Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mardi Gras

Right now you are jealous because you are looking at a picture of the one and only Steven Segal. Sure the picture is totally dark and out of focus, but screw you. That dark mass silhouetted on the float is *the* Steven Segal, who tossed us beads in the flesh. It doesn't get any better than that. It's just a shame that my camera decided to focus on EZ's hand in the foreground, but oh well. That's what drunk camera work gets you. If you're bored, and unfamiliar with this genius of the American cinema, I highly suggest you check out Senor Segal's mini-biography on imdb. It must have been written by his mother as it strains the definition of the words "mini" and "biography". The piece is eight paragraphs in length, clearly defying easy summary, so allow me to quote the opening line so that you get an idea of the tenor of the work: "Steven Segal is a striking and somewhat boyishly handsome looking (often with ponytail) and usually impeccably dressed action star who burst onto the martial arts film scene in 1988 in the fast-paced Warner Bros. production Above the Law (1988)."

Wow. If there are two things that I don't think of Steven Segal as being, one is "boyishly handsome" and the other is "impeccably dressed". I generally think (1) nasty ponytail and (2) silk pajamas, but that's just me. In fairness though, he does make movies about environmentalists kicking ass and he came to support NOLA, so I can't hate on him too much. So thanks for the beads Steven Segal.

As you can see from this picture, I did score a fair number of beads. NO, I did NOT show my boobs to get them. That whole flashing thing is largely a Girls Gone Wild myth. There are no flashings at the parades as they are largely attended by families. Really you will only see boobs on Bourbon Street, and they are generally not the boobs anyone wants to be seeing. These girls look nothing like the GGW girls and you'd have to be very, very drunk to think that they do. Not all boobs are created equal.

If you happened to catch the CNN coverage of Anderson Cooper in NOLA for Mardi Gras, he talked about the bead phenomenon the best. He said that the ground gets littered with uncaught beads because it's all about the contact between the people. It's really kind of true -- you make eye contact with the person tossing the beads, and if you drop it, you rarely pick them up because for some reason that feels like you're cheating. It's a weird sort of emotional connection between the person on the float and the person in the crowd. Then again, they're just beads. And they're shiny.

The following are pictures from one of the best parades, Endymion. The floats are
really beautiful and amazing. Usually this parade happens not too far from my house on Canal street, but this year that part of town was too devastated, so they rerouted them to the main uptown parade route. But the uptown route has more narrow streets and some really large trees. If you look carefully at this picture, you can see that there is a branch knocking off part of the float.

And in this picture you can see the head falling off the float entirely and onto the street. We were standing right by this float when it hit the tree. I pretty much just stared up the thing as it was falling and it probably would have hit me and Tiny had Big N not been behind us. She pulled me and Tiny out the way before it went down. Once the head was on the ground we all took turns taking our picture with it, but again, drunken camera work did not produce very good results. D and I were totally going to keep the head and put it in our living room and I was thinking I'd turn it into a giant lamp, but then some parade person came by and picked it up so no giant lamp for us.

Was this a bad omen for the rest mardi gras? Nah, all things considered the
celebration went smoothly. Despite this fact, there were many naysayers. Everytime I turned on CNN there was a poll in which a large number if not a majority of Americans felt there should be no Mardi Gras. I bite my thumb at them. The only people who had the right to decide that were the people of New Orleans. No one suggested we should cancel Christmas in New York after 9/11. (Speaking of 9/11, as an interesting side note, our energy company Entergy requested a government bailout due to lost revenues. Similar bailouts were done for utility companies post 9/11 - however in NOLA's case the president found that a government bailout of a private company was "inappropriate." I can hardly wait for my new power bills which could jump more than 140%. Which means my power may end up costing more than my rent.)

If there can be Christmas, there can be Mardi Gras. After all, the parades are put on by private civic organizations, not the city (although the city provides all the essential services). And it certainly provided a much needed economic shot in the arm that failed to come from other sources. True, there were some NOLA residents who felt there should be no celebration this year, and I have nothing but respect for their feelings. These were generally the people who lost everything and felt that a celebration merely added insult to injury. But then, I am afraid there is very little that can be done to redress their loss or to help them forget it.

