Whip It

whip-it-big Saw it. Loved it. I didn’t have high expectations when I heard it was a meh kind of picture, but I found it to be a pretty together piece of work — great soundtrack, cool costumes, crazy stories, coming-of-age, mother and daughter tension, and unambiguously pro-girl! Marcia Gay Harden — awesome. Juliette Lewis — totally owns her part.

(Long-winded Juliette Lewis aside: She’s the bad-ass bad girl in this flick, and inflects every moment with her attitude. I remember people hating her in the 80s, but she’s grown on me because she’s just insane in every role I’ve seen her in. In this picture, she’s the bad-ass bad girl and inflects every moment on screen with attitude. She’s not a typical Hollywood beauty, she does her weird band on the side and takes supporting roles in Top 40 films and adds her own charm to kooky parts. I’m a fan.)

All the actors in the flick actually skate and wipe out like crazy. Very, very cute picture. Impressed with Drew Barrymore. And how cool does she look in promoting the movie at the Toronto Film Festival? Wish I had a job that required wearing a dress like this!



downtown-montreal Husband and I went to Montreal for a few days last week, and it was nice city — small, manageable, but still totally different. Everyone spoke French, we didn’t, which made me feel somewhat schmucky, but I got over it. The things I loved? The diversity and the metro system.

Husband: Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy to see so many Asians?
Me: Yes, it does. I also feel warm and fuzzy to see blue- and green-haired people.
Husband: Me too. Asians and punks. Very comforting.

amish friendship bread

images You know, once in a while, I realize how phenomenonally bad I am at cooking, like it’s mind-boggling. Husband does most to all of the cooking, seeing as he’s had a past life as a restaurant cook. (He cannot bear how slowly I cut carrots b/c he is Kitchen Ninja.) I didn’t always stink. I managed to feed myself before I met Husband, but now, if he’s not home, I find myself paralyzed and at a loss when hungry.

Even when you have no culinary gift, I think you can become adequate. It’s like learning French – you just follow the steps (which incidentally, I started to study, but then stopped when I had to make flash cards. Like, I just want to fastforward to fluency so I can fantasize I’m in a French spy movie, you know? I don’t actually want to work at it. Argh.) Anyway, sometimes following recipes, I miss crucial, logical steps, which brings me to Amish Friendship Bread.

Someone at work gave out the starter, which splits into four starters (for four batches of batter), which yields two loaves each — for a total of eight loaves. I only have two pans. I made the first batch — no prob. I made the three other batches last night — disaster. I just stuffed the remaining batter in the two pans…because I am lazy. I just want it to all work out and not be bothered. When I first smelled something burning, I ignored it, hoping it would go away. Only when the mirrors became opaque from the smoke did I start to focus, opened the oven. The bread batter was steadily overflowing the pan, dripping goop, forming stalagmite formations on the bottom of the stove, some of which were burned black, some of which….were on fire.

It’s like that time I made taco shells in the toaster oven when I just moved into my apartment and they caught fire. When I finally pointed it out to Husband, because I was paralyzed, he opened the toaster door and the flames fanned out and started to lick the ceiling. (Our toaster oven is on a shelf.) I was like, Awesome. We just moved here. The neighbors will hate me after I burn the building down.

I shouldn’t actually be baking anything right now anyway, but the urge takes over when I have crucial projects due. Like during my MFA thesis, I was like, “I know! I’ll make every bread A through Z in this cookbook Miles gave me!” Duh. This week, I have to finish the third draft of this YA book I’m working on.

It’s not like EVERY time I’m in the kitchen, the FDNY is involved, but my liquid bread experiment was a particularly bad last night. UGH.

i heart tennis

09openss_6a I love watching tennis. You can be young, amazingly gifted, win your matches left and right, but still, the papers will run a picture of you in mid-grimace. I mean look at poor Rafa Nadel. He’s a good-looking guy! But not in mid-beast-master mode, you know?

ideal job

ugly-betty-cast-photo Husband did background work all day on Ugly Betty and I was at the office as per usual. We discussed how full-time work sort of gets in the way of all the stuff you really want to do. I told him my ideal position would be part-time but would pay really well. And the only job I could think of that fulfills these requirements is celebrity cameos. He immediately said “Look everybody! It’s Tina Lee!” And I said “Oh hello, Ugly Betty.” Okay, now if we could just get somebody pay to me.

don’t stop believing

journey.2 What the heck is it about this song? I hated it growing up, but now I can’t get enough. It was featured in the “Glee” pilot. This past weekend, I asked Husband to sing it and seven-year-old Niece to do the guitar solo (they obliged). Right now, I’m obsessed with Journey. I love when music becomes “formerly despised,” made beautiful by its own merits and nostalgia for the past.

