Sunday, August 31, 2008
I walked home from church today. According to Google Maps, the most brilliant post-sliced-bread invention ever, my little walk was 9.5 kilometers (after adjusting the map to match my route. I could have shaved .8 km off my walk had I cared about efficiency).
Nine and a half kilometers. In sandals.
And I didn't die.
Nor did I experience pain.
In fact, I felt rather upbeat and alive. I think this thing called "exercise" might catch on.
And save for a quick jaunt into a shopping mall where the bathroom was free and the dollar store offered cheap hydration, I happily soaked up the steady stream of sunshine and fresh air. I think air conditioning is slowly killing me. Maybe I'm an anti-gargolye, desperate for the sun.
I've also decided that walking with a good friend is a fabulous distraction technique. When you're talking about pre-nups, Movie Jesus, buffet strategies and California, the kilometers just effortlessly blend into one another. And because we're economically minded friends, our afternoon together concluded at Food Basics, where we each stocked up on skim milk. Calcium on sale makes me happy.
Now that I've conquered Toronto, I believe a walking tour of Europe is an order.
If Bono tells me to walk on, I shall.
Maybe for 500 miles.
And you can't really walk without Walker. I'm pretty sure Chuck Norris invented walking.
Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! was on TV the other night. I won't pretend to have paid it no attention, although I wasn't exactly fixated on the screen either. It was just a quasi-viewing while typing away at my computer, trying to caption strangers' wedding photos.
Anywho, this little conversation made me smile. Because there's truth in it. And because I often say things that aren't completely true even though I think they are.
Angelica: You got to win her back.Just to be completely honest (as opposed to selective honesty, which my parents once explained to me was actually deception and not something to be all that proud of), I have seen the film in its entirety. Years ago. Post-teenybopper but pre-real-world. And I would have chosen Topher Grace too. Because his name is Topher. Clearly. And I love a man in uniform (see photo).*
Pete: Angelica, trust me, I have tried everything.
Angelica: What did she say when you told her that you love her?
Pete: Well, actually, maybe not everything, but....
Angelica: What did she say when you kissed her?
Pete: Okay, maybe it's more like two things I haven't tried.
Angelica: Well, what have you tried?
Pete: I have very unsubtly implied how I feel about her.
Shoot. Did I just spoil the movie for the masses? Many apologies. Although I won't delete anything. So maybe I'm not really sorry. This post is apparently becoming about ethics.
And why is there an exclamation mark in the title?!
*Yes, he's a manager at Piggly Wiggly's. You know how I feel about groceries.
Friday, August 29, 2008
No one told the dryer about my plans.
The machine ate my money. And didn't start. It let me choose my settings, the light turned on, but the start button was a dud. I pushed. I jiggled. I jostled. I may have prayed over it. I fed it more loonies. Nothing.
My sheets are hanging to dry in the shower. My socks are draped everywhere. My drying rack is overloaded by the weight of two full loads of wet clothing.
And I was so distracted by such a disruption that my casa-cleaning came to a halt halfway through. And the writing was mediocre at best. (Although I was quite smitten with the images of a Napa Valley affair and was temporarily distracted by researching a wine-country wedding at sunset. I have a lovely job.)
The laundromat down the street went out of business last month. My landlord is at the cottage. My decorating style is now "wet-laundry chic."
One day I will build a house. With my dream laundry room. That's all I want. I don't need a walk-in closet or a bathroom with a fireplace. Just laundry, glorious laundry.
I'm putting off going to bed because I don't want to trudge through the mess of damp fabric in my room. Nor do I want to wear wet pajamas.
Time to rewrite a lyric or two. Cue Bob Saget and friends running around San Francisco.
Whatever happened to predictability?
The milkman, the paperboy, evening laundry?
Is it pathetic fallacy when your wardrobe and the weather are in cahoots?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I return to my little tucked-away booth where I resume the random conversations between two friends who don't see each other nearly enough. Hours later, after a heart-to-heart accompanied with massive water (and minimal white-wine) consumption, I head back to the washroom. Which I swear was renovated since last year's excursion. My friend disagrees. Yes, these are the important matters worth debating.
While I'm away, he approaches my friend. He asks her if I'm single. She doesn't lie. He tells her he thinks I'm cute. And then he walks away.
