Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bad, Bad X-Files, Or, I Want To Believe I Didn't Actually Pay Good Money For This

Girl Kid is at work and Boy Kid is off playing nerdy games with friends, and you know how it goes, I was in the mood for a movie—nothing too elevating or which might make me think too hard, and yet also something that the spawn would not grumble at me for seeing without them. I was on the prowl for Big Stupid Fun, and what was available at the right time you say? The X-Files, I Want To Believe.

I admit it, I was never an X-Files groupie, and I barely remember the premise of the original television show. I knows there was a story line involving a Smoking Man and a couple of FBI agents with the hots for each other and some aliens and stuff. I remember that the girl agent Scully, like a good little enabling female, was always gamely trying to keep the seriously gullible boy agent Mulder from going off the deep end, but then he always turned out to be right—goopy space critters with x-ray vision were always trying to abduct bohunks off Texas highways, presumably to complete their "Universe's Most Idiotic Life Forms" collection. I know the show was on the air for approximately 108 years, and I would hope that fat residual checks and DVD sales have ensured that the principle actors never have to work again. After seeing this movie, I really wish they had stayed at home and pounded back some more mojitos or whatever, you know?

So, based on my slim understanding of what this movie might be about, and all on my lonesome and looking for fun, I motored off in my completely uncool Kia Spectra in reasonable expectation of cinematic thrills, dark hallways, spooky bad guys and rip snorting sexual tension, middle-aged style. (I mean, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are getting on in years, you know? Let's see...Wiki Wiki...yeah, Old David is turing 48 on Thursday and Gillian is.....damn, she turns 38 on Saturday. Crap, she must have been like 12 when the X-Files television show began. Sheesh. Well, both of them still look pretty good. Whatever.)

I'm not even going to attempt to tell you what this movie is about, because I'm fairly sure the film makers themselves couldn't explain to to you with the aid of a translator, an Albanian donkey and a Powerpoint presentation. I can tell you that this clunker is a very, very boring movie, and the "I Want to Believe" in the title doesn't mean aliens, it means religion. Seriously, I've been pestered by Jehovah's Witnesses who talked about God less. Also, and if you were a fan of the show you probably already know this so I won't be messing anything up by revealing it here, apparently Mulder and Scully had a kid at one point. They aren't married, and they don't live together in the remote farmland newspaper-clipping-filled cabin on the outskirts of Burnaby B.C., (Mulder seems have turned into one of those sad old men who collects newspapers), but there must have been some breeding action going on in the back story and the kid got mislaid or died or was added to Blogthorth The Invincible's collection or something, thereby allowing our leads to blather on some more on the nature of the almighty and their relationship with each other. Ugh.

Scottish comedian and Rod Stewart Wannabe Billy Connolly (have you seen that guy's hair?) plays a pedophile psychic who may or may not be a bad guy or perhaps is a messenger from God, the script is never really very clear on this point. Pert and usually watchable FBI newbie Amanda Peet brings in Mulder as a consultant to suss out if Billy is really having visions or is just a crank, and the obvious conclusion that he might know where the bodies are hiding is because he killed them himself only passingly occurs to the FBI, as played by Pimp My Ride's Xzibit. I mean, I know the FBI has gotten a bad rap of late, but suspecting the guy who first leads you to the corpse is just common sense, bleeding eyes or not. There's also a b-story involving a dying kid, and apparently in the imaginary country this movie takes place in, stem cell therapy is available to the general public, because I'm pretty sure it is not allowed yet here in the Good, Ole Puritanical US of A. Also, isn't West Virginia, the supposed location, a southern state? Do they really get six feet of snow there? I know the movie was really filmed in and around Vancouver, because 1), I grew up there, and 2), even though the license plates are sort of spray painted over, in at least one shot you can clearly see "British Columbia" embossed into the metal. Actually, even Vancouver doesn't get that much snow, so they must have had some shipped in for visual effect. There's also some stuff about organ stealing bad guys, and the plot is such a snooze-fest that the villans are Russian. Come on Chris Carter, Russian bad guys were old news even back when Die Hard was made, couldn't you think of something more original?

In conclusion, The X-Files, I Want To Believe manages to be stupid, gross, boring, tedious, proselytizing, confusing and dumb all at the same time, which is grounds for a refund, if you ask me. (Yes, I know "stupid" and "dumb" are the same thing, but I'm telling you, it really warrants mentioning twice.) In the making of this movie, did not one grip, extra, script supervisor or second unit director say, "Hey, um, guys? This movie sucks rancid camel balls, you know? Maybe it needs a re-write." I'm really, really surprised David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson agreed to even enunciate some of the more ridiculous lines, although I'm pretty sure I caught Ms. Gillian rolling her eyes just a tiny bit after one particularly awful pronouncement. Dear Zeus, what a bad flick. I'll happily sit through a lot of crap as long at there are at least some funny bits, some man candy or at least big explodies periodically, (just for you dead reader, just for you), but this one really made me mad. What a waste of human life, and by that I mean my own. Go see a Miley Cyrus movie or something instead, it would seem like high art by comparison. I'm sure Miley, who seems to be taking over the world one lunchbox at a time, is available at some entertainment venue near you right now. Speaking of which, Billy Ray Cyrus must have given the Devil a beejer or seven, if you know what I mean. Seriously, the dude got away with that mullet and a had a hit song in the 90's and now the billion dollar Hannah Montana franchise is his daughter? The man must have a pillow permanently adhered to his knees is all I'm sayin'.

I reiterate in all sincerity and in regard for your mental health, save yourselves the time, money and brain cells citizens, and avoid The X-Files, I Want to Believe like the plague that it is.