What’s next? Lover Boy? (“Everybody’s Working for the Weekend”). Hall and Oates? (“Making My Dreams Come True”). Jefferson Starship? (Shudder, perish the thought. If I hear “We Built This City on Rock ‘n Roll,” part of me dies.)

Catch and Release

photo_11_hires CATCH AND RELEASE Caught Catch and Release on cable the other day, a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Garner, and thought it wasn’t half-bad! There were enough obstacles to the two leads hooking up that I could pay attention while I was cleaning the house. Jennifer Garner — not shabby in this, except for the moment where her character is cutting loose, listing all the secrets she kept from her dead fiance, and there are a bunch of cutaways demonstrating how Tim Olyphant is falling for her. In this scene, you see the limits of her acting and Tim Olyphant, who is a pretty charismatic actor seems convincing, but you’re like, what the hell are you reacting to? It’s watching a man genuinely fall in love, but then the object of affection is a block of cheese. Totally disconcerting.

And to be petty, Jennifer Garner is very good-looking but the botox lips make no sense on her wasp-y beauty. (Like Anglos have straight noses and thin lips, you feel me?) My only other beef with her is I don’t understand why in every single movie, she dresses like cr*p. Seriously? Is it that hard to find a good stylist? But not to bust on the entire film, because let me say this — Juliette Lewis has a supporting role, and I know folks think she’s an oddball, but I think she’s a pretty good actress. She fully inhabits her characters and the difference between her comfort level and the lead’s is kind of embarrassing. But whatevs. This is a no-big-deal post, but still, had to get this off my chest.

is this the dream or some version of hell

dreamofhell I have this picture on my desk right now and I can’t stop looking at it. Partly, not to be too dark, it makes me wonder, Really? Is this where we’re headed, those of us with cash? There’s a handsomely paid individual in my office who keeps his mother in a hoity-toity home and he says there are 100 people per employee, which makes him wonder how bad the Medicaid homes are.

I’m helping my folks plan their long-term care, which is an overwhelming request and typical of my mother. When she said “can you figure out what will happen to us, whenever, you don’t have to get back to me right away,” it’s sort of like her tossing off “oh, can you solve the world’s economic crisis? Thanks.” Like, ay caramba, this is a problem well beyond my skill set, but whatever, here we go. After asking some people, I think we’re going to make an appointment with an elder care attorney for $500, which is killing my mom’s spirit, and I told her to suck it up b/c this is not something you can Google. From what I found out, it’s not like one solution fits all. Totally depends on what you want and how much you have. (I’m providing more detail than normal in case you’re dealing with this or have in the past. Maybe you can benefit from what I’m doing, or you can share your experience with me.)

And then Mom said something like “what is the meaning of life when you think so much about death,” which is typical dark Mom. She really needs some Project Runway in her life (…but maybe she’d see a sign of death in Heidi’s Auf wiedersen?) I tried to guilt-trip her. I told her my other friends have parents who already took care of this so their children wouldn’t have to, but she just looked at me blankly, completely oblivious. Normal, everyday manipulation doesn’t work on Mom. She’s a smart lady but blunt in sensitivity, which allows her to give and receive un-subtle statements without blinking, e.g., telling strangers like Paul Giamatti they look fat. If it did hurt her feelings, I’d be nicer, but as it is, I keep up my Joan Collins skills.

Anyway, the silver lining, and there is always something, is that Husband and I can think about what kind of old we want to become. Do I want to be 80 beading necklaces? I go both ways. I can see it being a simple pleasure…or something that makes me smother myself with a pillow. Ha.