But as a person who lives here everyday, I think Mardi Gras was something that was needed. As the roofers pound away at my new roof giving me a splitting headache, I think back to carnival week and am intensely grateful that we could forget about things for a little while.
Let's deal with blue tarped roofs, and ruined streets, and undrinkable water, and homeless residents, and all our other problems tomorrow. They're not going anywhere. And we celebrate not just to forget our problems, but as an act of defiance show that we're still here.

For those that ignore us, we're still alive and kicking.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Things So Great, They Must be Shared

The Best Invention Ever


This will really come in handy when we get kidnapped by aliens. I wonder if Scientologists get a group discount?

God, why didn't I think of this?!

Blonde Ambition
(Note to my blonde friends, in sharing this article no slight is intended towards you.)


As a brunette, and someday lawyer, I hope not to turn into Nancy Grace. -- you know, the ranting former prosecutor who's on court TV. She's thoroughly insane, giving a bad name to women, anchorwomen, lawyers, and (real/fake) blondes simultaneously.



This girl puts me to shame.

Movie Reviews for the Rest of Us


Thursday, February 23, 2006

This One Is For The Ladies

(Or how your boyfriend is not like the six million dollar man.)

Although I had initially thought that I would save this topic for my first book (co-authored by Rita-la-guam), I feel compelled to write this post due sheer number of times I have made have been forced to give this same advice -- this week alone. This year has been hard for my friends, I've started calling it the "dating apocalypse" in fact, since practically everyone's relationship has gone to hell in a handbasket. But I'll jump the gun a bit, giving you a sneak preview of our book which is to be called No, You Can't Fix Him.

I like to think you would find our book on the shelf next to the ONLY other helpful relationship book out entitled He's Just Not That Into You (Rita-la-guam and I had our idea before that book came out though). At any rate, both are great because you don't actually need to read the book, just the cover of the book. You ask yourself a question and simply refer to the book exterior for the answer:

Why didn't he call me?
Why didn't he ask me out for a second date?
Why won't he help me move?

The answer to these questions is all the same: he's just not that into you. See, I've never even read that book, but it's truth is simple and so conveniently located you are not even required to delve further into the book's contents.

You could also answer these questions with "Because he's a jerk," but that's not very constructive now is it?

In the case of our little book, the basic premise, if you can't glean it from the title is that men are in fact people, not projects. This simple idea completely undermines a lifetime of cultural indoctrination that women receive. For example, the theme of every crappy dime store romance novel is that a man will change for the love of a good woman (in case you've never read one of these, there are plenty of movie adaptations e.g. Romancing the Stone). Let me assure you, no he won't. Not ever.

Let's see how it works in practice. You might ask the following questions:

I hate how my boyfriend doesn't consider my feelings. Will he ever change?
My boyfriend is cheap. Will he ever change?
My boyfriend is an abusive piece of crap. Will he ever change?

The answer? No, you can't fix him.

A guy might go through something -- a death in the family, a life altering experience, or some other experience that might make him question his priorities. But I gaurantee you, you are not such a life altering experience. If he is a jerk before he dates you, he will be a jerk while he's dating you and a jerk after he dates you -- unless he decides on his own to behave differently. After you dump him he might think "gee, maybe I shouldn't be such a jerk so that a nice girl will stay with me." But if you try tell him what a jerk he is while you're dating, your voice will register somewhere between a nat and a buzzsaw in terms of annoyance and effective communcation.

So, if you are trying to make anything more than cosmetic changes, quit right now. Sure, you might be able to convince him to stop wearning pleated khakis or bizarre color combinations (no honey, forest green and teal are not a good color combination in any universe --I have actually had to say this), but you are not going to fundamentally change his personlity.

You have 2 choices:

1) accept him as he is
2) move on

Mark my words, viewing your boyfriend as a project will only result in your constant frustration. It is a sisyphusian task -- endless, brutal, and without reward. My mother has been trying to get my father to use better table manners for 41 years now. She has made no headway. He on the otherhand, in a technique worthy of CIA brainwashing, can stare at her and not hear a word that she says.

So to recap, if you find yourself saying "My boyfriend would be perfect if he would just X, Y, Z. Will he ever change?" refer to our little book for the answer: No, you can't fix him.

