Friday, December 28, 2007

So This Was Christmas

Night #1:
Late night arrival. See undercover brother for myself. Second take. You know how I always talk about my bad poker face? I actually feel sorry for the look he must have seen. I told him I wasn't a fan of his appearance, he responded he's supposed to look like a skeezy druggie. I congratulated him on his success.

As previously mentioned, several different family members fell ill right before I came into town, so there was that.

In addition, my mom was upset I didn't have an "ah-ha" moment at the sight of the new-old house, but I think that's to their credit, as they've done a lot of rehab work. I did keep repeating that the house of my memories seemed larger. I lived there from the ages of 2 to 9 with a six month break in the middle. I did offer to run down the street holding myself to pay tribute to the post school bus dropoff moments of my youth. (It took me a long time before I would use a public bathroom, so you can imagine the urgency after a 7 hour school day.)

Day #1:
Early morning grocery run. I kept repeating "7a your time is 5a my time. It's 5a my time!!" Then we cleaned the house and wrapped the last few presents in preps for the next 3 days of Christmas fun. was time for Alvin. Yes I saw it a second time. This time with two nephews and a niece (and their parents and mine).

A funny thing happened on the way in to the theater as I pointed out my car twin and announced it as so. Hunter's response (the first thing he said to me this visit): "That's a stupid car." Completely deadpan. Good to know he's dealing with the distance well.

So after the movie we had our family Christmas and we were all together and it was good. Every Christmas we read Luke 2 and as the next generation gets old enough to read it becomes their turn. This year was Haleigh's first time. She's 6 and was able to master some of the bigger words better than Matthew probably could. (JUST kidding. Maybe.) She got help from Ned and her mom when she hit a word that did confuse her.

Everybody but Melissa's fam stayed at the house that night. Josh and I did an alcohol-run (thank God for the convenience of the QT around the corner) and all was well.

Day #2
QT of a different kind. Quality time with gma. I baked two of KDL's pumpkin cakes as we dished about life and boys and everything I love to talk to her about. After the cakes, I had left over pumpkin and she was like, well, why don't you just whip up a pumpkin pie. Well maybe because I don't think like that. So two pumpkin cakes and a pie (all from scratch) later...she sent me on my way, but not before we sat down to bowls of chicken'n'dumplings. Then I went back to my parent's house for Christmas with my dad's fam. I hadn't seen them in way too long, so we had a great time catching up. We are sisters we are one!

Quote of the day: "MA, you've finally gained some weight, oh wait, that's your coat."

For the record, Melody and I did belly comparisons and, well, they aren't that different.

Day #3 - Christmas Eve
I forget what I did this day, but I feel like it involved running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Oh yeah, I had to exchange a few Christmas presents (apparently my mom too assumed I would come back to town a size larger). Anyway, I thought it would be easier the day before Christmas than the day after. Then, like clockwork, extended family members (this time from my mom's side) showed up at 4p (that was the designated time each day) for the festivities.

Ned also showed up with his Guitar Hero, which confirmed for me my lack of hand-eye coordination. Ryan reprised his role as Santa, which was humorous for everyone. Another great time had.

Day #4 - Christmas Day
Traditionally this is in-law day for my siblings, but as it worked out, nobody did that this year. My parents and I continued our Christmas Day movie tradition. This year it was Charlie Wilson's War, which I would recommend. We got Chinese food and visited with the next door neighbor I used to play He-Man and She-Ra with. Then we went and checked out Hunter's loot. I was glad to see that one of his favorite gifts was a Viewmaster. Haleigh got an Etch a Sketch. I'm a fan of reviving old toys.

I spent my last night in town with my grandma. We watched Cocoon (I got her Cocoon and Cocoon Returns for Christmas). Then we talked late into the night and slept late into the morning. (So late for her that I at one point started freaking out and checked to make sure she was still breathing, but all was well, she was just super tired.) I took her errand running before heading back to my parents to get a ride to the airport.

So there it is, the busiest quickest trip home ever.
I came back to town in time for a shake-up at work and a long weekend of solitude. I saw There Will Be Blood Today. I've been a DDL fan since Last of the Mohicans (even if he did scare me when I interviewed him at the junket for The Ballad of Jack and Rose). He didn't let me down in the movie, which also boasts a great performance from Paul Dano, who I met at Sundance 07.

