Category Archives: apropos of nothing

it’s oh so quiet

Just coming out of hibernation to bring you two very important bits of information:

1. Porter likes cookies:

Porter likes cookies

2. The bird is the word:

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That is all. We’re boring these days and all we do is watch movies under blankets and read books. Hardly worth blogging about.

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in the year 2000

I was just thinking about how long that last decade stretched back, and how my life is so completely different now than it was when it started. Ten years ago I was in my last year of college and September 11th hadn’t even happened yet. Your twenties tends to be a significant time of changes, so I thought I’d reflect on exactly what I did. But even moreso I’m looking forward to the coming ten years and what they’ll bring.

Things I did in the last decade:
– graduated from college
– brushed up against Michael Stipe at a party
– backpacked through Europe
– accidentally almost ran into Bill Clinton
– moved to Philadelphia
– saw David Byrne at a show in New York
– got a job
– adopted Franny
– left a long-term relationship
– met my husband
– traveled around northern California
– went to Paris
– hung out at someone’s house with one of my favorite bands, The Lucksmiths (before they broke up)
– survived teaching my dad how to use eBay
– traveled around the Pacific Northwest
– climbed Mt. Rainier (okay, not the whole thing, but some of it)
– traveled around Scotland
– bought a house
– got married
– went to Hawaii
– adopted Porter
– visited some new places in the US, including Michigan, Daytona, Niagara Falls, and Pittsburgh
– became an aunt three times
– lost my childhood home
– learned how to sew
– dealt with my mom having cancer
– voted for the first black president
– went to the Netherlands
– almost learned how to ride a bike

Things I’d like to do this decade:
– be more positive
– make a career change
– have a baby
– become an artist
– finish fixing up our house
– go to Chicago
– move to the suburbs
– make more friends
– work on persevering with skills and projects
– go somewhere exotic
– be a better wife/sister/daughter/niece/aunt
– reach my goal weight
– stop being lazy
– be kinder to myself

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living room

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my requisite top 10 of the decade list

I’m always a little ambivalent about doing top 10 lists for this sort of thing, because I’m hopelessly behind on movies and music. I can’t even really do a top 10 of 2009, because I’m not sure I’ve even seen 10 new movies this year, and I probably only listened to like 1 new album. We mostly see things on Netflix like a year after they come out. I just looked at our Netflix history, and everything I enjoyed this year seems to be from 2008. So instead I’ll focus on my top 10 films of the decade, that’s a bit easier. Some of my favorite films of all time have come out in the past ten years, so this is the perfect opportunity. Also, I’m sure there’s plenty that I’m forgetting, but this was sort of a quick list.

1. The Royal Tenenbaums
I must admit that I wasn’t 100% crazy about this movie when it first came out. But it grew on me quickly, and now it’s one of my favorites. A tour de force for Gene Hackman, who has become one of my favorite actors. That scene at the end when Chaz says, “It’s been a rough year, Dad” chokes me up every time.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
I love this movie because the first time you watch it, you have a tenuous grip on what’s happening, but the second time you watch it, it’s even better. Kate Winslet is amazing, and this movie solidified my respect for her. Jim Carrey was surprisingly good, so much that I can’t believe he didn’t move more into drama afterwards. The trouble of course is that since Jim Carrey was in it, they billed it as a comedy, which is such a pet peeve of mine.

3. Amelie
Is it super hackneyed to say that this movie is “magical”? I don’t care, because it is. I love it. It makes me feel good, and it makes me love Paris even more.

4. Lost in Translation
This is one of those movies where nothing really happens, there’s not much plot, and I love it. I love the ethereal feeling of it, and that all they do is hang out and worry about their lives having meaning, because that’s pretty much what I do all day. And I also have a crush on Scarlett Johansson.

5. Almost Famous
Another movie that’s small on plot but big on that feeling of je ne sais quoi.
I think I just tend to like movies where people just wander around talking and trying to find their place in the world. And it helps when it’s got a good soundtrack.

6. Zoolander
I think I love this movie because I was so convinced that I was going to hate it, and then it turned out to actually be hilarious.

7. Anchorman
Greg and I went to see this the day after watching Stuck on You, which was so horribly bad that it temporarily destroyed our ability to laugh, so it wasn’t until seeing Anchorman for the second time that we could fully appreciate it.

8. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Am I shocking you with this one? I’m not usually a big blockbuster type of gal, but I can’t help loving this movie. It’s exactly what a pirate movie should be – dark and mystical, and Johnny Depp is of course brilliant in it. I think watching this finally made me understand that old film class term “mis-en-scene”.

9. About a Boy
I have a strange affinity for Hugh Grant, don’t ask me why. This movie was so sad and sweet and redemptive, and it’s one of my favorites to watch around the holidays.

10. Elf
I don’t care that it’s a holiday movie, this is one of my favorites. I love Will Ferrell, I love the mis-en-scene, and I love that it’s somehow able to be hilarious while being completely appropriate for children.

11. Damn, I can’t believe Fight Club was 1999.

*WHEW!*

Ten years is a long time, and there’s plenty of other movies that I’ve loved that didn’t make it on this list because I didn’t feel like writing a synopsis. So here’s some more that come to mind in no particular order:

Old School
Pineapple Express
Nacho Libre
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
The Motorcycle Diaries
Batman Begins
The Departed
Hot Fuzz
Where the WIld Things Are
Man on Wire
Milk
Up
Wall-E
Marie Antoinette
Juno

And now for the not-so-best.

