Tuesday, December 30, 2003

I didn't have computer access during the holidays, so I'm a little behind on my updates here. My parents don't own a computer, or a DVD player, or one of those new-fangled CD players. The VCR that they purchased in 1987 conked out during my visit, so they are considering trading up and switching to DVD. I have little faith that they will actually be able to operate it, but I'm happy that they are contemplating joining the 21st Century. My parents were (and are) huge hippies, and distrustful of technology in general. At least they don't own any 8-tracks.

It was great to be home, even if it was just five days. My 2-year-old nephew was getting over a bout of pneumonia (he's had respiratory problems since he was an infant). He was fine by Christmas Day, but he ended up infecting everyone with his baby germs (baby germs are lethal, man!) so my entire family spent the rest of the holiday with hacking coughs and stuffed up heads (even though my mom and sister were continually bleaching and Lysoling everything Ryan touched). I'm still feeling pretty crappy, but I'll live. Baby germs are a small price to pay for quality time with the fam.

Today is my first day back at work, but with 90% of the office taking holiday time this week, there is little to do but update my blog and snack on the huge box of Whoppers (The Original Malted Milk Balls! tm) that mysteriously appeared on my desk while I was away. I was contemplating sneaking out of work to go home and snuggle under the covers with a cup of tea and All My Children, but I need the money too badly to miss any more work.

I read David Sedaris's Me Talk Pretty One Day over the holidays. It was hilarious, although I liked the first half better than the second (the first dealt with his childhood, the second with his adventures in France). I'm about to start And My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You by Kathi Kamen Goldmark, which looks promising. Michael and I went to Half Price Books while I was in Indy, where I also scored a hardback edition of Anne Sexton's Collected Works and The Police's Zenyatta Mondatta. (woo hoo!)

I have plans to review Crocodile Dundee in my next update-- it's not one of the bad movies that Marcus and I have watched together, but I happened to notice that it was on TV incessantly throughout the Christmas holiday, for some strange reason, so it's been on my mind. Marcus and I are next planning to watch The Forbidden Dance (which I cheated and watched without him already, but it's so hysterically godawful that I am forcing him to see it) and the sci-fi classic Barbarella, which Marcus says I must see because of my abiding love for Duran Duran (who, as every '80s child knows, took their name from the film's villain).

The boss man's here; I have to do some actual work now.

Friday, December 19, 2003

I was checking out wayesworld and read the movie review for The Human Stain. It reminded me how little I've seen this year, especially lately. I've been to the movies exactly twice since moving up to Minnesota. I saw Runaway Jury (mediocre and a bit far-fetched, but then again, it's Grisham) and The Cat in the Hat (not as bad as everyone is saying).

There were only a handful of movies released this year that piqued my interest, and I never made it to the two that I really wanted to see (Lost In Translation and American Splendor). Of the few that I did see, the only ones that made a lasting impression were A Mighty Wind, (hilarious), Whale Rider (excellent), and Swimming Pool (of course I liked this one--it's about a writer!)

The prize for the worst movie that I saw this year, hands down, goes to House of 1,000 Corpses. It's just as revolting as the title suggests. Josh dragged me to this one, and the only positive thing I have to say about the whole experience is thank God I was high, so what I recall about this crapfest is sketchy at best. Still, it's enough.

Movies that I had no desire to see whatsoever, (and never will, if I have any say in it) are: The Hulk, Kill Bill, American Wedding, (and I liked the first American Pie, they should have left it at that), Daddy Day Care, Elf (I'm just not feeling the Will Farrell love), Just Married (I have an intense, irrational hatred of Ashton Kutcher), Uptown Girls (ditto Brittany Murphy), Master and Commander (ditto Russell Crowe), Legally Blond 2, Beyond Borders (why is Angelina Jolie still making movies? She sucks!), Terminator 3, and anything that stars Julia Roberts.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

