Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Things Everyone Else Loves That I Hate

1. Cormac McCarthy and all his books. And all the movies that will ever be made of them. Obvs. I think this has been discussed on enough here.

2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. See Jonniker, for she says it best. Or rather, her new doctor says it best. The doctor sees that she's reading Eat, Pray, Love and says, "You love it? Everyone seems to." Jonniker replies, "Not really. I think she’s self-absorbed. And I just finished India, which was the worst part." "No,” she {shakes} her head grimly. “Indonesia is much, much worse. She thinks she shits GOLD in Indonesia."

3. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. I really didn't realize this book had a following until it was discussed in the comments on Jonniker's post about Eat, Pray, Love, but I've recently heard that there is a movie being made of it. And the thing is, I really liked this book and I thought it explored some very interesting legal ground and some thorny emotional issues and it really had me thinking as a mother and as a person about how would I handle a situation in which I needed to balance the physical needs of one child against the emotional needs of another child and if I weren't the mother, how would I advise that family? How can you tell a family to let one child die in order to let another child live? And then, just as I was pondering all of that, she ends the book with a completely bullshit, cop-out ending that completely negated all the thorny questions she had brought up in the book. I threw it across the room.

4. Dansko shoes. I don't give a rat's ass how comfortable they are, there is no way in hell I am going to pay over a hundred dollars for some damn clogs. I buy shoes at Target and at a cheap place online and they are comfortable and cute.

5. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - simply because he learned nothing! He watched his mother scrimp and save and beg to feed him and his sixty-three siblings for his whole life and then, when he’s old enough to work and help out, what does he do? Why, he saves all his money so his selfish little ass can go to America! I was stunned.

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck - I'm sorry, there was another answer. No, I don't have it, but there was one. I just refuse to accept that that was the only answer. I have hated that book since I had to read it in high school.

7. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. This falls into a subset I call People I Don't Feel Sorry For or Well, What Did You Expect to Happen? Boy goes into the Alaskan wilderness to "live off the land" and tries to ride out the Alaskan winter. Boy dies. Who else saw that ending coming a mile away? Raise your hands, please. I did feel sorry for his parents. Am not totally heartless.

8. Grizzly Man - Same subset as Into the Wild. Man loves bears, Man lives with bears, Bears eat man. Once again, raise your hands if you saw that coming. I did feel sorry for his girlfriend, who perished along with him. (Get it? Perished? Like perishable food? Oh, was that in bad taste? HA! Bad taste! Oh, I should go home now.)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Work Blues

Sorry for being totally absent for a while. It wasn't even that I haven't had things to say. I've had a post idea saved on my desktop since last Wednesday, I just haven't the time or inclination to write it up. Things have been a little crazy. We found out last week that Boss is leaving our office to go to another office several states away. A Boss from another local office will be coming here. Which will be a shake-up, but we'll get through it. Boss and I have had our differences, so in some ways I'm glad to see him go. However, I found out the other day that he's taking my closest friend in the office with him. It's an awesome promotion for her, so I'm absolutely delighted for her. But I'm just devastated. She's the one person I totally trust, who has never told a secret I told her. She's the other "un-cool girl" - we joke that by the time the two of us know the office gossip, everybody knows it. She's the kind of friend that when we go out to lunch, we play old '80's songs on the radio and sing along. That kind of friend - the kind where you can really be yourself. And the worst part? No one else knows yet! She's only told me. The "un-cool girls" are the ones in the know this time. I can't even talk to anyone about it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cormac McCarthy

Okay, so the comments from my last post featured some discussion of Cormac McCarthy and his books. And when I started to reply to Swistle's comment, I realized that I was going to get way too involved for a comment, so I should just write another damn post about this fucking author that the critics love and I really hate. Big disclaimer first: I've only read two books by Cormac McCarthy, so I am hardly an expert on his writing. That will not stop me from talking about his writing as though I am.

