Thursday, June 28, 2007

So What (Live)

I think I’m officially old. I’m taking on everybody and everything which are annoying me. Yesterday I wrote a letter to Champ Car (I sent it to their general counsel since I sat next to him on the plane to Edmonton last year and had his e-mail address) regarding The Budweiser Stage at the Cleveland Grand Prix this past weekend (Here is an Ode to the Budweiser Stage which I'm sure you'll all enjoy immensely).

Ode to the Budweiser Stage at the Cleveland Grand Prix Presented by Lasalle Bank

How do I hate thee, O Budweiser Stage!
Let me count the ways!

One, you play rap-slash-hip-hop music
Two, you play rap-slash-hip-hop music at ear deafening levels
Three, you play rap-slash-hip-hop music at ear deafening levels to the point where I can't hear really loud race cars going past me less than 20 feet away while you're a good 300 feet away.
(Not part of the Ode – I suck at guessing/estimating distances.)
Four, you play rap-slash-hip-hop music at ear deafening levels to the point where I can't hear really loud race cars going past me less then 20 feet away which is really bad since I'm here for the race cars.
Five, you hold beauty contests with women in evening dress while dirt and dust flies everywhere and oh, yeah, play more crappy, excessively loud music, and have an emcee making suggestive comments even though there are kids in the audience.
Six, you are the centerpiece to a "car show" where the most interesting car had very shiny chrome on the underside of his hood.
Seven, you are the centerpiece to a "car show" where a bright orange H2 Hummer shows up with 30 minute left in the Champ Car race and proceeds to show off his stereo system which rivaled your sound system.
Eight, you have questionable events which include half-naked women feeding bananas to men without using their hands.
Nine, you play rap-slash-hip-hop music at ear deafening levels to the point where I can't stand it anymore and I decide to go home instead of watching the Star Mazda race which was the last race of the weekend, and would have been a good one.
Ten, you play rap-slash-hip-hop music at ear deafening levels through the Invocation (you would have played through the national anthem, but my nephew ran down to tell you to shut if off, which amazingly you did), and then the post-race interviews and the winner's country's national anthem.

And that, O Budweiser Stage, is how much I hate you and hope you do not return next year.

I asked for and received the name of the person to whom to complain about the remote control boats that run in the lake/pond across the street from my apartment. I've told you about that, right? These fuckers (ha, gotta keep up my NC-17 rating) run every single fucking (NC-17) day starting around 3:00 p.m. and going until dark (close to 10:00 p.m. these days in southeastern Michigan), except weekends when they are there all fucking (NC-17) day. Can you tell these boats annoy me?

I had talked to one of the new tenants Sunday night and she mentioned that she had called the police over the weekend but was told they can do nothing about it because it's private property. Since I work for the company to which the lake/pond belongs, I was able to get a name. I wrote an e-mail to the guy on Monday and he called immediately which I thought was pretty nice of him. No, I didn't use my NC-17 language in the e-mail. It was well-written and polite. I had ended the e-mail with the statement that I was not looking forward to my forced vacation next week as I figured those fuckers (NC-17) were going to be there all day every day. He had good news for me. Oh yeah, it's actually a model boat club, not just random idiots out there, and they have a lease (or if you use the model boat club's spelling of the word – leese) to run there through October, but they're hoping to renew it. I expressed my hope to the guy who called me that it would not be renewed as the building where the lake is located is actually closed and there won't be any support on-site (whatever that means, but heck, I was willing to use it). Oh yeah, the good news. The model boat club has been told that they are not allowed to run there next week at all. And the guy told me that he actually gets to work next week (i.e., not forced to take vacation time like me) and to take his cell phone number and call if they show up. Oh, I will! I was a total tattletale too and told the guy that when the boats die on the lake (as is inevitable, apparently), they send a kid out in a rowboat to retrieve and that I couldn't believe that the company would want that kind of liability.

I'm pulling out all the stops here. Next up, Crave!!! They had their second party this past Sunday, but with my fan on I couldn't hear anything, and I had given most of the neighbors in the building the phone number to the night commander's desk, so if they were bothered they had the information needed.