Love, Your Mistress

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Dreaded Bus, and Some Movie Reviews

Yes, I've been out of touch a good long while. The reason why needs only a small sad recap:

Our cat Toaster suddenly developed symptoms of diabetes (read, peeing everywhere), which first manifested on my birthday no less. Earlier, less invasive, symptoms had been ignored by us because we thought the cat was just bummed out by our recent move to much smaller digs. The month of April was a long dark tunnel of pee, trips to the cat doctor, new apartment carpet ruination, rapid decline of much-loved pet, and massive expenses followed by the forced medical removal of cat from life by a kindly vet while Girl Kid and I bawled our eyes out. This was followed by more egregious expenses when we had the cat cremated at Girl Kid's insistence and then had the carpet extensively cleaned by qualified professionals (also known as "Julio"). Toaster (named by a 4-year old Girl Kid in honor of the movie The Brave Little Toaster, recommended) now resides in a tasteful and tiny jar on the bookshelf. In the course of the same month, Girl Kid was jestfully tackled by a co-worker and received such a deep contusion on her shin that we had to have her leg x-rayed and now she has no feeling in a 4-inch square region of her lower leg. And then a few weeks later she sliced open the other leg with a box cutter trying to cut open a door in the new cat box. Did I mention we have no health insurance? Let me tell you, because this country sucks enormous donkey balls, it is to my shame that we had to spend the first post-injury 45 minutes calling everywhere to find a cheap clinic that could do stitches while Girl Kid held a, soon to be blood soaked, cloth to her knee before we could drive off erratically to the nearest place we could afford—which turned out to be practically in Canada. So, all in all, a very expensive and sad spring for your Mistress and her spawn. And oh yeah, because of a book deadline I spent 37 out of 41 days during May and early June at work. And then I was horribly sick for three weeks. Joy.

And Now for Something Completely Different,
AKA "It's a Gas, Gas, Gas!

Guess what America! With a two-term kid of the oil baron Bush family in the White House, the price of oil has never been higher! What are the odds, right? Gas costs something like $4.25 per gallon even at the cheapest place in Seattle, which luckily happens to be fairly close to our house, so bully for us. Two years ago when I started working again (after going back to school) and my 28-mile round-trip commute cost me upwards of $110 per month, the $72 monthly bus pass didn't seem like such a good deal in exchange for having to get up 45 minutes earlier. As we all know, Mistress Squidia needs her sleep. Plus, my old bus routes from our last house were not that great, as the trip required a transfer and a one block hike up or down a very steep hill in "Wino Slash Smack Town USA" (also known as the area around 3rd and Yesler in Downtown Seattle). But, at our new advertised-as-swanky but actually kind of crappy and surprisingly expensive apartment, the express bus to the downtown bus tunnel has a stop right out in front, and a few weeks ago I was finally driven (forgive me) by high gas prices to consider the bus again. And it turns out it's not half bad, if you follow some careful rules of etiquette and self preservation.

Things I Have Learned On The Bus:

Bring a Book.
Yes, the bus may be jam-packed with the low-rent public, many of whom are a bit "whiffy," or with do-good yuppies who recently have discovered a deep abiding urge to save the earth (gas prices), but when you open your trusty tome and begin to read, you enter a bubble of reality unique to yourself that effectively removes you from your present circumstances and also states, "Leave me alone, I'm busy...I don't want to hear about your dog's digestive peculiarities, your crappy job (I have one too), or your theories about how the government is controlling your thoughts through OnStar." But what about car sickness brought on by reading on a fast-moving (and jiggling) vehicle you say? Trust me, after the second week you'll hardly notice it, and the benefits of at least mental seclusion from your fellow commuters vastly out-weigh a little personal discomfort. Mr. Book is your friend, don't leave home without him.

Don't Make Eye Contact
Unless you want to make questionable "friends" and real enemies quickly, this is pretty much good advice in most public places, but on the bus it's vital. See my first point about old ladies with pets, grand children and/or interesting diseases, let alone the creepy guy who keeps looking at you and then at his crotch and smiling...and then back at you and winking, over and over.

Don't Look Around At All
With the exception of a quick glance to see if your stop is coming up, avoid looking around as much as possible, for fear of seeing something that may scar you for life. While most of the bus-going public is generally presentable, you might also encounter a specimen like the old bat I sat behind yesterday who had scotch tape liberally applied to both sides of her face. I think this may have been an attempt at low-cost plastic surgery, but who the hell knows? Maybe it was there to thwart the cheek demons.

Choose Your Seat Carefully, but Quickly
I've discovered that upon entering the bus the human mind is capable of a plethora of fast, almost instantaneous, mathematical and socioeconomic calculations. First and foremost is the snap decision of who to sit next to. Your choices include the twitching guy in the ripped, sleeveless gym shirt and copious armpit hair, the elderly woman drooling on her polyester day-glo blouse with the puppy dog decals, the hip-hop "gangsta" spread out over 2.5 seats (including the one in front of him), the disaffected youth with the iPod ear buds stuck firmly in place who will hate you and plot your death the entire ride, and the nylon-legged office twinkie who is complaining loudly on her cell phone about her boyfriend who said something to that slut at the bar last night who was so totally rude you would not believe it, you know? Other seating considerations include: how soon is your stop vs. how crowded is the bus and therefore how close to the front should you sit? If you sit closer to the back of the bus, will you be able to wedge your way to the front in time to get off where you wanted, or will you end up in Tacoma? It's important to make the right decisions here people! Also, at least in the summer, always, always sit with the sun on the opposite side of the bus, or you will cook like a crab. And last but not least, if you are forced to stand, try very hard to get the first spot by the back doors, as the back-of-the-bus entry/egress alcove offers plenty of places to hang on where you won't accidentally touch someone's hair or fall in their lap, and you might also catch some breezes coming from the gap between the doors.

