Saturday, February 20, 2010

September 2009's Books & Movies

Okay, enough of being sad. I think I've gone on long enough about Ed and being sad. I still have my moments, but I actually laughed at work on Thursday which was a huge improvement. I didn't think I'd ever laugh at work again. So, onward.

I believe that the last time I listed the books I had read and the movies I had watched was September which means I have a lot of catching up to do. Let's get to it.

September's Books & Movies

I was a bit of a slacker and only read two books in September.

43. Fordlandia: The Rise & Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin (2009) – 402 pages – Click the link…they have a photo gallery which is pretty sweet. (If you look the book up at, they also have pictures.) The book was hard to read, not because it was written poorly or too erudite, but because it was such a complete cluster f*ck. Henry Ford was a brilliant man about many things, but didn't realise that the differences between Michigan and Brasil were so vast and that the peoples wouldn't respond to the same incentives. I think the really frustrating thing was that it didn't have to be such a mess and probably could have been successful, except for Henry's way of doing things.

44. Even Money by Dick and Felix Francis (2009) – 350 pages – Someone commented at in the article about Dick Francis' death that the last few books written with his son weren't as good. I disagree wholeheartedly. Everything I know about horse-racing I've learned from Dick Francis (I'm one of those rare women who didn't have a horse-phase as a girl, in fact, I don't like horses, they're big and scary and I've never ever ridden one and don't plan on ever riding one), and this one explained the intricacies of the betting industry in England. This one was little guy vs big corporation with the big guys trying to drive out the little guy and how the little guy fights back. As always I recommend anything written by Dick Francis.

Book of September: Even Money because I know I'll read it again. Is it a better book? Probably not, but I enjoyed it more.

I did a lot better movie-wise in September (which I hope makes up for the fact that I watched ZERO movies in October). Stupid DVR. Please note that I choose my links very carefully. I don't just go with IMDB. I make sure the link coincides with my thoughts on the movie. Just so you know.

51. (9/7) Frost/Nixon (N) – 2008 - Being a young girl when Watergate happened, all I remember is the front of the Detroit Free Press with the headline NIXON RESIGNS in huge font. To me, David Frost has always been a respected journalist/interviewer. I had no clue that him interviewing Nixon was the modern-day equivalent of being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest. I found the film quite fascinating and thought Michael Sheen was fabulous as David Frost and Frank Langella eerily quite Nixon-like.

52. (9/7) Quai des Orfevres (N) – 1947 – I have absolutely no idea now why I added this movie to my Netflix queue, and truthfully, if it weren't for the synopsis, I'd have no idea even what it was about. Ah, I figured it out. It's because it was directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot who also directed Wages of Fear which is a movie I appreciate. It's described as a "police procedural" movie vs a classic whodunit, although the audience doesn't know "whodunit" until the police do. If you like old black and white classic films, give it a go. If you hate subtitles and the lack of Technicolor©/VistaVision©/etc., then I probably wouldn't recommend it for you.

53. (9/12) Dial M for Murder in 3-D (Redford Theater) – 1954 – While I own this movie, who can pass up the chance to see it in the theatre and in 3-D? I thought the 3-D portion was minimal, but it did make the red dress Grace Kelly wears in the beginning really stand out (to the point where I question my copy of the movie as being in black-and-white, because the dress was GORGEOUS and I honestly don't remember it from watching it at home. Oh yeah, and of course, the part where she's reaching toward the camera to grab her sewing scissors to ward off her murderer. Reasons to see this movie: 1) Grace Kelly, 2) Alfred Hitchcock, 3) Robert Cummings (whom I love from another Hitchcock film, Saboteur (1942).

54. (9/13) Houseboat (TCM) – 1958 – Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. Need I say more?

55. (9/13) Serendipity (WE) – 2001 – John Cusack. What can I say? John Cusack is my age group's Boy Next Door. I don't know many women my age who don't love him as Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. And therefore, I will see damn near any movie with him in it. I will admit that I wasn't expecting much, which I find helps any and all movies, really. I think I was the only person not disappointed with the first Batman movie (the one with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson) because I didn't want to see it and was expecting absolutely nothing from it. I'm not saying I loved it, just that I wasn't disappointed. Now back to Serendipity. It's weird, as I get older and more set in my ways, i.e., not into dating, happy staying home with the cats and knitting (yes, at some point I got old), I find that I like chick flicks.

