Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shopgirl, The Movie

Last night Middlebrow and I watched "Shopgirl." I read the book last year (on the plane to Milwaukee, actually). When I read the book, it felt like an outline, or a rough summary. Too much of it was exposition, too little in scene. So it seemed natural that the book would become a movie, almost like it was written to become a movie. (So why write a novella? Because you are Steve Martin, and you can).

I liked the movie, and I think it did a good job of conveying the creepiness of Ray Porter. He was creepy and charming at the same time. One thing I think the movie did a better job of than the book was communicating (visually) the ways in which Ray objectified and manipulated Mirabelle, how he marionetted (is that a word?) her. But she let him. Because it was better than being alone.

The flaw in the movie, though not huge, was the voiceover. The book has a narrator, but it is not Ray Porter. The narrator comments on the things Ray does wrong, where he fails. The voice over "narrator" (Ray) does this too, but in the movie it has the feeling of retrospective realization. In the book, it's more of an omniscient voice that is more sympathetic to Mirabelle.

I cried at the end, though now I don't know why. I think it might be because Mirabelle had moved so far beyond Ray, and Ray still seemed stuck. And he was never right for her in the first place. And she ended up with Jeremy, which was great.

I think my favorite scene in the movie is when Jeremy calls Mirabelle from the road and, reading from a self-help book, leaves a message on the answering machine that says, "I think I may have objectified you." It was funny, but touching too.

I worry, though, that Jeremy's financial success may make the "moral" of the movie something like, when you are self-actualized you will have emotional and financial success. I know Suze Orman would like this. But ultimately I think the movie is about Mirabelle, although Ray thinks it's about him. Jeremy, however, always knows it's about Mirabelle. (I want to see the Mirabelle font.)

My friend, who should know, told me the book was based on real events in Steve Martin's life. The book is dedicated "to Allyson." Hmm.

Some last thoughts: I'm a little in love with Clare Danes and Jason Schwartman. In that order. Steve Martin has aged well, but he still shouldn't have played Ray. I want Middlebrow to take me to Armani to get a fitted dress. But, barring that, I'll settle for some new shoes. (But not cruel shoes!!!)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Kindergarten Registration

Today I registered Son for the neighborhood Kindergarten. This is our back-up back-up plan, given that the back-up plan (ELP) fell through (apparently Son is not "gifted" or at least not Technically Gifted, only Mildy Smart or just Not Incredibly Dumb). I'm not bitter, but Son has not even started school yet, and already I'm jaded about standarized testing. I can't wait until I have to get him a Life Coach when he's a Freshman in High School so that he can get into a Really Good College.
Anyway, it was the standard Elementary School Auditorium affair, except every person (except me and one other woman) had Other Children besides the Kindergartener, most of whom needed to cry and scream while we, The Adults, were supposed to be listening to The Speakers, most of whom were unnecessary, except, perhaps, the School Nurse, who informed us in exactly what ways our children could/could not be drugged during school hours.
My favorite, of course, was the PTA President, who announced that she had decided that "there needs to be a law that everyone who has a student in Kindergarten also needs to have a student in High School at the same time" in order to fully appreciate the joy of the Kindergartener. I wanted to leap up and hurt her. But I prefer Otterbutt's response (I already told her this story), "Where do I send the condoms?"
Son really wants to go to this school now, because one of his best buddies from preschool is going there. And I have to admit, I love the fact that it took us about 10 minutes to walk there. But it was just plain depressing, and I don't mean the architecture. Where were all my neighbors?
Oh yeah, their kids all go to private school.
And so it goes.

post-script: The nice parent volunteer from the Open Classroom called me this evening to let me know that Son has, in fact, been admitted to their Kindergarten and will be in afternoon Kindergarten. This is actually good for us, as it is longer and only four days a week. None of the ruse of half-day half-day Fridays, which is like, one hour.

So the story has a happy ending, for us. What about those kids trapped in that school with that crazy PTA president? I worry for their souls.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Why Be Bitter? A Multiple Choice Test

  1. Why Be Bitter?

a) Because a Harvard student got paid $500,000 for plagiarized ethnic chick-lit?

b) because stealing is the new mode of invention?

c) Because I, under achiever, can't write or steal the same?

d) Because students who have attended class only sporadically now appear, proclaiming, "I need to get an "A"?

e) Because students who have plagiarized yell, "It's not fair"?(talk to Middlebrow about this)

f) Because next week, we won't remember why we felt so bitter?

g) All of the above?