Well, there you go. My adventures into Old Lady-hood with the requisite bitching about noise and making the appropriate phone calls or writing the appropriate e-mails.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm NC-17 & Guinness

Online Dating


And no, it's not my use of the "F" word that got me the coveted NC-17 rating, it was this:

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

pain (7x) crappy (5x) zombie (3x) death (2x) breast (1x)

Funny thing is that I don't remember writing about zombies or breasts.

At least this is correct:

You Are Guinness

You know beer well, and you'll only drink the best beers in the world.
Watered down beers disgust you, as do the people who drink them.
When you drink, you tend to become a bit of a know it all - especially about subjects you don't know well.
But your friends tolerate your drunken ways, because you introduce them to the best beers around.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I'm Paper

You Are Paper

Crafty and creative, you are able to adapt freely to almost any situation.
People tend to underestimate you, unless they've truly seen what you are capable of.
Deep down, you're always scheming and thinking up new plans. Your mind is constantly active.
You are quite capable of anything you dream of. You can always figure out a way to get what you want.

You can wrap a rock person up in your sheet of trickery.

A scissor person can sneak up and cut you to pieces.

When you fight: No one can anticipate your next move

If someone makes you mad: You'll attack them mercilessly when they're unprepared


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Frida Kahlo

Oh look!!! One day after posting about Frida Kahlo and going to her house, does an article on her and the house.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Future Ex-Girlfriend

I got tagged by Fermi to list my ten favorite things that start with "K" about two weeks ago and I'm finally getting around to it. It's even worse when you realise I volunteered for the tagging. I did this same game last year with the letter "L."

My excuses are myriad: 1) Justin's No Hitter begged me to blog about it. 2) I was busy on Thursday getting ready for my weekend trip to Austin. 3) I was gone Friday - Sunday in Austin. 4) Yesterday was just busy, besides me being very tired from the 12 hour ordeal that getting home was on Sunday.

Austin was cool (actually, it was hot and extremely humid). I went for a wedding along with a number of other Michigan friends, so it was one big party weekend, except for the airport on Sunday and even then, it would have been worse if there hadn't been a good nine of us affected by the Dallas-Fort Worth airport power outage.

Friday was a pizza party at the bride & groom's house where I ate so much pizza it wasn't even funny. Saturday we could have gone to help set up for the wedding, but the alternate plan was going to Waterloo Records. A trip to an ultra cool record store beats out cleaning a bar and decorating it for a wedding.

When I walked in the door I felt the same way I did the first time I walked into The World's Greatest Yarn Store - completely overwhelmed. I immediately found DIY: Do It Yourself about the Rise of Independent Music After Punk. I found this fascinating as I had just finished reading about it in this book: Rip It Up and Start Again. There was also a CD of American Hardcore, but saw there was a DVD of it, so I decided I would rent the DVD from Netflix to see if I need the album. Due to the same book mentioned earlier and the Ian Curtis book from last month, I was on a mission to find The Idiot by Iggy Pop and Low by David Bowie. Although the Sex Pistols are normally given all the credit for a good number of the postpunk bands, these two albums are listed as the ones that most inspired people to want to make music. The Pistols just gave them the wherewithal to try. I also picked up Chairs Missing by Wire, which was one of the original postpunk bands about which I had read in the book.

I started out in the New section and the only Low they had was a Japanese import for $27. Uh no! They did have The Idiot new as well. Then I found found the Used section. Oy vey. Luckily, Low & The Idiot were available used, so that was very exciting. I found a bunch of other Iggy which I didn't have so I grabbed those. Then Rick said, "Did you see the boxsets?" ARGH!!! I behaved myself, but only because I stopped before I got too far into it. Then Rick said, "Did you see this?" NO!!!! "This" was this 70s punk boxset. Yeah, you know it. I had to get it. I put the extra Iggy Pop CDs back, keeping only The Idiot. I put back the Talk Talk, as well.

Then when I'm standing in line to pay for my booty, GtG handed me Chutes Too Narrow by The Shins saying I had to have it. And then in a fit of generosity I picked up TWO postcards for Blue Meany.

Okay, now on to the actual post of the day:

Kaleidoscope – I absolutely love kaleidoscopes, but they have to be the real ones, not those icky fake stupid fly eyes ones. They have to have the little bits of colored glass (or plastic) that move as you turn the tube. I found one at FAO Schwartz in Vegas two years in their old-fashioned tin toy department. It wasn't expensive and it sits on my nightstand. I found out that my BIL makes them, but he hasn't made me one yet. I think I'll need to nag him.

