Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I haven't done my own laundry for sometime (my grandmother insists). The last time I'd gone this long without doing my own laundry I was here in Ireland, seriously considering stealing these people's clothes just to feel a little less dirty.

Will Ferrell Should Host Next Year's Oscars

I just watched the whole "comedic actors don't get Oscars" sketch again on YouTube (I missed the first part because I went to the kitchen to snag an orange), and, well, you can read the title of this post.

Hollywoodland and Perfume

Right, so I watched Hollywoodland the other day. Like many of you, I was on the fence about seeing this movie, and when the reviews were mixed, I decided to keep my 9 or 10 dollars and save it for something worthwhile, like a wicker chair or something. And then when the Oscars came around, all the critics who have too much time on their hands made lists of actors who got "snubbed." I like that word. Anyhow, I gave in and rented the movie, cringing at the thought of 2 hours of Adrien Brody, who is not my favorite actor, peppered with Ben Affleck doing a good impression of George Reeves.

But you know what? The movie is good. Really good. Not great. Not pure boilerpot genius, but a totally solid film. And Adrien Brody almost won me over (I guess I should get The Pianist at some point). The critics were right. Ben Affleck did a really great job, and all the jokes about him knowing exactly how George Reeves felt don't really add up to enough for him to be able to play someone, who let's face it, reached for the stars and fell in kiddie television, without actually having to act. Ben Affleck never had it that bad. I mean, the boy has an Oscar. Could George Reeves have played George Reeves that poignantly? One wonders...

Anyhow, the movie is quite fine, certainly better than Babel. Yeah, the fact that they can't actually wrap up the film with any kind of definite conclusion about what happened to "The Man of Steel" is annoying, but Coulter deals with the problem the best way he could. You should see it.

I'm reading Patrick Suskind's book, Perfume, as well on the recommendation of Michal Towber. Talk about an enviable career. I still love and am sailing through Moby Dick, but I'm taking my time with it. Like a cruise.

I've reached page 110 of my far inferior book! Hoorah!
OK, now my belated breakfast...

Monday, February 26, 2007

Brief Newsbreak

Friends of "American Idol" contestant Antonella Barba defended the aspiring singer after racy photos appeared on the Internet last week. When asked to defend her singing, the friends went back to looking at the racy photos.


You know when something seems like a really good idea at the time (I'm going to liveblog the Oscars; it's going to be awesome!) and then, five hours later, you're done and realize how pointless the activity was (me! me!)?

So I am never going to do that again -- it was an interesting experiment and now it's over -- unless someone pays me.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Monday. And it's the Oscars!

12:00 am Ryan's next to Meryl. Whew! And Ellen is looking a bit wacked, vacuuming. I think her humor's a bit too subtle for the Oscars.
12:02 RYAN! He blinks. I die.
12:03 Whitaker sweats. A ton.
12:04 Ugh. Whitaker wins. Shocker. Actually, I'm happy. He was great. Now, let's see if he can give a speech.... nope. I'm glad he wrote it down. But. Sheesh. I like him better in movies.
To recap: JHud (1), Peter O'Toole (still 0).
12:06 I liked the whole "lifetime" bit.
12:07 Hahaha. George Lucas. Hahaha.
12:08 Greengrass is an interesting last name.
I think Leo tried to whistle and failed.
I'm moved too, Martin, I'm moved too.
No, Leo, do not do anymore films with Marty.
12:11 Scorsese's speech was good. All the other winners could have used some pointers.
12:12 What would the Oscars do without Jack? Who looks so WEIRD RIGHT NOW!
If either Babel or The Queen win, I will be VERY UPSET.
12:14 Does Jack have cancer? I'm not being funny. I was just worried.
12:16 I'm so done. I may never blog again. Good night, and Good luck!

Coming on Monday: Still Oscarring

11:51pm A stupid blue satin vest and pants, and some weird dark shirt underneath. I think she got dressed in the dark.
Ellen tries to cut the Oscars off early. Sigh. Fails.
11:52pm My favorite non-Dustin Hoffman! He seems a bit out of it, though. Capote feels like ages ago, doesn't it?
11:54pm And the Oscar goes to... Helen Mirren. Right. Yawn. Congrats. You have a nice dress. You look good. You did a great job in a boring film. But, honestly... "I share my gold star with..." Judi Dench gets the gold star line, not you! Not you!
11:55pm Hairstyle joke!
11:56 pm Oh, I thought QE2 was going to pop up for a moment there. Now that would have been cool.
Hey, look, it's an interpretive shadow dance gun with which to kill myself.


11:34pm "None of the actors stand out or try to." Honestly, everyone in this film rocked. And Paul Dano went to my school (though I was in the grad program, and I believe he's still undergrad).
11:35pm Will's hair. Will's hair. Will, hair. Is it just shaved too close? I'm nervous. He looks so old.
11:36pm Another montage. Bitch, no.
Why Matt Damon deserves an Oscar despite starring in a 3-hour long unwatchable film. Cate Blanchett really did a mean Katherine Hepburn impression. Love me some Benicio. Where is he? Where?! Rutger Hauer. Just saying. Why won't they show Newsies? Close-up of Tom Hanks' eyes, a little much for TV.
11:40 pm Kate Winslet, please "cut to the chase." For Christ's sake.
11:43pm Leo just kissed the old lady Oscar winner (seriously, I just wrote "killed" instead of "kissed" and giggled at the error, and then corrected it, but it would have been sad if you missed that)
11:43pm Lady says "panoply" -- is my new hero.
11:44pm The dead people montage, courtesy Jodie Foster, whose name I temporarily blanked on. It's is getting very late. I miss Bruno Kirby. Phillipe Noiret. His passing saddened me most.
11:48pm Killed another ant. The exterminator did a shity job. I feel stupid, blogging, when I could be working on my own stuff so I too can be an Oscar nominee...
11:49pm It's been a long time since I've seen Ryan Gosling.

Oscar de Lasts Foreva

11:20pm J Lo's thinking, and how does JHud have an Oscar when I pulled out all the stops for Selena?
11:22pm Bored. I just killed an ant. Not out of boredom. Coincidence that. Beyonce's eyelashes. Sigh. Let's move this along. I already saw this movie, and it's friggin 11:23pm. I am glad JHud is in a better dress. Why isn't that guy in the suit Jamie Foxx? What, is he too good to not be in the spotlight?
11:25pm OK, Beyonce brought it. But does anyone want it, at this hour? Seriously, even the unimportant little brother from Dreamgirls is up there. Foxx, where are you?
11:26 pm I'm all out of "Patience."
11:28pm Why is Travolta presenting? He hasn't been in a good movie since a billion years ago. Because of Hairspray? Smile, Mark O'Donnell, your film's going to do good B.O.
11:29pm Seriously. Etheridge? Well, whatever. Shout out to Al Gore!

NO MORE COMMERCIALS. Just let's finish. Please!


