Monday, November 30, 2009

When I Fall Apart

I got up from the couch last night to refill my wine and my knees crackled. My left leg ached all day. Sunday's "American Dad" episode was especially funny when Stan recommended a stripper get a banana inside her. She had a leg cramp, to be fair. I fell like I'm falling apart.

Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be dancers.

Last summer, I was discussing my body aches and pains when my Aunt delivered a tough shot of reality. Apparently, we have bad joints. What was helpful when I was a dancer and useful as I got older, is becoming my curse. I'm double jointed. This means when I stand with my legs straight, they actually curve backwards like a bird. This allowed for my uncanny flexibility, but is also the likely culprit for my current break down. Compounded with the realization I'm getting older and less docile, it's enough to get a girl really depressed.

My anxiety manifests itself in a clenching of the jaw. I asked a dental hygienist about this once, and she told me simply to stop. As if it were as easy as breathing. So, I just need to stop a subconscious action? Great advice. Let me get right on that.

It wouldn't be much of an issue except when I'm trying to eat or kiss someone. There is nothing worse than lockjaw while you're eating a Chicken Caesar Wrap from Chick-fil-a, or the embarrassment of a constant clicking sound whilst making out in the front seat of your car. It's very attractive.

I think I need to go get a banana in me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like... Spring?

Ah lonely day at work again. It's 66 degrees and raining. Come on Late November! You're supposed to bring the cool weather! I did appreciate the warmth last night, however, when I went to my first hockey game of the season. I thought I was spoiled before with Platinum level seats, but I never could have prepared myself for the joy of sitting in the "lower bowl". I could make out jersey numbers and names without squinting! Check it out:

And yes, I am the dork who demanded this next picture be taken:

Who would believe me! It was the most exciting day, made more exciting by our win in OT. I am also proud that I kept my profanity at a whisper as there were children present. Oh hell, who am I kidding? I kept it down because I was told I could be asked to leave if I yelled "Fucking come on!" too loudly. Not sure if that's true or not, but it certainly kept me on my p's and q's.

Sunday is all about lists, but I can't think of anything. You want my Christmas list? It's pretty short and simple:

* Salad Spinner

* Learn French in Your Car CD's (mine broke)

* "Inglourious Basterds" (2-disc special edition only please)

* Barnes & Noble GC (I want the new Stephen King and "Wings of Desire" is now out on Criterion. A must see for all)

* Calendar

Pretty boring... This whole list making gets really tough as you get older. I'd really like cash, but that's not really fun to open. Also, that means I have to brave the mean streets of post holiday shopping, and that's not fun either!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Another Random Saturday

*I feel lost today at work. I haven't worked by myself in a long time. It's kind of okay here since there's TV, and a fridge, and I brought my book. Still, it's always nice to know there's someone at the next desk, even if you aren't talking to them. Here's how I spent my day: Watched Rick Steves on his tour of European Christmas traditions (really want to go to Scandinavia now), watched "What Not To wear", showed a client, ate a taco, smoked a cigarette, watched "Pieces of April" (kinda late but I really like that movie), played around on Facebook, smoked a cigarette, said we were out of coffee for the 6th time, watching "Silence of the Lambs".
[side note: I know I'm at work, but if you don't have a question or need something, please don't interrupt my movie watching or emailing. I don't go to your job and sit on the corner of your desk ho-humming while you try to work.]

*Tonight I'm going to my first hockey game of the season with my lovely friend Jen. I love watching hockey. It's the only professional sport I enjoy watching on TV. I love how Texas has a shit football team but a great hockey one. It's irony is not lost on me! It's important to know people. I say this a lot. You can never have too many contacts and friends in too many places. This is relevant as our tickets come to us by way of my other lovely friend who works for the stars. Tonight, we will have the best seats I've had. now, if only I knew someone at the Cowboys organization who could get me tickets, I might make it to my first football game. Sad, how I've lived here most of my life but never went to a game. It's too expensive. I don't have $200 to drop for just myself to go, and park, and eat. Ridiculous.

*Number of Hot Browns made and eaten: 3

* It was released recently that they are looking to make "The Amityville Horror" again. Should be good if Ryan Reynolds runs around topless again. What? He's not in it? It's another remake? What the french!? Dear Hollywood: I'm instituting a new law. You cannot remake a movie more than once. Period. Every time you want to remake a remake, you must give me $1000 and drop the idea. This is a win-win situation. I'll get rich and you'll quit wasting so much money. Why don't you take the amazing technology we have now and remake something that could have used a jolt of CG? How about all those movies with good ideas but poor execution? Undo all the bad acting and even poorer writing. Roger Corman has made over 300 movies for next to nothing. Surely there's something there. However, I warn you, no remakes of cult classics or relatively known films. Whenever you want to do that, give me $100 and tattoo the words: Death Race 2000 on a visible body part. Not even the white hot Jason Stathum could save that poorly planned remake. In short: Quit it!
* Today's word of the day is maunder, meaning to talk incoherently or in a rambling manner. Also, to wander aimlessly.
* On a related note, Dear TV show creators: Don't hold back your money shots till mid to late season. I know you think your show will be the one, the next "Friends" and run forever, but more likely than not, you'll get cancelled before you even get off the ground. I'm looking at you "Eastwick". We all know the story, they're witches. You're not doing any favors to the viewer by dragging out their realization and acknowledgement of their abilities. Now you're cancelled and the show is finally getting interesting. Way to go. See also: "Dollhouse"

* Which leads me to my biggest complaint in television and film. I am sick and tired of people not talking to one another. It never works out for them and frankly, it's unrealistic. You just realized your partner was an alien and your son wants to join the alien peace party, better keep your mouth shut. The worlds coming to an end? Just keep it to yourself, no reason to rock the boat. You saw your best friend's boyfriend/girlfriend kissing another? Keep it to yourself. They'll never find out you know. I'm sick of these unrealistic relationships designed because the writers cannot develop natural conflict. Pathetic. While I'm at at, seriously "Medium"? How long has she been married? How long has she worked at the states attorney's office? Her husband and her boss still don't believe she's talking to spirits? How many cases does she have to solve? 1000? Come on!

