Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wonders Never Cease

The umbrella is back.

A really sweet girl on the German team borrowed her roommate’s umbrella last week. At the end of the day, she went to bring it home, but realized she wasn’t really sure what her roommate’s umbrella looked like. So she took mine. All is sorted out and forgiven; I ended up having a pretty upbeat day, knowing that tomorrow is going to be rainy and I won’t be wet.

I feel like I should be hosting a “Welcome Home” party or something. An umbrella has never returned to me before.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Yesterday, Today, and....

This morning

Last night, I managed to set my alarm clock for 6pm instead of 6am. Fortunately, I have a slightly functioning internal alarm system and I woke up at 6:44, wondering how much time I had left to doze before the alarm went off (11 hours and 16 minutes, apparently). So my morning was one of franticness, but I am extremely proud to say that I was showered, dressed, presentable (makeup but no blow-dry; I went for the ponytail look), fed (full breakfast and vitamins; breakfast is my non-negotiable), and out the door by 7:20. Yep, I did it. The girl who took over an hour and a half to get ready for high school took 36 minutes to get ready. Of course, I didn’t make my bed this morning. But I never, ever made my bed in high school.


I saw Babel yesterday. I’m still not sure what I think of it. I think it was good. Sometimes I go to movies because I really want to see them, and sometimes I go because I think it’s going to be critically important among the mass of that year’s releases. So I certainly didn’t go to be entertained.

It was long. Literally, yes, it was over two and a half hours, but it happened to feel even longer. And there was something a little off about the pacing of the storytelling at times.

For those of you who know very little of the story (as I did), it’s a multi-narrative piece that explores the confusion of language and culture within three very different stories and geographical areas. There’s the American tourist couple facing death in rural Morocco, the Mexican immigrant nanny (illegal, naturally) trying to make it to her son’s Mexican wedding with her American charges in tow, and the deaf-mute Japanese teenager desperate for sex/love in Tokyo. I don’t really feel like telling you too much about either of these stories as I’m not sure how much would be giving too much away.

The Moroccan story was by far the most captivating. It could have been an entire film in itself. Dad, if you’re reading this, you should probably see the film just for the Morocco scenes. I don’t think much has changed since you were there. Not typically a Brad Pitt fan, I can confidently admit that the man is brilliant in the film. Award-worthy. He is finally in a role that reflects his age (he’s 20 years older than me. I appreciate being reminded of that), and gives him the opportunity to be passionate and rugged and rough around the edges and imperfect and human. And Cate Blanchett is one of the greatest actresses on the planet, so the two of them together were pretty phenomenal. Almost as powerful were the performances of two young Moroccan boys, caught up in an international news story thanks to boyhood curiosity and mischief.

Mexico was also interesting, mostly because you know that the little blond children being scuttled across the border are the offspring of Brad and Cate. I’m usually not a fan of American child actors (the British are far more eloquent and endearing), but these kids won me over. It’s also a story slightly closer to home (literally and figuratively), as I live in a multicultural city and witness the interactions between cultures every day.

Japan was my issue. It felt very redundant. The pacing was a little ADD at times (to capture the essence of the ecstasy/rave scene, I guess), and yet it never really said anything. I was getting frustrated, wanting to shake the girl and break it to her that hearing and speech will not cure her of boylessness. I have always been able to hear and speak and yet boys at raves don’t make out with me either. And the absence of underwear will, I’m afraid, get her some attention one day, but not the kind worth getting. I also didn’t really care that her mom was dead. And then I didn’t like myself for not caring.

I realize that the Japanese story wanted to expose the lost within their own people and culture. The problem was, that against the other two stories, especially the one with Cate Blanchett clinging to her life, I didn’t really care if anyone ever thought the deaf girl was seduction-worthy.

If you have the money and the time, check out two-thirds of the film. Kidding. I give you permission to see it all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

'Tis the Season?

Two things:

  1. My umbrella was stolen today. Or it ran away. I hung up my umbrella to dry at work, and at the end of the day, it was gone. Clearly, I have no umbrella skills. I'm not sure if I should take this personally.
  2. I'm feeling a little gross. Too much peanut butter and sugar. I wonder how the Martha Stewarts of the world can do their Christmas baking without licking all those spoons. I'm loving the whole domestic thing. Yeah for Christmas. I'd bake instead of subtitle any day.
Off to hang out with my Swiffer. It has been far more faithful than my recent string of umbrellas.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Child's Play

Okay, so a couple blogs back I mentioned that I wanted to embrace my inner child. Here’s what I’ve observed since then:

  1. I watched a small gang of children beating up a pylon. Yes, folks, a pylon.

  1. While not really watching it this season, I was slightly disappointed that the finale of Dancing with the Stars isn’t a showdown between Joey Lawrence and Mario Lopez. What could be a greater guilty pleasure than a Blossom vs. Saved by the Bell dance-off?

  1. I was busy subtitling a mid-nineties non-cool TV show this morning when I got an e-mail from a coworker. For the sake of all involved, I have changed names. The conversation:

Bob: Hey Nadine, do you think Frank’s cute? He called me chicken, so I had to ask.

Me: This reminds me of the fourth grade. Maybe the third. He may have called you chicken, but he's the one who has a buddy doing his dirty work for him...