11:06 pm Back in the day when I used to babysit, we were on a walk when my 4 year-old charge physically ran into Hugh Jackman. Right into his leg. I was totally humiliated and also shocked. Hugh Jackman is actually better looking in person. The man can totally work a turtleneck. Also, he is super tall. The 4 year-old also once trapped Meryl Streep in an apartment building while under my care, but that's a story for another time.
11:07 pm I love Gustavo! Always have, always will. Inarritu's films are better because of him. All films are better because of him.
11:09pm Jack should also be on the Ellen show.
11:11pm I wish I lived in LA. Or, you know, that area.
Best Original Screenplay. Just breathe, Kati. Just breathe.
11:12pm Guillermo or Arndt. Guillermo or Arndt. I like Morgan as a person, but, please, no. Not this stupid movie. The stag symbol moment makes me want to gag.
11:14pm Michael Arndt!!!!!!!!!! Hoorah! There's help for us all! How you like me now, Matthew Broderick?!
11:15pm Little Mister Oscar Winner! Why couldn't my parents have driven us across country in a VW van with a broken clutch? Why?????????!!! Sorry, that was the most important award of the night for me.
11:16pm OK, The Devil Wears Prada thing was kind of good. But, seriously, the interpretive shadow dancers should not be invited next year.


10:55pm How did I not see Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!?
10:56pm Morricone looks bored. Or maybe just isolated, way up there, in the balcony. I guess Celine isn't moving him.
10:57 pm I like the color of the dress, but there's something a bit off in the design. Or maybe it's the faces she's making? I had forgotten how great a singer and how strange a human being Celine was, but it's all coming back to me now. Haha.
10:59pm I'm concerned about Will Smith's hair and, as a result, my own age. Remember when he had that fade.
11pm He's giving his speech in Italian? What? Why does Kate Capshaw pretend she know what he's saying? Hey, it doesn't matter. Clint can translate! Doe he actually know Italian? Or is this scripted?
11:01pm Holy mother. He's composed 506 films. That's more movies than I've seen. More movies than I could list. Wow.
11:02 pm Anyone else hear about The Untouchables sequel?!!!!!!! Seriously, go IMDB Ennio Morricone.

O-scarred. is back.

You realize Jennifer Hudson has an Oscar and Peter O'Toole still doesn't. Um. Well, this probably means her career over. JHud, welcome to the curse.

10:40pm Wait, what 90210 star is going to be on Dancing With the Stars??
10:42 pm If I were ten inches shorter, I would marry Gael Garcia Bernal.
10:43pm If I were a man, I'd marry Eva Green. Really, these two should just marry each other. They're both perfect.
Did you just see "Well, do ya, punk?" float across the bottom of the screen? So inappropriate.
10:44pm "In case you were wondering where he's been, here he is. Jerry Seinfeld." Presenting for documentaries. And now, ok.
10:45 pm Same line of jokes as Ellen Degeneres in the beginning.
10:47pm Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore. We want the slide show to win! It's not half as depressing as Jesus Camp, I'm sure.
10:49 Melissa E looks like she's going to come out of her skin. AL GORE FOR RULER OF THE WORLD!
10:50 OK, I'm settled down now.
10:54 I'm going to name my first daughter Malena. Maybe.

Shadow Snakes Kill Ellen Degeneres and...

Snakes on a Plane at the Oscars. Bet you didn't see that one coming.

10:34pm: George Clooney, as always, I doff my hat. Or would, if I had one. Rinko's hair is a different color. I think she's doomed.
10:35 pm: I can't believe JHud has an Oscar. Hollywood is such a weird town. And she gets to hug and kiss George Clooney, also known as "what God can do."
10:36pm This whole revamping of the speeches thing is a huge failure.
10:37pm She forgot to thank American Idol. Pshaw. Well, it would have been rough for JHud to sing later if she had lost.


10:16pm The interpretive stuff makes me want to gouge my eyes out. With interpretive forks. Just saying.
10:17pm A Mastercard commercial with the guy who played Pelosi, Leah Remini's father, on Saved by the Bell, you know, in the episodes where they worked at a beachside resort!
10:21 pm I would watch my own innards get removed if Robert Downey Jr. was involved. Just saying. Can't wait for Zodiac.
10:22 pm I just realized that since he lost, Eddie Murphy actually is a psychic. Which would you rather be, a psychic or an Oscar winner? Let's wait to ask Helen Mirren... "Four blind kids from the Bronx" took me a minute.
10:25pm They just cut to Sacha Baron Cohen in the foreign film presentation. Because he's British? That kid in The Tin Drum looked like the Malcolm in the Middle kid. Frankie Muniz. That's it. Cinema Paradiso is the GREATEST film.
10:28 pm I'm ashamed at how few of these I've seen. I did see Indochine though and The Sea Inside and some others.
10:29 pm Clive's working it. Please be Pan's. Please be Pan's. How could it not?
10:30pm NO!!!!!!!!! Bloody hell. Even Cate seemed surprised. Guillermo, you'll always be numero uno in my book.


9:56pm In honor of Happy Feet's win, I'd like to announce that International Polar Year (which is actually two years long -- perhaps one year for each pole?) formally begins Thursday.
9:59pm I bought popcorn today. But I have yet to eat any... the Oscar Bjorn is a fab fashion creation.
10pm Meryl's face, right now, deserves an Emmy and Oscar.
10:01 pm Look at all the live costume wear. And four Queens. I'm scared. OK, this whole thing is weird.
10:03 pm Why does Emily Blunt pronounce Marie like Mary? Is that a British thing?
10:04 pm Milena and her... er, doll? is down. Ha! I mean, that's so sad.
10:05 pm It's Ethan Hunt! I mean, Tom Cruise! Where's Katie?
10:07 pm TFA -- shudder.
10:08 pm I don't mean to be mean, but arm hair. Arm hair. Maybe, lighting?
10:09 pm It must be weird to be in the audience, what with all the announcers looking in the camera and nowhere near you.
10:11 pm Clint's jealous. Why hasn't he been on Ellen? Ellen is critiquing Steven Spielberg's photo of her and Clint. Love it.
10:12pm Gwyneth and Nicole should duke it out for who is most perfect blonde. They both have an Oscar, but does either have a golden apple?
10:13pm Oh, Youtube got slammed! I like Dick Pope's accent. But yeah, another Pan's Labyrinth win!
10:14pm I wrote 6 pages of my novel today, and my fingers are starting to hurt. Del Toro's going to cry any second, but my wrists may weep blood first...

Huh? Oscars

9:40pm So I guess they'll do all the Dreamgirls songs at once?
9:42pm If I hadn't decided to blog the Oscars, I could have gone to the Sarasota outdoor screening of the Oscars. For free.
9:42pm The "recycled" joke. Not so good.
9:44pm Sigh. Monster's House was so cool. Happy Feet scary as all get out. And George Miller puffed up and dressed just like his characters. I'm officially disturbed.
9:45pm BEN AFFLECK! I just rented Hollywoodland. Where's Matt? They both won the Oscar for Best Screenplay. I think they should present this together. Though I've been advocating surgically attaching them together for a long time.
9:46pm Love the writer montage. "Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate's Daughter" is my favorite play. "It's as if my quill is broken." Typewriter through the window. "The stage directions were lucid. Best I've ever seen." OK, it was utterly inappropriate for Diane Keaton's bit to be in there.
9:49pm Tom Hanks is looking swank. Good. I was getting worried.
9:50pm Why did he just pronounce "excerpt" like that? Only Helen Mirren can make the long whole Borat title sound respectable. Children of Men. Please! Two priests and a nun -- sounds like a joke. OK, I won't be upset if Monahan wins.
9:52pm Yeah, Monahan! Go Irish!
9:54pm That lullaby was bitchy.