I'm not long in the ladies' room (no need to freshen up when you're not trying to impress anyone), but when I return, he's gone. He doesn't quite understand the bathroom strategy. Essentially, you want to intercept someone returning from the washroom. You don't actually miss them and use the facilities yourself. The strategy has served me well in Stratford. But that's another blog entry.
Back at our table, my friend tells me everything. Because that's what friends do. It's surprisingly exciting. Mostly because such attention is a rare thing. And it's nice to feel like a woman sometimes. I mean, I WAS wearing a dress. It's lovely to be noticed.
I'm not facing the bar, but she is. She tells me when he's back.
Secret of the day: I don't know how to play the game. I don't flirt. I send mixed messages, not "come hither" ones. I don't know if I should wait three days for a call, or if you not responding to an email means something or not. And you telling my friend that you think I'm cute is not enough. If you want to talk to me, TALK TO ME. Because I'm a clueless mess.
He doesn't come over.
A few minutes later (and long after last call), we get up. We slowly walk past where he's standing. I smile at him again, this time self-conscious and slightly awkward. He smiles back.
I half expect a Hollywood ending, with him running after me as I step into the cool air. The town is asleep, the traffic lights flashing. Very Notebook-like. We could lie in the intersection and talk about painting. But I don't paint.
He doesn't follow me.
The next night, I'm watching the closing performance of All's Well That Ends Well. He's there. Pacing on the open stage.
He can perform for thousands, but cannot approach the cute stranger. Oddly, I understand, but wish he had the guts to say hello. Because it would have made a more interesting story. And because Stratford is the only town where these things happen. Now I must wait an entire year before another evening of garlic fries and handsome actors who don't speak to me.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
A little boy, probably 7 or 8 years old, came running out of the gym, a broken hockey helmet in his hand.
"Do you have any tape?"
"Sorry, I don't think I have anything strong enough to fix that."
He looked past me and scanned the surface of my makeshift workspace.
"What about that?" He pointed at the Scotch tape.
I looked at the helmet and frowned. "I don't think that will hold."
He walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder. He looked me in the eye.
"Have I ever let you down before?"
I gave him the tape. It held.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
I was walking by an upscale eyewear shop today. I was struck by a remarkable moment of clarity. The angel of self-respect on my shoulder whispered in my ear, "Go inside."
So I did.
And for four dollars, the kind woman with magical hands straightened the arm of my sat-upon glasses.
My face no longer looks neglected. Or in recovery from a lovely evening of fisticuffs. Nor is my head cocked to the side to compensate for skewed angles.
Moral of the story:
Joni Mitchell is always right. You don't know what you got 'til it's gone.
And money does buy happiness.
I find Heath's movies a little awkward to watch. There's something too compelling about them. Every whispered declaration of love burdens me. Every death scene chills me. And yet I find it so hard to turn away. Maybe I'm fascinated by what we leave behind. Or mourning for things that will never be.
There are photos floating around cyberspace of Heath hanging from a noose. They're stills from his final film. The film he was shooting at the time of his death. I feel as though the images are too personal for me to look at.
When I heard that Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell were all donating their paychecks from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus to Matilda Ledger, my heart melted a little. Okay, it went to mush.
She's the most adorable little mini-Heath. And she doesn't get to grow up with a daddy. She wasn't even in his will. But the three men stepping into his unfinished role knew Ledger's heart and took care of her on his behalf.
Read more at MovieZen.
Christopher Plummer is in Heath's last film. Which is another reason to see it. If you weren't already sold on the idea.
Maybe I should have a will. Who wants this blog?
Sunday, August 24, 2008
"I had some eyeglasses. I was walking down the street when suddenly the prescription ran out."Once upon a time, back in the days of Guelph and postsecondary learning, I snapped my tortoise-shell eyeglasses in half. My contacts were causing major irritation, so I ended up spending a few days channeling the classic nerd. I taped the bridge together with masking tape. But it wouldn't hold. So I moved on to duct tape. It still didn't stick. So I used layers of clear packing tape, the edges of the adhesive scratching my face.~Stephen Wright
I may have skipped a few classes for the sake of vanity.
My glasses were replaced with metal frames. The brittleness of plastic still haunted me.
Fast-forward to Friday night.
It was well after 2. The general rule is that normal sleep and nutritional math do not apply when in Stratford.