Bob: Ouch, I guess that's a no, huh?

I then went on to explain that to say no would be cruel, but to say yes would be to imply something. I therefore embraced my right to remain silent and started wondering where I should go for my cootie shot. Do boys ever grow up?

Thought to ponder (for the men out there): Don’t ask manipulative questions like, “Do you think I’m cute?” That puts us in an awkward position. Awkwardness does not evolve into passionate love. It evolves into me ignoring you. Be a man. Take a chance. Read Wild at Heart and then live dangerously. If you don’t have the guts to ask me out, I’m not interested in your little games. The end.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Beyond Dukes of Hazzard

In response to Beth’s comment, I shall blog about TV. Since it is my day job, I watch it all day long. I didn't bother with the obvious ones. You know, the CSIs and Law and Orders. They're reliable standbys when nothing else is on (which is surprisingly more often than you'd expect.) Wendy and I used to spend our Sunday evenings watching Law and Order: CI (more specifically, watching Vincent D'Onofrio), asking ourselves where all the sexy/smart/manly men were. Then we realized we went to Guelph and laughed.

Below are some thoughts and favourites. In no particular order (with the exception of the first one):

  1. Lost. It rocks. I was shown the pilot episode in college a couple of weeks before it ever aired on TV, so I like to claim that I was one of its first fans. I’m not usually into the whole sci-fi thing, but this is too well written/acted to ignore. If you’re not into the show, you must rent the first season. Then you will understand. The cast is also pretty. It’s not a prerequisite for great TV, but it certainly helps. Its creator, J.J. Abrams, is my hero (Wrote Regarding Henry and Armageddon, created Felicity and Alias, directed M:I:III. And he's still young. He gets around).
  1. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. My main beef with this show is that it airs at 10 and I like to go to bed then. Unfortunately, the time slot has kept me from catching too many episodes, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t understand why the ratings aren’t fantastic.
    • Exhibit A: Aaron Sorkin. The guy who brought us A Few Good Men, The American President, and The West Wing. That Aaron Sorkin. One of the best writers out there. Gotta love those witticisms.
    • Exhibit B: I love behind-the-scenes stuff. I know that historically, fans don’t like these kinds of shows, but I’m not Middle America and I do.
    • Exhibit C: There’s a Christian character with a job in the entertainment industry. It’s about time. Oh, and I love Matthew Perry.
  1. Project Runway and Top Chef. The best reality shows out there. Why? Because they’re about skill, not eating bugs or hooking up. And because I secretly want to be able to design, sew and cook like that.
  1. Medium. It’s coming back soon, people. I know this may be a shocker to you (I’m not really into the whole psychic scene), but this show is so well constructed, I can’t help but be sucked in. I would like to nominate the characters for a “Best Family on TV Award”, with a special award going to actor Jake Weber for “Best Husband on TV Ever.” If I was fictional, I would marry him.
  1. Numb3rs. Math is sexy. Who knew?
  1. Cold Case and Without a Trace. I actually care about the back stories of the investigators. I enjoy crime shows that are character-driven. And they have awesome guest stars (Ele Keats, the love interest in Newsies, and George Newbern, the fiancĂ© in Father of the Bride and an uber-cool Christian actor, were in last week’s Cold Case.)
I haven't caught Heroes yet (I've been told it's the best new show this season). The Nine, from the couple episodes I've seen, looks pretty cool (the flashbacks don't work as well as they do in Lost, though). Ugly Betty, while it's based on a Columbian telenovela, feels too much like a Devil Wears Prada rip-off to me. It's cute, but not all that compelling.

I'm also well-versed in the crappiest television ever produced from the fifties to today. Not all TV watching is voluntary. That's when the element of entertainment is destroyed.

Off to watch TV...

Off to watch more TV...

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I almost cried last night. And considering I can often be a bit of an emotional stump, this was a big deal. And not a “my life sucks” cry either. I’ll call it a “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” tear.

About a week ago, a friend who used to work in subtitling (but has since seen the light and found employment elsewhere) emailed me. She offered me a free ticket to see Wicked. Yes, Wicked, the show I’ve wanted to see for so long. Unfortunately, since I’ve been broke for even longer, I could never find a way to justify spending $100 on one evening.

We went last night. It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. I sound like Katie Holmes describing her Tom in one adjective over and over, but in my case, it’s completely true and non-creepy. The music was phenomenal (new adjective); the talent was so good it was intimidating. I felt like a 9-year-old version of myself, completely caught up in the magic of the theatre.

For those who know nothing of the show, it’s essentially the untold story of the witches of Oz. The whole concept was carried out so smartly and hilariously. It also managed to challenge perspectives and superficial judgments without becoming a public service announcement. I was ready to see it again the moment it was over. And for one short night, I actually had a life.

The crowded theatre (it’s pretty much a sold-out tour) was on its feet the entire curtain call. And that’s when I almost cried. Because if I was a little girl, I would see that and decide that that was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. That I wanted to be taking that bow. And because I’m not, instead I woke up at 6 and subtitled ‘80s television. I think I realized that I stopped letting myself dream. Somehow I allowed myself to believe the lie that the life I’m leading now is the only life that’s out there for me.

Last night was magical. I’m going to embrace my inner 9-year-old more often.