Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sliding scale of importance

Last night while Patrick and I were sitting in the Cerritos Center for Performing Arts, waiting for the concert to begin (you can read all about our experience at the concert here), we had a little bit of a discussion that was kind of illuminating to us both.

I was telling him about all the things that I can't stop thinking about in regards to this little baby I've been growing, all the anxiety that seems to come on me every once in awhile all at once. I said, "We are going to be responsible for this little baby! We have to make sure he gets into college, that he gets good grades, that he's responsible, that he's polite, that he learns to drive, that he's smart, and interesting, that he has clean clothes and a clean, comfortable place to sleep, that we keep him clean, that he has food, that he has lunch."

And it was this last item that seemed the most poignant to me, the one most easily visualized. I don't know how to explain it - we sat there in the auditorium and kind of laughed at how crazy it is to try to enumerate all the millions of things we're going to have to do that we've never done before for the rest of our lives. Even though people do it all the time (thank God!) it's so overwhelming sometimes. And maybe I got a little crazy gleam in my eye that made me look like I was about to cry, or crack up. This feeling reminds me of that old Anne Lamott story about her brother who had to write a story about birds and felt overwhelmed by the sheer incredible volume of all the different types of birds, and their dad told him to just get started and go "bird by bird." He may have said, "bird by bird, buddy," but I'm pretty sure I'm imagining Anne's dad as a member of the Glass family, and that would be inaccurate.

You all (by "you all" I am referring of course to the 5 people who regularly read this blog) have assured me that we can do this, and that Patrick and I will figure it out and I'm sure we will, I just have to get a better handle on thinking about it, because I mean, yeah, we will figure it out because we have to: the alternative is unthinkable! I have approximately 18 weeks in which to do so.

On the other hand, it's probably all just related to having what someone referred to as "pregnancy brain." Could be. I currently cannot remember the name of that place that makes the cute little arrangements of fruit that you can have delivered and I've been trying to remember it all day.

In the meantime, flute choir for me tonight, and I am very much looking forward to it. I hope the little one enjoys the music: I wonder what it will sound like to him?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

From the list of "questions I never thought I'd ask myself"

"I wonder if I have the song "Home by the Sea" by Genesis on my iPod?"

The answer is "No." I only own Abacab. Looking at the track listing for the "Genesis" album, I can see why: those are some seriously hardcore soft rock songs. "Taking It All Too Hard" would be nice background music for, oh, I don't know, slowly bleeding to death.

Still. The fact that I wondered bothered me. On the other hand, what a fun song. Oh, I'm confused today.

Also, disturbingly, I have developed a fascination with Bruce Springsteen, a musician I used to hate. I used to mock my friends for liking him (Pauly, I'm lookin' at you). But I think I mentioned somewhere (here? Facebook?) that the song "Growin' Up" was used on the soundtrack for a pretty good, only moderately sappy Lifetime movie starring Elisabeth Shue and (dreamy) Dermot Mulroney called "Gracie," and when I heard it, a light in my brain went on. A friggin' LIGHT in my BRAIN. I saw the light, people, and the fact of the matter is, Bruce isn't so bad. So, Pauly, who you should know almost always forgives and forgets, agreed to burn me a CD.

"Born to Run" is excellent.

Yes, I realize I'm late for this train, but whatever. Aside from real admiration for Max Weinberg, Patrick remains staunchly not a fan of Bruce Springsteen and he was not pleased with this news (he got in my car the other day, and the radio was on. The song playing was some piece of crap by, I think, Blink 182, and he asked "Oh, so you're listening to Bruce still, huh"), but as he doesn't like lots of the music I like (and vice versa!) I'm not too worried about it. Still, if it becomes an issue, I can always blame the baby.

Hormones, you know.

(Happy birthday Bruce! You don't look a day over 45!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Live blogging the DWTS results show?

7:57 p.m. No idea if this will be a success but I thought I'd give live blogging a shot. This idea will be complicated by the fact that I'm making dinner (rice and some kind of yummy Indian dish that comes in a little bag that I just have to microwave. I know it doesn't sound appetizing but it really is). My rice is simmering now, it has about 13 more minutes to go. I only hope the commercials and my dinner are well-matched.

7:58 p.m. Man am I hungry.

8:00 p.m. Jesus that theme song is cheesy. But Jennifer Grey sure lucked out with her partner, didn't she. Check it out, it's that dude who hosts this show. He's telling us what to expect. Wait, is this a two hour show again? What?