Rosa Parks is Rolling...
In my few weeks of enjoying the wonder that is public transit, I've noticed that all the hip brown people tend to sit at the back of the bus. I find this very odd, but maybe that's just me. I blame our crappy and still often racist public education system, but it's only been 53 years since Rosa made her brave stand (or in her case, sit), and already you are at the back of the bus again? And by choice? Weird.

Don't Trust the Web Site
Believe me, figuring out how to correctly enter the bus stop address to satisfy the extremely persnickety King County Metro "Trip Planner" web site is hard enough, (no you gullible fool, just entering the street address is not good enough, you have to guess at what the Metro Bus web algorithm calls that stop), but wait, there's more! The buses listed as being right for your destination may not be your only options! It took me a few days to realize that not only can I get on the 101 to connect to the 301, but also the 106, 150, 174 and 194, which is good to know, because sometimes the scheduled bus you are waiting for never shows up, and sometimes it is full up and blows right past you while you jump up and down screaming at the rapidly disappearing rear advertising banner. All I'm saying is that my first week I almost missed the last connecting 301 to my neighborhood and came very close to spending the night living off bugs and pity in the Northgate Mall Park n' Ride.

The Bus Driver Hates You
Potential bus commuters, get a bus pass, because shoving archaic paper money and coins through the little slot just holds up the line. I myself am still guilty of this crime because Girl Kid keeps telling me she can get a cheap pass through her work, but so far, no pass and no love from Mr. Bus Driver. Plus I can tell they get sick of all the stupid questions—I mean how many times in a row can you reply, "Yes, this bus goes downtown" before you develop a nervous tick? Based on this morning, I'd say about seventeen.

All in all, and despite the questionable humanity to be found thereon, taking the bus is actually okay. It's turns out to be faster for me than driving, and I can read Mr. Book whilst in transit, so in many ways it definitely beats grinding my way up I-5 developing my loathing for my fellow man based solely on their driving habits.

[As a side note, the idiots that designed the three freeway lanes that converge into one just before you merge with the main line below the Washington State Convention Center need to be found, killed, dug up and killed again. And the people who weave in and out of those two "merge left" and "merge right" lanes on the outsides of the one through lane to supposedly get there faster need to be dragged out of their cars, covered in honey and duct taped over an ant hill naked a dawn. Seriously, if you all just stayed in the through lane, we'd get past that four block area in three minutes tops, instead of the 25 minutes it can take on a bad day.]

Yup, as long as you have an easy connection, the bus is better, gross guy picking his scabs and all. Just don't forget your book.

• • •

And Some Movie Reviews In A Minute or Less
And yes, I know you have already seen most of these, but in case not:

Ironman: It's out on DVD or still on screen at The Crest in Seattle (say "Hi" to Girl Kid, who her coworkers call "Tree"), and there's nothing wrong at all with Robert Downey Jr. having mega fun. Just because of him, and Ben Stiller notwithstanding, I'm looking forward to Tropic Thunder. Robert Downey rules.

Indiana Jones And The Crystal Snooze: Oddly boring, and totally preposterous. Hey, um, Mr. Spielberg and Mr. Lucas, I know they made refrigerators pretty beefy in the 1950's, but there is no one, no matter how studly, who could hide in one and still survive being blown out of a house by a nuclear bomb. Even if they were not immediately vaporized, they'd be turned into Spam by the two mile joyride through the air. And then when Indy gets out and looks at the blast and doesn't immediately die of radiation sickness? Please, what a crock. Plus, Harrison Ford really does look like my dad now, and that was a bit distracting. Oh yeah, "spoiler alert!" Guess what? I'm not even sorry I ruined it for you. You are better off doing something more uplifting and useful with your evening, such as drawing elves on your toes with a Sharpie.

The Dark Knight: Holy Crap Batman! This movie is completely awesome and the "magic trick" with the pencil will blow your mind. Poor overdosing Heath Ledger will surely suck all of the awards out from under every living actor next year, and you know what? He deserves it. What a performance. It's not often you can overshadow the dreamy yet mysterious Christian Bale AND the yummy yet-also-can-act Aaron Eckhardt, but poor dead Heath blows them away. Sad, poignant, wonderful, go see it. Oh wait, you already did, twice.

Encounters At The End of The World: Okay, here's one you haven't seen I'll betcha, but you should. It's the latest from my secret passion, German nihilist documentarian Werner Herzog, over whom I have been totally bonkers since I first saw Aguirre, Wrath of God. Plus, it's about Antarctica, and I'm am nothing if not obsessive about all things remote and icy. I think I've mentioned that I lived in the Yukon for four years a long time ago. Beautiful underwater scenes, assorted science-y misfits in love with their jobs, a woman who can stuff herself into carry-on luggage, people stumbling around with buckets on their heads in a simulated whiteout exercise, and suicidal penguins. You've got to see it.

Mamma Mia: Okay, I admit it, and I'm not proud—I had fun. In my defense, there is never anything wrong with Merle Streep having a good time, and boy does she enjoy herself here. I didn't love it, but I did like it, plus I cried at one point, proving beyond all doubt that I am in fact a girl. What a sap. Also, there is nothing wrong with Stellan Skarsgard's naked butt, is all I'm saying. I may be middle aged, but he's kinda yummy. Oh yeah, and Pierce Brosnan cannot sing his was out of a paper bag, which for some odd reason cheers me right up. There are of course lots of ABBA songs, which which are in fact infectious in an "ohmygod my brain is melting" sort of way, as I'm sure you know unless you have been living on Pluto since the 1960's. Take your mom.

