Archive for the 'movies' Category

Waiting for the thaw

Monday in the middle of winter. 
Spent the previous weekend drinking to excess and sleeping a lot.
Typical winter activities.

Started the morning off with some Amy Winehouse (how appropriate), moved on to Etta James, then to United We Funk’s live album recorded in Detroit.  Currently on the player – Christina Aguilera. 

I’m in a Neo-Soul kind of mood today.
Did I mention it’s winter and I’m restless?

I’m vowing not to talk about politics here, due to the personal nature of everyone’s opinions. That said, I’m currently very pleased with the outcomes of the elections so far. Seems my master plan to install a puppet government that will do only my bidding is working.

In my quest to see every single Oscar-nominated movie for Best Picture, I’ve been drowning in serious cinema.  Alas, my next Netflix movie is The Assassination of Jesse James… What I need now is a comedic dork-fest of movies to lighten things up. Perhaps it’s time to pull out my Christopher Guest stash.

I just spent the last two weeks teaching myself how to crochet. I can’t think of anything actually useful I can do with this skill except make an afghan, which would probably end up looking like something a clumsy second-grader with poor hand-eye coordination would crochet. Anyway, it’s something to do in front of the TV, as I watch the increasingly bad selection of reality programming being foisted on us.

I’m glad the writer’s strike is finally over, but it’ll be awhile before they pull the latest revival of American Gladiator off the air. And none too soon, either.

In the meantime, winter marches on, as I drink heavily and crochet my way through skein after skein of worsted, making nothing in particular, watching some of the worst TV ever produced, waiting for spring.

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It’s Observant’s Favorite Holiday!!!

A wonderfully warped experience in 1977, when I was dragged to this movie by my BFF and fellow warpee, Miss Texas, who would not tell me what the movie was about…   I’ve been a Tim Currey groupie ever since, and experienced my first girl-crush on Columbia (Little Nell). 

All About Me(me)

Prada Pixie has bucked the establishment and made up her own meme and I say Good for her!  It’s a great one, so of course I stole it because I’m lazy and I think I’m coming down with the cold Ken had this weekend and I just spent $200 on my dog’s shots and allergy shot and heartworm pills and, shit – it’s Monday.

