Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Quickie DVD Reviews

For those of you who do not choose to brave the teaming, smelly, rude, snotty, coughing, encumbered-with-small-screaming-children, or otherwise hideously objectionable public to go see movies in the theater, following are one minute reviews of current DVDs available at your local multi-national conglomerate 'o entertainment. Now, some critics out there will review DVDs based on all the extras, etc., but I'm going to have to stick to movies that I have actually seen, or for which I know what extras are available. So, some of these are just mini-movie reviews, and some include information on the "extras". Don't hate me for not having a press pass, I don't get invited to the junkets, or at least not yet. Enjoy.

Corpse Bride
As much as I love Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, and as much as The Nightmare Before Christmas was truly great...I can't recommend this one. It is beautifully done, but it was somehow...not fun. Besides, the "groom" is a an indecisive man whore—now he loves Live Chick, now he loves Dead Chick, now Dead Chick is sacrificing her happiness so that Live Chick and Man Whore can be in love and get married. Snore. And I've heard there are no DVD extras worth mentioning, which is a crime. Verdict? Pass.

In Her Shoes
Curtis Hanson, who directed L.A. Confidential and Wonder Boys, which are both really wonderful films (rent them), and 8 Mile, which is kinda pretty great if you are into that sort of thing, (Eminem and an anorexic Brittany Murphy not withstanding), laid a lemon this time around. Maybe he doesn't do well with stories about women. This is certainly a chick-flick, which I'm not necessarily against, and it does have the goddess Toni Collette as it's star, but it manages to be kind of dull. I know all the critics were giving it 3 or 4 stars, but not me. Or Girl Kid, she hated it. Verdict? "Enh."

The Aristocrats
I rented this last night. I'd tried to see it in the theater, but I'm glad I wasn't able to find some "without teenage child" time to see it then, because the extensive DVD extras make this one worth a look. This is a movie about an old vaudeville joke that comedians reserve for each other...generally speaking, it has become far too filthy for public performance. Be warned: DO NOT watch this with your children, even if they are adults, you'll feel bad and wrong if you try. The idea of the joke is that there is a simple set up, and the punch line is "the Aristocrats!". The middle of the joke is entirely up to the sensibility of the teller. Over time, comedians have developed a tradition of one-upmanship, with each person trying to tell the grossest, filthiest, vilest, most pornographic story imaginable. In that regard, Bob Saget wins (yes, Bob Saget), but George Carlin manages a close second in the opening few minutes of the movie. Gross, gross, gross. I didn't really think any of it was all that funny, but it was interesting, (boys of a certain mind-set will probably find it hi-larious). My favorite bit was when Cartman tells the joke to the rest of the South Park boys at the bus stop. And the mime was pretty...um...funny? Verdict? Rent it, but don't say I didn't warn you—view this one on an empty stomach at your peril. And if you happen to run across Bob Saget, cross the street. That guy is one sick fuck.

Lord of War
Director Andrew Niccol really did his research for this movie. He interviewed several actual arms dealers over a couple of years, and Nicolas Cage's character Yuri is a composite of several real people. This is a work of fiction, but the stories told all happened...to someone. There's a scene with a long line of Russian tanks extending into the distance that is not computer generated, the tanks were real ones on loan from a real arms dealer, who Niccols has said told him, "Just have them back by December, I have to deliver them then." I wonder who got them? The AK-47s in one warehouse scene are real too, Niccol found it was cheaper to buy the guns from a dealer than to create fake ones. (He sold them to the government after filming.) More: the opening long shot of the movie depicts a bullet's life from sheet metal to it's final ending in a child's skull, and is just gutting, and totally worth the price of admission right there. Verdict? Rent it. We saw it twice in the theater.

Jodi Foster is usually great, and I love Peter Sarsgaard, but this one is a pass. Boring and predictable. Verdict? Save your money.

Girl Kid saw this with her friends, and she thought it was...wait for it...boring and predictable. Pirate Ghost Zombies, with a romantic ending. This sounds fun to me, but Girl Kid swears it's not worth the effort. There, now you don't have to see it. Verdict? Are you kidding me right now?

A collaboration of Neil Gaiman and David McKean, and made for only four million dollars, this is a flat-out a work of art. I can't even begin to describe it, other than to say it's a mixture of live-action and animation. It's not available until February 14th, but go ahead and pre-order it now. A must have, it's beautiful, it's amazing...and I don't even know what the extras will be like. Verdict? Do you have to ask? BUY!

I've talked about the cancelled Firefly series before, and this is the movie that takes off where the series left off. Rent the Firefly series first (you'll be glad you did), and then rent this. No exceptions, I'm ordering you to do it. Verdict? Please, just to make me happy....

Incident At Loch Ness
This one has been out for a while, but I'll include it here—director Werner Herzog is my personal god, I love him so much. This movie is...well, I won't ruin it by telling you anything the title doesn't already reveal. The thing I will tell you is: DO watch the commentary with Zach Penn and Werner Herzog, it's more funny than the movie itself. Verdict? Rent it, bitch!

