Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Short Stories

Random string of thoughts for your reading (or skimming) pleasure.

Umbrella

Once upon a time, there was a girl with an umbrella problem. She tried desperately to be faithful to her umbrellas, but time and time again, her umbrellas would fail her. They would break; they would disappear. Determined to not be the source of discord in her relationships with umbrellas, when she met one she liked recently, she committed herself immediately to a one-year live-in experience with it. Apparently, the umbrella was overwhelmed by such an arrangement, and after a few short months, unraveled. If ever she experiences a one-year anniversary with an umbrella, she will invite her friends over to celebrate, with a particularly sentimental song being serenaded by a Mr. Gene Kelly in the background.

When it rains…

The Subway

On my way to church on Sunday, a guy on the subway started talking to me. I take that back. He started talking at me. He wouldn’t stop. It was obvious that the rambling was going to end with him asking me out, but I had a suspicion he might run out of air first. A very truncated version:

Him: Hello. Quite the day, huh? It just keeps raining. At least you have an umbrella. You’ll all over that. Not a problem, huh? But it’s a good weekend. My name’s Malcolm, by the way. What’s yours? (I mutter the truth. I can’t lie on the spot). That's such a pretty name. It really is. What did you do this weekend? Anything special? (I believe I utter a “Not really.”) Oh, that’s too bad. You really should. So….

At this point, I see my brother waiting for me. We go to church together most Sundays. I wave a little too enthusiastically and Malcolm is gone. I mean, utterly and completely out of my life forever. He didn’t know if I was single when he started (good assumption though), nor did he know who Joel was (bad assumption there), but I guess the presence of another guy was enough to drive him away.

Boyfriends

  1. Why do only strangers flirt with me? I tend to get asked out solely by men who don’t know me. In fact, a semi-friend once said to me (while stroking my perm in a bar, but let’s not go there) that if he didn’t know me, he’d ask me out. Clearly, I must be greatly lacking in the personality department.
  2. In high school, around Valentine’s Day, candygrams were all the rage. And every year, I got nadda. In my senior year, the selected candy was Smarties (also my personal drug of choice). I was sent a candygram. It was from Christian Bale. Fake boyfriends rock.

Baleheads

Yeah, they exist. My friends discovered them online when we were Googling Christian Bale back in the day. I’ve spent many a sleepover singing along to Newsies, swooning over Little Women and tapping my feet to Swing Kids. He is the reason for my nine-year range (It’s really a one-way only thing. I’m not into 14 year olds).

The Prestige

Finally, it’s decent-movie time at the theatres. After loving The Departed last week, I was pleasantly entertained by The Prestige this weekend. I happen to be a pretty big Christopher Nolan fan (and we all know how I feel about Mr. Bale), and while the film reached nowhere near the genius of Memento, it had plenty of twists and turns to keep me captivated. Some thoughts (without giving away any of the plot):

  • Christian Bale was brilliant. And complex. It was nice to see real within-the-character conflict without any forced tears or that constipated look that actors tend to give when they want us to see their inner pain.
  • Scarlett Johansson is fading into her own hype. She went from dynamic actress to sultry, pouty, corseted wallpaper. Piper Perabo was far better (and prettier).
  • Sometimes, filmmakers don’t give an audience enough credit. Some things (including a major plot twist) were explained to death. We get it. I got it twenty minutes before they told me what to get.
  • The British actress (Rebecca Hall) rocked. All the other women were Americans with accent coaches.
  • Go see it. It’s fun. And it has the whole Nolan-screwing-with-time-while-screwing-with-your-mind element you love. Or should love if you don’t.

Miscellaneous

I made chicken parmesan and an oven omelet this weekend. My new calling is housewife (I believe the ladies on SNL would call it “a stay-at-home non-mom”). I just need a husband and a house.

Enjoy your Tuesday.

13 comments:

nadine said...

I also made Caesar salad dressing.

That is all.

Ben said...

That blog was highly enjoyable... I liked it.

~drea said...

I'm TOTALLY coming to your umbrella party! I'll bring the dip and a fedora, just 'cause. I saw previews online for The Prestige, and really wanted to see it, alas Korea is a little behind. I think random guys approach you, because simply you've got an approachable attitude about you, very welcoming. That's not necessarily a bad thing, remember, people always think I'm pissed off and therefore I now have no friends. Count your blessings :) Clearly some guy will read this and appreciate all the 'prep' work you've put into being a good wife and you'll be snatched up in no time ;) Although you should be careful with the internet dating thing...ANYWAYS, will you make me some chicken parmesan when I get back? I'll be your pretend husband till you find the real one :)

michael lewis said...

You always make me laugh! I could almost cry! Seriously, how could Malcolm be scared away by some other guy who is SO OBVIOUSLY your brother?

My two film choices for this weekend were either The Prestige or Flags of our Fathers (both have killer casts, and FooF was directed by Eastwood; and I was more in the mood for violence, which I got).

You may have a crush on Bale, but I've always thought he and I could be good friends. Nay, brothers. Did you know that we're the same age?

Have you seen The Machinist? What about his jerk films, American Psycho and Shaft?

I could go on....but that would just be a bit too creepy for even me.

