Sometimes I Go To Extremes

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I went to work yesterday morning at 7:10am, left at 3:45, went home and slept for two and a half hours, then worked from 11pm last night to 6pm tonight. I feel oddly fine, but that could just be the psychosis setting in. After all, on the walk home tonight, singing along to Billy Joel’s 11th album (which I just discovered, since I am nothing if not a super-duper late bloomer in all things…and the reason I’m not including the album title is because Googling it brings up a white supremacist group, which I just do not have the mental capacity to handle at this precise second), I spent at least 30 seconds marveling that I’ve been too tired to feel anxious or depressed for the last two weeks. (Did anyone else get the joke-not-joke here?)

Anyway, this lack of life outside of work and sleep is a drag, but I’m resolved to see it through as I pay off my credit card debt once and for all, opening up a world of possibility. You know, possibilities like owning more than one pair of work pants, or maybe affording to go to a proper laundromat instead of washing my towels by hand in a large stewpot in my bathtub. I’m actually not sure what the possibilities are, because I just don’t have any of those particular brain cells – the ones that fly me into flights of fancy – available right now. I think they’ve all been sleeping out of self defense since around noon today.

Anyway, today’s Daily Post prompt is “natty,” and I figured it would be fun to explore word associations using this thoroughly work-pickled brain. What was the first thing you thought when you read “natty”? I thought about Daniel Day Lewis as Natty Bumppo, and how the actor is actually quite the natty dresser in real life. Did you know he’s a cobbler? Like, he has the ability to craft shoes of fine Italian leather. I’m very picky about needing comfortable shoes, but I don’t think I’d say no to a pair of sensible heels made by President Lincoln.

Talking about shoes, the second I think of a handsome hunk of man holding a gorgeous chocolate leather spectator pump in his strong, yet elegant, hands, I head straight off to a scene in one of my all-time favorite movies, Only You, staring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei (and of course we can’t forget the inimitable Bonnie Hunt, or Billy Zane playing at playing the best douche-nozzle west of the Apennines). Downey plays a shoe salesman on holiday in Italy, and Tomei is the high school teacher/dreamer he runs into by accident, in a great scene that involves him running after her, holding a shoe, shouting “Signora, la tua scarpa!” There’s a great scene later in the film that apparently doesn’t exist on YouTube (bet you’re breathing a sigh of relief, but you won’t be for long, HAHA!) where Marisa Tomei is getting dressed in this bone-colored jumpsuit thing that only she could ever have worn, and she’s looking all dreamy and 90’s and European, and she’s heading out to FINALLY meet the man of her destiny. Or so she thinks.

only you

But anyway, there’s Robert Downey, Jr., in love with her and still helping her get ready for her date, doing that nonchalant kicked puppy thing he does so well. She’s in the bathroom getting changed, so you don’t see her. You’re watching him talk to her through the closed door, idly walking around the room and picking out the things that she’ll need to complete the ensemble – scarf, shoes, jewelry – so she can go out on a date with this other man. And it’s so intimate, the way he’s casually thumbing through her jewelry pile to find the right earrings. Of course, there’s a duplicitousness to the scene and the emotions he’s giving off, but but that little, stupid task he’s completing is one of the most romantic motions I’ve ever seen. Anyway, I bet now you wish I could have found the stupid clip, but whatever you do, don’t watch the movie trailer. It’s a terrible, terrible trailer. Just the worst. It’s almost as jarring as the first notes of Andrew Powell/Alan Parsons score for Ladyhawke, but nowhere near as satisfying. It’s just a silly romantic comedy, but the trailer makes it look even dumber than it is. You lose sight of all the tender moments that make it great. Plus, there’s Italy. Just – Italy.

And talking about Italy, you know what I just thought of? This mummy I ran across by accident at that little church in Murano a few years back. By now y’all have to know that I love saints and religious relics/reliquaries, but I don’t always search them out when I’m traveling. Most of the time, they find me. I suppose I should be thinking about that next time I’m pondering big, blinking signs from the cosmos. But as cool as this particular preserved dude was, I didn’t catch his name and have had no luck finding him online. I remember feeling sorry for him, because he was German, and stuck on a tiny island in Italy, so far from home. On the other hand, I did have luck finding another pair of dressed martyr skeletons whom I’ve visited a few times now, at Peterskirche in Vienna, Austria. Talk about natty dressers! They’re just loaded with jewelry and perfectly tailored gold duds. Here’s a great Smithsonian article about similarly dressed holy skeletons across Europe.

