Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Can a person be "in the world but not of it"?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Is there anything more boring and pretentious than humorless bloviating gasbags farting on and on about film? Not to me. If you are going to write about the movies, I need on-set stories, interviews with the actual filmmaker (not just "Chris Farley Show" hero worship) and some sense of historical background. I'm just a movie lover, not a film critic. Give me something juicy or go home.
So here are some books about the movies that I've read and re-read. I'm sure there are others.
City of Nets by Otto Friedrich
The Studio by John Gregory Dunne
The Devil's Candy by Julie Salamon
Final Cut by Stephen Bach
That is all for today.
If you want to fritter some time away, I recommend Nathan Rabin's hilarious and comprehensive "My Year of Flops" on the AV Club. It's one of the few things I can honestly say, I wish I had written.
Monday, January 25, 2010
Just some ideas for making your days just a little less rife with despair.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Saw "Madame Bovary" (1949) last night. It was pretty decent actually, despite being bookended by absurd "courtroom testimony" by Flaubert at his obscenity trial. It must have been some censor or decency issue. I wish James Mason would come back to life and read me bedtime stories.
Anyhoo, Jennifer Jones as Emma was too beautiful and Van Heflin as Dr. Bovary not nearly nebbish-y enough. Ballroom dancing scene was fantastic. A stretch to compare it to Saturday Night Fever dance scene but then again, it's possible the director had seen "Madame Bovary". It was directed by Vincent Minnelli after all.
I read the book last year and found it much more modern than I expected. Subtle and snide and sympathetic, the book is fresher than the film.
Amazing trailer! English, with French subtitles.
Not much to say today. Feeling okay. Working from home, sending ideas out into the ether and waiting for response... not easy. Tomorrow may be better. More socializing, more to keep my brain percolating.
Making chickpea and mango curry for dinner tonight from this cookbook. Hope it turns out okay. I don't have much faith in my cooking ability.
I can't believe I've never seen a Satyajit Ray movie. I really need to remedy this.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
While I was doing the dishes a few minutes ago, I heard the Jim Croce song "Operator." And as I listened to it, I thought about what a sad song it was in that hokey-ish but kind of heart-tweaking way that 1970s singer songwriters get just right. I'm a sucker for certain kinds of 1970s music, what can I say? I must have heard a lotta easy listening in the womb back in 1977.
I'd never even heard of the song until I read "Bad Haircut" the excellent collection of Tom Perrotta stories. I'd only bought the book because I liked the cover and the Harvard Book Store had an autographed copy near the register.
But what struck me the most about hearing that song was that the last time I'd heard it, I thought it was the saddest song of all time. I was going through a pretty deep and cavernous depression at the time (2001, I think) when I thought that nothing would ever get better. So maybe poor old Jim is the measuring stick for depression. If I can listen to it and do the dishes, I'm okay. If it makes me curl up in the fetal position sobbing, I may be facing a more serious problem.
Today was a good day. Had a delicious lunch with an old friend, (hey LK, if you're reading this!), got a writing assignment approved, came home and fed the cat. Nice!
Hoping to watch "Boogie Man", the documentary about GOP "genius" Lee Atwater tonight. It will probably depress the shit out of me but it sound fascinating nonetheless.
Link - PBS Frontline - The Lee Atwater story
Monday, January 18, 2010
I'm not a big collector. I'm just not the type. When T and I started dating, he noticed that I had more than a few copies of the quarterly Granta lying around. I fell in love with them in college and would buy them for $2 each in the used section of the Harvard Book Store. Anyhoo, T became obsessed with having ALL of them (104 and counting). I try to seek out the few we are missing at the Strand or other used book stores on the street but mostly because completing our collection would make T happy.
He also bought me the ENTIRE "Eightball" series for my birthday five years ago. Pretty sweet!
But I think I've found something I'd like to collect. RAWs and Blab!s.
I got some great ones from the Strand today from the early 1990s some great stuff: Lynda Barry (my first comics love, recommended by Sassy magazine!), Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Dan Clowes, Richard Sala and tons of others.
It all gives me such a nostalgic feeling. Ah, comics, keeping me young... brain-wise at least.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
So I just watched the totally horrifying documentary "Crazy Love" on Sundance. Yet, when it was over, all I could think about was diner food, since the main characters are seen eating at the Shalimar Diner in Rego Park. It got me thinking...