Well, that's it for now. I'm going to go eat dinner, 'cause I'm hungry!
Love, Your Mistress

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Being Bad, The Car, and People Who Make Me Happy

Yes, after all I said two weeks ago, I experienced another batch of paralysis and haven't posted in two whole weeks. I am a bad bad Mistress. In my defense, of which I should of course have none, until yesterday I hadn't gotten more than seven hours of sleep in a night since January 2nd, and usually it was more like four or five hours. I'm not sure why this has been happening, but it's probably a combination of stress, being ill, quitting vices such as coffee, sugar and booze, or all of the above. Yes, your Mistress has temporarily quit such pleasures for the betterment of her body. Of course, vices of the mind are more my food and drink anyway, so now there's room in my belly for more. (And no, I didn't quit stuff as a New Year's resolution, 'cause that's for weenies. It's a coincidence. I swear.) I was also feeling again like no one was reading, so why bother? But, a friend or two mentioned liking a post or two, and then I got this:

I wan't to be your bitch by E-mail I'll do anything you ask

The important thing about this post is...I'm pretty sure it's from someone I don't personally know! Dear readers, (and my bitch, you know who you are), you have no idea how much this cheered me up. (I'm so needy.) So, I'll be a good girl now, I promise. Or you can spank me a little bit.

The Car
Last week, I caved in and let my daughter buy a car. It's a very cheap car...actually, it's a mini-van. For some weird reason of her own reason Girl Kid wanted a van very badly, and she found this one on her own through the magic of the Web. For reasons beyond my understanding, mini-vans are practically free at the used car lot, and this was one they had to buy as part of a lot and that they were willing to unload at cost. It actually has more features than my car, including the ever-wanted (by me) variable intermittent windshield wipers, which is a item so needed in Seattle it's on par with double-thick woolly socks and over-proof rum in the Yukon. (Yes, that important.) The bad thing is that now I have a kid who will soon be operating a major piece of machinery out there in the cold and the dark all by her very lonesome...and I will be a quivering mass of nerves, hiding behind the couch and gibbering. I tend to be a way more nervous parent than normal when it comes to my child operating a car, but when I was 19 I was a passenger in a car accident where the driver died, so I have my reasons.

● ● ●

People Who Make Me Happy
In counterpoint to my Death List of Ire, I thought it might be good to include some things that I like. I'm not all about the Negativity, after all...just mostly.

Men, Actor Catagory
In a brief list of people who are proof of the existence of God, and in no particular order (other than the first one):

Ewan MacGregor, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Colin Mochrie, Steven Fry, Dylan Moran, Martin Donovan, Jon Stewart, Jason Lee and John Waters.

There are more, but I just can't think of who just at the moment. All of the above boys will put my butt in a theater seat on opening weekend, no questions asked. Sure, a couple of them are gay, so what? They are alternatively dreamy or witty or a combination of the two, which I like. I'm also kind of a sucker for a guy with a really expressive face. Someone whose every thought is visible on their face or in their eyes puts me over the moon. And that is partly why, as you can see, I do not go in for the usual dreary heartthrob types like (dear god, don't make me gag) Brad Pitt. I do like George Clooney, but not is that "special way". He's an interesting actor, and is turning out to be a great director, but he's too pretty to be on my God list.

Also Rans: Jack Black, John Cusack, Don Cheadle and Seve Buscemi. Hmm. I like Billy Bob Thornton as an actor, but he's too messed up and pervy (and not in a good way) to be attractive.

Female-Type Persons, Actor Catagory
Anjelica Huston (who is the most beautiful woman), Susan Sarandon, Cate Blanchett, Carol Kane, Kate Winslet. I can't think of any more right now. Damn, I must be straight. Shoot.

Also Rans: Anybody British, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Joan Cusack.

Director Catagory
You = director = me / butt in theater: Werner Herzog (my personal god), Baz Lurhmann, John Sayles, Sophia Coppola, Hal Hartley, David Lynch, Tim Burton, Peter Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Michel Gondry, Peter Weir, Peter Greenaway...there are more, but this is enough for now.

Author Category
● Terry Pratchett, scribe of the Discworld series. I live on the Discworld in my head as much as humanly possible, and I'm happy that Mr. Pratchett is so prolific, because I really, really need more of these books. Twenty-two plus is still not enough.

● Neal Stephensen, who is probably most famous for the absolutely great Cryptomomicon, but his Baroque Cycle series is just way and above the best three books ever written. This guy just knows how to write in a way that makes me both jealous and weak in the knees.

Theater Ushers
Yeah, one more time: what a cruddy job this must be. I'd have to rip out the throat of humanity after one week of cleaning up other people's crap that they just threw on the floor instead of making what must be the monumental effort to...carry...empty popcorn box and soda...ten feet...to nearest receptacle. And all for minimum wage. Still, it probably beats waitressing.

Stephen Colbert
The Colbert Report is bunches of funny. I also admire him for doing voice-overs for weird stuff like Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law. "I'll make you Fun Sized!". Yep, that about sums it up. I love you, my man.

Ze Frank
I still haven't figured out how to do links in stupid Blogger that actually work, so please excuse the need to cut and paste: http://www.zefrank.com/. I challenge you to watch any of his little video clips and not fall totally, completely in love. His New Year's Resolutions are hilarious, and he is just basically insanely talented, happy, and cuter than a button. A cute, cute button. He gives me "the feelings".

Male Friends Who Talk About Masturbation
Well, maybe "happy" is not what this makes me, but "curious" and "interested". Thank you to my recent male friend who opened my eyes to male insecurity (and this is a guy who ought to feel like a Master of the Universe, who knew men could be as crazy as women are about their bodies? Please: put away your ruler). Thank you also to all my other male friends over the last couple of years who have alternatively described themselves as "masters", "kings", "champions", "olympic contenders" and suchlike of the act of self lovin'. I especially appreciated the cartoon. Since all of you are married, I'm glad to hear you can be so open about this...and that your wives are all down with it, so to speak. Of course, maybe if we women were "down" more often, this would not be such a hot topic. Girls, I've always found a man to be more compliant after a quick little morning jobbie. Just a thought. For some reason, men seem to need this stuff to stay sane.