I leave for Sundance 08 in 2.5 weeks. Craziness.

Oh, and Happy New Year. My 2008 ToDo List is just around the corner. Get ready.

Friday, December 21, 2007

...And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

In less than two hours my shuttle will be here to pick me up so that I can participate in the holiday madness airport extravaganza that is LAX today. I can hardly wait. Unfortunately I've just received word that several family members are falling - or have fallen - ill from a nasty virus. Being that the next four days are exclusively one family event after another, I'm a wee bummed. I'm praying everyone's miraculously better in a matter of hours.

This week I saw Sweeney Todd. And liked it. I'm not a gorey girl, and I had never seen the stage version, but I'm pretty sure the visuals (which were stunning) could only come from the mind of Tim Burton. I used my scarf (actually Presley's scarf) to cover the bottom half of the screen during the throat slits, and did surprisingly well. I've listened to the soundtrack since, and enjoy it still. Helena Bonham Carter impressed me, and well, I'm not a crazy Johnny Depp fan, but I liked him in this like I liked Edward Scissorhands. Apparently Johnny likes to wear white face and cut people's hair and throats and stuff. Best Picture? I don't think so. I don't think it's that type of movie, but definitely enjoyable. Not suitable for children.

I helped my friends out yesterday on their basement remodel for the HGTV show Carter Can. Unfortunately none of my work was done on camera. I helped paint an entire stairway and primed some columns. I also learned what "tv nice" was. That's where you paint something to make it look good on camera, and it looks really crappy in real life. At one point I offered to paint Carter's house. He declined, but offered his domicile up for partying. We told him about the whole "tv nice" concept and he was like yeah, but is it "friend nice?" We made it friend nice.

Sometimes nice people write blogs about me.

Other times I get a set of vintage tv trays and Kitchenaid mixer greeting cards from the best friends ever. (with the obligatory Paris and gnome accroutement mixed in).

And SOMETIMES acapella boy singers twist Christmas carols in way that makes you say, why haven't people always sang it like this?

Finally, a fun holiday moment had by someone else in my neighborhood.

Merry Christmas. Joyeaux Noel. Happy Birthday Baby Jesus. Happy Belated Hanukkah. Happy Kwanzaa. Boxing Day Rocks.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tis the Season

I returned to my desk this morning to find a wrapped red gift tied with a bow sitting on my keyboard.

On the front of the card, a melted snowman with a picket sign that reads "Stop Global Warming" (an inside joke because our boss keeps trying to convince us that Al Gore is wrong and global warming doesn't exist). Inside, I find the personalized greeting "Merry Christmas to a great office mate! Ben"

I've referred frequently to Ben in previous blogs, and we've definitely got a friendly repertoire, but I was not prepared for the greatness I would find in that little red box.

photo by: NDG

Seriously. I ran around the office like it was 1983 and I was a 5 year old showing off my first Cabbage Patch Kid. The thought and effort that he put into it is so appreciated. I also like that he knows I'll hang it up in here (all year-round) and he's fine with it. I let him hang up his big movie posters everywhere and I get my corner to put whatever fun things on display. It works for us.

So in closing, thanks Officemate Ben. It was unexpected and put a huge smile on a face and skip in my step, and I think that's what this whole holiday gifting thing should be all about.

Of course, now I have to figure out what to get him...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In anything you can do, I can do sluttier and more white trash news...

Jamie Lynn Spears - 16 yo sister of Britney - is, as some blogs would call it, sperminated.

It's ok, y'all, because apparently her boyfriend has been living with them for a while now. Because that's reassuring.

I know I have advocated both Juno and Knocked Up, two films about unplanned pregnancy. I know that sometimes these things happen. They've happened to people I know. I just hoped that J-L would have looked at the unfortunate trainwreck that has become her older sister, and taken strides toward a better life.

We can always hope that she is, at 16, more responsible than Brit.