Here are the diners that I have known and loved (and feared) in my 32 years on this planet we call, uh, earth.
The Landmark Diner
How much of my teenage life did I spent at this diner, eating french fries, baklava, smoking cigarettes and laughing my ass off? A lot. It was a pretty good diner, food-wise. They were very tolerant of idiots like my friends sitting for hours and splitting a pizza bagel and three cups of coffee. It had a lovely pink glow and whiteish stone exterior. A late 70's, early 80's aesthetic I find very comforting in diner architecture. Now it's gone. Well, it's relocated and rebuilt next door.
I dunno. It looks kind of retro to me. Like a brand new Rickenbacker guitar or something. It even has a Twitter page. Bah.
The Seacrest Diner
This is the diner of despair. Not only were there terrifying live lobsters in tanks at the front of the restaurant that terrified me as a child, it always seemed to be the place you were taken after something bad happened: A death in the family, someone was sick...
The diner was also the scene of a horrific crime. In 1982, five young men from Brooklyn stole a car, committed a terrifying home invasion in Plainview, Long Island. The night of violence, rape and murder ended at this diner.
Per the New York Times: "...early the next morning, when the men burst into the Seacrest wielding handguns and a shotgun, then robbed and terrorized customers, demanding that they strip and ordering some to have sex with each other. At least one waitress was raped. Two young men were shot. Mr. Bouloukos [the owner] and several others were pistol-whipped, and all 80 or so people inside were held hostage for more than an hour."
It is because of this sickening and traumatizing event that we all called this diner the "rape diner" and avoided it at all costs. My grandparents seemed to like it, I have no idea why.
The Carle Place Diner
This diner was conveniently located near the Roosevelt Field Mall and Tower Records, two other places where I misspent my youth. I think it was pretty good. Wait, it's coming back to me. I think I once had disco fries here with a former camp counselor. She had been fired that summer for fellating a fellow counselor while drunk on the soccer field. Her name began with an A... it will come to me (no pun intended... haha).
The Neptune Diner
This diner is pretty good and located very close to where I live in Astoria. My husband likes that they feature the fact that they make a point that they serve "chops", which he thinks is delightfully old school. They were nice here. Good "sea" motif.
The Scobee Diner
This is great diner! The craziest thing is that when I moved into my apartment and was putting away my dishes, the previous owners had left behind a cup and saucer from the Scobee Diner! Perhaps they had stolen the china as a memento of a yummy meal or something. My husband likes to drink espresso from it. Lots of famous people have been here, so says the signed photos on the walls.
The Seven Seas
I don't remember much about this place. I think I have it confused with the Seacrest Diner (terrifying entry higher up). Maybe this was the place my grandparents liked. Jesus, I'm not as good at this as I thought. I can't even find a photo.
And there are others. Many have burned down. Many are lost in a haze of grilled cheese sandwiches and turkey burger deluxe platters.
Have I missed any?
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Payton Manning, Lout Rampage!
Like a Velvet Glove Wrapped in Bradshaw!
Like a Weed, Joe Buck!
Tune in for more of this soon-to-be very popular reoccurring column!
Enjoy this link - Dan Clowes "On Sports"
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Also, did anyone else know that Sunday was No-Pants Day on the subway? I hope Monday was Purell-the-Seats Day.
Which reminds me of a story of something that happened two hours ago.
I'm not a fightin' gal. I get annoyed easy but angry? I'm a bit burned out for all that. I can recall three times in the last few years when I got the old red mist in front of my eyes and nearly reached for my stabbing stick.
I once nearly strangled a couple who was noisily making out during the incredibly emotional and gut wrenching 2004 Mike Leigh film "Vera Drake." For those who have seen this film, need I explain more? For those who did not, its the story of a working class British woman in 1950 who gives abortions to women in desperate need and then must face the consequences. It's a incredibly heartbreaking story of class and values. How this film could arouse passion of the spit-swapping sort in anyone is beyond me. I became angry. Punches were nearly thrown. My companion was mortified. I calmed down. The couple sulkily stopped making out. Rage over.
Another time was with a former boss and it was so horrible that it hurts to recount it. I'll just say this. I thought I was speaking in a reasonable tone to this person but it turned out that I was shouting at the top of my lungs. I lost my shit completely and utterly.
Then there was the time that we had bed bugs that wouldn't go away and... well, I know I need not say more. Ugh, just typing about them makes me itchy and angry.