Oscars (just saying)

9:29pm Moving right along. I never noticed that when Martin Sheen falls off the building, and the blood sprays up, it looks less like his blood, and more like he fell in a puddle of blood or on a blood balloon that popped. Just saying.
9:31 pm James Taylor bores the bejeezus out of me. Just saying.
9:32 pm I was in "Our Town" in high school. I was the Stage Manager, which is kind of like playing "God." I miss that.
9:33 pm Are they going to do all the songs at once? The Oscars have changed so much!
9:34 pm Like anyone who had ears in the 80s and 90s, I like Melissa Etheridge, but this song is pretty lame. It sounds like the theme song for a documentary on narcolepsy, not the imperiled environment.
9:35pm Two of my favorite people!
9:36pm Al Gore, thanks for being awesome. He's just here for the movies. Um, but what the heck is Jerry Seinfeld doing in the audience?
9:37pm The Oscars are green! Like Kermit!
9:37pm Kate Winslet loves Leo, just like the rest of us.
9:38pm Al Gore, HOLY -- oh, hahaha. That was cute. And kind of mean. My heart nearly gave out.


9:21pm Best Supporting Actor is...
9:23pm NO WAY! ALAN ARKIN just beat out EDDIE MURPHY! NO WAY!
9:24pm Those are some lame looking seats. Not Oscar plush. Alan Arkin's wife looks lovely -- poor Eddie! I heart you, Alan.
9:25pm Marky Mark still gets his two minutes. Using Ellen's toothbrush. Nice. Scorsese gets a laugh off Ellen. Double nice. I hope The Departed wins director. Picture'd be nice, too.
9:26pm What the hell is going on? Sumo babies? What was that???
9:27pm I bet the distinguished guest is James Brown's ghost.

The Pan's Labyrinth Show

9:11pm Ellen apologizes for calling Penelope a Mexican. Damn skippy.
9:12pm Sound effects choir? Que?
9:13pm There's a guy with big black spiky hair in this crazy choir. He can effect sounds in me anytime.
9:14pm "Sound editing is very much like sex. It's usually done alone, at night, and surrounded by high-tech gadgets." Good gag. Let's see who wins Sound!
9:15pm The Dead Man's Chest team crushed peanut shells to make that guy's head sound crackly. And they didn't win? No way!
9:16pm Seriously, I thought they had instituted rules about boring speeches. Yaaawwn!
9:17pm James McAvoy! Hoorah! Sound Mixer nominees announced with a Scots accent! Sweet.
9:19pm Four generations of sound mixers. The Smiths have lost their crown as the First Family of Hollywood! Ha!


8:55pm Uhuh, now I think these are the "three amigos". "No arms, no legs, teaching gang-bangers Hamlet." Sounds good to me.
8:57pm Who else but Will Ferrell has more hair on his head the older he gets?
8:58pm PL! I'm feeling a sweep!
9:00pm I wish I had seen the animated shorts.
9:01pm Little Smith makes a boo-boo, but it's all good. "That probably wasn't the right line anyway." Watch out, Will. Your kid's got "it" in spades.
9:03pm Short, get it? The kids are short! I guess asking Peter Dinklage would just have been rude.
9:05pm What's-his-face of "West Bank Story" is cute.
9:06pm I don't know exactly what you were expecting of this liveblog. If you don't like it, check out: -- they have approx. 70 people doing the same thing as me.


8:45pm The Golden Compass stars present the first Oscar to art direction. Daniel Craig scares me, and not because his ears are sharp and pointy. I believe he is James Bond and could snap me in half with his eyelashes.
8:46pm First Oscar to Pan's Labyrinth. Yes! I so picked that! Not on this blog, of course, but in my head... that is one skinny woman. A little too pretty for art direction, no?
8:47pm I thought they weren't supposed to thank people.
8:48pm Maggie Gyllenhaal, I'm sorry.
8:51pm What the h*&^ is "Hello"?

Oscars and Bald Jack

8:37pm Do you think Jack got Britney to cut his hair? Now, back to Ellen's velvet suit and white shoes. Holy Lord. Um, Penelope Cruz isn't Mexican.
8:38pm "No one can fill a seat like an American." Hell's yes.
8:39pm I like this torturing of the nominees.
8:40pm I just can't handle how cute Abby Breslin is, and how bald Jack Nicholson is.
8:41pm Peter O'Toole is wearing a carpet, or drapes or something -- a valet suit?, and Ellen's picking on him (though not for that). Rough.
8:42pm Al Gore joke. Holla! Look at Leo, he's cute! Look, look, look. And Steve Carell, you're not even nominated, and you're diverse.
8:43pm Can anyone think of a guy named Oscar who isn't Jewish, black or gay? Oscar Meyer? He's a hot dog, and he ain't Kosher. So he's got to be one of the latter two.
8:44pm Ellen danced. Kinda.

The Oscars.

I'm quite tired. And it hasn't even started yet.

8:30pm And here we go... "The Nominees." Oh, Peter O'Toole cracks me up. Ryan! Clint! OK, Inarritu is cute. I still think his movies are all the same. "Killed as in murder or natural death?" "I'm here for The Queen" Peter Morgan's a doll. Oh, Eddie! See that guy thought shorts are wonderful! "I'd like to thank me, but I wouldn't dare!" OK, that was a wicked cool montage. Nice they didn't just highlight the actors.
8:35pm All the nominees are standing. OK, if I were there and not a nominee, I'd stand anyway. I mean, how hard is it to just stand. Come on, Clive. Stand. You know you want to.
8:36 Velvet, Ellen? Velvet??? Wait, wait, it doesn't matter. Jack's bald. Jack Nicholson is BALD.

(Road to the) well... you know...

8:23pm Stop calling them the "three amigos," and Guillermo is my man, not yours.
8:24pm We've come a long way from Channel One.
8:26pm I gotta go see Little Children.
8:27pm Who's this guy in the blue suit?

OK, and NOW The Oscars!

(Road to the) Oscars!

8:00pm OK, now I want to hear Happy Feet (not see it, it looks uberly scary).
8:01pm Holy, crap, what is this???!!!!!
8:02pm Wait, I thought the Oscars actually started at 8. Not so? Crap.
8:03pm Love Leo. How could you not?
8:04pm Nicole looks like a gift-wrapped bottle of white wine. This isn't a good thing. Why are all these non-nominees here? Are they presenters?
8:05pm No comment. No, ok, here's a comment. The dress has a pocket? And, apparently, the little shiny thing on top came from one of those Star Trek series.
8:13pm Jada Pinkett Smith looks slamming. I think that's the right word.
8:14pm Hollywood's first family? I'm sure there are some who would disagree. Not me, but some.
8:15pm Cameron's nickname used to be "Skeletor"!!!
8:16pm Eddie Murphy IS a cool cat. Why can't he do better films? And stop plugging Pluto Nash!
8:17pm Cate looks gorgeous. But the dress resembles a squid's skin. A glam rock squid's skin.
8:18pm RYAN GOSLING! RYAN! On bringing his mom and sister to the Oscars, "Thanks. I thought I'd do it like Snoop." PILLOW!

Barbara Walters' Oscar Special

Here's the thing. If I were to have all the pillows with the past hour's notable quotables on it, I know, I KNOW, they would not be allowed in this house. Or if they were, I'd have to put a plastic tarp over them, so they wouldn't get dirty. Ugh. My pillow obsession continues...