The most funny thing that happened as we were discussing this at work just now, was that I was all "Everyone is going to have a baby before me!" And while some were like "set your sights of comparison higher than Jamie-Lynn Spears," Jon had more insight. "If Lynn Spears was your mom you'd have like 5 kids by now." Ok, so he didn't know Lynn's name and instead referred to her as a "bad whitetrash mom" same difference...

So, in closing, Congratulations Jamie Lynn!

Oh, ps, I do think you'll probably have to find a new job. Teenage pregnancy on Nickelodeon? You can't do that on television.

This just in from TMZ...Britney doesn't know yet and Nickelodeon has issued a statement.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Twinkle Twinkle

I like stars - celebrity AND celestial.
These recent references to the latter make me smile.

From "Pushing Daisies":

"He wasn't just a star in her life. He was a pocketful of stars." (in reference to Chuck's relationship with her dad)

From "Persepolis":

"Etoile de ma vie." (translated: "Star of my life.") That's what Marjane's uncle said she was to him.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

As Good As It Gets

Today I shook Jack Nicholson's hand. Just another day on the job. He also told me Merry Christmas (whilst ignoring my questions). Then he grumbled and faked his way down the rest of the carpet.

I also talked to Morgan Freeman and had a moment - several actually - with Rob Reiner. THE Rob Reiner. The "When Harry Met Sally," "The Sure Thing," "A Few Good Men" and "Sleepless in Seattle" Rob Reiner. I was there when his BFF since high school Al Brooks walked up. I suggested the two of them do a movie together. Rob loved the idea. I hope he gives me a story credit.

More fun came when Sean Hayes of "Just Jack" fame answered my red carpet call despite being rushed into the theater. His publicist was all "one question" and Sean looked at me and said "the pressure's on" with a smile. He stayed for three questions.

For the record, I also talked to John Mayer and got caught pointing at Billy Billy Crystal.

I haven't written in a bit and missed mentioning the Golden Globes nominations.

Things I liked:
all the props to Pushing Daisies
the Juno nods
Ryan Gosling recognized

I'm sure there were other things. Like I think Knocked Up/Judd Apatow coulda shoulda been up for something. That's what comedy categories are for, old white men of the Foreign Press Association.

I was obviously very upset about the gross infraction that was leaving Once off the entire board. Nominating "Walk Hard" as an original song only put salt in the wound.

As kharma would have it, I was sent that morning (this past Thursday) to get reax from John C Reilly. I waited an hour and a half at the Four Seasons for him to wake up. Finally we were pulled off the assignment. I guess he really needed to sleep in or something. On the upside, I did get to see the Four Seasons decked out for the holidays, which is always lovely. As is the sight of James McAvoy's publicist. Yum. And British. I saw James too, and he's nice, but I'm not really attracted to him. Yes, even despite the wedding ring. Shocker I know.

I watched "It's a Wonderful Life" Thursday night. Mostly because it wasn't. I heart Jimmy Stewart. I also realized I'm my daddy's Zuzu.

"What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary."

I'll take it. Thanks George Bailey.

It should be noted I've consumed a good portion of a bag of reduced fat cheese puffs from Trader Joes over the last hour or so. I don't think it's reduced fat if you eat the whole bag.

Friday night I saw "27 dresses." It's the new Katherine Heigl movie and it's SO bad. I'm fairly certain that as an almost-30 single girl who dreams about wedding bells and babies (let's get serious, it's the truth) I am the target demographic for this film. So if I don't like it, that's saying something. Katherine Heigl and Malin Akerman weren't likeable at all. I liked James Marsden. Mostly because I'm still on an Enchanted buzz. Ed Burns is also pretty to look at. Especially in a tux. And I'm always a fan of Judy Greer. But it says something that the highlight of the movie for me was hearing an amazing song playing in the background.

It happens quite frequently when I'm watching a movie or tv show (or commercial!) that I'll hear a lyric or a part of a song and fall in love and have to google it immediately. When the movie was over, the first thing I said after "ugh" was "but I loved that one song!!" Now I've been told frequently that I have no poker face. My facial expressions hold the truth. Well Emily was sitting behind me at the movie and she said that when the song came on. She knew I liked it, because my face lit up and she knows me well enough to know that I would like a song like Ray Lamontagne's Be Here Now. (It took me the two days since seeing the movie to remember enough of the lyrics to successfully find it on Google.)