I threw my glasses on the bed, washed my face, changed into p.j.'s, and collapsed onto the outdated comforter. Onto my glasses.
If you see me tilting my head to the side, it's merely a vain attempt at making my frames appear straight.
Maybe I should get LASIK.
I spent the weekend in Stratford. Three plays in two days. I've gone every summer for the past five years now. And every summer it's the same: I go with my dear friend whom I met in Stratford when we were students of Shakespeare. We eat garlic fries. We stay at our favorite bar until last call. We shop for chocolate.
We've established a tradition that will have us returning annually until we're little old ladies, sitting on Balzac's patio, sipping lattes and discussing the new crop of talent's interpretations of Shakespeare.
As we were leaving today, we saw a super-slender women in a tailored dress walking past the shops wearing the most extravagant hat. It had some sort of ornamental flourish. Either flowers or feathers. It was hard to tell from where we were. She had this classy French air about her. This year, I wore dresses in Stratford. Perhaps I'll wear hats next year. I need to embrace a little more Europe in my personal style.
French Women Don't Get Fat is being adapted into a film. Yes, it's a diet book. Or lifestyle tome, if you want to be specific. There is no plot. But because I admire looking at croissants and stylish French women, I won't completely write off the Hilary Swank vehicle just yet. Mean Girls was based on a work of non-fiction. And it was brilliant. Head on over to MovieZen for more.
I doubt they have a Marble Slab in France. If they did, French women would get fat. And get happy. Double dark chocolate, peanut butter, cherries. In a Butterfinger waffle cone. I would do the Parisian wine-and-cheese thing as long as there was room for homemade ice cream.
P.S. Audrey Tatou is my favorite French woman. She is welcome to go hat-shopping with me in Stratford next summer.
There was something so light about his performance, so effortless and generous and soft. And yet, he was so strong and energetic and commanding. Essentially, he stood on an open stage and proved that he was more than deserving of any hype surrounding his name. That any diva or perfectionist reputation was justifiable. That women sigh because he's still all passion and presence. He won everyone over. Best Caesar ever.
He first stood on the Stratford stage at the age of 26. At 78, the standing ovation was only for him. That's how I want to grow old: pursuing the things that inspire me, with no intentions of just sitting back and fading away.
"I love my work," he says, nodding. "I'm not going to do anything stupid like retire. I promise you that. I'm going to drop dead on the stage."My prediction is that the show will end up in New York. Because the leads were brilliant, the pacing was melodic, and the jokes played perfectly. Apparently Caesar* is a funny guy. Who knew?
*Caesar from Shaw's Caesar and Cleopatra. This was not Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Nor was it Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra. The world of theater can be confusing.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Footwear-shopping is generally a frustrating experience for me, as my arches would better suit a ballerina than a blogger. I prefer to just admire from a safe distance. But last weekend, I broke my personal-best footwear record. I bought two pairs of sandals. Quickly and effortlessly.
So far, so good. Scratch that. So far, so fabulous.
If I were a real celebrity (and not just one in my head), I would pursue the endorsement deal for these.
You can buy them here. But I got a crazy good deal. 'Cause I'm a super-shopper now.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
"The problem is, after a week of intense Googling, we've started to burn out on knowing the answer to everything. God must feel that way all the time. I think people in the year 2020 are going to be nostalgic for the sensation of feeling clueless."~JPod, Douglas Coupland
Now that I have a cute little freelancing career, my web presence has increased dramatically. But because this site has very few references to my last name, it rarely pops up in search engines. If you're looking for me, that is. If it's content you're after, you'll find it. I think I was being cautious when I first began blogging; I wasn't sure if I wanted people to know my full name. But I blog under the real thing elsewhere, so I've given up any dreams of anonymity.
Besides, the blog name gives it away:
Rings on her fingers and Bells on her toes
Today, there are 1020 Google results. I'm practically famous. And you know what famous people have? They have fancy little biographical blurbs.
I have one.
P.S. I secretly love that, to my knowledge, I'm the only Nadine Bells on the planet.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My brain is a little fried today. I haven't been sleeping well, and I have way too much on my mind (although I don't think the lack of sleep is related to the brain activity, oddly enough). I highly recommend the playing-piano-after-midnight solution to insomnia. No, it doesn't put you to sleep, but there's a rawer form of creativity spilling from your fingertips when there's no alertness barrier.
