you and me and everyone i know

I think I may have posted something mildly disparaging about Miranda July, because I find some of her fiction annoying. In fact, there was a whole profile in the Times recently about how much people hate or love her, that there a number of “I hate Miranda July” and not as many “I Heart Miranda July” blogs (well, negative experiences usually motivate people more than positive ones. See customer feedback sections), however, I just saw her first feature and thought it was great. It is an oddball story with lots of thrift-store-hipster charm and disturbing, but real life-feeling, scenes of sexuality as portrayed by tiny children and teens. The movie is never boring, and I was always interested in what would happen next. I do see what would cause people to hate her…but I was mostly impressed — she wrote, acted, and directed it. It’s not for everyone — for example, it’s not for my mother, but you don’t have to live in Silver Lake to enjoy it. (Though if you do, you could probably be an extra.)

harry potter

Through the magical power of babysitting, I was able to go see the final Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two.

My mother refused to babysit Baby Man, because she said it’s a children’s movie. Maybe…if you like your children’s movies with a bunch of blood-on-the-floor scenes. I love Harry Potter, I love his world and his crew — I eat it all up. The movie is not necessarily great picture, with a beginning, middle, and end, but I kind of think that’s not why you go. They are excerpts of the book. I loved the action scenes the best — the crazy train ride to the vaults of the Gringotts bank, the Lord of the Rings-style battles. Here are some parts that did not work so well for me — does Harry have to marry a woman who looks like his mom? He marries his high school girlfriend? Really? Are you telling me that Snape’s lifelong motivation is a childhood love? Like he never dated anyone else?

Despite some unevenness, I love the series. One gossip columnist says she loves how the story is about the power of love — not just romantic love, but the friendship between the three lead characters. I’ve heard J.K. Rowling talk about how the Death Eaters are based on the Nazis, and from that, I gather, the story might be about do the right thing.

For me, the theme of loss had me hooked. Harry Potter starts off an orphan (they show the mom defending Harry as a baby to her death, and i love Baby Man as much as Lilly Potter loves Harry. Like I would take a Voldemort blast for him). Just as he becomes close to developing a father-son bond with someone, they get killed. In the last picture, he loses classmates, teachers, parental substitutes, an elf friend (Dobby! — Harry Potter’s answer to Jar Jar Binks). There is one interesting scene where he experiences a kind of afterlife, where he has an extensive conversation with the deceased Professor Dumbledore, who tells him, yes, the vision is in his head, but that doesn’t make it not real — an idea I feel I’ve seen in my superficial reading of Buddhism. Bear with me. I’ve read that life is an illusion, and from that I interpret, we can kind of believe what we want to. Maybe you can have conversations with people who are gone and enjoy them for a while, like in a dream. If feels real, why not enjoy it? I find that idea incredibly comforting.

But of course, the biggest thing I love about the Harry Potter series, aside from the characters, is the magic!!!! The magic freaking rocks.


Having a baby around means you do a lot of things you wouldn’t normally do, like everyone now does a fair amount of dancing and singing. The singing is supposed to be good for Baby Man to learn how to speak, which we would eventually like to happen, though I don’t know how much he can learn from my family. My mother tries to sing and demonstrate “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” but just ends up melting into wild giggles, making her incomprehensible, wildly entertaining, and probably just a touch confusing for someone learning English. (Plus on “toes,” she touches her calves. Just saying, Ma.)

I try to sing the songs day care tells us he digs, e.g., “Wheels on the Bus,” “Baby Bumblebee.” I googled lyrics and distributed to Husband and others to study. (Yes, it’s as nerdy as it sounds. I am not like Husband. I have to study lyrics or I make up new .) Only recently, has Baby Man begun to participate himself. He does a fair amount of chair dancing, which I heartily approve of, and has begun to sing along with me — which is hilarious and incredibly distracting, because he sounds like Frankenstein from the Gene Wilder movie. There’s sometimes a little spoken word element with (speaking the “Oh” in “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”) but it’s mostly a wind-whistling-through-an-octogenarian’s-throat-for-the-first-time sound we get from him, so I very have to often sing at like shout level to not get derailed.

I do it for the baby. I’m such a dedicated mother.

Michelle Obama

I am not thrilled with the current president at the moment, I have to be honest. I keep thinking about what Hillary would do. She’s a brainiac, but she’s also had time to absorb information on the complicated nuances of several subjects, because of all the hours she’s logged. Obama just started, and now he’s gotta devote hours to re-election and fundraising already.

Did he deliver on the promise of his campaign? That would be a very difficult thing to do. I’m not saying I’m a rightie, b/c if anything, he’s a bit conservative for my taste. It’s just the whole selective financial institution bailout that bothers me, since it didn’t necessarily lead to more jobs. (Smarter people out there, feel free to enlighten me, because this is about as far as I feel like going on this topic).