  1. What is your all time favourite book, from childhood, as an adult?  Little House on the Prairie/Pillars of the Earth.  I’ve read each numerous times and I even live close to a town that has a Laura Ingalls Wilder day once a year.  They don’t, however have an Observant Bystander day.  Yet.
  2. All time favourite movie as above?  The Wizard of Oz/The Philadelphia Story.  Again, numerous viewings and yes, I’ve done the WOZ/Dark Side of the Moon thing which totally rocks by the way.  A little known fact is that you can do the same thing with The Philadelphia Story and Frank Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours album. 
  3. Favourite type of chocolate, and how much of it do you eat a week?  I only eat Nestle’s chocolate chunks because, well, nothing says big hunk o’ chocolate like chocolate chunks. 
  4. Favourite drink, non alcoholic and alcoholic?  Iced tea with lemon.  Amaretto sour.  No joking around with the liquor, no sir.   
  5. Where is your all time best holiday destination?  For Halloween, I like to go a few blocks over to this big house that looks like a castle and has a blue tile roof (I shit you not, people), because they change the doorbell chime to sound all scary and stuff AND they give out full size Hershey bars. 
  6. Where is your dream holiday destination?  Oh shit, I just realized this was written by a Brit.  Which means I’m supposed to be answering these holiday questiont by substituting the word vacation.  Well, I’m not changing the answer to #5 because it’s truly the best Halloween destination.  As far as dream vacations go – I’d have to vote for a tour of famous cemetaries.   I tried to talk my dad into visiting Jim Morrison’s gravesite in Paris, but even after I explained who Jim Morrison was, he still wasn’t interested.  Oh, and Italy.  Yeah, I’d really like to go to Italy.
  7. Which is the best Beatles track of all time?  I Want You/She’s So Heavy from Abbey Road.  Nuff said.
  8. What are you most proud of having achieved (having children doesn’t count)  Making it out of my twenties alive. 
  9. What would you want for your last supper ever?(assuming it’s food you like now and not liquidized mush when you are 90!)  Cheeseburger, really salty fries, chocolate milkshake.
  10. How old were you when you had your first snog, name of snoggee if you dare?   Haha!  I know what snog means!   OK – 16 and no, I won’t say (cause a lady does NOT kiss and tell – did you hear that Monica Lewinsky???).  He had the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen in my life though.
  11. Do you have an unfulfilled ambition?  Yes!
  12. If so what is it?  Well, besides being a World Famous Blogger, I want to learn how to take pictures well.
  13. What yer gonna do about achieving it?  I’m shopping for a camera as we speak (thanks, Deb!)
  14. Describe the outfit that best describes you as you are.  Soft, wornout bellbottom jeans, gauzy shirt, chunky shoes.  The hippie girl never died.
  15. If you were on Desert Island Discs which one piece of music would you want to keep?  Wow I had to Wiki this one!  ONE PIECE OF MUSIC?  OK, but tomorrow I might now feel the same way – Hold on Hold on by Neko Case.  The words are perfect to me. 
  16.  And what would the luxury item be, as in no use at all, on a desert island?   An art deco still life painting I have.
  17.  Outside of your partner, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Beyonce Knowles, J-lo who do you fantasise about?  You mean I can’t choose George Clooney??   Billy Bob Thornton cause he’s sooooo nasty.
  18. Describe the contents of your purse/wallet, ie receipts/ bus tickets/ plastic you never use/ and if your lucky enough money.(English use of the word purse here)  Gum wrappers, lots of gum wrappers, hair ties and headbands, lotion, big fat red wallet, cell phone (somewhere in the bottom of the purse where I can never find it to answer it), cigarettes (always where I can find them), sunglasses, medications (old women have to carry their medications with them ya know), and various types of paperwork (currently camera research).
  19. Outside of the family what item would you save from the inferno?  Just to be clear here, my dog IS my family so he’s going regardless.  Other than that, my purse. 
  20. How much would you like me to stop now.?  But I LIKE talking about myself…

Don’t know much about fine literature

Because I entered my high school years in the early 1970’s, when education was going through its “progressive phase”, my literary education was what most people would consider to be subpar.  Instead of spending our language arts period studying the works of Shakephere or Dickens, you’d likely find us dissecting the latest rock and roll lyrics for hidden meanings.  More often than not, we students were a lot more savvy than our teachers when it came to popular music.  I remember one class period where, after listening to Neil Young’s Needle and the Damage Done, the teacher popped up out of her seat and brightly said “Well, it sounds to me like this artist is writing about a lost relationship!”  All the heads in the room snapped to attention at this obviously blatant teacher error.

“Yeah, his lost relationship with SMACK.”  said one of boys, whose long hair stamped him as a hippie and therefore in the know about such things.

“Drugs?  Oh I don’t think so” the instructor said doubtfully.

But we knew better.  We didn’t know anything about Milton or Dante or Faust, but we definitely knew rock lyrics.  Besides, we’d all seen Panic in Needle Park by then, with its graphic depiction of New York City heroin addicts, so we knew the scene, man.  Even if we were teenage hippie posers.

My very first introduction to fine literature, though, was well before I started high school.   In 1968, Franco Zeffrelli’s film version of Romeo and Juliet came to town.  The college-age sister of my best friend took us to see it one Saturday afternoon, after it first came out.  This was an experience I will never forget, for it was then that I fell in love with Leonard Whiting’s ass.  His bare naked ass was up there on the big screen for the world to admire and my 11 year old boy crazy eyes got to see it.   It’s likely that my mother had no idea the movie would contain actual nudity (even if it was only like 2 seconds of nudity), because I doubt I would have been able to attend.  No, she was probably thinking Romeo and Juliet was a great way for me to experience the literary greatness of Shakesphere, instead of my usual book fare of The Bobbsey Twins or our collection of ancient Nancy Drews.  Afterwards, I bought the movie soundtrack and spent hours wearing the grooves down on the record while I memorized the dialogue and pretended I was Juliet, instead of that snotty actress, Olivia Hussey. Even her name sounded stuck-up.  She couldn’t possibly appreciate young Romeo’s fine, firm ass they way I could.  