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Night on the Town

Dr. OtterButt and I found ourselves out and about last evening. We began on the patio at Green Street (because there is a patio, and mixed drinks) with Thirty-One Flavors and company. The story about laser hair removal was the funniest thing I've heard in ages. Check over at her blog. She promised to post an update.
OtterButt and I then mosied over to the New Yorker. But first we stopped in at the Oyster Bar for food. After two drinks at GS, we need to rebalance our blood sugar. We began with the fabulous grilled Ahi, which was served with some kind of slaw, followed by New Zealand cockles. We drank some Shiraz and a lot of water. The Ahi was the best food of the evening.
We then went down to the New Yorker, where we had one drink. But mine was the best drink of the evening, a Pomegrante Mojito. What is such a drink? A little slice of heaven. The traditional Mojito (rum, lime, fresh mint) with Pomegrante juice. Delicious!
Then we girl-napped Sylvia and headed over to the Paris for Pomme Frite, red wine, and the Mushroom Tarine (?). All good.
All in all, it was a fabulous evening.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Banner Day at the Middle-Write Household

Yesterday we had some major milestones at our house.
To wit:
  1. Son rode his bicycle without training wheels for the first time. I let go and he rode down the street. Just like that. He was laughing hysterically and saying "I'm going so fast!"
  2. Son had his first guitar lesson. His teacher, Peter, is great. He made Son laugh. Son was silent during most of it. He told me before he wanted me to go in with him because "I'm kinda nervous." But he did great. Now we have to see if he'll really practice, or if it's just a lark.
  3. Middlebrow got up on the roof, despite his fear of heights (I could barely go up the ladder to hand him a tool. Let's hear it for effete sissy girls!). As he said, his cheapness helped him overcome his fear. Let's hear it for cheapness!
  4. I signed up as an e2 citizen. You can too! Just click that link. It's fun! It's free! And you get some gifts. Plus you can find out your carbon footprint, which is interesting. Then you commit to do at least five things to be more environmentally friendly. I think I signed up for 20. Some of them are: recycle glass, ride public transportation more, ride my bike to work at least two times a week, wash clothes only in cold water, use a swamp cooler, put more in the recycle bin than the trash can. There were others that I'm forgetting.
  5. Visited this Eat Wild! website. Through this website you can find local ranchers who sell grass fed beef. Anyone want to split a quarter? Middlebrow and I are thinking of buying a freezer. Where will we put it?

That's it. I also want to do Community Supported Agriculture this summer. Can anyone refer me? We did Borski one summer, but would like to try a different farmer.

Be green!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

My Son: The Rockstar

Son has recently rediscovered the guitar in the basement. In my opinion this is a result of our viewing of American Idol. Last night he said, "I can't sleep! I'm thinking about rockstars!"

I had to help him write a note that said "Tomorrow, I play guitar."

When he still wouldn't go to sleep, we said we'd have to put the guitar in the living room. Son said, "You're going to ruin my band!"

Some sample lyrics:
You're a wreck of a wife
Chase the theives and out run them, out run them

Son is well on his way to super stardom. His plans for the band include the upright bass, three guitars, drums, and, of course, the flute.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Pocatello: The Photos

We made the trek up North this weekend for the Rocky Mountain Writers Festival in Pocatello. Will, the owner of the Walrus & Carpenter Bookshop invited me to come up and read. More on that later, maybe. The highlights of the trip are covered below. Also, we ate at Buddy's. No photos of that, you're just going to have to trust me.
One of the best things about Grandpa's house is the tractor. What are the others? Unlimited supplies of wine and tequila, dogs. I'm sure there are others.

Here is Son with Middlebrow and Fireman Pat. Who is Fireman Pat? He's a friend of my high school friend Jared. Who is Jared? See below.

This is Jared. He works for the UN when he's not taking the winter off to ski at Pebble Creek. He used to sit in front of me at Highland High School. We had the same home room. I had a crush on him for awhile. I haven't seen him in about six or seven years. In the meantime, he's been around the world. Last stop, Belarus. Apparently the elections were a sham. Who knew? Jared.

Here is Son and Friend in the cab of the firetruck. What firetruck you might ask? Something about the way Blogger is uploading the photos will make this a Momento-esque post. For the answers to all your questions, see below.

According to some, this was the highlight of our visit to Pocatello: our private tour of the Pocatello Fire Department led by none other than Fireman Pat. Who is Fireman Pat? See above. Confused yet?

Fireman Pat is a friend of Jared's, a fireman, and also an HHS grad. He offered to take the boys on a tour of the Fire Station. What else do boys like? Well, tractors. And that's about it.

I may or may not have gone out on a date with Pat when he was not a fireman, but rather worked at a bar in Pocatello. He denies it, but I think it might have been him. I don't really remember either, which says something about my memory.

Sylvia and I both read at the Rocky Mountain Writers Festival. Each reader was supposed to read for 15 minutes, but you know how that goes. I compensated by reading for about 4. I don't want to go to any more readings for a long time.

All in all the visit to Poky was lovely. Except for the 15 minute run in a blizzard. Sylvia said it was the worst run of her life. I'll go one further: it was the worst 15 minutes of my life. But then there was a hot shower.

Also: had a gyro at Tom's. Yum! I love me some Pocatello food. Really. There's nothing like it.