D went for spelunking until the cockroach thing and then he seriously reconsidered.

You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to quit thinking.

I guess it takes a moment for the site to adjust to my article's content, as I just published an article about House, M.D. season 4 "so far" (3 episodes left, starting in January) and the link at the bottom says:

How to Pray With a Child?

I have so often pondered that as House reamed someone for incompetence.

She thinks I'm cuuuuuuuuuuuute!

So I was listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me the other day and the guest celebrity was White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. Their questions for her revolved around that nightmare classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

The first question addressed some of Rudolph being edited out as time has gone on, proving very un-PC as it aged. (Apparently the dad, Donner, at one point said, "This is man's work!") The third question was great, though:

On the Island of Misfit Toys, it's very apparent what's wrong with each of the toys except for the doll Sue. What the hell is wrong with her, anyway?

A) She selflessly stowed away with the Charlie In the Box
B) She was left-handed
C) She had psychological problems

Ms. Perino guessed A, as I probably would have. But it's C. Nice.

One of the producers, Arthur Rankin, Jr. said she was cast off by her mistress and clinically depressed "and they didn't have Prozac back then."

But for good holiday animation, I still recommend Beauty and the Beast, which we re-watched last night. D had only seen it once before ten years ago (!!) and I used to struggle to choose a favorite between Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. Truthfully it was just the first two that rivaled each other, but the test of time has proven Beast the clear winner. Probably.

Oddly enough, Robby Benson (the voice of the Beast) was also a guest on Wait, Wait a few weeks ago and he's apparently famous for a number of other things (just don't ask me what). When asked if he gets recognized most often because of his association with this movie, he said no, except once in a while...

For example, when he takes his small daughter to the grocery store and she's repeatedly bugging him in line to buy candy, bringing it up to him, he'll growl, "Put it back!" And then apparently people start turning around because they know that voice...

It was by sheer coincidence we watched this last night, but I was in hysterics to read Veloute's recent post about little five-year-old Fiona trying to rationalize how she liked a boy at school but he wasn't a prince so she couldn't marry him. (Because she's studying to be or perhaps just is a princess). Apparently there was a bit of a pause while she mulled this over, then said, "Gosh, I hope he doesn't go all Gaston on me."

I totally need to spend more time in Vermont, that is too priceless.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm a bagel on a plate full of onion rolls!

I don't know which is worse, what I've done or the fact that I'm about to write it all down here, but I just bought Carrie Underwood's new album, Carnival Ride. And I was stone cold sober. I don't know, morbid curiosity?

I have zero interest in her first album, I mean, I seriously don't think I could own something with a track titled, "Jesus Take the Wheel," but the second one seemed like it would be okay, just fun fluff.

And it is (so far). She has a really great voice and I totally admit to laughing at the line, "The more boys I meet the more I love my dog." I don't know how I was expecting that line to end, but that wasn't it.

But we'll never speak of this again, ok?

I did watch two and a half movies yesterday:

Funny Girl: Never seen it, loved the hell out of it. I have a hard time watching upbeat musicals for the most part, because in the movies I tend to watch, well, things go wrong.

I kept cringing, thinking:

A) Fanny is going to get fired for messing up the show. She will have to become a singing prostitute.

B) Nick is totally sleeping around. He's using her. I mean, he just looks sleazy. (Sorry, he does).

C) Nick is going to be pissed to see Fanny surprise him on the boat and/or she's going to wreck the shit out of his card game. There will be a major ass beating.

I just expect the worst. So by the time bad things happened at the tail end of the second act, it really didn't bother me. Kind of a downer ultimately, but what a well done movie.

That was the last good movie of the day.

Followed it up with: Monkey Business. This was one of the biggest turds of all time, I don't give two shits that it starred Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe.

It was so embarrassing, today's equivalent would be watching Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen star in The Pacifier or something.

And perhaps most disappointing film in ages: Rope. Dude, this had the best opening ever--it was engaging, character-driven suspense. And then...Jimmy Stewart came on the scene. Now I'll admit I seem to have a real problem with Jimmy Stewart. I just can't fucking stand him as an actor. But I mostly had a problem with the character--it was so stupidly obvious that he would instantly be onto their tricks and deceit, there to solve the murder, so why bother? I got pissed and turned it off. It had such potential.

I probably should have finished it, but oh well. Another time.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Your own fiancée calls you "Steve?"

It's official, the new Spoon album just hasn't grown on me. Patty Griffin's album Children Running Through certainly has (even if nothing will ever be the Flaming Red album), as has Arcade Fire's Neon Bible. I wasn't sure what all the hype was on the latter (and I still don't, really), but I do appreciate it, having listened to it more.

Saw, for the first time, The Way We Were. I really enjoy both Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand (her acting anyway, though I seldom seek her out) but I can't say I found the film all that entertaining. I'm not sure I was supposed to, given What It Was Trying to Say. And I did appreciate its message but it still made for slowish film. Sydney Pollack, too, damn.

(And ever since watching it I've had a mean craving for What's Up Doc? How do I not own that?)

And it's official, don't rent Paprika from Netfux unless you speak fluent Japanese.

The girl who took my call this time (they asked me to let them know) was a little less than on the same page:

"Well, it says you can change the languages to English, French, Spanish or Japanese."

I think she was genuinely confused that I was trying to watch it in Japanese, seriously. I explained that I was not going to watch it in English, nor would the types of people who would (eventually) be renting it. She noted this.

She then said, "Well, I'll send the next thing on your list--oooh, Four Brothers, you'll really like that."

Now I admit I'm the one who has it on my list, but I'm also well aware of its two-star rating. I just really enjoy the Mark Wahlberg (his acting, thank you). But I laughed and thanked her and tried not to cry.

Listening to Children Running Through at the moment, actually, and it goes quite well with the torrential rains we seem to be having this morning.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Earl Murders Me Because I'm Having An Affair Pie...

I tried to watch Paprika tonight only to realize, quite rapidly, that approximately 33% of the dialogue was being translated. Lots of Japanese rapidly whizzing by, accompanied only occasionally by English fragments on the screen. I mean, it's probably fucked up enough without my having to guess at what the fuck they're saying.

Which meant I had to call Netfux to bring this to their attention (they don't seem to have a link on their site for "the movie is not fully translated") and she is sending me another one just for shits. If it continues to be a problem they'll research it but they haven't received any other reports about it (of course, it just came out last Tuesday and I doubt the masses have lined up to rent it, really).

But yesterday I did watch Waitress, which was quite cute. It almost got a little too depressing there in the middle, but it certainly had an upbeat ending. I mean really, here's why you should watch Waitress:

1. It's cute.

2. Leading lady has hot, heavy affair with Nathan Fillion. Yum.

3. They show lots of pies as she makes them. Yum.

So I recommend. Hard not to be sentimental about the director's untimely murder as well, especially since I recall her fondly from Hal Hartley movies, but regardless, the film is more than decent on its own.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's a glow-in-the-dark compass ring. So you don't get lost.

Don't get icicle lights that fade from one color to another. They say you can string them together and they'll sync up and they would be lying. Not that we've troubleshot it much yet.

Finished season two of Weeds and holy shit I have to know what happens. What an ending. I really hate that bastard son of hers, though.

And still deciding whether or not I liked The Golden Compass....


Saturday, December 01, 2007

You're not anybody in America unless you're on TV.


God I hope it doesn't suck.