So we're back to why I felt so compelled to write this. I am noticing that my friends with problems are basically in two sets: my over 25 pre-law school friends, and the 25 and under set who is in law school with me.

I write this primarily for the 25 and under set right now because you are in what I think of as "stage one". You are trying to change everything. You're going for the major overhaul, the complete make over, the This Old House renovation. You're learning curve is currently the steepest, so if you learn this simple lesson quickly you can proceed to stage two. If not, you can make him crazy trying to change him until he either refuses to communicate with you (constructively breaking up with you) or he (actually) breaks up with you.

"Stage two" involves liking *almost* everything about your boyfriend/fiance whatever but you're still trying to change them just every so slightly. You're situation is the hardest because you're not trying to change "X, Y , Z" you just want to change "X". You're doing the spruce him up a bit, Design on a Dime thing. And it seems like such a little thing to change. But it's not, so you have to make up your mind if its a deal breaker. Or see result from stage one.

As my friends you are by now thinking about my love life and my boyfriends you have known, and are probably thinking "where doe she get off..."

OK, Yes, I freely admit that I have learned my lesson the hard way. How I manage to attract men who are diametrically opposed to my personality, I'll never know. If any guys read this, maybe you can answer this question: if you are a anti-social brooder, why would you ask out a girl who enjoys social interaction? I certainly have no answer other than opposites attract, but this was my first experience with learning that you can't fix him.

My college boyfriend was a brooder, a sit-in-the-corner-at-a-party, the end is nigh sort. I am generally the glass-is-half-full kind of gal. I thought my boyfriend just needed "some cheering up". "He'll come around" I thought to myself. But after three years, he didn't. I realized he enjoyed wallowing in self-imposed gloom. It wasn't merely a mood or a phase, but his outlook. And it grew seriously tiresome for me. As Morgan Freeman says in Shawshank Redemption "Either get busy livin', or get busy dyin'". To that I would add, "yeah, fucktard."

Fortunately Gloomy moved away for grad school and we didn't do long distance (he "didn't believe in it") sparing me the trouble of breaking up with him. Which, is so what I should have done. And much earlier to boot.

So this is why I now know what I know. They say those that can't do, teach. So please, my lady friends, learn from my stupidity! Your boyfriend is not the Six Million Dollar man -- you're not going to rebuild him and make him stronger. realize that this post has been far more repetitive than most, but I'm hopeful that repetition will allow the point sink in. In addition, the next time you have a problem, I can simply refer you to this post. It will save both time and "I told you so's".

Not that any of you bitches are going to listen to me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Joys of Being Sick

Yes, I am sick again. After finally getting over my cold, or so I though, I started running a fever on Saturday evening, and feeling much worse than I ever did with my cold. This all really sucks because I am missing class and am way behind in school work and paper, but my particular drug cocktail makes it hard for me to focus and/or stay awake.

And yes, I’ve been to the doctor. I hate going, but I will go if I'm sick enough. Or if my friends browbeat me into going. But my visit to the health center was not all that helpful. The doctor told me “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but we’re seeing a lot of it.” Apparently people are getting sick with what appears to be a cold and are sick for a few weeks, then the feel better, and then all of a sudden get sicker than before. (which is exactly what happened to me). The doctor said she was not sure if people are just catching one virus after another because their immune systems are down or if everyone’s got some super virus or what. Comforting, eh? My friends and I who are similarly afflicted have started calling it Katrina Kough. EZ has worried that I/we will get meningitis since its going around and a kid died last week at our neighbor school, but EZ tends to worry enough for three people. D has actually been the most helpful making me fresh squeezed orange juice and helpful gargles, which I have at least had the sense to take.

I also complained to the doctor about the cold in the library and how I felt like that was contributing to my Katrina Kough, and she said half her patients had complained of the same thing, and she said that definitely makes it harder to get well so I have decided to complain with the head librarian and work from there.

Big N was making fun of me tonight as she came over to visit me and D. I was telling her some story and then half way through went on a couching jag and then finished the story without missing a beat. She started laughing because I was so blasé about my coughing fit and she said “I guess this is just normal for you now, huh?”

