Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Night in Melbourne

I arrived last night from Launceston, Tasmania to the chaos of a huge city. After spending a week in essential solitude, such a crazy city (in spite of its being pretty mellow) has been overwhelming. But I'm staying with my friend, T, and she convinced me (well, it didn't take much convincing; I think the conversation went like this -- T: Wanna go out drinking? Me: Okay) to go bar hopping.

We met up with a couple of her friends in the city at a typical Melbourne bar: Small, crowded, and in some side alleyway that nobody but locals know exists. We had a few drinks and then wound up at a Salsa club.

I don't dance. But I do flirt. And apparently, because I was wearing a Scottish pageboy hat, I was an easy target for Sydney businessmen. The crowd kept growing, and T and I (and her friend D, a very sweet male) wound up with many suitors, all getting increasingly drunk but all pretty much harmless (and buying us drinks, so that's not a bad thing!)

Highlights of the evening:

I was offered one job in Sydney because "You're so hot!!!" Don't get excited, Julia...I turned down offered job when I couldn't negotiate salary or three months paid vacation.

I also received two offers to "Come upstairs and check out my bathtub" from two very-different Sydney men: The first, the type I wouldn't mind going to dinner with, but definitely wasn't drunk enough to rip off his clothes; the second, the type I would have boinked in my 20s but who screamed, "I may be hitting on you but I have a girlfriend at home!!!!!" and who I tend to stay away from in my 30s (T confirmed this morning that he does, in fact, have a girlfriend in Sydney).

Eating Greek lamb sandwiches at 3 a.m. when we couldn't find access to meat pies. Went to bed full, dehydrated, and quite tipsy. Now at 2:30 p.m., after being awoken by the whirl of the Grand Prix races outside (don't ask) we're slowly trying to get ready to escape to the Great Ocean Road. Will report back with the Thelma & Louise details in a few days!

A Tasmanian Road Trip in Numbers

# of times blogger saw road kill: eighty four
# of times blogger created road kill: Possibly one (no questions, please; RIP little birdie)
# of times blogger became road kill: Zero (touch wood)
# of times blogger screamed to herself, "STAY IN THE LEFT!" at the top of her lungs while turning down narrow, windy, bumpy roads: 1,073,687
# of times blogger drove on the right side of the road: one
# of times blogger got into the wrong side of the car: twelve
# of cars passed in narrow, windy, bumpy Tassie roads: three
# of live kangaroo sightings: one
# of transgendered Tassie sightings: one
# of Hobart gallery openings blogger crashed, thus leading to several hours of partying with entire artist population of Hobart: one
# of drunken propositions blogger received from Hobart artists: two (including one biker bracelet)
# of drunken propositions blogger accepted from Hobart artists: zero
# of wineries visited: three
# of bottles of wine consumed: No Comment!
# of times blogger listened to Herman's Hermit's, "I'm into something good" while being the only guest at St Mary's Seaview Farm: six
# of glasses of wine consumed before the sixth listening of above-mentioned song: three

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Carrie Bradwho and the forest

Day one of renting my car, on my way out of Hobart heading to the East Coast of Tasmania, I decided to take a little short cut through some gorgeous rainforest (can't think of the name and my book's in my car; will update later). Because everything was packed in my suitcase, I had to wear my brown boots -- knee high, three inch heels -- as they won't fit in my suitcase. The outfit also involved a semi-sheer brown skirt and black tank and black cropped jacket.

I looked smashing (but we all figured that, right?)

Well, I decided to stop to take a little hike through the forest, so there I was hiking through the damp green, wearing 3-inch heels, a skirt, carrying a black-leather handbag, oh and wearing an oversized green rain poncho as it had (of course) begun to rain.

One of my finer moments; if only I had been able to take a photo!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What a coincidence!