People I Can Make Laugh
There is almost nothing I love better than making someone laugh. It's best when I can catch them off guard and make them spew something out their nose. Sometimes I can keep the jokes rolling and get them laughing without stopping until they are red and heaving and unable to breathe. This is the best, and it makes me more happy than words can express. Sometimes I blow it and go too far, but if I can time it right, I can make them pee a little bit. I love this more than chocolate.

My Readers
To anyone who reads my blog: I love you. There, I said it. You are the chicken wings beneath my sauce. Or something. Thank you.

And Finally, Bears
Because they sometimes eat people. Nuff said.

Well, my dearies, I have other obligations today that are whining and wheedling to be a addressed. And poking me. So, off I go, more tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Wherein I Try to Write a Romance Novel-ette

It's actually harder than you'd think to write regularly, especially if you are trying to be funny. I suppose this statement is denied by all those cat-loving housewives who post on a daily basis, but I was hoping to make my own posts more than "today we had meat loaf, and this time I used pimentos...." (Not that I can remember the last time I ate meat loaf of course, or pimentos.) But, since I haven't posted since Tuesday (my Death List of Ire, which even if I say so myself, is a masterpiece of dry wit), it's more than time to...say something...anything...damn, why won't my brain work!

The mind is as empty as a shot glass at closing time...okay, how about....

A Romance Novel, the Cliff's Notes Version
Nineteen year old English maiden Esmeralda is a headstrong beauty, all flashing eyes and will. Her long, flowing, jet-black hair falls in lazy curls down her firm but shapely back. After the Great Fire of London, (1666, for any unschooled readers out there, of which I have none of course!), her family has fallen on hard times, and so despite the pleading of her old mother, she has hired out to a rich family in Boston as a governess.

Scene: A Dark and Swollen Sea Off the West Coast of Ireland
Young Esme is now on her ocean voyage to the new world, but her ship is tossed on wind-swept seas and sinks! She manages to swim to a piece of flotsam; saved for now, she drifts in and out of consciousness, with the screams of her shipmates echoing distantly in her ears and then fading away as she floats further out to sea. But wait! Hours later, as all hope is almost lost, on the horizon, a dark and dismal castle can be just seen past sharp rocky cliffs! As Esme again collapses into sleep, she bleats, "Oh, to be teased with such a sight as I die, I die!" (Too many exclamation points?)

Thirty-five year old Desmond is a son of sons, an Irish prince of a family long lost to ruin and disgrace. He's had a checkered past—he's loved and lost and killed a man with his bare hands over a woman's good name. He's bad news baby, (or so his family and civilized society supposes). An outcast and on the run from the law, he's hiding out in the ruins of a forgotten family holding on a distant western island—Castle Donal 'o Donal—stoically surviving on fish, a dwindling cache of gold doubloons won off a wandering pirate during a particularly heated poker game, and whatever washes up from from the bounty of Mother Sea.

One wet morning, on the grim dawn of an awful storm, Desmond is searching the beach below the cliffs for whatever might have been driven to shore by the hell-sent winds. He spies something dashed upon the kelp-strewn rocks! Warily he approaches...it's a girl, on her back, her arm flung back prettily, her bodice torn open to reveal a perfect breast, pink nipple stiff in the breeze. A knot wells up in his throat, such perfect beauty, affronted by cruel nature and circumstance! (A knot wells up somewhere somewhat lower as well; it's been some time, if you know what I mean.) He stumbles to the mermaid girl, is she breathing? Oh sweet gods, yes! Desmond attempts to restore this most unexpected treasure's modesty with his rough cloak, but she wakes and screams, what hideous countenance is this? She faints dead away, too exhausted, too drained, to face such trials. Desmond gasps back tears—the years of isolation have turned him into a hideous beast too foul for fair contemplation! Damn her, for ruining his isolation! Damn himself and his cruel nature, too horrid for polite company! And yet! Could such beauty exist in the world? (Yeah, too many exclamation points, I know). He lifts up her limp body, and with a heavy heart, carries her up to his dank castle.

Scene: A Dank Castle
Esmeralda wakes in a huge wooden four-poster bed, her gown is gone, a white singlet with lace cuffs replaces it. Dear god, what has happened! She looks around wildly; she's in a stone room, a fire burns upon the hearth. And then she remembers the storm, the sinking of her ship, and the cries of her fellow passengers as they succumb to the deeps. She's been saved, but how, and by whom?

Desmond enters with a tray. A steaming tankard smells heavenly, and Esme's stomach clenches—how long was she in the water? She grabs the vessel, and drinks deeply—it is beer heated with spices, has anything ever tasted so good? As her head falls back onto voluminous pillows, a thought drifts by just before oblivion, "He's not so bad after all, he's handsome even...if only I had some scissors to tame that mane, I could make something of him...."

Scene: A Babbling Brook
Time hurries on, and with each passing day, Esmeralda finds herself sneaking glances at this brooding Irish chieftain. His blue eyes pierce her to the soul, his strict eyebrows and loose black locks give her a funny feeling in places no nice girl would contemplate. He makes her swoon...oh cruel fate, to lay waste to her modesty with these tempestuous blushes! Her breasts swell in an embarrasing fashion in his presence.

One day, as spring approaches, she leaves the castle to hunt for herbs and mushrooms. Not finding much, she returns early, only to find Desmond bathing in the cold water of the castle spring; his lean form is turned slightly away from her, and water glistens off his muscular flanks and taut but round buttocks. Esme feels it happening again, the blush is starting up from her toes this time, but it soon becomes a wildfire that sweeps up her body—thighs, stomach, breasts, face! A sudden wild tingling suffuses that special place between her legs, she's never felt anything like it! Esme groans out loud and doubles over in agony. But no! He's heard her! She runs for the castle as if the hounds of hell are at her heels.