So the piano and a late night is my new favorite duo. The sum is greater than its parts. Although the parts are pretty darn fantastic on their own.
Kind of like Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
Don't roll your eyes. I know, I know, Ryan is supposed to be my fake boyfriend. But he and Rachel were meant to be together. I'm totally on Team McGosling.
But when it comes to power couples, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese take the cake. I don't remember really caring for either until they started working together.
I posted about some great actor/director pairings over at MovieZen. And yes, Bale made the cut. As did a shout-out to my dead boyfriend Jimmy. 'Cause a favorite is a favorite. And I'm comfortably transparent about such things.
Monday, August 18, 2008
I highly recommend Once. Highly.
It's such a simple lovely little film. The music is gorgeous. The story is poignant. The characters are like paintings, impressions of life. And in an odd way, I can relate to a woman dragging a Hoover vacuum into a music store, banging away on a piano she can't afford, accompanying a lonely stranger with a broken heart.
I would play his song in a heartbeat.
The Academy Award-winning song is below. So very deserved.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I'm 25. Finally. In some ways, I've been almost 25 since I was 16. And yet, this morning, as I was staring at a pimple that screamed 15-year-old, not 25-year-old, I felt a slight heaviness settling in my chest. There is no more novelty in my age. I am no longer that spring chicken, that 18-year-old academic prodigy, that 21-year-old head trainer at work. Nope. I'm just one of those twenty-somethings wandering about, trying to scrape some dreams together and figure out this thing called life.
I've decided that 25 will be an adventure, not a crisis. It's going to be exciting. Because while no longer 18, I still have nothing to lose. I can still dream big, risk big, love big and fail big. And I'm not going to break if I fall. Maybe bruise a little. But a little heartache and disappointment can provide some great writing material....
This year, I'm going to write. A lot. I want to chronicle what it is to embrace the quarter-life. And I don't want to forget 25, messiness and all.
Happy birthday to Robert De Niro, Sean Penn and Donnie Wahlberg. We should have a joint party next year.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Phelps lends a new spin to the phrase "Breakfast of Champions" by starting off his day by eating three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise.
He follows that up with two cups of coffee, a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes.
At lunch, Phelps gobbles up a pound of enriched pasta and two large ham and cheese sandwiches slathered with mayo on white bread - capping off the meal by chugging about 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.
For dinner, Phelps really loads up on the carbs - what he needs to give him plenty of energy for his five-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week regimen - with a pound of pasta and an entire pizza.
He washes all that down with another 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.
Best. Breakfast. Ever.
If I can't compete like an Olympian, I might as well eat like one.
P.S. For those of you who like math, he eats 12,000 calories a day.
Apparently you should not blog on no sleep. Your brain starts to jumble facts and you end up misinforming the entire blogosphere, crediting the wrong writer with awesome work. So I apologize to Randall Wallace, whom I adore, for saying that William Monaghan wrote Braveheart. He didn't. If you can stomach my error, I waxed otherwise poetic about Mel Gibson's acting comeback over at MovieZen.
I suppose after 24.99 years of being perfect, I was bound to screw up at some point. And there it is.
At least I'm not the only professional blunderer out there. I've read some hilarious entries in the past. Some intentionally incorrect for the sake of attracting attention (controversy is a great way to build traffic and get commenters going), and some just babbling on without that filter I like to call "a brain." I won't point out any specific insanity, although naming The Love Guru as one of the top movies of the summer might be part of it. Seriously.
Brain-farting is not limited to cyberspace. This morning, for example, as I was eating breakfast in front of Canada AM, a political analyst said the most brilliant thing I've ever heard at 6:45 a.m.:
"Only 20% of women in the House of Commons are women."And then she went on to complain about how women are mocked. Yes. I wonder why.
Later, at work, I noticed that someone from one of our international offices had confused Marilyn Manson with Charles Manson. So I suppose it's a worldwide phenomenon, this absence of smarts.
The problem with momentary intelligence lapses is that you have to live with your gaffes when you come to. It's probably easier on the psyche to be dumb all the time than to have to neurotically recover from humiliating errors that point to your humanness.
So I will amend, but I won't delete.