Today I took the train to the Blue Mountains, a couple of hours west of Sydney. Having spent a couple of days in the fast-paced, exciting city, it was perfect to escape to see some of the natural beauty of Australia. After arriving in the touristy but still charming Katoomba for a quick, deliciously-crusted meat pie (don't even get me started on my obsession to find the perfect meat pie; that's another post entirely) I walked through town to enter the national park, first stopping to snap a photo (along with 394,957 other tourists) of the Three Sisters before fleeing from the mob of people to go for a nice afternoon hike.

I had just found my way out of the crowd and was starting to descend the Giant Stairway when I spotted two young American women I had seen at the airport upon arrival in Sydney.

"Hello!" I called out brightly, as always thrilled to recognize familiar faces when travelling solo. "I saw you gals at the airport the other morning."

They looked at me with the innocent eyes of first-time travellers, like I was a serial-killer-stalker-madwoman looking for innocent college students to toss into the misty, tourist-free abyss. "Oh, hello," they said hesitantly.

I didn't want to tell them that the reason I recognized them wasn't that I was a serial-killer-stalker-madwoman looking for innocent college students to toss into the misty abyss, but it was because of their matching J Lo-inspired sweatsuits and oversized suitcases that they were sporting at the Sydney airport. So, in true anti-stalker form, I waved goodbye at them and made my way down the Giant Stairway (promptly sliding down five slippery stairs and landing smack on my bony bottom; but my ability to make a fool out of myself in foreign countries....well, that's another post entirely).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Few Random Musings About Sydney

  1. Champagne flows like water here and fresh oysters are the most delish thing on earth (though perhaps that's just me and Julia)
  2. The weather is very warm in comparison to San Francisco; I cannot fathom why everyone seems to be apologizing for how terrible the weather is!
  3. When you see the opera house for the first time (even in the distance from a downtown taxi window) you will instantly be in awe and in love with this city.
  4. Every few minutes, Julia and I will stop our conversation and say (with a wealth of joy): I cannot believe we are chatting about Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Boys/Shoes/Love & Life/The Importance of Chocolate For Love & Life/etc. etc. face to face!

Truly, I am the luckiest girl in the world! Am heading off for the day but will try and post some detailed updates in the coming days!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

See you in the morning, Australia!

About to head to the airport! Will hopefully post some from Australia! Have a great month, and keep on blogging!

Friday, March 17, 2006

A bit early for it, but...

I've posted my book list update for March as I've been reading so much (so much fluff, I should add) and am leaving tomorrow. Enjoy! And as always, feel free to add your books!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Weekly Confession

When I first saw Closer in the theater, I thought it was pretentious and contrived and overrated.

Then, a few days ago, when Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" wouldn't leave my brain, I realized that I'm a bit pretentious and maybe even sometimes contrived (but never overrated) and so I bought the movie. And have watched it twice so far this week.
And so it is
Just like you said it would be
Life goes easy on me
Most of the time
And so it is
The shorter story
No love, no glory
No hero in her sky

Oh and P.S.: I still think Closer is pretentious and contrived and overrated. But that doesn't mean I don't like it. Just a little.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Huge Ethical Dilemma

Regarding: Mission Impossible: III

Okay, so I didn't see either of the first two M.I.'s as they're totally not my kind of movie. However, we all know that some of us (well, me and Miss V) think that the sun and moon rise and fall around one brilliantly talented Philip Seymour Hoffman. So you can imagine my thrill, my joy, my excitement when I saw that PSH is in M:i: III (whose logo, by the way appears to be shorthand for the new math).

So what's the dilemma? you might ask. Hold on and I'll tell you.

We also all know that one Tom Cruise has quickly place himself on my short (ha ha!) list of, Creepy Men Whose Movies We Never Ever Want to See (right alongside Mr. Bradley Pitt). And we further know that Mr. Ick Cruise is the star of the MI movies (see his name right there, above the title?)...

But it's got Philip Seymour Hoffman. Playing a cool bad guy.

What's a gal to do?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Movie Review -- Failure to Launch

Okay, first off. I really don't like Matthew McConaughay. I mean, really don't like him. He's not cute. He can't act. He plays the same, annoying, borderline-sexist pig in every movie. I'll admit that he looks good without a shirt, but that's about it. But I do love Sarah Jessica Parker. And while the premise of Failure to Launch -- a woman is hired to help an older couple get their 35-year-old son to move out -- is just plain stupid (ummm...make him move out? You're the parents, aren't you?) I was in the mood for fluff.

