Wednesday, January 31, 2007


After having lurked around their blogs for some time (how sinister!), I am adding Eileen and Carrie to the blogroll. They are awesome blogs and it's an honor to link to them.

I have also alphabetized the people I know to move up Art Boy. Not that he links to me from his blog or anything. Last night we had one of our Mac/PC fights so I really am not going to get into this right now.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Iron Man vs. Daredevil: Who will prevail?

Bill: Tell me...why the hell does Iron Man get a live action and an animated movie? He couldn't carry Daredevil's jock...I'm just saying.

Me: Iron Man gets to have a cartoon and a live-action movie because he is IRON MAN! He is the biggest and strongest! He is wealthy and desired by many women! Daredevil is a weirdo who sleeps in a special pressurized chamber like Michael Jackson. He desires women who desire their fathers. Iron Man is clearly the winner. I'm sorry to tell you this, but you did ask.

Bill: The following I write with all due respect. Iron Man is a drunk, womanizing, cheap Howard Hughes knockoff with the most flaming mustache I've ever seen. Without his armor he wouldn't be a match for the crack-addict bag-lady on the corner. Daredevil, on the other hand, faces down hordes of gunmen with nothing but his stick and giant set of balls (I'll give you his issues with woman though). It's also not nice to call the handicapped weirdoes. I thought you were more evolved than that. His sensory deprivation chamber rocks. His senses are sexy. DD's a martial arts-boxing-acrobatic rock star. He protects those who can't protect themselves while others (like Iron Butt) only look after their wallet. Clearly DD is the winner in all ways of substance.

Me: What was I thinking?

Thursday, January 25, 2007


A young Nepenthes pitcher sings lustily at San Diego's Balboa Park. You didn't know tropical pitcher plants knew how to sing? You should get out more.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I feel that I watch a lot of TV. Here is what Art Boy and I are watching right now:

- "Arrested Development" reruns (in no particular order). We're both pretty besotted with this. My favorite thing ever is Tobias as Mrs. Featherbottom. Remembering Jason Bateman from the teen years it is just really amazing to watch him walking around being such a damn cutie. It should give hope to awkward teens everywhere, or at least those appearing in unfortunate films. I think he now looks like Steve Martin. (Steve Martin, by the way, may carry me off if he comes to the door and asks nicely. This offer now applies to Mr. Bateman as well.)

- "The Office." Everyone in the universe apparently watches this. We do too. Team Karen.

- "30 Rock." We both have a simmering passion for Tina Fey. My feeling about this show at first was that, while Tina is a genius writer who may have anything of mine she likes including Art Boy, she is just not an actress. I have changed my mind; her interplay with Alec Baldwin every week is consistently genius. And the show is gradually turning into the ensemble thing it seems intended to be. We like it. But her cleavage vexes me; I find it a distraction from her sexy glasses.

- "Battlestar Galactica." Our favorite show! It's back tomorrow. So much has been written about why this show is brilliant; I'm not sure I can add to it. (Salon has a nice essay here.) Art Boy has some kind of weird deep-seated loathing for Edward James Olmos, so his affection for this show is a great testament to its quality. I can still tear up thinking about the pilot. The writing is brilliant and the space fights are awesome and the characters are all the kinds of people you want to both befriend and strangle. Oh God, I can't wait for tomorrow.

- "Lost." I no longer count myself a fan of this show but will probably grumblingly watch the rest of season 3 with Art Boy when it starts back up. "Battlestar Galactica" really killed this show for me. It has all the show's best elements: an isolated group of flawed people, sometimes fighting and sometimes trying to compromise, not really knowing what they're up against; some sci-fi, some spirituality; some searing ethical dilemmas. And it does them much better. I don't give a shit anymore about Sawyer and Kate with her little hot handcuffs and flowered dress. Whatever.

- "Blind Justice." He's a cop! Who's blind! Some baddies beat him up and steal his guide dog! It's Blind Justice! Art Boy won't let me watch this.

