Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Life-Changing Cinema

Last weekend, in a rather pleasing downpour, the blog bully and I went to see The Sound of Noise at New People Cinema, which is the year-round programming home of the San Francisco Film Society, located in San Francisco's Japantown. I had never been there, largely because the films deemed worthy of being shown all seem to be relentlessly depressing. I may be mistaken. After all, I have not seen them, but I do read about them and I cannot say that the descriptions fill me with yearning to hand over twelve bucks.

This time, in an exciting departure, the film was one I'd seen at last year's festival and loved. It's clever and funny and also inspiring of foot-tapping, which is a thing the blog bully seems to enjoy. I was quite excited to see it again and to share the joy, since I had seen it alone the first time around. Before the feature we were treated to what seemed like approximately three dozen (though I think it was just four) previews of capital "F" Films that, true to form, seemed ...anyone?... relentlessly depressing. There was one that was supposed to be "erotic" and "visually stunning" that seems to involve a great many extremely miserable (though lavishly dressed) prostitutes of a bygone era. Then there was one that made me feel like maybe "cinema" as such is just an elaborate joke and that perhaps no one really enjoys it at all, but smart, fancy people pretend to enjoy it just to see if we'll play along. I call this one The Freezing, Freezing Horse. There were others, but really The Freezing, Freezing Horse is sufficiently emblematic.

(This is apparently the official trailer, a fact that makes me almost weak with mirth, but I will try to find something more akin to the preview we saw, which is to say longer and even windier. I know, I know. I am a Philistine.)
Ah, here we go.

Look. I'm not saying the thing is devoid of austere beauty and the like, but it also makes me want to kill myself in less than two minutes, which, I suppose one could say is an artistic accomplishment in and of itself. I just feel that if I want to be exceedingly depressed and meditate on bleakness, I could, say, spend an evening alone lying on the concrete floor of my garage. For free.

Just to cheer you up, here is the film we actually went there to see: See? Delightful, no?

But here you are waiting to hear what changed my life. And I'll tell you. The bathroom, that's what. Are you female? Do you live here? You should go to a very depressing foreign film (because, really, in spite of it all, hooray for art) and avail yourself of the ladies' room. The toilets look as though they may have the power to transport you back to your house after the final credits. So many buttons! I am not altogether sure how I feel about a heated toilet seat in a public restroom, but how I otherwise feel about a heated toilet seat on a cold and rainy night is A) surprised and B) good. And if I had a toilet that was equipped with bidet technology featuring heated water? Well, let's just say I would be well contented and very clean. I suspect that Japan is awash with high-tech toilets, but I've never been to Japan. By all means, if Japan is convenient to your home, just go there. Otherwise, you might find it easier to go to Japantown. Among other benefits, the buttons are identified in English.

Oh! I almost forgot. The movie theatre is also very nice.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Present and accounted for

I won't go so far as to call it depression, but the general malaise has continued apace and since I don't like to put all my "oh woe is me" nonsense here [read: did you just spend another evening in your filthy living room watching TV while consuming whiskey and chocolate chips?], it makes me quiet. But it's Friday! And tomorrow a trained professional will attend to my roots such that I may live to be carded at Trader Joe's another day. Also, I have plans this Sunday, which means I will not have the opportunity to sink into the morose, shuffly, sweatpant-clad inactivity that tends to befall me on most Sundays. So, see? All is well. And here I am to entertain you with miscellany.

[Overheard in the hall just now. Girl: Do you want to hear my poem? Boy (with no hesitation): No! Not at all.]

1. I have spent much of the week trying to prepare clues and endless other documents for upcoming scavenger hunts. I am remarkably bad at this. While trying to sort out the order of clues, I thought my brain might actually burst into flames.

2. The blog bully created a small sign to dissuade the oft-mentioned Urinators in the corner by my garage. Our trial run was St. Patrick's Day on a Saturday night, which was kind of a lot to ask of a very small sign, but, to be fair, there was only evidence of one voided bladder. We'll see how it goes this weekend. Also? The blog bully actually undertook this project entirely under his own initiative. He came by my house on the sly last weekend and posted the sign in Pee Corner. He is like a super hero. It may be because he eats so many vegetables.