There is a guy who comes in the office periodically. I call him Sweater Guy (he is always wearing a sweater--no coat, in 0 degree Minnesota weather). He is polite and slightly gay. He'll wander in a few times a day, smile and nod as he passes my desk, and disappear somewhere in the back. He leaves a few minutes later without saying a word. Who is the mysterious Sweater Guy? What is does he do? Why is he here? Where is he going? He doesn't work here, as far as I can tell. It's a bit uncomfortable, because I sit at the front of the office. Should I be questioning him? Keeping track of his comings and goings? Hell no, I wouldn't want anyone to think I'm a narc. Maybe he works nearby and just sneaks in here to raid the office fridge. Our kitchenette is pretty sweet. They keep free soft drinks for us in the fridge, Caribou Coffee in the coffee maker, and a wide selection of quality teas in the cabinet. Also, there is a water cooler. Maybe Sweater Guy's office kitchenette is not so well stocked.

I should cut him a break.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Not much to say today...too bummed about world events (Sadaam's capture=good, watching Shrub Boy milk it for all the political points it's worth=bad).

Here is a link I found today that lifted my spirits a bit. Seems like a decent and worthwhile organization.


Sunday, December 14, 2003

What fresh hell is this?

Now they're calling them "sex bracelets"? Back in my day (1985ish) we called them jelly bracelets, and wore them for one reason and one reason only: Because Madonna wore them. I had probably fifty of the thin black flimsy bracelets that I wore at all times, with everything, when I was 12 years old. I also had some I bought at Osco pharmacy for about $1 per pack, which were thicker and stiffer (okay, that sounds vaguely sexual). You couldn't do much with those, except loop them together and make sort of a figure 8 type thing to go around your wrist (I've seen Gwen Stefani wear them like this in a video, as late as 1996). I was so cool (or not) that I even had jelly rings (purchased at It's A Small World at Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis; they ran about 25 cents each--for a tiny piece of plastic. They must have been making a killing on these!) I wore three in a row on my right ring finger...one for each of my favorite colors: red, pink, and black. I had a bad habit of chewing on them--I was a nervous, shy, fidgety kid--and actually ended up swallowing the pink one. I was terrified that it would get stuck somewhere in my intestines and either "come out" very painfully, or have to be surgically removed. Thankfully, it appears to have passed without incident.

As for the connotation to sexual favors that the msn story implies, I'm not buying it. In fact, I smell a weak media-created urban legend brewing here.

But maybe I'm just naive about such things.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Marcus has contributed his review for Streets Of Fire! Scroll down to read.

And check out his spankin' new blog at:
All I Want For Christmas....

Okay, I realize we're getting down to the wire here, but here is my list for friends, family, and anyone else wanting some last-minute suggestions (hint, hint).

Neil Finn: Sessions at West 54th (DVD)
Former lead singer of Crowded House and one of the greatest singer/songwriters of our time.

Dave Matthews: Some Devil (CD)
I like him. Shut up.

Beth Orton: Daybreaker (CD)

Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott (book)

Writer's Market 2004 (book)

Sabrina (DVD)
The Humphrey Bogart/Audrey Hepburn version.

Manhattan (DVD)

Of course, a gift certificate also works in a pinch. ;-)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Bad Movie Review!

Our first subject is the film Streets of Fire (1984), featuring Diane Lane at her finest! She plays a rock star who does big, theatrical renditions of Meat Loaf-style numbers (her songs in the movie were penned by Jim Steinman--Meat Loaf's writing partner. Wait--why the hell do I know this?)

So Diane--sorry--Ellen Aim (the best rock star name they could come up with, apparently) gets kidnapped in the middle of a performance by an Evil Gang led by Raven (Willem Dafoe, doing his usual creepy psycho routine). This worries Reva, owner of the local coffee shop--(a shitty one, evidently, because she never has any customers--or maybe Starbucks just moved in down the block). Anyhoo, Reva decides there's only one man who can deliver Ellen from Raven and his Evil Gang--her brother, Tom Cody (Michael Pare). So Tom blows back into town (he left years ago, cause he had things to do, dammit), and agrees to help rescue Ellen. He sort of balks at first--not because he's a wuss, but because he and Ellen (surprise!) used to have a thang back in the day and he doesn't want to get involved with her again, cause he's tough like that. But, luckily for Ellen, he's also sensitive. And so Our Hero sets out on his mission to save the Fair Maiden and restore order to the Universe.

