Note:

This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Friday, January 18, 2013

That's Why I Hate Teens...

No, I didn't say this...this was a statement made by a teen...my 14 year old.

We went to see the movie "Mama" this evening. It was the 7PM showing at North Hills. I'm not a big fan of this theater but it was the earlier showing so, there you go. We got there nice and early - 6:30 - and got our favorite seats -- the very back. We were the first ones there.

But not for long...people came in droves. Literally. Groups came in as if in a parade. And man, they weren't quiet about it. First group came right into our little corner. Then a few more sporadic little groups, then an almost entire row of teens came in front of us, and so on and so on. They came in like ants. I can't believe a theater could hold that many groups at one time.

And god, they were obnoxious. Loud. Not just loud. Insufferably loud. Like "I dare you to tell me to be quiet" loud. Or "I want everyone to hear me" loud. Or "I think I am hilarious" loud.

And they don't sit still. They get up and go to the other side of the row to sit on their friends' lap and talk loud, text, giggle loudly. And just when you block the sound of their annoying voice out, they walk back over to their empty seat to remind you that they can't fucking sit still. And they do this the whole fucking time the previews go on.

And my patient mind justifies this during the previews but they better be quiet when the movie starts...but CJ is not happy and at some point, she says to Tim and I those very words "This is why I hate teenagers."

Before the movie starts, the film stops, the lights come on, and at the front of the theaters is a movie lady and two 'police officers'. She looks pissed off. She explains that this theater is full of teens and they need to shut the fuck up and put their god damn phones away or they are throwing their asses out. They've done it before and they're doing it again. And if they can't figure out who the culprit is, they're throwing out whole rows. I start applauding. I would've wolf whistled but I don't know how to. I would have whooped whooped but I didn't want to get thrown out.

Anyway, it worked for the most part. But about half way through the movie, there were two people on the other side of us (there was a big gap between the inner aisles in the back) who freaking MUMBLE-TALKED the entire time. And no one on their end would shush them! I asked CJ if I could shush them and she PUT HER HAND ON MY ARM TO HOLD ME BACK. So, I did. Meaning, I did NOT shush them.

But later, the freaking dude was TAKING GD PICTURES!!! OMG-freaking god. I was in a freak show, or the fifth dimension of theater watching. Why do these people come to movies to talk and take pictures? But that wasn't the end of it...there was kissing noises...LOUD KISSING NOISES that I could hear across the aisle. Finally, towards the end, I yelled STOP IT after seeing another flash of the flash of the camera. I don't know if they heard me, or if coincidentally, they finally decided to leave, but they finally left.

So, North Hills, thankfully and finally, has reached the banned list of our theaters. I hate that theater. The freaking obnoxious kids go to that theater...it is the worst.

As for the movie itself, it was good. The "mama" was a great special effect/actor and very freaky and scary. And Jessica Chastain was HOT HOT HOT with her short, black hair 'do'. It didn't have good ratings but it also didn't end with a hollywood 'happy' ending. Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

This novel takes place before the Y2K event. Lincoln is O'Neill is hired at The Courier as 'security' to read flagged emails - those emails that contain keywords that indicate that the emails may not be related to business. Lincoln, who works nights and in the basement, so that he doesn't get to know the people that work upstairs who work the dayshift, sends warnings to them about the inappropriate use of business use of email.

But he becomes enamored with the email exchanges between Beth and Jennifer and this becomes one of the main subjects of the book: emails between Beth and Jennifer and Lincoln's life.

What we know about Beth and Jennifer we learn only through their emails. Beth is a movie reviewer for The Courier and living with Chris, a lead guitar player for a local band called Sacajawea. They've been together for seven years and Chris apparently is 'to die for'. Beth loves him. Jennifer does not.

Jennifer is happily married and thinks she's pregnant but is not. But discovers that her husband is not as happy as she is when she discovers the latest pregnancy scare is not as silly as she thought...that he does indeed want to have children. Is she ready?