3. It is a curious thing when you decide on a whim to go to a 9:30 movie on a Thursday night and emerge around 11:15 to find the lobby positively brimming with people. I mean, film festival levels of crowdedness. Wha...? Oh, right. Hello, Hunger Games. Dammit. I was so close to being on the cutting edge. And yet, so far.

4. Lionel Ritchie apparently has a new album out. You can't be more surprised than I.

5. For the record, I have a horror of men who, when not employing them to shield their eyes, put their sunglasses on the back of their neck. Seriously, men of the world, this is a choice that makes you look like a yahoo. Do not do it. Please.

And with that, I wish you a pleasant last weekend of March.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Disappointing fact

An email from NPR links to an article, but has a little paragraph to get you started:
People who consumed about one serving of red meat (beef, pork or lamb) per day had a 13 percent increased risk of death, compared with those who were eating very little meat, a study found.
I hate to bring this up, and I certainly don't think we should dwell on it, but actually we are all going to die. Even the vegans. I was pretty sure NPR already knew that. But since they apparently don't, I kind of don't want to be the one to tell them. You do it.

Bonus Unrelated Fact:
Yesterday I accidentally hit someone with a viola. True story.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In which I discuss television for lack of better options

I'm pretty sure I just heard a kid ask his friend, "Why do you want to learn about The Bible? Do you want to learn about, like, Hercules?" I hope that she says no. Otherwise she's in for a big disappointment.

People, it's already Wednesday and, despite what I like to think of as my improvements vis a vis actually writing things here, I am behind this week. It's only a matter of time before the blog bully starts scolding me. Why have I written nothing? Mostly because I have nothing much to say. I am grouchy and today has been a cavalcade of petty mishap. Also, I barely left the house all weekend and during the depressive shut-in festival, I ate a great deal of pasta. I enjoyed the pasta (I always enjoy pasta), but I do not enjoy its seemingly immediate roly-poly results. While skulking around feeling sorry for myself and adding to my girth, I watched two whole seasons of an English show called "Skins," which is kind of like "My So-Called Life" only with nearly continual drug use and a great deal more sex. I liked season one more than I ought to publicly admit, but in season two things became absurd. This seems often to be the case with second seasons; all the plausible dramatic territory has already been covered, so you have to move on to kidnapping! and comas! and stalkers! and hallucinations! and lots of death! I know it's uncool to ask this in a show about teenagers but, why doesn't anyone have any parents? I'm struck that parents would have come in handy in many of these situations. For instance, if my roommate suffered some kind of brain hemorrhage and died in front of me, I'd probably call my mom.

I also have watched several Miss Marple mysteries (more have suddenly become available on Netflix, which is excellent news if you are me). In the opening sequence of one, Miss Marple is in a taxi making her way through London. She passes many charming buildings and then the car turns a corner and a massive industrial building heaves into view, rather marring the landscape. "Oh dear." I said aloud. Almost immediately afterward, Miss Marple utters her first line: "Oh dear," she says.

So there you have it. As I have often suspected, nay, feared, I am secretly an elderly English lady in the 1940s. This may bode ill for my romantic future (and yes, I persist in believing I'll have one).

Friday, March 09, 2012

Opinionated again, but nicer

I recently wrote about a nameless, grandiose, yet still silly play. I cautioned you that the Wrong Response was to think "Ew. Plays. Blech." But in case some of you are feisty renegades who went ahead and thought "blech" anyway, I want you to know that last night I saw a great play. Generally, I would exhort you to go see it, but I got an email today announcing that the run is totally sold out. (In fact, the tone of the email was just slightly "nyah nyah nyah-ish," but one can forgive a small theatre for wanting to say, "See? We've been TELLING you to come." when they have the chance.) Still, for the record, The Aurora Theatre does good work and Body Awareness was a play to make me proud of plays. I laughed; I cried; I thought about human folly and feminism and sex and our eagerness to reject the different and our need to be seen and valued. All that in just 90 minutes. Hooray for the theatre!