7:50pm The Last Mimzy ad and last night's SNL only serve to reconfirm what I've always known. Rainn Wilson rules.
7:51pm TVGLive briefly -- Scorsese looks like DeVito's Penguin from Batman.
7:52pm "Recluse, my ass!" He said I could quote him. "I met two or three people who liked Pluto Nash." Goddamn. Give me some pillows!!!
7:53pm Enlightened T-Mobile Fave 5 ad. "Maybe you should have uglier friends." Thanks, Dad!
7:56pm The spiders are back! Get'em off! Get'em off!


Barbara Walters' Oscar Special

I just had some ice cream. I still feel hurt about Helen's shorts comment.

7:41pm "Eddie is a revelation" with his little black greaser comb.
7:42pm Eddie, apparently, lacks Helen's psychic powers.
7:43pm Eddie took lemons or lemonade and made... what? He's not magic like Helen. She took turnips and made a marriage. Or something.
7:45pm A secret look into the life and language of shoe salesman, brought to you by Eddie Murphy.
7:46pm Kirsten's dress looked oily. That's what it was. Like, ew.
7:47pm Eddie Murphy makes more money than everyone. So there!
7:48pm You heard it here folks. Eddie Murphy is only going to act on the screen for five more years! That means only five more years of possible Norbit sequels!

Barbara Walters' Oscar Special

7:24pm TVGuide Live again, briefly. Kirsten Dunst looks weird. Joan Rivers called Catherine Deneuve snotty! Does Joan Rivers have snot anymore? I mean, considering that's not her nose...
7:26pm "Helen Mirren's having a royal time of it this year." Oh, Barbara, that knocked me out. Who could have expected such a pun?
7:28pm Helen looked like Portia de Rossi in Age of Consent.
7:30pm "Hollywood royalty" - hahahaha, zzzzzzzzz.
7:30pm Oh my God, Helen Mirren is psychic, and she doesn't think she's going to win! I think. And she thinks she has a large bottom.
7:31pm I'm wearing shorts right now. What does Helen Mirren exercise in? No, I don't want to know.
7:32pm Nice Russian name! Bad dark fingernails!
7:33pm Barbara Walters looks like she's had alot of work done, and thus she doesn't look that good compared to Helen Mirren, who really works her wrinkles.
7:34pm "Marriage is like turnips." Someone get me a pillow and a needle and thread.
7:35pm The best is not yet to come, and yet, she still cannot wait to see what's to come? I like her candor.

Barbara Walters' Oscar Special

7:16pm Just looked at TV Guide Live! for a minute, and apparently the red carpet is akin to football.
7:20pm JHud who overacted her part in Dreamgirls, but sang it fantastically, has great skin.
7:20pm Girl is classy, calm, well-poised.
7:22pm Barbara reminds me of my grandmother.
7:23pm Speaking of which...
7:23pm I feel like I've already seen all of the Mirren and Murphy interviews from the commercial clips.

Barbara Walters' Oscar Special

7:09pm Dear God.
7:09pm Hi, Ben!
7:10pm "Live your truth." Nice. Someone put that on a pillow.
7:11pm "I'll just write an HBO special." The quick fix-it I've always used when my career was in a slump.
7:12pm I like Kohl's "Expect great things." Expect being the operative word. Not, you know, "get."
7:13pm Abby Breslin schilling for hp. I love her brother Spencer. Why hasn't she brought him to the Oscars? Sibling rivalry?

Barbara Walters' Oscar Special

7:01pm I like the music. But does Barbara Walters have spiders on her?
7:02pm OK the music is a bit much.
7:03pm "Something was different. Ellen didn't like dresses." Does that mean I'm gay? I thought wanting to have sex with females would do that.
7:04pm Ellen's got a mullet!
7:05pm I heart Johnny Carson.
7:05pm Mr. Wrong did not flop because Ellen was gay. It flopped because, oh my God, my eyes!
7:06pm: Wait, Ellen is 49? And Portia de Rossi is 34? That's a huge age difference. Ellen looks 12, but still...
7:07pm Barbara escaped the spiders!


6:54pm: Why is John Travolta at the Oscars?
6:55 pm: Catherine Deneuve is the face of France! Who's the face of America? I'm going to think about this.
6:58pm: My friend Carly tells me she doesn't like Vera Farmiga. Whaa?


OK, I'm going to eat chicken and some salad. The chicken isn't looking so great at the moment. I said, "Hey, Grandma, are you going to cut off that white fatty part?" and she said, yes, and of course, didn't. And she wonders why I would rather do the cooking...

I'm not going to watch the red carpet madness, since, honestly, who cares? I plan on watching the Barbara Walters thing at 7 (4 PacTime) and will comment on that. I really don't know that I can liveblog on this thing, but I'll do my damnedest. 40 posts tonight! Yehaw!

See you at 7!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Get Jazzed

I'm going to live blog the Oscars tomorrow. Assuming, that is, that I know HOW to live blog. Anyway, get pumped, get psyched, get takeout, 'cause it's gonna be awesome!

Cross your fingers.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Pillows and The Winner

There are ten pillows on my bed right now. This is more pillows than any bed or person rightly needs, but the pillows here are for decorative affect (I'm using "affect" instead of "effect" on purpose, so stop mentally correcting me -- you're wrong), not utility. So I'm not actually allowed to get my head anywhere near these pillows.

Stop me if I'm wrong (and I'm not, so if you stop me, it's clearly because you're contrary, obnoxious, and were raised by nannies), but isn't it WRONG, and by wrong, I mean, VERY VERY WRONG, to own so many pillows that serve no purpose but prettiness? There are people who don't have pillows. There are people who have to sleep on bricks at night, people who have to rest their heads against the crumbling gravel edges of city potholes, even people who have to sleep on worm-infested dirt, risking the very real possibility of worms wiggling their way up into their ears, down the ear canal, and directly into their brains, where they will try to burrow their way through the occipital lobe. People NEED pillows, and this wanton waste of pillows makes me sick.

It's kind of like watching someone throw away chocolate. I can't not go pull it out of the trash. Sometimes, when I see all those off-limits pillows, I get real sleepy, and before I know it, I'm rolling around in pillows, getting my skin oil all over their pristine 100 percent cotton shams. I have no shame because shams are a sham. That's right. I'm saying it right now. Pillows were meant for more than eye candy; they were meant for loving.

But this isn't my house, and my aunt and uncle, who own it, and my g-rents, who are occupying it, have different standards, and since this ain't my abode, I must honor their crazy, anti-utilitarian rules and keep a distance from the pretty, fluffy, downy, soft, big, colorful pillows.

Absolutely ridiculous.

Now, I'd also like to plug Fox's The Winner. I've been a major fan of Rob Corddry's for years but even I knew that the likelihood of his talents translating into sitcom gold were slim, but you know what, I've watched three episodes of The Winner and just about fell off the bed (don't worry, I wasn't anywhere near the impeccably arranged pillow art by the headboard). It's a weird 40 Year-Old Virgin-esque premise, but for now, it's funny. Four episodes are currently streaming at and I believe the pilot, which is not available, airs March 4th at 8:30. Go. Give your glutes a nice work out.

Quote of the day:
My sister: Grandma's taking a shower.
My grandfather: Why?
My sister: She feels dirty?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

quote of the day

"Why are you trying to take away my toe freckle?"
- my sister, Michelle

Why, indeed.

Great Scot (and Improving Englishmen)

Craig Ferguson did a really fabulous monologue on President's Day. Can someone give this man something shiny? Please?

