Archives for January 2007

Sometimes OCD Is Its Own Reward. Like When You Have A Copy Of Your Deleted Post In Your Email.

(I found it! That doesn’t mean it’s any good, of course. But I found it!)

Before the pre-schooler was born, D. and I loved to travel. We didn’t think a thing in the world about heading to the beach for the weekend, or tagging along with friends who had a conference in California, or going to Orlando because we thought it would be fun to ride rollercoasters for a few days.

Now, of course, the traveling has had to take a bit of a backseat, and when we do travel it tends to be dictated by the location of animated characters. Even when D. and I have the occasional weekend alone, I’d really rather stay home than go anywhere else in the world, mainly so I can remember what it’s like to talk on the phone without having to say, “Alex, I need you to have quiet time now.” And also so that I remember what it’s like to sit on my own sofa without being subjected to repeated half-nelsons and ka-rah-tay kicks on behalf of the three year old.

But back in 2001, we took one of our favorite pre-child trips to Las Vegas. We’re not gamblers by any stretch of the imagination, but at the time we loved the bright lights, the lively atmosphere, not to mention the shuttles that travel from one end of The Strip to the other, thereby eliminating the need for all that pesky walking. Also, we enjoyed the buffets. Because we are KLASSY LIKE THAT.

The night we arrived was the night Julia Roberts won the Academy Award for Best Actress, and I’d read somewhere (probably in the People/Us/InStyle trifecta that kept me so engrossed on our flight) that her next movie was going to be something with George Clooney, something about a RING OF THIEVESTM trying to pull off a heist at a casino. And because I have my finger directly on the pop culture pulse of the American people, my immediate reaction to the premise of the movie was “Eh. Too many big-name stars. Sounds sort of lame.”

The morning after the Oscars, D. and I headed down to the lobby of our hotel for breakfast, and it was only when we were remarking on the complete absence of people in the restaurant for about the forty-third time (“Is Vegas closed?” we wondered) that it dawned on us that we had gotten our time zone change all wrong. And that it was about 5:50 in the AM. Which meant that we were eating breakfast at a time when most Vegas visitors are starting to hit the REM phase of their sleeping cycle.

When we finished breakfast, we wandered over to the hotel next door (to see the pyramids! sort of!), then to the hotel next to that (on guard! for an Arthurian adventure! kind of!), then over the walkway to experience New York City in miniature (you’re in SoHo! but you’re not!), and finally to Bally’s (there is no theme! but there are many magicians!) so that we could catch the shuttle down to Bellagio, which is a fun place to walk around for the Sheer Gawking Factor alone.

The Bellagio, if you haven’t been there, is a study in ostentation for the pure sake of, well, ostentation. Personally, I am of the belief system that if you’re going to use $400-a-yard fabric for awnings over the slot machines in your casino, you probably shouldn’t let people smoke anywhere near them. Or allow them to consume copious amounts of complimentary cocktails that could accidentally be tossed onto said awnings in a fit of jubilation or desperation, depending on how the dice are rolling.

Call me crazy.

But as D. and I made our way into the lobby of the Bellagio, as we walked underneath the Lalique crystal chandelier and moved past the gold-plated ashtrays (because really, if you’re going to spend some money, you want to put it into something that will hold its value, like an ashtray), we began to notice signs advising us that filming was in progress. We assumed that they must be making a commercial, one of those cheesy casino ads where everyone is high-fiving around a roulette wheel or laughing uproariously at the wacky antics of a blackjack dealer. And because there’s absolutely nothing we love better than watching a cameraman capture Forced Merriment on film, we headed straight for the big lights over in the front corner of the casino.

Imagine our surprise when the man behind the camera was Steven Soderbergh, a director we’d admired for several years because 1) he’s a good Southern boy 2) he’d actually visited D.’s former company several times, which in the South means that he’s pretty much family. Family we don’t know, of course, and who would probably have thought we were stalkers if we had spoken to him, but family nonetheless and 3)hello? Erin Brockovich? HELLO?

It took me several seconds to figure out how it was even possible for him to be in Las Vegas, what with the Oscars being the night before and him being the director of the aforementioned movie that got Julia Roberts the Academy Award and all. But then I realized that they do have airplanes in Los Angeles and he must have taken a red-eye flight to Vegas. I don’t have any idea if that’s true, of course, but it makes me feel all international-y and travel-y to use the term “red-eye flight” in relation to a famous director, so as far as I’m concerned it’s exactly what happened.

