Monday, December 20, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
- swimming in a warm body of water
- smelling a newborn baby's head
- having a nap
- playing Scrabble
- hiking on the AT
- listening to a Nick Drake album
- having a cafe allongee in a cafe in Paris
- reading the new David Foster Wallace novel
- playing footsie with my husband at a work-related function
- singing in the car with my kids
- laughing on a street corner with Cheryl and Jen until I wet my pants
- waking up from a nap and then having another
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
This year, though, as an extra-special treat, we dragged along our lovely and impressionable cousin, Amy. Amy -or Dr. Mamie, as I like to call her- is, however, hardly the corruptible youth that I thought her once to be. Truth be told, Dr. Mamie, at a mere 28 years old, on top of being a pediatric resident, taught us a thing or two about how to maximize our fun. Plus, as an extra bonus, she gave me free pharmaceutical samples and introduced me to the following things that made my life ever-more-excellent:
1/ Cash Cab
This is a show on the television box that is best enjoyed after having shopped all day and drunk half a bottle of merlot in the span of ten minutes. It is a crazy and slightly pointless game show in which passengers thinking that they've stepped into a cab, instead find themselves answering trivia questions for - you guessed it! - cash. It is Amy's dream to be in this show and I am going to try my damndest to make it happen for her. Don't ask me how.......
2/ Hobo Drunk
This a term that Amy uses in reference to too much alcohol consumption. It is evocative, funny and politically incorrect. Lethal combination. But where, dear reader, does this fit on the drunkeness scale? Well, according to Dr. Mamie, it goes a little something like this: slightly buzzed, tipsy, drunk, high school drunk , hobo drunk. I am very proud to say that I stayed at tipsy most of Friday and Saturday night. I think.
This is a great, free app that the my techno-dealer, Apple, puts out and goes a little something like this: You hear a song. You don't know who sings it. You press Shazam. It tells you. Sweet, huh? I downloaded it as soon as I got home.
There is so very much we can learn from the young......
Friday, November 5, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
And so, I created a list of my own, which I have updated for you here. It reflects what I have come to love about movies and it was screen-tested by the toughest critics I know: my kids.
The criteria for the list was simple: each film had to be artful in some way, have a strong story to convey and be able to keep kids engaged for its entire length. No small feat. A few are box office hits, others may leave you scratching your head but all are worth watching. With your kids or without.
1) The Triplettes of Belleville (2003)
2) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
3) Babe (2001)
4) Babies (2010)
5) Etre et Avoir (2002)
6) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
7) My Life as a Dog (1985)
8) Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998)
9) Lord of the Rings (2001)
10) Whale Rider (2002)
11) Toy Story (1995)
12) Spirited Away (2001)
13) Star Wars (1977)
14) The Black Stallion (1979)
15) Breaking Away (1979)
16) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
17) Paper Moon (1974)
18) Edward Scissorhands (1990)
19) The Princess Bride (1987)
20) It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
21) Sounder (1972)
22) Kes (1969)
23) A Day at the Races (1937)
24) Raiders of the Lost Ark
25) The Incredibles
Did I miss anything?
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
This year's death trifecta, though, gives us an interesting glimpse into Hollywood's many incarnations: the former golden boy, the comeback and the could-have been.
The first, Tony Curtis was a Hollywood fixture of the highest order. He starred in more than four dozen films, Some Like it Hot, most famously, bedded famous starlets and then callously wrote about them, sired famous children (Jamie Lee Curtis) and pretty much abandoned them and in his later years, managed to annoy most of Hollywood's new guard when he announced on Larry King Live that he, like many of his old Hollywood friends, would never dream of voting for Brokeback Mountain as Best Picture. Why you ask? Because the film was about homosexuals and quite frankly, that was something he just couldn't get behind. These were his words, by the way. Not mine. It was a full life.
Gloria Stuart, on the other hand, didn't get to taste Hollywood success until she was well into her eighties when she starred in Titanic as an older version of Rose (Kate Winslet played the younger version). She had spent her early years on contract to the studios and when she grew tired of playing the girlfriend ditched town to become a graphic designer. She hadn't ever intended on acting again until James Cameron came calling and invited to join the cast of Titanic. Now, everyone remembers her as the old version of the lady who got to pop Leonardo DiCaprio in the hold of a ship. You could do worse in this life, non?
Finally, Greg Giraldo, was a funny, funny, dude who could have been huge had he not gotten in his own way. A former lawyer who gave up a job at a law firm to pursue comedy, Giraldo became a wildly successful stand-up comic who specialized in dispensing his own brand of sharp and often brutal humor. Like Lewis Black, his routines tended to clever and exasperated rants. The best of which, to my mind, was one I caught last year on Comedy Central at roast in which he excoriated that douche, Larry the Cable Guy.
“Some people say Larry’s only successful because he’s pandering to the lowest common denominator,” Mr. Giraldo said. “Don’t listen to these people, Larry. They’re just bitter and jealous and right.”
