Friday, September 04, 2009

Happy Labor Day Weekend! August Books & Movies

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

I hope everybody has fabulous plans for the last real weekend of summer. The weather here in Michigan is finally supposed to be nice. 70s and sunny all weekend long! Woohoo!!! I'm going to sit outside Sunday and Monday.

Saturday is Yarn Fest Aught-Nine (that's what a co-worker named it) which means heading up to Port Huron to Mary Maxim's for the end of their August Tent Sale (better sale prices than at the beginning of the sale) for our third straight year. I have a list, so I'm not buying all willy-nilly (which will probably still happen – sigh – because I have ZERO self control when it comes to yarn), theoretically.

Last night I crawled into my lovely warm soft comfy bed at 9:00 p.m., got all settled with both cats cuddled with me in their preferred locations (Boris at the knees, Igor at my upper arm) when we all got the ever-livin' shit scared out of us when fireworks started going off about 3 blocks from my apt. The cats lost their minds and were gone before the first firework faded. My heart started racing from the adrenaline of the cats rocketing off the bed, and it didn't stop for an hour.

To me, it looked like they were going off from my "favorite" bar, Crave, and I was secretly hoping one would backfire and burn the fucking place down (while not affecting any of the adjoining businesses or hurting anybody). I texted Urs to find out if she had a freaking clue why there were fireworks on Thursday, Sept. 3. She, of course – being the in-touch person she is (she follows the city on Twitter) – knew that the City was setting off the fireworks that had gotten rained out during Homecoming (first weekend of August). I believe my response to her text about settling in with a cup of tea because it was "promised to be the biggest of the year" was "Oh, for fuck's sake! My heart's still pounding from the initial shock." She laughed and said she could hear me saying "Oh, for fuck's sake" and that it was appropriate because her house was shaking as if we were having an earthquake and her dog was barking like mad.

After they were finally over I went looking for the kids. I never found Igor, but Boris was under the couch as low to the ground as he could go and looking out at me with HUGE eyes. Poor sweet pea. I told him it was all over and okay to come out, but he chose not to believe me and figured he was safer under the couch. I petted him for a bit and then went to bed where I had to practice deep breathing exercises in a worthless attempt calming myself.

Honestly, a Thursday??? What was wrong with any of the nights of this coming weekend? Bloody stupid decision making. I'm guessing City Council didn't work today.

My August Books and Movies follow…


40. The Eight by Katherine Neville (598 pages) – This book should sound familiar because I'm pretty sure I've talked about it previously. It's my favorite book which is saying something since when I first read the back cover of the book way back when in the mid-90s I thought to myself, "Dear God, historical fiction about chess. This is going to suck." The premise was that there was a mystical chess set that had belonged to Charlemagne and had been buried in a convent in the Pyrenees because it was so dangerous, but the nuns dug it up during the French Revolution because the Bishop of Autun had passed a law which allowed the government to acquire all of the church's belongings. The chess set ends up dispersed across the lands and the story switches from the time of the French Revolution to early 1970s New York & Morocco. It's called The Game and there is a white team and a black team (the Black team is the good guys). At any rate, I started reading it (it was a Monday, I remember, because my plan was to start it that night but return it to the friend who had lent it to me the next night at the bar and back then Tuesday was bar night) and it hooked me immediately. Now, I do not enjoy the game of chess, although I technically know how to play in that I know how each piece moves, and a book about chess could not be good obviously. I was so wrong. I've now read the book three times with each subsequent time me wondering if it was going to stand the test of time. It does. I re-read it this time because Katherine Neville had finally come out with a sequel and I wanted to refresh my memory before diving in.

41. The Fire by Katherine Neville (451 pages) – The thing that struck me about reading The Eight this time was how prescient she had been about oil consumption, etc. And oil raised its head in The Fire. I enjoyed The Fire, but wish it had been longer and dealt with the historical aspect a bit more. I don't want to give away too much but suffice it to say that The Game starts up again with descendents of The Game played in the 1970s and a few players who are still around. It's a perfectly good book, but just not as good as The Eight.