Kabob - When I lived in San Francisco there was a vegan restaurant near the apartment which had these incredible Zen Kabobs made from seitan. They were so fabulous that when the restaurant closed to focus on their bakery (you might have eaten their cookies if you flew United a few years back) TAS and I went a couple of times the last week to indulge.

Kahlo - I never had an overarching interest in Frida Kahlo until I saw the movie and then went to her house in Coyoacan in Mexico City. Art is so much more interesting to me when I know what the artist was thinking or feeling. My mom was so interested after the trip that she's taken to buying books about Frida.

K - The symbol for strikes in baseball. After last week's no-hitter and Justin's 8 strikeouts, I decided to add it to the list. I do not like the "K" when it's my guys striking out.

Kamehameha - I learned about King Kamehameha way back in grade school and for some reason his name stuck with me my whole life. I couldn't tell you anything about him now without doing a google search, but I know I found him fascinating when I was young.

Karnak - I've never been to Karnak but I have grand dreams of getting back to Egypt and seeing everything I didn't see the first time around.

Keaton (Buster) - I never really knew anything about Buster Keaton until I saw Benny & Joon. Johnny Depp's portrayal of Sam intrigued me, so I ended up renting a bunch of Buster Keaton movies which I quite enjoyed.

Khufu (Cheops) - More ancient Egypt, but I actually not only saw his pyramid, but went inside it. He was apparently quite the bastard, I just like his pyramid.

knit - Duh! It's all I do. Remember, if you need a scarf, let me know. I have you covered. I'm already working on scarves for the Christmas craft show season.

kohlrabi - This is a very popular vegetable when my family (extended) has a veggie tray for get togethers. It goes quickly. I've never had any way but raw. I need to buy some for myself.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Justin's No Hitter!

I'm a little tired today. I stayed up way too late watching all the hype on Fox Sports Detroit and ESPN after Justin Verlander got his no-hitter last night. The game was over quickly (before 9:30), but I love me some hype, especially when ESPN is actually talking about the Tigers and saying good things. Just two years ago I was watching a day game where the Tigers were playing the Red Sox and the announcers only talked about the team from Boston. I realise we were sucking but if you were only listening to the game, you wouldn't have had a clue who the Red Sox were playing. When the Tigers were up to bat, they only talked about Boston's pitching and defense. When the Tigers were in the field, they only talked about the Boston hitters. The best part? The Tigers won.

I had been out for drinks and nachos with Pamela and Michelle, as they were trying to cheer me up after being dumped by The Libertarian on Sunday night, but got home with only one out in the 1st. I was busily reading blogs and commenting, while watching the game. In fact, I almost left a comment at MyUtopia's blog telling her how well Justin was pitching, but didn't for some reason. Around quarter to nine, my phone rang (it was in the bedroom for some reason) and it was my best baseball buddy asking if I were watching. "Yes." "Good, because you know we can't talk about it." He threw me for a second because I hadn't cottoned on to what was happening until right that second. "Oh! Yes, we can't talk about it." "I just wanted to make sure you were watching." And we hung up.

Rod Allen and Mario Impemba, the Tigers' TV announcers, didn't say the words "no-hitter" until the last out was in Magglio's glove. Coming back from commercial breaks Fox Sports Detroit would just show the scoreboard, so you knew what was happening without a word having to be said. I was very glad they didn't say anything. I'm superstitious about things like that. I've watched too many races with Mario leading and then stupid-ass Sam Posey would say something about the Andretti Curse and sure enough within a few laps, Mario's car would start to slow on the backstretch. Fucking Sam Posey. I was never so glad as when he stopped providing "color" for my races. Bloody idiot.

The much maligned Neifi Perez made a fabulous play at short to initiate a double play in the 8th to keep the No Hitter going. I like Neifi, for purely girl-type reasons: 1) he wears his socks high, 2) his number is 8 (same as My Igor's), and 3) I think he has a cool name; so him making a sweet play made me very happy as I take a lot of shit for liking Neifi (he's not my favorite player or anything, but I like him). Justin came in to the 9th inning to a standing ovation. The crowd was LOUD! I was a little worried that they might disrupt his rhythm, but he struck out the first two batters from the top of the Brewers order. The final batter he got to fly out to Magglio in rightfield. I was crying like an idiot.

