Monday, November 26, 2007

Whatever it is, I'm against it

Last week, I went home for Thanksgiving for the first time in nearly 20 years. It was pretty sweet: I got to rake some leaves one day and shovel snow the next. I so love that first snow. Or the second one. Or any that happen when you're driving at night. To this day, it still reminds me of the POV of the Milennium Falcon.

For the actual T-day, I was at my dad's, where my stepmom Ellen made chicken, turkey, Cornish game hens, and lamb (although, sadly, not together, as they'd never heard of neither a Turkducken or a Turhenenamb). We worked off the meat bonanza by playing a little two-on-two basketball in the driveway, where I was vanquished for the first time by my 25-year-old brother Joel. (And he took me inside over and over. How embarrassing! I am already plotting strategy -- and getting them a new ball -- for Christmas.) Here's Joel with his wonderful Brazilian wife, Raquel (which is pronounced "Hackel" with a hard, gritty H), who showed that she could give as well as take the fouls of 13-year-old Micky.

Almost 6-year-old Yi Rong continues to be the cutest kid ever. Micky has become obsessed with quoting the Marx Brothers, and she's followed suit, saying out of the blue, "You gotta da fish?" (It's from Animal Crackers, as is today's title. See it immediately, if you haven't already.) I may have to adopt me one of these suckers myself.

One thing I noticed, once again, upon coming back was that they have way better insulation on the East Coast. This morning I laid in bed, wondering which window I'd left open, only to realize that it was just the naturally porous walls letting the cold air in. I guess I wasn't the only one that forgot about the changing weather though. Check out this sweater that Ellen left outside to dry:

I went to see Dan in Real Life while I was there. I was disappointed to find out that there was nothing in the film about my real life. No lesbian moms asking me if I'd vomited because she'd heard me "hurrying to the bathroom" one night (I'd told her about discovering the wonders of Kombucha after blowing chunks in the woods a couple years back). No friends that pour salad dressing on their already greasy pepperoni-beneath-the-cheese pizza. No sheer amazement at the fact that my mother got wireless DSL in her home. And no "No Loitering" signs in graveyards.

The only bad thing about the trip was seeing my parents get that little bit older. My mom had a hip replacement this year and she had to stop three times on the walk to downtown. And my dad, for the first time ever, is showing a desire to slow down and work less, which isn't a bad thing but it is pretty bizarre. He moves more tenderly, he forgets more (the running joke is he keeps renting movies he's already seen), and he sits on the couch a lot more. It's a slippery slope from here, but at least they're both happy now. Got to enjoy them while we can.

Or maybe it's just the air is too clean there. For the life of me, I kept forgetting tons of stuff, like what other movies beside Unbearable Lightness of Being and Blue that Juliette Binoche had been in (dad didn't recognize her), or what the name of Half Nelson was (dad likes teacher movies), or what Latin genre is the next big DJ thing (electro-cumbia, according to some). Well, at least I still have my hair.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Love, Forty

Some random thoughts:

The only thing worse than a clown with a puppet is a clown using a puppet to perform magic.

Rollerderby is really fun to watch, even if there aren't enough Mexican cowboys in the audience. (They were all going next door to see the live cumbia or something.) The program for the match I went to featured an ad for a dentist with a picture of one of the girl's disgustingly mangled teeth and gums. They aren't fooling around out there. Also not fooling around: The tiki bar we went to, where they served drinks in small, medium, and larges -- and the medium was as big as my head. San Jose is a trip, man.

Also, the only thing worse than being a regular smoker? A coal miner. I saw one of their lungs, and it was the size of a grapefruit and the color of a goth girl's leather skirt. Nasty.

If you want a sweet French farce with a funny premise -- self-absorbed guy makes a bet that he can produce one single pal -- you should rent My Best Friend. Who knew Daniel Auteil would turn into such a comedian in his later years?

And, criminy, have you seen Lars and the Real Girl yet? It's so good! I really didn't expect a film about a guy who sends away for a life-like blow-up doll to be so affecting, but it was. I want Ryan Gosling to get an Oscar, just to hear him thank his co-star. Also, has Patricia Clarkson ever been in a bad movie? Or been bad in a movie?

So, my novel this year -- year 8 out of 9, save for the New Zealand year -- is about a grumpy guy who moves back to rural Vermont after his mom dies, giving up his career as a chef to sit around and mope, occasionally giving tennis lessons and digging graves. He hasn't dated anyone in three years because he's too something (see today's comic), and then he meets two women. One is a crunchy hippie lady who just started giving Eye Gazing seminars, and the other is a stuntwoman who's visiting the town with a movie crew. Will he overcome his own issues? If so, which will he pick? And will she then pick him? Did anyone see Manny Ramirez picking his nose during the World Series?

Friday, November 2, 2007


I worked at the Rickshaw for Halloween. Megan had the great idea of a unified costume front with superhero capes for all the staff, with shirts that had our abbreviated names on the front (OGM, CW2, CX, etc). I was the only one that got a shirt decal-ed, which meant that people all night were asking me who I was.

If I had tried to explain that I was Ruxx pretending to be the Great American Hero, it would've been super-confusing (ha ha). So I just said Superdan, which sounded rather lame.

Here's Magnolia as the Dancefloor Avenger.

Christopher was imitating this nutty Cadillac margarita guy from Bhangra.

Bobby was sporting mesh and Corry had, well, let's just say one girl asked if she could stare at her cleavage for a while.

Christina looks adorable in any hair color.

Waldo is either a lighthouse or a disco ball.

Here's Elijah, out in Parnassus Heights, getting his inner tiger out.

And here's the return of Grumpy Guy...