On the upside, this has provided me with some truly quality TV time. Since my fever tends to spike about 3am, I wake up then and watch a couple of hours of TV until I can fall back asleep. The 3am to 5am slot provides the best in C Span viewing, Jean Claude Van Damme movies, and infomercials. Honestly, did you guys remember that JCVD made a movie with Dennis Rodman? I didn’t either! The villain in the movie was played by Mickey Rourke no less. I think my fever actually helped this horrible movie make more sense by fogging my power of deductive reasoning. Of course someone would kidnap JCVD’s newborn baby and put the kid in the center of the Colosseum surrounded by landmines and a tiger. Doesn’t Mickey Rourke do that like once a week anyway? The best part of the movie was that they actually had the audacity to blow up the Colosseum in the end.

The infomercials on at this hour are also quite seductive. Are you familiar with Chef Tony and his bakeware? Well neither was I until 3am! Sure, my sis’ British boyfriend is obsessed with it – not ever having seen the infomercial I couldn’t understand -- until now that is. I’ve caught the fever for sure. See, the bakeware is flexible. No more taking a wet knife to your cake or muffins or banana bread to separate them from their intractable pans. Now, just twist and pop out your perfect muffin/cake/bread!

I mean, I am a cook, not a baker – they are very different skill sets I assure you. While I can cook a meal with nothing other than condiments, stale bread, and cheese (ask D, I made some amazing stuff when we were trapped in Austin with bad weather), I can’t bake from nothin'. I remember trying to make these lemon bars from a mix in high school and invariably I would screw up mixing the filling with the crust or the topping with the filling. It took 4 batches to get it right. Who knows why baking leaves me so flummoxed, but I’m kind of pleased it does otherwise I would be just a little to Suzy-homemaker for comfort. So I can’t bake worth a damn, but by god, Chef Tony makes me want to try. And you know, who cares if I mix the crust and the filling if I can just pop it out of my flexible bakeware. I don’t know what the stuff is made of, probably cancer, but I want it anyway. My birthday is July 24th people.

Of course, that is probably just the fever talking and once it abates I’ll be over it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Why Is Your Car Parked on My Lawn?

This morning when I went downstairs to take out the trash, I opened the door and right in front of the doorstep was a car. A big read Pontiac was sitting with its bumper resting against the front step. We're talking parked on the front sidewalk and the lawn in a manner that implies "take me drunk I'm home". There was hardly room for me to get out the front door. Sadly, this has now happened about three times and what I thought was a bizarre, random occurrence, I'm afraid is developing into a pattern. I'm not sure whose car this is, but I think it belongs to our new crazy downstairs neighbors.

My original downstairs neighbors moved out because the landlord raised the rent about $400. These were my cool neighbors, who were nice and clean and most importantly kept to themselves (although we did chat on occasion). And now two hell-spawn young party girls have moved in. Why do I think the car is theirs? Well, for one thing D saw them rolling out the other night to get into a car (it was dark so not sure which one) with their lite beers in hand. Also the entire downstairs now smells like weed and they've taken to burning candles in the common hallway to disperse the smell. It's a fire hazard, but I'll give them points for not resorting to incense to cover the weed smell because that stuff makes me absolutely sick.

So I think its a safe bet that the red car belongs to one of these two upstanding young gals. D is concerned that this will lead to other forms of ghetto behavior -- i.e. poor trash maintenance ultimately leading to bug infestations. And I'm sure as everyone knows at this point, those giant cockroaches absolutely terrify me. (In fact it is one my sister's favorite jokes to put plastic ones out and watch me freak out). So what to do? It's been suggested that I talk to them, but I don’t think I can do this in a calm and rational manner. Everything I can think to say would be completely condescending, like “Drinking and driving may be your lifestyle choice, but you’re going to have to work on your technique.”

Oh my god, I am my mother. And just like nothing productive ever came from my mother yelling at me, I have no doubt that nothing productive could be derived form such a rant. In fact, it would more likely start an all out war. Maybe I will let D handle the crazies.

On another level, I am sort of enjoying this because while I may be the evil overlord to these neighbors, an evil overlord has manifested herself to me. A few weeks ago I came out to my car to find a note tucked under my windshield wiper. It was typed in blue ink (with pink ink for the parts emphasized) on white paper. I have preserved the poor grammar and the insanity of the typeface of the note. It almost seems like it was written in a foreign language and then translated into English, so please enjoy:

Your neighbors are asking for your understanding and cooperation of the parking challenge which we are facing on a daily basis.