In closing, thumbs down for 27 Dresses, thumbs up for Ray Lamontagne.

I also saw Alvin!!! and the Chipmunks. Don't laugh. It sold out all weekend because I wasn't the only one who wanted to see it. Singing chipmunks are funny. I couldn't stop laughing at the opening scene. It's amazing. The rest of the movie is ok. Definitely has it's funny parts. Also of note is the mint green Kitchenaid mixer in the kitchen. After the movie ended, a boy who looked to be 2 or 3 took to the floor in front of the screen and danced during the credits. He was doing these hip circle hula moves that had people sitting back down in their seats for the show. Super cute.

Finally, Hairspray. I watched it. I liked it. I think it was original enough in parts to not make me hate it for trying to copy the Ricki Lake version. I didn't enjoy John Travolta as a woman, but I got past it.

I'm going to see Sweeney Todd this week. I'm a little nervous it will be too gorey for me, but I gotta try. I'm also going to help my friends remodel their basement on the HGTV show Carter Can with Carter Oosterhouse. I hear he likes hi-5s. Yes please.

And then I'll be heading home for Christmas. 4 Christmases to be exact. I get in late Friday and it's Christmas every day until I leave. They're under a new blanket of snow, so it will be a residual white Christmas barring any Indian Summer temps.

No clue for NYE. Contemplating Austin or Portland. Wishing London prices could be more manageable.

I can't believe there's only a couple of weeks left of 2007. Two weeks before I have to start using an earpiece for my phone in the car. Two weeks before I have to start marathon training and eating better. Two weeks before I have to save up to make a big purchase lest suffer another year of giving more than a third - almost a half - of my gross earnings to the government. (If I knew fractions better I could give you a more precise estimation, but my government-funded education has not stuck with me.) Grrr. Government.

And on that note, I'll retire to bed to continue reading my book about Bobby Kennedy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Never Trust a Fart

That's what I learned from Jack Nicholson in "The Bucket List." The line made me laugh so hard that I missed the next thing he said. I'll admit I enjoyed the movie. It made me laugh AND cry, which I like. It did, however, have the worst fake backdrops I've seen since some really old movie with really bad backdrops. Dear Rob Reiner, you have no excuse. I will, however, recommend your movie to my parents.

Dear Dunbar, Julie already knows you cheated on her. When will boys learn?

Today's set visit went well. I heart Louis Gossett Jr. (Just so you know, he obliged my Officer and a Gentleman quote request.) They took some production photos of us on the set, so I'll hopefully have those soon. I like being on the set. I like seeing the finished product and knowing that I was standing in the hall.

In other news, it's the coldest its been this year in LA right now and of course my heater picks RIGHT NOW to stop working. Fun. Worst thing about relying on a stuffed alligator and a stuffed elephant to keep you company in bed? They don't really emit any warmth. Wunh wunh.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I do think this could affect tea.

I watched "Shut Up and Sing" again today. Mostly because I love it.

It's going to be in the 20s and 30s in the LA area tonight. I realize a large part of the country - including the part where I'm from - is iced over, but for us, this is chilly. Which makes the fact that Target already has a healthy swimsuit selection on display all the more weird. Yet another one of those "only in LA" kind of things. I guess more odd is the fact that I looked at them, picked one out, but have to buy it online because they're already out of my size at the store. I need sweaters for Sundance, and while they're easier to try on, they're not as fun to look at.

I saw Persepolis tonight. Mostly because everybody is loving it and it's proving to be competition in the Foreign Film category for Once. It's an animated French movie about an Iranian girl growing up in war-torn Tehran. It's like nothing I've ever seen before. Thumbs up for the story and the art. It did feel long despite it's hour and a half length, but it's good. Better than Once? I dunno about that. They're two completely different movies.

I'll briefly mention the fact that I'm excited(?) "The Hills" is in Paris now. You know, just because I love seeing that city. I know I'll wish I had smell-o-vision capabilities the first time she walks by a crepe stand. I wonder if a Nutella crepe is still 3E.