Well, that's it for now. Stay yummy my reader, stay yummy for me. And Mr. Herzog, if you happen to read this some day, please know that I'd happily do your dishes until the end of time, (which after 17 years as a single mom shows the depths of my devotion). Call me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Origins of Outdated Phrases, Things that Annoy Me Today Part Two (The Re-Annoying), and Probably, Some Movies

Opening Blather
It may take me weeks, months or a coon's age, whatever that is, to recover from our egregious move and all the frantic and yet also tedious work I have to do. We'll see. It makes your mistress a cranky girl, and large nightly doses of our sweet Lady Brandy doesn't seem to be helping as much as you'd think. Plus, I can't afford it. Still, the thought of eating right, getting more exercise and generally being a puritan fundamentalist goody two shoes makes me totally nauseous. It would be against my religion, if I had one.

Where did this expression "goody two shoes" come up anyway? Is it some snide social commentary on posh people who can afford both shoes? What kind of sad sap with only one shoe came up with that? Can you buy just one shoe? I don't think so.

And to find out the answer to this pressing question, it leads to another—what did we ever do before Google? Oh yeah, we called the Library Answer Line. Way to go Google, you put an entire industry out of work. That must have been a pretty sweet job too, sitting around all day in a darkened cubicle looking up the answers to silly and arcane questions while collecting those delicious full benefits government workers get. Nice.

So, for the further education of my one reader over the age of 40 who's actually heard the expression "goody two shoes", here's the origin, compliments of

[A] It comes from the title of a rather twee and moralistic nursery tale called The History of Goody Two-Shoes, which is thought to have been written by Oliver Goldsmith, and which was published in 1765 by John Newbery, one of the earliest London publishers of children’s stories. Goody owned only one shoe. When she was given a pair of them, she was so pleased that she showed them to everybody, saying “Two shoes”. The phrase now refers to a self-righteous, smugly virtuous person.

So there you go. Edu-macational, right? Maybe not. The chick sounds like a total drip anyway. And, according to Wikipedia, a "coon's age" refers to how long people in the 1800's thought raccoons lived, or roughly 4-5 years. Wow.

I had a raccoon knock on my back window once. When I whisked back the curtain to see who was knocking it was a big surprise for both of us, I can tell you. The raccoon was probably never the same again. There's probably an whole raccoon mythology built up around this story now, "Don't go knocking on strange windows, there might be an ogre in there. Seriously dude, it's not worth it."

And, because of the above reference material, we now have to look up the origin of the word "twee" too, don't we? Um, Websters says it means excessively dainty. I'm not going to tell you what the Urban Dictionary says it means, 'cause damn, that's a bit nasty.

Annoying Things Part Deux, AKA Curmudgeon Ranting A-Go-Go

Have you noticed how the increasing opportunities for anonymity in our lives has led to the total downfall of modern civilization? When the general populace has the reasonable expectation of not having their names attached to their behavior, they are totally rude and sometimes even fatally self centered. The majority of drivers would rather cut off their own leg and eat it raw before letting you merge into traffic in front of them, leading to congestion and accidents. The average internet user has no problem calling other people "gay", "fag", "whore" or whatever, all while butchering the english language with emoticons and l33t (ask your children). In general, it seems as if people just don't give a shit about anyone and everyone except themselves anymore—I won't even get started on what people get up to on public transportation. Seriously folks, trim your smelly naked toenails in the privacy of your own home, not on the #73 bus to the U District.

Even More Ranting, Bathroom Edition
I'm old enough to remember those halcyon days when the women's bathroom was actually reasonably clean. In these most modern times there are a class of dames who are so fastidious about the cleanliness of their own rump roasts that they use those ridiculous paper barriers provided in public bathrooms, but care so little about everyone else's sensibilities that when they are done with their business, they just walk away, leaving a pot full of whatever and a big shred of paper hanging off the side of the toilet that is slowly absorbing the pee and turning yellow. Totally, totally gross. And much, much worse are those women who feel the need to hover over the toilet, thereby not touching the seat with their precious ass-ettes, but also getting pee and crap all over the seat, floor and sometimes even walls of the stall. Dear God, what kind of mouth breathing pond scum does that? Numerous studies have shown that your average public toilet seat is actually much cleaner that a lot of things with which you come into regular contact, such as your computer keyboard or kitchen dish towel. Porcelain is not a congenial environment for bacteria. Think about that, "ladies."

And yet these assorted types of wastes of skin are the very people who will greet you Monday morning at the water cooler with "Hello, how was your weekend?" Face to face, we still pretend to be civil human beings, but tucked away into the relative safety of our cars, computers or bathroom stalls, we revert to savage selfish beasts, or based on my own estimation, at least 80% of us do. Personally, I try in my daily life to be considerate and let other drivers merge, wipe down the handle of the paper towel dispenser, clean up after the coffee maker when it leaks and generally try to leave things at least a bit better than when I found them, but sometimes I feel as if I'm, you know, peeing in the wind. (At least that's more sanitary than the second floor toilet at the Meridian 16 Cinema. Yeech.) Every time I begin to have smidgen of hope for humanity, I drive on the freeway or visit the Ladies Peehaus at the local multiplex and realize the error in my thinking. It's sad.

I blame Rupert Murdoch and the MTV. Or P. Diddy, because he's got "pee" right there in his "name."

• • •

Five Movies

Speaking of water coolers, rumor is that Jumper sucks massive donkey balls, so I will avoid that one, and according to my twinkie coworker, so should you. Even her frat boy boyfriend and his budz hated it. Plus, there is just no excuse for Hayden Christenson. Man, that guy could not act his way out of a paper bag at a scissors convention. I've heard that a certain class of teenage girl used to find him to be "so hot," but they have Shia Labeouf now, so Ole Hayden can just bugger off. Even Ashton Kutcher is a better actor, and...oh my god, my fingers can't believe what they just typed.