Okay, unless you're five, you can probably guess where this is going, so I'll cut to the chase and just talk about the best parts. Where to begin? Well, aside from Diane Lane's fabulous gowns, I loved the weird sexual tension between Reva and a very butch Amy Madigan (she plays a drifter who joins Tom on his quest). I have a theory that a lesbian sub-plot was cut from the film, probably deemed too racy for audiences in 1984. And speaking of, there's also a hot scene for pree-verts like me where Diane Lane is lashed to a bed, squirming, waiting for her Knight in Shining Armour (or maybe his sister? Come to think of it, why would Reva give a rat's ass about a kidnapped rock star, or her brother's ex-girlfriend, for that matter, unless she had a vested interest in--you know what? Never mind. I'm probably reading too much into this. But still...

Lesbian undertones aside, Streets of Fire has a lot to recommend it. There are motorcycle chases, big musical numbers, dramatic kissing-in-the-rain sequences, Diane Lane being hot, Michael Pare being tough-yet-sensitive, Willem Dafoe being psycho and a hilarious chain fight between Raven and Our Hero (in the rain, natch). It must also be noted that Willem Dafoe's villain has a very odd fashion sense--it's sort of a gay vampire look. Throughout much of the movie he's parading around in tight black leather pants, leather suspenders (!), no shirt, and that hair. He's got a disturbing widow's peak going on, which I assume is supposed to make him look menacing but it's really just sort of distracting. Marcus (my bad movie buddy!) and I had a good time making fun of him. Every time Willem got himself worked up into a big Mad Scene, Marcus would yell out "Bob Crane's a loser!" (a reference to Dafoe's character in the Bob Crane biopic Auto Focus, which is a quite good film, actually).

So even if you're not a bad movie fanatic, you could do a lot worse on a slow Saturday night. And if you are a bad movie fanatic, by all means, run right out and add this one to your collection.

Especially if you're into lesbians.

And here's Marcus's side of things (thanks dude! You rock!)

My memories, such as they are, of Streets of Fire pale in comparison to
Andie's. She's already laid out the plot, so let me elaborate on some
aspects of the film that actually did stay with me, long after the film
had finished.

For one, the movie was very, very dark and all the streets were very,
very wet. There was no fire to be found on the streets, but "Streets of
Rain" doesn't really make a compelling film title, does it? Filmmakers
seem to think that dark, wet streets infer that the tale you're
watching takes place on the wrong side of the tracks. But how wrong of a side
could it be if Rick Moranis is one of the toughest characters in town?

That's right, Rick Moranis. He plays Diane Lane's manager, and
suposedly he's a dick. But it's Rick Moranis, people! From Honey, I Shrunk
the Kids! His build alone screams "nebbish". And he doesn't get to
sing, which for you Little Shop of Horrors fans is a big let-down.

But even Rick Moranis, bad ass that he is, is scared of Willem Dafoe.
Like Andie, I didn't understand his wardrobe. Obviously, with it being
nighttime and having just rained, it must be pretty cold outside. So
why is he running around with no shirt on? Doesn't he know he'll catch
cold? And it's pretty obvious that he's just been sick, since his
pants are so big that he needs suspenders. Either that or he's recently
lost a lot of weight. Maybe he was on the Atkins Diet and hadn't made it
to Kohl's yet to buy some new clothes.