Every house in this area has multiple vehicles. It is requested that you park directly in front of the house which you live or if parking is available behind the house, then you park in that parking area.

Working with other tenants in your house may be necessary to arrange two cars to park directly in front of the house.

There are a few younger girls who work late evenings and are finding it necessary to park away from their homes late at night and walk to their house. I’m sure you’ll agree that they should be able to park in front of the houses where they live and pay rent.

If your landlord has not provided ample parking, please speak with him/her to resolve issues for the house in which you are renting.

Thank you in advance for parking only in front of the home where you live…and thank you for managing any visitors who are parking in front of your neighbor’s home.

I found this note puzzling as I was parked on the very public street on which we live, and although I was not parked directly in front of our house, I was just beyond it. I then remembered that my friend had gotten a similar note when he parked on one of the public side streets near our house, and so I did not feel even remotely bad because clearly the person who sent this is crazy – if people cannot park on the main street or the side street just where exactly did he/she think they would park? Are people never to have visitors? And who appointed this person hall monitor anyway?

Best of all, this is the smallest the population in the city is ever going to be. If she thinks this is a “crisis”, what happens if more people come back? Will that be a “super-crisis”? Will we be on red alert?

I tossed the note in my back seat and ran my errand to the drugstore thinking no more about the craziness. When I came back, this woman with a pug (not on a leash mind you) accosted me, “Can I ask you why you don’t park in front of your house?” Ah. Clearly, this is the nut job who left the note.

“Well, it’s a public street, so I can legally park anywhere on this side of the line,” I said politely as I tried to manage my bags. “Well, we have some girls who live here and they come home late at night and have to park far away,” she said with more hostility in her voice. I calmly pointed out that I am in fact a girl myself and I too often come home late. “Well, why don’t you park behind your house.”

At this point I just sighed. I explained how our neighbors have 4 very large, scary, barking dogs (this might be her house, I don’t know). There is a measly little fence between me and the dogs and there are no less than 3 “BEWARE OF DOGS” signs on this 10 feet of fence. Once I came home and the dogs had gotten out and they are by no means friendly. Also, I’ve seen rats back there, raccoons (our neighbors called animal control to get them) and last but not least those giant cockroaches that I am terrified of. This back lot is not lit, and it is scary when you come home late at night and I am far more afraid of our back parking lot than I am of walking six blocks on the well lit, busy street. Plus, we enter through our front door so it is logical to park near that door. I then suggested that her girls are welcome to take my spot in the scary lot. This was of course not acceptable, so I just shrugged my shoulders.

“Well, why don’t you talk to this person parked here in front of your house and have them move up so you can both park there?” The space she was referring to was not meant for two cars as it is a little island between two driveway entrances and you’re supposed to be something like 2 feet from each driveway entrance. “I don’t know that person,” I told her truthfully. “Well you need to park in front of your house,” she said finally. Mind you, the street was more or less empty with plenty of parking to be had for all.

Having had enough, I calmly informed her I would park “wherever I damn well please as long as its legal”. I know, I know –losing my temper like that is not good. And I am usually accommodating as a general rule, but this lady was seriously annoying me. “You’re being very confrontational,” she said. “I consider your note confrontational,” I said. “Well, we’re just asking you to be a good neighbor.” Apparently I was single handedly putting “her girls” in danger; me and my car and harbingers of doom. At that point I just walked off, tired of trying to juggle my bags and talk to this nitwit. As my father likes to say “Never argue with an idiot in public – people may have a hard time telling which is which.” This advice may be hard to follow if I am to become a lawyer, but oh well.

I halfway hoped pug lady would call the police about this so they could laugh at her. As I was turning my keys in the door she shouted, “You need to go pray about this!” and then I dropped my bag with light bulbs in it. Dammit dammit dammit. I wanted to shout back, “Why don’t you ask Jesus for more parking?” but that would be crass, so I was silent.

I told D what had happened and she said she had seen the same lady on “neighborhood patrol” picking up garbage in our neighborhood. While I think trash pickup by citizens is a good thing, this woman is clearly a self styled martyr. I doubt her tenants have ever even complained to her about parking. The next day D saw the pug lady. D said she said “sized her up and watched to see which car she got into.” D plans to have her own note ready about “harassment” in case the lady accosts her.