Is that a lot of TV? Yes, that is a lot. Sorry, good colleagues, I will not be watching "Project Runway" and talking about it with you. There's just no room.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Girls' day in

I am enjoying a pleasant midday in, working on a personal project and enjoying some new music from LaLa. Today's CDs: Dolly Parton's "Halos & Horns," the final installment in her bluegrass trilogy; and a marvelous Madonna "Like a Prayer" EP, with two seven-minute mixes of the title song. I had the latter on a record as a preteen and remember being enormously thrilled with it. Hearing a familiar song mixed a different way gave me such a frisson - it was like all the furniture in my mind had gotten broken up and rearranged. Listening to them now, there's not a whole lot to them, but I do still love this song. Dolly is nice too.

Last night I listed for an alarmed Art Boy the half-dozen people who may have anything of mine they like if they come to the door and demand it: Dolly, Nanci Griffith, Kate Bush, Patti Smith, Tina Fey and Tony Jaa. (Madonna doesn't make this list; she may not arouse my protective instincts in the same way.) I explained to Art Boy that Tina Fey is the only one who is also allowed to carry him off if she asks. At his request, I am also making this option available to Tony Jaa.

Anyway, back to work.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I do not hate everything

We saw a couple of good movies over my weekend. The first was "The Descent," which Art Boy rather surprised me by Netflicking. It concerns a bunch of women cavers getting chased by monsters, and sounded profoundly goofy to me, but he noted it was showing up on several critics year-end "best" lists. So into our movie-playing-device it went, and gosh, it was good. The cavers female-bond in a way that's realistic and cute, but never exploitative. I don't know that a movie about monsters pursuing ladies in tank tops can ever be quite feminist, but it is at least intelligent. As the cavers' adventure develops, they make a series of extremely reasonable decisions (except for one of them, who's confronted about it); their fate feels all the more horrifying for being so inevitable. And, these being women, there are complicated relationship issues going on. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who doesn't suffer claustrophobia...

We also went out to a proper theater to see "Children of Men," which my employer hailed as the new "Blade Runner." Not far off the mark. Clive Owen is impressively Harrison Fordesque with his brooding eyes, subtle pout and dystopian stubble. But unlike Deckard, whose inhumanity and self-loathing grow throughout "BR," Owen's character Theo is allowed to find redemption and hope. The movie is bleak but remarkably beautiful and upbeat. It's also full of animals - who seem to get special attention in a gray futuristic world without children - but none of the animals is ever hurt, which I appreciated. Alfonso Cuarón is a darling little lambkin.

What else do I like? Sally Timms, pink gin, my Nepenthes, Charles Dickens' "The Haunted House," reruns of "Arrested Development," the view out my computer-desk window (a square of perfect blue sky stacked on a square of pale yellow stucco: the house next door), Art Boy, my friends, having a heater. I hate pretty much everything else. Cheers!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ay, España*

Art Boy and I went to see Pan's Labyrinth a few nights ago. I thought I would love it and I hated it. Isn't it awful when that happens? All the critics blathering on about "oh, it's a fairy tale for grownups" should have tipped me off. Things that strike other people as magical tend to get on my nerves.

But with Pan's L., it's not so much that it's irritating as that it just is not a fantasy movie. Sure, it has Otherworldly Scenes with Fanciful Monsters. Those take up approximately 15 minutes of total screen time. The entire rest of the movie is about a little girl being slowly tortured to death in fascist Spain. If the movie had been summarized thusly, I might have been less disappointed, but every critic is going on and on about the cool monsters... they are nice, but instead of getting to watch a movie about them, we have to watch the antics of a tedious fascist captain who, in case you missed it, is The Real Monster. There is no payoff; there is really no story to speak of.

Art Boy and I had an interesting discussion afterward about fantasy. I feel very strongly that any fantasy story has to hold to its own set of rules, and part of the problem with Pan's L., I thought at first, is that the rules are unclear. Art Boy made the valid point that the rules deliberately change as her situation changes. I've since changed my mind about this. The Otherworldly Scenes with Fanciful Monsters are so short and vague as simply to qualify as set pieces between the adult drama that makes up the rest of the movie. Which is, of course, all about Franco. Guillermo, my darling, please stop enabling Spain.

*correct accent mark added to pacify an increasingly demanding readership