And yes, I know what a couple of you are thinking. This is coming from the girl who will never live down saying "for all intensive purposes." Thanks, guys.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
And in her off time, she dragged her kids and husband around Mennonite country. With platinum-blond hair instead of her trademark red, she was rather anonymous as she browsed through St. Jacobs' quilt stores. (Honestly, even if she were in a ball gown, no one would really be expecting an Oscar-nominated actress to be waiting in line next to them for ice cream; her privacy was pretty much guaranteed.)
One fine day, she went broom-shopping. At this rustic little store:
My brother Nathan worked in that shop. My brother who is not Mennonite, nor Amish, despite the frequent inquiries of tourists. And he sold her a broom. So as you watch her latest flick, be very aware that when she went home after a long day of filming, she swept off her front porch with a little piece of Bells greatness.
I felt like a million bucks walking out the salon. And as it only cost half a million, I consider it a successful snip. My hair looks longer. Which is odd. And physically impossible. It's like a post-modern "Rachel" cut. For normal people, this means that I got a trim with a couple of layers. But it had been almost six months.
I would take a picture, but my dad stole my camera.
I even walked the long way home today, just to let it bounce in the wind. Funny how hair can change your posture. Did I mention I love it?
I've decided that tipping is way too much fun. I have to resist not constantly over-tipping, as I'm not quite rich yet. I'm not sure if my landlord would understand that I tipped away my rent.
Writing on the Subway
I was scribbling in a notebook when I realized that the man beside me was doing the exact same thing. I wonder if he was writing about me just as I'm writing about him now....
I want to bottle this picture and drink it every Monday morning. That unbridled exuberance. I'm more than willing to cheer on Team U.S.A. for this kind of joy.
And yes, I would feel the same about the photo if he were in a snowsuit. Don't roll your eyes at his shirtlessness. I didn't pose the guy.
Doug Ross, M.D.
Did I see George Clooney on the ER promos for the final season? Please say yes. Oh, never mind. It was a flashback to his last episode. Does he get royalties for that spot?
Oh, well. I do not consider this moment wasted.
Hazelnut Vanilla Coffee
Black. Large. Hot. Caffeinated.
Snow in Sydney
Actually, it was hail on a super-cold day. But it makes me happy. I'm not sure why. Maybe knowing that there is a weather problem globally eases the discomfort of a soggy summer. I have not worn sandals once.
Some people talk about local weather with their hair stylist; we chat international.
Someone Else's Photo
I saw a picture. It doesn't belong to me. So I can't cut and paste it here. But it was perfect. It was like a snapshot of my heart. Minus the blood and guts.
I'm actually excited. It's gonna be good, folks, this upcoming year called "the quarter-life."
On Writing was amazing. And humbling. The next time I'm about to go into whiny-baby "life is overwhelming" mode, I should remember that he was run over by a van. And still finished his book.
Have you read?
Scientists say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people and objects invisible.I want one in brown. Right. I guess that's not really applicable.
Researchers have demonstrated for the first time they were able to cloak three-dimensional objects using artificially engineered materials that redirect light around the objects. Previously, they only have been able to cloak very thin two-dimensional objects.
Monday, August 11, 2008
I have lived the high-school-drama-class experience that deserves both your mockery and pity. As I'm sure I will blog one day soon, my years with a possibly-inebriated and certainly insane drama teacher provide rather fertile ground for angsty storytelling. So the idea of a teacher, after failing in his stage adaptation of Erin Brockovich, writing the sequel to Hamlet to save the drama program is perfectly feasible. Believe me.
(And if you haven't read Hamlet, just know that a sequel is pretty much not possible. At all. Now go read Hamlet. Seriously, why haven't you? You're making Kenneth Branagh cry.)
Enter a time machine. Hamlet meets Jesus. Again, if you think this doesn't make sense, clearly you've never been to high school.
And as a Christian, I can take a hit or two. I won't boycott the movie. But I'd rather you take the jab at me, not at Jesus. Just like Saved. There was a lot of truth in that film. Uncomfortable truth. And like most comedies of this genre, I know that it will make fun of everyone. Not that this lessens the blow for some; but it does spread it out. (Hey, I know folks who didn't like The Passion's Jesus. And Jesus Christ Superstar was once scandalous. You can't win.)
Back to Shakespeare (perhaps the ultimate dead boyfriend).