42. The Kindness Handbook: A Practical Companion by Sharon Salzberg (172 pages) – This is a book I got from one of my book clubs by not stopping the stupid automatic shipment. It's about treating yourself and others with lovingkindness which in this book is one word. It was okay, but required more effort than I was willing to put forward right before bedtime (which is when I read this).

I wasn't a complete slacker book-wise, although it looks it. I'd also read about 180 pages of Fordlandia and 200 pages of Sophie's World. I could have finished Fordlandia if I had concentrated on it, but I'm finding it a bit difficult to read because that project was an incredible bit of cluster-fuckededness.

Book of the Month: I'm going to break my own rule here and choose The Eight (not that I don't think you should read The Fire as well).


I did much better on movies than I did books.

38. (8/1) Sands of Oblivion - 2007 (Sci-Fi) – I had DVRd this movie because it has Morena Baccarin and Adam Baldwin of Firefly in it. Wow, did it suck. If you want to read a synopsis, click the link. I'm not wasting my time.

39. (8/7) America - 2009 (Lifetime) – Another movie watched solely because it was filmed in metro Detroit . This one has Rosie O'Donnell working as a psychiatrist/social worker with at-risk youths in a group home. The title character was just a Detroit kid that Rosie saw in a downtown Detroit restaurant that had the look she wanted. My favorite trivia from the interviews were when she went over to his family having dinner, they said, "You're Roseanne Barr, right?" And she responded, "Close enough." I thought that was hilarious. The movie was what you'd expect from Lifetime – a tear-jerker and a bit overdone, but I thought the actors did a really good job.

40. (8/7) Witness for the Prosecution - 1957 (TCM) – From the TCM website was this synopsis, "A British lawyer (Charles Laughton) gets caught up in a couple's (Marlene Dietrich & Tyrone Power) tangled marital affairs when he defends the husband for murder." This is the movie where I first heard/saw Marlene Dietrich singing which had me in stitches thinking about Blazing Saddles and Madeline Kahn. I had always thought she exaggerated the singing style, but she didn't. Elsa Lanchester (you'll recognize her from Murder by Death and Mary Poppins) was very funny as the annoying nurse trying to take care of Charles Laughton's character.

41. (8/9) The Breakfast Club - 1985 (K) – I'm pretty sure I don't need to tell anybody about The Breakfast Club (or the following two movies). This was my John Hughes Retrospective Sunday.

42. (8/9) Pretty In Pink - 1986 (K) – Same as The Breakfast Club. For the record, having been a teenaged girl, the ending is what a teenaged girl would have wanted, so anybody who argues that she should have ended up with Duckie, stop thinking like an adult and try thinking like a teenaged girl.

43. (8/9) Ferris Bueller's Day Off - 1986 (K) – I have nothing fabulous to add, although I think there is some interesting trivia re: this movie. 1) the house where Cameron lived was put up for sale within the past few months. 2) The actor that played the principal had a run-in with the police re: child pornography. Try watching that movie now knowing that and think how much ickier it makes him.

44. (8/10) Quills - 2000 (N) – I have to say that I did not really enjoy this movie. I don't think it was as bad as Sands of Oblivion, but I still wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. The people at Yahoo! Movies gave it a rating of B…no way in hell it would get a rating that high from me. The acting was quite good, but I think it was a bit over the top.

45. (8/16 & 17) Coraline - 2008 (MKJ) – I love Neil Gaiman and I enjoyed the book. The movie is very well done, but as is usual it didn't follow the book and although I did listen to the commentary and the director/writer explained away his differences, I want to go on record that I do not pronounce "Pontiac" that way. I did enjoy looking for the teeny tiny knitted items she wore… ;-) The funny thing is that I borrowed this from a woman at work whose daughter loved the movie, but hadn't read the book. I gathered up all my Neil Gaiman and lent them to the daughter who read Coraline but didn't really like Neil's writing style, so wasn't even going to try the rest of the books. Does anybody else wonder if Neil is generational, i.e., appeals to those of us who are about his age, but teens/young adults don't get him?