Mr. Geraldi, I think I will miss you most of all.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Sunday, September 19, 2010
*** SPOILER ALERT( for my male readers only!) **** This post concerns waxing. Be Ye Forewarned......
Many moons ago, I told a friend that I had never done any waxing. I believe my exact words to her were, “I have never, ever waxed. I don’t have any intention of waxing. It sounds pointless and incredibly painful. So I am never going to do it.” I'm sort of unequivocal in that way.
Well, guess what? Now I know I was right. And the worst part, is that I cannot bask in my own self-righteousness because I am in too much pain.
Let me start at the beginning of my terrible judgement. A few days ago, I went to the pool to swim a few laps. I have gotten into swimming this summer after completing a 1.5 KM swim this summer and coming in fourth. Out of four. Sigh. Next year I wanna do better so, I have been pseudo-training -and by pseudo-training I mean heading to the pool only when my overwhelming shame from coming in last forces me there - in the hopes of doing a bit better next year. I'll take third, even.
Anyway, after my swim I realized that I had a bit of a Chewbacca thing going on in the leg area and I thought to myself that maybe, it was time to start waxing. I would be coming here more frequently, I surmised so why not try to look like I didn't just step out of the primordial mud.
So, I went to a place and the girl there, Natalie (may she burn in hell) convinced me that I should try a bikini wax, as well. What the hell, I figured. Why not? I was getting my legs done at a place that offered hair-ripping services, so why not go all the way.
Why not, indeed!
It wasn’t so much the the waxing itself — which was deeply undignified but not too painful — it was the horrifying, burning, swollen aftermath. It never occurred to me that I would need to heal after waxing. Perhaps because I am stupid.
I texted a friend who did this frequently and angrily asked the obvious. Why do you do this? Why does it hurt so much? Why hadn’t anyone told me?
But you’re smooth right?, she answered.
Yes, I replied. Like a plucked chicken with some sort of inflammatory disease. Screw you.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I have a real thing for magazines. How much of a thing? Well, here is a sample of just a few that I could find in two minutes:
P.S. Most of these were the ones within arms reach of my desk. I didn't even need to stand up to get at them! Sad, non?
Up until about three months ago I had stacks and stacks of every magazine I have ever bought or subscribed to, squirreled away in various dark corners of my house. Martha's Stewart Livings from as far back as 1998, three years worth of Country Living, old Rolling Stone's from way back in the day(not Keith, though...Charlie Watts) I guess my thinking was that one day I was going to need to look through these for inspiration! ONE DAY! Hell, you never know when you are going to need to decoupage a side table.
And then the Tyrant threatened to start throwing them away willy nilly if I didn't start refining my collection (All except for The New Yorkers, of course, because those are his bathroom reads). So I kept all the copies of magazines that have gone out of business (Cottage Living, Martha Stewart Baby, Hoarders Weekly) and then got rid of everything else. Ahem. IT WAS BRUTAL. You have no idea. It felt like I was cutting off a limb, I can't explain why. One day I'm really going to need to reference this specific Martha Stewart Living, AND WHAT WILL I DO THEN?
And then what should I get in the my child's backpack. A magazine subscription fundraising catalogue. AHHHHHH!! Thanks universe.
Friday, September 3, 2010
The new Arcade Fire album
Thursday, August 26, 2010
While, it's tough to leave aside all of the horror and outrage that Katrina wrought, it is even tougher to realize that a mere 5 years later with an entirely new administration (Obama) and an entirely new natural disaster (BP oil spill), we are straddled with a similar response: utter indifference.
Which is why I was almost flooded with relief when I picked up the latest issue of Esquire at the library and read a piece about the oil spill that put its cost into perspective. Written by Tom Junod, the piece recounts the night that Deepwater Horizon - the rig that started it all - exploded claiming the lives of 11 men ranging in age from 22 to 56. It has been a long time since I read an article that so poignantly made an attempt to connect readers in a tangibly human way to an event that due mostly to media saturation and confusion, leaves the average brian reeling. Junod shapes the lives of these 11 men into a touching eulogy and manages to do what the 24-hour news cycle has somehow managed to evade: make sense all the images of gushing wells and oil-drenched birds that have pounded us into senseless submission.
Eleven men with stories died on that day and it will be impossible for me now not to see the story of this disaster a little bit through their eyes.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Enter scene. Concession stand of the Whitby 24 theatre complex. The song Fame! comes on and it is blasting overhead like a drill sargent in an Oliver Stone film. Myself and the old gent in the line beside me (age approximately 75) are trying not to get down.
FAME! I’M GONNA LIVE FOREVER! BABY REMEMBER MY NAAAAAME. (Remember! Remember!)
Xenia: Who sings this?
Me: Pausing dramatically. You know, I have no idea.
Bryan: But Mom! She only asked you to do that one thing.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Why are you leaving The Office? Why?!!!!