* My new favorite website comes courtesy of Blogger's "Blogger's of Note" section. Ugly Overload showcases unattractive critters like this guy:

Personally, I think he looks like a great conversationalist. Everything I say is shocking and amazing. He cannot believe his tiny ears! "You said what?!?"

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another Year Older

Well, I am officially one year older. My birthday week has concluded. No more “Happy Birthday” greetings, no more free drinks. Just me. My Dad asked me if I felt older. The truth is, not really. What would that even entail? How do other people feel inside? What makes you feel older?

At my birthday party, a friend asked how old I was turning. “28,” I said. “Ah yes,” he replied “I could tell you weren’t a day over 30. Look here”. He grabbed my face and pointed to my eyes.

“No crow’s feet. No lines. You look 25”.

I laughed. Can there be that big a difference between 25 and 28? As far as I can tell, I look exactly the same now as I did at 18. A bit more meat around the middle (what have you got to do to get rid of your busted can of biscuits?), a little less elasticity below the chin, skin a bit clearer. I’ve had the same haircut since 1997. I’m not any taller. If I mention my “biscuits”, I’m told to shut up. When do you begin to look older? Would you even want to?

“I should hope so,” I said while gently smiling “I moisturize”.

I read a piece in my new book club book, “The Brief History of the Dead”, about a woman who tried never to show emotion on her face. I understood the passage to mean she wanted to save her face. The act of smiling caused her pain; her face was a mask in jeopardy from breaking. Now that she was dead, she smiled all the time though it was still uncomfortable for her. I understand this principle implicitly. Wrinkles are caused from facial movement (among other things, but this seems to be the main offender). You first see lines form around your eyes from smiling and squinting and laughing. Paper-thin cuts stretch across your forehead from looking quizzically at something, from squinting, from acting surprised. Slowly the collagen in your lips begins to decompose and cracks stretch out from the center towards your nose, your chin, your ears, from smoking, or using a drinking straw, or making a disapproving face.

I see them now. I seek them out. Starring in the mirror, running my fingers over my skin, feeling for imperfections. It’s become obsessive, trying to control what takes the least amount of effort to do so. I could fix my jellyroll, but I’m lazy. I can be good and dedicated for a couple weeks, but once I see an ounce improvement I stop. I’d rather spend that time cooking or watching TV or reading. Where the moneymaker is concerned, it’s effortless: Wash face, exfoliate several times a week, moisturize, sunscreen, serums and potions. It all takes 5 minutes. I have no idea if it’s helping.

This week I fully realized what the number of getting older means. More questions about boyfriends or lack of boyfriends, more depression over lost opportunity, the realization that fewer opportunities would come my way. I could die bitter and alone. My cat could eat me and no one would find me for days. I could disappear “down the funnel” and out of the memories of others. Little by little we fade away, the point is to have someone else there to document it, to acknowledge it happening. I don’t want to become desperate for connection.

“The Hours” is on TV and Julianne Moore is talking about living with what we can bear. It’s a poignant statement. The series of events in life that stack up before tumbling to the ground and we are crushed beneath their weight. Every year we get older, the piles get higher and we beg the Heaven’s for someone to help us shoulder the weight.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You're Pre- Post- Thanksgiving Post!

Since our family is relatively small (4) for the holidays, my parents have been skimping back on the basics like a full sized bird for Thanksgiving. Most of the fun of this holiday is eating turkey for a week straight until you can't stand the sight or taste of it anymore. As only 3 of our 4 eat meat, they started buying turkey breasts. Unacceptable. This year I told them, "Get a bird, even if it's a small one! How am I supposed to make Hot Brown's with out a lot of turkey"? Thankfully, they are sensible people and gave in to my demands.

Now, I know you're asking, "What they hells a Hot Brown"? I'm glad you asked:

Hot Brown's were invented in Louisville, Kentucky and are genius. According to Wikipedia, this happened in 1926 at the Brown Hotel. The site also says that it consists of "an open-faced sandwich of turkey and bacon, covered in Mornay sauce and baked or broiled until the bread is crisp and the sauce begins to brown. " Now, that's not exactly how I know them, but that's the genius of Wikipedia: anyone can post anything as fact.

In my house, Hot Brown's have been elevated to a Thanksgiving art form: toasted bread, mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey, gravy, shredded cheddar cheese, all broiled until brown. You can add tomatoes as well (if you like that sort of thing).

Every year, I count down to Thanksgiving for the sole purpose of Hot Browns. They're a smorgasbord of leftovers. The kitchen sink of turkey day! The... grand poo-bah of... of... Damn.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's A Holiday, So You're Getting 12 Year Old Material

While cleaning my living room in preparation for tonight’s birthday after party, I came across my high school comp notebooks; each lovingly decoupaged with pictures of bands and actors I liked, buzz words (luscious, scorpio, indecent, spy, monster, tingle, etc), and personal illustrations. Inside were barely legible scrawls of depression and bad poetry, spoken word, quotes, and illustrations. Some of them are pretty good for 15 and 16, some need some work, and others are truly embarrassing. In keeping with the oath I gave my sister, I am publishing some of the least horrid for you here today. (Gotta love teen angst!)

[side note: transcribing these was really fun as I wrote all the dates in the European style.]