Lincoln loves these two women and does nothing to warn them of their flagrant violations of company policies. In fact, he looks forward to finding their emails in the violation folders every night, to catch up on their lives. He knows it's wrong but he can't help it. His own life is sad, in his mind. He keeps pining for his high school girlfriend, who dumped him after they left their hometown for college. He has no friends, except older people he plays Dungeons & Dragons with. He hooked up with an old high school friend but he found a girlfriend so he's become the third wheel. Oh, and BTW, did he mention, he still lives with his mom?

***Spoiler Alerts***
Lincoln eventually becomes attracted to Beth. He hasn't seen or met her but he loves her humor in her emails, and her sensitivity. He thinks her boyfriend is crap no to realize how amazing she is. He doesn't want to cross the line -- to see what she actually looks like because, well, then it might be over for him. He might actually fall in love with her and well, that would be creepy.

As he reads her emails to Jennifer, he discovers that she has developed a crush for a guy at work..."My Cute Guy". Over time, he finds out that the cute guy is him. He even reads how she actually tries to follow him home one day. But she still loves Chris so he's torn.

But he decides to change his life and starts going to the gym, starts mingling with other people in the office. And well, it's just a really interesting story. I rather enjoyed it. The end seems to come by kind of quick. About 60% of the novel is pretty dark, which I liked a lot. The characters are good, the writing is good. Lincoln is very dark and I rather enjoyed the protagonist of this novel.  Definitely recommend this one for a, ironically, 'light' read.

Grocery Store Tales

I tweeted my very cool encounter with the checkout clerk yesterday, who gave me a "You go girl!" when he carded me for my bottle of wine. I am not so stupid to know that he was following some new rules to check IDs (and I haven't looked under 21 since I turned 28), as this was my second ID check of the week, and the second time I've heard from others that they were also getting carded. But the "You go girl" caught me by surprise and I love _that_ kind of personality trait in someone, who would just *say* that to a complete stranger...and I was a bit distracted so it's not like my face looked friendly until, I hope, he made me smile. So it was a needed compliment that brightened up a very London-fog kind of a day.

But it reminded me of two of my grocery store encounters last year that were pretty amusing. If you missed my first story, one that I reenacted for many of my friends, you miss me doing pretty good (in my mind) acting of my tales in person. Let's just say *I'm pretty dramatic*. :)

Sometimes I wonder if I have an aura about me that attracts odd things to happen to me. I don't write about them all but from the ones I did happen to write about Happy Birthday Dori and then this one about this little guy.

The Big Bear
Last Spring, I was at the Harris Teeter (on Edwards Mill Road) looking for chicken sausages.

The chicken sausages are next to the fresh seafood section. For those who know me well, I am very focused when I am out and about and ignore everything around the peripheral. So if you pass by and say hi, I don't see you. And especially, if I'm trying to decide between roasted garlic, smoked andouille, spinach feta and sundried tomato.

I remember it was very windy outside and I'm in the refrigerated section next to the cold section of the fresh seafood, so I was chilled to the bone. Why does this matter? Well, at some point, I hear someone break me out of my focus on the chicken sausages by the words "You look like you're really cold." There was about a second delay for me to process the words I heard and the words I was reading, "Spinach Feta", to understand that those words might have been intended for me. But I am at the HT alone so I am in a confused state and in that second I think I shouldn't look around but I do. And on the other side of the fresh seafood, is a gargantuan of a 'dude' wearing this hat:
The hat was strange because it was cold but not _that_ cold. There was no blizzard of snow and it was Spring for allah's sake.

But whatever, this big ass dude was coming straight towards me.

The words he spoke to me are no longer clear but they again relate to me being cold. I looked around him to see if there were other 'dudes' and that, perhaps, this was some sort of fraternity hazing joke and they were standing in the background laughing their asses off. But no, it was just him.

Keep in mind, he was loud and in the limelight because this was a big guy - like linebacker big. He came right up to me and said "How about I give you a big bear hug to keep you warm?"

In the microseconds before I replied, "I think I'll pass on that one." I thought: Really? That's a pick up line? And did he think that would really work? And what would he do if I said yes? Hug me right there by the chicken sausages? Right in front of someone trying to pick out their 21 count shrimp?