27 Dresses
Okay, seriously now, who is going to believe that classically massive hottie Katherine Heigl would not be able to snag a husband and therefore be condemned to being "ever the bridesmaid, never the bride?" Not me, that's for sure. This is a movie about shopping for and trying on clothes, which I'm told is fun to do, but is not actually that enjoyable to watch, trust me. Also, after the oh so much more fun Knocked Up, apparently Ms. Heigl now has to have, by contract, a drunken hookup scene in every movie she does. Go Netflix Knocked Up instead—I kind of have a thing for Seth Rogan because he's squishably adorable—but don't watch Knocked Up with your 13-years-old-or-younger daughter, unless you want to teach her all about what men are really like when they are on their own.

There Will Be Blood
Daniel Day Lewis is a great actor, blah blah, and he'll win all the awards, just like he does every time he slithers out from whatever rock he's been hiding under for the last few years, thereby cheating George Clooney out of his deserved Oscar for his much more subtle performance in Michael Clayton. TWBB is a certainly a good movie featuring interesting dialog, beautiful cinematography, championship acting by supporting players, but face it, it's ultimately also super depressing (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm going to just come out and say it, I didn't like it. That might make me a Philistine in some eyes, but I'm not afraid to admit that I started to fall asleep, and in the last 45 minutes or so, I actively wanted to punch Daniel Day Lewis right in the face. Mr. Daniel can writhe around demonstrating his sledge hammer method-acting skills every five years all he wants, I'm over him.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Um, it has Johnny Depp in it, 'nuff said. In this movie Our Johnny sports impressive eyebrows, a shock of white hair, a permanently fixed evil glare, won't stop singing, and it's still worth seeing. Even that tone deaf husband stealing over-acting Helena Bonham Carter can't ruin the show. If you were a fan of the Broadway musical version, then you'll probably love the movie. If you aren't already steeped in the music and generally don't like musicals, you'll probably hate it. Girls, take your mother, and leave your frat boy boyfriend at home with a beer and some porn. He'll thank you later.

And finally, Girl Kid reports that Strange Wilderness is the worst movie ever made, so listen and learn. I loves me some Steve Zahn, but I gather even he can't save this lead balloon in a swimming pool full of crap. Go rent Out of Sight featuring a star-making performance by Mr. Zahn (and George Clooney) instead, now that's a good movie, and possibly the only good thing Jennifer Lopez has ever done, up to and including dumping Ben Affleck.

Hoo boy, we see a lot of movies don't we? We watch crap, so you don't have to—because sometimes, just sometimes, there's pearls buried in amongst the crap, sometimes diamonds, and sometimes the most transcendent experience ever. That's why I love the movies.

Also, I know I've had a bad history of only posting every two to eleven months, but since I'm playing massive on-the-job hooky this week, there's one from just yesterday right below this one, so read it too! Go ahead, make me happy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gone Postal, Plus Munchalicious Man Meat

I've just finished a GRUELING work project that almost killed me or at very least almost made me kill someone else. Several someone's in fact. Seriously, all my future rent problems could have been solved with just one small killing spree. Plus, I was sick for the THIRD TIME in less than a month, and could not stop coughing all through it. But, the project went off to the printer, proofs have been approved, and this one's presumably been spanked twice and put to bed. And now I'm only a month behind on all the other stuff that was put off during the run up to the twelve straight days getting this Cheap, Fast and Out of Control project off to press. Ugh.

Things That Annoy Me Today

1) Bosses who sweep in at 5:30pm on the day before a project is due and move everything around while yelling "change this, change that" and then swoop out again, all the while complaining about how over-worked they are. I have news for you Ms. Armani Exchange On Crack, waving your arms around and telling other people to change everything that was already decided on and approved BY YOU is not "working."

2) Co-workers who have given up. I mean, YOU had a weekend, I did NOT, so what gives you the god damned right to tell me "Hey, who cares if it's right or not?" I care, not because I want to please the idiot bosses, but because it's my work on the line here, and I'd rather not be wasting my OWN time, if you know what I mean. If you'd cared just a tad more and put in just a wee bit more effort before you gave me the files, we BOTH could have been home swilling beer into our bellybuttons on Sunday afternoon, instead of just you. Sheesh.

3) Printer's sales rep's. Seriously I do NOT want you to come by to tell me about all your latest "equipment" and I really, really do not want you to try to take me out to lunch. There's no printer in the local area who can beat the prices of those discount print shops in California anyway, so leave me alone. If I need you, I'll email you, in the meantime, fuck off.

4) Bank of America. You know what you did.

5) People who take smoke breaks and then come stand by my desk reeking of death. Get back to work you toxic slackers.

6) Ditto, and even more so, perfume. You know, just a slight misting will do you. You want to convey just a hint of musk, not the entire moose—I don't need to smell you from three blocks away. If your perfume has so much body it can carry it's own luggage, you just may have put on too much.

7) Other people, just generally (except for you dear reader, because I love you, but you knew that anyway).

And Some Movie Reviews

George Romero's Diary of the Dead
Also known as, Unknown Actors Are Having the Best Year Ever! Basically, ole Georgie Boy has jumped the shark on the whole "Blair Witch Slash Cloverfield" thing and made a shaky-cam movie about a bunch of students who, while making a mummy film in The Scary Dark Woods at Night, accidentally make a zombie documentary instead. There's a hella lot of gore, a few funny moments, a poke or two at the (much better) movies that owe everything to Romero, such as Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later, some neck munching, some eyes popping out, and one or two interesting twists on the whole "shoot 'em in the head" zombie killing requirement that George Romero originally made famous. There's a truly great scene in Diary involving a barn and The World's Mostest Hardcore Amish Guy, but the rest is a bit "eeh." Boy Kid thought it was okay, even though he doesn't really like zombie movies, and Girl Kid hated it, even though she does. So, that probably tells you everything you really need to know. Of course, Romero's entire catalog and that of all his imitators can't hold a candle to the incomparably hilarious Shaun of the Dead, featuring Britain's most unlikely (and yet totally) edible sex god, Simon Pegg. Now THAT's a zombie movie! Go rent that instead.