Here was the girl they “loved”. The girl they had all figured out. Loud and mean, but as soon as they came close to figuring her mind she would change. Metamorphose in into a whole new person. One unlike the other. To confuse and manipulate the minds of the public. And she was hated for it. And she loved that hate as if it were pure love. Because to be hated, to be horribly despised, is to be truly popular. For no one wastes their time hating no one.
It’s cold breathes past my lips.
I flutter my eyes.
Lost in its embraced kiss.
All alone.
The moist grey seeps in
And I am hypnotized by the crisp dawn of death.
The stone is cold.
I stutter my breath.
Our denied future is foretold.
This is alone.
Autumn fingers caress my skin
And I cry through the pain that it brings.
This ground is damp.
I clutter the sky
Dreaming of that one enchanted whore.
We are alone.
The dirt begins to cover my bones
And I’m glad for the peach that it brings.
In me, you see, little pieces of yourself. You break one off and let it grow. I am a clone from one mass god, and you are all his drones.
Here. I am. A lonely shell.
In caverns deep and dark like hell.
It’s cold always and slippery too,
My footings lost
I plunge toward you.
I’m caught in webs of filth and smut.
They’re razor sharp and like to cut.
Small wounds of pain for me to bare,
I’d have hurt them too, it’s only fair.
I fall and fall in silent bliss,
I waited for that unfelt kiss.
I’ve landed on the rocky ground
My ears haven’t heard a single sound.
This is where my falling ends,
My limbs are broken,
But I’ll mend.
My heart was shattered by the fall,
This was no love at all.
So I lie still and wait
And wait,
I’m waiting for a little fate
To guide me from this death marked course,
I cry a little from remorse.
I wait and wait yet no one comes,
I wait and wait until I’m done.
“Blood Petals”
The flowers open and all the blood rushes out.
The buds around it open and blush crimson in response.
The blood pours out.
The first flower turns purple.
Its petals turn back and touch its stem.
The flowers open and bleed red.
The first flower turns black and the blood rushes out.
The engorged petals push against the stem and fall off.
The blood pours out and the petals fall down.
The petals fall down and the flower is no more.
The blood stops rushing.
The petals have all fallen.
The flower is no more.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Follow The Watch...

This month's issue of "Writer's Magazine" focuses on the memoir as literary device and stumbling block. I thought a lot of the tips and tricks offered apply equally to blogging as this is memoir in it's most instant form. The articles suggest to write everything down. Don't worry about story just get memories on the page. How much should you leave in, what should you leave out? How important are the feelings of your subject?

I worry a bit about how the sometimes subjects of my blog will react to what I've written, but never enough to not write what I want to say, simply how I'll say it. I was torn this weekend with an amazingly idiotic story I heard, but decided against retelling it as it did not happen to me or around me. Hersey is not admissible in court and therefore not in my blog. We'll see how long that rule lasts...

The best thing I took away from reading these articles were tips from successful, published memoirists. Most agreed that the best thing you can do is document. Whether it be in a notebook, on 3x5 cards, loose leaf paper; start recording your memories of events both big and small. This is where the blog is, I feel, the perfect medium. A quick note here, and longer story there. You're free to readdress a previous post, to expand on or correct any points or errors. For this, the blog is perfect.

I lay in bed last night struggling to fall asleep. Just moments before I was visibly yawning, now I'm tossing and turning (It always seems to work out this way for me). I keep thinking about the little things, the memories that float in and out of our minds at rapid speed. The ones that don't belong to any significant event but are burned into our cortex all the same.

In my earliest memory, I'm one. The vision is fragmented. I feel like I'm in "The Matrix"- a tv with two club chairs facing it in a never ending white room. I'm in the living room of our apartment in Whitehurst. There's foil on the half moon window to keep the light out. My mother, pregnant, lies on the couch with a wash cloth over her eyes. That's it. I don't know what she was wearing, what the couch looked like, what or who else was in the room. Only that she was pregnant and not feeling well, that there seemed to be a yellow light pushing past the foil and into the room. Perhaps it was afternoon...

When I was three, or at most, four; my sister and I played hide and seek in the living room of a duplex we shared with faceless neighbors. I remember nothing about them except that I was jealous of their kid. He had a motorized car that he would ride around and around the front lawn in. I wanted one so badly. I got a Big Wheel instead.
[side note:Now, when I think of duplex's my mind immediately wanders to the story of "Pyramus and Thisbe".]

My sister and I would take turns hiding behind the couch, the bookcase, the table, then jump out at each other. It seems the concept of hide and seek was known to us, but the execution was still a ways off. Around and around we'd go. Finally, we jumped out and discovered two figures standing at the large picture window in our living room smiling and waving. We screamed bloody murder. It was the first time I had ever been scared. My father ran in to see what had happened, who was hurt. We must have scared my poor grandparents even more. They had driven down from Louisville to surprise us. When they saw us playing, they stopped to watch for a while before knocking. How horrid then and how funny now!

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Always Wanted a White Horse Named Tir na nOg

A quick one today as I left this to the last minute and only have 10 to spare before I leave work. Certain thoughts keep popping into my head randomly. No, not just the "burn them, burn them all" evil leprechaun, or "did I turn on the living room light? Am I DVR-ing "Lie to Me"? It's the kind of things one fantasizes about or thinks about regularly. Is there a god? If so, does he hate me? Do you ever really know a person? Or my favorite in which I reenact a fictional interview with some magazine like Interview.

I am often amazed at how little people know about themselves and where they come from. Certainly there are exceptions to being naive, adoption being one, but what's the excuse for everyone else? How can you NOT be interested in who your family is, where they came from, were any of them famous? I grew up in a household where history and superstition ruled. I learned all about my father's people (Irish and Prussian) and gradually about my mother's (Welsh) as she became more interested and informed herself. I remember thinking how cool it was that I'm one quarter a place that doesn't really exist anymore. Prussia. Prussian. "How very Prussian of them." Other than that, the best stories came from Ireland- the mythology, the clans, the IRA. I always felt very Irish (my full name is incredibly Irish so that helps), as does the strong bond I feel with my father who identifies strongly as Irish as well though he speaks no Gaelic, but does speak German, Polish, and Russian. Funny.

My sister, if you were to ask her, would identify very Welsh (which makes sense as she is strongly linked with our mother). This explains why she has the Welsh dragon tattoo and I have a celtic knot. It took us forever to come up with a tattoo to get together (we settled on "sister" in hieroglyphics- another dedication to our Dad).

I am fascinated with learning more. I want to know everything. When I meet people and say something like, "Wow, that's an interesting last name. What is it?"; and they have no idea. I feel very sad for them. It must be horrible to have no understanding of where you come from or your culture. To see yourself purely as American, nothing else. The beauty of this country is in the mixed heritage of our citizens. If we don't know (or care to know) about ourselves, how can we expect to be tolerant and know others?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Remote Control (anyone else remember that show?)

There's a shame attached to watching certain TV shows, as if you were secretly dating your best friends ex or eating ice cream out of the carton at 2 AM. I don't understand it, but I follow it. Like keeping my collection of Mandy Moore movies hidden in a box in my closet, it's a secret. The cool kids don't watch that. You're too old to like that. I thought you had taste?

