February 23, 2009

Mr. Right-Enough

I just posted another chapter of my novel, Mr. Right-Enough. Read 17 chapters here: http://mrright-enough.blogspot.com/

And the Oscar Goes To...

Last night's Academy Awards show gets the Oscar for the most boring show in history. It's the kind of show I wished I'd taped so I could have fast forwarded through the interminable parts. Which was most of it.
Where was Hugh Jackman? Wasn't he supposed to be the host? His few bits weren't particularly good, his musical numbers weren't relevant. Not his fault, he's very charming and talented (not to mention extraordinarily handsome) but his material sucked. His shtick on Benjamin Button was pretty stupid but I have to say I laughed when his head appeared above the baby doll. I hated the bit where they had five previous winners, each speaking to a nominee. It could have been good, I liked that the winners were up there, but didn't they just go on forever? Show clips of the movie for god's sake, and move on. Oh, and don't you think Halle Berry had some work done? Too bad.

Tina Fey and Steve Martin were very funny.
Ben Stiller was not but Natalie Portman was gorgeous.
Poor Jennifer Aniston having to be up there with Jack Black. And then they cut away to Angelina Jolie while Jen's speaking. How tacky.
And would Heath Ledger have won if he wasn't dead?

And now for the clothes, the most important part of any awards ceremony. It was certainly the year for pleats and petals and overlays and special effects, wasn't it?

Worst dressed:
Jessica Beal (what the hell was she wearing???), Sophia Loren (in that lemon parfait dress with 80s hair), Tilda Swinton (is she an alien being?), Mickey Rourke (he is definitely an alien being but I really wanted him to win for The Wrestler), Kate Winslett (in that gunmetal gray gown with a Flintstones hairdo - but I did love it when she told her dad to "whistle or something" so she'd know where they were, and he did...very cute), Sarah Jessica Parker (she wore breasts, with a Cinderella gown underneath...and that hair...), Reese Witherspoon (uncharacteristically hideous dress), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (nice hat). And I wouldn't say Goldie Hawn was worst dressed (not great, I admit but not horrible) but I would say she was worst faced. What has she done?

Best dressed:
Jennifer Aniston, Tina Fey, that woman who won last year for Ma Vie en Rose, Taraji P. Henson (she was in Benjamin Button as the woman who raised him - she was GORGEOUS), Robert Downey, Jr., Sean Penn (I loved how he admitted he makes it difficult for people to appreciate him, but why didn't he thank his wife?). And I'm going to give honorable mention to Marisa Tomei who looked gorgeous even though she should have had the bottom third of that dress chopped off.

February 17, 2009

An Evening at the Wrong Theater

Bill and I went to the Goodman Theatre on Saturday night to see Brian Dennehy in Desire Under the Elms, which is an interesting production of an interesting play. Which is to say we pretty much hated it.
So anyway, the thing is we got to the theatre and went to our seats - great seats, 3rd row balcony, dead center - and were contentedly reading our Playbill waiting for the production to begin. Another couple came along and oddly enough had tickets for our very seats. We looked at our tickets to see if we'd mis-read our seats but no, we all had the same seats. At first we thought they'd double-booked but then I looked at the date on our tickets and it said February 27th. Last Saturday was February 14th. Turns out we were supposed to be at Steppenwolf instead.
Funny thing was earlier in the evening Bill asked me what the Seafarer was about (the Steppenwolf production) and I told him we weren't seeing that, we were seeing Desire Under the Elms. Hah! It still didn't occur to me to check - I just had it in my head that we were going to the Goodman.

So back at the theater, the curtain was about to go up and we waited in the aisle to see if there were any empty seats and there were so we were able to stay for the show. Dennehy was great, as usual. All the performances were excellent but it's a dark story about dark characters and no one to really root for. And the staging is very bizarre - lots of rocks, some hanging from ropes behind a screen which gives an underwater feel. We never did figure out what that was supposed to signify.
It was an unusual evening of theater for us, in more ways than one.

So, hey, we're free on the 27th now, if you want to do something.

