Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Okay, I admit it: I love living inside the box

Oh, who am I trying to kid? I am way too obsessive-compulsive to step away from the electronic devices for any period of time. After all, there may be a message in my G-mail account informing me that J.Crew has their 10th special-icious online sale of the season on right now--don't miss it because there won't be another one until three days from now! Or charisse.decavesca@blipblop.com keeping me abreast of the wonders of CI aL is. Good old Charisse...what would I do without you?

And then there's the possibility of concrete evidence that someone has visited my blog. Frankly, I live for that.

So in summary, I've been working on the computer since 7:30 this morning. It's now 5:30. Coronation Street is back on, now that the Olympics are over. I think you know what that means. Preparing to transport from one box to another...Beam me up.

Monday, February 27, 2006

My vestigial life

We think of virtual reality as some far-off technology that will accompany transporters and holodecks. But I say the future is now, numbah one (if you're not a Star Trek Next Generation fan, that reference will be lost on you).

Sunday evening, having planted my butt firmly and permanently on the couch after working on the computer all afternoon, I snuck a glance outside and realized that I hadn't actually looked at cold, hard reality for more than a few minutes that day. Then I did some quick math (that's the only way I'll do math), I was alarmed to realize that I spend most of my days looking at and living in some kind of projection screen, be it a computer or t.v. It seems obvious, technology is the bane of modern civilization, it's making people antisocial, yada yada yada--but when you look at it in terms of cold hard numbers, it's shocking that I'm spending most of my life in a non-real world. I'm awake about 14 hours every day. Of that time, 8 to 10 hours are spent 'inside' a virtual world. That's waaaay too much.

I want to live again! I want to be able to process non-VGA and non-Cathode Ray light. I don't want my eyes to become vestigial. Even more importantly, I don't want my life to become vestigial.

I'm going to take the dog for a walk now. I might be a while.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sarcasm in moving pictures

Pssssst.....If you haven't had a chance to check out Office Pirates yet, you might want to do so immediately-- Since your employer is probably, at this very moment, adding it to the list of Web sites to be screened out by your company firewall.

It's the Web's latest weapon against full employee engagement. Get it while it's hot! (But shhhhhhhhhh! Put those headphones in first!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Breaking News: Luddism CAN Be Beaten

Is Luddism even a word? Doubtful. I mean 'that which is practiced by Luddites.' Incidentally, use of the word 'Luddite' is one of my vestigial pet peeves left over from university. It's such an egghead word. 'Pet Peeve' is another one that makes me twitch uncomfortably. I still like 'vesitigial', though.

But I digress...Just wanted to point out that if you look to the right of this post, and scroll around a little, you'll see that I--yes, me, Whyioughtta--figured out how to add new links categories. I'm pathetically proud of myself for this. Please, no applause. Really, you're embarrasing...well, okay, maybe a little light clapping...

I kicked that html template's ASS. So keep your eye out for further embellishments soon. I am busy with work these days, and we all know what more work means: more procrastination. This blog will be Bloggy material in no time.

Monday, February 20, 2006

A beautiful new baby boy for all to love

Congratulations to C---- and M--- and their new wonderful, amazing, already frighteningly handsome and intelligent son, The Baby Formerly Known As Lump And Now Possibly Known as J-----.

Welcome to the world! It's a great place to settle down...So, enjoy.

We're very happy you're finally here!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I have nothing short to say

I've racked my brains and I just don't have anything short to say. However, I'm hoping that vapidity is a sufficient replacement for brevity. Because I'm gonna talk about clothing now.

Like several of my favourite bloginistas and blogadivas, I love stylin duds. I especially love vintage. Goes with my love of old movies, I guess. Also, I fear the specter of a world in which the only clothing available is produced by that one company that owns The Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, etc. I mean, it's even starting to dominate Value Village. It's truly frightening, people.

See this pink lace number? If you go to Posh Girl, you'll see a little red 'Sold' under it. That's all me, baby. Its target release date is a family wedding, July 20, 2006. No red wine or dark liquor may be consumed within a 10-foot radius of it. I've already informed the bride, who is planning to become a white wine drinker anyways in consideration of her white dress and penchant for spilling all beverages she touches.

Pinky-lace-a-licious is already hanging in the place of honour in my closet, with my grandmother's vintage gold-striped pink 50s beads hanging at the neck. I just have to find the right slip...I'm thinking either wine or champagne, or possibly some kind of full-slip-petticoat thing. I have some pinkish/natural pumps to wear with it as well.

