Sunday, April 08, 2007

Crash - A Movie Review

I finally saw Crash a couple of weeks ago. It's possible I was the only one who hadn't seen it yet. I completely agree with other critics that this was a very important, and dare I say? poignant, look at race relations in Los Angeles. Tempers run high, misunderstanding and violence run rampant, relationships are tested again and again. When finally the movie ended I felt drained and even a little despondent. Will we never get along? Will Los Angeles always be such a hotbed of churning emotions and violence? But more than that I want to know why people will INSIST on buying Lincoln Navigators when they're so clearly dangerous!

Yes, it's true, while this movie is making a very strong statement about racism (ie, it's bad) this movie is also about the danger and problems inherent in buying this larger-than-life SUV. I know, I've been there.

Ocasionally my job requires that I travel to exciting and exotic destinations. Two years ago I was sent to the wilds of New Brunswick to do a pharmaceutical speaker tour. I would fly into Fredericton, rent a car, and then we'd do a road show from Fredericton, to Saint John, and then end up in Moncton. I was to rent a mini-van.

I arrived, and having never rented a car before, was a little nervous. The kind gentleman (read=teenager) who was helping me informed me that I couldn't have the mini-van.

"What do you mean?" I asked haughtily, every inch the professional Torontonian business-woman. "I require a mini-van. We have lots of meeting materials, and three people and their belongings." Plus, and I couldn't have known this at the time, we would also have a very smelly, totally thrashed hitchiker to pick up outside of Saint John.

"The van's in the shop." He replied. "But don't worry, we are going to complimentarily upgrade you!"

He was so excited, and this did sound like a good thing. Upgrade means better, right? Plus, I'm a naturally acquiesing kind of a girl, so I wanted him to like me and be happy.

"Okay, what is it?"

"It's a Lincoln Navigator. Just give us a moment and we'll bring it out for you."

So I waited. Finally a scruffy man approached me and said, "Navigator?"

'Brevity is the soul of wit.'

"That's me! How will I recognize it? I've never driven in a Navigator"

"You can't miss it; parked outside at the meters. Haveaniceday."

I thanked him and hauled my many packages out into the parking lot. The greater Fredericton Airport is not large. I turned to the right and my jaw dropped in, what I imagine was, a comical fashion. There was only one vehicle parked at the meters. It was huge, I didn't even come up to the top of the tire. Large cars, or semis, intimidate me. I drove a very compact car, at that time (a Tercel) and I aspire to a SMART car. This was WAY beyond the scope of what I was used to. I thought about going back in and asking for something smaller, but I wasn't sure how much of an option that was. The van being in the shop, and all.

I opened the trunk and manoevred my heavy luggage inside, then I tried to get into the driver's seat, which involved a lot more climbing than I was used to. It was massive. There were so many buttons, I had no idea what did what. Another reason I decided to keep the damn thing was that there had been flooding in New Brunswick that sping, and I figured this thing could handle pretty much everything. Including moose, which had been crossing the highways a lot at that time. A Navigator could reduce a moose to terrine without revving past 1000.

I hated driving it. I felt so stupid. I couldn't figure out how to work anything. I got to a toll bridge and it took five minutes to figure out how to roll down the window. It beeped when you backed up and it approached something, it cost over $100.00 bucks to fill it up with gas. It was just so embarassing.

In Crash, the Navigator is a popular target for carjackers, and so obviously, between my experience and this movie, no one should own one of these monstrosities! Really, it's a public service sort of a thing.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Parenting 101:
First Lesson: Drug Your Children

We were sitting around talking about being tired, and talking about being sick and what worked when you were. Val and his friend were saying that if they worked several 12 hour days in a row and felt tired they would sit around watching TV and drinking Neo-Citran waiting to see who would fall asleep first.

This prompted Matthew to tell a story about this girl who was in med school and was sick and having trouble sleeping, but hadn't really heard of or tried Neo-Citran. Her classmates told her how great it was and how she should try it. It didn't taste bad, but kind of lemony, and as they described it to her she said, "Why, that sounds like Christmas lemonade!"

Her very astute parents gave her and her siblings "Christmas lemonade" in lieu of eggnog every Xmas eve and thus assured themselves a long restful night, with a sensible wake up time Xmas day. And you can bet no creatures were coughing or sniffling either!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

For Love of the Pole

A lot of craziness has been done in the name of bachelorette parties, and this was no exception. Steph is getting married on August 12th and I, and another co-worker, were invited to the bachelorette.