Also, Wimbledon has finally equalized the purses for the men and women's tournaments. Back in the day (the day being 2002), I wrote a reporter's notebook piece for the YDN( weighing the pros and cons of paying women the same amount as men. And, believe it or not, I supported lower pay for women. Why? Because women don't have to play as many games of tennis (in any given match) as men do to win the prize money. It was an equal pay for equal work argument, and while the practicality of it disagreed with every feminist bone in my body, I went with it anyway. I don't recall getting much hatemail for this piece (and I was inundated with hatemail when I worked for the YDN; journalism is an insufferable business), and if ever I deserved it, it was then, for being a pompous enough ass to play devil's advocate. Just because my argument was rational doesn't mean it was right.

I think it's fair to say that most of what I wrote for the YDN was bollocks. Anyhow, that's college for you.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Oscar speech is up!

Check it out!

I'm number 5.

The Categorical Imperative, Time Magazine-Style

Did you know the Best Actress Oscar was granted 4 times to women in "Fiesty Older Woman" roles? Did you know Forrest Gump is an "Infirmity/Confined" film? Did you know Mary Poppins was a "Teacher"?

Me neither, but that's what Time Magazine says, and as everyone knows, Time Magazine is, like, the Dalai Lama of entertainment taxonomy, so just go along for the ride.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ford Genius

You know that commercial where all the Ford vehicles are driving around on the ledges and sides of buildings, irrespective of gravity and general safe driving practices? Has anyone checked out the bottom of the screen for the disclaimer?

"Yes, this is a fantasy. Vehicles can't really drive on buildings."

Oh, come on, Ford. Don't be so modest. Vehicles can totally drive on buildings! They just, you know, can't drive on the sides of buildings. At least, not until you get that radioactive spider bite technology to interact with cars as well as it did with Peter Parker!


words that start with "gaz-"


and fake words

any others? I don't have a dictionary around, and I can't think of any others...

Monday, February 19, 2007

And Now I'm Off to Buy Envelopes...

Smita says no one likes Moby Dick. Why? It's brilliant so far. Very funny. I can imagine hating it at 14, but I was unaware of any Melville-backlash.

I'd like to refine my previous statements about Spanish moss. It's all about context. Moss coming down in curtains from a great, leafy oak, like nature's less vulgar rendition of tinsel = lovely. Moss hanging in torn rags from the zombie-esque limbs (or are they the corpses' trembling fingers?) of tall barren trees = scary.

Saw Breach. Didn't really want to, but it's of a genre to which my grandfather is surpassingly addicted, and I'm a good grandchild. Anyhow, it's quite good, and surprisingly, so is Ryan Phillippe, who I've always liked but thought was a bit aloof and extremely limited in range. But he carries the film quite well. And Chris Cooper, who is in more films than Jude Law, is, of course, excellent.

I am officially a fan of grouper. Never been one to try new foods, particularly of the formerly breathing variety, but I figured since my fish intake was limited and I'm in a place where it's hard to avoid fish, I'd better step up and do it. Grouper is great because it's not oily and doesn't have that slick, feathery texture of some popular, more expensive fish. I'm officially sold on grouper. Sold on Grouper would be a good name for a band.

"Finished" a poem called "The Shine" yesterday, which is about the contact sport of all things (touch, expand, hit a boundary, shrink, that sort of thing). Getting good feedback on my leprechaun/golfer/Devil/safari story. Florida's weather is improving, finally, and my sister flies in this evening after a botched attempt last night. Plowing slowly but surely through my beast of a novel. All is good in the world. For now.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Oscar Thoughts

Most critics do a who will win and who should win for the Oscars. I, on the other hand, would like to posit a more truthful, who should win/ who will win/ and who I personally would like to win 'cause I'm a schmuck. Before I go on, I would like to say that I have seen all the major movies except for Volver, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Children, and Venus. OK, and I missed United 93 and World Trade Center and Happy Feet, but I'm not sweating those. I mean, at least I saw Children of Men. If I should see any of the first 4 before the Oscars and change my mind, I will address it then.
Here goes:

Should: Little Miss Sunshine
Will: Little Miss Sunshine
Me: Pan's Labyrinth. OK, I guess I'll just have to make that my choice for Best Foreign Film. Sigh. The Departed then (though I won't be sad if it's LMS)

Should: Martin Scorsese
Will: Ditto
Me: Ditto (after the crap that was Gangs of New York and the weirdo dollhouse that was The Aviator, we finally got something immensely watchable in The Departed... and now let's give Leo a shot w/ some other directors -- I don't think he's always cast correctly, which is a shame, because he's a better actor than he lets us see)

Should: Ryan Gosling/Forest Whitaker
Will: FW
Me: Ryan Gosling (Forest was brilliant, but he can't deliver a damn acceptance speech). Seriously, go watch Half Nelson and try not to fall in love with him.

Should: Of the three I've seen, none have impressed me as much as they seemed to impress the Academy, so I'm going to go w/ Kate or Penelope
Will: Helen Mirren. I loved her in Elizabeth I, but honestly, I don't get the infatuation w/ The Queen.
Me: Kate Winslet. She deserves an Oscar just for being classy.

Should: They're all equally great in their own ways, though I don't think Cate's in the right category.
Will: Jennifer Hudson or Adriana Barraza (I don't know that JHud is the unstoppable force people think she is)
Me: Rinko Kikuchi. She's really skinny and I don't like that she dyed her hair, but I think she was the best thing about Babel. And the kind of understatement she pulled off was a relief in a group of roles that were all about the melodrama

Should: James McAvoy for The Last King of Scotland -- yeah, I know he wasn't nominated but he was a major part of that film and a pleasure to watch, as always
Will: People think Eddie Murphy, but I wouldn't be surprised if they called out JEHaley's or my man Marky Mark's name come announcement time
Me: Steve Carell. Again, not nominated, but he would have had the best speech of the night.

brief moment from my as-yet-titleless novel

"Through the mist-that-wasn’t, River Montijo heard the whooshing sound of a broom slicing through the air. For a moment he imagined the Bawler might be flying towards him, a bona fide witch about to snatch him up and carry him off to her underground castle and drop him in a big black cauldron that hadn’t originally been black, but after years of boiling young men and failing to scour the sides, had turned the color of death and cooked-on fat."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

NPR Oscar Speech Contest

OK, so I think it's permissable to post this now. Not too long ago I wrote a speech for this NPR competition in which Mark Wahlberg accepts the Oscar in the character for which he is nominated (The Departed). NPR hearted it, so I recorded it and it "should" be on the site a week from today with a few others. This is what I'm told, anyhow.
So I will post the link when it starts working, and I'll post the speech-text then too, as well as any other happy news.

Media Spotlight Du Jour

I confess I've been on something of a manic streak for the last 24 hours. Very productive, but a little scary. Maybe it's that I still can't get over John Mayer winning all those Grammys and James Blunt going home with zilch. I mean, honestly. How does that make any sense?

I'm super, super, super psyched for Frank Miller's 300. Who doesn't love Gerard Butler (before I wrote Gerald Stern -- I don't know who that is, but I should be slapped for the error)? You'd better not be raising your hand.

I read a piece on the Time Web site about promoting oneself for the Oscars. One publicist is quoted as saying that Ryan Gosling could have won the Oscar (b/c let's face it, it's all Forest's right now, unless people don't give it to him out of anger for his crappy acceptance speeches thus far) if he wasn't so independent and anti-Hollywood. I agree, but I'm also glad Ryan's keeping it real.