So, like your first foray into AA, I am standing up- tall and proud- and declaring: My name is Graygrrrl, and I love "The Vampire Diaries"!
In the spirit of the Sunday list, I am sharing with you my most intimate of intimate (and that's including my aforementioned love of Ms. Moore): My DVR queue.

Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives
Ace of Cakes
The Amazing Race (screw you football for making me miss most of this show because it ends up starting 30-40 minutes late. Don't look smug CBS! You should have anticipated this and arranged your schedule accordingly)
The Simpsons
Family Guy
The Next Iron Chef
Mad Men (I'm keeping your time slot open in honor)

Jeopardy (those damn Teen Tournament kids are smart!)
Chelsea Lately

How I Met Your Mother
Accidentally on Purpose
The Big Bang Theory
Lie to Me (Though I remember it being up against something else so I couldn't record it, but I can't find said show now...)
Chef Academy (premiere's this week, so it may not be on this list next week. We'll see)

So You Think You Can Dance
Tabitha's Salon Makeover (I watched my 1st episode of this show yesterday and what can I say? She looks like an extra in "Sleepwalkers" and people hate her. I heart!)
The Good Wife
So You Think You can Dance (results)
America's Next Top Model
Modern Family (now that Model is over)
Law & Order: SVU (Oh Stabler, how do you still have a job?)
Ghost Hunters
Top Chef: Las Vegas
Ghost Hunters: Academy (if this doesn't get more interesting, it's gone)
Eastwick (though I heard it just got cancelled)

Thursday (for the ladies):
Fringe (hand down one of the best shows on TV today)
Vampire Diaries
(I miss you 30 Rock, but I can watch you online or, more realistically, from Netflix)
Grey's Anatomy
Project Runway
Law & Order (oh! Who saw last weeks? Connie no!)
Stargate Universe
The Soup

Usually, I tape a couple movies here. This week, I'll be recording "Brokeback Mountain" on Bravo
Saturday Night Live (depending on host)

*Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (depends on location)
*Any talk show with a good guest (Did you see Ian Sommerhalder get molested by Rosie O'Donnell last night on Jimmy Fallon?)
*House Hunters & House Hunter's International
*My First Place
*Arrested Development (replaying on IFC)
*The Graham Norton Show
*Good Eats
*Miscellaneous food shows
*Monty Python's Flying Circus
*Cash Cab

Stand proud. Shout loud. It's okay to like TV (even if it's bad).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blah

* So, I have an attitude problem, except I don't really find it a problem. I don't like liars or exageration for the purpose of making you look better, and I don't apprecitate being yelled at. Call me crazy! When has yelling at another person actually got you what you wanted? It didn't work when you were 5 and it's not going to work now. If I tell you I don't know the answer or that you would have to ask the person who told you said fact, why do you think repeating your question/comment at a higher decibal would somehow yield a different result? I still don't know, and now I'm annoyed at you. Don't ask a question you don't want the answer to. In closing, don't yell at me for something I didn't do. Get over it.

* My lovely and talented sister was in town for a few days working on a top secret project for her University. (Not entirely true, but I do like the very "Quantico" sound of it and she isn't supposed to mention any details so you could infer she is 007). It is always great when she's here, mostly because she knows all my friends and they like her as well. Also, we get along now that we don't live together. Growing up, we shared a room. Two girls trapped in a 12x12 space for 17 years is no picinic. Once, while playing war I hit her in the face with a 1940's shoe. Those suckers are heavy! In retalliation, she hit me in the face with a Lincoln Log bomb. When she was a baby, I hit her in the head with a hammer (I'm pretty sure this accounts for her uncanny ability to run into inanimate objects), but it wasn't my fault. What was a little girl doing with a hammer anyway? In junior high or high school, she got so mad at me (for a reason I can no longer remember) that she came after me with a knife. The last time we fought, we got in a fist fight in a moving car. I was driving. Besides the Barbie's and dress up, we acted a lot like boys. Fighting became physical but always in a comical way (at least it's comical now years later). Who makes bombs out of Lincoln Logs and the pieces of a make your own paper flowers kit? Little girls raised by their Dad is who.
Regardless of what happened, we always made up. Sometimes quickly, sometimes not for several months. The point was I always knew we would eventually. That's what family does. There is no one you can count on 100% outside of family. Blood is thicker than water and warrents. Now that we are both "grown" and have experienced the world and the finite relationships of others, we appreciate each other more. I don't always like her, but I always love her. (That was kinda mushy and I apologize. How embarassing!). Any who, she hung out for the night, clipped my cats toe nails (she is the vet in the family so that makes it her job), and made me feel better. I'm super excited that she's coming back for my birthday as she missed last year and that is not exceptable! Kisses.

* Remember when you could ask yourself, "Whatever happened to the Corey's"? Now you know and you wish you could erase that knowledge from your brain. Simpiler times...

* My love affair with movies began at a very young age. My first film was "Halloween" at the drive in (though I'm not sure it counts as I was a baby and don't remember any of it). Every year for our birthday, my sister and I would get to pick a movie. We go to the movies on Easter, and Thanksgiving, and Christmas. It's tradition. I can remember lining up at the local mall when I was 5 for the "Land Before Time" with my whole birthday party crew. I sat in the front row of "The Addam's Family" because that's where you sit when your young and cool. I watched most of "The English Patient" upside down in my seat- I was that bored. When my sister was still too little to sit through a movie, my Dad took me. We saw the re-release of "Pinnocio". Remember when Disney released movies from their vault to the theatres? I do. We saw "The Rescuers", and "The Aristocats", and "Fern Gully". "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids", and "Jurassic Park", and every Oscar Best Picture nominee. It was tradition.