We were asked to arrive at 6:30 for some pre-drinking before our bus would take us downtown to some clubs. At 7:00 pm there was going to be "an activity." That turned out to be introductory pole dancing lessons. Just what any young suburban woman needs to learn before getting shit-faced and out clubbing.

Since I arrived late I waited and watched the other girls practice the routine while I drank wine and dreaded my own turn. It didn't look too difficult, and the girls seemed to be having a good time. I laughed when Natalie told me that she crawled headfirst into the couch during her turn. Then the instructor turned to me and said that rather than trying to teach me all of the last routine she'd get me to do a new one. I got the first part okay, but when it came time to "fling my left leg around the pole and then go down it like a fireman" (go down like a fireman. Really?) I fell a little short of the mark.

Actually, I pulled the detachable pole away from the ceiling and crashed spectacularly to the floor. The pole hit the large, new television, and my head hit the very solid subwoofer. I lay on the floor, quite stunned and deciding whether or not I needed to cry. All I could remember was that Eddie Murphy sketch where his Aunt Bunny kept falling down the stairs and his mother would say "Go get your Aunt Bunny a towel: she's fallen down the stairs again." The other girls at the party were staring at me and looking horrified. Probably also happy that they weren't clutzy old me.

"Get her some water!"
"Get her some ice!"

Sweet mother of pearl, get her her wine and let her slink off to the corner to be mortified. My God that was embarassing. A few drinks later, however, all was well and everyone was congratulating me for being such a good sport. Apparently I'd missed the safety demonstration where our instructor urged us to "go easy on the pole." Ding Dong!

Won't the boy be surprised when I do a sexy strip tease for him? He'll be even MORE surprised when I end the routine by rendering myself unconscious!

I learned something about myself that night. Something important about limits and about my place in the world. About what it means to be a stripper in this harsh and demanding world - the dedication, the artistry, the physical demands, the bruises and bits of skull and hair left behind at your friends' house. Yes, I learned something all right.

Sadly, because of the concussion, I can't remember what it is...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Veronica Mars was so good tonight, I really didn't want it to end. There are only four episodes left this season and I'm really starting to consider looking for spoilers to find out why whoever it was crashed the bus. It has to be Steve Gutenberg, though, it's always the famous person. It was last season with Lily Kane's killer.

That was a good rule of thumb for Law and Order too, always the famous guest star. Why else appear on the show if you can't be the criminal. It's more fun to be bad.

So, obviously I'm leading this full, rich life because of all the TV I'm watching and writing about. Perhaps it's time to play outside, or find real life people to interract with. Feel like you've been missing a lot since I haven't been writing? Not so much.

Since we've gotten movie channels I don't watch TV shows now, just movies, but this month it's been a real suckfest. Despite this, if I'm really trying to avoid doing something productive I will watch Ice Princess. I've now seen it more than once, though not from start to finish.

Because I'm following a new fitness rule, though, this TV gluttony should come down to a reasonable level. One article suggested that you get an hour of TV per half hour of exercise you do. It's only been two days, but I'm two for two.

Since last I wrote I've been doing any number of different diets. I've done Weight Watchers online, which always fell apart on the weekends. I've started the Curves Six Week Solution, which I lost interest in after week two, and most recently I've tried the South Beach Diet. It really is true about these fad diets, though, if you aren't into the food it's very difficult to keep on it. Of them all, and now I'm in a position to make this statement, Weight Watchers was the best because it lets you work with the food you want, as apposed to dictating what you should eat. There are meal suggestions, there are tons of recipes, but it's up to you as long as you fit into the Points allowance.

Anyway, last time I was weighed I'd lost three pounds, which is pretty good, but for the length of time I've been dieting it's actually pretty crappy. The problem is not being able to stick with any of these plans because of a lack of will power. I know that this is pathetic, and probably very telling, but it's really hard to give up alcohol. I don't want to, I LIKE beer, and ditto for wine. I don't want to be told that I can't or shouldn't have them. If I want to have drinks on Weight Watchers I pretty much have to give up eating anything that day, and no treats at all that week. Despite that, I'm thinking of doing it again and really sticking to it this time. I think I could do better this time.

What have all of you been up to? Anyone still visit to see if I'm writing? I sure hope so.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

At the Movies

I came home recently and my brother Matthew said, "Have you seen Wolf Creek?" To which I responded I hadn't, but was about to say that I thought it looked interesting and I was thinking of it when he said "because we just saw a review by Ebert and Roeper that says 'if anyone you know says they want to see it: don't know that person.'" Oh dear. Things haven't been tense in the house since I admitted I'd been considering this movie. Wanting isn't the same as doing, after all. Matthew did look at me askance when I said I thought the preview looked neat. But I mean, really, sometimes you need to see these movies and it doesn't make you a bad person.