That's right. I said, keeping it real. You got a problem with that, you can meet me outside in five minutes. I'll be the one by the flag pole with the brass knuckles.

Friday Night Lights last night blew me away. Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, and Zach Gilford were absolutely fantastic, as usual, and the writers approached Southern racism in such an honest, realistic, compelling way that I walked away from the television feeling grateful. When was the last time you felt grateful for TV?
The show never fails to impress, especially considering the fine lines it walks. Nothing's even in the same echelon as FNL. Seriously. I haven't admired TV this much (particularly for its attention to detail, brilliant acting, and sense of realism) since Band of Brothers. And I will keep harping on this until I know it's getting a second season. God help you all if it gets cancelled. God. Help. You.

Care to Kill an Hour? Accomplice for Hire.

Creeping meatballism, Creeping meatballism, Creeping meatballism!

I feel much better, and no, I don't know what creeping meatballism is (though I get the impression it has something to do with the insidious influence of advertising on one's desires, dreams, and general life goals).

Thank you I forgot about "raffish." Raffish is a fine word and is a good adjective to describe most of the men I find attractive. Another word one might use is "unkempt," though my friends have preferred to use the word "dirty." But that's because my friends are illiterate assholes.

Saw a possum last night. Alive. It might be my first one. I've seen cartoon possums before, most memorably and scarringly in The Goofy Movie (which, by the way, had a ROCKING soundtrack -- yeah, Powerline!).

I have a post-Valentine's Day playlist for you to get you up and at'em.

Give Me Some Lovin by The Spencer Davis Group
Grace Kelly by Mika
Local God by Everclear
Laura by Scissor Sisters
Bang a Gong (Get it On) by T. Rex
Scarecrow by Beck
Soul Meets Body by Death Cab for Cutie
Cigarettes Will Kill You by Ben Lee
Come on Eileen by Dexy's Midnight Runners
Glorious #1 by Remy Zero
Shadows by Rufus Wainwright
September by Earth, Wind and Fire
Fisherman's Blues by The Waterboys
Don't You Worry Bout A Thing by John Legend (or Stevie Wonder)
Gramarye by Remy Zero

I'm not entirely sure it should go in that order, but that's a damn good list. I have alot of good music, I think.
I'd put a little Harry Nillson and Peter Cincotti down too, but I think that would have been better yesterday.

Chapter 9 of Moby Dick is friggin' genius. I wish I had read it before I wrote my first book of poems, Tarshish. I think it would have been a great boon to my work.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nothing Says Love Like Salad Dressing

At CVS an hour ago.

Middle-Aged Guy 1: Let me buy you a card.
Middle-Aged Guy 2: No.
Middle-Aged Guy 1: OK, how about some creamy ranch?

I Finally Do Something Write

So something funny I wrote will be available on a major media Web site next week. I'm not going to be more specific until it's up because I don't know if I'm allowed to. If you want to know the details, email me. Until then, yeehaw!

Happy "Love in the Time of Global Warming" Day!

Here's my Valentine to you: advice!
  • Go download Friday Night Lights' pilot episode for free on iTunes. Even if you don't like football or Texas. Actually, especially if you don't like football and Texas. Just do it. It's free.
  • Call or email a relative/neighbor who lives a fairly solitary life. Tell them how much they mean to you. Or better, give them chocolates.
  • Turn the lights off. It's the day time. Why do you need so many lights on? Open a friggin' window!
  • Slightly belated advice: Don't buy a Hallmark card. Or any card at all. They suck (except for the uber-expensive musical cards; those are awesome) and tend not to say what you mean. Think about why you're sending this person a Valentine, and then write down those reasons. They'll mean alot more.
Miniaturized rhinos are starving to death in my short story. Must go save them now...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Grammys Make Me Sick, Literally

I like this note to self thing. Here's another: pancakes at First Watch are bad. Don't order them again. Remember this.
Justin Timberlake got the flu. He had the flu Sunday night at the Grammys. I watched the Grammys, went to bed, woke up, and had the flu. Thanks Justin. Thanks alot.
While sick, I did the following:

I watched The Sound of Music. For the first time. Ever.
It was good. It didn't inspire a cultish following in me, but it did make me IMDb Christopher Plummer to see if he was straight or Ian McKellan. Married three times, baby.

That's it. I started a short story about golf and a zoo and leprechauns and a deal with the devil (it involves Old People) to procrastinate working on my novel. Golf holes with Wonderland rabbit hole type properties was not my idea but Carissa's. Five year olds can be geniuses sometimes. Other times, they think the following is a good knock-knock joke.

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Uh, my shoes.
My shoes who?
Can't you see I'm wearing my shoes?

This is how all her knock-knock jokes go. She doesn't really understand what "funny" means.

I also had a dream that ended with me waking up my heart choking me (it being in my throat and all). For some reason or other I was in a parking lot at night with some friends. On the other side of the parking lot was a billboard with some sort of impertinent sticker on it and, below the billboard, an old man standing next to a pair of pickaxes. So a friend of mine goes running over to peel off the sticker, and I see the old man picking up one of the axes. I have a bad feeling about this, so I scream for her to look out. She runs past the man, picks up an axe, and starts peeling off the sticker. The man raises his axe to kill her as I'm screaming my brains out... and then just puts the axe down. All's good. But just as my friend turns around, some voice suspended in air over my head screams, "Run for your life!" scaring the everliving daylights out of me, so I run, assuming the threat is the creepy old man with the pickaxes. So I start running towards my friends at the other end of the parking lot. I turn and realize the man isn't following me. Which means I'm probably running in the wrong direction. I'm going too fast and I realize some brown shadowy thing is coming at me from the left, I try to swerve but it's going to get me -- and I wake up. Half out of my mind. All this seemed to last only a few seconds but that scream for me to run and that brown thing coming out of nowhere on the wrong side really freaked me out. And I hadn't watched any scary movies. Just The Sound of Music.

Which tells you the kind of relationship I have to musicals.

OK, enough procrastinating. I'm going to start working again. Sigh.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Morning

93 pages of my novel -wahoo! We've got a raging forest fire set by greedy arsonists, a robbery at an animation gallery, a traumatized chef, a basketball star-turned- forest ranger, more llamas than you can shake a fist at, and stowaways. What I need now is flesh to make the bones a little less hideous to look at. Creation is a tough thing, though the Bible said mud was necessary. Maybe what's missing from my book is mud.

We went to Tommy Bahamas (is it possessive or plural? I don't recall) last night, and now I am writing my future self this note: it's not that good, Kati. It's expensive (extraordinarily so) and uber-crowded, and the food isn't worth it. You can tell alot about a place by its bread. Tommy's has floury rolls.

Side note: My cousin Carissa is the cutest kid in the world. Someday I will post a picture of her and you will all throw your children away and try to kidnap her because she is simply too adorable for words.
But don't. That would be wrong.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Notes on Nothing Much

Here's a problem: I have four character names I want to use in my novel for purely aesthetic reasons and I have no room for any such characters. Yet. I'm afraid I might create a character whose presence in the novel is utterly gratuitous simply because I love the name. Sigh. Must. Abstain. From. Enticing. Gratuitous. Characters.

I just bought the song "September" by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It's my first Earth, Wind, and Fire song. It's not my first September song (holla, Green Day!). I like the word September. And suddenly, I want to name a character September. Grit. Teeth. Move. On.

