Thursday, January 31, 2013

Peace out, January.

First month down, 11 more to go and we will be in an even numbered year and the world will be fine and so will we all.

Sometimes I just need to reassure myself in these ways. Anyway, on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being "assy" and 10 being "titsy", I'm going to give January, 2013 a solid 7 which has no made up adjective as of yet. Not brilliant, not horrible. At the beginning of this year I vowed to try not to waste any time doing useless things. I accomplished it pretty much apart from January 1 when I wanted to die of a hangover and one random Saturday when I was sick.

I went to two parties this month, one with strangers and one with good friends and had great times at both. I drank but not too much. I lost 3 pounds. I improved my French by accident due to the shuffle feature on my iPod. Voulez-vous quelque chose boire? 

I got back into yoga and remembered why I started doing it to begin with and I also noticed how my knees are changing, painfully.

I spent some QT with my grandparents over ojaldras and tajadas and that crappy instant coffee with instant creamer that they insist on loving.

I finished (almost) a poem I've been working on for months and as a result, I've learned a lot about how crops are harvested and the history of sowing seeds. Don't ask.

I started a log of all the movies I've watched. Here's the list for January:

Reprise (2006)
Naked (1993)
Death in Venice (1971)
Loves of a Blonde (1965)
Lincoln (2012)
Henry and June (1990)
The Apartment (1960)
10 Years (2012)
Game Change (2012)
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Looper (2012)
Cosmopolis (2012)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Daisy Miller (1974)
Sophie's Choice (1982)
Liberal Arts (2012)
The Words (2012)
A Slipping Down Life (1999)
Bridesmaids (2011)
Tonight You're Mine (2011)
Why Stop Now? (2012)
Ruby Sparks (2012)
Pitch Perfect (2012)
Immortal Beloved (1994)
Clandestine Childhood (2011)
Chasing Ice (2012)
The Gay Divorcee (1934)
Boeing Boeing (1965)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)

I have refrained from putting my star rating on these because I'm not a film critic nor do I pretend to be. I just like movies. However, there were some big time stinkers on this list. Along with some truly fantastic ones. I also included films I have seen before because I did watch them all the way through. My plan is to make a dent in my perpetual Netflix queue.

I also read five books so far which is probably the most I've read in one month in a pretty long time. They were mostly young adult novels which used to be a qualifier but the genre has morphed into a force to be reckoned with so yeah, I read five novels. No qualifier necessary.

There is still one more day to go. What shall I do with this day? Oh ok, then. I'll work.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I love a good nose.

Following a tip from a library patron, I requested and received the book "The Obits Annual 2012" and I don't know why, but I'm excited to read them. I just reread the obituary of Tony Curtis, one I read when it was published back in 2010. I've always enjoyed Tony Curtis, even read his biography. I like him so much, probably because not only have I been completely mesmerized by his acting at least twice (please see Sweet Smell of Success immediately if you have not already. I'll lend it to you) but his dalliances and perpetual divorces and marriages have provided the part of my brain that fills up quickly with celebrity nonsense with some bit of satisfaction. It could have just been the lips and the eyes though. And the nose. I do love a good nose.

I mean, seriously?

Anyway, it was finely written obituary, as the ones in the Times generally are, pulling no punches about the steady decline of his career after the high highs of the 1950s and 1960s and employing amusing irony. His birth name was Bernard Schwartz. His final screen role was in an indie from 2008 and his character's name was Mr. Schwartz. I remember, after reading his biography, I looked for interviews about him writing it (apparently I'm fully a product of the need to know everything world we live in now.) The reviews and interviews were always accompanied by current photos and stories about his life at the time. There was one that described him doing a book signing at a Costco in Nevada and it was at exactly that point that I stopped reading anything current about him; I didn't even finish the article. I want Tony Curtis to remain the glamorous, gorgeous movie star with his lovely wives and his dress in drag performances, his bootstrap childhood and his good nose. I don't want to think about him signing books at Costco. I've never had a taste for salty and sweet together.

Anyway, that was a huge digression and I have no clue what I originally wanted to say in this blog post. Something about how I truly enjoy the way obituaries whittle us down to size while at the same time providing a profound record of the fact that we existed at all. I like how significant our insignificance sounds in obituaries. They seem like life's concentrate. I'm making a mental note to read more obituaries.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vegetable Fried Rice

I disappointed myself this morning by being unable to match anything with a tangerine colored dress I bought on whim (as though I ever buy anything with any semblance of thoughtfulness) a few months ago. I wanted to radiate orange today but found myself incapable of doing it seamlessly. And when you wear a color like tangerine, you really need to wear it correctly, lest you look like a cartoon character. Or someone who wants attention. Last I checked, I'm neither so I'm considering giving the dress away. It only cost me $5. Do you want it?

I'm working today, what could be the last "warm" day of a warm January. While those of you not unfortunate to be at work today, somewhere in the middle Atlantic are holed up in your residences tomorrow, being protected from the frigid cold that is forecast, you'll be able to find a harbor in the tempest of your memory of today. You'll be able to close your eyes and remember frolicking through tall grass in tangerine dresses, barefoot and ecstatic and you'll feel all warm inside. By contrast, I'll remember today as not being able to see outside from the reference desk and not actually seeing sunlight since I don't get out of here until 5pm. And I'll pull my blanket up to my chin and shudder at the memory of my coworker having to look up zip codes for an hour for a mumbling patron as a chill settles in. O the humanity.