Once we realized that there was a REAL LIVE MOVIE being filmed, D. and I perched ourselves on stools surrounding a bank of Red, White & Blue slot machines (subliminal message: be patriotic! while gambling!), and let’s just say we stayed there for the next thirty minutes or four hours, whichever the case may have been.

Because it was still early in the morning by Vegas standards, there weren’t very many of us watching Ocean’s Eleven being filmed. So over the course of the time that we were there, we moved around the perimeter of the set, watching several parts of the movie unfold before our eyes. There was an extended period of time where they were filming George Clooney sitting at a slot machine, and while there wasn’t any action to speak of in the scene, there was plenty to see. Oh yes ma’am there was.

The highlight of the morning was when D. and I were trying to cross over to the other side of the casino and somehow ended up in the middle of the set, just a stone’s throw away from Julia Roberts’ body double and Andy Garcia. Ever the adventurous one, I immediately freaked out and started pulling D.’s arm, saying, “We’re not supposed to be here! We’re not supposed to be here!”

D., on the other hand, was laid-back as could be, playing it cool and acting like we belonged there. But Prim Polly here couldn’t take the pressure of it all, couldn’t bear the possibility that we would be nabbed by security and promptly escorted out of the hotel (much like the scene we had seen them film over and over that morning), so I ducked under the velvet rope and quickly re-claimed my spot in Regular People Land. Just like I like it.

I’ve never been what you would call a daredevil.

About fifteen minutes later, we decided that it was time to say goodbye to Hollywood and resume our regularly scheduled Vegas activities. Like finding a lunch buffet. Because while the cast and crew of a major motion picture can easily provide a memorable morning of entertainment, they can’t hold a candle to an unlimited supply of crab claws, prime rib, and soft serve ice cream for the low, low price of $10.95 per person.

My Big Fat Bloggy Error

You know how sometimes you can work on a post over the course of a couple of days? Maybe even during the commercial breaks when your beloved alma mater is playing the number one team in the nation only to lose by three points?

And then you put the post away for a little while, work on it some more, take your young’un to the playground to clear your head for awhile, and then put the finishing touches on it before supper?

And then you see a mistake or two you need to correct, and you’re trying to do sixteen things at once, and instead of selecting a couple of words that you’d like to delete, you select the whole post and then delete it? And then you blame the spambots because you’ve grown so accustomed to hitting the “delete” button thanks to the 600 spam comments that you’ve gotten over the last week that you’re completely desenstized to what the “delete” button actually does?

And then you flail and flog yourself?

I might know a little something about all of those things right now.

*sigh*

I Tried My Best. I Really Did.

I’ve been trying to write a post on and off for the last couple of hours, but the fact of the matter is that I just can’t do it. I can’t concentrate.

Because my beloved Mississippi State Bulldogs are going up against the Florida Gators tonight in basketball.

Florida, by the way, is the NUMBER ONE TEAM team in the country.

And I’m as nervous in a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.

The good news is that we’re playing at home. At The Hump. It’s gonna be rowdy.

Truth of the matter is, it’s gonna be rowdy right here in our living room, too, because I really do believe that if I scream at the television loudly enough, I can most certainly affect the outcome of the game.

So if you’ll excuse me, I need to go put on my MSU Basketball t-shirt. The one that I was wearing at this game, which, as I have mentioned, was one of the best days of my whole life ever.

In addition, I have a great deal of pacing to do before the game starts.

And a child to get to bed by 7:30, so that I have sufficient pre-game time to mentally prepare myself.

(You just think I’m kidding. But D. will vouch for my insanity.)

Lest you worry, I’m not the only one suffering from the basketball crazies: Sister will be cleaning up a storm tonight at her house, as is her custom when the Bulldogs are in action. We both like to dust and vacuum during basketball games especially, as there has to be some outlet for all the nervous energy. Cleaning seems to work better than, you know, jumping up and down until we hyperventilate.

(I’m thinking our game-watching OCD is probably genetic. And I totally hope that Alex has inherited it.)

So I’ll see y’all tomorrow.

Unless the Bulldogs win, in which case I’ll be back here late tonight posting the score in a 72 point, chartreuse green font. Because I’m subtle and understated like that.

Go ‘Dogs!

