Sunday, January 04, 2004

Busy week. Let's hit some of the highlights...

  • Tim was supposed to fly in from New Hampshire last Saturday when I was. But he couldn't get on a flight over the weekend, so he came in on Monday and I was playing host all week, which was fun. I worked Monday and Tuesday and half of Wednesday. We went through the standard litany of old standby restaurants, some of which I hadn't been to in a year and a half.
  • New Year's was extremely quiet. We had The Parallax View on DVD, paused it for a few minutes to watch the ball drop, finished the movie and went to sleep. That was all good; in my experience a placid New Year's works for me and an active New Year's tends to go badly.
  • I am finally officially a guy--Tuesday night, for the first time, I watched Caddyshack in its entirety. It was funny, but probably less funny than if I hadn't heard or seen just about every gag somewhere else before.
  • New Year's Day was a double triumph. First was USC pulling the "Ric Flair enters the WWF carrying the NWA World Championship belt and calling himself the Real World Champion" bit. (Sorry, Craig. OK, not really.) Secondly, it was the first time I tried cooking* a traditional holiday family meal: our annual New Year's Day pork and sauerkraut feast. It went in immediately after Parallax and roasted until the end of the Rose Bowl. It was very very yummy.
    *In the interest of full disclosure, Tim did most of the cooking. But it was my idea, I hosted, and I helped.
  • Friday night I went to see American Splendor, which was very enjoyable, if not necessarily a great great film. I've enjoyed Paul Giamatti's work before, especially as Bob Zmuda in Man on the Moon, and he's excellent here. The film has a lot of extra-narrative touches, some of which work and some of which don't; specifically, we meet just about all the real people portrayed in the film at some point, and the footage for instance of uber-nerd Toby Radloff on MTV was unnecessary, as was the recreation of Harvey Pekar's retirement from his day job. I will say, though, that the spate of good and interesting movies based on comics in the last couple of years is threatening to actually get me interested in them, which I would've bet heavily against for the last 20 years.
  • I watched a good bit of today's playoff action at Hooters, because I knew I could count on them having the games. I wasn't really planning to go out for the games, but my cable was out this morning, so I figured I'd enjoy some wings (and, yes, breasts and legs) with my football. I'm always amazed at how many female customers there are in that place; I assume their boyfriends owe them big-time afterwards.
    I was generally happy with the way this weekend's games went, except that I was pulling for Seattle. I was only pulling for Seattle, mind you, so I could be spared at least one more week of hearing football success attributed to the zombie corpse of Irv Favre. The dead have better things to do than manipulate football games--for instance, rotting. It's hard to be an agnostic sports fan at times, and harder, as one, to listen to post-game interviews, pre-game interviews, interviews in general, and certain announcers.
  • The other movie I watched on video last week was Notorious C.H.O. Given the trailers on the tape and the crowd members interviewed, Jeff and I may be Margaret Cho's only straight male non-Asian fans, but I'm cool with that. It's raunchy hilarious fun. Do NOT watch it with someone who would feel awkward about highly personal and explicit sexual humor. Just trust me on this one--I'd give examples, but my memetracker is weird enough as it is.
  • Great ambiguous fortune cookie I got while home in Pittsburgh: "If you promise someone something, keep it." My common sense knows what they're going for, my grammar snobbery knows that this actually commands me to keep the thing, not the promise. I do wonder, though, if the ambiguity was intentional or accidental.
  • Two more books down on the Western 100 (/50): F.S. Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon and A. Huxley's After Many a Summer Dies the Swan. Last Tycoon is an unfinished novel that apparently only gets read because of its complex portrayal of a Hollywood mogul. It's kind of cranky, but certainly more fair-minded than most of those kind of books, such as Nathaniel West's Day of the Locust. Huxley's book is part California satire, part early Huxley foray into mysticism, and part pretentious Brit prep school show-off. It has some entertaining parts, but the "novel of ideas" parts just get really tedious. I'd recommend Fitzgerald over Huxley, but wouldn't recommend either to most people.
  • Tomorrow is back to work full-time and back to the gym. I expect to be really tired a lot this week, but I'm also hoping to get to some movies because there are a lot of them out there right now that I want to see. With football winding down, I'm hoping to get back into a lot of movie-going. We'll see how that goes.

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