The winning run was My Brandon's solo home run in the 3rd which was awfully sweet, too!

DWD called as we have a tendency to call each other during momentous Detroit sporting moments. He laughed at me for crying, but I didn't care. Detroit's last no-hitter was 23 years ago, and it didn't happen in Detroit. The last time a Tigers pitched a no-hitter in Detroit was 1952! Last year Justin was Rookie of the Year…this year a no-hitter. Let's hope it's capped off with a World Series win in October. Hey, I like to dream big!!!

And being tired today? Totally worth it!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

My Life Story in Song (according to my iPod)

Heather posted this survey and I figured what the heck (while I work on my favorite ten things that start with the letter "K" – I'm up to one, so far).


So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend your cool...

Opening Credits:
Love to Hate You – Erasure

Waking Up:
Imagination – Erasure (see, damn iPod is still doing it – playing two songs by the same band right in a row, or occasionally with another band's song in between. And I have 1289 songs on this sucker))

First Day at School:
This Offer is Unrepeatable – Elvis Costello with the Brodsky Quartet from The Juliet Letters

Falling in Love:
Methods of Dance - Japan

Fight Song:
Weight of the World – Erasure (now, really, this is ridiculous. I love Erasure, as it's obviously on my iPod, but as a percentage, there are just not that many of their songs on it.)

Breaking Up: (I should have started this earlier so that my Opening Credits song was here instead)
N.W.O. (New World Order) – Ministry

Tomorrow Started – Talk Talk

Mental Breakdown:
Believe – Voltaire

She's My Best Friend – Black

Dead Man's Party – Oingo Boingo

Getting Back Together:
Biko – Peter Gabriel

Gentlemen Take Polaroids – Japan (Okay, not only the same band as just a few songs back, but the same bloody album. And weird, but Japan doesn't show up in my list of Artists.)

Birth of Child:
Superman (It's Not Easy) – Five For Fighting

Final Battle:
Face The Change – INXS

Death Scene:
Here It Comes Again - Black

Funeral Song:
Means To An End – Joy Division

End Credits:
Eternal Odyssey – Delerium

I'm not tagging anyone, but if you want to play along, go for it.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Greedy Awful People (2nd Iggy Pop song, although there was one between them)

My iPod is acting strangely lately. It's been playing two songs in a row from the same band – not necessarily the same album, but the same band. I know I have enough music on there from different bands that this is not necessary. It's freaking me out.

I would say that the highlight of June to date is the fact that I met Scott yesterday. I would like to say it was the highlight of the entire month, but I'm going to Austin next weekend for a good friend's wedding and the weekend after that is the Champ Car race at Cleveland where I'll be reunited with many, many friends and is always an absolutely excellent time. So, although it would have been the highlight in May, he just has too much competition in June. He is the second blogger whom I've met, Smed being the first. Oh wait, I lied. Mark Maynard was my first in-person blogger meeting. Now, I know some people get freaked out by actually meeting people they've only known on-line previously, but I've met so many people from on-line that I don't think anything of it. I didn't even leave Scott's phone # with a friend in case I disappeared. ;-) The many, many friends whom I'll be seeing at Cleveland were all met on-line 12 years ago when ESPN first started their website. They had a variety of chat rooms (baseball, football, hockey, basketball and auto racing). Needless to say, we all met in the auto racing chat room, where we happily discussed racing all day long (we're not sure how anybody kept a job as we literally chatted all day long). I think we were just so thrilled to find people who loved racing like we all did.