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Click here to find Horny Goat Brewing Co.’s fine beverages at a shop near you!

Back when one of my best friends lived in Vienna, also when we were young and had strong constitutions, we spent a fair amount of time there drinking beer (mostly Stiegl, as it was local and cheap). A few months back, I tried Stiegl again for old time’s sake, and though it’s not the worst thing ever, I just can’t get excited about anything lighter than a porter these days. My taste buds always insist that anything lighter tastes about as delicious as that gold standard of swill, Natty Light. Every time someone tells me that I just need to try this IPA/APA/Cream Ale/Fruit Beer/Wheat Beer/insert beer type here, I give it a go and end up sad that now I’ve got to finish this thing before I can go back to a drink that I enjoy. It turns out that I prefer malty or nutty flavors, and can’t stand hoppy beers. I’m not one of those snobs who’s going to insist that there’s not a single hoppy beer that would suit me, and I’m not going to turn down a free beer if someone’s been nice enough to invest in changing my mind, but I’m never going to waste my money trying to find the one magical beer out there that will get hoppy beer pushers to lay off and let me enjoy my own damn drink. My latest favorite find is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Porter, by Horny Goat Brewery.

If goats attract gnats, does that make them gnatty?

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Guys. Guys. GUYS! This goat got arrested, y’all. This is a picture of a goat in a cop car. Holy crap, this might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in the last five minutes as I’ve struggled to finish this blog post and just go to bed, already. Also, “therapy goats in cruisers” – I think I love this cop just a little bit more than is wise at this junction.

Also, I just got curious about Daniel Day Lewis maybe owning goats and making goat cheese, since that would obviously push him firmly into the “sexiest man alive” category for me (nope, not stopping to explain this, you’re just gonna have to go with whatever’s happening in the old brainpan) and found out that GOAT is an acronym meaning Greatest Of All Time. Who knew? Apparently lots of people, but let’s just ignore that for a minute. Those people clearly aren’t fantasizing about men who know their way around a foot massage AND can whip up a mean goat milk ricotta, but do think that no one can beat Daniel Day Lewis. You know, except for Amsterdam Vallon.

Sidenote: I’m sure if I scrolled down, I’d found out that GOAT is also an acronym for other, less savory things, as that’s the way of the interwebz. Thus, I will not. I will stay safely in my snug cocoon of film references and cute goat memes, oh, and cats, of course. Interwebz made me think of Ceiling Cat and Basement Kitty. Still the best interpretation of the bible, IMO.

Who are you guys, really? Why is it so weird up in this joint? Where’s the DJ, and why does he keep playing the Eric Prydz “Call On Me” remix on repeat? Wait, does this one have slightly more bass? I’m not saying this is the worst dance party I’ve ever been to, but I certainly am not a fan of the lighting in here. I think I’ll just close my eyes for a bit…

 

Monsters? Boring!

Sharknado? You've got to be joking.

Sharknado? Meh.

Don’t get me wrong – I dig vampires, and werewolves are OK. Every now and then, a mummy doesn’t hurt.

But Frankenstein? Snore.

The Swamp Thing? Puhlease!

Sharktopus? WTF?

I just can’t watch monster movies (despite my love of horror flicks). Aliens don’t fall into the “monster” category, and killers, even slightly supernatural ones like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees just unnerve me – I don’t do slasher flicks either.

Movie monsters, though…they just bore me silly. I know that people like watching monster movies for the cheesiness factor, but as much as I dig B-movie cheese, the monsters just annoy the hell out of me.

Even poor old Godzilla doesn’t make the cut. Yup, I’m heartless.

Documentary Days: “Get a Life” & “Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven”

I’ve really been slacking off in the documentary department, but I’ve watched a couple more since last checking in. So far, I’ve watched 11 this month, which leaves me waaaay behind (I wanted to do five per week, or 25 total). Instead, I found this new series on Netflix called Lost Girl, and have been wasting incredible amounts of time drooling over one of the main characters. Seriously, how can you go wrong with this:

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Kris Holden-Ried as Dyson the werewolf, from the series “Lost Girl”

Last week I ended up watching William Shatner’s documentary about Star Trek conventioneers, Get A Life. It was entertaining, though certainly nothing earth-shattering. I grew up in a very sci-fi oriented household, with a Trek-loving mom and a dad who would gladly plop down to watch the newest space-invader flick any time. I personally turned to Star Wars early in life, but Star Trek wasn’t ever far from my radar. I wasn’t a super fan, though, so there’s still much to learn from watching die-hard Trekkies (Trekkers?) do their thing.

