Monday, September 29, 2008

in which I am a genius

I don't know how I knew this, but I totally knew the trivia question on the Travel Channel Web site. I don't know how I knew that the Namal tribe was on Vanuatu (as opposed to Samoa or Palau or wherever), but I did. I knew. And now you do too.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

concerns/ Eagle Eye

I'm so wildly self-absorbed right now with forward motion in my career that I don't think I'm taking the banking crisis seriously enough. WaMu's failure, however, has definitely set my teeth on edge. On the edge of what I'm not sure, but my mouth is not a happy place to be right now... gross?
People keep talking about recession when they should be talking about a depression. I know that's a scary word, and damn, if I'm not scared. I keep thinking about Carnivale and growing evermore nervous.

Saw Eagle Eye tonight at the Arclight for free! Hee! Good times. Actually got decent seats, relatively easy parking, was nice. The movie's a little jittery a la Cloverfield, but that's less about the camerawork than the ridiculous action sequences. Impressive, really, and the story, while crazy, at least followed some kind of logical thread. Acting was good. Really the only problem I had was the core computer thing, Aria, which was way too familiar-looking. It looked like a cross between the ship's computer in Wall-E, a Justin Timberlake music video set, and Cerebro. But, despite the happy ending (sorta), it was thoroughly entertaining. It's an excellent action movie. Insane, but enjoyable. Rec'd.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Book roundup

The summer is officially over, and so now onto autumn reading. At the moment, I'm flipping through some Mayle, Proust, Gombrich, and a book I have to review for TreeHugger.

Summer recap: I finished reading ten books and made a dent in Video Night. Only four of the books were straight-out fiction, which is unusual for me, I think, but becoming more and more the norm. Of the books on my "hope-to" list, I finished Adventures in the Screen Trade, Maps and Legends, and No Country for Old Men. Ten books is certainly solid, considering I only read seven and a short story in the spring, and a few of those books were one-dayers. I think having a list helps as did some cross-country flying.

So my autumn goals are to read the two books I have to read for TreeHugger, finish A Year in Provence, read at least two more books that I already own, and finish Video Night. I'd also like to read the next book in the Pat Barker trilogy.

So my goal is eight good books. With my new Friday-Monday schedule and a possible internship in the works, I have no idea if this is possible, but a girl has to dream big.

TV watch

When I heard about The Mentalist, I wasn't interested. It wasn't much of a hook. Another crime-a-week show, another extremely talented and observant detective with issues. But when it works, it works. I enjoyed the pilot quite a bit.
First episodes of the season of The New Adventures of Old Christine and How I Met Your Mother? Rock star solid. I didn't know how well they were gonna pull off Christine and Barb's wedding or Barney's falling in love with Robin, but both were handled with originality, wit, and aplomb. I don't actually know what aplomb is without looking it up, but I know it's something like sophistication, and damn, if that ain't it.
Privileged is cute, watchable. The least obnoxious show on the CW by a mudslide.
I continue to be House-happy. Bones, too. They're smart shows. Unlike another Fox show, a new Fox show, an over-hyped, lame-ass Fox show.

But my mama told me not to say anything if I don't have something nice to say, so I will keep my mouth shut about the other shows I've seen and hated. Can't wait till tomorrow night. Too much good TV to stand!

Friday, September 19, 2008

movies and surprises

I'm fairly certain Appaloosa is gonna bomb hugely. Why? Not sexy. Unexciting trailers (assuming you've even see one--not heavily advertised). No one of consequence under the age of 40. Viggo Mortensen with too many clothes on. Can't win.

I'm worried about the Synecdoche, NY trailer. Can the greatest screenwriter of our time direct? It's not clear from the trailer.

Bought a cookie last night. Forgot to eat it. WHICH NEVER HAPPENS.
Found it this afternoon. Ate it. Delicious.

two cents on Nicholls

Starter for Ten reminds me a bit of my college years, though I didn't need alcohol to feel like a twat nearly all of the time. I love our wannabe hero because I know where he's coming from. Other than that, the story's fairly predictable. Good read, but if you only have six months to live and you're making a list of books you must read before March, you can safely die without having read this one.
And yes, I am heartily ashamed of my punny title to this post. What of it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rachel Getting Married