I'm not impressed with Audrina Patridge. For one thing, who the hell is she? And why is she dancing again? I thought this was the results show? I"m confused. Is it that she can't do a full split or does she want it to look like? I remember from last night it looked the same way. I do like her yellow outfit but not her wacked out hairdo.

Oh, okay, I'm stupid. I get it now. They're showing last night's show again? Oh, highlights. OK, then.

Hey, that means I get to eat.

See you in a bit.

8:58 p.m. Hey, you know what? I ate my dinner, which was delicioius, went away and watched a "Chopped" rerun, fooled around on Facebook for awhile, and now I could care less about live blogging. That's the way things go, sometimes. Right now I'd rather go have a cookie for dessert, and relax.

Enjoy the results show. I voted for Margaret Cho and Jennifer Grey.

She thinks she missed the train to Mars, she's watching Dancing with the Stars*

Last year I started watching "Dancing with the Stars" because my mother likes it and it's one of the few television shows she likes that I can stomach (I will never, ever, ever, watch "Big Brother"). I also like, sometimes, "The Biggest Loser." It's good for us to watch the same shows, because she likes to talk about what she watches, and I die a little every time she wants to talk about "Big Brother" or (shudder) "Big Brother After Dark."

Anyway, that's my official reason for watching this silly 21st century version of Battle of the Network Stars in feathers and heels, and I'm sticking with it. And it's turned out that the show is pretty fun and entertaining, and there, I'm not defending myself anymore, I just like watching it.

Last night's season opener was two hours long, and after ten hours of work, a 45 minute commute home, and a trip to the grocery store with Patrick, the perfect thing to end up watching on the couch with my feet up. I was really excited to see Jennifer Grey after all these years, especially because I understand that she's 50 years old now. She does not look 50. She looks gorgeous and like a "movie star," as the DWTS people kept referring to her. She danced beautifully and I think even Patrick (who was pretending to be checking out eBay and Craigslist drum and music equipment ads) got a little teary-eyed when she talked about Patrick Swayze.

I've read a few reviews this morning of the show in the LA Times, Dallas Morning News, and Washington Post, and I have to say, I think those reviewers are all pretty jaded and kind of mean: none of them liked Margaret Cho's totally entertaining and fun (and funny) take on the Viennese Waltz, which I think is kind of sad. She really put her own personality on the dance floor and demonstrated enough dance ability that you know in the future weeks she'll do very well. Instead the judges and the reviewers dinged her for having a sense of humor, something they might want to look into. Exclamations about Audrina Patridge (I've always thought her last name was "Patridge;" I have no idea why I should know who she is) being a "show pony" do not demonstrate possession of a sense of humor. Double entendres about the song Bristol "Teen Advocate" Palin danced to do not demonstrate possession of a sense of humor. This is not a serious dance competition, and it's the people who take it so seriously (Nicole Scherzinger and, it looks like, Brandy) who bore and annoy me. Yes, I think the celebrities should be able to dance - they get enough training that showing some ability shouldn't be too difficult and those who can't cut it should be sent home. But these are not dancers, and to expect perfection or 100% adherence to some sort of dance school technique is silly.

I voted for Bolton.
According to a poll on the Washington Post website, 61% of the people who voted think Margaret Cho should go home. Really? Before stiff and dull Michael Bolton? Stiff and crazy David Hasselhoff? Stiff and clueless Bristol Palin?

I refuse to comment on that dude "The Situation."

*On purpose mis-quote of the lyrics to the song "Stars" by 90s "space rock" (?) band Hum from their album "You'd Prefer an Astronaut."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If I ruled the world?

On my way to work this morning, when a big ol' truck tried, for some unknown reason, to keep me from merging from the 105 onto the 710, I remembered something I had read a long time ago about a proposed route dedicated to trucks, intended to clear the road for non-commercial drivers. I don't know what kind of reality that is, but I also was thinking about how it could also be a good idea to have a time period during which they were banned (6 a.m. to 9 a.m.; 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.) from the highways. I'm sure this would anger the dudes who drive the trucks. I don't know, I'm not smart enough or rich enough to study this (and I'm sure it's been done or thought of) for the economical or community impact but it seems like a good idea to me. I know California has zero money to do anything and I'm really not thinking much further beyond my own selfish inclination to wish for a better personal commute, but... damn I hate those trucks.

It's also true that my brain this morning was a little bit scrambled because I was out very late last night at rehearsal for "Paradise Park," the next show at City Garage (opens this Friday!). They had their photo session and that always runs late and then of course we ran the whole show as we've been doing and there were some issues that required us to stop, so by the time we hit the very complicated but fun (and funny) curtain call around 11:15, my thought processes had slowed down to the point where I was surprised I could even do what I needed to do. I think I was screwing up light cue 102.2 when Charles, who was talking me via the little headphones we wear, may have called me "baby."