In Which You Will Understand Why Roger Ebert Will Not Be Soliciting My Services At Any Point In The Near Or Not-So-Near Future

In keeping with my pledge to start watching movies again, we’ve seen several over the last four or five days. I decided to write down my reactions because, well, everybody needs a goal.

Please keep in mind that as the mama of a very active and chatty almost-four year old, I have the attention span of an inebriated gnat and therefore may have missed a critical plot point or nine. However, in my defense, I did at least try to pay attention to the sequence of events instead of just closing my eyes and listening to all the pretty music. Tempted though I was.

Ocean’s Twelve

I’m a huge fan of Ocean’s Eleven, so I was understandably excited about seeing some of my favorite characters in action again. And sure enough, I found all of them in the sequel, this time trying to pull off the theft of a Faberge’ egg at a museum in Italy (I think? Maybe? I know it was in Europe. Does that count? Do I get points for being on the right continent, at least?).

But as I watched the movie unfold, I found myself coming back to one sustaining thought: sometimes it’s better to leave well enough alone. The sequel is nowhere near as good as the first one (by the way, D. and I were in Las Vegas when the first one was being filmed, and we spent the better part of an afternoon at the Bellagio watching them – and by “them,” I mean “the fancy actor people” – shoot the scene where Casey Affleck and Scott Caan are being thrown out of the casino, but that’s a post in and of itself, although I can quickly settle one critical detail: Clooney in real life? EASY ON THE EYES).

Also: Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta Jones are the anithesis of on-screen chemistry, the place where romantic sparks go to die.

Failure To Launch

Matthew McConaughey is playing a very Matthew McConaughey-ish character named Trip, a 35 year old guy who still lives at home with his parents and then falls head over heels for Carrie Bradshaw.

Or, you know, Paula. At least I think that was the name of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character. Sort of a Carrie Bradshaw-lite, if you will.

Anyway, there were lots of scenes designed to show off Matthew’s phenomenally chiseled abs, and lots of random incidents of Matthew being bitten by animals (this was supposed to further the plot HOW, exactly?), and the movie was set in Baltimore, apparently, but it took me about seven Google searches to figure out that information, what with there being a scene with the guys on surfboards (I was unaware that Baltimore has, um, waves), in addition to a scene at a Zephyrs baseball game, even though the Zephyrs play in, you know, New Orleans.

All that being said, I’d have been willing to suspend disbelief if the movie had been good. Or funny.

But it wasn’t. At least not in my humble opinion.

Mission Impossible: III

Tom Cruise is playing Tom Cruise as only Tom Cruise can (oh, they say his name is Ethan Hunt in the film, but make no mistake: he’s all Tom, all the time).

And he’s FABULOUS!

Loved this movie. It’s directed by JJ Abrams, the creator of Alias and Lost, so I figured I was in for a treat what with Alias being one of my favorite shows of all time and all. This film actually felt a little bit like an Alias episode at times (especially with the flashback structure), but what surprised me was that even though it’s technically an action movie, I really cared about the characters and felt invested in the outcome.

Philip Seymour-Hoffman was a brilliant villain…in fact, everyone in this movie was great. It’s thoroughly entertaining, and I’d recommend it without hesitation. Unlike Ocean’s Twelve, this sequel is the best of the MI lot, in my opinion.

An added bonus? Spy stuff! I’d watch it again and again – especially the scene at The Vatican, which is way cool and oh-so-creative.

Loved it.

Next in the queue: Little Miss Sunshine

Prayer Request For Kelli

Update: if you haven’t seen the link over at Barb‘s by now, here is Kelli’s update on her medical situation.

I got this email from Kelli late last night – and asked her permission to share it with y’all. 

“I talked to the Dialysis group today, and it appears that my home dialysis solution has stopped working. This basically means we have to move to Hemodialysis this week. From what my brain can assimilate at this point, I will have to have overnight staysometime this week to have a permacath  inserted in my arm, and will start hemo the next day. This will be a 3x week, out of the house, sit in a hemo unit at the hospital for 3-5 hours, until transplant deal.I’m not happy. In fact, I cried for only the third time since this all started. We made an emergency appt with the Dr. for today at 3pm ET to ask our hundred questions. The bottom line, though, is that once you start hemo the clock ticks harder and faster. So, frankly, I’m scared.

God has done miraculous things this week. I know he can get me through this. In my heart. However, my head, right now, is straggling behind. Thank you for being a support system.”

Also: Kelli’s kidney is only functioning at 7% right now. Please keep her and her family in your prayers. 