Desmond spins around, his modesty no where to be seen. He spies Esmeralda fleeing up the castle steps, damn, he's affronted her purity again! What was the fool girl doing outside anyway? He spies her basket, mushrooms and a few flowers of the field scattered in disarray.

Scene: Star-Crossed Lovers
Well, we know what happens next—tortured glances become more meaningful, both our subjects cannot sleep. Another chance encounter of the un-robed variety, this time young Esme is getting a late-night snack, still wearing his somewhat threadbare singlet, and what with the moon, and the candlelight, Desmond is treated to Esme's full form—slender, but full, with long, well-shaped thighs that meet at a tender "v" that leaves him breathless; her pert breasts push out the singlet in two perfect cones tipped with berries. His voice catches in his throat, he gargles out a greeting, and she startles, "Oh, it's you, I didn't see you there!" Desmond offers to walk her back to her room, at the door, she stumbles against him, and then they are in each other's arms.

The Good Bit
His mouth ravages hers, but she is more than match for him. She answers each searching, raging kiss with one as wild. His hands frame her face, and then slide inexorably down...down...her breasts rise up to meet them. He circles each nipple with a single finger, and then with his lips; she pulls the singlet down to offer him better access. With a cry, they fall upon her bed, and he enters her kingdom of heaven with a cry. Soon both their voices are raised up on high, a new day has dawned, and what pleasures it brings!

And more of the same, they get married the old fashioned way, "I marry you, I marry you, I marry you", Baby One is followed by Baby Two, they find a hidden stash of gold in the basement, and all is well. The End.

How's that my pretties? I've only read four romance novels in my time. I want to write them someday so I don't have to work, and I was doing research (I swear). The above is about how they all seem to go: Head-strong but Supple Woman-Type Person (not too old) falls for Dark and Brooding Man-Type Person (at least 15 years older than her) against her will. Things happen, but with more and more stolen glances and self-recrimination ("I want to! I can't! He's just too awful! He's so dreamy!"), and then at the very end, some naughty bits followed immediately by marriage and babies. All, in all, very very generic vanilla stuff, with barely a hint of anything more than missionary, with any indiscretion followed quickly by a return to propriety in the form of marriage and a happy ending (no, not that kind, you gutter-minded perv). My romance novel will have more naughty bits than most, and hopefully a better story as well. I'll keep you...posted. (Get it? Posted? Ha Ha. Sorry.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mistress Squidia's Death List of Ire

I see in my post on how Other People Drive Me Mad, that I mentioned that I have a Death List of Ire. Maybe I'd better make one, eh? Here we go, possibly in no particular order:

1. Movie Division
a) I known I've written about this before; but, People Who Talk and/or Cause a Ruckus During Movies make me crazy. Please people, you are not in your living room. There are some cultural issues here—people from the South seem more likely to shout back at the screen than we supposedly reticent Seattlietes do, but then the very old are often guilty of this heinous crime as well. Stop it now, because I'll get you with my rusty spoon. You're not using your spleen, right?

b) Also mentioned before—people who leave snow drifts of garbage for the ushers. Were you raised by wolves? Apparently so. (Apologies to wolves everywhere.)

c) People who constantly check their cell phones. Guess what? The cool full-color extra-large screen on your rampantly over-priced new cell phone you got for Christmas can be seen by everyone in the theater, including the people in the front rows and shuttle astronauts. DO NOT "multi-task" by sending text messages 12 to 17 times during the movie. Does it make you feel good to know that someone a few rows behind you is plotting your immediate and gruesome death?

d) People who kick. This is so common it hardly merits a mention. Do you want to keep the use of your legs? I thought so.

e) People who bring their very small children to violent R-rated movies. What, do you think they won't remember later? Years ago, Total Recall was ruined for me by the 2-year old who kept asking (plaintively), "Mommy, what's happening to that man's head?". More recently, I was shocked and appalled at the number of parents who DELIBERATELY took their kids of all ages to see The Passion of the Christ, which is basically a two hour snuff film. On the down side, as a direct result of this movie we probably will have a generation of sociopaths to look forward to; on the plus side, this movie will (hopefully) cause an entire generation to question the "values" of the Christian church.

As a side note, I have to laugh: the same theater which gave no hassle at all to parents taking very small children to The Passion, gave a lot of hassle to parents with older teenagers who were going to see The Girl Next Door. Let's see, the message this sends is, "Extreme violence and torture = 'good'; teenage sex = 'bad'". The Puritans would be so proud. Maybe I'm crazy, but I'd rather my 16 year-old was having sex than beating the flesh off someone for 11 minutes straight with a steel-tipped whip. (And no, I don't think The Passion teaches people about how much Christ suffered for our sins. I think it teaches us that Mel Gibson is a full-on psycho whack-job pervert.)

2. Highway Division
a) People who shift lanes without signaling. Well, I'm happy you think I'm psychic, but perhaps some warning would keep me from having to release my harpoon?

b) All those yahoos who drive up real close behind me and honk, and then speed around me only to cut back into my lane six feet in front of me just because I happen to be going the speed limit. I don't mind you speeding, 'cause the cops will get you eventually, (therefore giving you something to rail and rant about at in the bar), but leave me alone to avoid tickets in my own way, umkay? Oh yeah, and your dick is fun sized.

c) People who drive angry in general. My ex-husband and most cab drivers I have known exist in this category. Please—we who are your passengers and fellow drivers don't need the profound experience of you speeding up to 50 miles-per-hour when you see a small opening, and then slamming on the breaks when the gap dries up (lather, rinse, repeat). Shaken Baby Syndrome can happen to anyone. I'd shoot you with my harpoon, but at these g-forces, aiming is difficult.