Last night I saw Rachel Getting Married. Jonathan Demme has made some great films, and that's why people choose to forget that he's made some others that weren't as great. I don't think you should go into this film, thinking about Jonathan Demme. Though you'll probably see it because of Anne Hathaway, who I've never had a problem with and who I think is the least interesting part of this movie.
It's a strange, strange film. There's no plot, though there's plenty of story. It's a fantasy multicultural joyous wedding movie, a cliched, stupid drug addict out of rehab movie, an incredible family character study, a strange, strange movie. It's like Ordinary People meets Monsoon Wedding meets Girl, Interrupted set in a mythical Connecticut I didn't grow up in. The camerawork's a little irritating, a little Bourne/Cloverfield, which I don't love, but you get used to it.
I don't know what to say about it because it's not really original when you think about it, and yet it feels completely unique and unpretentious (I'm talking to you, Noah Baumbach). I wish Rosemarie DeWitt and Bill Irwin (the mute guy in Northern Exposure, speaking, wonderful!) were in more movies. I feel like I met Mather Zickel once at a party or saw him at UCB or something. Or maybe he's just very similar to Jarrett Grode, who I DID see at a party once. He's good. Surprising casting. Anne's just a bit shrieky, and I suppose you could argue she does her character justice but it feels like a star in an indie film. She's not an "actor" anymore. She's a commodity. And she's just too big for it. Though it's probably why it's getting any attention. Sorry, Demme, it ain't cause of you.
The music was interesting, persistent, added to the surrealism.
The sisters' relationship, however, was incredibly authentic. That's a bit how I am with my sisters. Brutal, but loving, but really, sometimes, you just want to beat the pulp out of them. Of course, no one else is allowed to. So that's the writer's skill shining through. Go, Jenny Lumet.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

in which Team McCain shows they have no understanding of the meaning of the word "sexism"

This, per TV Guide:
"Well, I think she looked a bit like her," former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said on MSNBC. "I think, of course, the portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive, and Sarah Palin as totally superficial.

"I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme, and yes, I would say, sexist in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean she lacks substance. She has a lot of substance."

Look, there wasn't a single thing in that sketch that wasn't DEAD ON. And I'm sick of people throwing around the word "sexist" or "racist" at people who mock Obama or Palin or Clinton. Basically, it makes their campaigns completely about this one thing. If you're voting for them, it's BECAUSE they're a woman or a minority. If you don't, it means you must be a sexist or racist. That's absurd and unfair.
If you want to accuse the SNL sketch of having a liberal bias, be my guest. And yes, it did make Sarah Palin look very superficial. But NOT BECAUSE she's a woman. Because she's clearly unqualified in every respect. If McCain had picked a man as clearly inexperienced, he'd get reamed too. And to accuse Tina Fey of sexism is possibly one of the most absurd things I've heard this week.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


This "power-sharing deal" is madness, is it not?

the power of overused words on Bravo

Phrase on which I would like to put a moratorium:

"Step it up."

Please, if you're around me, don't use this phrase. My ears will spontaneously commence bleeding. God, it made my spine shudder just to type those words.

in case you missed it...

Tina Fey rocks Sarah Palin's impression of Tina Fey pretending to be a Republican vice presidential candidate. And Amy's gold.

New York, Boo York

Back in LA, and surprisingly, happy about it. CT did me a solid with its greenery and rain, and NY reminded me how much I was unhappy there, what with all the inconveniences of the subway (broken AC in subway cars, schedule changes) and the fact that the secondary and, in my opinion, more enjoyable Strand (the one near South Street Seaport) is closing up shop. I'm glad I got to go in and say good-bye before it went to indie bookstore heaven. Not a lot of decent books left, but everything was 70% off. Got a dollar copy of Starter for 10 by David Nicholls, which was originally called something else and renamed with its movie title. Bit rough. The book's okay so far, but the real value is in the fact that it reminded me of baps! Baps, if you don't know, are delicious soft rolls, and when I lived in London and had a tiny kitchen that I shared with four other girls and a refrigerator made to fit in a doll's house, I became a great consumer of bap and grape jelly sandwiches. It was the first time I ate any kind of jam or jelly without peanut butter, and let me tell you, for a long time, it was my staple. I was thinking about that recently, but I couldn't remember the name of the kind of bread until I read it in the book.

My mom and I went on the Waterfalls boat tour to check out the Eliasson installations. I particularly like the Brooklyn Bridge fall, though they are all nice, and the one on Governor's Island looks quit nice from afar. From certain angles, the one on the Brooklyn waterfront appears to be coming off the roof of a building or tumbling over cars. But the structures are a bit too apparent, and you have to seek out the illusion of the falls.
In any event, I had forgotten how dirty even the nicer parts of New York, how muggy during the summer, how unpleasant it is so often. I came back to LA, and for the first time, it felt like home.

Quick note: please, please, people, do not give credence to the rumors spread about Obama. They are generally lies.

Thank you, and say a prayer for DFW, who has left us all too soon. More people cared about him and his work than I think he knew.

Friday, September 12, 2008

home again

In CT for Ellen's wedding. Hoorah. God, I'm astounded by clouds. LA has no clouds. It has smog and/or clear skies. Nothing else. But here. Oh, the clouds. Love it.