The costumes in this film are especially inspiring – check out the winner of the costume contest. I won’t ruin it for you, but OH MAN is that outfit awesome! Watching this movie definitely made me want to get more involved and more active with fandom – I love costuming, and have always wanted to get dressed up to go to comic book conventions, but somehow never make it around to it. Since I’m already a member of the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, with an invitation to march in our annual Mardi Gras parade, I made the decision to go the Star Trek route this year. I’ll post pics later – the parade is this Saturday.

The other movie I ended up watching was Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven, about the famous New York eatery Le Cirque, its owner Sirio Maccioni, and his three sons. It was another of those rather mindless documentaries where you’re more or less along for the ride, rather than plopping down to learn something important. The movie follows Maccioni and family as they close down the original Le Cirque location and build the restaurant again in a new location. Throughout the film, you learn snippets of the restaurant’s history, Maccioni’s childhood, how the boys feel about their lives in the family business, and how each of the family members feels about the others. It’s not too heavy, though, and I really would have liked to have seen something with a bit more meat on its bones.

Overall, the movie feels like it’s just going through the motions rather than taking a stab at genuine exploration, though maybe that’s a result of watching this family run their business with much less passion than one would expect from a family of Italian restauranteurs. Now that I’m thinking back on it, I wonder if the director was a fan of Fellini. There’s a lot of bittersweet happening in the scenes, just underneath the (boring?) placid surface. Meh. I don’t have it in me to critique fully. Watch it yourself and tell me what you think.

T Minus 30 Minutes

I’m almost 31. Right now, it seems like a pretty good place to be – I’m enjoying a glass of somewhat less than cheap red wine, wearing a sparkly scarf, and I just got back from watching Joseph Gordon Levitt in “Looper.” I won’t ruin it for you, but it was a good movie. The CGI was still a bit disappointing, though – the whole time I kept waiting for JGL’s fake face to slide off and give me a scene or two of him looking like his normal adorable self. It’s hard to think that a guy that boyish is actually older than I am, but it gives me hope!

My brain is pretty fried from the last couple of weeks of overload on the work front – I’m juggling a lot of responsibilities right now as I try to keep my bank account out of the red. I’m helping one client write grants, helping another keep her social media plan alive, helping another write their bi-weekly eblasts and newsletters, and at my regular job I’m planning (and executing) a fall fashion pop up sale.

The last task has by far been my favorite, but it’s definitely the most insane. We’re only 10 days away from the event, and we just got our final vendor confirmations on Friday. Our marketing collateral was mostly finished this evening when I left work to go to the movies, and I believe that I’ll be able to get the designers everything they need in the morning. After that, the stressful part of the show starts – daily overkill on online marketing to make sure that we meet our desired 300 – 500 visitor range, figuring out how to run the cash table efficiently (which shouldn’t be too bad, as long as the internet doesn’t go down at the studio and our CC machine keeps working), making sure that the vendors have everything they need, and most of all, make sure that the space is absolutely gorgeous. I’m talking magical.

My design concept for the space is the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, which I guess isn’t the most creative and inspired idea, but I’m not a designer so I’m going to give myself some slack. I also love rich colors and sumptuous fabrics, mood-setting lanterns, and the sights/sounds/smells of exotic markets, so my gut feeling was to make this project into something I couldn’t help but fall in love with on a daily basis. I’m just hoping that the timeline isn’t too short to get something really good out of our budget and space constraints.

Now, after writing all of this, my brain is even more fried. My eyes burn a little; going to the movies always irritates them a little, and I’m also getting sleepy. The Man wants to give me my birthday presents early, but all I really want to do is pass out and have a good night’s sleep for the first time this week. The sheets are freshly washed and I made the bed myself, so there’s not a single wrinkle to be seen and the bedspread is put on perfectly, to allow both of us enough square area of blanket in the middle of the night. The cats are going crazy behind the couch right now. Isabel has been playing with a little circle that I twisted out of sparkly pipe cleaner; she loves it, and flips it around the house all night long until it gets squished flat. Then she brings it back to me to bend back into a circular shape. She’s a very smart little lady. I think that Munky has been squishing the circle, though. I hear them scuffling a bit right now, but no energy to intervene.