So A Vase Walks Into A Bar…

As planned, the weekend found me participating in exciting activities such as washing clothes, folding clothes, putting away clothes, and hanging up clothes. I know you hate that you missed the minute-by-minute details of it all, but never fear: Us magazine came by and took some pictures and will be chronicling the whole Laundry Spectacular in their January 29 issue.

Just to, you know, remind Britney and Paris about what underwear looks like and all.

GOODNIGHT, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! I’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK!

The weekend really was great, except for the part where D. and I had a bit of a disagreement Saturday morning after Alex started screaming crying because the FedEx man didn’t stay here long enough for them to have a lengthy conversation. I signed for the package, and when the FedEx man started walking back up the driveway, Alex started screaming “BUT I WANTED TO SAY GOOD MORNING, MAMA! I WANTED TO SAY GOOD MORNING!”

I tried (unsuccessfully) to calm him down and then he threw open the front door and tried to chase the FedEx man up the hill. So D. used Stern Voice to tell Alex to come back inside and I was all “don’t be too hard on him, he just wanted to be friendly” and D. was all “I think it’s probably a good idea to teach him that he shouldn’t chase after strangers,” which, in retrospect, is an excellent point, but at the time all I could think about was that my child was upset because he didn’t get a chance to ask the delivery man how he was doing on a fine Saturday morning, oh bless his heart.

Good times.

But I did get a few little decorating projects done around the house, and I did play trains with Alex, and I did watch lots of movies, and I did stay in my pajamas a shameful amount of time. I also went to TJ Maxx (twice!), Ross (back tomorrow!), and Old Time Pottery (want to go back right now!) because I’ve been on the hunt for some big, bright, funky vases to go on top of the cabinet behind our bar.

Now you may not realize this, because I certainly wasn’t privy to this information until we bought this house, but apparently people who built homes in 1974 didn’t even try to conceal the wet bar behind doors. They just put the bar in the corner of the living room and made it a focal point, hence the need for accessorizing.

To wit:

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And now that I’ve actually uploaded the picture of the bar and examined said picture closely, I feel that a few clarifications might be in order:

1) Yes, I do blog from the bar. And what you see on the computer is the draft of the post you’re reading right now, which really makes this particular image just like a house of mirrors, people. It’s a house of mirrors!

2) The brass thing with the pinecones in it (to the right of the computer) has absolutely no business being on the bar. But I was moving stuff around this weekend, and I didn’t really have anywhere to put it, so I just stuck it there. However, now I feel that it might give our guests the impression that, as they enjoy their favorite beverage, they should feel free to snack on not only pinecones but dried gourds as well. Which is neither very appetizing nor hospitable, now is it?

3) Yes, that’s a cross you see hanging behind the bar. Why? I don’t know – maybe I was trying to give the bar area a certain Baptist charm? Like yes, we’re Baptist, and yes, we have a big bar in our living room, but we have the cross hanging back there so it can make all the fire water holy?

Have mercy.

4) There’s an empty wine rack. What’s the point? Because it’s cute, maybe? But if there’s no wine, isn’t it sort of a needless accessory? Have I become more Baptist than I ever dreamed?

(Answer: no. Because if that were the case, I’d have all the wine hidden under the cabinets so y’all couldn’t see it.)

BADA-BING! THANK YOU!

5) If you look very carefully through the glass on the second door from the right, you’ll see juice glasses. ORANGE JUICE GLASSES. Behind the bar.

Clearly I am undeserving of the bar amenity.

6) Check out the light fixture. It came with the house, and it makes me want to sing the theme from “Cheers.” As an added bonus, it has a dimmer, which really creates some romantic mood lighting when you’ve sidled up to the bar to drink a little OJ from one of those juice glasses with big yellow flowers. Or when you’d like a glass of pretend wine from the empty wine rack.

Never let it be said that we don’t know how to entertain with style, my friends.

Anyway. To get back to my point (just so you know: I had to scroll back up to the top of the post, re-read what I’d written, and only then was I able to discern what my original point was), I wanted some funky vases in bright colors to go on the top of the cabinet behind the bar. I mean, if I don’t have any wine to offer our visitors, the least I can do is to say “LOOK! PRETTY COLORS!”

And I found just what I was looking for:

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Thus concludes the most pointless post in the history of the internet, brought to you with pride by yours truly.

It has been my distinct privilege to assist you in wasting your time.