I will give McCarthy credit for No Country for Old Men solely for creating Tommy Lee Jones' character, because I loved him. And *in the book*, his relationship with his wife is awesome. In fact, his character is the only reason I bought the book. I had been burned by The Road, which could not possibly suck worse unless it set you on fire when you opened it, and really wasn't sure about buying another book by McCarthy. So in the store, I read the first few pages of No County. It opens with some narration by TLJ's character, Ed Tom Bell, and it is well written and the character just grabs you and sucks you in. But it really feels to me like McCarthy wanted to write a story about a small town sheriff who gets involved in a situation way out of his league and how he questions what the world is coming to these days, and how he feels responsible for his townspeople. It feels like he just wanted to draw this one character, this one weathered, older man who's seen a lot but not all, who loves his wife, and who hates the situation he finds himself in because he knows he can't make it right and then he had to write a story around that character. And he had to write a villain that Ed Tom wouldn't understand (Javier Bardem's hairstyle), and an average man in trouble (the ever-present Josh Brolin). But he didn't put much time or effort into the story around Ed Tom because that's not what matters to him. So there's no big climax where the two combatants (Bardem's hair and Brolin's sneer, for those keeping track at home) clash. There are two many factions chasing Brolin (Bardem, the Mexicans, and then the one Woody Harrleson plays). And then there's the ending. Because there's no climax, the denouement makes no sense and doesn't feel satisfying. It felt like a character study, and once McCarthy had completed the character study, he ended the book. It didn't matter if that ridiculous story he concocted for his character to walk around in was finished or not.

However, McCarthy gets no credit whatsoever for writing The Road, because it is quite simply one of the worst books I have ever read. The fact that it won the Pulitzer Prize last year makes me want to sit down and cry, because there are some damn fine books that have won the Pulitzer and the fact that it will be mentioned in the same breath as some of them is a travesty. Empire Falls, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and Confederacy of Dunces all kick the everliving shit out of The Road. Even Gilead, which is middling at best, and The Shipping News, with it's infuriating incomplete sentences, are both better than The Road by about seven country miles. Once again, I think McCarthy wanted to write about one thing and had to write some semblance of a story to hang his idea on. This time, it was a father/ son relationship. So he tells a post-apocalyptic tale about a father and son wandering from the mountains to the coast. Along the way, he does sort of explore the relationship between them. But other than that, there is very little plot. And the ending is just awful. A complete cop-out. I actually wrote a longer review back when I read it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Impromptu Movie Reviews

Movies I've seen recently:

Gone Baby Gone: Interesting movie that starts with a little girl being kidnapped and twists and turns from there. Some great plot twists that I never saw coming. Great cast - Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris.

No Country for Old Men: I had read the book, so no real surprises for me. (Rock loves it when I've read the book, btw. He pesters me the whole time to tell him what's going to happen. He says it lessens the tension for him. I practically told him the whole movie in the first 30 minutes.) It was well done, but I didn't like the book a whole lot, and I kind of hate this author, so the movie didn't really do it for me. And, as is becoming my overall complaint about this author, he doesn't know how to end a book, so the end of the movie was very weak. Anyway, it certainly wouldn't have been my choice for Best Picture of 2007.

In the Valley of Elah: Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, and Barry Corbin reteam from No Country for Old Men in In the Valley of Elah! In the Valley of Elah is good, but it's pretty grim. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and spoil it a little because I think you should know what you're getting into if you rent this one. Tommy Lee Jones' son is in the Army and comes home from Iraq, then goes AWOL. TLJ goes looking for him. The local police find him. He's been murdered, then his body was cut up, burned and scattered in a field. TLJ and the local detective (Charlize Theron) join forces to figure out what happened to him.

Dan in Real Life: I didn't expect this to be very good, but Steve Carell just makes me laugh. He reminds me of a former co-worker who was very funny, and he just makes me laugh. So I was very pleased that this was much funnier and had more of a story than I expected it to. And Dan's travails with his teenage daughter wanting to date had me rolling in the floor (and threatening to send Supergirl to a convent). And if she ever calls me a murderer of love, I'm having a t-shirt printed up. And wearing it around her friends. And of course, when we finished watching this, we got out Little Miss Sunshine and watched the first half (until Alan Arkin dies - the *worst* decision in a film in the last 10 years, easily. He was a scream. End the film there.)

American Gangster: we watched this yesterday. We planned to watch it yesterday afternoon and then watch Walk Hard afterwards, but we didn't know that American Gangster is 15 years long. It's great, it really is, but oh my god, clear your schedule for the next week, because you are not doing anything else other than watching American Gangster. We started it at like 5:30, and granted we had to stop it a few times to do things like cook dinner, and pick Supergirl up from the grandparents', but we did not finish that bastard until 10:30 last night! And then, when I took the DVD out, I realized that we had selected the Unrated, extended version. Yeah, by six years or so! Oh, and Josh Brolin is in that one, too. Were there any movies made in 2007 that did not include Josh Brolin? 'Cause I'm really getting sick of that motherfucker. I know they cast him as an asshole cause, hello! he looks like an asshole! But he's definitely getting typecast. Anyway, it is a really good movie and the acting is terrific.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Cast and Crew