Oh here she is, come to stare at me. I just spent a couple of minutes staring back, then giving her a good ear scratching. Now I’m back. But I really should finish up my wine and stop this rambling. Not too much longer now before I’m 31. Only ten minutes now.

Tomorrow I’ll be making an origami cat. I found the video already, and it’s complicated, but I don’t think it’s too far over my head if I wake up early enough and make enough quiet time to not feel rushed. Here’s the video – cute, eh? Here’s a photo, too:

The Gashlycrumb Nanny

Woman in Black Retro Poster

You might not know this about me, but I’m a huge horror movie geek. My love of the genre started at 13 with Phantasm (watched from the floor of my living room with my mom as we celebrated my entry to womanhood with lots of chocolate, a heating pad, and a horror movie marathon) and has endured to this day, despite the stunningly shitty horror movies flooding the theaters lately. I do dig bad horror from the 60s and 70s, though, and have lately come to adore Hammer horror flicks like Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter and Vampire Circus. When I heard that Hammer was coming out with its first new movie since the 70s, I was beyond excited. The Man shares my love of horror flicks, so it was decided early that when The Woman in Black hit the theaters, we would definitely be in attendance.

We waited awhile to go see the movie, hoping that crowds would die down and we’d get to view it in a relatively empty (read: quiet) theater. Finally this Thursday we decided to chance it, and were lucky enough to be the first in the theater. We picked the best seats, half way up and in the middle, and were happy to find that only about eight more people came in. One couple left midway through the movie, so that was even better! Overall, I really enjoyed it. The Woman in Black stars Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame, and though I loved the HP franchise, Radcliffe proved here that he deserves to escape typecasting. He was very believable as a depressed widower who has entered into a very difficult situation. The movie is based on a 1983 book of the same name, in which a lawyer in turn of the century England is sent out to a desolate house the middle of nowhere to settle the affairs of a deceased widow. He finds that the small town is cursed, and suffers greatly at the hands of the ghost who haunts the house he’s trying to sell. As is often the case, the movie has been adapted a bit, changing some of the plot points while keeping the basic story the same. Even so, the chills and thrills of the movie take a direct departure from anything we’ve seen in the last few years – no gore (a little blood), a detailed and interesting backstory, and what I found to be a believable and terrifying haunting, with some twists that were unexpected. The sets and costumes were lovely, and it was fun pointing out the similarities and differences of this installment to earlier Hammer flicks. I hope they keep going with this.

The Gashlycrumb Tinies

Click through for a digitally hosted version of The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

After a day of reflection on various points of the movie, and dealing with a nagging feeling that I somehow knew this story, last night I came to a stunning realization. I haven’t read the original book, so I’m not sure how the scenes of children and the woman in black differ between book and movie, but in the movie version, many points have an uncanny connection to my favorite Edward Gorey book, The Gashlycrumb Tinies. Here I’m torn between my respect for film and not wanting to ruin the story, and wanting to point out the similarities. I don’t believe I’ll be ruining anything for you to say that the movie has much to do with the untimely passing of children, and that quite a few of them die in Gorey-fashion. If you’re intrigued, look up Desmond, James, Maude, Quentin, Rhoda and Victor. Even more creepy (or funny, if you’re of the mind that Hammer paid tribute to Gorey with this work) is the cover illustration of the doomed tinies with the skeletal nanny figure in the background. One scene echoes this image so closely that it seems impossible they didn’t draw their own connection during filming. I couldn’t find the exact image I was looking for, but here’s a theatrical poster that’s a tad hint at the movie scene, if much less frightening.

The Woman in Black Poster

While the movie and Gorey’s book have next to nothing in common, other than many unfortunate kids, this realization makes me strangely happy. How else would a theatrical version of The Gashlycrumb Tinies ever be allowed? Now, if only someone could make a movie of The Epipleptic Bicycle, I’d turn cartwheels of joy.

Edward Gorey's Epipleptic Bicycle

Click through to see a narrated video of "The Epiplectic Bicycle."