As long as I lived in Dallas (a city with more parking issues than NOLA) I did not have any sort of similar experience. There’s something about this city that many of the residents have an unchecked sense of entitlement. Big N had an old lady in her apartment complex pound on her door one day screaming that Big N had parked in HER parking space. Um, what gives here people? If you’re handicapped, the city will create a spot for you at your residence. Otherwise, it’s first come first serve on public streets.

Two days later there was small-dog poop on our doorstep. I have no doubt that it was courtesy of the pug lady. I hope she is enjoying the red Pontiac parked on our lawn. Is that in front of our house enough for you?!

I Love Law School Prom

Shake out your prom dress ladies, 'cause we're goin' to prom!

Of course that was initially said by Wanda Sykes in a completely different context. Her husband is five years younger than she is so she was advocating that "if you can't find a good one, raise one," and prom might be the place to make that happen.

In my case, I was shaking out the prom dress because, well, I was going to law school prom. Sure, they try to class it up and call it the "Barrister's Ball", but a spade is a spade and this is law school prom. Besides, it is highly appropriate because law school is so much like high school complete with clicks, class elections, gossip, and romances. Being in my late 20's, I sometimes feeel about 10 years older than my classmates (instead of about 4), almost like dog years. I didn't enjoy this part of high school, much less in my adult life. But people never seem to outgrown this sort of stuff, they just get older. So why can't we all just get along?

OH, that's right, because you kids annoy the crap out of me.

Somtimes the law school social scene is in fact more juvenile than high school. Forunately this was mitigated at this prom by being old enough to drink. Being too poor to drink at it sucked though. Tickets wer $30 and this only got you one drink ticket and after that, cocktails were $7. That's highway robbery. At one point they ran out of highball glasses and so they made my G&T in a wine glass. And it was terrible. It wasn't even good gin. Fortunately, Pants had a pre-party before the ball so a large $ expenditure was not necessary. Unfortunately for Pants she was wasted before she even made it to prom. Ah well. The prom itself was nice. I don't even remember where it was held , but the band was swinging and one of my friends from UT came as well, and everyone looked muy nice. Overall, I give law school prom a thumbs up.

For our prom after party, we changed clothes at the hotel and went dancing at the new place D and Big N discovered called One Eyed Jack's. Cover is $10 I think, but did I have to pay? No. Because as we were about to walk into the club this gay man grabs me and says "I don't need this anymore" and proceeds to put his entry bracelet on my arm. I was a little drunk, so i didn't quite understand what was happening at first and I know I didn't properly thank him, but his bracelet meant I could saunter in for free.

Those of you who know me, know I have magical powers over gay men. I cannot explain it, but you can put me in the category with Cher, Judy Garland, and Madonna. "But Texas" you may say, "surely you exaggerate." Ah, surely I do not. EZ also did not believe me, until he visited me in Dallas and we went to the West Village (aka the gayborhood) to catch a movie. And I stopped gay man traffick. From across the street gay guys smile at me, they come up and spontaneously talk to me, and they all want to be my best friend. I have absolutely no explanation for this talent, but there you go. I think that I must emit the wrong kind of pheromones. But I always use my power for good and not evil.

Also, this is great to have gay guys give you free stuff because you know they are never going to expect anything in return. You'll never have a crude proposition for club entry from a gay dude. Unfortuantely, there just aren't enough gay guys working the velvet rope. But bottom line, I didn't have to pay to get in, and the guy who gave me his bracelet had his friend give S (my friend) his bracelet so we could both get in free. Yay free. Plus the place was great; good music, good crowd, and no other law students surprisingly.

Ok, so this was not a remarkable information, but caring means sharing. And I also wanted to show that post-apocalypse life can still be fun. Carpe apocalpyse!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I Have Seen A Lot of Crappy Movies Lately

By a lot I mean 2 (that's a lot while I'm in school), and they were both crappy. Crappity crap crap. And yet, some of these do not achieve true crappy greatness, some are only mediocre bad, like "Underworld: Evolution". This one is so boring it doesn't even merit discussion. It lacks the true crap-tasticness of the Blade series that made them enjoyable ( e.g. skeletons jumping out of your mouth, Ryan Reynolds in leather pants, etc.). Also Tiny and EZ were distracted by Scott Speedman's bad teeth and couldn't even enjoy his abs. Ah well. I am forced to agree that the minor goodpoints of the film hardly make up for its failings – in the immortal words of Project Runway's Santino "You can't polish a turd".