Definitely, Maybe
Total Chick Flick Rom-Com, but, oh god, dare I say it, kind of good. The always boyishly adorable Ryan Reynolds deserves a lot of the credit, and even though the predictably bubbly but only adequately talented Amy Adams is busy trying to highjack her career, Isla Fisher proves beyond a doubt that she's cuter, a better actress and has nicer hair. Because of the enormous success of Enchanted, and because Hollywood can sustain the careers of innumerable blonds at the same time, but only one redhead, Ms. Amy will win the Careercapades, but Isla deserves it a whole lot more. Maybe this movie will make Hollywood notice her again. The totally beautiful Rachel Weiz and her Astounding Grecian Eyebrows are slumming hard here, but she's always good so her presence in this movie is a bonus. And, Kevin Klein made me spew Diet Coke out my nose. In his few scenes Mr. Klein easily cake walks all over Ryan Reynolds, but he's also barely in the movie, which was kind of too bad. Mr. Kevin sometimes annoys me, but he's super good in this one, or maybe I just love grizzly drunken literary giants on the decline, which Our Kevin plays with relish, mustard AND a side of slaw. He chews scenery without stopping to spit out the pips is all I'm saying. I, of course, was the only person to laugh at this one thing Kevin does, and do you know how disconcerting it is to laugh very loudly into a completely silent theater? Oh well, I don't care. I have a very sophisticated sense of humor, and all you popcorn munching bovines out there in the dark can bite my doughy but frighteningly large ass. All in all, this movie, and even Little Miss Sunshine Abigail Breslin, manage to just butt-kiss the edges of cloyingly sweet, but without giving us diabetes. Recommended for girls-only night.

And speaking of Saccharin...

P.S. I Love You
I won't lie to you, Girl Kid and I sometimes have no standards at all. Okay, here we go. Gerard Butler proves yet again that he's Total Man Candy. Scores of women already want to chew through his 501's, so I'd only get in the way, but Mr. Butler is pretty much always The Hotness in anything he does. Playing Backup Irish Hottie, Jeffery Dean Morgan (better known as Poor Dead Denny on Grey's Anatomy), deserves a few hordes of screaming pants-munchers himself. The now and forever luminous Lisa Kudrow gives a completely to the point and incredibly intense speech on the joys of male objectification, and someone gave Gina Gershon a job, yeah! Now she can pay her rent. The weakest link is the star herself, Hillary Swank, in fact this whole movie proves once again that it's usually the amusing sidekicks, gay best friends, and the "making the most of my moment" below the line actors who are actually worth the price of admission. Hillary should be sent back to acting school and have have her two Oscar's surgically removed, is all I'm saying. In this flick she's annoying, "pert" and does a death-by-sugar cutesy karaoke, which is all grounds for immediate and violent expulsion from the planet, if you ask me. She does have one bitchin' bod though, but then again, you hardly get to see it naked in this movie, so what's the point? Oh yeah, and Gerard Butler can sing, who knew? Well, maybe everyone who saw Phantom of the Opera, like Girl Kid's boyfriend's mom who watched Phantom on DVD upwards of 300 times (we all wish I was kidding). Given half a chance, Mrs. Miller would chew through Gerard's pants, swallow the zipper and not stop until she saw daylight, if you know what I mean. Her husband must be so proud.

And Even More Man Candy

In Bruges
Colin Farrell, what can I say? He finally stopped trying to be Sonny Crockett or Alexander The Great and went back to doing what he does best—supporting roles in fun independent movies where he gets to keep his naturally sex-on-toast Irish accent. He's very funny in this movie too—waggling those impressively enormous eyebrows of his, pouting, hunching, whining, guzzling beer, crying and generally being the worst hit man on holiday ever. Brendan Gleeson brings the appropriate gravitas to his role as the older and more experienced contract killer, and crime boss Ralph Fiennes chomps his own scenery like he hasn't had a salad in a decade. Guns, girls, sightseeing and a sarcastic midget—could it get any better? I think not. Fun on a bun, even with the abruptly violent ending. (Okay, "little person". But "midget" is funnier, I'm sorry, but it's true. Okay, you can hit me now, just aim below the kneecaps.)

Gosh, now I'm all hot and bothered. Pretty, delicious Celtic boys, yummy yummy. Shoot, I must STILL be heterosexual, it's so unfair.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bad Mistress

This is just a very quick note to my reader to say, I'm sorry I haven't been posting. I want to, really. I'm just very, very oh so very behind at work right now, and working long days, all of which leaves me limp and useless at home. Plus I've been sick twice now. I told my body that I couldn't be sick during the move, and now it's exacting it's revenge on me. I swear, that thing wants my death--it trundles around under my massive boobs where I can't see what it's up to, plotting against me. The feet may be involved.

So, at some point soon, I will post again. Just not today, or maybe tomorrow. Because of the badness and behindness of certain others, I'll be forced to work all this weekend while they crank beers down their throats while lying on the couch in nothing more than sagging tighty whities and using their bellies as a staging platform for the transfer of Cheetos directly from bag to gullet. This coworker knows who he is, and this weekend I'll be buidling a voodoo doll out of Post-It's in his likeness, and sticking it with paperclips. Pity me. And him.

So, hopefully I'll have something funny to say, or at least a movie review or two for you at some point in the area of "later". In the meantime dear reader, I love you the best.