This is a bit of a milestone here at Notthedaddy. This is my 100th post. (And I just checked my archives - my blogiversary was 3/21. Way to keep track, genius!) I had thought about doing the 100 Things About Me for my 100th post. But I find the 7 things meme to be a challenge, so it's pretty clear that the 100 Things would kill me dead. Since jmc pointed out that she hadn't seen pictures before my last post and since I have some new readers (yay! and welcome!), I thought this might be a good time to introduce the cast and crew here at Notthedaddy. Without further ado, the kiddos:
Supergirl and Wildman:
Rock (and a very pissed-off Wildman):

And your hostess with the mostess, moi:

That picture was taken to show off a new haircut that of course had gone flat over the course of the day. It's just about the only recent picture I have and it's almost a year old now. That's the way it goes when you're the family photographer. (And that's not a complaint. I *hate* having my picture taken.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Of Trips and Hair

Oh HAI! Yes, I am still alive. I was on a business trip last Wednesday through Friday to Richmond, VA, which I would have asked if anyone in the area wanted to meet up except that I had NO free time at all! Between work and getting together with one work friend, I was scheduled almost every second I was there. It was a good trip, but I'm glad to be home.

Over the weekend, Wildman got his first haircut. Parents of little boys, why did you not warn me that the first haircut marks the definitive end of babyhood? Between recently starting to walk and the new haircut, he has gone from Still Mostly Baby to Completely Little Boy overnight. As evidence, I present Wildman's First Haircut: A Photo Essay in Three Parts

Before: Cute, but possibly the World's Smallest Hippie. Still looks mostly like a baby. And um, yeah, we did hack off his bangs. However did you guess?

During: I'm being tortured and the best you can do is take a damn picture?! You are heartless, woman!

After: Completely a little boy.

Seriously, I spent the rest of the weekend alternating between, "Wow, his new haircut looks great!" and "Who is this little boy and where is my BAYBEEEEE?" Rock is still hiding out at his parents'.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Final April Fool's Update

So one more girl emailed Boss that she wanted to transfer to another office and another mentioned going back to school for her MBA. Then, in the afternoon meeting, we went around and asked each other, "So, Shelly, are you pregnant?" "No, Amy, are you getting a tattoo?" "No, Jane, are you moving?" Then we all looked at Boss and said, "April Fool!" He burst out laughing and said, "Well, I busted one of the conspirators, but I didn't get the other three!" I talked to him before he left and thanked him for being a good sport. He said he was getting suspicious by the third or fourth person, but the only one that was apparent was the girl who said she was eloping. He laughed about it again, so I really think he was fine with it.

April Fool's Update Three

So another girl emailed Boss that she and her boyfriend are going to elope. They both work here. She requested a week off. He wrote her back and said that he checked with HR and we don't allow Peer to Peer marriage (although he misspelled it - pier to pier marriage - Boss is sweet, but not the sharpest tool in the shed) I wonder if he's starting to figure us out or if there's really a policy against peers getting hitched.

April Fool's Update Two

So the girl who was going to tell Boss that she was eloping changed her plan (her boyfriend wouldn't go along with it!) and instead asked him what the company policy is on visible tattoos. (We're a pretty conservative company with a strict business professional dress code. We had an employee before who had a very large tattoo on her upper arm and she had to wear a jacket when she wore short sleeve shirts. She's since left the company.) So today, this girl told Boss that she was thinking about getting a tattoo around her wrist that looked like a bracelet on the back of her wrist, but then looked like an S charm on the inside of her wrist. He hemmed and hawed around and reached for his copy of the employee handbook and looked up the dress code, which has guidelines for visible piercings, but nothing about tattoos. Then he told her that although there was nothing written, he thought it wasn't a very good idea, that she should think about where she will be five years down the line and how she might not want it.

This is getting fun....

April Fool's Update

Well, I told Boss that I'm pregnant. He was so sweet. Said congratulations and asked how far along, when I'm due, if I'm hoping for a boy or a girl (he has two kids, a boy and a girl as well). We talked for a few minutes, then I left his office. I feel sort of guilty. Major Nervous Tummy. What's funny is that mine is so believable, I think when he finds out it's an April Fool, he'll still think I'm pregnant. I'm going to have to tell him specifically that mine is an April Fool too! I so hope this goes over well. (I still really think it will.)