3. Co-Worker Division
a) Office Suck Ups. I once worked with a woman who's gross incompetence lost my (small and barely profitable) company over a quarter million dollars in sales on just one project. But, because she flattered the boss and took him out to lunch all the time, she wasn't fired. Over the years, every time she screwed up, the boss "promoted" her laterally, but in such a small company potential lateral moves eventually ran out. In the end she was running the division for which she'd originally lost so much money, and then the company went out of business. Being the office twinkie may get you a long way with the philandering boss, but if you must be a slut, please try to back it up with at least a modicum of competency. Do you know how many lethal weapons can be constructed out of average office supplies?

b) Time Wasting Morons. I worked with a guy who told me on the first day I met him that he hated meetings, "I hate it when people waste time talking and talking." I couldn't agree with him more...until our first meeting together. This guy spent each and every meeting blabbing away about stuff that had almost no relevance to anything—each meeting was at least 45 minutes to an hour longer because he loved to flap his gums. On the other side of the spectrum, when my evil ex worked at Microsoft and I went to visit him, I noticed that people there spent at least two hours a day yacking in the halls (admittedly, this was a while ago, but I doubt much has changed since). Office pranks were common, with loads of time expended on planning and execution of said pranks. In fact at the time, how funny you were was an integral part of your success at Microsoft. Now, I'm all for having fun at work, but not if it means I have to spend 12 hours on-site to get six hours of actual work done. I also have to wonder if this is part of why Microsoft Windows sucks so hard—a little more time testing things before launch maybe would be good?

c) People who pretend they are sooo over-worked. In any office, there are the 80% of people who basically do busy work and hide in their cubes stealing office supplies but who at least get some work done, the 10% of people who actually do most of the productive work of the company, and the 10% of people who complain constantly about being overwhelmed by their workload and yet who never actually seem to produce anything. For some reason, these people are often managers, but I've been a manager, so I'm on to you—if you are so over-worked, show me the results. Something. Anything. A toaster even. Next time you can do that last minute budget proposal yourself.

d) The 40-hour work week that is really 60+ hours long. Again, Europe is laughing at us. While we toil away on "Amazon Time" (as in amazon.com for any of you non-Seattleites) to pay for homes and children we never get to see in daylight, those willy Euros are working 35 hour (maxium) weeks and lazing on beaches in Thailand with their socialized medicine on their six-week-long vacations and sending their kids to university for free while snorting legal marijuana off their licensed sex-worker's taut and naked stomach. Meanwhile, we have to mull over whether or not we can afford the deductible for that broken little toe or small heart attack we suffered during the mandatory "team building" soccer game we were forced to play in during "lunch".

e) And finally, because they are such a common type of co-worker that they must be lumped in together: people who don't give a shit about anyone anywhere. These are the ones who don't make make more coffee when the pot is empty (or who spill coffee grounds everywhere and don't clean it up), who pee on the co-ed bathroom floor, who break equipment and don't tell anyone, or who, in extreme cases, leave their shift without telling anyone that something life-threatening is happening. This actually happened to me once—the engineers later told us that if we'd taken 15 minutes longer to fix the problem, there would have been a crater the size of two city blocks left where the building had been—and the day shift knew about the problem when they left. (Of course, that's back in the day when I briefly worked for bona fide Nazis. My shift supervisor had been in Hitler Youth. But, that's another post.)

4. Also-Rans
People who don't call back when they say they will; parents who make six times what I do but send their kids out to events with us with no cash on them (and who expect us to do all the driving); George Bush and all his cronies who think they can use whole countries to re-shape the globe for their own personal profit, (is Halliburton the real shadow government?); MTV and Hollywood for making women even more insane about their bodies; Christians, who think their their religion is so great even though it has been directly responsible for so much sickness, misery and death over the centuries; department store greeters; and finally, people who pinch the cheeks of small relatives. Even after all these years, I'm still sore.

Unlike Stephen Colbert, I have nothing against grizzly bears, even though they sometimes eat people. Or maybe especially because they sometimes eat people.

And there you have it, as of this date, Mistress Squidia's Death List of Ire. In the immortal words of Eugene Levy in Splash, "I'm a lovely person. If I had any friends you could ask them."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sick, Travels to Foreign Lands, Meats of Evil, TV Worth Watching

Today I am sick beyond description. Starting January 1, I've been having trouble sleeping, and have had two nights now with no sleep at all until 6am. I'm averaging five hours a night total. Last night I spent 13.5 hours in bed, but only slept 4.35 hours. The rest of my time was spent coughing and trying to get comfortable. You know how when your sinuses get clogged and you change your head position and then a sinus begins to make a sort of squeal noise? All night, and most of today, it's been "wheennni, wheenniiii, wheeeennnniiii...." Girl kid thought that there was something wrong with the cat. In other words, I'm ready to shoot myself in the head and looking for distractions as if life depended on it.

So, in hopes that a trip outside would help, Girl Kid and I went to the U District to acquire some florescent green earrings to go with her Gay and Lesbian Tolerance presentation for school tomorrow. (Don't ask.) Getting down there was a bit dreamlike—we were talking about stuff, and the suddenly I noticed that we were driving down the Ave and I couldn't fully remember how we got there. Is that wrong? At least I didn't run over any hobos. I think.