Then there was tonight. After a lovely afternoon with the wonderful folks of Girls Write Now, I headed down into the NYC subway, where the machine promptly ate my $10, announced an "encoding error" and then refused to barf up a receipt for me. How to retrieve my money? The charming specimen who was standing outside the glass infomation thing kept telling me that I needed to get an envelope from a booth. What booth? A booth. Was I deaf? I pointed to the clear glass booth where helpful people tended to work. She leaned down and pointed to the sign as if I was differently abled. "See here?" she said slowly and deliberately. "This is a kiosk. Not a booth."
I was lucky that there were people around me, people who beginning to worry if an "incident" was about to occur. Because I began saying, "Why couldn't you just have said that in the first place? How would anyone know the difference between the booth and a kiosk considering there's no one inside either one? Why is it acceptable for none of the machines to work and then for no one TO BE INSIDE THE KIOSK TO OFFER ASSISTANCE. GIVE ME BACK MY $10! TEN DOLLARS!"
"DO I SIT AT THE EDGE OF THE BED AND BOTHER YOU WHILE YOU'RE WORKING, BITCH?!" (Note: I didn't actually say this but I wish I could have.)
The gentle, yet terrified man who was fixing a broken subway card machine (have you ever seen the inside of these things? They do not inspire financial or mechanical assurance) gave me a number to call, wrote down the number of the machine and subway station for me. Thanks mister. I go be crazy somewhere else.
I should probably go back to yoga.
Also, has anyone seen how friggin' fancy Duane Reade has gotten? The one on 34th and Sixth Avenue is not to be believed. Like Sephora except you can also get some condoms and a bag of peanuts. Classy!
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I woke up this morning with a strange pain in my jaw. Now the old LHM would make a joke of this variety but at 32 all I could think of was my terrible nighttime teeth grinding. Or that I had jaw cancer. I had my dentist make me a night guard but that shit is unweildy! Like what Golden Gloves boxers wear. Hard to sleep with it. Excessive drooling and headaches. Just right for the newlywed couple!
Despite jaw pain, had a lovely day with outta town friends and their beautiful baby. T made a meat loaf and was able to chew it, if not open my mouth exactly wide enough to receive the food itself.
Not much to post tonight. So will close with a portion of "You Can't Do That on Television" from 1984. It was with this show that my love affair with Canadians began.
"The Medicine Show" - link
Saturday, January 9, 2010
... and heaven knows I've been miserable now. Well, not now. Now I'm freelance writing while I work on my book and figure out what to do with my life. Teach? Edit? Dance for quarters? Work for the census? They did leave that beguiling flier under my door. They must have known that I was having a career crisis!
I've been distracted and unable to read new things lately (see earlier post). So I'm making a list of all the books that I plan to read this year. Note, these are books that are in my home. I bought them, intended to read them, and then chose to read Archie comics or something.
The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
I bought it for my dad and he liked it a lot. I meant to read it. But I kept falling asleep. I'll give it another try. I also fell asleep reading "Tess of the D'Ubervilles" in high school. I'm not optimistic.
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
T got it for me for Hanukkah. It started off great but it keeps jumping around from narrator to narrator. I got distracted trying to read it on the subway. Maybe the print is too small? Why do I always forget to wear my reading glasses? Maybe because I don't want to admit I need them. Hmmm...
Austerity Britain by David Kynaston
I really just like the cover. But I started reading it and I liked it. But at 700 pages, its a lot of post WWII British austerity, you know?
The Dream Songs by John Berryman
I really should read more poetry. I was always worried that this book of poetry would depress me. But then again, I felt that way about the Pill and it made me feel a million times better.
Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz
I think I've lied and told people I've read this. But I don't think I ever did. I'll find out, I guess.
Music for Chameleons by Truman Capote
I've read some individual stories but I should sit and read the whole thing.
Well, that's as ambitious as I get tonight. I complete this high-falutin' list while watching the episode of Bridezillas with Karen the horror of Staten Island. I watch this and no longer wonder why people dislike the Jews. Does that make me a self-hating Jew?
Oh god, did she just flash a gang sign and say, "Shabbat Shalom?"
Ever since (yes, I'm admitting this) Sassy magazine praised the work of Lynda Barry and recommended the all girl comic anthology "Twisted Sisters," my life veered all the "normal, Long Island, Jewish gal to something... weirder and disturbing. And I liked it.