He smiled and walked away and before he turned the aisle, he boomed across the store and said "Let me know if you change your mind!"

The Stalker
I can't remember what store I was in when, again, I was focused on very particular ingredients for dinner. But the store was not a regular store so I was only semi-familiar with the layout. This will mean something, I promise.

Side note: If you haven't read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, then you should. It talks about relying on your intuition and both this and the above story shows how, despite being focused and usually not paying attention to my surroundings, I was able to 'sense' someone else paying attention to me (even if I wasn't in danger).

I walked into the store and down one aisle to get to the back. Immediately, I noticed peripherally that there was an elderly gentleman staring at me. Well, this is in hindsight. "Immediately" I thought: there is no way this elderly gentleman is staring at me.

I get to the back and get what I need from there. As I turn, I see the elderly gentleman closer to me, staring at me again. Nope. That is not what he is doing. I'm being narcissistic and this is all just coincidental. I went down HIS aisle and he is just shopping like me.

I go left to get the other things I need and forget about the old man.  A few minutes go by, I go the other way to get my other things and pass by the old man, who I feel is staring at me when I pass him. He sure is a slow shopper, I think.

Now, I am in need of one more thing and because I don't know the layout of the store, I am flummoxed. Where would they put this ingredient? So, I slowly walk back from where I came, thinking to myself, and trying to analyze which aisle this ingredient would appear in...when I hear the old man speak to me: "You looked so sure of yourself when you walked in here."

I look up at him. What does he mean by that?

"I watched you walk in here and you came in like a woman who knew exactly what she wanted. And now, you look lost."

"Ah. Yes. Well, I did when I came in. But now, I can't find my one last thing." So...he WAS watching me.

"It's hard not to miss a beautiful woman walk into a store with such a sense of assurance."

Awww...oh wait, I said that out loud: "Awwww...thank you. That's so nice. I appreciate that." Big grin and a nice squeeze to his shoulder. I _can_ be a touchy-feely person with strangers. I guess you need to be an older 'gentleman', with better vocabulary and better pick up lines. :)

Friday, January 04, 2013

My Best of 2012 List

Here are my best of's for 2012.

Finding my favorite book for 2012 was difficult. I was reading through my book 'reviews' (I need to update the tag...I still don't know what to call them...maybe 'judgement' or something like that) and I really had a great year for finding great books. But I think, despite all of the great ones, I've come to terms with one that comes back to me time and time again. So, drum roll,

My Favorite Book is One Day by David Nicholls. The story of two friends over twenty years, Emma and Dexter, is written captivatingly by Nicholls. Emma's emotions are beautifully written by a *man* and her character still remains with me to this day. Dex too, who came up in my head by a recent novel with a character by the name of Dex.

I watched the movie (afterward) starring the beautiful Anne Hathaway. The movie is great but these movies from books are like being on speed. They just don't capture the moments, the thoughts, the details that 435 pages slowly puts you through, where 108 minutes rushes a viewer through. It's really two different plot lines and "you" miss so so much if you only see the movie.

My Favorite Trip by far would be the trip back to the Philippines. Leaving what was my home for seven straight years - the meaningful years, 2nd grade through 8th - and leaving my family was one of the most life-changing experiences of my life. I dreamed of my "home" throughout my adolescence, missing my family, missing my friends, missing the life I had.

Thirty years later, I was back and it was, as they say...and as I like to say, *literally*, a dream come true. A lot had changed. My childhood home did NOT look the same. The base looked and didn't look the same. My family looked but didn't look the same. But it was a gift to be with them again. It was also, yet again, a life-changing experience to be home, this time with my own family, having them see what was such a foundation of my life. It was wonderful to see my Auntie Cely, the love of my life, who was dying and passed away in August.

My Favorite TV Show I had plans to blog about some of the great new shows I am watching this (now past) 2012 season but my blogging of 2012 was not up to par. I would almost say  say Girls from HBO since I watched it twice. Once, when I was home sick, I went through nearly all ten episodes then I made Tim watch them and we just finished them up. But it's not...after much thinking, my favorite show of 2012...and I have watched a lot of stuff...I *watch* a lot of stuff. It would be better to ask me what I _don't_ watch. My favorite show of 2012 would be Veep.