Anyway, afterwards Girl Kid had a jones for mini-burgers from Denny's, so after the radioactive green earrings were successfully captured, we drove back up to the den of geriatrics near our house. In the due course of events, mini-burgers arrived and we compared what came to the table with the picture in the menu. One had glowing buns of perfection, perfectly puffed, with a shiny gloss on top and cute little beef patties peeking coyly out from under their cheddar topping. Plump french fries waved in a friendly fashion. In other words—the incarnation on earth of God's Own Lunch, If He Wanted Mini-Burgers That Day. The other was flattened and wrinkly shards of beige-ish substance containing evil looking cubes of carbon and a yellowish smear of what I can only hope was cheese. Fries lurked threateningly on the edge of the platter, ready to pounce. Guess which of these was the actual meal? Meats of evil indeed.

• • •

TV to Love (and sucks to be you if you don't have cable for no.'s 1 and 2)
1) Project Runway (Bravo). Yes, this is the dreaded reality TV, but this one is really great. Wannabe fashion designers compete for a spread in Elle Magazine and a runway show during NYC Fashion Week. The thing we love about this show is that these contestants actually have some skills and talent. Plus, based on Season One and what we've seen so far of Season Two, the producers make sure that there will be at least a couple of contestants who are unglued to a spectacular degree. Verdict? Fun on a Bun.

2) Daisy Does America (Also on Bravo). This British chick comes to America and visits every state and tries her hand at something uniquely "us". So far she's won a beauty pageant in Texas, and a dog show (I forget where, and she has to score a second dog to win), and plans a couple's wedding in Tennessee. Apparently, people from Tennessee are insane, surprise, surprise. She manages to make total fun of the people she interviews and yet win us over with her barking mad charms. I hear this is getting lousy ratings, so check it out before it's cancelled. Verdict? The British are adorable.

3) My Name Is Earl (NBC). I have had a major crush on Jason Lee since Chasing Amy, and he finally is getting his shot at the big time in this inexpressibly sweet and hilarious story about a guy who tries to right all of his (considerable) wrongs against friends, family, former girlfriends and random neighbors, one by one. The whole cast and the writing is perfection, but seeing Jason sporting his truck stop hair and handlebar mustache gets me all warm and fuzzy, if you know what I mean. Verdict? Handlebar mustaches are coming back; can the mullet be far behind? (Please God, no, not the mullet!)

That's it for now. If you wish, please vote for me for the 2005 Bloggies: http://2006.bloggies.com.

In the meantime..."wheennni, wheenniiii, wheeeennnniiii!"

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sex and Two Movies

First, the sex:
A friend of mine and I started talking about sex and self esteem and all that jazz recently, and it got me thinking about how messed up our puritanical society has made us all. We think of ourselves as so modern and worldly, but those Calvinist pilgrims—who tainted Plymouth Rock with their pinched up little brains 400 years ago—live on in us still. Janet Jackson exposes a (large) pasty over a nipple for two seconds on national TV? Shocking! And then all the networks go into The Heaves over potentially salacious content for the next two years (and counting). Oh dear God, please, all of us—grow up already!

Men still think that “size matters” and that the whole universe revolves around their Special Little Friend, and sure, I guess I can sympathize with this attitude; but, as a woman, I’d really, really hate to have to deal with a weird little alien thing with a mind of its own stuck onto the front of me on a daily basis. The whole “pants leg and zipper” thing seems like a problem right there. (Why don’t men wear skirts again?) Anyway, I’m glad I don’t have one. Still, apparently the things are, for the most part, (or so I’m told), totally reliable as Mr. Happy Fun Easy Access Any Time. I suppose that would make up for a lot. Maybe. But, to all men everywhere: women don’t really care about size that much (and stop right there, I don’t need your e-mails to the contrary). If we really want a Big One we’ll go and buy it, (batteries not included). Sorry, guys, but this is just how it is. Men: it’s what you do with your equipment (and by this I mean not just Mr. Happy, but especially your brain, hands, etc.), that really matters in the sack. Knowing where “front and center” really are on your woman doesn’t hurt either, if you catch my drift. (If you need to know more on this subject, check out Episode 6, Season Four of the awesomely great BBC America show Coupling.)

Now, women are not by any means exempt, we worry way too much about boob size and just how big our butts are. How messed up is that? “One part of me is too small, but just a foot and a half further south all the rest of me is too big! Oh no!” I mean come on…why not just be happy with all of it, big or small? Women in Hollywood are currently starving themselves to death so that they can get that oh-so-trendy “cadaver” look—personally, if I was a man, I would not want my lover to clank when we were getting it on. Of course, the media is to blame for women’s poor body image, but so are men. How many times have I heard a dude say, “I’ll tap anything, anywhere, anytime, just as long as she’s got a pulse. No fatties.”? Really guys, what are women supposed to take from that kind of statement?

Anyway: boys, “It’s not the meat, it’s the motion”, (thank you Maria Muldaur), and girls: you are fine, go ahead and eat something. If Keira Knightly can be happy with her completely flat chest, then you are Pam Anderson, (but more life-like). Be happy.

• • •

Movie 1: Grandma’s Boy
My daughter is now of driving age. She’s taken Driver’s Ed. She keeps asking me, “Won’t it be better for you when I have my own car and I can drive myself places?” No, it will not. When she is out driving around on her own, I will be a mass of stress beyond all scope. You’ll know it when you see it—I’ll be the one in the corner shivering, drooling and praying to God (who I’ll now be on speaking terms with). This is why I still end up doing things I would not, in any sane world, do on my own, such as see Grandma’s Boy. But, on Friday, this is just what we did (it was her boyfriend’s fault).

