Monday, March 29, 2010

“The whole world was tamed by men who ate biscuits.”

The weekend of three movies…

After finally returning the Netflix I’d been carrying around in my car for nearly a month (Herb & Dorothy and the last disc of season five of Weeds), I rearranged my queue to allow for any new releases. Up next in the docket: Julie & Julia and Brothers.

The older and more crotchety I get, the less interested I am in going out on Friday nights. After a long workweek, it just seems like an expensive way to ruin an otherwise productive Saturday. A sober Friday means spinning class and errands on Saturday morning, whereas a drunken Friday means no Saturday morning at all. Just groggy stumbling and scrambled eggs that I will regret eating two minutes after the last bite.

So instead, we took the classy route – we watched a movie about the life and times of a famed gourmet chef while eating Long John Silvers’ famed gourmet fried fish parts. When all was said and done, we were both satisfied by the hush puppies, but Matt was less than pleased with the movie. I, on the other hand, was able to look past Amy Adams’ characters’ vapidity and mullet to thoroughly enjoy the “Julia” parts, the scenes in which Meryl Streep is tall and talented and Stanley Tucci is short and good natured, true to form.

Movie 2: Crazy Heart, seen Saturday afternoon. This was originally a movie I felt I needed to see for street cred. Like it would cancel out the fact that I’d paid to watch Valentine’s Day two weeks before. And when we found out it was still playing in Omaha, we knew we had to hop to it before it was too late.

I’m glad we did because it was great – great music, great performances, about a dozen great shots of Jeff Bridges’ slack, sweaty, whisky-filled stomach. In one particular scene, Bad Blake (Bridges) is making biscuits for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s young son, and he utters the quote I used as a title. So, you know, good biscuit quotes. If you have the chance to see it before it’s out of the theaters, it’s worth the $10 (and the other $10 you’ll probably spend on the soundtrack).

Movie 3: After an evening at The Brothers, drinking good cocktails and playing one particularly bad game of darts, it took everything in me to get outside in the sunlight on Sunday and hobble around pretending to exercise. So when Dana and Brandon reminded me that we’d talked about watching Mulholland Drive that afternoon, I was all in. Just like fried fish and Julia Child go together, so do beautiful Sunday afternoons and David Lynch movies.

I have less to say about this one. It was baffling, as expected. After falling asleep thinking about the various plot points: dwarfs, decomposing bodies, the creepy synthesized score, Justin Theroux, cowboys and the logistics of fitting all things disturbing into one film, I gave in and sought the help of experts this morning. I’m not sure whether the various online analyses confirmed my theory, or whether my theory came out of smarter people’s analyses. Either way, no hay banda!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ah well...

After growing my hair out until it looked like a dog-chewed Barbie head, synthetic and gnarled, I got a haircut. It was supposed to look like this:

...but I forgot my picture, and my ability to describe things is less than keen. So instead, it looks kind of like this (the one on the right).

Or maybe more like this.

Life, via my hair, comes full circle.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On this St. Paddy's Day eve...

My mom is barely Irish… like, probably more Na’vi than Irish, but because she’s German and French and Native American (I think) and Brazilian (probably not), and therefore unlabelable, we opted to identify with my dad’s side of the family tree (or, as my mom’s ancestors would call it, the Tree of Souls).

We leached off his 100% Irish status from the time we could eat horseshoe-shaped marshmallows. This was particularly easy for me because I was round, pale and freckled and could have been an overfed extra in Angela’s Ashes. My sister and I took up Irish dancing in grade school, sleeping in hard pink plastic curlers, wearing heavy embroidered dresses, and performing reels and jigs at nursing homes, shopping malls and the occasional hotel ballroom. During an especially awkward stage, I played famed Dublin street hawker Molly Malone in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, my black fingernails clutching her wheelbarrow of cockles and mussels.

After years of tentative planning and speculation, we actually made it to Ireland as a family in 2004. We spent two weeks hauling our luggage from county to county, pointing at signs featuring our last name with the elusive “g,” kissing walls, leaning over cliffs and reveling in the place where it all began – at some point, in a town that now longer existed (having been incorporated into rainy Galway).

In sum, my dad’s heritage became an integral part of our family’s identity. He was buried in his green and navy shamrock tie, while the rest of us donned some sort of reciprocal emblem.

Now I face my first St. Patrick’s day as a Kraemer, having lost the distinctly Irish last name that served as my automatic pass into drunken conversations, my badge of pride every March 17. I have a bit more Oktoberfest clout, but a little less St. Patrick's Day credibility. I’m trying to face it like a man and remember that it’s what’s in your DNA and on your head (Kiss Me, I’m Irish antennae) that matter, but it’s still hard… like the Blarney Stone… or a rock.*

*A difficult traditional Irish dance movement. Also, a pun.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A shameless marital plug...

After this I'll be done linking to other people's work and write something of my own, but I thought I'd share something intellectually stimulating first. Matt has always been a veracious reader, but as of late he's become an equally veracious Goodreads user, updating his bookshelf regularly and writing book reviews on an almost daily basis. Because I do not read as... consistently (unless you count food packaging and anything with baby bump in the headline), I haven't even read a fraction of the books he's reviewed. But sometimes I read his reviews anyway, and - if I didn't witness him writing them, holed up in the upstairs office as I frolic around, making messes and indulging in short-lived hobbies, I'd swear these were written by an honest to goodness professional. The kind that gets paid in money (whereas Matt is compensated through the overwhelming adoration of the Goodreads community). Anyway, I thought I'd spread the literary love and provide a link to his page. You might have to join Goodreads to see it, but then you'll be able to make fun of the books I've read (and haven't read), and that's a pretty decent bonus.

Matt Kraemer's Goodreads Page


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