I've never seen The Sound of Music. Never. Not once. I usually don't know it's on until halfway in, or it starts at 8 on a school/work night and goes on til midnight, so I can't watch it then. Now it's become a thing. I know, it's a crime. I've yelled at people who aren't intimately acquainted with the John Hughes oeuvre, as well as my stepdad, who had never seen It's A Wonderful Life and my best friend, who only recently got around to experiencing the joy that is Back to the Future (now I want to name a character Marty). Is there any classic/beloved film that you just can't get around to watching?? I'm sure I have more, I just can't remember what they are.

Reading Kelly Link's Stranger Things Happen because I feel a little lonely now that I've finished Magic for Beginners. It's more of the same so far but a little less daring, as quirky as the latter collection but not yet extraordinary. I swear, I haven't given up on Melville. Pamuk, however, is back in the library. I could only choke down so much of Istanbul before I flew down to the Sunshine State (that is what FL's called, right?).

Thursday, February 8, 2007


I love Cracker Barrel. You heard right. Love Cracker Barrel. It may be my favorite chain in the world. Why? Because I like biscuits. Biscuits are brilliant, and most chain restaurants do not serve biscuits. Cracker Barrel, on the other hand, dishes out delicious buttery biscuits with a slight powdery aftertaste for which I have a personal affinity.
Also, the Grilled Chicken Salad and Double Fudge Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake are top notch. You know that notch way up just out of reach, even when you're standing on your tippy-toes and have a pen or a ruler in your hand, the notch where Pan's Labyrinth and a good black T-shirt that doesn't fade usually chill out, that's just about where you'll find that salad and cake. No joke.

Taxes suck (no, Kati, really, I get a fucking hard-on doing my taxes -- shut up, let me finish my thought, okay?). Every time I send mine in, I feel with an unwavering certainty that somehow I have fucked up to such an extent that someone somewhere will learn of the gigantic error I have made, come hunt me down, and not be cute about it like Will Ferrell in Stranger than Fiction. Instead of falling in love with me, the IRS agent will audit my ass all the way to jail. And I make no money, so that's ridiculous. In all honesty I'm probably misfiguring myself out of a bigger refund. So I must reiterate: taxes suck.

This is the most random blog. I have nothing to say. I'm a bit sun-drunk on the gentleness of Florida living. The only thing sobering me up is the insanity that is my novel which is just dribbling with character-driven drivel. Seriously.

OK, I guess I'm going to bed. In all likelihood my five year-old cousin is going to wake me up at some unearthly hour, and really, I haven't been sleeping well. The last dream I remember involved me doing ungodly things with an elderly Native American man. I'll leave it at that. Peace out.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Time Traveller's Wife

I'm dreadfully fond of Spanish moss and not ashamed of it.

Of the many things I've tried to avoid in my life (alcoholism, drug addiction, quilting), reading like a writer has always been at the top of my list. I wasn't willing to sacrifice my love of books for the critical (as a writer, as opposed to a demanding reader) eye necessary to make a craftsmanship of my lackadaisical art. But I started The Time Traveller's Wife two nights ago and lost that battle minutes later. The book is so dependent on an infallible structure (in ways that films like Memento and The Sixth Sense are (almost), and The Lake House should have been) that the whole time, as a writer, I am thinking, "How does she do it?" And not in the jerk-off, did-she-mess-up, there's-got-to-be-a-hole-here-somewhere way, but in the damn-that's-great way. The kind of precision, outline, notes, so on and so forth that must have been required show real dedication. I, on the other hand, have a tendency to glob characters in and connect them in, unfortunately, Inarritu-esque ways. Anyhow, the book is a tear-jerker (I cried for the last 100 pages) and kind of manipulative but in a way that is easily forgivable. It can't not be any of these things. You walked into it from the very first page.
Anyhow, I know alot of literary types like myself would take one look at it and turn up their noses (we still haven't read Proust for Christ's sake, why waste time on a book club book!), but they shouldn't. It's worth reading.
And just so you know that I haven't been hijacked by a nicer, easier-to-please alien, I do have to say that the book drags on far too long, particularly in the last 100 pages, when you know what's going to happen, and the interim is filled with these small, dull, putting-off-the-tearful-end moments. Granted the whole thing could be considered a metaphor for life, but really, let's not.

Moby-Dick is still on. I just am being careful of it. Gentle. Don't want to startle it and have it kick me in the teeth.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Vegetation, Venice, and Top Ten California Songs

Vegetation is a good word -- at first, I thought it was the v followed by the soft g, and then I realized that the only other word that has those sounds is vagina, which I don't think has the nice soft warm green sound vegetation has. Vestigial is close, but other than that it's only vegetable/vegetation and vagina.
Anyhow, Florida smells good, which I think is aromatherapeutic. I'm not sure what all the flowers are, but one of them definitely smelled like a candle I enjoy (isn't it sad how I have to identify the source by its product rather than vice-versa), so I think it may be jasmine (I just wikipedia-ed it, and I'm closer to certain now).

Went to Venice (FL) today. The beach is beautiful, as is the pier that runs right off a touristy shack of a restaurant called Sharky's across from the municipal airport. Boogieboards on the frond ceilings, plastic palm tree sculptures in impossible colors, and really bad burgers.

I've been thinking about California songs, and how many good ones there are. I think it warrants a Top Ten, so here's the working Top Ten so far. If you have different opinions or have thought of songs I forgot, lemme know. I'm not explaining my choices because explanation of such a list would be utterly silly.

10. California, by Phantom Planet
9. Hot Fudge and Song 3, by Robbie Williams
8. Route 66, by (I don't know which version is best; most need to pick up the tempo)
7. California Stars, by Wilco (not a great "California" song, but still quite good)
6. Dani California, by Red Hot Chili Peppers
5. Folsom Prison Blues, by Johnny Cash ties w/ All I Wanna Do, by Sheryl Crow
4. Californication, by Red Hot Chili Peppers
3. I Left My Heart in San Francisco, by Tony Bennett
2. Hotel California, by the Eagles
1. California Dreamin' by the Mamas and the Papas.

If I thought "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" was a California song more than a general dock on any old bay song, then I would have put this way up there... I've also discluded Beach Boys songs about California b/c personally, I find their non-California songs far superior. I don't mind Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue and Weezer's Beverly Hills, but I don't think they really cut it.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Chapter Florida

So I flew down to Tampa yesterday (long flight, went to Chicago first and had to run halfway across O'Hare to make my connection, but I got to see the Sears Tower in the foggy distance and the ice waves on Lake Michigan, which I've never given its proper due as one huge mother of a lake) and didn't eat for 11 hours due to running Home Alone style from one gate to the one furthest away from it. Good times. I sat next to an Australian on the plane who has been all over the world and has the first name of the character I was writing about on the plane -- a sign from the heavens that I should move to Australia in August if I don't get the fellowship I'm probably not going to get? Hells, yeah!

I saw Notes on a Scandal, as well. Just as disturbing as I thought it would be. No more, no less.

I have no comments on the Super Bowl, as I missed the whole thing by being at 27,000 feet (turbulence required our cruising altitude to be lower than normal).

Started reading Moby-Dick. Not at all what I expected.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Lewis Black and Neruda

If you're going to read Neruda in translation, make sure to read John Felstiner's Translating Neruda and seek out Nathaniel Tarn's translations. Avoid Donald Walsh like your life depended on it.

