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So last Saturday we watched the second half of the Best Picture nominees. Well, 4 of them anyway…

First up was Winter’s Bone. The heartwarming tale of a poverty stricken daughter searching for her father, a crank “cooker”, I think that this was 2011’s “Precious”. Gene and I both enjoyed it but were not sad when it ended.

Next, Black Swan. Wow. I really wanted Annette Bening to win the Oscar for Best Actress (for The Kids Are All Right)…until I saw Natalie Portman’s performance in Black Swan. A totally crazy, amazing movie.

The middle movie was Inception, which we saw back in July (during my luxurious two days of unemployment). Skipped it this time in favor of skeeball and drinks down at Dave & Busters. D&B is a totally different place at midday on a Saturday – all the kids are throwing balls down the alley (?) like they’re hopped up on PCPs. I finally got annoyed by the kids and was just a little tipsy so I decided to explore the mall a bit by myself (bought socks and tried to buy a new bra – I think it is time for either a home breast reduction kit or at least to start buying bras from the tent section at the Army surplus store…).

Next movie: The Social Network. Wow, that was another great movie. I am so glad it got nominated – I’d wanted to see it on the big screen during its original run but we don’t go to the movies that often anymore. I’m not the biggest Facebook fan (ha ha) out there but it was a movie that I really liked and related to. (On a related note, I got a free Social Network mousepad on the first Saturday so now Jesse Eisenberg stares at me all day at work – I have finally decided to turn it upside down so it’s not so creepy).

And finally – HOORAY! – The King’s Speech. I love Colin Firth because he is so. freaking. hawt. And I love Helena Bonham Carter because she reminds me of Brandy (I wish I could find the picture from Entertainment Weekly). And I just – JUST – figured out that the actress who played Geoffrey Rush’s wife played Lizzie Bennet in the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice that has the infamous “Colin Firth walking out of a lake in a dripping wet shirt” scene so prized in Bridget Jones’s Diary (which of course starred Colin Firth).

I literally just blew my mind. Anyway, glad that the Kings Speech won and if I were smarter I’d find a way to use one of the vulgarity riddled moments from the movie and turn it into my cell phone’s ring tone.


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So, when I was a little girl (I would refer to myself as Lil Elaine, but the word “Lil” makes me want to puke), I had a Grandma. Well, of course I had two Grandmas, both of whom were splendid in their own (and very, very, verrrrry different) ways. I have only the best memories of both of them and I miss them both intensely.

But this is a tale of Grandma A, my Dad’s mom. She was…one hell of a lady. The thing is, she passed away when I was in the 6th grade so many of my memories of her are a little fuzzy. Both because they happened when I was no older than 11 years old and because I do have some pictures from that era, which of course makes me wonder if I remember or if I am just thinking of the picture.

When Grandma was alive, she and Grandpa lived in Illinois. A few times she took me to Chicago on the train. I don’t remember a thing about those trips other than the times she took me to lunch (dinner? snack?) at the restaurant on the 95th floor of…well, some big building in Chicago. It was where I was introduced to the greatness that is chocolate mousse (thanks Grandma…).

And as the years passed, I would think of the restaurant and the mousse and the fact that it was located nearly 100 floors above the ground and as always, the memory seemed kind of murky. Did I get it confused with a children’s book? Did I dream this happening? Really, 95 floors up? No way.

And then, one day I was reading the comments to a blog post on another blog and someone referenced the restaurant on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building in Chicago as a great place to eat. Thanks to Google (which I’d never thought to try before for this), I found the site for what is now called the “Signature Room at the 95th” and for once I had my memories vindicated. The dim recesses of my memory recognized it. It existed, I had eaten there (even though the mousse is MIA on the current menu), and a little piece of my childhood (and with it, Grandma A) came back to me.

20 Years Ago Today…

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Twenty years ago today Mom took me to see Fleetwood Mac. I wore (going from head to toe): the worst perm of my life, a black and white checked ‘boyfriend jacket’ (with some sort of tshirt underneath), a hilariously short skirt and….well, I don’t remember the shoes.

Before the concert, we went to dinner at the restaurant attached to Market Square Arena. They had the windows covered so we couldn’t see the stage, but we did get to hear the roadies check all the instruments.

The concert was magical and wonderful and awesome. The iteration of Fleetwood Mac playing that night was the band after Lindsey Buckingham left but before he rejoined, but it was still 1000000% awesome. Music means so much to me. I walked out of there with a t-shirt that I adored so much that I never wore it so it would never get worn out.

Sidebar: Apparently we bought dad a tshirt at that show. He unearthed it sometime early this year and sent it with Mom when she came down for my birthday this year. I should wear that shirt today! (My shirt from that show would never, ever fit me now…might be too snug on Betty the corgle!)

Further entertainment notes…

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1) Watching the season premiere of Burn Notice. Michael Westen is so bad ass.