And what fluff it was. These people are as stupid as the premise itself, and the movie spent too much time exploring this stupidity (getting bit by a host of wild animals, for example) and not enough time exploring the characters. Which was a disappointment. I thought the characters had a depth to them, particularly SJP's Paula, that was barely touched on. Ultimately, the larger themes about intimacy and fear and misery were essentially glossed over for slapstick antics. Yes, it's a romantic comedy and not a drama, but the best comedies can (and in general, I'd say, should) expose real emotions, and I wish that this one would have. I loved when Paula said (paraphrased, obviously): It wasn't until I met you that I realized just how miserable my life is. This moment perfectly captures the fears that we all have about isolation and the refusal we often have to admit that these fears exist in the first place.

Perhaps the movie was trying to appeal to a broader audience -- instead of being a "chick flick" it gave us lots of typically "male" comedic moments (you know, chipmunk bites and rock climbing disasters). However, it fell flat for me, unfortunately, sort of like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days fell flat. Broader doesn't have to mean idiotic.

I give it 2 1/2 stars, mostly for some of the more real and touching moments between SJP and her roomie (played by Zooey Deschanel) . Wait for the video.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Blogger's Book Club!

Vile Bodies will be our first book for the BBC (that's Blogger's Book Club). After much heated debate (okay, after very little debate) a whopping five people voted for Evelyn Waugh's second novel. Those of you that are utterly devastated that your book of choice didn't get chosen, we'll look at some of the other titles in the future. And those of you who didn't vote and are disappointed....well, next time vote! Vote once, vote often, just vote! (Okay, I'm being sarcastic. Sorry. I haven't had my tea yet.)

If you want to join the Blogger's Book Club, you'll need to get a copy of the book and start reading. Vanessa and I thought a month should be enough to read the book, so you have until mid-April to read before we start discussing the book.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Beauty in motion

I found this waiting for me in my inbox this morning, from my dear friend, K, who lives in New York and has been traveling for the past month and who gets me like nobody else. It's from Ani DiFranco's Evolve cd:

so i walk like i'm on a mission
cuz that's the way i groove
i got more and more to do
i got less and less to prove
it took me too long to realize
that i don't take good pictures
cuz i have the kind of beauty
that moves

She said that it reminded her of me. "Beauty that moves." I like that.

(lyrics can be found here!)

Friday, March 10, 2006

Movie Review -- The 40 Year Old Virgin

So, as you might realize, I've been in a foul mood these past few days. To cheer myself up, the other night I thought I'd find a movie about someone whose love life is even more pathetic than mine. And I found it, in The 40 Year Old Virgin. Last year's smash comedy, starring Steve Carell, tells the very funny (but also very touching) tale of a somewhat nerdy guy (okay, very nerdy guy) named Andy who has somehow remained a virgin at the age of 40. He befriends a bunch of rowdy coworkers who make it their mission to get him devirginized.

I knew that I'd find it funny, or strongly suspected as virtually everyone who's seen it says it's hilarious. It did not disappoint me in this regard, however what did surprise me is that the movie has a lovely heart that makes it a good funny movie instead of just a funny movie. Carell's Andy has his pathetic moments but more than anything, he is entirely likeable and sympathetic. I didn't so much seem him as a loser but more as a guy who just hasn't figured things -- life and love and intimacy and human connection -- out.

And who amongst us can't relate to that?

His friends are a raunchy bunch, but are also likeable fellows who slowly accept him for who he is (in spite of still wanting him to "get a life!") We all want Andy to "score" but we want him to do it without sacrificing his integrity in the process. We want him to face his insecurities like a real man, with the hope that he can find who he really is.