This year I'm a bit stuck. Last year, we went to see "Rachel Getting Married". My Dad and I loved it, my Mom not so much. Both expressed a wish for something less depressing next year. I called my Mom to discuss the options as well as where to go for my birthday dinner (PS- she doesn't like anything I would have picked, i.e. BBQ, Indian, Mediterranian. But, that's a different story). She asked what we were going to see, and I said, "New Moon". I figured they would be cool with it, plus all my friends are going to see it opening weekend, so unless I want to run away from every conversation with my fingers in my ears humming loudly; I'll have to see it soon. Also, I don't really want to pay for it. Needless to say, she was not interested. I think her exact words were, "Ugh". I reminded her of last years film and threatened to pick something equally "exciting". I want to see "Mammoth" (big downer about betrayl and adultary). I still haven't seen "Paranormal Activity" (she hates horror) and I campaigned for it! Suddenly, the akward stylings of Kirsten Stewart and Robert Pattinson where looking a lot better.

* On a related note:
Dear Kristen Stewart:
Remember when you were 12 and could act? What happened to you? You're falling into the Wylie Wiggins school of "pinch your nose" acting. Quit it!

* So, there's water on the moon. Further proof that my dream of living in a space ecosphere will actually come true. Now all I have to do is figure out how to become indespensable or how to highjack the Orion capsule.

* Jennie's word of the day: frustration

* No words can express my feelings about this.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Don't Fast Forward- You Never Know What You're Missing!

The other day, I got into a discussion with a friend about movie credits. Or, more specifically, that the opening credits to “Zombieland” are the greatest ever made (his stance). As a proud (and vain) cinephile, I was not about to concede this point without further investigation. Certainly, it is in the top 5, but #1? I’m not so sure. So, with a little investigation, I compiled my list of the top 5 movie opening credits and published them to my Facebook. I am expanding this list for you here, and encourage you to pay attention the next time your at the movies. Sometimes, what we’re shown before (or even after) the movie begins; let’s us in on more information faster than we could perceive watching just the movie. Enjoy!!

In no particular order:

Zombieland- If you haven’t seen this movie (and really, come on! Get up and go right now. Or, better yet, wait til after you read this blog). Zombies run and attack and eat in slow motion while “For Whom the Bell Tolls” blasts out at us. Adding to the novelty of it all, the predator and the prey run through the written credits, scattering names and jobs to the wind.

Reservoir Dogs- My first thought for one of the best opening credit scenes. Perhaps made better by the scene which proceeds it (seriously guys, tip your waitresses), it is none the less iconic. Tarantino is god, but this is really his best credit sequence and the only time we aren’t given a simple scroll of names. Our Dogs walk away from the diner as K Billy’s Super Sounds of the 70’s and “Little Green Bag” play in the background. I have to tell you, I’m a big fan of credits (either opening or closing) giving us the name of the actor with a shot of their face. It’s nice to not have to run to IMDB when all I want to know is a name.

Juno- I had totally forgotten about this one until I started staring at my DVD collection. Our heroine travels from the mini-mart to home and in and out of an animated reality. The music by the Moldy Peaches works with instead of distracting from the film and cements Jason Reitman as a formidable peer of Wes Anderson and Tarantino for music choice.

Lord of War- I liked this movie and I don’t particularly care for Nic Cage (“Peggy Sue got Married” not withstanding). This sequence could have been renamed “The Secret Life of Bullets”. Super fun.

Seven- I remember being mesmerized sitting in the theatre watching these credits. What were we looking at? How was this significant? It only becomes clear as we progress through the movie. You feel uncomfortable watching it, and it perfectly sets the tone for the sepia hued film to follow. I also loved the music by Trent Reznor and the mix of typed and handwritten lettering for names and jobs.

The Pink Panther- Come on, who doesn’t love this? As famous for the music as the cartoon cat working his way in and out of trouble.

House of 1000 Corpses/The Devils Rejects- The opening bars of “The Sinister Urge” began to play and I got really excited. The buzz surrounding the movie before opening was that Rob Zombie was not using any of his own music in the film. Kind of a bummer if you ask me, so when that song started and the visual assault of grotesque and pornographic images played on screen- I knew I would not be disappointed. Not to be a one trick pony, Zombie’s sequel stayed true to its western outlaw/70’s exploitation roots. The Allman Brother’s “Midnight Rider” provide the soundtrack as we follow the escape of the Firefly family from the police, leaving a wake of damage and casualties behind them.

Raging Bull- Beautifully shot, stark black and white contrast, a slow-motion De Niro warming up in the ring: priceless.

The Watchmen- A complete history and field guide for the uninitiated set to the Dylan classic “The Times They Are A-Changing”.

Run Lola Run- Animated goings on of the movie we’re about to see, but it doesn’t detract, only enhances what’s to come.

Lock, Stock, and 2 Smoking Barrels- The opening credits of Guy Ritchie’s first film sum up everything you need to know about him, the movies he makes, and the characters. Slap dash black title cards interject a back-alley grafter doing business and running from the cops. A voice over introduces the characters who, in turn, get their own title cards.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail- Never seen it? Just look it up. I don’t want to ruin the surprise. While I’m at it, what do you mean you’ve never seen it? Were you raised in a cave? Some kind of hermit? Next you’ll ask me who this Monty guy is and I’ll be forced to slap you in the face with a fish.

Freeway- Sam the Sham’s “Little Red Riding Hood” plays to an animated Goldilocks who’s having none of it. Gotta say, I may be biased as I just love this song so much!!

Amelie- I heart Jean-Pierre Jeunet so much I could just spit. This movie marks a special place in my heart because it was the first time my mother sat through and LOVED one of his movies. They’re not really her bag, and that’s okay, but it’s nice to finally have something together. The music of Yann Teirsen is genius. Again, we get history and back story woven together with current events- the quirky humour that is Jeunet permeates this sequence.

Men in Black- Ah Danny Elfman, it’s like we’re kindred. This simple opening is too much like the other’s he’s scored to stand on his merits alone. No, it is the wandering fly, minding his own business until he meets the business end of a semi that gets me.

Okay, that’s probably enough for now. What did I miss?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

My birthday is fast approaching (11 days and counting), so I’ve been reflecting on past events this week. Mostly out of boredom, but also a bit of nostalgia. The gap to 30 is getting smaller and smaller and I am adamant about enjoying this birthday as I’m sure the big 3-0 will be fraught with horror and a possible mental breakdown. It isn’t that 30 is old, on the contrary, it’s right spry! It’s more what it represents: adulthood.