Your Mistress

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

On How I'd Rather Be On Fire Than Move House

Today won't be a long post, as I am about two weeks behind at work, and a total vegetable at home. A hooch huffing vegetable. Or something in the drunken squash family, definitely. Picture a pumpkin holding a large glass of brandy and crying just a little bit. Here's why I'm an inebriated tuberous vegetable:

We have finally finished moving house. I may tell you more later, but suffice it to say that I am a broken woman, who having approached, entered and finally passed into the ether of the outer reaches of insanity, can finally and absolutely say that joining a Monastary sounds like a good life plan—more fun than Disneyland, more fun than jungle monkey sex with George Clooney and Ewan McGregor both at the same time, more fun than a poke in the eye with a Qualude on a stick bejeweled with diamonds and pearls. If I never have to move another box or sort through assorted detritus of 30 years of life's garbage again it will be too soon. But, of course, in what is now less than nine months, we'll have to move again. I should probably start packing now.

Have I mentioned how not-fun it was to spend upwards of $200 cash money schelpping loads of our crap (thanks to Betty the Beast, aka Girl Kid's ancient van) to the Auschwitz-Birkenau of Garbage, more commonly known as Snohomish Solid Waste Transfer Station? No? Well, it's actually a fairly nice structure cunningly decorated on the outside with old hubcaps, aluminum cans and driftwood. But once you get inside the place exactly reproduces what I imagine the interior a Nazi gas chamber must have looked like, only with a giant wall of garbage being the only defense between your tender trembling body and several giant dump trucks rushing at you with their huge scoopers out, rumbling and snorting in an ominous manner. Or maybe that was me.

Seriously, I've never been to a dump where you just throw your crap on the ground, which is actually more of a bog of composed of a thin layer of brown dump water filled with tiny shards of pointy things, but since the Shoreline transfer station is "closed for remodelling" (in a place where people go to throw things away, how unnecessary is that?), we had to drag ourselves up the horrid Aurora corridor to Snohomish instead.

And then, of course, there were also the literally dozens of trips to Desert Industries to rid ourselves of mountains of Girl Kid's clothes from various ages and fashion eras, random kitchen debris, toys, books, white elephant gifts...the list goes on. I would have preferred not to give our stuff to a rampantly christian organization like Deseret Industries, but one, they were close to the house, and two, those people will take anything, accept as it turns out, an unopened gallon barrel of olive oil. (Don't ask, 'cause I'm not telling what that was supposed to be for. Okay, I was going to make soap. Get your mind out of the gutter. Or don't, because I like that.)

I'm not sure what the christians will make of our various and sundry discarded gargoyles, black mesh goth garb, purses shaped like coffins, reproduction Midaeval daggers, and binders of Magic cards (no rares, so stop screaming). Maybe they will burn them in a special mass and bury the ashes while dancing around naked under a DayGlo statue of Jesus while praying for our salvation or our swift deliverance to hell. I really don't care, it's all gone and out of our lives forever, as long as we stay out of the thrift store. The christians can give our discards to poor starving children in third world countries, who I'm sure will be overwhelmed with joy to receive the hottest fashions from Hot Topic, circa 2002. Those sub-African bush children will be the envy of the entire continent, I'm completely sure.

And A Movie...You Didn't Think I'd Forget That, Did You?

I'll post more later, because like I said, I'm very behind at work. Plus I don't want to get caught. In the meantime, go see The Savages, with Philip Seymour Hoffman, (who must be my new boyfriend by now, because I can't stop talking about him). This movie is not what you could call fun. It's not exactly depressing, but it is a bit too realistic, if you know what I mean. Who wants to pay to see real life? But, my boyfriend is transcendently spectacular in this film. It's his best acting to date, and that's saying something. This movie is bound to get ignored The Oscars, and it's a shame. There's a scene where, after hurting his back he tries to talk and eat an open face tuna melt sandwich while suspended by a sort of jock strap and wire hanger contraption hanging from a door, which is the reason movies were invented I'm sure. Pure genius—I laughed so hard I almost spewed my Diet Coke over the balcony and onto the unsuspecting heads below, which I think we can agree would Not Have Been A Good Thing. I want to have Mr. Philip's baby, I swear. On the other hand, the usually super Laura Linney gives a performance that is just a tad annoying. Of course, her character is supposed to be that way, so I can't really fault her acting.

And, I just heard that my annual High Holy Holiday that begins with the Golden Globes is going to be completely ruined because of the writer's strike. No, awkward, teary or drunkely rambling acceptance speeches choked out by people who made provocative (Hillary Swank's blue backless dress, god, even I wanted to snog her), hilarious or just plain disastrous fashion choices, instead we'll be treated to a boring press conference to announce the winners. Damn, damn, double damn on Spam. My first free weekend in I can't remember how long is ruined. Thanks Hollywood writers! Still, I support you. You should be getting Internet residuals, and, frankly, so should I. Seriously, I can't afford our new rent. Maybe the BAFTA's will have Stephen Fry as host again. God, please god, let my Big Gay Lover Mr. Fry host the BAFTA's this year, I beg you. You owe me.

Bye for now my dear Reader, and remember that your Mistress loves you.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving Carcass In The Mist

I am the only child of an only child, and during my childhood, both of my mother figures (bio- and step-) tended to go insane during scheduled "happy" times such as the holiday season. My friends all had siblings and Norman Rockwell-type families and so were all booked up over Thanksgiving and Christmas, and so I spent a lot of time upstairs in my room listening to one or both of my parents loudly barfing up their migraine medication and moaning. On Christmas day, after the obligatory chunks blowing session and Martha Stewart-level full-dress breakfast and while opening gifts, my step-mom would force my dad and me to make blow-by-blow "thank you" tape recordings for the grandparents, which despite how bad that might sound, was actually much worse. Also, it was during a Christmas trip when I was eight that my parents decided it was an excellent time to pull the car over to let me know that our recently divorced family friend was now my mother, and that my "real" mom was going to bugger off up a nearby trailhead to go camping by herself and that I wouldn't be seeing her again any time soon. Really. So, the holidays have never really been my favorite time of year.