Unrelated. Most mornings on the radio, I hear a publicity announcement about the upcoming celebration of the Golden Gate Bridge's 75th anniversary.

Dear copywriter, About this phrase:

A big bridge deserves a big party.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012


This morning I went to the gym. AGAIN. In the MORNING. I amaze myself. I even ran into a colleague in the locker room who said I had inspired her to get back into the exercise habit. I find this far more hilarious than I could ever explain, but whatever works for her. I had put on my bathing suit under my clothes so I could be a time-saving swimming superhero, but I have once again been reminded of the perils of trying to do clever time-saving things in the morning. The thing about wearing your bathing suit on the way there is that you cannot wear your bathing suit on the way back. And while I'm proud to say I did not forget all my underwear, I do find myself accidentally braless at work. Fortunately a) the students are not here this week, b) I am no Dolly Parton, and c) I have a very bulky sweater. Still, oops.

As a somewhat untraditional breakfast treat I am eating a mango popsicle (a thing spell-check feels I am spelling incorrectly, but if that's the wrong way, what could possibly by the right way?) Why? Because there is no milk for my tea, it seemed like it might be more fun than drinking water and, mostly, it was in the staff freezer with a note that said "help yourself." As I raise the popsicle to my mouth, I am disturbed to find that it smells exactly the same as the lotion provided at the gym. The sensation, therefore, at least from an olfactory perspective, is not unlike sucking on my own hand. I do not recommend it.

Monday, March 05, 2012


Have you ever seen something (heard something, read something) that is hailed as sheer brilliance that you found to good? Well, of course you have. And if that thing was Titanic we should be friends. Why do people love that movie so much? Why? It is the worst casting and possibly the worst dialogue in memory. (And while that would seem a weirdly out-of-date example, apparently it so beloved that it is being re-released. Nooooo!) However, that's not the bad thing we're here to discuss. We are here to discuss a play I saw recently. A play that shall remain nameless because I don't want anyone to say "See? Plays. Blech." On the contrary, I have a great love of theatre and I want more people to go see plays, so do that. However, I keep getting email that tells me this play is "shocking," "engrossing," and "not to be missed." When, sadly, it is none of these things.

Let's just say that a major plot point hinges on a Greek tragedy style recognition (think: "I too have half an amulet. Lo! You must be my brother"). Only, in this case the critical object is a clown nose. A clown nose that was tucked into a infant's blanket as he was carried off to an orphanage within, like, twenty minutes of his being born. In the Middle East. Through a war zone. A clown nose that we are meant to believe he somehow still has--in pristine condition--about 30 years later, despite having been moved around constantly his whole life to avoid slaughter. I have trouble even believing that bright red, foam clown noses are likely to be available in remote rubble-y Middle Eastern villages to begin with, let alone that the orphanage personnel would be all, "Do we have all the babies that would otherwise die in a fiery explosion? Great. Oh! Do we have the clown nose that came with that one baby? All right then. We're good to go." This is not, alas, the only problem with the play, but it is a major one. When you hit the big gasp-inducing climax of your very serious drama, you don't want anyone to think, "Are you kidding me? Is there a dramaturg in the house?"

But then, when the lights came up, I saw people in tears and a bunch of people gave it a standing ovation. So what do I know? Thank you, audience, for supporting live theatre and making it satisfying for the artists to perform and for generally being nicer than I am.

Also,we should definitely let those people know about the Titanic 3D re-release. They'll probably be super excited.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

On the other hand

Yesterday I was all fired up to Take Advantage of the whole magical extra day phenomenon. I started strong what with the breakfast and the letter-writing and all, but the big Wednesday night extravaganza that I had in mind failed to come to fruition. At all. And that's why I've decided to recant and to let you know, belatedly, that the point of the 29th of February is that it doesn't really count as a real day.

That means that the fact that I got home; watched idiotic sitcoms; shed a few lonely, frustrated I'm All ALOOOONNNEE tears; had dinner comprised of chocolate chips, a glass of whiskey and then later, begrudgingly, some leftover rice; and, as a finale, fell asleep on the sofa fully dressed at 10pm while watching some show involving sorcery is all perfectly fine.

Welcome, March first. I am ready for you.