Thanks for giving The Prestige a good review; I will definitely go see it!

nadine said...

Ben: Glad you liked it. Enjoy your facebook.

Andrea: I would suck at Internet dating. I have no personality, remember? And even though the umbrella party can only really be held after an entire year with the same one (a phenomenon I have not experienced since high school), we might have to have an I-wish-I-could-have-an-umbrella-party party. You bring the fedora, I'll bring the chicken.

Michael: What did you think of The Prestige? I haven't seen all his flicks (I know, I know, what kind of fan am I?), but I have seen Harsh Times (it comes out next month but I saw it at the film festival last summer). A very powerful, disturbing performance. I cringed and watched parts through my semi-closed fingers over my eyes. I am such a loser. The Machinist is next on the to-rent list.

And I'm seeing FooF this weekend. I want Paul Haggis' career.

michael lewis said...

I like realistic characters. At least in the sense that I could easily imagine BEING that character.

With The Prestige, there is obviously a protagonist and an antagonist, and all throughout the film this is most clearly defined. (And it's not Scarlett.)

Then, just when you think the entire thing is settled, S-L-A-P in the face comes a quick-flash-flashback-montage which explains the OTHER story!

And suddenly, the protaganist and the antaganist have changed places. Two hours one way, two minutes the other.

My gut was wrenched! I could not stop thinking about the ending.

Watching The Prestige a second time would be like watching Sixth Sense a second time; the suspence is no longer heightened because you know what's going to happen, but you're watching to prove to yourself you KNEW what was going to happen. (Which is a total lie! You still would not have known!) If I were to watch The Prestige a second time, I would be analysing the cinematic aspects for flaws, or holes, or some obvious way to determine the end-montage was correct.

However, for now, I will still enjoy the mysterious high.

As for watching other Christian Bale films, American Psycho is quite graphic (violence and sex) and a bit gory, I do NOT recommend it for all audiences. But, if it's any consolation, the novel makes the film appear to produced by Disney.

The Machinist is a Spanish production, filmed in Barcelona (or perhaps Madrid, I cannot recall). It's a psychological-suspence-thriller, and though there are a few (many?) scenes in which you think something inappropriate is going to happen (think: American Psycho), it doesn't. It's actually quite a "clean" film. But it's a twisty story that will probably mess with your mind. I would say "Memento"-ish, but I've not yet seen Memento.

Warning: your crush may be softened!! Bale lost MUCH body mass for The Machinist. Apparently, he fasted for months before shooting to get down to about 120 lbs. Producers were actually concerned with the level of zeal Bale put into preparing for this part. You will be able to count the bones on his body, and I think there is a shot in bright light where you can actually see his kidney. (Took a while to find this photo. It's a poor side-by-side contrast of Bale in American Psycho and then in The Machinist.)

~drea said...

I'm there! It will be the I-wish-I-could-have-an-umbrella-and-some-friends-party party.

On the personality note, clearly not true, not even worth refuting because it's so untrue. But I will refute anyways, because that's what friends do. YOU ARE AMAZING, never forget that. My work is done here.

pastor mike said...

Here is the nearly indestructable umbrella: gustbuster. Now we tired this to gps, you would never loose it!

nadine said...

Michael: Since high school, the crush has evolved into straight-up respect for his awesome talent. So I think I can handle the skeletal version. Besides, I'm not really into married men.

Andrea: Thank you. I still won't Internet date, but I just may go out and dazzle the world with my new-found confidence.

Dad: I may not lose it, but I don't think it will fit in my bag. I'm a transit girl, remember.

michael lewis said...

He's married? I did not know that!

Instead of an umbrella, you should think Gore-Tex.

If it's any consolation, the only umbrella I ever owned, I left behind in the pay phone booth at Queen's Park or St. Patrick's or St. Andrew's (if I didn't remember leaving it behind, how would I remember which station I was at!!!). It was nice. Green plaid Ralph Lauren, with a wooden handle. Very classy. I think I got it for "free" with a bottle of cologne.

Beth said...

like this blog, share your umbrella woes (and strange[r] men problems too), as well as enjoyment of christian bale and desire to be a "housewife" some day. i pretty much like you. maybe because i think we are like each other.

nadine said...

michael: he actually has a baby daughter. which makes him super-not-my-type. but endearing nonetheless.

beth: i think we're the same person.

Rob said...

I stumbled onto your blog while looking at photos of Christian Bale from the machinist and being amazed that he could lose so much weight. I read the plot summary at IMDB and thought "That sounds like an amazing movie, why did I ruin it for myself?"

I liked your writing enough to keep reading, and when I came to the story about the guy talking to you, you sound disgusted. Look at it this way: He sees a woman on the bus who is so beautiful he feels he has to try to get to know her, since he'll never see her again. But he's nervous, and begins to babble. Actually that's sort of what I'm doing now. I stumble on this blog of what sounds like a cool person, and am contacting her the only way I can.

Like the man on the bus, I know I'm not likely to hear from you, but I would hate myself if I hadn't tried. You might say I haven't had an umbrella for so long I'm used to the cold and suffering from a frigid rainstorm, nut I saw a wonderful one in a shop I happened to walk by.