Just reading this news make me want to put on my "The is the Worst" Face. (P.S. Thanks Greg Z. for ruining my day. Wah!) They might as well close the Scranton branch 'cause my ass will not be sitting on the couch Thursday nights.
Who am I fooling? Of course it will. There's still some 30 Rock to be rocked.
Off on vacay people. Will probably not be posting for a 2 weeks. Think of me dockside, with book. It's gonna take me this long to get over the Steve Carrell thing, so......
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I just finished reading an interesting book that Entertainment Weekly recommended (yah, I read Entertainment Weekly! What of it?) called The Imperfectionists. It was a nice read - not too spectacular or filled with incident, actually - that put me in mind of the movie, Babel, for some reason. For those of you who actually saw and remember the film, Babel was a series of disjointed stories set in several countries around the world that managed to come together in pretty whole near the end. But not before you almost lost the will to live. It left me lukewarm, as I remember. And was half an hour too long. And what is it these days with non-linear storytelling, BTW? Is it just a new way to invigorate film and books? I get the feeling that the creative class have been too unduly influenced by Mrs. Dalloway, as a whole. But I digress.....
A few minutes after I finished the book, I opened the paper only to discover that young Brad Pitt had optioned the rights to the book and would be producing the movie. And that he had also produced the film, Babel (I had no idea!) Hmmm, I thought to myself with a self-congratulatory smile on my fae. Mine instincts were true after all, then, concerning this book! Crazy coincidence? I think not. Oh, and good luck with keeping the people awake in the theatre, Benjamin Button.
All this as a an awkward anecdote to introduce this week's WEEKLY SALAD feature. What salad has to do with Brad Pitt and Babel, I will never know. This salad, however, does features my favorite star: avocado.
Halve an avocado and scoop out some but not all of the flesh. Roughly chop the flesh with black beans, a spoonful of green salsa, cilantro, chopped tomatoes (seeded, of course) and lime juice. Serve in the shells. Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sarah Waters was an author I'd heard a ton about but not read. She has written a trilogy of Victorian novels Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and Fingersmith which have earned her legions of fans around the world, a number of awards and,tons of critical success. And, man, does she know how to build suspense!
Set in postwar Britain in the 1940's, Waters gives us a sinister tale of a haunted house, brimming with the rich atmosphere and psychological complexity that have become hallmarks of her work. The book follows the strange adventures of Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. One dusty postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries, the Georgian house, once grand and handsome, is now in decline-its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become entwined with his.
Piqued your interest, yet? You. Will. Love. It.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Here are just a few things that I was able to come up with in 10 minutes:
- cold tea
- muffin top
- lazy people
- shitty books
- pointless movies
- shoes that don't fit correctly
- idiot Prime Ministers
- deliveries that don't arrive when they say they will
- worrying about things you can't control
- coffee tables you can't put your feet on
- jumping to conclusions
- root canal
Anything to add?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Anyhoo, by far, the best feature on my iPhone is the "Genius" feature that's baked in to the iPod. What is Genius, you say? Here's how it works (the following words are Apple's...not mine):
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
In between shows, the channel has programmed bumpers - little independent features - that are often hilarious and very innovative in their format. One of them is a series called, Green Porno. Hosted by its creator, the beautiful and talented Isabella Rossellini, the premise of these shorts is to show the bizarre mating rituals of various insects and animals. And here's the kicker: Rossellini, herself, stars. In costume. As an insect. The costumes are fantastic, the sets are hodge-podge-y and strangely fabulous and the dialogue? Well, let's just say that you have not lived until you've heard Madama Rossellini say, "And now....We are sequential hermaphrodites!" Awe. Some.
I did, however, have to don the the parenting hair shirt shortly thereafter, though.....
Benoit: Mom, what's a porno?
Me (trying not to puke and scream AND stay calm, all at the same time :
It's a movie, with very little plot, whose sole purpose is to show people having sex with each other.
Benoit: (aghast) Eeeeew! (pause) I don't mind watching these insects do sex, though.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I have wondered, often, why my mother had us play that game so many years ago. Partially, I believe, it was to pass the time but mostly, it was to keep us from doing what alot kids will do when they are forced into a confined space: get in fights and start poking fingers at each other over the smallest of perceived slights.
This week, my immediate family found itself in a similar spot. No, not forced into the backseat of a brown Pontiac Perisienne that reeked of bologna on white, but forced to redefine itself in the face of a difficult circumstance. My Nana - matriarch of a strong family, player of cribbage, lover of the Blue Jays, love of all jokes practical and all-round saint - died after a long and fruitful life.
Her death shook us all to the core.
But instead of pointing fingers and railing at the universe, we made a decision, one similar to the one my parents made each and every time we got into that car and headed out on a long journey. We decided to play, Who am I, and define who we were as a family.
And guess what?
My name is Laura Francis. I am a member of the mighty Robinson clan. And it is my honour.