Joel and I were talking about Romeo and Juliet the other day. About how we'd like to see a teenybopper adaptation that's all pink, happy, mildly woe-is-me and Amanda Bynes-ish and then-- BAM! It ends the way Shakespeare intended. Why haven't we seen this yet? I'm sick of "star-crossed lovers" that don't have their stars crossed.
That is all.
Long live 10 Things I Hate About You.
And yet it's different. There's something more definitively past tense about the Ocean's Eleven franchise. The Shaft theme song conjures up a little more nostalgia. And one day (soon or not), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid will be just a little more bittersweet.
And I know straight lines, in any human designs
We live the same lives, in different times
And I thank the supreme being, for giving me eyes
And the days that I had for living, and now I'm laughing 'cause I can't find tears to cry
And even the Sundance Kid would find it hard to shoot his way out of this hole I'm in (x2)~Sam Roberts, "Sundance"
Read my Bernie Mac post over at MovieZen. His life was short, but it was full. Not many at the age of 50 have 30 years of marriage, a grandchild, and a legacy of art and love to leave behind....
Sunday, August 10, 2008
I spent that summer wearing a padded belt around my waist, listening to CDs on repeat for 8-to-10-hour intervals. Not once did my player skip. Not once did it let me down. And so I let it stick around.
Fast-forward 7 years.
It is 2008. I climb on the Greyhound with that same padded case that holds three lonely CDs. I carry what now looks like a clunky piece of outdated technology, still superbly functional. Friends ask, "Do they actually let you on the bus with that?" This is all I have. I use a Discman in the age of mp3s. The world went digital; I still lug around extra AAs.
And then came yesterday. I had temporarily forgotten that next Sunday is my birthday. Which meant that my visit to the family farm would include people handing me cake and cards and presents. Really, I would have been delighted just to spend the afternoon with my cousins, playing Scrabble and scarfing down homemade burgers.
It is no exaggeration to say I was shocked. My fabulous family super-generously contributed to my becoming less technologically pathetic: I am now in need of a name for my lovely new iPod Nano. I may be in love.
He's cute, no?
Some serious uploading is in my future. As is downloading. Have you heard of this thing called "iTunes"? Where has it been all my life?
Excuse me as I go listen to music like a cool kid.
Nano, meet Brooke Fraser, Sam Roberts, Josh Ritter and Bebo Norman. Tomorrow, you shall meet Bono.
Have I ever mentioned that I have the best family in the world? 'Cause I do.
Friday, August 08, 2008
I'm not opposed to living with someone. And I certainly don't want to still be sitting alone in this tiny apartment decades from now. But at this particular moment in time, I'm content with the solo scene.
I do know that I won't be using Craigslist to find my next flatmate. Because this is what I might get.
Thanks, Kathleen, for contributing the Friday fun.
***Living Single was one of the first sitcoms I ever subtitled. That was three years ago. I can't believe I've had a job for three years. I can almost retire.
My grandmother's birthday always coincided with the Greektown festivities; even though she's gone, the family's still hanging out. As much as I love baklava dripping off my napkin and down my arm in the hot sun, a barbecue with toddlers I rarely see is something I just can't pass up.
Because I live with the Greeks, it's impossible to walk down the street without seeing signed photographs of Nia Vardalos in the windows of small family-run restaurants. She's the hometown hero. And not only did she make a spectacular splash in Hollywood a few years ago, she did so by embracing her culture rather than melting into a cookie-cutter romantic-comedy sweetheart.
I should probably watch her breakthrough flick again. Firstly, because I'm inspired by Nia the writer. By the fact that she created her own material. She wanted to create and perform, so she wrote a one-woman show. And Tom Hanks (and his lovely wife) happened to love it. Just as I'm sure he'd love this blog.... But I could also justify a viewing as wedding-article research. With my new writing gig, I've embraced a new nuptial radar. It's actually quite fun to think about the weddings of others. Fictional planning has a lot of freedom in it.
Over at MovieZen, I posted about Nia's upcoming project. She's making a comeback, and hopefully not of Connie and Carla proportions. No offense to David Duchovny.
Read it here.
And then eat souvlaki on my behalf.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you have my brother Joel reenact this entire movie for you. Preferably after midnight. And yes, it will take about an hour or so.