46. (8/22) To Catch A Thief - 1955 (TCM) – Yes, I own this movie, but I have lent it to a girl from work and when I was over visiting some friends, I noticed they had it recorded on their DVR and I said what a good movie it is. Amy asked if it were appropriate for her second oldest (13?). Heck yes! It's 1955 and Hitchcock. I covered his eyes during the kissing scene (which he probably didn't want to see anyway). Her oldest son (16?) had been the one who recorded it, so I'm excited that kids these days appreciate old movies. Amy thinks he has an old soul. So, next time I go over, I'm going to take some old films.

47. (8/22) Flushed Away - 2006 (Amy) –Yeah, I know I just watched this, but the younger kids had come home by the end of To Catch A Thief, so we picked a kids movie. What can I say? I like this movie.

48. (8/23) Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - 2006 (N) – Another movie, like Quills, that I picked because it had some good actors in it and I thought the premise sounded intriguing. Not so much in actuality. I think the murderer was supposed to come across as sympathetic, but he didn't. Even though he was supposed to be some sort of perfume genius, he came across as slow and I don't mean like a turtle or a snail.

49. (8/29) Religulous - 2008 (N) – I enjoyed the movie, although I have to say that I thought the Catholics came across as the most with-it of the religious people interviewed, which probably helped my feelings toward it. If you're religious and believe the earth is only 6000 years old, you'll hate it, so don't waste your time. I can't argue with someone who takes on the Creationism museum.

50. (8/29) RocknRolla - 2008 (F) – If you liked Guy Ritchie's Snatch and/or Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrell, you'll like this movie. It's your typical Guy Ritchie British caper film. It was fun with excellent actors (Thandie Newton, Tom Wilkinson, Gerard Butler), and a set-up at the end for a sequel.

Movie of the Month: I'm following my own rules for this pick (meaning I have to pick something I haven't seen before): RocknRolla.

I hope you all have a great Labor Day!

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At Saturday, 05 September, 2009, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

For some reason, that intro about pleasant weekend weather in Michigan reminds me of a damn Kid Rock song...

At Saturday, 05 September, 2009, Blogger Dr Jenn said...

yea doc another CD you can get me.

Kat - flushed away is a great kids movie. I watched Bride Wars last night and was very disappointed in it.

At Saturday, 05 September, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dr S - Really? I wouldn't know as I don't listen to Kid Rock.

Dr J - You like Kid Rock? I don't have any interest in Bride Wars...that's the one with Anne Hathaway, right?

At Sunday, 06 September, 2009, Blogger dr sardonicus said...

Jenn can buy that piece of dung's CD's with her own money...

At Sunday, 06 September, 2009, Blogger Dr Jenn said...

Yes it is the one with Anne Hathaway - but it really made women in general look caddy as all get out. I was insulted by the movie! But the previews really made it look like it was going to be cute.

I like that one song of Kidd Rock. And yes, I will have to persuade Doc into buying it I reckon. I can be very persuasive. e:wink I have asked him to pick me up a half a dozen CD's and always comes home with something just for him. LOL. Pbblbbth.

At Sunday, 06 September, 2009, Blogger fermicat said...

Just watched Coraline tonight on demand. We liked it. I haven't read the book, so I can't comment about whether they followed it or not. Actually, with Gaiman's stuff I either see the movie or read his books, but I don't ever seem to read the books that get made into movies so there isn't any overlap. I didn't plan it that way, it just happened. Maybe one day they will make a movie out of one of his books that I've read!

At Sunday, 06 September, 2009, Blogger fermicat said...