I remember the first day I went in and just watched. I wasn't brave enough to post. The second day I mustered up the courage and responded to something someone said and that was it. I was addicted. Here were like-minded people who understood what wasn't yet, but was going to become quickly, an obsession. It started in May 1995 and it was pre-IRL (crap ass All-American, All-Oval shithead run series), so we discussed the Indy 500, explaining it to the NASCAR fans who in turn explained NASCAR to us open-wheelers. Paula, the resident NASCAR expert as she actually lived(s) in the heart of NASCAR-land, initiated the first chat room pool for the Indy 500 that year. I have no clue who I picked or how I did, but I do remember how we grew in numbers and knowledge. A little later in the year we got a moderator, who was actually one of us, and he had some contacts so we had actual racing types come in for a Q&A period. The only one I remember was Dan Gurney. I was in awe and wasn't posting at all that day. I honestly had nothing to say to this man who is such a racing icon (developed and raced the first (and only) F1 winning American-made car, to say nothing of being the man who invented the spraying of champagne, after he won Le Mans in 1968), and so incredibly cool, but the moderator was a friend of mine and told him that I was a knowledgeable racing fan and Dan actually singled me out in a post. I don't remember what he said or what I said in response, but I remember the rush of color to my face at being singled out of a crowd, even though I was sitting in my office all alone. I was flustered, as I didn't want to appear stupid.

For the record, my work was always done by the time I went into the chatroom, or it got done while chatting. I had gotten pretty darn efficient at my job since I had been doing it since 1988. My boss knew what I was doing and didn't have a problem with it as long as my work was done.

Anyway, Cleveland is a reunion of sorts because it's the one race that the majority of the group get to these days. You've seen me mention HRH from my Vegas trips. She's one of the original chatters, along with Roadrunner. We're three single women, so we seem to have the most opportunities to go to races, and we've become a bit like the Three Musketeers (without the swords, Cardinal Richelieu or Madame DeWynter), except that Roadrunner is a bit more like D'Artagnan because she almost always stays at a different hotel. We've actually even had a number of couplehoods emerge from the chatroom. First there was emmo2 & Silver3. emmo2 was my impetus for starting my blog back in 2004 when I found out that he had a week to live. Jody & Sir Lancelot were next up (both couples got married within a few months of each other, so I had to fly from SF to IL and ONT in a short few months). Jody & SL rarely come to races anymore because they have a young daughter but they made it to Vegas. I'd show you pics, but I lost half my Vegas pics, which depresses me so much that I don't feel like blogging about it. Dammit.

Row and Spike make up another couple which formed from the chatroom. Row makes me crazy because he only uses SPF 4. I told him that I was not coming to his funeral if he dies from melanoma. He said, OK. I guess it wasn't much of a threat, eh? Spike always falls asleep in Cleveland up in the grandstands during the downtime. We all have pictures of her nodding off while holding my very beloved Tyler. Sorry, I couldn't find a picture of him, as I apparently didn't post my Cleveland pics from last year to Other friends I'll be seeing in two weeks are: DH1, DH2, LT & family (of Tyler fame), Mike, Mikey, & JR. It's sad now that I look at the list of how few we are these days.

Back in 1996 we had 40 people at Cleveland. Over the years, people have gradually dropped out. Hell'n Wheels got a boyfriend, so poof! Then her brother and his friends stopped coming. Skippy came from Australia, so it wasn't really feasible that he come every year. Woof was supposed to come last year but at the last minute couldn't join us, who knows what his excuse is this year. Woof? The first year he came with T-bird (it was probably Mid-Ohio, though, and not Cleveland), who couldn't be more laidback if he tried. Griz, my dear adopted Dad, left us in 1997 after his second bout with cancer, I still remember that November when his wife called me to tell me he had been given a few days. He lasted a full week, long enough to get the flowers I had sent him. I still have the e-card he sent me after the Wings won their first Stanley Cup in a jillion years that year. The really sad thing is the number of people I've forgotten who were such a big part of my life for a number of years. I remember rejoicing in births (one of the chatters had triplets), discussing children's accomplishments, etc. I have a bag filled with pictures of people, most of whom I never actually met, but mean a lot to me, even now, 12 years later.

Sorry, I have no idea where all this nostalgia came from, or to be grammatically, but stiltedly correct, "from whence all this nostalgia came." I guess I miss those days when we were all so close, because we chatted every day. That's what is meant by "the good old days."

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Believe by Voltaire

I've decided to say something nice about Building C (for Crappy). The one restroom I prefer to use (there are two on this floor) has a handicapped door, so I don't have to touch the handle as I leave. I just use my hip to push the Handicapped pad and voila, door opens. Sadly, that's the best thing I can say about this building, but at least I was positive for a moment or two!