30 is when it all goes down (hence I’m googling local mental facilities to find the nicest one to house my breakdown). When I was little, probably 10 or 12, I decided that 30 was it. This was partially in keeping with my parents own “late bloomer” status (they met and married in their early 30’s), and partially in how large a number that seemed to my young mind. By 30, I should have graduated college, gotten comfortable in my career, and started thinking about getting married and having kids. I’m about to turn 28, and I’ve done none of these things- not even close! It’s enough to make you cry, and believe me, I have.

It is well known that I don’t plan to ever get married (I just want to be like Kurt and Goldie), so that portion of the “30 year rule” was amended when I was 16. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m alone and have been alone on every one of my birthdays. I don’t know how I do it! I’ve always just broken up with someone, or don’t meet them for another week, or (and this was the worst) break up on my birthday.
[side note: birthdays are not times to discuss anything important, nor are they a time for name calling. This rule extends especially to any time you are in bed with another person in a non-platonic way. Seriously.]
Just once, I’d like to celebrate the meeting of sperm to egg with another person in a biblical sense (or a PG-13 sense or a PG sense. Just about any “sense” really). On a related note, I will be holding my friends responsible for keeping me from any foreseeable mistakes. You know who and what they are.

As for the rest of my life, it’s dead end job to dead end job. (I’m going to stab somebody; problem is it will most likely be me). No career. No school. No money even if I wanted to go. No prospects. I thought these were attainable goals. Who could have predicted things would go so terribly wrong?

I always hope the next year will be different, but it never is. The week of my birthday will be pleasant, maybe even rad; but shortly after everything will return to normal. I'll say it again, as I do every year: This time will be different. This time, I'm going to get off my lazy, depressed ass and start doing what I want to do, what makes me happy. Now, I just gotta figure out exactly what that is...

(a pretty typical birthday shot)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chez Gris: Let's Get Ready to COOK!!!

So, I’ve renamed the “cooking school” segment. It just sounded boring and rigid. As a “home cook” or “non-professional” or “amateur” cook, I’m not sure what right I had calling it a school in the first place. Not, that there is anything wrong with novices, we are taking over the blogosphere as well as the Food Network, this was really meant as a way for me to impart the lessons learned through trial and error. I also want to share some killer recipes while I’m at it.

So, today’s missive: Larder-a-Plenty

Larder comes from the French but all you need to know is it’s a fancy way of saying pantry. A well-stocked pantry can mean the difference between cooking and take out. It can provide a wealth of inspiration. It opens more pages of your favorite cookbook to you. You are prepared for all situations and cravings, but; what do you actually need? I don’t know about you, but cupboard space is very limited in my kitchen so I have to be picky and keep on hand only what I know I’ll need (plus a few goodies). Below is my list of must haves for a well-stocked pantry. Fill in what you’re missing and add whatever else tickles your fancy. Maybe you’ve always envisioned yourself a baker, in which case you will need some form of lard/shortening/Crisco that is absent from my list (as I believe baking is the devil).

Dried Goods:
- Salt (I prefer Kosher, but any kind of sea salt is best. Iodized “table” salt has no place in cooking. As Iodine can be easily ingested through naturally iodine rich foods such as cheddar cheese, eggs, fish, mayo, sea salt, etc., it is no longer necessary to cook with it (unless your doctor has directed otherwise, of course). So, go with the more flavorful option. For more info, check out Alton Brown’s amazing Good Eats show all about salt.

- Pepper (however you prefer it (black, white, mixed), get a pepper mill. Fresh cracked pepper tastes so much better. Several brands now market disposable grinders in the spice aisle. Love it!)
- All-Purpose Flour
- Granulated (white) sugar
- Baking soda and baking powder (mostly for you bakers and desert makers out there! Skip if that doesn’t interest you at all)
- Cocoa powder
- Dried Herbs: basil, cumin, nutmeg, paprika (get Hungarian if you can find it, trust me), parsley flakes, rosemary, oregano, thyme, tarragon, curry powder (also Garam Masala if you love to make curries), Cajun seasoning (it’s the southerner in me coming out, but I could put a little Tony Chachere’s in everything!), red pepper flakes, cinnamon, cayenne, grill seasoning (yum…Montreal Steak seasoning), bay leaves, ginger.
- Garlic
- Shallots
- Onions
- Rice (did you know they make instant brown rice now? So good!)
- Pasta

Wet Goods:
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Soy sauce
- Vinegar (white) and Red Wine (if you love homemade simple salad dressings- I do)
- Balsamic Vinegar (get the best you can afford)
- Hot sauce
- Mustard (whatever you like on sandwich’s and another heartier version like Dijon or Creole)
- Ketchup
- Tomato paste
- Horseradish
- BBQ sauce
- Vegetable stock or broth
- Mayonnaise
- Red and White wine (never cook with cooking wine. If you wouldn’t drink it, why would you cook with it?)
- Eggs
- Yogurt (plain)

I heart fresh herbs, and they are easier to find than ever! To keep yours looking fresh longer, rinse well and loosely wrap in a paper towel. Place inside a zip lock bag and store in your fridge’s crisper. Depending on whom you ask, this will keep them for 1- 1 ½ weeks. For leafier herbs like parsley or basil, you can put them in a cup with a little water and leave on your countertop. If you store them in the fridge that way, put a plastic bag over the tops.
Until next time (I’m working on typing up my Ultimate Cool Weather treat), happy cooking!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

"Words of Wisdom" by Kevin Smith

Last night, Kevin Smith regaled House of Blues with his presence. It was wonderful! My lovely friend Lauren gifted me with tickets for my birthday. We sat 4th row center- best seats ever!! He opened the show with a crude and hilarious anecdote about masturbation and his wife, then opened the floor to questions. Considering this is the same format he does for all his shows, it was funny to see him get tripped up on which mic got to speak next. Needless to say, the audience was with him to help out in any way we could. Today's list features highlights of last nights performance:

* The poor debate teacher- For an additional fee, tickets were sold for a meet and greet after the show. Unfortunately, Smith didn't know about it and doesn't do that sort of thing. If you want something signed, simply leave it on the edge of the stage and he'll get to it. She asked how he felt about being worth $25 and his response was, "good". From there, it went downhill for the teach we was treated to jokes about inappropriate relations with students (made better by the fact that one of them was in the audience with his mom), and trying to get her laid. He even offered up his hotel suite to make it happen. It didn't.