Top 9 movies that I still can’t believe everyone loved so much:

Superbad – Jonah Hill screaming in everyone’s face about getting laid for an hour and a half while Michael Cera stands idly by, wondering why this fat kid is upstaging him. P.S. I have since grown to enjoy Jonah Hill a bit more, I’ll assume he was just trying to sort out his acting skills.

Punch Drunk Love – Adam Sandler doing his usual “I’m a quiet weirdo nerd” routine while everyone screams at him.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Forrest Gump, except backwards, more depressing, and unsympathetic.

Grizzly Man – am I supposed to feel sorry for this guy? Not even sure I made it all the way through this one.

Stuck On You – This movie clearly took place in another dimension, because in my universe Matt Damon + Greg Kinnear = Hilarity, but apparently not in the Farrelly Brothers’ universe. P.S. I realize that no one loved this movie, but I’m putting it on this list anyway because it was shockingly bad.

State and Main – Another perplexing equation where an all-star cast of amazing actors adds up to a terrible movie.

Brokeback Mountain – Ummm…am I the only one that found this movie to actually be sort of homophobic?

Babel – It really wanted to be Syriana and just couldn’t hack it. It was sort of just punishingly depressing.

Knocked Up – Hi, my name is Judd Apatow, and in my world women are all heartless bitches who set out to destroy all of us goofy and innocent guys and ruin any fun that we try to have.

Gentlemen Broncos – I really can’t believe that Jared Hess was somehow able to screw up a movie with Jemaine Clement. This really bordered on unwatchable.

*Addendum*

Away We Go – Dave Eggers, you’re killing me with this. I was so excited to see this movie, and it turned out to be terrible in so many ways. Absolutely no chemistry between John Krasinski (sp?) and Maya Rudolph, completely absurd one-dimensional characters, and cheap laughs. Halfway through the movie it decided to become sincere, but it was about an hour too late to save it. Simply terrible.

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the Great Gatsby? He was…uhhh…great!

Oh that I could ever in a million years get Greg to go to something like this – the Gatsby Summer Afternoon, which I just learned about via Nested. I think it’s pretty amazing that so many people are willing to get together and dress up and go to such lengths for a theme party. It’s hard enough to get all of our friends together just to go to a bar. Where are all of these people that are so devoted to the cause of silly frivolity and how can I get in on this?? Apparently they’re in the Bay Area, as I should have guessed.

Although I feel I must confess, after two tries of reading The Great Gatsby, I must say I can’t figure out what all the fuss is about. Now the *fashion* on the other hand, that I can dig.

(photos compliments of marianme on flickr)

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Martha my dear, you have always been my inspiration

Anyone who knows me knows of my love for Martha Stewart, in all of her let-them-eat-cake ignorance of how the common folk live. So you can imagine my joy when, upon picking up the most recent issue of MS Living at the airport the other day, I found that it now includes a feature called “Martha’s Calendar.” In addition to it being just plain amazing, I was also able to keep Greg’s mind off dying a fiery death during take-off. So many uses for Martha. In any event, I wanted to share some of my favorite excerpts with you:

June 3rd: Have vintage Edsel station wagon serviced in Maine
June 5th: Uncover barbecue station (for steaming lobsters) and ready the grill
June 6th: Peonies in all their glory; Pick up fresh milk and buttermilk from local Smith Family farm
June 12: Send horses to East Hamptom
June 14th: Horseback ride in Montauk; Watch a movie
June 16th: Take clothes to the dry cleaner
June 23rd [my personal favorite]: Fresians and miniature donkeys get their annual checkups
June 30th: Buy nonperishables and paper products in bulk, and store them in the basement

Oh that Martha, such a jet-setter! If anyone needs me the weekend of the 14th, I’ll be driving down Old Montauk Highway stalking all of the horseback riders.

(In all fairness, I did make the cucumber, basil and mint soup from this issue and it was delicious. Tomorrow I plan to make the blueberry scones.)

i won’t dance, don’t ask me

The song we chose for our first dance at our wedding was “Little Trip to Heaven (On the Wings of Your Love)” by Tom Waits. Not that we’re necessarily huge Tom Waits fans, it just seemed like a nice romantic song that was easier to dance to than some of our other choices, not to mention there was no hint of depression in it, which is a little difficult to come by in a love song. I was just thinking of the runners-up the other day, and I thought I’d post them here, for no reason whatsoever really.

Our actual song (actually I couldn’t find the exact version on YouTube so this is a slightly different version):

Probably my number one choice was “To Be Alone with You” by Bob Dylan, but Greg not being a big dancer, we figured it was a little risky to have a more fast-paced song. But still, I regret it just a bit…

This one was a close second, except Greg and I came to a disagreement when he decided he doesn’t like Nashville Skyline-era Bob Dylan. Crazy.

Bob Dylan – “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You”

The Zombies – “This Will Be Our Year”

The Velvet Underground – “I Found a Reason”

If there was a song that could be considered “our song”, it would probably be “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, but clearly we would have no idea how to dance to it, and it would probably freak everyone out.

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