I went to Disneyland last weekend, and it was great, though, of course, Disneyland has nothing on Disney World. I mean, one's an entire World. Disneyland's a bit lame. Everything's smaller, and the thrills are fewer. But Space Mountain was fantastic, the parade and the fireworks were great, and I completely enjoyed their bigger, badder Pirates of the Caribbean. I also went to California Adventure, where I got a Mickey Mouse-shaped sourdough roll from the Boudin Bakery. I went on Soarin' Over California, which was essentially an IMax where you're suspended in the air. Loved it muchly. Their studio backlot was a bit pitiful compared to MGM studios, but I did think the Downtown Disney was nice. Overall, the place isn't as magical as Disney World for me, but in contrast, it's also a lot less overwhelming. Which is nice. Next time I go, I think I'll check out the GardenWalk, which looks like fun.

The newest Disney ride, Toy Story Mania, had a blitz of PR when it came out. Personally, after going on it, I think it was oversold.

And lastly, Sarah Palin. What do you say about Sarah Palin? If you're a smart Republican, you should recognize the likelihood that Palin has an excellent shot of becoming the President should McCain be elected. John just is not in good health. And you should also recognize that there are few people who are less experienced or educated about federal policy, law, and government than she. McCain would be a bad president. Palin would be staggeringly worse.
Personally, I have a low opinion of American intelligence, which I think is deserved after this country RE-elected Bush, and so I don't think anyone cares about that, and I don't think anything she does or says will do anything but help the McCain campaign. Why? Because of the reason she was picked, which was purely political. She's a woman. What voter base can McCain get? The crazy women who were voting for Clinton and are pissed she didn't get the ticket and were thinking of voting for McCain to "get back" at Obama. He just cinched those wackos' votes. Especially with a knocked-up teen daughter. See... Democrats can get slammed for family values, but we're above doing it back because we recognize that it only makes us look bad to our voter base.
In any event, politics as usual.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Pat Barker's book Regeneration, a novel "about" a psychiatrist and his wartime patients in 1917 is quite excellent. The story is not centered on a single plot with a beginning, middle, and end, though it is framed around the extent of Siegfried Sassoon's stay at Craiglockhart. What's really so, well, comforting is the strength of the prose. It's neither heavy-handed, nor Spartan, but just, overall, clever accounting. Everyone in the story seems clever but somewhat ruined and aware of it. The dialogue's entertaining, and really, I was surprised how much a book ostensibly on war could keep my interest and edify at the same time.
Just near the end, our good Dr. Rivers thinks to himself...
A society that devours its own young deserves no automatic or unquestioning allegiance.

Also, I very much like this Penguin Plume Contemporary Fiction cover by Robert Clyde Anderson. Highly rec'd.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Yes, the clothes were beautiful, the actors were beautiful, the city was beautiful. That is all that can be said about VCB. ScarJo is still mad untalented. I like Rebecca though. She was the least awkward part of that movie.

Disneyland manana. Hoorah!!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

let's get this young, fresh, hip party started

Damn. Does 90210, The Lame Class, suck! And really it should be marketed at me. I LOVED the first 90210. It wasn't great, but at least, you know, it did a decent job with casting. Your lead girl on this show is potentially the worst actress possible, and her teeth freak me out. Girl is too young to have whitening like that. All the boys are lame. They're not even OC interesting.

Season 11 of America's Next Top Model is amazing, though. I never think Tyra can top her crazy, or her crazy cast of models, but then she does. Clark can go. I'm a fan of the only awkward French girl in history, Marjorie, Jocelyn, who looks kind of ugly in reality and awesome in photos, that crazy cat-faced vegan girl, and the Alaskan. I have nothing against Isis, except her name and her jacked teeth. Girl will last a while, but I'm backing Miss Marseille.

Raising the Bar I watched too. Seems pretty conventional. Wish Mark-Paul would not have crummy hair. He doesn't have to dye it blonde, like he used to back in the day, but cutting it would be nice.

why worry about my career prospects

Ain't nobody gonna be a paid TV writer when we're all underwater, yo!

OK, actually this is mighty saddening.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

what pig-keeping goes so well with

There's a part of my lip I keep biting. Unintentionally.

I am now 25 years old. I will remain this way for some time.

Birthdays in any event should not be celebrations for the child born but for the person who did the bearing. Only mothers should have birthdays.

Went to P.F. Chang's for the first time. Not bad. Not awesome, but not bad.

Am reading Regeneration. Enjoying it. Had to give up Video Night at page 248 because a grabby public library insisted.

My summer reading is not, so far, what I anticipated. Ah, well, it ain't over till the 21st, and I have two long flights ahead of me.

Will go to Rock 4 Change concert Thursday night at Universal Studios' Gibson Amphitheatre. Am super-pumped.

Won a guitar. Plan to sell it so I can go home for Christmas and not be poor.

My ice cream cone cupcakes were outstanding. Still, someone ought to have made me some, holiday weekend notwithstanding.

Disneyland Saturday. NBC premiere party at Paley Center Monday. Homeward bound next Tuesday night. Ellen's wedding next Friday. Olafur the day after.

And still, I would junk it all for a lowly WA job.

Monday, September 1, 2008


tomorrow's my birthday. also known as the day the new 90210 premieres. coincidence?
you decide.
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