I’ve been slogging my way through The Name of the Rose. I’m on page 212 of 534. It’s one of those books that I want to have read, but I’m not actually enjoying reading very much. My problem is that I have 6 other library books checked out as well, and I need to get through them as quickly as possible to check out all the books I need to read for school, so I’m stuck. Part of me thinks if I turn this book in now, I’ll have wasted the last 212 pages, and I may never get back to it. On the other hand, do I keep working on this book at the expense of the others? Tell me what to do.
Bar None August 30, 2006
Every so often I have what I consider a fantastic, forward thinking, entreprenurial brainchild of an idea. I had one this summer. I’m going to share it with you now.
Oft times my friends will ask me to join them for some quality time in a local bar. Bars are very convenient meeting places, and many of them are also great places to sit around and talk, especially if some of your group wants to enjoy adult beverages. In general, I have no problem spending some time in a bar with my friends. There is, however, one thing that bothers me no end. It’s next to impossible to get a decent soft drink in a bar. They just take no pride in their non-alcoholic beverages! It really toasts my buns to pay $3-4 for a watery diet Coke.
So, how about this. A bar, or non-bar rather, that serves only soft drinks. It would be a really cool lounge with couches and tables, a jukebox, etc; all the amenities one would expect at a bar. And there would be a large mocktail and soft drink menu to choose from (can you imagine, diet Dr. Pepper on tap!), as well as bar food and of course (because it’s my place) baked goods. This mid-Manhattan rest stop would be the perfect place for friends who don’t want to drink (pregnant or nursing mothers, alcoholics, Mormons, etc.) but still want that kind of casual bar atmosphere to meet and mingle. I think it could be a big hit. What do you think?
Pet Peeve #4,369 August 29, 2006
I hate Crocs. Okay, let me qualify. If you are gardening, you should wear them. If you’re at the lake or seashore, nothing could be more appropriate. Do you know where one shouldn’t wear Crocs?
IN NEW YORK CITY!!
We live in an urban metropolis; we walk the paved city streets. We should not be wearing rubber clogs! I really don’t care how comfortable they are (and I don’t see how they can be that comfortable), it’s just not right. It irks me no end. You’d think the bright colors would win me over, wouldn’t you? Well, I do like that about them, but there is a time and a place, my friends, a time and a place. Now is not the time, and Manhattan is definitely not the place.
When I went to see Conversations with Other Women, it was completely spur of the moment. I had heard of the movie, but was only partially interested in seeing it. I have mixed feelings about both Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart. I’d also read a little review that said this movie was for people who have lived through heartbreak and I haven’t done that. Still, I was interested in the split screen concept, being able to see the actors’ faces the whole time. So, when I noticed the movie playing in a small independent theater right by the library at 7:30pm, and I happened to finish working at 7:15 one evening, I decided to go. I went into the theater to find a small scattering of people, and sat down in a prime, center seat.
After the movie I watched the credits, as per usual, and started gathering myself to leave. Then a woman appeared at the front of the theater announcing that the director was present, and would do a Q&A. I thought, did I miss some announcement or poster of this special screening (the answer is no, I looked around after). Apparently, he just happened to be there. My first response was to feel trapped because I was sitting right in the middle, so it would be very obvious if I left. Plus, there were about eight people there anyway. But then I decided it was a great oppourtunity that I wouldn’t want to miss; how often do you get to talk to the director and ask him about the movie you just watched? And since it was unexpected, I didn’t have time to stress about having a great question. I felt a little bad for him that there weren’t more people there, but he didn’t seem to mind. He was very happy to talk about his movie, and it was fun (I even asked a question myself, even though it wasn’t brilliant and thought out.
Another great thing about living in a big city is the free screening oppourtunitiesties. They prescreen a lot of movies here either to get feedback, or just to generate word of mouth. There are often people standing outside the movie theater handing out free passes to these screenings, if you fit the demographic they are intersted in. Many of these screenings take place during the day, or in inconvenient theaters, so you just have to say thanks, but no thanks. But sometimes you get lucky, and it’s strange but true, any movie is just a little bit better if it’s free. Last night, my friend Melissa invited me to attend a prescreening of Becoming Jane with her, right here at our local Lincoln Center theater. Of course, I jumped at the chance.
While we waited in line, we were approached to stay after the movie for a focus group. As you can imagine, I was over the moon. I thought, “this is it! They’re going to listen to everything I say, and I’m going to single-handedly make this the best movie ever!” The movie was enjoyable, and I think it has a lot of potential. Anne Hathaway does a good job, and I was thrilled to see Anna Maxwell Martin playing her sister, Cassandra (I told them they should include more scenes with her). Overall, the usual suspects will go to and like this movie, including me.