Remember when Seven came out? I was in my first year of university and we all went as a group to see it. I was sitting next to a guy we called Grimsby and he was VERY excited to see this movie. I spent a certain amount of the movie with my face buried in his flanel covered arm while he poo-pooed me for being "such a girl." After watching that movie I vowed never to see another horror movie. I didn't see what the point was of making these movies. More than that, I couldn't understand what sort of person could plan and write this story, obtain funding, and then see the project through to completion. I would only watch critically aclaimed, well-respected, or at least benign fare.

That was until the Blair Witch Project.

I was so upset during the Blair Witch Project. It was all the things I was most scared of: being lost, in the woods, in the dark, being hunted....Glah. It still creeps me out just to think of it. I almost started to cry because I just wanted it to be over so I could stop being scared. Boyfriend of the time asked if I wanted to leave if I was so upset, but he just didn't understand. If I didn't watch the end of the movie it wouldn't be over and then the Blair Witch would know and come and eat me. I had to sleep with my light on for a week after that and vowed never to watch anything but Disney movies from then on.

And now Wolf Creek. Ebert's review is pretty scathing. He really hated this movie and shows little to no respect for anyone who would want to see it. I still don't know a lot about the movie, just that some people go backpacking in the Outback and bad things happen to them. Bummer.

I guess no one really needs to see a movie where a bunch of sexy teens are eviscerated by a vermin-shootin' maniac. My imagination likely draws a more graphic portrait of what happens to them anyway....Matthew please don't shun me!

Val used to work at a drug store in Mississauga and there was this one woman he worked with who said she took her kids to see Seven. Both kids were under ten. She said she really liked the movie, but that her kids "were scared shitless."

OMG! I just had an epiphany, we need to not support or watch these movies because of mouth-breathers like that woman who obviously don't have enough sense to keep their children from watching the "sloth sin." Hronk.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Has it happened to you? Chances are it has; you might have known it, but then again you might not have. A girl in my office just received a set of glasses as an engagement gift that she's sure was regifted. This spawned our whole conversation about the issue, and about what's allowed and what isn't.

She's sure that the girl who gave the glasses to her only did because she had received them earlier and didn't like them enough to keep them. "After all, she just got married. She's bound to have tons of stuff to get rid of." That's fair enough. Even when registering, you'll always end up with a certain amount of godawful crap that is so shameful you wouldn't even visit it upon the poor. My sister-in-law received no less than four garishly painted chip and dip platters. Also this weird tapestry-style blanket with two bears all dressed up, and it was personalized. Lucky for her, two of the platters are seasonal, so she doesn't have to worry about having too many - a platter for every occcasion. Yay!

I've regifted. For decency's sake I've tried to keep it to liquor, 'cause no one minds getting booze. When I was a student I think I might've batted an eye if someone gave me a screw-top bottle of wine, but by the end of the night I would have chugged it straight from the bottle even if it had had a rat and a syringe in it.

Recently I broke my own rule and regifted a picture frame at a wedding shower. Question. Does it still count as regifting if the item in question was never actually given to me as a gift? My father won it at some sort of curling event and they would never have used it, so my mother suggested I take it to an approaching bridal shower. I rationalized the decision by reminding myself that the bride had some similar looking picture frames in her house and that I was paying a crapload to fly to Nova Scotia for the wedding. Besides, who wouldn't want a series of frames attached together like a carousel? It screams class. Or maybe it screamed "cheap ass." It was sort of hard to hear above the noise of the hen party.

I suspect that my uncle and aunt were the victims of regifting when they received a very odd cake topper. First of all, who buys someone a cake topper? Aside from one's wedding, when are you likely to need a cake topper? Hands? That's right, never. It sits on their hutch looking like an odd bit of sculpture you can't quite wrap your mind around, until you go a little closer and realize it is in fact two crystal swans kissing; their bodies sculpted in such a way so as to make them heart-shaped. Aw, how craptacular. They keep it around as a conversation piece and you can frequently hear party guests asking each other where Terry and Dianne put the statue of those "two fucking swans." They aren't named that just 'cause they hate them, either.

The rules for re-gifting should be simple and as follows:

So there you have it. Feel free to add anything I might have missed, as this list is anything but exhaustive. Plus, I love reader mail.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Crisis Averted

Well, thanks to Doric, and some creative emailing, crisis averted.

You'll all be pleased to know that, true to form, I overreacted again.

Can anyone perhaps suggest some means by which I could keep myself from being a total sketchbag? Any advice in that corner would come in super handy.

Later skaters.

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