So what movie was so bad it was good in that it was really bad? None other than "In Her Shoes" which now easily tops my list as the worst chic-flic of all time. Why did I watch this you ask? Well, my mom sent a copy to me and one to my sister for Valentine's day. Her note included in the package to me said "I know you said you wouldn't watch this, but I think you should give it a chance. Don't be such a film snob. You liked Erin Brokovich and I made you watch that."

Actually, I hated Erin Brokovich. I love Steven Soderburgh, but I *hated* that movie (Did the man who made "Full Frontal" make thee?). I just didn't have the heart to tell my mom this fact.

So why did my mom want me to watch this? Cause it's about sisters. And wouldn't you know it, I in fact have a sister. But It's not just about sisters --it's about a frumpy-older-sister-lawyer and a skanky-younger-sister sex pot. Hmmmm.... What do we think my mom is trying to say here? To answer this question, allow me to summarize the plot:

The movie begins with skanky younger sister stealing older frumpy sis' new man (who is also a partner at older sis' firm). Older sis throws freeloading skank sister out. Also, skank can't read so good. Skank is out of money so she uncovers long lost grandma who, contrary to any stereotype, is Jewish and lives in Florida. Skanky goes to freeload off grandma. For added drama, it is revealed that the girls' mom killed herself. Meanwhile older sis is no longer fulfilled by high powered firm job and quits to walk dogs. Also she hooks up with awesome man who likes her for, oh my goodness, herself and he works at her old firm. Even better – she likes to eat, he likes to order. Beautiful! They get engaged.

Then he can't marry her because she is hiding something from him. Oh my god what is she hiding?! She is hiding that she had a fight with her boyfriend-stealing-skank sister, and that she threw her skank-sis out, and doesn't know where she is. Meanwhile Skankator "finds herself" by becoming a personal shopper for old farts in Florida. Frumpy comes to visit Grandma too and finds Skanky. Skanky feels bad about the whole boyfriend stealing thing, and calls Frumpy's fiance and gets him to come to Florida (and somehow manages not to sleep with him). Frumpy sis tells fiance about Skanky sis. They marry, and Skank reads a poem at wedding now that one of the old farts taught her how to read. THE END. Yay! Oh my god, was the good or what?!

Note to my sister: if you steal my law firm partner boyfriend, I will cut you. Of course the necessity of me having to do this is slim to none as
1) sis and I have completely different tastes in boys, plus she can read
2) I am not going to work in a fancy firm
3) we have no Jewish grandmother in Florida
4) our mom didn't commit suicide (hence sending me this awful movie)
5) Oh hell, there's no point in completing the list as the only parallels to our lives are the fact that the film has two sisters and one is a lawyer. For the love of god Mom, sis and I cannot relate to this. Other than to email each other and make fun of it.

Mind you, this monstrosity of a movie takes a soul sucking 2 hours and 10 minutes to view. Sweet Jebus. But really, the best part of the whole DVD is a "making-of" featurette after the movie. In it, the director talks at length about the choices he made for the art on the walls. He seriously talks for 5 minutes of the 20 minute piece on this. I kept thinking, if only he'd chanelled that energy into the plot instead of worrying about the stuff in the background that the audience doesn't even get a good look at, the film might have turned out better.

Of course with any adaptation, one wonders if it is the movie that is bad or if it is the source material. Although I have not read "In Her Shoes" I have read another of Jennfier Weiner's books and it was pretty awful. As the immortal Mystery Science Theater 3000 once pointed out, its a bad idea to reference a good movie in your crappy movie. In the case of this book-cum-movie, Weiner references the likes of Elizabeth Bishop andE.E. Cummings. Applying the MST3K principle, don't reference good writing in your crappy writing. It doesn't elevate your writing, it only points out your own shoddy craftsmanship.