Sometimes I don't mind losing things if it means I can find them one random day again, suddenly, like being given a gift from the sofa cushion or the bottom of a shoe or a broken drawer in an old dresser. Back in September of last year I lost this white pendant that bought at a summer festival somewhere out here in the vast expanse of Long Island. I loved the pendant not because there is anything particularly special about it but because of the things that happened on the day I bought it. It was token I could wear and rub between my fingers and conjure up even the memory of smells and sights and emotions of that hot August afternoon. On the day I wore it last I was wearing a scarf and one moment I was walking around town doing errands or meandering, (often they are one in the same) and the next moment I couldn't find the pendant anywhere. I can't remember too clearly but I'm reasonably certain I cried about it like a big dumb baby. Anyway, fast forward to this morning when I woke up at 7am with hours to kill and an apartment that was slowly turning into a dismal futuristic desert a la Solarbabies,

Dramatization, not to scale but otherwise accurate
I started to clean. But  not just dust and organize but the kind of cleaning you do with gloves and a face mask on, when you pull out all the vacuum's attachments and actually lift cushions. Anyway, I moved my couch so I could vacuum behind it. And lo and behold, what did I find? My pendant!! It was in a nest of dust bunnies which also could have been mistaken for Gizmo.

Picture him wearing a white pendant, the little scamp.     

One of my cats could have been responsible since they can be such dicks sometimes. It also could have been entirely my fault, I'll never know. I know only this: that feeling of happiness and relieved surprise, I want to bottle it. I hold out hopes even today, three weeks after the fact, that I'll find my scarf, so callously left behind by my drunken self in my favorite local bar. Someday.

I don't now, nor have I in awhile, too much else to report. So far, 2013 has been decent. Not mind blowingly, tangerinely awesome or dismal but I like it that way anyway. If I had to pick a phrase that would describe what I'm thinking about right now as I end this blog, one that I can look back on when I can't sleep and I'm worrying that blogging about such nonsense is annoying to everyone, yeah when that happens I'll read this phrase and remember that I was thinking, with unsettling intensity about vegetable fried rice. I wish it was something more profound but what can I say? I'm in a mood.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A week of observations

2013 is 7 days old. Here's a bulleted list of what I've observed so far:

  • Don't drink champagne. This one is specifically for me but may apply to you. When you drink champagne, you spend the entire next morning wishing you were dead and/or capable of travelling through time either forwards to wait out the hangover or backwards to hide ALL of the champagne.
  • Don't ever plan on calling out sick from work. When you do that, you will get sick and the congestion will not leave your body until even your cats seem disgusted with you.
  • Sometimes, through the haze of liquid cold remedies and used up snotty tissues, all you need is a GQ magazine with Bill Murray on the cover to get you through.
  • When you actually decide to shut your mind to the endless stimulation of things like television, the internet and your damn iPhone, you can read three novels in two days, all the more remarkable considering it took you four months to finish the last one you read.
  • Going to the movies alone is one of life's great, unsung pleasures. Do this as often as possible. It is especially fun when you sit next to someone just chatty enough to talk to you before the movie, but polite enough to shut up the rest of the time. There are bonus points for sitting next to an old, obviously married for an eon couple that has this conversation:
                Woman: I feel nauseous, I can't even tell you how.
                Man (annoyed. this is how I know they were married b/c who else would get 
                annoyed at someone for feeling nauseous?): 
                Why? What the hell is wrong with you?
                Woman: I might throw up.   
                Man: I don't know you.
                Woman: I'll aim for your face.
                They kissed after this exchange.
  • QVC, HSN,SNBC....all 24/7 shopping networks are mesmerizing in the way that old timey hypnotists were mesmerizing for someone who loves to shop. They are also, however, very useful for background noise and a good way to not spend money by taking the instant gratification of buying out of the equation: I don't WANT to wait for that ring shaped like a diamond frog. I'd feel better if I could just have it now. (Addendum: seeing "celebrities" on these channels including but not limited to Joan Rivers, Isaac Mizrahi, one or more Kardashian, etc.) is so depressing and I can't figure out why. Btw, I might get Joan Rivers' glitter scarf.
  • Sometimes the only way to feel like you are on your way to getting what you want is to give up in your mind and heart and soul; just let go of the want and it can quite literally begin to happen. This one has to be perfectly cryptic since what I'm talking about hasn't fully happened yet but certainly did begin today.
  • If you do something like, say, volunteer at a local indie movie theater and that theater decides to throw a party for their volunteers, go to the party. You will have fun. You will meet interesting people who know what you are talking about and have their own stories. 
  • After spending about four days essentially marooned in your apartment, buried under snotty tissues with your nose in a book and your voice on hold, it is so nice to meet new people over tiny plastic cups of wine and a beautiful spread of cheese and crackers and grapes in January. 
  • When you make an onion casserole, be prepared for your apartment to smell like cooked onions for a week. 
  • Take drowsy cold medicine before 9pm so you can sleep a full six hours before getting up to officially start your week.
  • Finish your blog before the meds kick in.