Elf is the new classic. My kids will be watching it one day. And their uncle will probably crack them up with his slightly-funnier-than-the-actual-film version. Especially when he gets to this scene.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
I went to bed too late last night. And then I decided to read. Not the smartest idea I've ever had. But when it's late, my wisdom is impaired. As is my everyday caution. If I'm exhausted, my heart is on my sleeve. Those of you who've spent the night talking to me know this. I will pour out the intimate stuff of heart and mind when the rest of the world is sleeping. Too much energy is required to keep my guard up.
I was reading The Last Lecture, Randy Pausch's book based on his lecture of the same name. It's a little book, full of sound-bite wisdom, quirky stories, and a William Shatner tale that actually nudged a few tears down my face.
It's also a dangerous book. It makes you a little more dissatisfied with mediocrity. It gives you no excuses for laziness. It makes you want to crank up The Lion King soundtrack while speeding down the highway in a convertible on the way to your dream job as a Disney Imagineer. I kid you not.
I was skimming through. I was tired. I was almost done. And then one sentence destroyed me.
There's a moment in his lecture (Have you seen it yet?) near the end, where he brings out a birthday cake for his wife. It's a total surprise, the room erupts in song, and she comes forward to hug and kiss her husband. As the audience applauds, his wife whispers something in his ear. We assume it's along the lines of "I love you." It's sweet and moving and then we move on.
But the book expands.
As we held each other, Jai whispered something in my ear.Those three words shattered my little world. I lost it. It was the most perfect honest sentence I'd read in a very long time.
"Please don't die."
It sounds like Hollywood dialogue. But that's what she said. I just hugged her more tightly.
I'm going to start reading the Sears catalogue in bed. Good night.
I'm a practical dreamer. Or a dreamer who's too practical. I can talk myself out of almost any exciting idea because it doesn't line up with the self-imposed expectation to be responsible, careful, discerning and sensible. This isn't always a bad thing, but I'm starting to realize that part of being responsible is pursuing the things that inspire me. And sometimes that means just tossing aside the sensible and jumping into the big unknown.
I still dream like a little kid. But thanks to my friend the Internet, I can weigh the practicality of Nadine's Fantasy Land. My impromptu Kanetix parties have me comparing insurance options and rates as if the whole world is at my typed-out fingertips. It's my own Choose-Your-Own Adventure game filled with endless new scenarios. I can decide on a cyber-whim that I want to go really far away for a really long time. Or maybe just to Buffalo for the weekend. (They have The Olive Garden, you know.) And knowing that I can get a tooth fixed, a prescription filled or emergency care provided in some far away land makes the jet-setting idea more thrilling. It makes it seem more real.
This might take the fun out of daydreaming for some. But I like to know what my dreams are getting me into.
Monday, August 04, 2008
This evening, Tom Jones was the guest mentor.
I'm trying to figure out why women love him. Is it really the "moving and shaking"? I prefer my shaking in Elvis form, thanks. Wikipedia says he's "particularly noted for his voice." Well, that's a relief. It then goes on to describe "his tight breeches and billowing shirts." I just threw up in my mouth a little.
What am I missing? I don't think it's ageism. I can see the appeal in a McCartney, even a Mick (on a good day). But Tom Jones?!
And to be fair, I Googled a pre-plastic-surgery version. I'm assuming that's when the ladies first latched on.
Not much better.
I only drool over Tom when he's made of sugar.
It is worth noting that "She's a Lady," his biggest hit, was written by Paul Anka, whom I love for absolutely no reason except that I once assumed all songs on the oldies station were Anka songs. I've probably just lost all credibility.
I left a quick comment on a blog out of Australia. After clicking "post," it said I posted it at 3 a.m. August 3rd.
But it was the afternoon of the 2nd.
Is your mind blown? Good.
I'm practically Marty McFly. I should have brought this shoe back with me.
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Don't worry, I won't stop blogging. But do I specialize? Should I find a niche? Should I spin-off my pop-culture thoughts into another blog and keep this one focused on the adventure that is my life? Or do I keep everything all messy and crammed together, emphasizing that life happens to be much like this blog, slightly non-sequitur and often amusing (although sometimes unintentionally so)?
Do I monetize? Would anyone want to pay me to be me? That sounds so odd. (But please say yes.)
Sometimes I have too many ideas. I could rattle off multiple blog ideas, propose creative ventures, list the most bizarre and unrelated flashes of brainstorming lightning. But most of them can't happen. I have 24 hours in my day. And I need to pay my rent.