I did, however, have one big problem with the movie, which I tried to stress in our focus group, without sounding too negative. The ending stinks! (I had serious P&Pflashbacks-ewww!)If you’re worried about spoilers, stop reading, but I’m going to try to be general. The last five minutes of the movie takes place 16 years after the rest. This in and of itself I deem to be a bad decision. Large time jumps are murder to a forward moving storyline! They should be avoided at all costs! Another problem, old age makeup. It is very difficult. The first thing I thought when I saw the words “16 years later” was, “how are they going to make the young and beautiful Anne Hathaway look less young, but still beautiful?” The answer is, not very well I’m afraid. Lastly, I also thought they ended the movie with the wrong tone, which kind of soured my response to the whole thing. Again, without saying too much, the whole point of a Jane Austen biopic is to celebrate her as an amazing writer and woman, right? I felt the ending had a strange focus and thus took away from Austen. The good thing is, there is still time to fix this, and if they’ll just follow my instructions, they can. The good news for them is also that even though I’ve already seen the movie for free, I’ll probably pay to see it again, just to see what changes.
Synaesthesia August 25, 2006
Last week Erin and I watched a show called medical mysteries. I knew very well I had no business watching such a program. I’m a hypochondriac (which apparently Erin never knew, don’t know how she missed it), so I never hear about a disease or disorder without being sure that I have it. But don’t worry, I always think that I have a very mild case. For instance, I’m convinced that I’m just slightly ADD, claustrophobic, anemic, and asthmatic.
Well, this episode of this show that I will never watch again, featured a disease called Synaesthesia. Or maybe it’s a condition (or wikipedia says it’s a neurological condition), not a disease. At any rate, I have it. People with this ailment (or gift) have some type of cross-wiring with their senses so that two are somewhat combined. For instance, some people can see music (the see different colors for different sounds or notes) or taste sounds. Apparently, it’s for common for a synasthesist (not sure that’s a word) to perceive printed letters and numbers as colored (they can see colors, but there’s also the colors in their mind specific and unchanging to each letter and number). I turned to Erin and said that I had something like this, because for me numbers have personalities, and when I was young, that’s how I memorized math problems. For instance, 8 is a very smug and unpleasant number. She looks down on everyone, but most especially 7 who is somewhat of an underdog. 9 is the “big brother” of the group, and to teach 8 a lesson, 8+9=17. 9 turns 8 into a 1, the smallest, weakest number, and 7, the number 8 hates. This is the point where she accused me of being a hypochondriac and I laughed and said that of course I was.
But the next day, I looked it up, and number’s having personalities is in fact a symptom of synaesthesia. I forwarded the wikipedia passage to Erin, but apparently she wasn’t impressed because she didn’t respond. Unfortunately for me, one of the key factors of synaesthesia is that the colors and personalities of numbers remain constant and vibrant throughout your life, and for me, the number personalities have definitely faded as I got older. I guess I’ll have to keep looking for my disorder. So close, yet so far away. It’s too bad. Synaesthesia seems pretty cool.
Oh Jasper August 24, 2006
On Monday I went to my local B&N to see Jasper Fforde at a book talk/book signing. He fulfilled my every expectation (so thoughtful of him). I found him witty and amusing, and he fielded stupid questions well. He said he writes a book a year (he calls it “scribernating” because he writes in the winter) which seems a lot, and never knows what’s going to happen between one book and the next. I of course fell madly in love with him. I ultimately decided not to get a book signed because a) I undoubtedly would have said something very stupid and b) I didn’t have one (B&N didn’t seem to have stocked up on anything but the new book, in fact, we couldn’t find a single copy of any of the others by the time we looked). Still, it was very fun, and I think I’ll make an effort to do this sort of thing more often.PS. Also found out that he writes everything on his website himself which makes me very happy as I’ve always enjoyed it, and hoped he was involved.
Liza with a Z in Coney Island with a C August 22, 2006
Last week I went to a free Liza Minnelli concert in Coney Island. I had never been to Coney Island before, nor had I seen Liza perform live, so I was quite excited. I met with Melissa after work and we began what it turns out is a very long train ride to Coney Island. Once there, I was astonished by what I saw.
On the main street where you get off the train, it’s like the world splits in half. On one side of the street, everything’s normal; there’s drugstores, furniture stores, fast food places, a BMW dealership, a statue shop featuring celebrities (OK, almost normal).On the other side of the street is a carnival. It looks quite old, but also very fun. What a difference a street makes, I guess.
But really, I meant to talk about Liza. She was amazing! I really mean it. She is so charismatic and genuine and sincere; you have no choice but to immediately love her. She’s 60 years old, but she was still wearing a short dress to show off her trademark legs (although I think the first row may also have been privy to her underwear choice), and she did a few dance moves that I’m not sure I could do. Almost immediately she spilled her gatorade all over her scarf, and asked with dismay if the ladies in the audience knew if it would come out and how. The concert lasted a little over an hour, and we ate it up. She mostly sang big hits such as Cabaret, New York, New York, Ring Them Bells, etc. She did announce she would be doing a new Kay Thompson album this year. After her encore number, people were still clamoring for more, and someone yelled out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow!” She replied, “Oh honey, it’s been done.” I thought it was very funny. She did sing one more verse of a song a capella and I actually thought she sounded the better on that song than she did on the others (not that she sounded bad, but she didn’t sound like she used to. Which didn’t matter a bit when she was up there performing). She made it sound like she would be returning to do another free concert next year. I hope she does, and I’ll be there. But I think I’ll take the day off of work so I can play at Coney Island too. It looks too fun to miss.