I bet most of you probably never even heard of this show. If you have, then bravo! to you. You are either an addict like me, who somehow manages to pick up on the TV entertainment notes on the HuffPost on USA Today tidbits that pass by from time-to-time. Or is a big fan of Julia Louis-Dreyfus and/or Tony Hale (of Arrested Development fame). No matter, if you've seen the HBO series, then you have to know that this is one amazing show. If you haven't, then find the series and catch up.

Recently, there was a hashtag for #BestTVLines2012 for twitter. I participated and included some of my favorite shows: New Girl (which had some of the best episodes this season), Girls, and an RT from Homeland. But Veep had the best and I could only get two good ones in. The rest, well, 1) I just couldn't fit them in 140 characters or less and B) CONTEXT. There's just no way to get the context in...the gist of the joke.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, the Vice President of the U.S. She is pretty much, well, second fiddle to the President and, um, ineffectual but is trying to make a statement of being important in the cabinet. She's always asking her secretary "Did the President call" as she comes into her office.

Her staff is hilarious. And they are very un-PC. Especially Selina. One of the quotes I wanted to add to best TV lines of 2012 is the bit about her staff telling her that her name is one of the hurricane names on the list for next year:



Gary: You're not gonna believe this. Selina is on next years list of hurricanes.
Selina: Ugh, shit! What if it hits and we get a headline saying "Selina causing large scale devastation."
Amy: People won't equate you with a natural disaster, ma'am.
Selina: Really, Amy? Cause I've met some people. Okay, real people. And I gotta tell ya a lot of 'em are fucking idiots.


The few tweets I did get to post, that I felt were in context and funny, are these:


By far, my favorite one

How un-PC is this show? Very. Here is a snippet. This is a great snapshot to Selina Meyer's character, one of the best character's on TV.

This is the trailer for the first season. There's a lot of bleeping, and there's a lot of not-bleeping. This is one show full of cursing. Right up my alley. :)

Season 2 starts in the Spring. TBD.

As far as other favorites, I couldn't settle on a favorite movie or song. Maybe they'll come to me later and then I'll post them. I went through my rolodex of a brain of all the movies I've seen this year, both on DVD and theater but just couldn't come up with one that just made me think Wow! that was the best movie. There were some good ones but nothing that was the Wow! factor. And music, well, I just haven't made the time to think about it either. These were the things that I wanted to write about for now and share.

The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews

I found this book in my "Recommendations" section of goodreads.com. It's not as if I don't have enough in my queue that I go and look for others to read, instead of fulfilling my list of "to reads". I feel like I'm "cheating" on my list of books that I have listed "to read" but this one seemed to be calling my name and since I had trouble finding something that seemed interesting enough, as well as stirring my mood, I decided to give this one a try.

I knew I was on to a good start when the "Acknowledgments" section started with names, and places, I recognized: someone from Pinehurst, North Carolina, Raleigh, Diane Chamberlain (a FB friend and 'local' author), Margaret Mahon (another local author), Sarah Shaber (another FB friend and local author), Alex Sokoloff (another FB friend and favorite semi-local author), Southern Pines. With a little more research, it appears that Andrews is a Georgia native, with a brief stint in Raleigh, hence her (probable) connection to these NC ties. Nonetheless, I was thrilled to see these familiar names and most importantly, the southern ties.

The book itself is absolutely wonderful. I could not put it down. This is a book I would recommend to anyone who loves to read just a fun, enjoyable book. I definitely have found a new author of delight in Mary Kay Andrews (who I keep typing a Mark). This was a book I took everywhere and I *am* on vacation. I had an eye appointment and sat in the chair where all the doo-gadgets were and waited patiently, reading, lost in time, as I immersed myself into Birdsong, the home in which Dempsey Killebrew, the protagonist of this 419 page novel 'lived'.