And I must confess, I even cried. Just a little. (But maybe that's because I was in the bathtub drinking vodka and thinking that when they make the movie of my life it'll be entitled: The 34 Year Old non-Virgin Who's Slept With Waaaaaayyyyy Too Many Men But Still Can't Find A Connection. But that's another story.)

I give it four big stars!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

How to make yourself (almost) feel better in three parts

One. Go to Citizen Cupcake and sample their decadent, rich, creamy, sinful Moka Choka cupcake with a cup of peppermint tea. The creamy center and chocolate delight are enough to make any woman realize that chocolate combined with cream filling really is a girl's best friend.

Two. Buy a copy of The Bad Girl's Guide To Getting Personal. Laugh outloud while reading it without caring that cupcake crumbs are spilling into your cleavage. (Or even better: realize that a bad girl realizes that crumbs spilt into one's cleavage is the perfect pick-up opportunity on a rainy Thursday afternoon. As in: Oh, boys. Can you help me fetch this last crumb? I just can't seem to reach it.)

Three. On way back to subway, make cupcake-energized eyes at sexy homeless guitar player. Consider dropping leftover cupcake into his guitar case but realize that sacrificing one's last cupcake -- even to a sexy homeless guitar player -- is something a bad girl simply never does.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's my rejection and I'll cry if I want to

Mr. Foxy just ditched me because he wasn't feeling any "chemistry."

Funny, I was feeling it the entire time we're out.

I will never understand why instant chemistry seems to be the most important thing in developing a relationship when we all know that chemistry is not what keeps a relationship going.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You know it's hard out here for a pimp!

It's stirred much debate over whether or not it should have won for best song, but Hustle & Flow's rap song, "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp," has been stuck in my head now for three days!

It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp
From Hustle & Flow
Music and lyric by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard

You know it's hard out here for a pimp (you ain't knowin')
When he tryin' to get this money for the rent (you ain't knowin')
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent (you ain't knowin')

I reviewed the film in January, and must again suggest that people see it. It might not be the typical movie for most movie-goers, but Terrance Howard's performance is utterly brilliant and the supporting cast excellent in telling the story of a pimp who is trying to overcome his surroundings. If anything, the surprise win (note that I predicted it!) will bring more attention to a film that most viewers overlooked, or perhaps didn't even notice its existence.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Blogger's Book Club!

A few weeks ago, Vanessa and I decided that it would be fun to start our very own Blogger's Book Club. We figured that this would be a fun way for us all to share a book (since many of our readers seem to love books, and we often have similarities in interests) and then chat about it in our posts. We'd all decide on a book and then have a month or so to read it before we'd start posting about it.

Vanessa and I have come up with a short list of books that she and I were already thinking about reading. Feel free to "vote" or comment on any of the books here (or add your own suggestions, though at some point we will have to decide!) and we'll post the final selection on the 13th of March (book will then be discussed mid-April).

(1) Tete a Tete: Simone de Beauvoir & Jean Paul Sartre

From Publishers Weekly:
Though Rowley identifies her engaging and accessible chronicle as the "story of a relationship," it is in fact the story of the many relationships forged by two of the most brilliant, unorthodox and scandalous intellectuals of the 20th century: Beauvoir and Sartre, who from 1929 until Sartre's death in 1980 remained "essential" to each other but never monogamous. Without undue
prurience, Rowley (Richard Wright) romps through the major entanglements, loves, triangles, friendships and affairs engaged in by the authors of, respectively,the seminal feminist work The Second Sex andthe controversial autobiography Words. And to place these fascinating interactions into literary and biographical context, Rowley draws from vast stores of published and unpublished writings, correspondence and interviews. Though Beauvoir is the heroine of the book, Rowley offers revealing insights into Sartre: including the extent to which he juggled, depended upon and supported his many mistresses and the compulsive need he had to seduce women far more beautiful than he, despite his tepid sensuality. Intrigues aside, however, Rowley concludes that, for both Sartre and Beauvoir, the most enduring commitment was not to each other or to their many lovers but to their writing, politics and philosophical legacy. (Oct.)