This red number on the right is mine now too...Feeling kinda giddy about it. Love it. Will find or make a blue peekaboo petticoat half-slip to wear under it.

Um, if you could, ah, not mention anything about this one to my husband, I'd be much obliged. ..The thing is, buying vintage clothing online is both an obsession AND an investment. Yeah, that's right. An investment. It's...it's...like, historical preservation and contributing to the continuity of...culture. Yeah. Also, I've made it kind of a policy to spend my clothing budget on really lovely vintage pieces rather than lots of Gap-Navy-Republic stuff that's only in for a season and which isn't really made well enough to last any longer than that.

Reddy-Mc-Gorgeous should be arriving by post any day now. I can't wait to cradle her in my arms...

Monday, February 13, 2006

I like toast

Especially with butter AND peanut butter. Something about the two together...shivers.

See!!?? See what happens when I cave in to public opinion? Hmmmph. Shorter blogs, indeed.

I think Moose says it best...

p.s. Happy Valentine's Day to all....

I hereby pledge to shorten my blogs

Ahem...um...according to a recent...well, let's call it a 'straw poll,'...my blogs are too long. So I'm going to try to shorten them. That's my pledge. However, on my last censorship-free blog, I'd just like to invite those who think my blogs are too long--AND YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE--to reconsider your need for instant gratification. I mean, maybe my blogs aren't too long. Maybe your attention span is too short. Eh? Howbout that?

Furthermore -- oh, crap, nevermind. I'm already over my word count.


Friday, February 10, 2006

(Last one, I promise) Pectorals at dawn: Act I, Scene iii

The scene: Matthew McConahigh, dressed only in a tattered pair of khaki shorts and a dirty t-shirt wrapped around his golden-haired head, is scrambling up to Tom Cruise's fire. Close up of his face reveals murderous concentration, hard-edged savagery and...something else... Gas? Unclear at present.

MM hurls himself over the embankment, much to TC's shock and consternation. TC arranges self in more upright pose, pushing out chest. Crosses arms and examines fingernails to indicate lack of concern for MM's unwelcome presence at his firepit that he, Tom Cruise, built himself, and for which there's no way that he, Tom Freaking Cruise, is going to let that druggy jerk get any credit once they're rescued. No way, nuh-uh.

MM (screaming excitedly): Did you see them??!!! The ships??!!! They must be coming for us by water!!!

TC (forgetting his image and screeching shrilly): Omigod!! Oh. My. God!!! FINALLY! I THOUGHT WE WERE GONNA DIE HERE!!!! (Starts crying softly. Ugly crying.) ...

TC continues: ...Listen, man, this has been hard on both of us.... I'm really sorry about before. I just...I'm just not used to, you know, being confronted. ...Or challenged in any way. ...Or having people who are taller than me not have to hunch down when they're around me...

Yup, he's still talkin':...So, look, once we get back (walks over to MM and places his hands gently on MM's rippling forearms), I promise I will personally help you with this drug thing, okay? (puts hand around back of MM's neck and pulls MM's forehead to his. Inhales MM's strangely appealing natural odor. Man, MM's mom was right. He does smell good. TC remembers moment, wipes tears, flashes winning grin.)

MM (steps back, giggling uncontrollably): Oh MAN! Oh man oh man oh man oh man!!! (Cruise steps back, puzzled look on face.) Did I ever get you GOOD, dawg!!! Shit, did I EVER!!! Hahahahahahahaha (laughs maniacally for several minutes, slaps thighs, dances around, plays pretend bongoes). ..

MM (between gasps for air):...You....(can hardly speak for laughing)...you're actually...cc..c..c.ccCRYING!!!!! Hahahahaha (new laughing fit ensues).

TC, overcome by murderous rage, grasps stick he has been using to stoke the fire and takes hard swing at MM. Catches MM in the ribs. MM, unused to actual physical pain, or sensation of any kind, is momentarily paralyzed, his remaining brain cells both struggling to understand what has happened. Finally, MM collapses in a heap at TC's feet. TC steps spryly over to MM's quivering form and wraps his hands around MM's neck.

Locked in a death-embrace, the two Hollywood Icons stare ferociously into each other's eyes. Cruise increases the pressure to MM's windpipe. MM struggles furiously, but to no avail. Just as MM's eyes begin to close on this world forever, a look of shock and dismay crosses TC's face. He immediately releases MM's muscular throat.