There may be changes coming here. That's your heads up. And I'm open to suggestions. Just don't be offended if I don't use them.
And for those of you following my writing career, I think it's safe to announce that I recently signed a writing contract with eHarmony. Yes, this is hilarious. And I'm writing for their advice section. Because those who can't do, advise.
So if you see me with my head in a bridal magazine, know that I'm researching wedding-planning articles and not merely obsessing over some hypothetical future. I refuse to pick a gown when there's no groom in the picture. It's just not heart-healthy.
Jeff Daniels is underrated. But not in a James Marsden way. He's consistently fascinating, yet he manages to fly just slightly under the popularity radar. Maybe that's better for his career. He's not always lovable, or even likable, but he's authentic. And that's all I really want when I watch a movie. If I sniff out a phony, the entire film's a write-off. Even in Dumb and Dumber, I bought his dumbness. And since I previously gushed about his performance in Terms of Endearment, I won't bother to rehash anything here. Let's just say I'm an admirer of his craft, just slightly late in joining the fan club.
Last night, I wanted to slap him. And Laura Linney. Because divorce maddens me. Because I rarely understand it. Because I long ago decided that I would rather remain single than enter into a marriage that can't stand the test of time. Lonely and single is better than lonely and married. Am I a little naive? Perhaps. But I'm also pretty determined to fight for a forever. And people who give up make me want to throw things. I don't believe in irreconcilable differences. Irreparable brokenness, maybe. But don't tell me that after 20 years you just don't mesh.
But I digress. The movie. Daniels. The most disturbing moment is when he kisses Anna Paquin. She played his daughter in Fly Away Home, so the scene had an unintentional incestuous vibe. Actually, I take that back. I'm pretty sure it was very intentional. Creepsters.
Jesse Eisenberg is also now on my radar as "talent to watch." He was very Robert Sean Leonard (circa Dead Poets Society). But quirkier, nerdier, and in desperate need of psychological help. Maybe he'll be the next Jason Schwartzman, also amazing and underrated. (The film doesn't do much to support the notion that divorce doesn't do major damage to children. The boys in this flick are terrifyingly screwed up.)
It's one of those good films I find difficult to recommend. It's just complicated and messy and broken. And incredibly frustrating and unsatisfying.
Oh, and Laura Linney will get her Oscar one day. You read it here first.
P.S. Jeff's also a musician. Which earns him an extra gold star.
Thanks to the McGosling phenomenon, everyone forgets he was the great guy left behind in The Notebook. He was Cyclops. He was Prince Charming. He was the only redeeming factor in 27 Dresses. He'll be leading-man material yet. As he ages, his physical perfection will transform into something a little more rugged and worn and manly and Clooney-esque. And everyone will be shocked that he can act. Beauty is blinding, the poor man.
There are rumors of a Hairspray sequel. We are not amused. Check out MovieZen for the details.
His Hairspray solo is below. I love this movie. I love the entire cast. Maybe even Travolta. And I love that the actors can actually sing. Lip-synching is too easy. And tone-deafness should not be overlooked just because the actor's famous.
And if you need proof that he (and the rest of 'em) can actually sing, he performs the song live here.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
I have found a solution. One that will keep me active, fit and stimulated. And I won't have to step away from my beloved computer either.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Walkstation.
Too bad my apartment is approximately the size of three shoeboxes. And my budget doesn't quite accommodate such a purchase ($4000?!). But I could probably pick up an ancient treadmill at a garage sale somewhere and balance a plank across it....
Check out Treadmill Desk and read about someone who made their own. It changed his life. Which depresses me. What has my desk done for me lately?
(The claim that I could lose 57 pounds in a year is a little alarming. I would die.)
This song has been on repeat in my head for weeks. And because it's only three chords, it manages to monopolize my fingers every time I sit at the piano. But it would be better on the guitar. So I shall learn. And I'll show up at some open mike night somewhere and play those three chords for a tiny crowd of strangers.
I know the song is 20 years old and has been covered by everyone (or at least three artists). But I like this version. I love that Ronan Keating's Irish accent doesn't disappear when he sings. Which I can't mimic. Maybe I should just work on my Allison Krauss impression.
And yes, Ronan is from the UK boy band Boyzone. Don't judge. I like my boy-banders European, okay?