Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sportin' the Newly Shorn Look

Well, I've done it again.

Every five years or so I let a hairstylist talk me out of my one-length bob and into -- horrors! -- a layered one. (What can I say, I don't do change all that well.) Then I agonize until it grows out, get it cut back all one length, swear never to do it again, and about five years later, wonder how come I never get a layered cut... Lather, rinse, repeat.

But this time, hey, it isn't so bad! It's been a few days now and I'm not cringing past mirrors.

Best part: it cost me $15. I really hate spending a lot of money on a haircut.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Earworm Du Jour

Many mornings, I wake up with a song already in my head as if it's been implanted while I slept. Occasionally it makes mundane sense -- it's a no-brainer why the Thomas and Friends theme is buzzing in my brain before my eyes are even open some mornings. Pathetic, but not mysterious.

Often though, I have no idea what the Song of the Day is doing in my head. For example, today I'm stuck with "I'll Be Home For Christmas." What's with that?

What's your tune?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Spy Game"

Last night's movie, Spy Game, was pretty good. So good it didn't even really matter that a couple minutes into the film, I realized I'd seen it before, probably soon after it came out in '01. D'oh!

Robert Redford plays Nathan Muir, a CIA agent who on the day of his retirement learns that his protege, Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), has been captured by the Chinese and is due to be executed in a few hours. Muir tells a specially convened task force (including, inevitably, a snide asshole, James Woods lookalike nemesis for Our Hero) the story of his recruitment and mentorship of Bishop. The task force wants to paint Bishop as some kind of kook and deny ties to him; Bishop has other plans, and strings the committee along while he puts them in motion. Let the spy games begin!

The movie is well-acted, and complicated enough to be interesting, but not overly taxing (not a lot of reversing a bit to figure out what the heck just happened). It's more plot-driven than effect-driven, which is good. Worth seeing, forgetting all about, then seeing again six years later. Sigh!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

He's gone where the goblins go...

"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

So said Jerry Falwell on September 14, 2001, about the events of three days earlier.

And today he died. I guess Tinky Winky can breathe a little easier.

I don't believe in hell, but it would be nice to think that Jerry Falwell is having a finger pointed in his own face, today.

Poor Bill.

Fonts and Templates

I can never decide if the problem is too many choices, or too few.

Bear with me, this will settle out eventually.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I'm her mother, damnit.

This morning I am at the grocery store with my younger daughter (a lovely three-year-old, who for the sake of bloggish anonymity I'll call Peanut). The lady behind the deli counter gives Peanut a slice of cheese, and she says "THANK YOU" loudly, as I've taught her to do so that the deli person can hear her. Deli Lady says how adorable she is, and I say thank you very much, yes, she does a good job at the store. So far, so good. Then Deli Lady says, "she's your granddaughter?"

Well. *That's* never happened before.
(Those who haven't met me will have to take my word for it that 1) I don't have but one gray hair; 2) I'm a generally youthful 40 -- not an "oh my God, you can't be 40" 40, but youthful; 3) on this particular morning I looked neither much better nor much worse than usual.)

Back to the deli. "No," I say, "she's my daughter." (I say it in italics, just like that.) Now everyone's laughing and the deli person is saying I'm sorry, I'm sorry! and would I like anything else? "No, that's quite enough actually," say I, and Peanut and I make for the nearest aisle, where I am surprised to find myself in tears.

Why? Well, the obvious thing is I didn't think I looked old enough to be anyone's grandmother. I don't mind looking my age, but damnit, my age ain't grandmotherly yet, and being mistaken for one made me feel bad.

But I also had a primal and fierce reaction to being thought not to be Peanut's mother: She is MY Peanut. I carried her, I nourished her, I pushed her out, and she's MINE. I get to be proud of her in a way nobody else does. I know, we don't own our children, and all that. But something instinctive and powerful all but bowled me over, right there between the granola and the apple juice.

I have quickly backed off taking it personally. For all I know, everyone in Deli Lady's toothless family is a grandmother by the time they're 40. And I look how I look, for better or worse.

But, is she my granddaughter?! Good grief.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Sixteen. That's the percentage of registered voters in town who turned out for yesterday's local election, which included contested races for two positions on the select board and two on the school committee.