Oh, and as for the holiday weekend, we went to the Tech game on Saturday (and then went out to watch other games at the sports bar Saturday evening). Today we hiked a 6 mile loop trail at the south end of Kennesaw National Battlefield Park, and tomorrow we plan on goofing off around the house.

Hope your holiday weekend is going well.

At Monday, 07 September, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

Dr S - I understand your disdain for KR, but I have to say that he's very supportive of Detroit, in general. He donated money to support a local Labor Day weekend art/music festival since the Big Three aren't in the position to do so. So, he's not all bad.

Dr. J - The cattiness is what I saw in the previews and it just didn't appeal. I finally bought your beads (had to have a minimum order of $25.00), so we're that much closer to it getting done.

At Monday, 07 September, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - Very interesting relationship you have with Neil Gaiman. I think I'll just stick with reading his stuff and not worrying about the movies. Did Tech win? I took my sister's dogs for a walk last night, so that was the extent of my "hiking."

At Monday, 07 September, 2009, Blogger fermicat said...

Tech won and Georgia lost, so it was a good football weekend for me. We were a little lackluster in the second half. I hope they will be psyched up for this Thursday's showdown with Clemson - a game which has been close in recent years. I can understand the lack of intensity. The crowd wasn't very energetic either. Hard to get jazzed up about beating a FCS opponent. And we kept the playbook very vanilla.

At Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Wow. What a movie list.

I have no desire whatsoever to see Quills and glad you don't recommend it.

Perfume is pretty obscure and glad to see you review it. I hated the main character and I don't think you were supposed to like him. He was a sociopath, and seemed slightly retarded as well. He actually pissed me off to the point where I'm glad how it ended.

The orgy scene though was brilliant. Evil, but brilliant. Kind of like Voldemort.

I hate Creationism and it's one of the reasons I don't call myself "Right-wing" any more because I think today's Right is a joke. So I kind of want to see "Religulous. Just never got around to it.

I liked Coraline a lot and will probably buy the DVD when it's under $10 at Target. I never read the book though. Gaiman movies unfortunately rarely translate to the silver screen well.

I have a soft spot for John Hughes, and actually liked all 3 of those, especially Ferris Beuller.

At Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - Yay for Tech. We have a little Georgia/Tech thing happening with the Lions - our new quarterback (Matthew Stafford) is from Georgia and his preferred wide receiver (so far in preseason) is from Tech (Clayton Something maybe?). I thought of you when they talked about it this morning on the radio.

ZS - If I could save anybody from Quills, I'm glad I saw that drek...and yes, I agree with the retarded assessment on the guy in Perfume, I was just trying not to say it. Orgy? Is it sad that I don't remember it? Coraline wasn't bad at all really...I'm just always disappointed when it doesn't match the book. Who doesn't have a soft spot for John Hughes (of our generation)? I think you'll like Religulous.

At Tuesday, 08 September, 2009, Blogger fermicat said...

Yes, your rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford (from UGA) will start this year, and be throwing to Calvin Johnson (from Georgia Tech). I am very happy that Detroit finally got someone who can throw it to Calvin. Apparently they have some chemistry already. Go figure. If your O-line can give them a little breathing room, you might have an offense this year.

At Wednesday, 09 September, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

We shall's the Lions...but I thought it was nice to see UGA getting along with Georgia Tech.

At Thursday, 10 September, 2009, Blogger Dr Jenn said...

OK great, please include the cost of all the beads in the final price of the piece your making for me. It means an awful lot that your going to do this for me! Again, thank you.d

At Friday, 11 September, 2009, Anonymous Suzy said...

I know a 6 year old Neil Gaiman fan. She wrote him a fan letter and got one back! She and her Mom also met him in person at a book signing in SF this summer. But she is an unusual child.

At Saturday, 12 September, 2009, Blogger Kathleen said...

Suzy - I remember reading about that on your blog. I was jealous since Neil doesn't seem to feel the need to come to Detroit.


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