I didn't take it personally or even react to it at the time but later, it made me laugh.

It's funny, because he watches the show out in the house with Frederique, and the view from out there is so radically different (to my eyes) that sometimes I wonder just what the hell I'm supposed to be looking at. I mean, they have a full view of the action, and not only that, but they have their own vision of what's supposed to be on stage and I've only seen the show like 5 times by this point. And my brain doesn't always grasp the big picture quickly enough. It's what makes the night when Charles takes over the booth and I get to sit in the audience and watch the show like a normal person so magical. For instance, I really have no idea what's going on over there on stage right because I literally have to stand next to the wall and crane my head to see it. Still, I'm having fun and he's, I think, happy with what I'm doing and understands that sometimes it gets complicated and sometimes I get flustered, but most of the time I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing when I'm supposed to be doing it. What happens a lot is, if I make a mistake and he's talking to me about adjusting the last cue but the action on stage is continuing, and our conversation makes me late for the next light cue, and then trying to notate what he just told me while following what's still going on makes me wonder if I don't have some form of ADD. I mean, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to follow... two things at once. And then instead of being relaxed I get a little tense and paranoid about screwing up? I know I can do it, it's not the issue, and he's being nice, but I wonder about me sometimes. Still, I'm excited about this show. I think it's going to be really good. And I have one more tech rehearsal before opening night.

I could write more about that but I just walked in the door 10 minutes ago and I'm dead tired and I have a package to open from Gap Maternity so I'm going to leave it here.

I know I haven't blogged much lately but besides being in rehearsal for the past week and being pregnant there's really not much going on. The baby continues to grow. My co-workers have all noticed (except for one sweet woman who claimed I didn't look fat to her and had to be told) and figured it out. My mom is getting very excited. We checked out a daycare we hope to be able to send the baby to once I go back to work. We're narrowing down the names.And now? Now I'm going to bed. See you later.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Not your mother's YA fiction

So it's true that when, more than 10 years ago, I read my first Harry Potter book (expecting to hate it because everyone loved it; in my late 20s I was a bit of a smartass), and subsequently all the rest of the books in the series, those stories, though a little simple at times and certainly not the most well-written books for teens I've ever read, I found myself a little emotionally involved, I was hardly surprised. I mean, Harry is a very, very likable character, and J.K. Rowling can certainly manipulate emotions with the best of them.

(Speaking of not very well written, please see the above paragraph.)

But still, I didn't think the actual writing was all that great (though I am saying that Rowling possessed the ability to make me cry), even if the stories were compelling and the characters a lot of fun.

This is all to say that this weekend I finished reading "Mockingjay," another book for kids and/or teens (so-called "young adults"), the latest Suzanne Collins novel. Many of her characters are not "a lot of fun." There is very little fun, which is probably appropriate to the story, but I read it more with an increasing feeling of dread than with any kind of real pleasure. I don't need fun to enjoy a book, but let me be clear: I did not enjoy this book. At some point pretty early on, I only wanted to see how she ended it. I read the other two novels in the trilogy and loved them, all the while wondering if they were appropriate for my 12-year old niece. When I finished the third one, the only thought in my head was "Hell no is this appropriate for my niece."

Now, I'm sure other 12 year olds will read the books and be fine, but for me personally, someone well beyond the "young adult" appellation, this book was a nightmare.

It made me think of the Robert Cormier novels I read in junior high (or maybe even late in elementary school), which were psychological and murky and great. In contrast, the Mockingjay novel had so much blood, gore, violence, betrayal and "insanity" (I guess, Collins' lame sort of PTSD) and plotting and scheming untrustworthy adults that I'm pretty sure I would seriously dissuade anyone under the age of 19 from reading it without parental guidance first. (Suzanne Collins will be glad to know I no longer work in bookstores.)

I also was disappointed in the way Katniss's relationships with Peeta and Gale were handled - she built it up to be such a wonderful love story, a tangled up situation that felt very real (and, I guess I shouldn't say, familiar) and then in the final book, it felt like she just wasn't interested in that part anymore. It became just a bunch of words on the page. I didn't need it, except to know what happened at the end.

Now, this might just be me: the Huffington Post has a collection of reviews of the book, all of them good (though most of them use some version of the word "brutal" in their descriptors. So. If you want your kid reading a book that's brutal, hey, go ahead, encourage them to read this book). Still, what do I know? All I have to say is, in the end, I was very disappointed.