Wherein you wish I’d just settled with what I had for lunch

1. On the one hand, getting my period is great because it means I'm not pregnant. On the other hand, it ALSO means that I've just been getting fatter.

2. Though speaking of which: somehow, I spent the last four weeks doing nothing resembling significant physical activity– no running, no dancing (I KNOW I WAS IN NEW YORK, LET IT GO), no hiking, *nothing*– and instead simply eating everything in sight (except mushrooms; mushrooms and I are parting ways for an indefinite amount of time), and managed to *not* gain weight. I think. I don't own a scale. But I still fit in all my clothes! So that's pretty damn amazing.

3. Ever since we were in L.A. for the Playboy thing, I've been keeping my nails super short. Like, almost-down-to-the-quick short. And just as I was surprised to discover two years ago that I really like having my hair short, I'm now discovering that I rather like short nails. I'd always been averse to them because I think I have stubby fingers, and longer nails extended the line into something vaguely more attractive– like heels for stumpy legs (which is also why I wore exclusively heels for so much of my life). But I like them NOW, is my point, except for the added maintenance that comes with trying to stunt something that's perpetually growing. I'm thinking of taking up the violin, is what I'm really trying to say.

4. I finished watching "City of Ember" on the flight back from JFK (side note: flying standby can be such a bitch sometimes, but it's totally worth it for the zero-cost-difference seat in first-class), and aw man, is it cute. I hadn't read the book in over a year, so I was almost able to watch it without getting all nitpicky about the details (I *did* do a quick re-read of the book after I got home, and I *do* like the book better and it really is best that I didn't read it before watching the movie, but all in all, the movie's cute). And you know what? Saiorse Ronan is just so fucking adorable. I saw her for the first time when the trailer for "The Lovely Bones" was released and liked her instantly; now, after watching her in "City of Ember", my hope is further reinforced that "The Lovely Bones" movie might *actually* do the book justice.

5. And then I watched "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" today. Surprisingly cute! Or maybe I was just in a good mood. Things just feel right these days… not perfect, and not everything, but enough things and enough right that I'm holding up pretty damned well.

6. Honestly? I'd rather Odwalla had left their bars the way they were and raised the price instead.

7. Sometimes, that delicious-smelling colorful square wrapped in cellophane isn't candy. It's soap. DO NOT LICK.

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CAW CAW, ROOAR!

We saw "Up" Monday night. Have you seen it? You should see it, in 3D if you can. You should even go early to catch the trailers! Because there's a trailer for the new "Ice Age" movie! And, yeah, I know, I rolled my eyes as soon as I saw they were making another "Ice Age" movie, except– are you ready? Are you ready for this? THERE ARE DINOSAURS. There are dinosaurs in "Ice Age 3", and they are in 3D, and I almost shook TheNoah's leg off in excitement as I watched the trailer. Dinosaurs!

But, "Up". It was lovely and adorable and funny and so well-done. There was this part where Carl (the old man) is trying to walk with Russell (the 8-year-old (Asian!) wilderness scout), and Russell is so over walking and is literally being dragged forward, and it was more or less how TheNoah and I were at one point during the Point Reyes camping trip (except I wasn't as vocal about not wanting to walk anymore). After unsuccessfully trying to complain his way to a break, though, Russell suddenly flings himself face-down onto the ground, which I regrettably did not think of doing but have made a mental note to attempt in the future– and, anyway, the point is, adorable. "Up" is adorable.

You'd have thought it was some sort of heart-breaking drama, though, if you'd watched me watching it. I cried through a startling amount of it. It was just so sentimental– like in the beginning, right, Carl stumbles upon this boisterous girl when they're both little kids, and then you see them getting married and going through their whole lives together, and through this whole speechless montage, maybe 15 minutes into the movie, tears are pouring down my face and all I can think is: I want that.

It wasn't anything revelatory; I've known since the beginning that this is what I want, this, a lifetime spent with TheNoah, a life shared with him. But it really hit me, then, just how much I want it, how much it means to me. It's the hardest wish I've got, but there's nothing that can guarantee its fulfillment. Not a ring, not a ceremony, not the sincerest mutual offerings of love everlasting– nothing, there is nothing in this world that can promise more time. And admonishments to just be grateful for the time I have now mean nothing. I *am* grateful. But I'm greedy. More. I will always want more time with him. [1] (Speaking of wanting more time: have you seen this? Thai life insurance ads. Oh my god.)