(2) Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh

From AudioFile:
Evelyn Waugh's second novel, written in 1930, boasts an enjoyable collection of zanies. Adam Fenwick-Symes and Nina Blount, for example, are
continually becoming engaged and unengaged in the most polite and indifferent manner as his financial fortunes rise and fall. Mrs. Ape, the American evangelist, adds to the strange mix by coming to England with a group of chorines whom she calls her "angels." This satire of the London smart set relies on rich conversational rhythms and repartee, and Robert Hardy works wonders of versatility in his reading. He strikes the right vocal register and speed for each character, and he finds in the subtext touches of humor that the armchair reader might easily miss. Waugh's comedy is served well by Hardy's attentive, animated performance.

(3) Little, Big by John Crowly

Amazon book description:
Little, Big tells the epic story of Smoky Barnable -- an anonymous young man who meets and falls in love with Daily Alice Drinkwater, and goes to live with her in Edgewood, a place not found on any map. In an impossible mansion full of her relatives, who all seem to have ties to another world not far away, Smoky fathers a family and tries to learn what tale he has found himself in -- and how it is to end.

(4) Possession by A.S. Byatt

From Publishers Weekly:
Two contemporary scholars, each studying one of two Victorian poets, reconstruct their subjects' secret extramarital affair through poems, journal entries, letters and modern scholarly analysis of the period. PW called this Booker Prize winner "an ambitious and wholly satisfying work, a nearly perfect novel."

(5) Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

From Publishers Weekly:
The narrator's insistent voice and breezy delivery animates this enchanting first novel by a British writer who won one of the 1993 Ian St. James Awards for short stories. Ruby Lennox is a quirky, complex character who relates the events of her life and those of her dysfunctional family with equal parts humor, fervor and candor-starting with her moment of conception in York, England, in 1959: "I exist!" Ruby then describes the family she is to join. Her parents own a pet shop; her mother, Bunty, bitterly rues having married her philandering husband, George, and daydreams about what her life might have been. Ruby has two older sisters, willful Gillian and melancholy Patricia. Through its ambitious structure, the novel also charts five generations and more than a century of Ruby's family history, as reported in "footnotes" that follow relevant chapters.
(For example, a passage about a pink glass button reveals the story of its original owner, Ruby's great-grandmother Alice, who will abandon her young family and run off with a French magician.) Ruby's richly imagined account includes both the details of daily life and the several tragic events that punctuate the family's mundane existence. Though the "footnote" entries are not quite as gripping as those rendered in Ruby's richly vernacular, energetic recitation, Atkinson's ebullient narrative style captures the troubled Lennox family with wit and poignant accuracy.

(6) Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros

From AudioFile:
"Tell me a story, even if it's a lie." So begins Sandra Cisneros's delightful second novel. The Reyes clan piles into three cars to make a trip to the "other side" (Mexico City) to visit the Awful Grandmother and the Little Grandfather. Celaya (Lala) Reyes is the youthful observer of her family's vida loca. Cisneros has written a poetic, fictionalized family saga made memorable by a raucous
collection of characters. They slip in and out of time, weaving truth and "healthy lies" into the family's history. The story overflows with music, food, fantasy, and fiesta. Narrating the tale herself, Cisneros is most successful in her interpretation of the young Lala. Her reading lends charm and authenticity to this witty gem of a novel.

Oscar, Oscar!

A few highlights:
Best dress. This may change in the next few days, but for now: Felicity Huffman looked simply stunning! Loved the dress -- from the cleavage to the hemline. She looked great in it and was clearly so proud and happy to be there.

Best line of the night was Jon Stewart: Martin Oscars. Three 6

Best win: Well, duh! Philip Seymour Hoffman!

Best upset: Crash for best picture. I had secretly predicted this a few weeks ago, kept getting into arguments with D about it, was pained to be in a room filled with gay men when Brokeback didn't win. But I was glad!

Best bad-ass cowboy moment: Larry McMurtry for wearing JEANS and cowboy boots!