Anyway, thanks Mommy. Happy Valentine's day to you too.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I am a Navy Seal...When I Go to the Grocery Store

As the number of grocery stores is highly limited in NOLA (there are now a grand total of 3 open), and the hours of operation are also quite limited, one must approach grocery shopping like a Navy Seal.

One must:
1) have a mission
2) be mentally prepared and
3) be properly equipped

You might also have to be prepared to lose a man or two.

By mission, I mean precise list of what you need, keeping in mind that what you are looking for will be harder to find than an Al-Qaeda cave, because the item you are searching for will in no way be in a logical place in the store. Grocery stores down here have their own organization. Like a navy seal, you must enter the mind of your enemy in order to defeat them. Let me provide you with an example.

A while back I took my friend J with me to the grocery store. He had left his car here during the hurricane and while it survived the hurricane, his battery did not. In fact, his car is still at the auto shop waiting for its battery. So J and I went to the g-store and it was absolutely mobbed and we quickly got seperated in the the crowd. After a while J called me on his cell phone in total frustration saying "Where is the mayonnaise?!" Ah, where indeed. I had just recently faced down the same dilemma. Turns out that the mayonnaise is located on the same isle as the hot sauce. And why is that? Because in Louisiana they are both used on po-boys. Also, beer and potato chips are on adjacent isles. Yes, I am one with the enemy.

By mentally prepared I mean you must be willing to do battle. You must be willing to push your cart through the enemy lines of suburban mothers with kids in tow, lecherous workmen, little old ladies, and any one else who lacks the ability to keep their cart on one side of the isle, preferably the same side they are standing on so that others may pass. You will often find them with carts dead center, slack jawed expressions on their faces as they contemplate which brand of dish soap to purchase. This is not the time for vacillation people! Shopping under these conditions requires quick command decisions. Sometimes you will come to such and impass requiring you to employe lightning reflexes to reroute you down another isle. Another scenario you might encounter is finding that there is only one left of the item you have come for, so you must be willing to fight for it. You can have no qualms about shouting "that last bottle of distilled water is mine, I saw it first, get your own."

By properly equipped, you need to make sure you have cash or check to pay with as the atm/credit transactions are not gauranteed to work. J and I were standing in line to pay out and there was only one person in front of us, who in a classy new orleans kind of way was in line eating some yet unpurchased crab salad from the container. Unfortunately, I made a tactical error in choosing the line because she was paying with food stamps. Please do not misunderstand -- I am not implying that this lady should be frowned upon for having food stamps. Louisiana is incredibly poor, and lots and lots of people got food stamps from the Red Cross following the hurricane. No, this lady should be frowned upon for not knowing that she can't buy beer and cigarettes with food stamps. That and her brazen crab salad eating. As she was purchasing rather high end items, like a nice bottle of wine and some special Sam Adams red cherry beer (or something like that), I was momentarily deceived that the process with the food stamps would undoubtedly take longer. I have failed as commander.

So the cashier rings up a bunch of the stuff until her food stamps are out, and after discussion with crab salad lady, she then rings up the rest of the stuff (i.e. booze and cigs) separately. Then crab salad lady says "Oh man, I left my checkbook in the car, I'll be right back," and sets down the food and walks out. So J and I stand there. And stand there. And stand there. It has now been 15 minutes, and crab salad lady has not returned.

I try to ask the cashier if she just shove that stuff over and ring me and J up, but in that special Louisiana way she looks at me like I am crazy and doesn't respond. I survey the rest of the aisles which are about 10 people deep at this point. Dammit! Bad tactical decision! 20 minutes have now elapsed. Brain-trust-cashier-lady finally calls over a manager to gather up the stuff (mind you most of the groceries were paid for) and move it out of the way and void out the transaction. This takes another 10 minutes while they discuss the whole scenario. I am thinking, "Look, people, obviously she freaked out for some reason when her whole food stamp thing didn't work out. Maybe she's more panicked over the loss of her checkbook than the loss of groceries bought on food stamps, either way let's get this over with," but my internal monologue goes unheard.

At long last J and I pay out, far worse for the wear. We have an unsatisfactory amount of random purchases as we were unable to find all that we needed in the melee. J has bottled water, mayo, bread, and a crate of clementines. Clearly, our mission did not go according to plan. We may require remedial training.