* Someone asked him about weight and why he didn't "just get the surgery". His response: portion control, but not in the way you might expect. You see, it all boils down to this: Cereal is the devil. You make a delicious bowl of cereal, enjoy it, but then there's always milk left over. That seems like a waste, so you add more cereal. Then, there's not enough milk, so you add a bit more, and before you know it you've eaten an entire box. Love it!
* Batman is emo. (Sorry, there was more, but I was laughing so hard, neither Lauren or I remembered the rest of the punchline. I think that's enough though really. Love it squared!)
* Denton is one of his Top 10 Places. I know, weird. After "Chasing Amy", he said it was a "perfect blissful memory" when he visited. However, he "should never go again". I agree, you can never go back or home. What if it sucks? "This is a shit hole"- I believe in joking response to Dallas.

* He waxed poetic about his upcoming film "A Couple of Dicks" (Though that may not be the title when it comes out due to the offensive nature of the word "dicks". These are the same people who would probably try to censor "Dick Tracy" if they could. Jeez- get over it. We get it's a double entendre, but come on). He says it's "'Lethal Weapon" with 60% less action". He has a lot to say about Bruce Willis as well, or as he calls him, "Captain", short for "Captain Chuffah" (spelling?). Apparently, his favorite thing is to look at the shot list and sides for the day (usually about 6 pages) and say "chuffah" as he throws most of them away. In the end, you're left with 2 pages and a half day. Kinda nice, but certainly distracting for a director. Hi reasoning is brilliant though- He (Willis) has been doing this same shit for 25 years. He's got a pretty good idea what's going to make it into the movie. Why waste everyones time and money shooting crap? To his credit, it turned out he was right and Smith had no problems editing the film. After watching his last DVD where he talked about his experience working on "Die Hard", I wondered why he thought it would be any different this time? Perhaps, insanity?

* A guy wanted an autograph but didn't bring a pen or paper (love those guys). "Show your little fried eggs!" Smith replied. Who doesn't love a good "Fame" reference?

* My favorite line of the night was also the most poignant: "You can either do it, or you cannot. You can't be taught. You're a writer or director, or you're not". This sentiment has been echoed by many over the years and I think it's one of the best pieces of advice anyone can give, regardless of what you're attempting. What are you best at? What do you enjoy most? What can you not live without doing? If you're not sure, keep looking. If you are, start doing. For anything else is a lie. My father recently said something similar to me, "I can't wait to see what you'll be when you grow up". It was especially moving to me, as I've been struggling with this the most recently. I'm not happy with what I'm doing, but I'm paralyzed by fear and a defeatist attitude. Now is the time to quit it! How very Yoda. You are or you are not. If you can think of anything else in the world you'd rather be doing, do it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


* Super excited! Tonight is "Silent Bob Speaks" with Kevin Smith at the House of Blues. I have see all of his movies and concert DVD's. It's my understanding, we have some pretty primo seats as well. Now, all I have to do is come up with an awesome question for the Q&A section.

* Had a SciFi debate with my friend last night- Who's the biggest geek? I'm pretty sure I win, but I always think I win. Basically, I geeked out while watching a CSI rerun from earlier this year. Kate Vernon! Grace Park! Ronald Moore! I was in BSG heaven. How could my Dad not tell me about this? He knows I don't get to watch because it conflicts with too many other shows! I want to make love to the new BSG box set, complete with Cylon model. I. Want. Now.

I heart SciFi almost as much as I love horror. It is especially satiating that TV is back on the bandwagon and delivering killer shows to my home: Dollhouse, Stargate: Universe, V, Fringe, Eureka, Ghost Hunters (can't wait for Ghost Hunters Academy next week). I'm sure the list goes on. So, thanks TV! Kisses.

* Dear Philly Connection at 6334 Gaston Ave, Please suck a fuck! Thank you. I'm sorry to be so crass, but where did you learn customer service? Who quotes 45 minutes and then shows up in 10? (That might have been nice, if I wasn't busy with a client and out of the office). I'd like to thank you for leaving a message when you called to say you tried to deliver my food. Oh, what? You didn't leave a message? Huh... How was I supposed to know you came? When I called you an hour later asking about my food, thanks for the attitude. I'm sure you're busy. I'm busy too! That's why I'm ordering delivery. I don't need to hear how busy you are. I don't like the insinuation that you aren't even doing delivery today. What have I been waiting an hour for? What's worse is, I don't even like your food. I called because you were supposed to have $1.99 sandwich's again for charity. You tell me that's only on pick-up. Can you point out where it says that on your flier? Oh, it doesn't? Huh... This should have been my first indication to hang up on you. When I call to find out about my order, I'm put on hold for 7 minutes. I counted. Ok, you're busy, we'll let that slide. Your assistant manager getting on the phone and blaming me for his problem, not so much. How often do we order from you Philly Connection? How many people have we sent to you? Fuck you! I'm hungry and getting cranky. Now, I've got to find food and I'm not supposed to leave the office. So, in closing, please suck a fuck you fucking jerk offs. I hate you and will never eat there again. That includes the beautiful Birch beer you sell. I'll simply live without. Loser.

* And now, for something completely different:

Okay... That makes me feel better.

* I want to see Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and need to get to NYC before the end of April (?), May (?), I can't remember when it ends, but here's a sneak peek at the Tim Burton retrospective at the MoMa. ~Love~

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dear John...

So, the scanner at work isn't working, but I'll be damned if I don't post this after I spent all of 5 minutes writing it! Please enjoy the brilliance of my camera phone:

Tanscribed for your pleasure

Not one to be left off the bandwagon, I too am posting my handwriting for all to witness! This is how most of my writing is: a collection of script and print.
Sometimes, I get caught up in what I'm writing (who am I kidding- all the time), and it becomes difficult for even me to read as letter routinely get laid off or blend unintelligibly. This (<-) is most often the case where "u" or "w" is concerned.
I get compliments on my handwriting though, which blows my mind!