Saw Lewis Black's 'Red, White, and Screwed' at Yale last night. Don't want to comment except that I think I pulled a groin muscle from laughing so hard at stuff that wasn't that funny, that was, in fact, just material culled from the newspapers, punchline already included.

Word of the Day

Demiurge. I've seen it twice in the past fifteen minutes in two separate readings (one, NYTimes Book Review section and two, an article on translation by Rosmarie Waldrop -- neither of which are terribly fine reads).

Demiurge means what? According to the dictionary, a demiurge is a deity who fashions the world out of chaos (thank you, Plato) -- or is a Greek public magistrate. Your choice. I, personally, like "a powerful creative force or personality." The fundamental meaning of the word "creative." Not little creation but the big one: Creation. Order out of chaos. I like that. Demiurge.

Friday, February 2, 2007


Stressed out with the Chinese water torture of waiting for things I have no control over to come to fruition or blow up in my face.

The American Enterprise Institute (think tank sponsored by, guess who, OIL) is offering mucho dinero to any scientist who will refute the claims that human beings are responsible for global warming.
It's like the myth of the golden apple where Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena all tried to bribe Paris into choosing her as the prettiest and most deserving of the apple, rather than getting someone to give them an honest unbiased opinion. Their greed got the better of them, and, of course, Aphrodite got it by promising Paris the prettiest mortal girl alive. We all know what happened then.
The truth doesn't really enter into the picture. But the end result is the same. We messed up our planet. On a positive note, when we're gone, the universe will still be around, untainted. The extent of our viral reach has been blessedly limited to Earth alone.

I have a giant splatter-paint cardboard sea horse. This is the coolest thing I own.

I have a dread problem; it arises in the most innocuous of situations and follows me everywhere I go. Even when everything is peaceful and lovely, I can hear it gurgling at the water fountain. Though I've pretty much proved to myself and everyone around that I'm fairly intelligent, every time I have an appointment or get-together (even with friends!), a party, a reunion, a test, taxes, learning how to drive (this one took me three years to overcome), babysitting, going to work, anything that requires me to interact with people or do something that has even the smallest likelihood of me screwing it up, I am inundated with dread. All the time. I power through, but it's like if you're swimming underwater, and there's no anxiety or fear, and then something passes overhead, and for a moment, however brief, your ability to surface is compromised. It's not just that you feel like you're drowning; it's that your continued safety and happiness rests upon the whim of plastic, wind, and other insidious objects over which you have no power. I almost never feel in control, what with the cackling of fate seeping in and out like ink in my concsiousness. This hovering dread (I think it's a more appropriate word than anxiety because it's not shrill but gray and heavy) that I've had pretty much all my life is the worst thing I own.

Any diagnoses, people?

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Note on Poetry

Most poetry (most writing of most kinds, to be honest) is terrible. This includes mine. Most of it is bad because it is written on an extant level. You've thought about something, and then you write it, and then you try to make it sound nice. Sometimes you edit your thoughts to make it sound nicer, or sometimes you don't care how nice it sounds because you don't read your poetry out loud. That's when you produce 99% of the trash that's out there. I'm not excluding myself from this; everyone's written like this at some point, and even when you've learned to write with more patience, a steady hand, so on and so forth, you still write with the surface of yourself more often than not. It's a heinous truth, but there it is, like stomach cancer.

I read something by Pound in my "literary translation" readings that really slapped me upside the head because I'd been trying to say it all last semester in a class, and I couldn't say it clearly. Here goes: "Nothing counts in a poem save the quality of emotion." I was trying to say something about sincerity on the writer's part, not necessarily to the subject of the poem, but to the composition of the poem, and people thought I meant sentimentality or lack of humor, irony, or wit, which is clearly not what I meant. Whole heart in, I guess.

Translation's a sticky subject. I'll talk more about it later. I'm going to go buy a bagel or something.

I like some Adam Zagajewski, I think, but I don't know, as I don't know Polish. And I worry that I can only read most modern Polish poetry in translations by Clare Cavanaugh. There are few, sometimes no, alternatives.

The Coast of Utopia

In New York the past couple of days to see some friends, sign a petition to graduate (MFA! hoo-aw), borrow some books, so on and so forth. And, the climax of my two day city-stay was to see the last part of Tom Stoppard's Russian epic trilogy "The Coast of Utopia" at Lincoln Center.

Let's be frank: I'm not a huge Stoppard fan. To my mind the best working playwright alive is Martin McDonagh, period. No one else can hold a candle. And as much as I loved "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead," none of the rest of his plays have rediscovered that magic as far as I am concerned. My criticism must, of course, be limited by the fact that I've only read, besides the plays mentioned here, "Arcadia" and "Jumpers," the latter of which I saw in London and, which, despite a great cast and set, simply couldn't clear the hurdles of the playwright's conflated storytelling. Still, "Jumpers," as a one night only spectacular, was far from dull.

"The Coast of Utopia's" biggest problem is that Stoppard gets lost in his own grand scheme. The first part, "Voyage," had the good sense to follow the stories of many characters -- Mikhail Bakunin, played by Ethan Hawke, and his large, gregarious family; Vissarion Belinsky, embodied brilliantly by the chameleonic Billy Crudup, and a grand assortment of other Russian thinkers and, soon, exiles. The cracks begin to show in the second part, "Shipwreck," when Belinsky dies, Bakunin becomes a backstage character, and Herzen, played by the ubiquitous Bryan F. O'Byrne, takes over. With a voice made for silent film, O'Byrne's Herzen does is mull, argue with his fellows about whether revolution should come from above or below, and dream weird dreams about Marx. Oh, and struggle painfully (not touchingly, just painfully) with an increasingly bizarre homelife -- in all the plays the actresses are interchangeable and their characters might as well be for nearly all of them are moody hysterics who dote on their men and are doomed to be loved less than the sound of the men's own voices spouting quick-change political philosophy. Something has made many of the actors' voices shrill and/or strained, but one puts up with it as long as there are charming moments, which there are, particularly from David Harbour, as George Herwegh, and Jason Butler Harner, as Ivan Turgenev (odd and annoying in the first play, his presence becomes a relief in the last two parts). But finally in "Salvage," there seem to be few pieces left for us to pick up. Bakunin's character has become little more than a running gag, and the play proves little more than a rehashing of things we saw in the first two parts, with only the presence of Josh Hamilton's Ogarev to keep us from falling asleep. During the play last night, after intermission, an (extremely) elderly foursome nearly caused a brawl when the old man kept piping up, "Will it never end?," much to the rage of those around them. It's not that we didn't agree -- it's simply that the interruptions weren't exactly making it go faster, and one always imagines old people with act more decorum. I had felt bored when reading the plays... and a tad concerned that O'Byrne would take over, but since part 2 had been tolerable, I hadn't expected the 3 hours of suffering that were "Salvage," with an odd musical sequence and other bizarre moments of direction that don't take away from the interminable dullness and the amateurish and confusing pastiche of political mutterings with family melodrama. Really, I missed Billy Crudup.

Anyhow. Apparently I picked a good time to leave CT as our heat has been down for the last few days and has only been fixed in the minutes since I got home. Bully for me.

Just finished the book, Under the Tuscan Sun. Nothing like the movie but quite a good "travel" book, though it's really more an indulgent piece of Italy food and flora-worship, which I'm more than fine with. Francis Mayes has a splendid prose style, though I don't recommend her poetry.
In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen