tiaras optional

"My only argument is with those who do not view the world as cynically as I do." Michael Korda

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

What Happens After We're Gone?

Two weeks ago, a women who had lived in my building for many years died. It wasn’t really a huge shock, since she had been in bad health the whole time I’ve lived here, but it was still sort of a surprise because I had just seen her in the lobby a couple of days before. Although I didn’t know her, I felt sad because she was a real fixture in the building and she seemed like a very nice person and relatively happy for someone who appeared to be in constant pain, something that would probably make me a miserable bitch.

The other day, I heard two of the other long-time residents talking about her. Apparently, there hasn’t been a funeral yet, because no one has claimed her body from the city. I assume it’s because a family member has to claim it, and there’s no one in the area, but this depresses me profoundly. At first, I felt good that I had Lord Kissington, because at least I have someone to claim my body. But then I realized that he could die first and we might not have had any children. Or perhaps we did have a kid, but he/she hates me for trying to force him/her to live out my failed dream of becoming a champion ice dancer. Who would claim my body then? I suppose it won’t really matter, because I’ll be dead, but I’d like to think that there will be someone around to take care of things. It makes me think of Dorothy Parker, whose ashes went unclaimed for 17 years after her death. I just hope that when the time comes, I haven’t pissed off everyone I know.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Guest Post: Oscar Mania

Ages ago, I told Lord Kissington that he could write a guest post on my blog. After a year and change, he's finally written a few things down. Without further ado...

“Most of these movie that win a lot of Oscars I can’t stand. They’re all safe, geriatric, coffee-table dogshit.”

Clarence Worley
True Romance

So the Oscars are this week. Every angle and story about them has been covered, but what the hell, here’s one more. I have a love/hate relationship with the Oscars. Deep down I know they’re crap and don’t really mean anything. But I still watch the whole damn thing every year and get worked up about it. I’m really kind of an addict that way. I know it’s bad but I can’t look away.

Hollywood’s annual strokefest is only half about the movies anyway. It’s as much about the red carpet, fashion, celebrity gossip/starfucking/schadenfreude thing that is its own huge cottage industry. It’s the gay superbowl, etc. That’s cool if you’re into that thing. Lady Tiara digs all that stuff and I can understand how she gets excited for it. For that reason I can see why it’s such a big deal. I honestly could give two shits about all that stuff though and most of it gives me a headache. Lady Tiara did point out that I will get to see many of the ladies from my Friends-style free-pass-people-I-can-sleep-with list all dressed up and sexy. (Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett are nominated and Rachel Weisz will most likely be presenting the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Plus many others.) So there’s that.

The Oscars are notoriously conservative. It’s also as much a marketing device as anything else. Stars can now be advertised as Academy Award winners on their next crappy movie** [Editor’s note: Not that it really helped Stealth. Just sayin’], and it ups their asking price. But in terms of truly representing the best films of year, it falls short. I know all this and I’m slowly weaning myself from Oscar’s naked golden teat. But I can’t seem to make that final break. When I was younger, I put much more stock into these awards. I tried my best to see every film nominated and used it as a barometer of what I should see. In that respect, it still has some value, but there are so many other awards given now that winter has become awards season and that’s a bit ridiculous.

If I’m wondering what’s good and what I should see that I might have missed I’ll put more stock in critics’ awards from various cities (NY, LA, etc.) and ten best lists from critics whose opinions I tend share. I will admit there is some validation if my favorite movie wins, but the Academy is so boring and predictable that’s becoming less and less the case each year.

As for the show itself, the less said the better. Other than the hot actresses looking good in evening wear, there’s not a lot there that I like. The in memoriam section, showing who died the previous year, is always nice and tasteful. Most of the other stuff they show isn’t great though. Jon Stewart was good last year, but he’s not hosting this year. I just read that Sacha Baron Cohen declined to present an award. The story is that he wanted to present in character as Borat, and the producers of the broadcast weren’t into that. That’s too bad, because that would have been awesome. His acceptance speech at the Golden Globes was hilarious. But I guess that’s too progressive for the Academy.

Last year should have been the final straw. To be fair, I still haven’t seen Crash. I just don’t have much interest. Everything I hear from the aforementioned critics whose opinions I share/respect and friends who have similar taste to mine backs up every reason I don’t want to bother with it. Namely that it seems manipulative, shallow, and broad while attempting to come across as deep and meaningful. Plus Paul Haggis is a hack. I thought Million Dollar Baby was decent (not great), but most of the quality came from the performances and Clint Eastwood’s restrained direction, which helped to temper some of the schmaltzy elements of Haggis’ script. So the fact that what appears to be the worst movie nominated won had me yelling at the screen. Plus two of my favorite movies from last year, Syriana and The Constant Gardener, didn’t even get nominated. I should have expected all this, but somehow I still was surprised and angry.