Grandma’s Boy is basically about a thirty-something game tester (but please, I think that guy is at least in his forties), who through conspicuous use of the devil weed loses his housing and is forced to move in with his grandmother and her two old lady roommates. I was embarrassed to find that this movie was very R rated, which I love on my own, but not when my daughter and her friend are somewhere in the room with me. Anyhoo, long story short, there were plenty of funny bits, but not really enough for anyone over the age of 25 to make this one worth the price of admission. Or even rental. If you are frat boy, you’ll probably love it: it’s got weed and boobs and even a Kung Fu monkey. I was more concerned about how the gamer community would be presented, and on that regard, it wasn’t too bad. The movie got some things spot on: kudos for the conspicuous use of T-shirts from Jinx (http://www.jinx.com), the gamer’s apparel of choice. I also think that the genius game programmer dude who thinks he’s a robot was modeled in part on the brilliant-but-über-freaky Steve Mann (http://wearcam.org), who’s life work is to turn himself into a cyborg. Really. I’ve talked to this guy in person, and I can attest that he is both a freak and really, really smart. The guy in the movie even looks like a younger version of Mr. Mann, so maybe the character of JP was modeled on him. The game tester workspace looked exactly like the cubicle farm at the G4 Network, so that was about right too. All in all, unlike a lot of frat-boy flicks, the movie treats everyone with at least some respect, and it has a very sweet undertone that I really liked. Plus, Shirley Jones put the mojo back in movies with a vengeance—move over, Angelina Jolie. Damn, that is one hot 72 year old broad, and she plays it to the hilt. To the total credit of the film makers, they did not really treat hot grandma sex as something to be laughed at, and I loved that. Things I didn’t love? Why is Grandmas Getting Baked supposed to be so funny? Sure, but, please, it’s been done to death already. My recommendation? Um, if you liked Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, you’ll probably like Grandma’s Boy. I liked HAKGTWC more, but the 16 year old boy with us liked this one better. Go figure. This one had more breasts. Booth babe breasts.

Movie 2: Munich
I had some time on my own yesterday (sweet, sweet, precious alone time!), and I chose to spend it, like I almost always do, at a movie. My choice was Munich. I won’t go into an exhaustive review (well, we’ll see in a few minutes). This is s Spielberg film, and that usually means Big Slick Production Values with a High Concept Message. This movie was apparently filmed very quickly last summer, and it shows, but in a good way. This movie is not quite like anything else Mr. Spielberg has done. The high concept message is there, but the production values were refreshingly rough and ready. Yes, it’s about Jews in Danger, but it doesn’t have that patented Spielberg look-and-feel, and I for one appreciated the change. Eric Bana was great—he has just the right blend of pathos and hot, studly muscles—he looked good but can also act. The movie is about what Golda Meir and the Israeli government do after the 1972 Palestinian assassination of eleven Olympic team members in Munich. Two things did strike me as wrong: why would the Israeli’s form an assassination team out of people with no skills or at least very limited background in this area? There is a throw-away line that explains this away as, “If we have no skills, the other side won’t suspect us”. I’m not convinced, but I guess this is what actually happened? Also, why do film makers always show moral decline with makeup? I’m sorry—you can be morally compromised without dark bags under your eyes and white pancake foundation. Bana is supposed to look haggard by the end of the movie, but Mr. Spielberg, please, let the acting do the work. Near the end of the movie there is also a sex scene that was cheesy in the extreme and which took me right out of the action. The movie is supposed to be all about what Home and Family really mean, and what people will do to protect them, but Woman’s Body as Homeland Substitute was too much for me. My recommendation? Yes, go ahead and see Munich, but leave the kids at home. This is a movie for grownups, and indeed, the theater I was in had a median age of about 50. There is nothing in Munich for frat-boys.

Friday, January 06, 2006

To Blog or Not to Blog

As none of you have noticed, I’ve taken about a week and a half off from posting. Here’s why: back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, everyone and their pre-op uncle kept a journal, meaning they sat around in coffee bars with hand-crafted eco-friendly oat paper notebooks looking meaningfully into the distance and then scratching out a few lines while sipping expensive coffee. Starbucks owes big cash money to these people. I think the idiots thought journaling and looking all intellectual would get them laid. Arty girls would write horrible poetry that they then would put to acoustic guitar…thank you Fiona Apple, Lisa Lobe and the ilk, we don’t care. Thirty-something goatee’d wannabe hipster dudes would be smugly scribbling their screenplays and hanging out by the muffins looking for those arty girls to “hug”. Because of this, I always thought journaling was stupid: why write down my thoughts that I already know and that no one else will read? So that I can read it years later when I have The Senility to remind myself of my angst-filled genius? Stupid.

Well, there isn’t much difference between the old journal thing and the Blog phenomenon, (other than a lack of muffins). I still find it weird to write for myself and not for an audience; I guess that’s part of what makes me a whore. That being said…I guess I’ll keep this up for now. Maybe someone somewhere someday will find me funny enough to keep reading. And when you do: I love you.

• • •

Okay, now for the last week or so:
Because it is my vice, and because Girl Kid was on winter break from school, we saw too many movies. One was sublime, three were horrid dreck. First the dreck:

Rumor Has It
Alternative Title: Craptastic. Oh god, how many ways are there to say how awful this was? I know, I know, “Why did you go in the first place?” you ask. Have I mentioned I’m a slut for movies? And the premise was pretty great: chick finds out her family was the model for The Graduate. Potential comedy gold, right? Awesomely bad, more like it. I’m now officially rooting for Team Jolie—no wonder Brad left Jen for the obviously more interesting and complicated Angelina, Jen just has nothing going on upstairs. Jennifer Aniston does her patented “Rachel” impression; supposedly comedic stuff happens (sleeping with a guy you think might be your dad? Yuck!), the story ends happily, groan. The only thing that made this clunker even remotely worth watching was the always amazing Shirely Maclaine, who chewed up the scenery with that ballsy old broad thing she does so well. Here she’s obviously enjoying herself (she was probably drunk the entire shoot). But, what in the hell is wrong with Mark Ruffalo? He’s great actor, hella good looking (did you see that peek o’ pecker he flashes in In The Cut? Damn! Or course you didn’t, no one saw that one but me). He’s funny…why, oh why, Mr. Ruffalo, are you trying to be the romantic lead in all these recent chick flick throw-away flicks? Is it really for the money? You are better than that, man!