It's only June 5 and already I'm listing my book and movie watching for the month of May. I got a fair amount of both done, so I'm pretty happy with myself. And if I had taken the Non-Fiction Challenge that MyUtopia had signed up for, I would have more than halfway there. Me! Who normally doesn't read non-fiction! What is the world coming to? (Very sorry for all those preposition ending-ness, but I don't feel like changing it.)


Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends by David Wilton – 200 pages – This book was very interesting. It debunks the rumor that Eskimos (or Inuits, if you prefer) have over 500 different words for snow, along with a bunch of other ones. I quite liked it.

Rapid Response: My Inside Story as a Motor Racing Life-Saver by Dr. Stephen Olvey – 282 pages – I laughed and cried my way through this book, literally. On one page the author discusses the extreme dislike Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell had for each other (which I knew) how at the 1994 Michigan race Mario jumped out of the car after 500 miles as fresh as a daisy, while Nige wallowed in the car acting as if he were dying from heat prostration. I remember that race perfectly and thought What a friggin' wuss! Mario was at least 20 years Nigel's senior. Dr. Olvey intimated that it was just part of Nigel's show, where he could never let it be known that he had won easily. In fact, I've read in other places that in F1, he would invent problems with the car after the race and piss off his crew for not giving them credit for giving him a flawless car. Yeah, I can't stand Nigel. Anyway, a page later he was discussing something that made me cry (I don't remember what exactly, though). Dr. Olvey is responsible for starting the Champ Car Safety Team, and up until a few years ago, he still ran it. Getting rid of Dr. Olvey and Dr. Trammell was the only issue I had when the new ownership took over. It struck me as incredibly foolish. These are the men who saved Alex Zanardi's life (literally) after his hideous accident at the Lausitzring in 2001. These were men who every driver knew and trusted. I found out that Dr. Olvey was key to many of the life-saving changes made to Champ Car – the cars, the circuits, etc. I also found out some stuff I didn't really need to know regarding the deaths of three of our drivers over the past 11 years (I was at each of the races where they died – RIP Jeff, Gonzalo & Greg). I particularly loved the potshots he took at NASCAR – the only major racing series that does not have a traveling safety team.

Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis by Mick Middles & Lindsay Reade – 302 pages – I absolutely loved this book! Ian Curtis was the lead singer, lyricist and even music writer (as I found out in this book – I always knew the lead singer and lyricist part) for the band Joy Division (my favorite band). He committed suicide 27 years ago on May 18 and I happened to be reading the book on the anniversary. This book is so much better than the other JD books I had read, including the book by his widow. It actually dealt with his entire life, not just the part related to Joy Division. Middles & Reade interviewed his mother, sister, aunt and even his girlfriend Annik who had never spoken of Ian in the 25 years since he died. She didn't think it was her place, considering he had a wife and child, but I'm so glad she did. The widow's book was bitter and made me wonder why I admired this man so much. This book replaced my faith in my judgement. I not only learned more about Ian's life, but also about Joy Division and the music and how it was created. The top portion of this picture is painted on the back of my jean jacket along with lyrics from "Transmission." "We would go on as though nothing was wrong."

Dave Barry in Cyberspace by Dave Barry – 215 pages – This book is old (1997) and I had read it before, but one day I wanted something light to read while eating dinner and grabbed this off the shelf. It still made me laugh out loud. Heck, it's Dave Barry, how could I not laugh?


Stargate SG-1 – Season 7 (all) and Season 8 (1 or 2 discs)

5/6 - The Last Tycoon - N – 50% - I thought it was a pretty faithful adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's unfinished last novel, but I had been hoping that someone had taken his notes (which were included in my version of the novel) and had the movie continue where the novel left off.

5/9 - V for Vendetta - N – 72% - I really need to start writing things down because a month later I don't remember everything. I remember the ending wasn't the same as the book, but must confess that it still worked. I thought adding the 1812 Overture to the ending was brilliant. Chills ran down my spine. They had excluded parts of the graphic novel that quite frankly I didn't miss at all. I have to say that I liked it.

The Work of Director Anton Corbijn - N – No rating – This DVD was 4 hours long, as it showed a number of the videos Anton Corbijn directed, additional commentary of said videos by the artists themselves, and an interview with Anton and again the artists of the videos. It was utterly fascinating. He's taken many iconic pictures of rock musicians and one of the most famous pictures of Joy Division. He presented his movie Control about Ian Curtis and Joy Division at Cannes last month. In true Anton Corbijn fashion, it's filmed in black and white and even though it's based on the book by Deborah Curtis (his widow) I am looking forward to its release (probably November or December here in the States).

