Thursday, December 29, 2005

What comes before Part-B? Part-A.

I’m off to DC tomorrow for a New year’s Eve celebration with my favorite affianced couple – Kate and Bart(les). We are going to Equinox for dinner – I’m pumped! Not so pumped for the drive down – you may recall that I have had bad times driving to DC in the past. So wish me luck!

Everyone – Happy New Year.

Dude, you got a Dell

My new computer has finally arrived! You would not believe the epic battle I engaged in with UPS to get my little mits on my computer, the bastards. It’s not set up yet, but I hope to have it running by next week. Seriously, the UPS debacle was like out of a commercial for poor customer service or something. Truly heinous.

Anyway, blogging should be more regular once I have that puppy all set up and I can blog from the comfort of my own home.

It reminds me of vacation

Last night I met up with Janet on the Isle of Manhatts for some dinner. Jan is down from Vermont – on vacation from teaching the kiddies. We had sushi at Taste of Tokyo on 13th Street – the yellow tail was fan-freakin’-tastic and the age tofu was also quite good.

Janet brought me some pictures from our journey to Vienna – hers were of course a great deal more artistic and interesting than my touristy shots, but that’s to be expected. Anyway, there’s a shot that Janet took of me looking perplexed while reading one of the travel guides. I know why I make that face – it’s because I’m reading something and I don’t agree with it. Janet said I make that face a lot. She wasn’t kidding – in her collection of photos, there are at least four of me sporting that expression.

She also gave me a copy of what is now my absolute favorite picture of myself. I generally hate hate hate pictures of me. But this one is in black and white, me sitting in a courtyard in Grinzing, listening to the accordion and violinist who were playing. I look so happy. And when I see that picture, I remember exactly how I felt at that moment – relaxed, peaceful, and light. Thanks for the photo, Jan.

After dinner, we went for a walk and Janet was drawn to the smell of a soap store called Sabon. Check out their stuff – I bought the coconut vanilla body butter and it’s pretty great. The smell of coconuts reminds me of vacation. Maybe not a Viennese vacation, but a vacation nonetheless.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Snack Attack

This is courtesy of Kate. We both saw The Chronicles of Narnia this week. I thought it was eh, but Kate loved it. I know, serious role reversal here.

But we both agree, this is effing hysterical. Check it out.

Figgy Pudding

Work has been ca-razy, kids. So, my apologies for the lack of postage. The AWESOME news is, though, that with the year end bonus I got from my job, I was finally able to buy a new computer, which should be arriving any day. That ought to make posting a heck of a lot easier. Hooray!

As many of you know, my family is not religious. That being said, we have always celebrated Christmas. This year will be no different, though I have to say that it's so much more fun now that we have munchkins in the family. Cooper is too little to really appreciate it, but Connor gets very excited about Santa.

Years ago, my love of the holiday seaon was restored by apartment-mate Jerusha's infectious enthusiasm for all things yule. As you may know, the second, (or is it third?) verse of We Wish You a Merry Christmas talks about eating "figgy pudding." Since I didn't know the rest of the words in the verse, I would just dance around the apartment singing "Figgy pudding figgy pudding figgy puuuuuddding, figgy figgy pudding" to the music. Ever patient Janet would finally sigh, "Meg, please. Sing something else."

Even Elana, my all-things-Jewish guru who would light the Hanukkah candles in our apartment, got seriously into the Christmas music. I recently saw Good Night, and Good Luck, and when someone quips that Murrow's buddy Fred Friendly is Jewish, Murrow retorts, "Well, don't tell Fred that. He loves Christmas." It reminded me of Elana.

This is all just a way of saying that, whatever holiday you celebrate, if any, I hope it's an especially happy one. It's been a big year in the world, and in my own little personal world. Not only will this be Cooper's first Christmas, but Anhabelle and her Dave welcomed a little baby boy - Ben - this month. He has a blog. Check it. It's not only his first Hanukkah and Christmas, it's his first month. Devon the Duchess of Devonshire, who may recall my ear-splitting "figgy pudding" refrains welcomed her son Noah this month too. P & E's little girl Rebecca will be celebrating her first Christmas. And it's Kate and Bart's last Christmas where they aren't married.

In other news, Philly is off to Belgium and Engulund this week. Poker buddy Rajeev finished his first semester of law school. Lauren and Janet are both home for a brief respite.

And as for me, I am off to my folks to drink coffee, read the paper, and do my mother's bidding.

I wish you all a wonderful weekend, and lots of hugs and kisses.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

She Loved You Rotten

I was very pleased today to see that one of my favorite movies this year, The Constant Gardener, was nominated for a Golden Globe for best picture. Also, the incandescent Rachel Weisz got a nod for supporting actress. Sadly, Ralph Fiennes, one of my all-time favorite actors, was snubbed. As usual.

The Times has a great piece today on Ralph, talking about why he is perpetually snubbed despite his gifts. As they say: "The essence of his acting is to play off the tension between his characters' restraint and his genuine movie star ability to hold the screen. That subtle balance may be great for a film but it is hardly an awards-winning gambit."

True, true. Ralph completely stole the show in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - and that was not an easy task. I can't think of any other actor in the world who could pull off Voldemort - the mythical personification of evil - without becoming a complete caricature or being weighed down by the makeup. I mean, Peter Jackson had it easy on that count in Lord of the Rings - Sauron never fully materializes and the Dark Riders don't require great acting.

As for The Constant Gardener, besides having a very important message about the pharmaceutical industry and super powers' treatment of impoverished Africa, it is also largely about Quayle's struggle against what he has always been - a person who follows the rules - and his need to be more like his deceased wife, to throw caution to the wind and learn the truth. And it's also about losing the truest of loves, and finding out more about them after they're gone, which is always bittersweet. We watch Quayle struggle with his fear that his wife was disappointed in him, his fears that she was unfaithful. But the film never beats you over the head with this. It's not an easy part to play and in certain scenes, Ralph shows more in one facial expression than most actors will convey in their entire lives.

So, Ralph, sorry you got snubbed, but I will continue to follow you to the movie theater.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Priori Incantatem

Anhabelle and I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (opening weekend, natch). And Anhabelle, proving once again that she is the Pregnant Wonder Woman, didn’t go to the bathroom once! She rules.

Enough time has elapsed since I saw it that I don’t want to give an entire review. But I do want to say that the final act was un-friggin’-believable. It completely captured the spirit of the book. I was enthralled and terrified, which is amazing considering that I knew how it ended.

The Harry Potter books hold a special place in my heart, as you may recall from all my blathering about the 6th book this past summer. There is something terribly special about seeing those books brought to life, particularly when they are done well. The final confrontation in the graveyard? Exactly as I imagined it. The Times remarked that Ralph Fiennes was born to play the role of Voldemort and they are so right. He was perfect.

It’s hard for me to know whether non-readers of the series would enjoy the movie, but if you are a reader of the series, you must see it. And in case you were wondering, yes, Cedric Diggory is very handsome, yes I feel more than a little dirty for thinking so, but at least he’s over 18.