The Family Stone
Alternative Title: I Wish I Was Stoned. You know those movies that look hilarious in the trailer, and then when you get there it’s all weepy, sad and depressing? That’s The Family Stone in a nutshell—avoid this movie at all costs, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Sarah Jessica Parker’s Meredith is just so unpleasant you can’t fathom at all why Luke Wilson falls for her on sight. There’s yet another cutesy family in yet another two million dollar country house that real people doing those jobs couldn’t really afford. The mom is dying. Big deal. Horrid, horrid, horrid. Luke Wilson is the only one who seems to be having any fun, and I’m sure at least he was stoned; at least I hope he was. Dermot Mulroney turns up as yet another jilted fiancé, and please, even he looked bored with his performance. Awful.

Fun with Dick and Jane
Alternative Title: Not So Fun. Now, I didn’t plan to actually see this movie. I thought I wanted to, but then it got bad reviews, and then I thought I wouldn’t. But, the kid was at a concert at the Redmond Firehouse with her b-friend, and I was the designated driver, and I needed somewhere to go for a few hours. So: the movie was not quite as bad as I suspected, there are a few moments of humor to be had, but all in all—not worth the price of admission. Jim Carrey has done some amazing work recently: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, these are both really great films in which the sometimes utterly annoying Mr. Carrey totally redeems himself. So, why the move back to stupid slapstick like this? I think he must have a ginormous drug habit to support.

• • •

And now, the reason I still go to the movies:

The Producers
Oh. My. God. Words cannot express how much fun this movie was. I’ve now read two reviews that said, “Sure, The Producers was good, but not as good as Chicago”. Either all of these reviewers didn’t really see this movie, or they are smoking some lab grade crack. Chicago was okay, or even good, but The Producers will make you laugh and scream and pee your pants. I’m not alone in this: the entire theater of people we saw this with were dying in the aisles, they were laughing so hard. Trust me, if you do not have a good time at this movie you are officially diseased.

Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane had of course plenty of practice on their performances during the extended Broadway run of the stage musical version, and it shows, in a good way. Both men are completely perfect: Broderick has been criticized for his “over the top” depiction of Leo Bloom, but he’s supposed to be over the top! When his eyes bug out with barely contained insanity…well, it’s pure joy. And Nathan Lane is a national treasure—if you ask me, that man should be dipped in fragrant oils and massaged with foie gras by studly pool boys on a daily basis, just to say “thank you” for all his good works. And Uma Thurman is big, leggy, busty fun. There’s a scene where she “tidies up” the office that is hilarious. I won’t spoil it for you with any hints.

Warning: DO NOT LEAVE THE THEATER before the credits have fully run and the screen is blank! Only four of us left in the theater were witness to the film’s funniest moments, which came just as the final credits were rolling (listen carefully right at the end of the credits), and in a hilarious snippet at the very end. I love it when the film makers give us a little treat at the end, and this is one of the best. The chick in the next row actually screamed out loud when the last little surprise appeared.

• • •

And Finally: Other People Drive Me Mad
At Rumor Has It, I was almost driven over the edge into a bloodthirsty, veins-in-my-teeth murderous rage. Seriously—I was ready to do jail time. The movie was at 4:30, and yes, there were so many previews and junk that the movie didn’t actually begin until after 5pm, but as of 5:10 there were still people streaming in, standing around in front of the screen, going back and forth for yet more snacks, and trying to find seats! People—if a movie is posted as starting at 4:30, and I’m not in my seat by at least 4:40, I wait for a later performance. If you are paying all that cash to come to the theater, why don’t you care that you see the entire movie? An old turtle couple came in and sat beside me ten minutes into the movie, and then began talking loudly at the screen, “Why is she doing that? What’s happening? Oh, she’s gonna get it now!” I wanted to KILL that crusty old jerk with a rusty spoon and barbeque his liver. I wanted to take his popcorn tub, shove it onto his head, and squeeze until he stopped breathing. When I (tartly) asked him not to talk during the movie, he got all pissy with me. The jerk. And afterwards, I was embarrassed to be an American by all the garbage left everywhere for the ushers to deal with. What is wrong with you people? If you can lug your Giant Tub Of Popcorn Plus Jumbo “Value” Soda And Jujubees Combo Package from all the way from the concession stand to your seat, (and then go back for seconds during the movie [kill, kill, kill]), you can take the leftovers to the trash can. God, I hate humanity.

That being said, at The Producers, a woman who was sitting on the other side of Boy Kid laughed so hard that I thought at first that she would have to join my Death List of Ire, but after a while, she totally grew on me. Now, no one can deny that I am easily amused, I can find humor in the most unlikely places, but this woman took it to Olympic levels—I have never witnessed so much joy in one human being. She literally laughed at every single word; I’m sure her seat needed a hose-down after the show. It was a privilege to be near her; and so, humanity was saved for another day. (Fear my tentacles!)

So, there you have it: I’ll be back to blog on a regular basis, the next jerk who pisses me off in the theater may get The Popcorn Tub Procedure and I’ll be blogging from jail, people who are easily amused may just save the world; and, it’s still worth going to the movies. Mostly. Yeah.