5/26 - Murder! - Hitchcock – (K) – 100% - I got 9 early Hitchcock movies for under $20 from and this was one of them. It's one of Hitch's first "talkies" and while the sound quality isn't 21st century, it's still pretty darn good for a 1930s film. It had a Nick & Nora/Hercule Poirot flair to it as the amateur sleuth sets up a trap for the real murderer at the end and gets his man.

5/26 - Champagne - Hitchcock (K) – Not enough reviews for a rating – I read a review from 1928 when this movie first came out and it got panned! It was an enjoyable story, if not very Hitchcockian, i.e., suspenseful. Young reckless heiress ticks off her father enough with her spending money all over the place and falling in love with a poor man that he tells her that the bottom fell out of the champagne market (he was a champagne magnate apparently) and that they have no money. She goes out and gets a job, tries to cook, etc., while Dad goes off to fancy restaurants to eat since her meals were inedible. It was a pleasant movie and, of course, turned out well in the end. Oh yeah, it's a silent film.

5/26 - The Skin Game - Hitchcock (K) – Not enough reviews for a rating – I have no clue what a "skin game" is, but this film is about two families going after the same parcel of land and pretty much using any means necessary. Hitchcock had fairly well documented mother issues and shows it in this early film of his by having the mother of one family being pretty bloody ruthless in going after the other family just to get the land. Unlike Champagne this movie ends in tragedy. And despite the tragic ending, I'd recommend it.

5/27 - The Wings of the Dove - (N) - 85% - Period piece with Helene Bonham Carter that came out in 1997. It reminds me of a Merchant-Ivory production being a period piece and with its incredible cinematography. I had held off watching this for over a month because I didn't think I was in the mood for a period movie, but one day I just put it in knowing that I would like it and I did. It reminded me a bit of House of Mirth (based on the book by Edith Wharton), probably because it didn't end all that happily. Helene plays a young woman whose maternal aunt takes her in (mother is dead, father is a drug addict) and introduces her to high society. Helene's character is in love with a working class stiff which, of course, doesn't sit well with Auntie who wants her to marry well. She wants her love, but also wants money which the aunt would withhold if she were to marry him. She schemes to get money out of a friend who is rich and dying. Those Victorians weren't as pure as they'd like us to think they were.

5/29 - Jamaica Inn - Hitchcock – K – 75% - Another early Hitchcock, this one showcases Maureen O'Hara in one of her first films and Charles Laughton. Maureen O'Hara shows up at Jamaica Inn one night to live with her aunt – arriving ahead of her letter telling Auntie that her mother has died and she has nowhere else to go. Auntie is married to a not very nice man who is the head of a gang of men who deliberately shipwreck ships by hiding the light and then killing everybody on board and stealing everything on the boat. There's an undercover Scotland Yard man, twists and turns of plot and people who aren't what they appear to be. All in all, a fine film from 1939. Apparently they did a remake of it back 1982 with Jane Seymour.

5/30 - Pan's Labyrinth - N – 96% - I have to admit that while watching this movie I was not liking it a whole lot. I liked the fantasy portion of it, but hated the evil fascist Captain/Step-father (as I’m sure I was supposed to). To me the whole film was extremely sad until the very end and for me that just doesn't make up for the preceding two hours. It's a very good movie, imaginative, brilliantly filmed and really quite interesting, but it made me sad. I spent most of the movie thinking about the influences of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his magical realism and it mostly shows up in Spanish-language films. I know there are evil people in the world and the bad guy did get it in the end, but so many people suffered before that. Saying all that, I will recommend that you watch this movie. I didn't hate it, in fact, in the end I liked it, mostly. Watch it and let me know what you think.

My favorite book of the month has to go to Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis, but it had tough competition from Rapid Response. Favorite movie of the month? That's a tough one. I think I have to go with V for Vendetta, even though, amazingly enough, Pan's Labyrinth came in a close 2nd. I couldn’t pick The Work of Anton Corbijn since it wasn't actually a movie.

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