Worst dress (for now): I really really wanted to like Naomi Watts's dress. I tried. But any dress that makes a woman as much in need of a cheeseburger as Watts look like she has big hips (and makes her look pregnant, which I don't think she is) is a problem. Plus, this one looks like a 3-year-old took a pair of scissors to it. And there was something strange about her face, either too little powder or too much valium. She just looked odd. Sorry, Naomi.

Saddest not-win: Neither Michelle Williams nor Matt Dillon (my two favorites) won. I so thought that one of them might upset the frontrunner. But they both looked pretty happy (well, Michelle will soon end up on my worst dress list, though her hair and make-up were fab).

Worst plastic surgery victim: Dolly Parton. Does this really need explaining?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Oscar Predictions!

Updated (Winners = *)

Best Picture:
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.

Best Director:
*Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Bennett Miller, Capote
Paul Haggis, Crash
George Clooney, Good Night, and Good Luck.
Steven Spielberg, Munich

Best Actor:
*Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Terrence Howard, Hustle & Flow
Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck.

Best Actress:
Judi Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Keira Knightley, Pride & Prejudice
Charlize Theron, North Country
*Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line

Best Supporting Actor:
*George Clooney, Syriana
Matt Dillon, Crash
Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
William Hurt, A History of Violence

Best Supporting Actress:
Amy Adams, Junebug
Catherine Keener, Capote
Frances McDormand, North Country
*Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain (note: I actually think Rachel Weisz will win this, but Michelle DESERVES it, so I'll vote for her -- this is my prediction for best possible upset!)

Original Screenplay:
*Crash, written by Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco; story by Paul Haggis
Good Night, and Good Luck., written by George Clooney & Grant Heslov
Match Point, written Woody Allen
The Squid and the Whale, written by Noah Baumbach
Syriana, written by Stephen Gaghan

Adapted Screenplay:
*Brokeback Mountain, screenplay by Larry McMurtry & Diana Ossana
Capote, screenplay by Dan Futterman
The Constant Gardener, screenplay by Jeffrey Caine
A History of Violence, Josh Olson
Munich, screenplay by Tony Kushner & Eric Roth

Best Animated Feature:
Howl's Moving Castle
Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
*Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Best Foreign-Language Film:
Don't Tell, Italy
Joyeux Noel, France
Paradise Now, Palestine
Sophie Scholl--The Final Days, Germany
*Tsotsi, South Africa

Art Direction:
Good Night, and Good Luck.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
King Kong
*Memoirs of a Geisha
Pride & Prejudice

Batman Begins
Brokeback Mountain
Good Night, and Good Luck.
*Memoirs of a Geisha
The New World

Costume Design:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
*Memoirs of a Geisha
Mrs. Henderson Presents
Pride & Prejudice
Walk the Line

Documentary Feature:
Darwin's Nightmare
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
*March of the Penguins
Street Fight

Documentary Short:
The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club
God Sleeps in Rwanda
The Mushroom Club
*A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin

Film Editing:
Cinderella Man
The Constant Gardener
Walk the Line

*The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Cinderella Man
Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith

Original Score:
*Brokeback Mountain, Gustavo Santaolalla
The Constant Gardener, Alberto Iglesias
Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams
Munich, John Williams
Pride & Prejudice, Dario Marianelli

Original Song:
"In the Deep" (Crash), music by Kathleen "Bird" York & Michael Becker; lyrics by Kathleen "Bird" York
*"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" (Hustle & Flow), music and lyrics by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman & Paul Beauregard
"Travelin' Thru" (Transamerica), music and lyrics by Dolly Parton

Sound Editing:
*King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
War of the Worlds

Sound Mixing:
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
*King Kong
Memoirs of a Geisha
Walk the Line
War of the Worlds

Visual Effects:
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
*King Kong
War of the Worlds

This weekend

  • Friday: Get shoes resoled for Australia; go to lunch and gym; go to dinner with M get cancelled on by M, again. Why do I even both making plans with flakes? Maybe I'll do some shopping instead.
  • Saturday: Brunch with A. Will probably go to Absinthe as another friend suggested their brunch.
  • Sunday: OSCAR PARTY AT D's!!!! (My favorite day of the year...Oscar predictions forthcoming.)