2) You know what I want to see (other than a picture of Miley Cyrus post head shave – it’s coming, I can feel it)? A movie with a May-December bromance. I’m thinking Abe Vigoda and Michael Cera in a remake of Lethal Weapon. What do you think? We need to get moving on this – Abe Vigoda is 89 fucking years old.

You’re standing on my neck…

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Sing it with me!

“This is my stop!

Got to get off!

I may go pop!

Excuse me…excuse me!

I’ve got to beee dirrrrect!

If I’m wrong, please correct!

You’re standing on my neck!”

~Splendora, “You’re Standing on My Neck” (Daria main theme song)

(Why am I the only one singing??)

Anyway, so in another case of awesome begetting more awesome, my baby brother Macauley/Bill gave me the DVD collection for sketch comedy troupe The State as an Xmas gift last year and I finished the set the week before Gene and I went to Las Vegas. Fortunately, the previews at the start of one of the DVDs included an ad for the DVD collection for the equally awesome show Daria.

(Sidebar: Thank you Almighty D for the awesome birthday gift).

(Have I said “awesome” enough?)

Daria was on MTV in the 1990s and I feel pretty sure that the freaking awesome main character, Daria Morgendorffer, was me. She was sarcastic, funny and smart. Unlike me she didn’t spend all night on the internet talking to boys, but I assume that was artistic license. I have watched the first of the DVDs already and it feels like coming home. I also am concerned that this means that high school really was the best time of my life, but that has been a sneaking suspicion for awhile. Who knows, maybe my 70s will be great.

Classic rock?

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Okay, fine, I’m 33 years old. I’m no longer clinging to the pretense of being 29. That said, I am deeeeeply offended that this week’s episode of Glee referred to U2’s song “One” as ‘classic rock.’

Seriously, guys, I was in high school when that song came out. Hell, I may have been in junior high. Please stop making me feel downright elderly.

Where have I BEEN?

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I guess it’s been awhile since I posted, huh?

That said, my birthday weekend w/ Mom feels like it happened months ago. I think that part of why I haven’t written lately is that I am still upset that Kansas lost to Northern Iowa. I mean, Northern Iowa??? That game happened when Mom was in town and we watched the last 10 or so minutes (on the laptop), cringing the whole time. We also watched the last few minutes of the Purdue game at the restaurant we went to for my birthday dinner.

We really had a great time and I feel bad that I haven’t written about it. (Hope your feelings aren’t hurt, Mom!) Mom loved IKEA (at least the meatballs) so much that we walked through it twice. Maybe two and a half times. We also walked all around the outlet mall another day and part of a regular mall another day.

I was pretty certain that I was going to dislocate a hip, we walked so much. (Oh, and we also walked the dogs on a long route through my neighborhood, which they loved). Mom, on the other hand, did all of that walking PLUS played with our Wii Fit PLUS walked on the treadmill. Seriously. One night we all went to bed and I hear noise upstairs in the guest room. The next morning Mom announces that she made her own Mii and played with the Wii Fit. We went to bed at midnight. Mom cannot be stopped!

(Thankfully she still helped us put major dents in the cakes plus once or twice a day she’d sit down with a mini cupcake or two. She is my mother after all!)

So, that was my birthday. (Except for the huge bag of bargain books from Books-A-Million that Mom and Dad got me for my birthday, which I am still working my way through and probably will be for awhile). (And!!!! My dad sent along a birthday present for me, which was a Fleetwood Mac concert poster that he found on eBay searching for Eric Clapton. That was such a sweet gift!)

Work is work – Stefania was out of the office all of last week so I was Accounts Payable for a week. I have more respect for her than I ever thought possible – how does she not drink at her desk every day??? Two days into last week I was ready to start stabbing people and by day four I begged Gwen to not make me help accounting anymore. (She said no. Grrrr). So, between the A/P Week and being off for Good Friday (ha! I worked from 9 am until 2 pm anyway) I am so. freaking. behind. (Seriously, Gwen, all I wanted was a few freaking days where I could focus on the awesome reports you make me put together so everyone can ignore them – is that so wrong?).

In entertainment news, Couples Retreat suuuucked. So disappointed. Vince Vaughn as a family man isn’t just fiction, it’s science fiction! I am embarrassed to admit it but I love to listen to the stupid pop station on the radio in hopes that they will play Lady Gaga or Ke$ha. Oh, and we have watched all three seasons of Arrested Development. The first season was great and the other two were not bad. And did I tell you I watched the first season of Californication using Netflix Instant Queue? I hope they put the other seasons on the Instant Queue because I really liked it.

And the dogs – Scooby had his annual vet visit today and – shocker! – he’s getting old. The vet said that one of his teeth may have to be pulled eventually. Beyond that, he is fine – good ears, no fleas, etc. The vet’s office is so fraking expensive. Booper is also doing well although she is slowing down a little too and we need to talk to the vet about her legs when she has her annual visit later this year. Love the puppies, so glad we have ’em. There was a picture on the wall at the vet’s office of a whippet who was a patient there who lived for 15 years. It’s shocking to think that we adopted both dogs as puppies and now we’re almost halfway through the best case scenario, life wise.