Because I'm all about movies 24-7, I've also seen Run Fat Boy Run this week. Here are the quotes I gave publicity:

"Run, don’t walk, to see this heartfelt tale of endurance, love, and enough laughs to carry you past the finish line."

"Never have blood sweat and tears been so funny."

I'm cheesy and you love it, but seriously, that's how you get your name and one-liner on an advertisement!! I did think the movie was cute and there are several lol moments. Unfortunately the release date has been pushed to the end of March, so I'll try to remind you about it then.

Today is the last day of Hanukkah. I'll miss seeing the cars and SUVs adorned with huge menorrahs traversing my neighborhood streets.

In the words of Petey Green "Be cool y'all!" (Is it just me or does that kinda sound like Britney?) Anyway Petey is the DC dj that the movie "Talk to Me" is based on. I liked the movie. I got ripple-effect chills when Don Cheadle went on air after MLK jr was assassinated. "Moving."

PS "Zodiac" is also a worthy rental.

PPS Tomorrow I'm spending the day with Louis Gossett jr. My goals are to get him to say "mayonnaise" and "only 2 things come outta Oklahoma...and I don't see no horns!" I think the second one will be harder to come by seeing as how the first one could easily happen at lunch or something. I'm also seeing "The Bucket List" so that I can talk to Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman on Sunday. My life is weird.

PPPS If you haven't yet, look what I can do.

That's enough.

Calling all Josephs...

Let's cross the pond for the holidays.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dear Santa,

For Christmas I would like a gift card to the Husband Store. Thank you.


The Husband Store

A store that sells husbands has just opened where a woman may go to choose a husband from among many men.

The store is composed of 6 floors, and the men increase in positive attributes as the shopper ascends the flights. There is, however, a catch. As you open the door to any floor you may choose a man from that floor, but if you go up a floor, you cannot go back down except to exit the building.

So a woman goes to the shopping center to find a husband.

On the first floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men have jobs. The woman reads the sign and says to herself, "Well, that's better than my last boyfriend, but I wonder what's further up?" So up she goes.

The second floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men have jobs and love kids. The woman remarks to herself, "That's great, but I wonder what's further up?" And up she goes again.

The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men have jobs, love kids and are extremely good looking. "Hmm, better" she says. "But I wonder what's upstairs?"

The fourth floor sign reads: Floor 4 - These men have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking and help with the housework. "Wow!" exclaims the woman, "very tempting. BUT, there must be more further up!" And again she heads up another flight.

The fifth floor sign reads: Floor 5 - These men have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework and have a strong romantic streak. "Oh, mercy me! But just think... what must be awaiting me further on?" So up to the sixth floor she goes.

The sixth floor sign reads: Floor 6 - You a re visitor 3,456,789,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at The Husband Store and have a nice day.


Dear Santa Pt. 2,

If I am happy about the second floor selection, that means that I'm not that picky and should be handsomely rewarded, right? I thought so. You're the best.



In closing, I love "The Amazing Race." A lot. My favorite team this season is TK and Rachel. I really wanna be on this show. Zip lines over the water in Croatia?? Yes please.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Those Are Rich People Problems

Setting: my apartment, less than an hour before I need to be out of the house dressed for my work holiday party

Me: There's a nasty black sludge in my kitchen sink. I'm half expecting to find a duck in there, you know, like in an oil spill? I wish I played with my hair more so I would be able to do more with it tonight. And I have no idea what shoes to wear. Should I even wear the snowflake dress? I'm gonna freeze.
Other End of the Phone: Those are rich people problems.

Fast forward to this morning, when the plumber showed up bright and early at 8a. I had a shoot tonight, so I had planned to sleep off my holiday party before heading into work, but nooooo. So I answer the door in all my morning glory and grumble to the plumber that the problem's in the kitchen before stumbling back to bed. Moments later I'm laying in bed when I hear the plumber gagging.

You know things are bad when the plumber is wretching. DEE-lightful.

I interviewed the Godfather of filmmaking himself Francis Ford Coppola tonight. I wasn't that impressed.

Nothing much else going on this week.