The Main Offenders:

7, Z, 2, f + y= y as in for your (okay, that came off better than normal)

e or E, m or M, R

I (no dot ever!)

this- quickly becomes- Ths (kinda looks like "y" as well, huh)

I mentioned in the lovely Shine's post how I was forced to write in graph paper when I was younger, probably around 7 or 8. My father's handwriting is atrocious and we wanted to spare me such humiliation. Funny, how he never made my younger sister do it. Perhaps

knew I would be the writer. Either way, god bless her, her handwriting can become/is quite unruly. I do love the sharp angles she creates though.


This is what writing in graph paper looks like. Fun huh? Now repeat...

My only real problem with my handwriting, is that I can't stop myself from griping [sic] gripping the pen so hard I get tired after a page + a half. Not so good for a girl who hates typing creative writing/free-flowing thought. I get easily distracted by all the red + green squiggly lines. (What do they want?! Yes, I know that's a

fragment. Maybe I did it on purpose, huh?)

So,...buttons. Wouldn't it be great for a handwriting analyst (graphologist according to Wikipedia) look @ all these blogs + interpret out personality? I love those things! I did it once at the State Fair. Kinda cool, but so vague. I guess that's what I get for using a machine.


Monday, November 2, 2009

A Date That Will Live On...

We're coming up to that time when we start to hear about it again. This weeks "Mad Men" centered on it. Last month's Vanity Fair ran an amazing article on the controversy of the book about it. My parent's say it defined their generation. People of a certain age all know where they were when they heard the news: Kennedy was shot. For me, it just reminds me that my birthday is around the corner. I'm an "assassination baby", as I like to call it. Even more odd, my sister is as well. Me November 22, her April 15.

For the longest time, I often thought what that must be like, to have witnessed a great tragedy. To vividly recall where you were, be it in school, at work, or at the grocery; over 40 years ago with crystal clear memory. What must it have been like to live through war? My parents did, and their parents before them. To actively participate in it.

I thought I'd gotten my answer when 9/11 happened. I know exactly where I was: asleep. It was my day off. I was woken by the phone ringing at 830, by my mother telling me to turn on the TV. I barely left the couch all day as I watched the 2nd tower fall, the horrific images taken from the ground. I thought, "This is my JFK", and I remember being sad that I had one now. Only a few years later, the youth of today have no recollection of those events. Kenned is someone they (may) hear about in school, and 9/11 is something their parents talk about. It's an unfamiliar reference on a sitcom. It interrupts their regularly scheduled programming once a year. How nice it must be to forget, or to have been so young as to have no memory of such tragedy. How sad that they will surely gain one of their own before their lives are spent.

When I think about my birthday, I think how inappropriate a theme party would be. Then, I think about "House of Yes" and I laugh. Then, sometimes, I'm embarrassed.

We don;'t live in "troubled times", time is simply troubled. For as long as we've been keeping history, unforeseen circumstances and horrific events have taken place. In England, they're dulling and confiscating kitchen knives in an attempt to curb violent crime. They want to register cricket bats as well. We register guns and gun owners. We get ticketed for crossing the street at the wrong juncture, or for incorrectly paying to park out car on the street.

What's the point? Try as we might, as long as there is something we want but cannot have, there will always be war. Unstable people will act out violently. (OH, I know! Let's cut the budget for state run mental programs and facilities, and allow insurance companies not to cover treatment, inpatient or out, as well! That'll solve the problem.)

I think I'm rambling again. I've always romanticized the 40's. I love the women in their trousers and the men with their smart haircuts. The one thing that consistently stands out to me are the photos of women doing their part for the war effort. My father's mother was a welder. She built shell and bomb casings. My mother's mother was a nurse. There's a great photo of her in her Army uniform standing with my grandfather in his. She looks just like my mother who looks just like my sister, it's eerie. I envy them this. I want to strap on my shoes, walk to town, and get dirty. I want wool skirts and sweaters and lunch in a tin. I want the feeling that I must help, that I must do something, anything. I want real problems. I want to make my own story to tell. I want to grow up.

Assassination babies... Maybe we're destined to try to live up to a history we weren't even a part of. So much worse and obscure than holiday babies. We don't stand for joy or yuletide greetings. We have to explain; November 22, April 14/15, July 2, September 6/14. Dates that mean nothing to you unless you were there or had the misfortune of being born on them.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Eye Spy With My Little Eye...

On my way home from work yesterday, I drove the long way down my street so I could take in all the trick-r-treaters and haunted houses. It was madness! The ice cream carts sold Halloween dealy-boppers (spelling? You know what I'm talking about- those head bands with antennae), vendors with cotton candy lined the street, someone was selling glow in the dark swords. Crazy.

Here's a quick pic with my partner in crime that evening at one of the parties we stopped at:

She's a Brownie and I'm, well, I'm in my go to costume (this year with bloody eyes!). We had a great time. Thank you Daylight Savings! This Sunday's list is sponsored by Halloween Parties:

Best Costumes of the Evening:

- Max from “Where the Wild Things Are”
- Brian from “Family Guy” in his Peanut Butter Jelly Time outfit
- A couple of “Boondock Saints”
- Gallagher (with mallet)
- A woodland Brownie
- Female Ghostbuster
- Sexy sailor w/her Army boyfriend (contradiction is good!)
- Bloodied zombie
- Weather ballon w/Falcon inside
- Whoppie Cusion
- Couple of “Beerfest” guys

And from my Facebook, I found these gems:

- “Star Trek” (2009) Gaila (the green lady) with Kirk
- A classic Playboy Bunny (did I mention it was a dude?)
- Quailman
- The chick from the Progressive Insurance ads
- The Invisibles
- Awesome Rogue
- The cast of “Clue”

And, online, I found:

- Several “Shaun of the Dead” Shaun’s
- Bender from “Futurama”
- The Rocketeer (I love that movie!)
- Wall-E and Eve
- The opera singer from “The Fifth Element”
- Sock Monkey (it was a baby, but come on! That’s adorable)
- The Basterd’s (mostly Donny)
- The Maitland’s after leaving their caseworker’s office (stretchy faces= good)
- YouTube video

Hope everyone had a great Halloween! I'd love to see or hear about more awesome costumes! The countdown to my Birthday begins today as well. Hola November!