Anyway. Really, go see "Up" (in 3D!– it's worth the extra three bucks or whatever they charge for the glasses, or at least, it is the first time [2]), and if you don't know what it's supposed to be about (other than something to do with a house tied to balloons), it'll be that much better. I had no idea what the plot concerned– I thought it was going to be something like "The Twenty-One Balloons" (which is such a good book)– and I think I loved the movie just a little bit more because of it.

That's it. You have your orders. I'll try and post a little more frequently since apparently there are still people reading this (other than TheNoah, who I think just checks in to see if I've written about him, and if I have, to make sure that I haven't posted the picture of the connect-the-freckle-dots dinosaur I drew on his back), but given that my current posting rate is something like three a month, don't get too hopeful.

In the meanwhile, do you know who David Thorne is? He writes things to people and posts it on the Internet. I'd start with "I'll spend the money on drugs instead" (a.k.a. Seven-Legged Spider), then "The ducks in the bathroom are not mine", and then Bill's Internet Guide. From there, the choices are plentiful. And that oughta keep you busy until I get back.

   

  

 
[1] It's a little ironic that I should be wanting more time now when until a few years ago, I honestly never thought I'd live past 40. Forty years seemed like a perfectly reasonable amount of time to be alive and curious and interesting and interested. That's love for you, though, always coming in and messing up the plans you've had for years and making you rethink your priorities.

[2] I got a little overenthusiastic about the 3D glasses and put them on as soon as we sat down, and I kept insisting to TheNoah (who kept taking his off) that look! this is in 3D! and how 3D today is so different from 3D when we were kids, when things leaped out at you (whereas today, the depth goes *into* the screen, if that makes any sense), and on and on and on I went about why the 3D stuff we were watching wasn't as good as the old-style 3D… and then finally after a trailer for something, there was a still frame that said "Please put on your 3D glasses now". Whereupon TheNoah gave me a withering look. Whereupon, classic Lora style, I indignantly insisted that everything we'd just watched had too been in 3D. Whereupon TheNoah demonstrated how brilliant he is by responding with absolutely nothing.

I should probably find out what happened to the mail, too.

Yesterday– or the latter half of it– slowly drifted off-axis and the inside of my head became attacked by something resembling a sturzstrom. It's spilling over to today, so I've spent most of my Friday thus far nitpicking over labs, putzing around outside half-heartedly attempting to do errands, and scouring my kitchen clean and freeing it from weeks of grease and residue and other crap.

So, disjointed items:

1. When I lived in San Diego, I used to listen to FM 94.9 almost every night for their Big Sonic Chill program, and since having moved away, I've tried to find similar music on my own (including acquisitions of The Chillout Sessions and Ultra Chilled Vols. 1-4) to little avail– until now.

Port Blue is a non-vocal side project of Adam Young (a.k.a. Owl City) and is more or less just that: the more mellow tracks of Owl City minus the lyrics. It's all synthy and Brian-Eno-ish-Sigur-Ros-y awesome, just like The Album Leaf, and I've been listening to the discographies of both. Pretty much anywhere you start with The Album Leaf will tell you whether or not you'll like them, but for Port Blue I would recommend starting with Butterflies or Glider (just hold out for 30 seconds, trust me), or even Mr. Chen, Sailmaker, which to my great disappointment isn't to be found anywhere outside of Songza.

2. We watched "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" earlier this week and I was surprised at how much I liked it. I knew I recognized Kat Dennings from somewhere, but couldn't place the source until I looked her up on IMDb and realized it was from "Raise Your Voice" (which is slightly embarrassing, but whatever; I like Hilary Duff sometimes, okay?). Just– really cute dialogue:

Norah: It reminds me of this part of Judaism that I really like, it's called tikkun olam. It says that, um, the world's been broken into pieces and it's everybody's job to find them and put them back together again.
Nick: Well, maybe we're the pieces, you know? Maybe we're not supposed to find the pieces, maybe we are the pieces.

and

Norah: Are you sad we missed it?
Nick: We didn't miss it. This is it.