This year I haven’t seen all the movies nominated for Best Picture. The best movies I saw this year were (in no particular order) Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth, The Departed, and The Fountain. Three of the four didn’t get nominated for Best Picture, but to be honest, I didn’t expect them to. I knew there was no way in hell The Fountain would get nominated for anything. It’s dense and a bit confusing, it polarized critics, and it made no money. It’s not for everybody and I totally get why it was largely ignored: because people are stupid. Naw. While that’s true, it is a tough movie and I understand why people might not get it or like it. Children of Men was marketed poorly and seems way too edgy and hip for the Academy. It’s nominated for some technical awards (which it deserves) and best screenplay, which is the consolation prize for hip, edgy movies. “We like your movie, but we’re a little scared of it, so here’s a bone.” Pan’s Labyrinth will win Best Foreign Film, which is as much as I can expect. It’s also up against Children of Men in a lot of technical categories, which sucks because they’re both brilliant. So I’m pulling for The Departed to win Best Picture, but am fully expecting it lose to something safe and slightly boring like Little Miss Sunshine. But even though I know it really doesn’t matter, I’ll be there Sunday night watching. [Sigh] It’s tough breaking way.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 23, 2007

I Knew There Was a Reason I Married That Guy

When I got home from work today, Lord Kissington was looking very pleased with himself. Turns out he had a surprise for me. He had bought me the most awesomest t-shirt ever from the internets. Behold the magnificence:

If you don’t get the reference, please watch Zoolander immediately. Turns out this whole marriage thing wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lame Numbered Post 47

1. The lack of posting has a lot to do with the fact that I was sick. Again. I have been sick almost non-stop this winter. Once in November. Once in December. Again in January. Now twice in February. I get stressed out, I can’t sleep well, I get run down, and then I get sick again. It’s a vicious cycle. Immune system, I have had it with you.

2. My faith in humanity was briefly restored on Monday by the very kind people who stopped and aided Lord Kissington and me in digging the car out (we were able to get it out of our lot with no trouble, but got stuck in a parking space in another part of town). You people are my heroes.

3. My faith in humanity has been shot down again by the various drivers who’ve tried to run me over the past two mornings on my way to work. Seriously, people, I know the roads aren’t in great shape, but that does not mean you get to ignore stop signs.

4. I didn’t watch much TV or spend much time on the internets over the long weekend, so I was unaware until yesterday that Britney Spears had gone totally insane and shaved her head. When I mentioned this to some friends last night, they all gave me shocked and disappointed looks, as if I had somehow fallen down on the pop culture job. Oh, the shame. On the upside, this week’s issue of US Weekly should have an awesome Britney cover shot. Will she be bald? Will she be crying? Will her abundant flesh be spilling out of an ill-fitting, inappropriate outfit? I’m thinking all of the above.

5. It’s Ash Wednesday today, so if you see anyone with dark smudges on their foreheads, it’s not just a matter of poor personal hygiene. I am nominally a Catholic, but I’ve been lapsed for so many years, I’ve forgotten most of the arcane lore I learned as a child and thus have no idea what the ashes mean. I haven’t been to Mass on Ash Wednesday since childhood, except for this one time in college, when I went with a guy I had a very mild crush on. Midway through the ceremony, I remembered that church dates were totally not my thing, that there were many reasons that I was a lapsed Catholic, and that this “relationship” was going nowhere. Also, the fact that I used Ash Wednesday to hang out with a guy probably makes the baby Jebus cry.

*Other than the time spent obsessively rearranging my Itunes playlists. Yes, I have a serious problem.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Short Notes

1. I was sick earlier this week. Again. Seriously, people, if you are sneezing all over the place or coughing up a lung, just stay home. No one is so important that they can’t miss a day of work and help avoid turning the workplace into a germ warfare lab. And if you could just not breathe anywhere near me, that would be awesome.

2. As previously mentioned, I’ve been obsessively categorizing my CDs. I also purchased an Ipod. I have about 38 playlists. The list of songs I’ve downloaded is just embarrassing. I was explaining it to a co-worker:

“I like the anonymity of itunes. I can buy whatever stupid song I want and no one has to know. Like that Justin Timberlake song “SexyBack,” I like it, but I would never want to buy a Justin Timberlake album because that would be…”
“But now I know you bought that song, and I’m embarrassed.”

(Good thing I didn’t mention that Britney Spears song I downloaded.)

Punk rock cred: officially dead.

3. The new Bloc Party is pretty good, not exactly a departure from the first one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I suppose that’s the peril of the sophomore effort. You don’t want to make the same album over again, but if you move too far in another direction, all your fans will hate it. The Shins’ new one is also pretty good*. One band I am loving right now is La Rocca. Their album, The Truth, is teh awesome. I’m excited for the new Arcade Fire. I’ve heard a couple of tracks and they sound amazing. I just got into their first one, and I can’t stop listening to it. I’m glad I spent all those hours putting 5000 songs on my Ipod, seeing as I listen to approximately 40 of them over and over again. Still, it kept me from doing other lame stuff, like my taxes or cleaning the kitchen.

4. Apparently, it’s cold out. I hadn’t really noticed. Well, actually, I had noticed, but far more annoying than the cold is everyone bitching about it all the time. I have a new rule: if you’re not wearing a hat, scarf, and gloves, you have no right to whine about the cold. If you’re walking around with coat unbuttoned in 20-degree weather, of course, you’re going to be cold. It’s winter, duh. Unlike most people in DC, I love the cold weather, and I find most of our winters much too warm. I’m pretty sure that in a previous life I lived in New England. Or maybe the Arctic Circle. I’m distantly descended** from the Vikings, so maybe that explains it.

5. I keep seeing commercials for some new Billy Bob Thornton flick. Something about astronauts (awesome timing Hollywood). Mr. Thornton has always scared the bejesus out of me, but there’s something even scarier than usual about him in these commercials. What is up with his face? Has he had a facelift? How else can one explain the fact that his eyebrows are practically in the middle of his forehead.

*This is why I could never write music reviews. I think everything is “good” or “cool” or “doesn’t suck.” It’s almost as bad as “It’s got a good beat. I can dance to it.”
**“Really, really, really distantly,” as Lord Kissington puts it, but something has to explain my love of Arctic weather and all things Scandinavian.