Months later, after wearing out my Romeo and Juliet LP and having convinced myself that this Shakesphere fellow was a damn fine writer, I delved into some of his other works – which I promptly abandoned.  It was hard for me to believe that the same person who wrote such a great love story could have written such dense and nonsensical crap as Hamlet and Macbeth.  No, the only way I was going to appreciate Shakesphere was through the film versions, preferably with some nudity. 

And this is where I stand today regarding the classics.  If it’s not on film, I’m probably not going to know the story.  Period. 

I’m not a literary dummy, I just want my stories entertaining – even desperate and dark will do – but preferably in a language I can understand.  Let’s face it, the English written in the 18th and 19th centuries is NOT what we speak today.  It’s full of stuff like “It would be needless to say, that the gentlemen advanced in the good opinion of each other, as they advanced in each other’s acquaintance, for it could not be otherwise.”

I don’t even know what stuff like that means.  However, when delivered as dialogue in a movie, it’s a lot easier to swallow. 

It’s probable that some exposure to the great literary classics while I was in high school, and held hostage by a grade point, would have been a good idea.  Instead, I’m left clueless when references are made to Hamlet’s ghost, or find myself  wondering which Dickens story the Artful Dodger makes an appearance in.  It’s a problem I’m not terribly keen on remedying anytime soon.   I don’t need the grade and there are so many other great books to read that don’t require a hacksaw to cut through the dense underbrush of language.

Right now, my cousin Alice is reading Bleak House.  I rolled my eyes and told her I was glad somebody was reading it, and that she could give me the high points later.  I missed it when the miniplay ran on PBS.  

Or maybe I was watching Project Runway instead. ..

Name your favorite movie(s)

The heat and humidity returned today so tonight Ken and I are enjoying an air conditioned evening in front of the TV, eating our ice cream and watching AFI’s top 100 movies.  Ken is keeping score to see which one of us has seen the most movies, and judging from the fact that he’s not crowing about his score, I assume I’m winning.  He tends to win on the older, more classic cop dramas and I tend to score higher on the newer, edgier films.  I wonder if they will choose Citizen Kane for #1 movie again, although for the life of me, I never understood that choice.  Granted, a top cinematic effort but not the best story, in my humble opinion.   Not sure which movie I’d choose for #1, as there are too many favorites for me to choose just one – Gone with the Wind, Dr. Strangelove, Blazing Saddles, Annie Hall, The Godfather (I and II), Clockwork Orange.

What are your most favorite movies, or if you can do it, which one would you choose for best movie you’ve ever seen?

SuperFun

My SuperFun fantastic 3-day weekend starts in a few short hours!  I have a multitude of SuperFun things planned already, in case you were wondering to yourself, “Gee I wonder how many SuperFun, fantastic activities Karen has planned for her 72-hours of fun, fun, fun???”

Here’s just a small sampling of the types of activities I will be participating in, listed in  order  from Least SuperFun to Most SuperFun:

  • Yearly doctor’s appointment
  • Lunch with my mother
  • Helping my son fill out his FAFSA
  • Napping
  • Going to see the new Will Ferell movie, Blades of Glory (Ken needs a humor pick-me-up and nothing says SuperFun like a Will Ferrell movie)

 You’ll notice that lunch w/my mother is pretty low on the fun scale.  I love her, I really do, but hanging out with her is not SuperFun, therefore she gets a low ranking on the SuperFun scale.   Napping, however, is outasight on the SuperFun scale.  Who can argue with that? 

bladesofglory_10.jpg

Go on, admit it. It looks like SuperFun doesn’t it?

get off the shed

Ken and I went to see Mark Wahlberg’s new movie, Shooter, this weekend. It’s a typical guy movie with lots of shooting and explosions. The main characters are Mark Wahlberg and Mark Wahlberg’s rifle. Upon returning home from our afternoon bloodfest, we yelled hellos to our neighbor, R____, who was outside barbecuing, and told him we’d just been to see Shooter.“Dudes! No shit? I heard his gun was fuckin’ awesome!”