Makes me think of the bottom part of an old xkcd drawing, and also that great quote from "Contact":

In all our searching, the only thing we found that makes the emptiness bearable… is each other.

3. When I was in second (or maybe third) grade, I started ballet lessons. A few weeks into it, the teacher announced that our class would be participating in a studio-wide recital and all of us would be performing for all the parents and so-on.

Despite having exhibited a love for performing in regards to theatre for a few years by then, the news of this recital overwhelmed me with stage fright, and in response, I stopped going to ballet.

In other words, because I didn't want to do a recital, I abandoned ballet (and have regretted that since).

Funny how 18 years doesn't do a whole lot to stamp out childhood proclivities.

4. Self-cleaning ovens are AMAZING.

Martian wishes and all

David: Dennis, can I just say one last thing about Mars? Which may be
strange, coming from a science-fiction writer, but right now, you and
me here, put together entirely from atoms, sitting on this round rock
with a core of liquid iron, held down by this force that so
troubles you called gravity, all the while spinning around the sun at
67,000 miles an hour and whizzing through the Milky Way at 600,000 miles
an hour in a universe that very well may be chasing its own tail at the
speed of light; and amidst all this frantic activity, fully cognizant
of our own imminent demise– which is our own pretty way of saying, we
all know we’re gonna die– we reach out to one another. Sometimes for
the sake of vanity, sometimes for reasons you’re not old enough to
understand yet, but a lot of the time we just reach out… and expect
nothing in return. Isn’t that strange? Isn’t that weird? Isn’t that
weird enough? ("Martian Child")

And pretty much the first thing we did tonight was re-stock the cheese drawer

Two un-big things:

1. Our fridge went on vacation. Or it just had a bad day? I don’t know. I guess I couldn’t really hold it accountable if it had a bad day; I mean, granted, it wasn’t optimal timing for it to have a bad day (I had a gallon of chocolate milk in there that I’d only just started to drink), but then again, it could have been a much more crucial situation.

Either way, I opened the door at one point on Sunday night and it was… not full of cold air. The digital screen on the door was reading 60 degrees for the fridge and 3 degrees for the freezer; I tried rearranging things and checked all the sealings and put everything on a TurboCool setting, and a few hours later it was up to 68 and 9 degrees. The manual was of no help but it did say something about a 24-hour stabilization period, which made me think of that mandatory 48-hour stretch before the police let you file a missing-persons report. The message is basically the same: hold on before you officially freak out, buddy. Cool those jets for just a few.

By the time I got home from school last night, everything was back up and running (37 and 0), and today The Wife and I cleaned it out. Or rather, she cleaned it out and I sat at the island and kept busy by spreading brie on crackers (though, hey, I did wash and reverse-engineer some of the shelves and drawers). It ended up being something of a zen process in that we needed to toss a lot of stuff out anyway but had just never gotten around to it before. And now our fridge looks like something out a bachelor pad: condiments on the door, beer and sodas on the top shelf, and nothing, nothing else. The cheese drawer, which is the heart and soul of our fridge, is depressingly vacant.

2. I rearranged the furniture in my bedroom. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of throwing my shoulder into the reading chair to move it across the room that I realized it’s been six months (I got the keys the evening of March 31) since I moved into this house, and then I couldn’t help but laugh because really? How typical of me.

But my bed is finally in a more dedicated bed-spot and bed-orientation, which I’m hoping will encourage me to actually sleep in it. It’s a nice bed, don’t get me wrong; it’s a nice bed and it was an expensive bed and I’ve moved it up and down extensive flights of stairs five times now for a reason. A reason other than function, though, or so it’s seemed these past five-and-a-half months. The final straw came after I walked into my bedroom one night, thoroughly stressed and exhausted, and without even giving it a second’s consideration, grabbed a pillow off my (cleaned and cleared) bed and sprawled out on the floor.

It’s also nice, the bed’s new location, because now, even with the door open, you can’t see it from the hallway. This is beneficial primarily because a) I, uh, tend to go the "minimalist" route when it comes to sleepwear and b) Part II likes to come and go as she pleases. Before, the options were to sleep fully clothed (which sucked), sleep with the door closed (which meant either having to get up several times to let the damn cat in and out or having to endure the THUMP THUMP THUMP as she futilely tried to open it herself by shoving her paw underneath) or hope The Wife didn’t happen to glance up as she passed through the hallway.