MM (rolling around making a big show of rubbing his neck): Wh...why didn't you do it?

TC (single tear running down his cheek): I j...just couldn't. I can't kill you.

MM: But why?

TC (sobbing. eyes bulging as he stares up furiously at sky): Because you're the only audience I've got left!!!

Fade to black

Pectorals at dawn: Act I, Scene ii

The scene: Convection waves rise from the scorching sand as we return to our beach, late in the afternoon. A lone crab scrambles quickly across the beach. In the distance, we hear the crackle of burning brush. We travel up the beach and into the jungle. At the crest of a large hill overlooking the beach, Tom Cruise has built a massive bonfire in an attempt to signal the fighter jets that are undoubtedly circling the globe in search of the lost duo. After all, they are the World's Sexiest Men. That's, like, above the President.

TC strikes a swaggering pose in front of the fire, admiring his work. Hip jutting, holding a long stick, he frowns darkly.

Voiceover, TC talking to self: I'm alone here. I'm utterly alone. That pot head's brain is so addled by the goof-balls, he doesn't even count as a human companion. (This in reference to Matthew McConahigh, who is presently still passed out on the beach below.)

...He is SO NOT Next Level material.
(Kicks a rock into the fire. Shades eyes and glares angrily at horizon.)

...WHERE are those search and rescue guys. I mean, jokes over folks. Enough is enough. I'm, like, the Most Important Man on Earth. I'm shooting six action films this month, and I have all those interviews booked for Katie's replacement.

(Sighs nostalgically) Katie. Oh, sweet Katie. How I don't miss you. How I don't miss our awkward public kisses and your strange doped-out eyes. How I don't miss you towering over me in the stilettos I expressly forbade you to wear. How I will not miss the hatching of our publicity-spawned bio-baby. (Scratches at ground with stick, smiles warmly.)

...Back to me. How the hell am I going to deal with this McConaughey character?

(Stares intensely into fire, arranges face into look of determination.) Stay strong, Cruise. Remember: you're the man. You. Are. The. Man. NObody's stronger. NObody's tougher. NObody's dreamier. God, I wish I had a mirror right now...

Fade to next scene...

Pectorals at dawn: Act I, scene 1.

The following dialogue is brought to you by sleep deprivation, five coffees, and several Tylenol Cold & Sinus tablets. Inspired by commentor jackp's image of Tom Cruise and Matthew McConaughey stranded together on a desert island.

The scene: A beach on a desert island in the South Pacific. The rising sun reflects off a brillant surface in the distance. Pan forward. It is Matthew McConauhey's six-pack. He is lying on the beach with a palm frond across his face.

Tom Cruise approaches, carrying a hand-made harpoon in one hand and three large fish, strung on a makeshift rope, in the other.

TC: C'mon man, it's a beautiful day!! I caught us some breakfast!!! Get up and grab life by the balls!!!! We need to live this to the max, man!!!!! It's not like they aren't scrambling every spare military jet in the free world to get out here and find us!!!!!! Wanna do some power sprints?!

MM (croakily): Shit Tom, you know my mama always taught me to see the rose in the vase, not the dust on the table. But I am seriously jonesing this morning.

TC (smile faltering temporarily, then quickly recovering): Ha! Ha ha!!! Good one!!! (sees that McCannabis isn't laughing). J...jonesing man? What, as in, going through withdrawl from some kind of...ha...umm...uh...some kind of ...aa...DRUG? (laughs, eyes virtually disapearring in crater-like smile lines)...C'mon man, I can't believe that.

MM (still hasn't moved, palm frond lifts slightly as he talks through it): Naw man, not DRUGS. Weed. You know...ganja, mary jane, cannihavit. Hey, you don't happen to have any on ya, do ya? I'd be much obliged...

TC (disgust replacing his permagrin, steps back from McConaughey's side, running fingers dramatically through still-perfect hair): Do I...you want to know if I...you're saying do you...NO! NO I DON'T have any DRUGS, man. DRUGS destroy your spirit and drain your virility, man. They stop you from reaching the Next Level, like me.

MM finally moves, puppeting right hand in a 'blah blah blah' motion. Cruise sees this and stops walking in dramatic circles and pulling at his hair. One of his fish falls into the sand. He looks at the limp fish, then back at MM. His jaw clenches and does that painful-looking jaw-muscle pulse thing.