We agreed that is was, indeed, an awesome gun and went into the house.

A little background about my neighbor is in order here. Will Farrell used to do a character on SNL called the “Get of the shed” guy. He would play an average guy, having a family barbecue in the backyard with some friends. They would be drinking beer and talking about sports or something, then this guy would suddenly yell out to his kids “HEY KIDS, GET OFF THE DAMN SHED!” in a loud, obnoxious voice. He’d go back to his conversation, then start yelling at the kids again, getting progressively more upset until eventually he’d be threatening to beat the crap out of his kids in front of everyone. It was cringe-funny because I think everyone’s been in an uncomfortable situation like that at least once in their lives where a parent just starts going off on his kids in front of other people.

Last summer, Ken and I re-did the hardwood floors on the main floor of the house. It was an amazingly dirty and hot job, but the results were fantastic. After they were sanded, R came over to see how we were doing.

“These floors look fuckin’ great!” he exclaimed in his bigger-than-life voice. “Did you rent a machine or…” R looked out of our open side window and saw his kids climbing on the canoe in his side yard. “HEY BOYS! GET OFF THE CANOE!” “I SAID GET OFF THE CANOE NOW! DON’T MAKE ME COME OVER THERE” Slight pause – “So, did you rent a machine or what?”

Thus was born the Get off the Canoe guy.

Fast forward back to Saturday evening. Two minutes after we got in the house, a hyperactive thudding on the front door told us immediately that R had come a-callin’. And indeed he had; he had come to show us HIS new rifle.

“Dudes! Check it out!” He opens his large, rectangular black case and pulls out a very scary-looking black rifle. Ken and I made the appropriate oohing and ahhing sounds, and R insisted we both sight through the scope so he could show us all the cool things you could do with the little adjuster thingie on the top.

Ken and I are not anti-gun people. We just don’t happen to own any, except for an old shotgun that we keep unloaded in the closet. My brother owns guns and he is very generous about letting us shoot them out at our folks’ house in the country. I appreciate the fact that our country allows its citizens own guns if they so choose, but personally, I don’t feel the need to have that kind of protection in my home.

I could really tell that Ken was anxious to get R out of the house so he could watch the rest of the KU game on TV, so I suggested to R that we go out on the front porch to smoke cigarettes and have a chat. In addition to being a gun nut, R is also an anti-government survivalist junkie. I’ll bet you’re really surprised by that. All conversations with R eventually lead to his latest theories about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket, all with the help of our government. Not being the current administration’s biggest fan myself, I find these conversations mildly amusing.

“Hey guess what” he says to me after lighting up our smokes. “I just got a whole bunch of seeds from this local grower? And they’re guaranteed not to have their DNA modified? So we’re going down south to where we have some land and we’re gonna grow our own food. How fuckin’ awesome is that? I’ll tell you how awesome it is; did you hear that the federal government has a new program where they’re growing corn with human DNA implanted in it? That’s fucked up, ain’t it?.”

During this mini-tirade, I can hear R’s wife calling his name to come eat dinner – which R ignores for awhile. The next subject is civilian concentration camps: “Did you know that our government is building concentration camps for civilians? I’m tellin’ ya, it’s gonna happen. You need to get… – R leans over the porch railing, directing his upper body towards his house and yells “HEY! I’M COMING, OK? I’LL BE THERE IN A SEC!” He turns back to me and says “I guess I’d better go. You think about getting you a gun before they start trying to put us all in camps. I’m serious.” I promise to think about it. Over the years I’ve found that agreeing with R is the most direct route to getting him off the porch. I suppose I could yell “GET OFF THE PORCH!” but somehow I don’t think he would fully appreciate just how funny that would be.

Back in the house, Ken is laughing. “You just had to get him going, didn’t you?” he says.

“I figured it would be better to get him outside so you could watch the game. Besides, I was hoping to get a story for my blog.”

So there you have it.