3. (Surprise! To make up for all those times when I fall short of my number list predictions:)

Holy crap. We watched "Poseidon" tonight and it was the most amazing thing ever. I didn’t think I had that much snarky commentary left in me! But we were coming off fresh from the debates, so I guess I was inspired and on a roll. We made bets after the first five minutes as to how the remainder of the movie would play out, and I super totally effing won! It was like the Super Bowl of bad action movies! But no sharks. I kept waiting for sharks, and they never came. Be ye not so foolishly optimistic.

Movie spoilers. OOH EVERYONE GET THEIR PANTIES IN A BUNCH.

The first time I watched "Little Black Book", I was peeved. I mean, what– what the hell kind of ending was that? No! Girl gets boy! Always! That’s why it’s a *movie*! I don’t want real life, dammit. Girl does NOT dump boy (who loves Girl) and tell him that he belongs with his ex.

Three years later and I’m still obsessing over this movie. It’s really not that good of a movie and parts of it are painful (much like "Autumn in New York"! Which I own! And paid, like, full retail price for it! Willingly!), but… I don’t know. There’s just something moving about the scene in the end, when Brittany Murphy’s character gives her big speech and does what she knows is best even though it means she sort of gets the shaft– it’s relatable in a painfully honest way. There are countless movies that have those happy little love scenes that make my insides all gooey because, oh, I remember those moments and those feelings and they were good; there are few movies that have those really difficult scenes where someone has to muster up the courage to say, "Hey. This isn’t working out. I love you, and it’s because I love you that I’m telling you I think this needs to end, and I’m so, so sorry and it’s killing me to say this, but I can’t be with you anymore."

A few days ago, I finally watched "The Break Up". And, again, the ending frustrated me to no end. They were so happy to see each other again! Why didn’t the movie show them getting back together? He’d changed! He was a changed man! He was the changed man she wanted him to be! But no; camera shows her walking away, then credits. What. The. Crap.

I was so mad. I was so, so mad. The next day, I was still mad. And then the day after that, it started to sink in that probably a good percentage of why I couldn’t accept the movie’s damned storyline was because I related too much to it. When she tells him, after he’s finally opened up to her and told her he’ll do anything for her, that she just doesn’t think she can do it anymore, that she just doesn’t have anything left? God, have I known that feeling– the giving and the receiving.

But– the ending, too– I’ve known even that. The happenstance running into each other, the startled "Hi!", followed by the intensely sincere "Wow! It’s been so long. How are you? You look fantastic!" and ending with "We should definitely catch up more sometime." Except– and this truth makes my heart twinge, just a little– that "sometime" almost never happens. You’ve both mended the rips that the separation caused, learned new habits and developed new patterns, new lives. There will be no reconciliation. And… that’s okay. That’s normal. You know? Not every love is the only one, the last one. What they did is what we– what most of us– do. We heal, we learn, we grow, we move on. We find others.

Here is another truth: sometimes, when you do run into that other person randomly, and they do look fantastic and it has been so long– sometimes, you start remembering all the reasons you fell for that person in the first place. You remember mornings together and sunny afternoons spent outside holding hands, you remember how perfectly their face fit inside your hands. But after those initial thrills of remembrance have faded some– you remember, too, why it ended. There were reasons for why it ended, and sometimes, a lot of times, those reasons aren’t reasons that can be nullified by time.

And then I think of "Eternal Sunshine" and *that* ending, how Clem argues that it’s pointless for them to try and be together again because they both know how it’s going to end and the ending isn’t pretty, how they’re just going to get sick of each other– and Joel just half-smiles and says: "Okay." I adore that. It makes me wonder if I would say "okay" too, and… I think I would. Because even knowing things will be crap at the end of it all– knowing all the good moments that will come in the meantime would make it all worthwhile. Walks on the beach, trips to Lowe’s in the pouring rain, falling asleep in the front seat listening to U2’s "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb", hoofing it– slightly drunk– from south MB to north PB: I have known the heights of happiness in the hands of another, and maybe that happiness came at a price, but it’s a price I was glad to pay then– and will be glad to pay again.