Something had to be done.

• • •

Some years after I left my deadbeat (and abusive) husband to join the ranks of single parent-dom, and when Boy/Girl Kid were a little older, we developed a Thanksgiving tradition that I happen to love--we cash out our change bowl and go to a movie (or two) and then eat Asian food. See, lots of Asian-y type restaurants are open over the holidays, for reasons religious or otherwise. Since we are neither Christians or patriotic, this is a great way to celebrate a day off work. This year we netted $47 from Mr. Change Bowl, and Girl Kid had to work (ah, the sad trials of the movie theater employee), so Boy Kid and I did the selfish thing by going to a horror movie and getting Indian food. Here's how it went down:

The Mist, Or "Hey, That's Some Heavy Fog Doncha Know"

We'd already seen the hotly anticipated Beowulf (300 but with only one Spartan, review to come later) and No Country for Old Men (ditto), so there was really only one option, and that was an adaptation of Stephen King's The Mist starring the grossly under-appreciated Mr. The Punisher, Thomas Jane. Now, I'm on record as preferring thin armed, sallow chested Steve Buscemi types over the burly men, but I may have to make an exception for Mr. Jane, who has a seriously nice butt which we get to see from several angles (not naked though). That man can wear the heck out of a pair of jeans is what I'm saying. Patricia Arquette is one lucky woman. I'm also not usually a huge fan of the horror genre, but I have to say, this movie was fun--with just enough camp to keep things lively and enough great acting to make you believe. I did shriek just a little bit at one point, and I'm a fairly jaded movie goer. To please your average Saw XIV demographic, the movie wastes no time getting to the juicy bits--establishing scenes of cute family to save, get the main players into a convenient and cheap-to-film location (in this case, a grocery store), cue fog, enter tentacles, slam, bam, eat you mam (or dude). The tentacles were very Ed Wood, which was part of the fun. The tenacles were big rubbery, slimy things with fangs and little munching mouths, all of which was both effective and probably super cheap on the ol' F/X budget. Later we are presented with 1) Giant Flying Bugs, 2) Death by Giant Spiders' Tiny Babies, and 3) Something Large, Snarly and Stomp-y Out There In The Dark. It was kind of hard to see this last thing, what with all the fog and such--again, cheap on the budget. Also, apparently bags of dog food are really good for blocking big glass store front windows, especially if you leave the doorway completely uncovered. I wouldn't have thought that this technique would have a fart's chance at a farting convention of making an effective barrier against giant monsters, but then I am probably a moron. Also, the townspeople of this tiny and conveniently remote locale sure must have a lot of dogs.

The main point of the movie is that thanks to the evil machinations of our "I'm a War President" government and of religious extremists, the now sufficiently malleable public will rapidly retreat to a primal state if given half a chance and a few shovels (pretty neat they were trapped in a grocery store, huh? "Writing!"). Marsha Gay Hayden plays the religious zealot with delusions of godhood who stirs the paranoia stew with gleeful abandon. When she gets her final and definite comeuppance, the audience actually cheered. There's also an annoying child who won't stop crying, but he's integral to the "shocker" ending, so I guess he was necessary. I actually saw the ending coming, and I was really happy that the director Mr. Shawshank Redemption Frank Darabont (slumming hard), actually went for it. No happy endings here (except for Mr. Jane's butt), and it works. I had fun. Recommended, but only for people who like either like gore or camp or both.

• • •

And then we went to eat:

The Curried Carcass of Doom

After the movie, we tried out a restaurant for which I'd recently created an ad, Bengal Tiger in Seattle's Roosevelt neighborhood. The ad copy stated that the place has a "totally remodeled dining room", but seeing it I had to wonder, remodeled from what? A hole in the ground? A bomb shelter? The place has your standard high school cafeteria ambiance, but with gold cloth on the tables and big acrylic paintings of tigers on the walls. Nevertheless, the staff was very friendly and open, and the food smelled good. For Thanksgiving they were doing a Prix Fix buffet featuring okra in some sort of yummy sauce, butter chicken, things with lentils, something with balls of something in coconut milk, perfectly perky samosas, the obligatory naan bread, and....a huge whole curried turkey on a platter. The turkey gave me complete pause--the word "carcass" should not drift up into your brainpan when presented with a fine dining option. Maybe it was a carry over from the movie, but "very scary, dead, orange and slightly oozing thing on a plate" is not what I wanted to eat, so I steered clear of that "Thanksgiving" tradition in favor of the okra and other "lower carb" options, and while it was all pretty good, I think I'll have to try this place again for my usual benchmark dish saag paneer before I render my final judgment. Boy Kid sure loved his samosas though.

• • •

Oh God, Why Do We Have So Much Crap?

The moving process is not going well. I have fantasies of putting a notice up on Craig's List: "Just come and take it all away", but I suppose that's a bad idea. So much crap to shift, so little time. My quest to go monastic and get rid of everything is not working out so well. Boy Kid, for one, is having a very hard time letting go of his collections of role playing detritus, magazines, puzzles, clumps of magnets, and other odds and bobs. He has already packed something like four big boxes of Magic card collections. Oh well.

And on that note, it's time to face up to my responsibilities and go face the packing. Oh god, I need a drink. Until next time, think of me fondly, send me your kind thoughts, and if you live in Seattle, let me know if you want a recumbent exercise bike, a huge box of stuffed animals, a crappy purple dresser, or an enormous drawing of a dragon in a slightly-too-small IKEA frame. Everything must go.

Your Mistress