But he has other merits — for example, he is inspirational, and that is a wonderful quality in a leader. He is refreshingly articulate and sophisticated, after eight years of pretzel-choking and “misunderestimate.” And it’s not like he’s disappointing me per se, because I always thought of him as an unknown quantity…but no matter, because with his presidency came Michelle Obama, and her wardrobe alone makes me psyched they’re in the White House.

Wow, that woman can dress! I like her casual, funky style more than the ball gowns, but the cardigans! The two-tone suits! The pop-of-color shoes! The patterns! It’s a feast for my eyes and spirit.

She makes me very proud that she’s First Lady, and I apologize if I seem superficial since I am mostly commenting on her image, but image counts. It’s not that it matters more than substance, but it is a constant stream of messaging to us, the hungry public.

My only point is…I freaking love her clothes.

rick moody

Have you ever been to Rick Moody’s Web site? He has a side career as a life coach, which I find hilarious – a little bit like the procrastinating novelist in Bored to Death who takes up private detective work to avoid writing. Anyway, on his Web site, you can him any life question that perplexes you (oy, I have a long list), and he answers. When you get there, click on “Life coach,” and see “English-speaking Asian.” A woman asks how to deal with people who say “knonichiwha” to her on the street. I actually think he handles the question very well and will try to process it – his answer is extremely well-written, complicated, and pretty nuanced. I don’t think I remember most of it.

Anyway, his site makes me a bit, not jealous, but the verb-adjective-form of “recognize” or “resonate.” (If there is a word, will you tell me what it is? My brain=tired.) Not so much because he is such a talented writer (I will take your word for it, because I have not actually cracked any of his titles open yet, though I vaguely remember reading short stories for grad school classes) and successful artist (well that’s obvious, the movie deals, etc.), but because he gives advice. That is one my favorite things to do! I love when my friends ask me questions like “how do I overcome my agoraphobia” or “how to ask that office mate out” or “do these shoes go with this skirt” or “what beverage do you serve with nutter butters.” I think about it for a while and come up with something. When I proposed to build a fake Web site with Nancy for our fake business, one of the services I wanted to offer was an advice column. The gazillion self-help books I’ve read and my superficial grasp of Buddhism usually yields something.

Nancy actually had a better idea – give out bad advice that makes the situation worse.

Anyway, because his life advice is so good, I am actually tempted to read his fiction. Hooray.

David Lynch

David Lynch is weird. I read his book on transcendental mediation and how it affected his life as a filmmaker — you will not get a clue on how to meditate or make movies from his book, but it’s a fun read, because the chapters are one paragraph long but still give a sense of his weirdness. The first time he meditated, he saw a bright white wall and sat in bliss while 20 minutes went by in a blink. What? I don’t know anyone whose first time meditating was anything but a distracting pain in the arse. He talks about Blue Velvet — how he didn’t know what it was going to be, but could hear the song and see the slow pan on a lawn at night, where you see some normal backyard detritus like a ball and a hat and an ear. An ear! A freaking ear! Where does that come from? What also contributes to his wildness is that he looks like a simple, Midwestern farmer, and yet a lot of his pictures have violence and oddball sexuality.

He has sworn off film, completely enamored with the convenience, affordability, and hazy video quality of digital. He also makes and sells coffee on his web site. What? He’s so passionate about coffee, he started selling it. I was thinking about getting some for Christmas gifts, but they’re all fifty bucks. I don’t know anyone who likes coffee enough so much that it’s worth fifty bucks. Anyway, I recommend his book.

harry potter

I was running errands at lunch where I passed the set-up of the New York premiere of the last Harry Potter movie in New York. I thought of all those actors in their tuxes and fine gowns, and thought, oh boy, poor celebs are going to be incinerated by the sun, b/c it was so bloody hot today, but then I got to the street and saw all the fans already packed in like chickens in the south with signs that said stuff like “Thanks for the magic.”

Years ago, I probably would have judged them as batty, but now, as a rabid fan myself, I’m partially thinking “oh that’s a good idea, maybe I’ll go home and get my magic markers.” It’s a little weird how much I 180’d for Harry Potter. The writing is not all that, so it was incredibly difficult to get into, but once my dad got ill, I was ready to get sucked into stories that had only a distance resemblance to my everyday reality. A world of wizards, jelly beans that tasted like boogers, and a trounced-upon boy who was secretly a hero? SOUNDS GREAT!

I heart Harry Potter. I dig his goodness. I don’t have a crush on him, because he is a child, but if he were 40, I would think about it.

Dame Judi Dench

How is Dame Judi Dench 76? I don’t mean, dude, she doesn’t look her age, because she definitely looks like a senior citizen, but her next movie is The Case of the Buxom Strumpet – a zombie movie. Just stop.