Finally – tomorrow is Macauley/Bill and Michelle’s baby shower. (Wasn’t it like 3 weeks ago that you guys called and said “We’re pregnant! Don’t tell Mom!”). Unfortunately, I wa$ not able to attend but I sent a Chicco travel system in my place. (And a surprise dilly present, muah ha ha).

And, nothing new on the topics of Plan B or The Boy.

I am fine, hope you are too.

Ten Movies in 2 Days…

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(or, Holy Hell, Academy – did you have to increase the Best Picture Nominees to 10?)

So, the movie theater showed all 10 Best Picture nominees today and last Saturday. If you’re thinking that’s a lot of movies, you are absolutely correct. If you’re also thinking, “Just how long does that take?” the answer is 20 hours and 2 minutes.

Last Saturday, the first movie up was Avatar in 3-D. I thought it was a pretty movie with a mediocre story.

Next was Up in the Air. We skipped it to run home and feed the dogs. Loved Up in the Air when Gene and some of my family saw it on Xmas Day. George Clooney just never looks anything but smokin’ hot, right? And Vera Farmiga is so pretty.

We made it back to the movie theater in time for Precious. Wow, that was the feel bad movie of the year, wasn’t it? Meanwhile, the acting was remarkable and if I were watching the Oscars tonight (stupid cancelled satellite dish, argh!) I would actually root for it to win Best Supporting Actress for the woman who played the mother.

Next up, the anti-Precious, The Blind Side (or, Precious + Plucky White Woman). This is Gene’s favorite of the Best Picture nominees – he said it stuck with him. I understand that this movie is based on a book – I would like to read it because I suspect there is more to the story. It was nice and heartwarming but it was so glossy that I felt like it was a Lifetime TV movie.

Finally on Day One, Inglourious Basterds. (Damn you Quentin Tarentino for not spelling your movie correctly!). I really really really really liked this. And I am not any kind of fangirl, believe me. I.B. was my favorite of the 10 movies.

Fortunately, we had an entire week to rest up for the second 5.

First up on Day Two was Up. Okay, I loved Up but the early part where the Old Man and his wife find out they can’t have kids made me cry (despite knowing the scene was coming), so Gene and I skipped it because that wound is salty enough without going for a second helping, thankyouverymuch. Instead, we went to lunch and my turkey, bacon and cheese sammich was yummy.

Next up, A Serious Man. Gene gave me a look when someone in the row behind us mentioned that the first 20 minutes of the movie is in (subtitled) Yiddish.  A Serious Man is a movie about a man from a cursed family – but it’s a comedy, really! – and how awful his life is – in a funny way! – including a scene where his ex-wife tries to get him to pay for her lover’s funeral. Had a surprisingly abrupt ending, although we were on a trajectory that made it pretty clear that a meteorite was going to land on the poor guy’s head or something. A number of the others who were taking part in the Best Picture Showcase did not enjoy this, but I did. Not sure about Gene.

The third movie that day was The Hurt Locker. Gene reallllllllllly wanted to see this when it came out and I am so so glad we didn’t see it during its early run (mostly because I wasn’t sure what to do if we had 3 more hours to kill at the mall). The movie was OK, not really my thing. It set the tension bar high about 5 minutes into the movie, so I was a bundle of nerves for two hours. Gene disliked the movie because he felt it was too liberal and unrealistic. Still don’t know what a hurt locker is. Perhaps I will ask Gene.

Fourth was An Education. Now, one of the things you may know about me is that I pretty much have a Ph.D in the study of Older Men and Younger Women in books, movies and music so An Education was absolutely My Thing. A month or two ago I actually debated calling into work so I could go to a theater way down in Cheesecake City and see a double bill of An Education and Nine. Anyway, it ended up being a great little movie although probably has no chance of winning Best Picture.

The last of the Best Picture nominees was District 9. Yes, we’ve seen it so we left after An Education. I kinda wish we’d stayed to see it again because traffic outside the mall was completely insane. I mean, terrifying. A minivan wanted our parking spot but we couldn’t go anywhere because a car near us was 1/4 in his parking spot and 3/4 hanging out in the aisle, talking to some teenagers. You know who goes to the mall on Saturday nights? IDIOTS, that’s who. I could go on, but let’s just agree that we made it home alive and that worst case scenario, I have life insurance. Anyway, District 9 was good and interesting and you should rent it or get it from Netflix or steal it from Target. However, it is also a movie that owes its Best Picture nomination to the Academy changing the Best Picture field from 5 movies to 10 (other movies that benefited from this, I think, were: An Education, A Serious Man, The Blind Side, Up and Up In the Air. Or maybe Inglorious Basterds).

So, there you have it. 10 movies, 2 days, 3 bags of popcorn.

(PS: Dear Academy: Please make a rule that no movie with obvious misspelling in the title can be nominated for Best Picture. Thank You).