Close-up on MM's face, which can now be seen through the frond. His is smirking sidelong at TC. Without warning, he hand-springs to his feet, striking a pre-tackle pose in front of a shocked TC. MM slaps one of his own ass cheeks and swings his left leg forward like a sumo wrestler.

MM: Whassamatter dude, can't handle the pressure? You're trapped on a desert island with nobody but a ganja-smokin' good 'ol boy! None of yer little zoology friends here to help you now, pardner!

TC: Scientology.

MM (hesitates): Huh?

TC (sighing impatiently): It's SCIENtology. You said ZOOology.

MM (shrugging): Whatever. (Strikes sumo pose once again) All I care 'bout right now is an APology. From you. For insiniatin that yer better'n me.

TC (sniffily, then recovering the permagrin once again): I'm not going to apologize for being right, man. I'm just trying to help you be the best you can be.

MM roars at this, hurling himself at TC. Both men fall to the ground and immediately roll off each other and spring up to their feet, looking around expectantly for their stunt doubles. A few moments pass before they remember they're not on a movie set. Recalling that he has just been physically assaulted, TC turns huffily to MM, pointing his index finger in MM's face and shaking his thick, shiny hair.

TC: This is NOT over, man. (Smiles fetchingly, then leans in menacingly, frowns, laughs, frowns again. Voice drops to a whisper.) You think you can win this, but you can't. (Points index and middle fingers to his own eyes, then to MM's eyes in an 'I'm watching you' move). I'll have my eye on you, my friend. Don't forget it. (Smiles again, then turns and starts striding away, flexing buttocks meaningfully).

MM lies back down and stares up at sky.

MM: Yes, my friend. And I'll be watching you. (Looks meaningfully into nonexistent camera, then places palm frond over face.)

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Nice staircase, but for God's sake seal the attic

Watched Matthew McConaughey on Oprah today. He's kind of a dink, a little--no? Like, weirdly intense for no apparent reason. And not at ALL full of himself. No, I'm sure NONE of this 'Sexiest Man Alive' stuff has gone to his head. At all. I saw no signs of THAT.

It was the first time since the TCI (Tom Cruise Incident) that I felt blushy and uncomfortable watching the show. McConaughey applauded his own movie clip. He listed 'child of God' and 'mammal' as his primary self-descriptors. He confessed to not wearing deodorant. Because 'the women in his life and his mom' have apparently been telling him since he was 14 that his natural manly muskiness is like the nectar of the gods. He says he makes his own body lotion with vaseline and mint, or something. Yeah, sure Mr. McCannabis. Mint.

The audience clapped for every second sentence. I felt embarassed for them. Then I got embarassed for him, and for Oprah, when they started randomly chanting 'somebody don't think so...SOME body KNOW so.' It went on longer than that scene in the Simpsons where Homer keeps stepping on the rakes. Doh.

Eventually I had to hit the mute button and just look. Cause I have no issues with the looking. Then I thought, 'maybe he's all stoned, and he smoked Oprah up before the show.' Yeah, that would explain it.

Still not sure what It's All About

Rented It's All About Love this weekend. My first criticism about this film (and there will be more) is the title, which, given what the movie is trying to achieve, is pedestrian and highly forgettable. My other major criticism is that the movie is much too good to suck, yet somehow I still don't know if I liked it. And then I'm forced to ask myself, 'do I have to like something to consider it good?' To which I must answer 'no, of course not!' Which leaves me virtually nowhere in terms of a critique of the film. Bottom line: it's excellent, it's terrible, and critiquing it is like trying to critique someone else's dream.

It came out in 2003, stars Joachim Phoenix and Clare Danes, and Sean Penn and Douglas Henshall play supporting roles. With a cast like that, you can't go wrong, right? (There they are again, those pesky dialectics. )

All Up in the Air
Okay, so here's what I know for sure: It starts on a plane (this image will become significant, although its significance remains unclear). John, a man with an intermittent Russianish accent (you later find out he's Polish), and played by Phoenix, is just trying to get to his new professorship post in Canada. He has a small layover in NYC to get his divorce papers signed by his ex. Said ex, played by Clare Danes, who has a slightly more consistent Poli-russianish-czechy-type accent, is a prima skaterina superstar figure skater. She doesn't show up at the airport as promised--her handlers show up instead--and John is asked to come to her hotel to get the papers signed. He is thence launched into a world of cloning, international intrigue, murder, climate change, and spontaneous heart failure.