56. (9/17) Please Believe Me (TCM) – 1950 – The link will take you to a review by the New York Times back in 1950 when the movie came out, which I think is cool. In this movie, Deborah Kerr plays an English girl who had been a pen pal with some guy in Texas who ends up leaving her his "ranch." It shows her trip across the Atlantic with people thinking she's an heiress and men fighting over her. It was amusing, but I'd have to say a tad confusing (at least for me, I might have been knitting more than actually watching, but it seemed that they could have picked men who didn't all look a like to play the three suitors – I couldn't keep them straight). I wouldn't recommend going out of your way to see it, but if it's on and you have nothing better on the DVR, go for it. Even if it's just to tell me that it was really quite easy to tell the three men apart and that I really need to pay better attention. 

57. (9/19-20) Crisis (TCM) – 1950 – Once again I watched a movie solely because Cary Grant was in it. As the link points out, it wasn't the usual Cary Grant-fare (i.e., romantic comedy), but it was interesting enough to keep my attention (even if five months later, I couldn't remember what the hell it was about). I think that if someone were to describe the movie to me, I'd say, "Oh yeah, I saw that movie, but I have no idea of the title."

58. (9/20) Goya's Ghosts (Encore) – 2006 – Having been a Spanish major in college, I feel a special affinity for Spanish artists, so I watched this movie solely because it referred to Goya. Yeah, yeah, ranks right up there with judging a book by its cover, I know. While not as horrible as Quills, which I watched in August, I'd say that I won't see this movie again. It was "meh." Oh, unless you like to see Natalie Portman naked.

59. (9/21) Bogus (Encore) – 1996 – This was a cute movie, not spectacular, but cute. Haley Joel Osment (who I unashamedly love, hell, I own Pay It Forward) plays a little boy who is orphaned when his mother dies in a car accident (no father), and then shipped off to live with Whoopie Goldberg who was his mother's foster sister. As the review states, Whoopie's character is not in touch with her inner child, and has trouble relating to the little boy. She especially doesn't understand when he talks to his invisible friend, Bogus, played by Gerard Depardieu. I don't always like Monsieur Depardieu (he did NOT portray a starving coal miner very convincingly in Germinal, as he lost NO weight for the film), but he was very lovely in this.

Movie of September: Dial M for Murder

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

2010 is sucking canal water

I had honestly thought that 2010 was going to be better than 2009, but it has proven me wrong already. In 2009, the problem was seeing friends being laid off. This year, well, we already know what this year has wrought. And trust me, when you add them all up, I'm way over my requisite "happens in 3s." The latest being Dick Francis. No, I didn't know him personally, obviously, but he has been one of my favorite authors for over 25 years. *sigh*

I had to clean Ed's desk Tuesday morning. I got most of his personal belongings together, but have a few questions for his supervisor before I can finish that up completely. And I haven't even looked at his professional files or binders yet. I was told the day before that his supervisor and possibly our manager are setting up a meeting with Ed's wife to get his computer, cell phone, etc. from her and I figured I couldn't be a wuss any longer, as she'll want his personal items. I did it first thing as I didn't want too many people around to see me cry, even though I thought I was going to be able to get through it. Yeah, I was mistaken. And I discovered that my new waterproof mascara isn't very waterproof…or at least tear-proof.

I think that two hours of cleaning a deceased friend/colleague's desk should equal eight hours of regular work. I was emotionally drained and tired and just wanted to go home to bed. Crying is unbelievably exhausting.

It took everything I had to get out of bed this morning. I just wanted to stay home, but I had to go through the questionable items from Ed's desk with his supervisor, which we just did. And I'm right back to feeling as I did yesterday - eyes burning, wanting to curl up under my desk and doing nothing.

I'll try very hard not to be depressing/depressed on my next post.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I am heartbroken.

Good-bye, Ed. You will be missed more than you can possibly know.