The Town Clerk called it a good turnout.

Now I'm not one who says that if you don't vote, you don't have the "right" to complain about things. One of the great things about our country is that everyone can complain. Sometimes it seems as though damn near everyone does.

But still... 16%? Where were the other 84% of us? Rotating our tires? Trimming the cat's claws? Changing the shelf liners in the linen closet? Complaining about something?


Monday, May 07, 2007

Much less work than that "Parachute" book.

So in moments when I'm feeling "wither me," I'm prone to taking silly self-assessment quizzes. One of my favorite types is the career quiz. I'm eternally hoping something will give me a clue what I should do when I grow up. Here's one that suits my current attention span of about 90 seconds:
My results:

Your Career Personality: Idealistic, Service-Oriented, and Future-Oriented

Your Ideal Careers:

Alternative health practitioner
Environmental lawyer
Magazine editor
Museum curator
Photo journalist

Photojournalist, heh. That reminds me of this joke:

Here's a dilemma for you... With all your honor and dignity what would you do? This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. Please don't answer it without giving it some serious thought. By giving an honest answer you will be able to test where you stand morally.

The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation, where you will have to make a decision one way or the other. Remember that your answer needs to be honest, yet spontaneous.

Scroll down slowly and consider each line - this is important for the test to work accurately.

You are a photojournalist on assignment, covering hurricane aftermath in a southern coastal city. There is great chaos going on around you, severe flooding and wind damage. There are huge masses of water everywhere, and you are in the middle of this great disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot very impressive photos. There are houses and people floating around you, disappearing into the water. Nature is showing all its destructive power and is ripping everything away with it. Suddenly you see a man in the water, fighting for his life, trying not to be taken away by the masses of water and mud. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar.

Suddenly you know who it is -- it's George W. Bush!

At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him away, forever. You have two options. You can save him or you can take the best photo of your life.

So you can save the life of George W. Bush, or you can shoot a Pulitzer prize winning photo, a unique photo revealing the moments before the death of one of the world's most powerful men.

And here's the question (please give an honest answer):

Do you select color film, or rather go with the classic simplicity of black and white?


This weekend's other movie was Firewall, with Harrison Ford as a Seattle bank's online security manager whose family is held captive by a group of guys who will kill them if Ford's character doesn't hack his own setup and wire transfer a gazillion $ into their offshore account.

It's completely formulaic, and been done before in slightly different flavors (e.g. Hostage, with Bruce Willis as a cop whose family was held captive by a group of guys who would kill them if he didn't blah blah blah whatever). The point, of course, is Harrison Ford, who must be seen in everything he does since he first appeared before my young eyes in a Mos Eisley bar (I'm not even that ashamed).

He delivers as expected. There's nothing especially terrific or awful about this movie. It's definitely suspenseful; if anything, the tension isn't broken often enough. So I give it a heartfelt "eh, could've been worse."

Sunday, May 06, 2007

"The Red Violin"

So -- whoever recommended this movie to me needs to 'fess up. It's okay, I enjoyed it. Really! I like subtitles once in a while... good for the attention span, good for reheating the high school French. I also like indie dramas, and think it's important to step outside Hollywood from time to time.

Briefly: An Italian violin maker's wife dies in childbirth. Stricken with grief, he finishes his masterpiece -- an exquisite violin for the baby -- and disappears. The rest of the movie is the story, told largely in flashbacks, of what happens to the violin and some of the lives it influences over the next several hundred years and across three continents. The flashbacks are punctuated by scenes of a present-day auction at which the Red Violin is the last lot, and competitively bid upon.

Samuel L. Jackson (a bit unconvincingly, though I can't put my finger on why) plays a violin expert (there's probably a word for that, which I'm revealing myself as a shameless violin ignoramus for not knowing and being disinclined to look up) who becomes so deeply interested in the instrument that he is bound to it. The contemporary scenes follow his research into the violin's origins and his growing convictions about the instrument as the auction nears.

The movie is emotional, mysterious and compelling, and very much worth seeing. However, as it's all about a violin, be warned: much of the soundtrack is, inevitably, excruciating.