I'm so no longer into Grey's that it's not even funny. I half watch it, waiting for something that will redeem the show. It used to be I couldn't make it through an episode without tearing up. This week I was like, "Wait! That nurse that McDreamy just kissed is Elliot's suicidal ALS patient on Scrubs!"

In two weeks I'll fly back to StL for four days of highly scheduled family holiday fun. I haven't been back in more than 10 months, which I'm pretty sure is a record for me. I can't imagine how much the kids have grown.

Oh I forgot to mention the most funny part about my work holiday party!! It was held at this swank downtown lounge and they casted photogs and reporters to stage a red carpet at the entrance. I was sober and way too caught off guard to make the best of it. I walked with Egle and NDG. These people knew our names and random facts about us. It was hilarious. We haven't seen the pix yet, but I'm sure I'm either laughing or running away. Meanwhile Egle was posing and eating it up which was just making me laugh harder. Somebody yelled out to me "Where'd you go to high school?!" An obvious homage to my StL roots. One of our VPs is also from the 314, so we've had the convo. Yeah so I didn't even stop to pose. If I could have prepared more, I would have done better. I would have also told them they should yell "Over your shoulder! Over your shoulder!" because that's the number one thing the photogs yell out. It was a cute idea tho. I'll do better next time.

Monday, December 3, 2007

6 months from today...

I will be 20-10. 29 again. 3 decades old.

And, boy, did the stars align in honor of my 1/2 bday.

Things I like:

1. The movie "Once"
2. when celebrities act like they're my friends
3. small intimate music shows

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (Swell Season/the guy and girl from "Once") came in for an interview. I knew I would have at the most 30 minutes with them. My plan was to get a few questions in and then have them play me music for the rest of the time.

Marketa recognized me from the Four Seasons interview we did when the movie came out earlier this year - and said so. And Glen was all "Hey! Good to see you again!" And then we chatted and then we did the interview, and I was so excited because Marketa talked A LOT. We had been talking before the interview so I think she just kinda warmed up. After the interview I said something about how much more she talks now than she used to, and Glen was like, I don't think she's talked that much the whole year! So anyway, then it was performance time, and he asked me what I wanted to hear. (I had a serious list.) We were hitting crunch time, tho, so I chose "Falling Slowly" as I'm sure it will be the one nominated for an Oscar. They played it and it was AMAZING. When it was over, he was like, what do you want to hear now? And I was like, "EVERYTHING!" And then the bookers were like, um, you have to go talk to Leonard Maltin now, and he was like, we do?!

So I walked and talked with them over to the studio and hung out some more. For the record, I got a better interview...and Leonard didn't have them play for him. (The horror!!)

So then we talked some more. They looked legitimately sad that I couldn't go the screening and Q and A that they were having tonight. I told them I had to see "The Kite Runner" because I'm covering the premiere tomorrow night. Then they asked me what that meant. They're so cute and unaffected by all of this.

They fly to Dublin tomorrow for the holidays, but I'll most probably get to see them again in the new year at awards time. (They were all, "Do we come back for that?") I mean SERIOUSLY...SO cute. I love them. It was all I could do not to hug them. I did something I have never done in my days as an entertainment reporter...I got their autographs. I am really fairly certain that when I see them next and ask them to play at my birthday that they will say yes.

Switching gears..."The Kite Runner." Thumbs up. I read the book years ago when it came out. As much as I recollect, it followed the basic plot of the book, so I wasn't disappointed. In addition, star Khalid Abdalla is really attractive, and I'm now looking forward to the premiere, despite what I've heard about the rumored pending drama and controversy with CNN and Paramount.

In "and then there were seven" news...I'm going to be an aunt again. My sibs are a fertile bunch.

Speaking of villages, did anyone see The Amazing Race this week? They went to a small GNOME village in Lithuania. Um, YES PLEASE! The challenge was to hunt for a Travelocity gnome in a area full of a whole bunch of different gnomes. I was freaking out. Had I been on that challenge I would have had to nab a gnome to carry around the rest of the journey. I guess now I gotta add Lithuania to the list of places to go.

If you've read this far, you might care that I'm in the front row of the audience in tomorrow night's (that's Tuesday) Beauty and the Geek finale on the CW.