Movie Classics -- Muriel's Wedding

The other night I rewatched Muriel's Wedding -- perhaps in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Australia, where I will, no doubt, be forced to listen to copious amounts of ABBA and made to wear ugly animal print dresses ;)

It is one of my favorite movies of all time, starring two of my favorite actresses (in very early roles, at least very early roles that made it to the U.S.): Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths. It's a brilliant comedy that critiques the pressures, expectations, and assumptions that a woman's worth comes solely through being married. Poor, unhappy, Muriel pushes all other possibilities aside in a desperate hunt to get married (literally to get married; it's the wedding that counts, not the marriage itself). Hers is a fantasy world, but it is reinforced from all angles. Even her wild friend, Rhonda (the delightful Griffiths) says (paraphrased), "You're not nobody Muriel....Somebody wants to marry you."

Apparently, even for independent gals, you're nobody unless someone wants to marry you.

But through their friendship and life's many tragedies, the two find their true worth. It's a light comedy, for sure, but beneath the surface is a profound critique of the craziness that the world hands to women. If you haven't seen it, get it; if you have seen it, see it again!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A shout out to Mr. Foxy!

(Ha! I just wrote "shout out"!)

Thanks to Mr. Foxy, this evening I can officially cross off "Groundhog's Resolution #5" -- have a second date.

A very good second date.

The Outfit: Black, fitted t-shirt; black knee-length skirt, black Audrey flats, white polka-dotted scarf, white clutch.

The Date: The De Young museum followed by cocktails, sushi, dessert. Then he came back to my place for me to read some of my fiction to him (fiction is not a metaphor for anything! I'm not THAT kind of girl. Okay, I am...but not tonight!)

The Details: Much flirting and touching and laughing and talking. Neither of us seems to understand much about art, but we do like raw fish!

The End: Big hug and kiss on the cheek.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

This Month's InStyle

...features the always gorgeous, classy, talented, brilliant, amazing Julianne Moore on the cover. The interview with her (and of course the photos) is just lovely, and even more exciting, the issue is their Oscar special and contains one of my favorite yearly InStyle features:

Is There An Oscar In The House?

Every March issue, the magazine talks to Oscar winners about their life after Oscar, and one of the questions they ask is where the celebrities keep their Oscars. The answers always reveal a lot about the celebrity. This year, there are only five celebrities featured (okay, one of them is Morgan Freeman, and I'm thrilled about that) but the stories are so much fun to read. Funny how many of them keep it in a closet or their bathrooms.

Makes me wonder: Where will you keep your Oscar?

Movie Review -- North Country

North Country is the based-on-a-true-story film about a single mother (Josey -- played by Charlize Theron) who gets work in a Northern Minnesota mine in order to care for her two children. She and the other female workers in the mine face extreme sexual harassment for entering an industry historically belonging to men. Josey is alone in not accepting the abuse and decides to fight back after being assaulted by one of her male co-workers. She takes the mine to court but finds that her accusations may not stand alone.

This was an enjoyable film, but not extraordinary. Theron delivers a fine performance (though nowhere near as amazing as her performance in 2003's Monster) as does Frances McDormand as Glory, Josey's friend in the mine. The most intriguing aspect of the movie was the complex fear that the other women faced in standing up to the abuse; for all of them except for Josey, the fear of losing their jobs or of facing further harassment is not worth fighting back. I wish that this had been further explored in the film, as opposed to focusing primarily on Josey's journey. Also interesting is Josey's family (played by the delightful Sissy Spacek and Richard Jenkins) and their initial refusal to stand by their daughter.

The movie is a bit sentamental at times, as might be easily expected given the content. However, it is a film worth seeing as the real-life story the movie is based on was a landmark decision that brought sexual harassment to the world's attention.

I give it three and a half stars.

Books of 2006 Updated!

Just posted the February Books in my Books of 2006 post! Let me know what you're reading, if you're a book whore, like me.