February 11, 2009

Good News Re: Sprained MCL

It will heal. That's the good news. The bad news is it's going to take a very long time but eventually it will heal.
I'm back running again and soooooooo happy about that, even when it's zero degrees or, like today, when it's raining.
I stopped running for six months, walking instead (my MCL didn't hurt much when I walked but it hurt like hell when I ran) or riding my bike, but there's nothing like running for me.
My leg gradually started feeling better during the six months I was off and when I got back from South Africa in early December I started running/walking. It wasn't pain-free but it was better. And running didn't make it worse, so I kept at it. After a month or so I was running the whole way.
I still notice my MCL when I run but it's getting better all the time. BTW, I ignored my doctor's advice to ice it and to take Alleve. Tried both, didn't work, so I just rested it. Contrary to every trainer/medical person/sports medicine doc, icing has never done anything for me. I'm sure it helps a lot of people, so don't go by me, but it seems like something people tell you to do when they don't know what else to tell you.
Oh, it's also a good thing I can run again cuz someone stole my bike right out of my garage space, chain, lock and all. Bummer.

February 9, 2009

This is worth the read, really.

This showed up in my mailbox yesterday and I thought, "Oh no, not another one of these." But you really have to read this one.

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University.

On a hike through the bush he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed,so Peter approached it very carefully.
He got down on one knee, inspected the elephant's foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.
Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.
Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.
Probably wasn't the same elephant.

This is for all of my friends who send me those heart-warming bullshit stories.

February 8, 2009

Movie Review - Valkyrie *** (out of 5)

Tom Cruise is the most over-rated actor of our time but honestly he's not too bad in this film. That's not a high recommendation, I know, and it wasn't meant to be. It's just to say that even though Tom Cruise stars in it I thought it was a pretty good film.
You always know he's acting, you always know it's Tom Cruise - he doesn't inhabit his characters the way someone like Tom Hanks does. With Tom Hanks his face tells the story, he doesn't even have to say anything. Cruise's idea of acting is to lower his voice and speak in hushed tones. That means, "Okay, I'm being very serious here."
Anyway, the film is good but I found it very hard to follow. I had a hard time keeping all the characters straight and they all looked the same to me in their uniforms. I got the gist of what was going on, of course, but the nuances of the plot to assasinate Hitler eluded me. This is a film, I think, that would benefit from a second viewing, but I didn't like it enough to see it again.

February 4, 2009

Unfathomable Fashion

My very first memory is fashion-related. I couldn't have been more than two and my mom was dressing my sister and me to go somewhere, a picnic, I think. She had a little green outfit for Bunny, who was probably four at the time, with a skirt and a little bandeau top, very chic. For me there was a little yellow one-piece sunsuit, the kind toddlers wear, with elastic ruffles around the thighs. The top of the suit was in the shape of a red heart with straps that criss-crossed across my back. I hated it. I cried and carried on, filled with jealousy that Bunny got to wear a skirt. I wanted one too.
There've been lots of fashion trends over the years, some I've gotten into (pedal pushers, hot pants, platform shoes, shoulder pads) some I haven't (the second time gaucho pants came around, skorts, leggings, Uggs). Some I've liked, some I've detested. But there's one now that is just beyond my comprehension. It's the sagging-pants look worn mostly by black kids and some white, hip-hop, wannabe-black kids. Their pants are worn so low they can barely keep them up and their underwear (typically boxers, thank god, and not briefs) are in nearly-full view. I see it a lot, on the streets of the city, on the CTA, in Juvenile Court where I go for my volunteer CASA work. The waistband is hanging somewhere around the middle of their butts and to dig into their pockets means reaching down to their knees and risking complete undress.
The picture above is not Photoshopped. I ask you, how do they walk? How do they keep them up? But the big question is why? I know I sound like an old lady but I ask you, what is that???

Well, who knows? Sometimes it takes a while to get into fashion trends. Maybe one day you'll see me walking around with my pants hanging down my butt.
Isn't that just the funniest image ever?