Movies: “The Seeker”

I’m just setting the record straight here, because the R-Jen today pissed me off (more than it usually does) and because I’ve been pretty testy regarding this movie since I found out about it back in July.

  1. This movie is not the film version of Susan Cooper’s "The Dark is Rising" series, which consists of five solidly-written and overall-excellent books. This movie should not even be considered "based" on the series, given how disgustingly far it strays from the source material. It’s been reported several times that Susan Cooper was "not happy" with how her books were adapted for the big screen. A starter list of discrepancies can be found here.
  2. "The Dark is Rising" series is NOT a "rip-off" of the Harry Potter series, and god help the next person to publicly suggest this. Fact: Susan Cooper wrote these books in the 1970s. BIGGER FACT: One of those five books won the Newbery Medal and another won a Newbery Honor. These books are not in any need of coattail-riding.
  3. Shame on everyone involved with this train wreck who intentionally let their paychecks account for the desecration of such treasured works of literature. Alexander Ludwig, I’m sure you’re a cute kid and all and maybe you even have some acting talent, I wouldn’t know because I refuse to suffer through this movie, but right now, I would be putting a pox on you because YOU, sir, are no Will Stanton. The Will Stanton you portray is a charlatan, a hoax, a punk-ass little kid who needs to be shipped off to a farm in Montana for 20 to life.
  4. Also: if Merriman is really reduced to "Miss Greythorne’s butler" in this movie? DUDE. John Hodge had better go into hiding post-haste. Yeah, they’re both Old Ones but HI MERRIMAN IS REALLY MERLIN AND YOU DON’T GET MUCH HIGHER IN THE MAGICAL PECKING ORDER THAN THAT.

I just read through that starter list again to make sure it was the link I was looking for, and, oh, John Hodge: I am wishing that you somehow manage to get on Jeremy’s bad side, because his wrath is the best and the wrathiest wrath I could ever wish upon you.

And the third time is better than the second but still not as fun as the first

So I’m watching "The Pursuit of Happyness" and trying to remember whom I saw this movie with the first time around.

Toward the end, Will Smith delivers his line: "Because some things are fun the first time you do them, and not so much the next."

And then I remember EXACTLY who was sitting next to me in that theater because right after that line? He nudged me with his elbow and gave me a *look*– one of those "I’m lookin’ at you, and ain’t *that* the truth" looks– and I scowled and hit him. And then couldn’t stop laughing. Yeah, I remember perfectly well now. Ass.

Doesn’t he sound like Paul Giamatti? Really? Just me?

I’ve been looking forward to today, to this Friday, to June 29, for *months*– and not because of no hyped-up jesus phone, OH NO– but because "Ratatouille" is out today!

Remember? Remember that scene in "Finding Nemo," when the dentist tells Darla that he has a present for her, and she positively lights up with that crazy psycho grin? That’s me. That’s me every time I see ads for or talk about "Ratatouille" [1]. I do Happy Stoll Dances and start bouncing up and down. I’m bouncing up and down just typing this, I’m JUST THAT EXCITED.

Except I probably won’t see it until later next week. So, boo.

[1] And every time Sean pings me. Man, I could do that all day long and never get tired of it.

Movies: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

What I liked about "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire":

  • Cedric Diggory was a total pretty boy. Pat on the back for this one, casting director!
  • Barty Crouch looked like Hitler with his little moustache, so that was pretty funny

What I didn’t like about "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire":

  • No Quidditch World Cup action
  • Harry’s ‘do was kind of douchey
  • Fleur had, like, what, two speaking lines in the whole movie?
  • Speaking of Fleur, everyone in the room agreed that she was hardly irresistably beautiful
  • The new Dumdbledore sucks. A lot. You’d think a guy who graduated from RADA and has been knighted and has this big ol’ long and impressive filmography would make the undertaking of this role a breeze, but he’s just all awkward and hostile and *wrong*, and somehow, he manages to sound American, which is really weird.
  • When did Hermione’s hair stop being bushy? They frizzed it out for the first movie.
  • Trelawney’s character was cut (no Emma Thompson!)
  • Moody looked… really young
  • All the stuff in the book that got cut out
  • All the stuff in the book that was kept but subsequently was fucked around with
  • All the stuff that was made up for no damned good reason

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