It would take a brain surgeon on uppers to dissect the plot twists that ensue, but there are a few major items I can list without spoiling the film:

1. you'll never get it, and if you think you do, you probably don't
2. it's set in the future--2021
3. the world is facing some final spiritual catastrophe
4. this catastrophe has something to do with the emotional state of the main characters in the story
5. Sean Penn's accent is the best one, and he spends the whole movie on a decomposing low-G jetliner, leaving endless voice-mails with his brother (Phoenix), who is going to be pissed when the end of the world is over and he tries to retrieve his messages
6. Ugandans are flying into space as gravity gives out in their country, but nobody seems too alarmed
7. People are dropping dead because they 'pine for love'. They're dying in the streets, on sidewalks, on escalators, and they are treated like roadkill by the living. I found this the most poignant and haunting image in the film. It was really affecting, much more than any of the other unexplained weirdness. And I think the message of the film, such as it is, is probably summarized by this image.

Where's Thor When You Need Him?
The writers are Scandinavian, and you can see an ancient Norse quality to the film. It's very dark, on every level. There's a little center of light -- the couple -- fighting the encroaching darkness and the savagery it brings with it. God is absent, and this absence is somehow hostile. The characters and the plot are mythic and dreamlike. You mysteriously end up at a new point in the plot, and you know how you got there, but you don't really understand how it all came together.

It's All About Eyes Wide Shut, Love
So all that's cool, but does it work as a movie? Not everyone will like it. In fact, I'd venture to say that most mainstream North Americans would probably hate it. Not because we are incapable of depth, but because we have a distinct story structure of our own. It's what we're used to, and it's how we build movies, and this is outside of that structure. But even if you bend your brain a little to give this one a chance, it falls apart in places--much in the same way that Eyes Wide Shut fell apart. It's a really cool idea, but the structure put around it -- plot, characters, images -- doesn't fully deliver on the idea.

It comes down to a bunch of questions about the nature of film: does a movie have to be a story? Does it have to be a good story with a clear plot, or offer a clear message? I'm no filographer, I'm just a viewer. But my instinct tells me that, for a film to be good, it has to give the viewer something more than an exercise in cinematic risk-taking. It's like the filmmakers forgot the audience altogether. I left the movie wanting more, but not in a good way. I wanted either a plot or a stronger sense of what it was all about--after all, that's what the title promises.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Intestinal bloggage

I recently decided to try a new budget strategy. I'm going to use all of the ingredients in my kitchen--including the rice paper wraps I bought six years ago--before buying any more food. Because I tend to be an intuitive grocery shopper. Which results in me buying twelve pineapples, a bag of starfruit, and a rutabaga...Which leads to wasteage. (I think the next great bio-fuel is being birthed in the ethanolic sludge in the bottom of my vegetable bin.)

So, that's the plan. The problem is how to feed myself and my husband in the interim. For lunch today, I had the last eight saltines, and a 'salad' of tuna and kidney beans with mayonaise. I'll probably die in my sleep tonight, so if you don't see any new posts for a while, expect the worst.

My dinner options are somewhat more limited: I'm thinking...half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and stale Krispy Kreme doughnut. But then again, there is always the rutabaga.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dear God, please stay my hand

You know how on the home reno shows they have those nice before and after shots, where the 'before' room is a complete shite-hole that you wouldn't let your dog piss in, and in the 'after' it's magically transformed into a room fit for the Crown Prince of Arabia? Well, I bet if they showed the 'before' and 'after' of the couple doing the renovations , it would be a verrrrry different shot. Like, in the before shot they'd be all happy and smiling and having a picnic. And the after shots would be mugshots. As in 'post-attempted-murder.'

We're renovating our bathroom. So far, I've repainted and we've installed a new light fixture. Twice has this pushed the hands of the doomsday clock to somewhere around 3 seconds before midnight. My throat is raw, and I think I'll have to have my jaw surgically unclenched.

It's not so much the work...it's the fact that Mr. W says things like, "No. We're not going to do what you just said. We're going to do what you just said as paraphrased by me. Because we both know that only I can be right."

Oh. my. god. I just heard him mumble 'Alright let's drill some goddam holes here, people.' I have to go...