This was the perfect novel: the chapters were just the right amount of 'size'. Not too long and not to short.

The story had the right amount of depth: not too sappy, a bit of intrigue and some romance without being typical of the: woman-meets-boorish-man-hates-him-but-loves-him. It definitely is *not* that, which I *so* appreciated.

It's not too short and, surprisingly, at again, 419 pages (in hardback), not too long. It is a well-rounded story about a lawyer-turned-lobbyist (the aforementioned Dempsey Killebrew) who's life turns upside down when her firm ends up in a scandalous affair of bribery and she loses her job, and her reputation. Her father gives her an offer she can't refuse: update a recently inherited home in Guthrie, Georgia - Birdsong - 'flip it' - then resell it and split the profits.

***Spoiler Alerts***
Dempsey has no money. Her dad, who was really not an affectionate father to her, happens to be a great father to his 4 year old twin sons with his younger wife (four years older than Dempsey) Pilar, gives her an $80,000 budget to redo the dilapidated house. That's not a whole lot when the house is virtually in shambles.

But in Guthrie, the southern charm is there and there are a whole lot of people around willing to help...and Dempsey's doing a lot of work herself. So, a little back from reality here because Dempsey, who has never done any work in her life, except make good grades, suddenly takes lessons from Bobby Livesey, the best contractor in town, and she can lay tile, use a drum sander, a heat gun, paint clean lines, etc. like nobody's business.  That's OK. Because it's just a book and the story is good, the people in the book are good, and a little bit of non-reality is nice.

The first story is how she's going to fix this house so she can get the hell out of this po'dunk town, and the old lady, Ella Kate, who HATES her.

The second story is dealing with the charges that the FBI has against her for the scandal back in Washington D.C. as a lobbyist. It was her corporate credit card that hired a prostitute to woo the congressman to vote for bills for her firm worked with. But because she was just a gung-ho lobbyist, working hard to impress her boss, she had no idea she was blindsided by what was really going on. Now, she's working with the FBI to set up her boss to clear her name and get them off her back.

Plus, there's Tee Berryhill, the man who has been wooing her. But she's been making it clear that she's here to fix up Birdsong and then she's out of here. Or is she? Well, it's obvious where this will go but reading it is oh so nice.

Definitely a wonderful read and a great start to my first of 35 books as my goal for 2013.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Silver Linings Playbook

I have been wanting to see this movie ever since I first read about it. Despite the fact that Bradley Cooper stars in it, the fact that Jennifer Lawrence was in it was what drew me to this movie. Well, mainly her and also because it dealt with people who had mental issues. I really like flawed characters. And Jennifer Lawrence.

I read a little bit about the movie to know that Jennifer was really good in this one. I was a fan of hers since seeing the mostly unknown but amazing Winter's Bone. Brilliantly, I watched that and named her as *the one* that should be Katniss for The Hunger Games and lo and behold, someone else had the same idea. However, I didn't feel that movie portrayed the story as well as the book and I didn't feel that Lawrence had the same allure as Katniss as she had as Ree in Winter's Bone.

But in Silver Linings Playbook, she did. She was magical. And then some. I absolutely loved her and the movie. And by golly, Bradley Cooper managed to steal the show too. Well, not as much as Lawrence did for me but since he was pretty much the movie, he didn't ruin it for me. But he showed me he's not a one-trick pony (like Clooney) and he can play a crazy guy without overacting.

So, the gist of this movie - I'm not going to give it away - is that Cooper plays a guy who gets released from a mental institution and tries to reconcile with his wife. Along the way, he tries to get his life back together with his dad, played by Robert DeNiro, his mom, and his friends. He meets Jennifer Lawrence, who also is a bit cuckoo, but not mental-institution cuckoo.

It's quirky and a bit on the Hollywood-side, despite the fact that it is playing at The Rialto, which is known for playing mostly off-Hollywood stuff. But Tim and I watched it at a mainstream theater, so it's more mainstream than off but quirky enough to make mainstreamers uncomfortable but make me feel "at home".

Definitely my favorite of the year...you know, day three of 2013. :)