So DaFoe kidnaps Diane Lane and blah blah blah. The main reason I
wanted to watch this film was because of my love for Diane Lane. Sigh.
Diane Lane. I can't believe she married a Goonie. I'd watch anything
with her in it. (Like Six Pack, which is another film Andie will
probably write about soon.) I'd even see that movie where she buys a run-down
house in Italy and lears all about life and love while remodeling her
kitchen. Needless to say, once I discovered the part my dear sweet
Diane played in Streets of Fire, I was disappointed. She was on screen for
about ten seconds at the beginning before she's immediately kidnapped
by Dafoe. Then the film concentrates on Moranis and his friends trying
to get her back. She reappears in a dream sequence near the middle of
the film, if I'm not mistaken, then disappears again until the end,
when she's saved and all that was wrong is right again. What the hell? I
thought she was the star!

The true lead of the movie belongs to Michael Pare, he of Eddie and the
Cruisers - and Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! - fame. What
the hell happened to Michael Pare? Did Hollywood executives realize that
there really was no need to have a Tom Berringer knock-off when the
real Tom Berringer was ready and willing to work in anything they sent his
way? Pare's acting in Streets of Fire could best be described as

This movie's true claim to fame is that it introduced the song "I Can
Dream About You" to the world. Of all the songs by overachiever Jim
Steinman that were in the film, the one that turns out to be remembered is
a little throwaway pop song by some guy named Dan Hartman. I bet
Steinman was pretty pissed off about that. Maybe he should have gotten Meat
Loaf to act in the film. (But they would have had to call it "Bat out
of Streets of Fire of Hell". At least then the "Fire" part of the
title would have made sense.)

Overall, it wasn't a great movie. It lacked two main aspects I thought
it would have: coherence and Diane Lane. Still, any film that posits
that Rick Moranis is an asskicker is one that's worth finding.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

The state of Minnesota is really making sure that I pay my debt to society. I just got a $40 parking ticket for being parked on a snow route (apparently a felony in Minnesota). After my next door neighbor called to let me know I was getting a ticket, I rushed outside to plead with the meter maid (or whoever the hell she was). I stood on the doorstep, freezing my ass off in a T-shirt and sweatpants, and yelled "I'm moving my car!" At first she pretended not to hear me, and when I called out again she gave me the sweetest smile, shrugged and said "Sorry!" then jumped in her little minivan and cruised.


Friday, December 05, 2003

Tonight I'm going to see Brian Setzer with some people from work. I'm looking forward to it, even though it's been a while since I've broken out the swing CD's. I'm hoping he does some Stray Cats material. If I were so inclined, I'd totally get into the retro '50s-as-told-to-the-80'sness of it all. I could feather my hair, (as much as you can feather long, straight hair), get decked out in a hot little dress with a fitted bodice and flared skirt and some of those cute high heeled Mary Janes, and maybe a black leather jacket thrown over my shoulders, just to show that while I may look nice 'n girly, I'm still tough.

I stopped over to browse at Barnes & Noble during lunch, and saw the most peculiar thing on the restroom wall..."Eric Idle" scrawled inside a drawing of a heart with an arrow through it. Yeah. Eric Idle. The guy from Monty Python. Okay, I've had some weird celebrity crushes, too--but Jeez, you don't see me writing "Jeremy Davies" in flowery junior high school girl script in the john at Barnes & Noble. That's a bit obsessive.

And the question of the day...why do people insist on calling business on Friday afternoons? Most people take off work early to get a jump start on the weekend, or to "work from home" (whatever), and the ones that are left to answer the phones in their wake just don't give a shit because, well, it's Friday afternoon. So stop calling me, you pricks.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

While you are waiting for my next update, check out this, or this, or, if you're feeling a bit daring...
Woo hoo! Up and running! This is my blog, y'all. I'll have more to report when I figure out what the hell I'm doing with it.

Oh, and BTW--the name is my way of paying homage to Daniel Clowes and his comic "Candypants and Squirrel Girl." Thank you, Mike W. for introducing me to his work so that I was able to use it for my own navel gazing purposes.