Thursday, March 31, 2005

Fever Pitch Follow-Up.

Some things to clear up:

1) Nick Hornby is not credited with screenwriting Fever Pitch on imdb.com. This could be trouble.

2) Mel sucks. Only 'cause she's clever and I'm not. Bah.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Fever Pitch.

I am looking forward to the new Fever Pitch for a few reasons.
1) I don’t totally hate Drew Barrymore. This being said, she is third in line on my list of Charlie’s Angels that I’d “do.”
2) I want Jimmy Fallon to not suck in it. Even though he’s sucked in plenty, for some reason I’m rooting for him. More to follow in discussion.
3) I enjoy Nick Hornby books, and, to a lesser extent, the movies made from his books.
4) I’m curious to see how this very British concern can be translated into a somewhat American concern.

Discussion:
I have a simmering admiration for Drew Barrymore. She’s (very publicly) gone through a lot of crap, and she’s still a pretty decent actress. This is the lesser of her achievements. She’s lately proven herself a very savvy producer, with vision for smaller projects alongside massive blockbusters (see Donnie Darko, then Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle). Also, she’s grown up to be a classy lady, something we might have never thought possible after the daisies and tit-flashing phase she went through.

Ah… Jimmah. Jimmy Fallon has a strange hold on me. He was terrible on SNL when he wasn’t behind the WU desk. Really. Nick the Computer guy? Jerret the dormroom stoner? The only skit that he was good in – really good in, was when he played the titular character in “The Barry Gibb Talkshow.” Still, he had the charm. It might have been the “ah shucks,” way he delivered lines on the desk with a juvenile sexiness (not as perverted as that’s sounding). AND, I think he was very good at impressions. His John Mayer was spot on (tongue too big for face). Anyhow, I didn’t really think he was going to do all that well outside of SNL, but I kinda hoped he would. He proved he could do decent characterisations in Almost Famous.

From the trailers, it seems that the male lead is not the focus of the movie. This could be for many reasons. One, it could just be a trailers up-playing Drew’s place in the movie and down-playing Jimmy’s after his abysmal failure outing himself to movies full-time in Taxi. (See Shall We Dance for example of studios burying talent after embarrassing movie failures, i.e. Jennifer Lopez.) Second, Drew’s got a lot of “heat” right now. Third, they might have genuinely changed the storyline to focus on the female lead. Nick Hornby is credited with a screenwriting cred, so it might be legit, although he doesn’t write women as well as he writes men (See “How to Be Good,” which has a female protagonist.)

Nick Hornby books. I read “High Fidelity” as I was bussing it around Cornwall in England looking for the hometown of the Sweets. I found it, and I also found myself hooked on Hornby’s honest and witheringly funny writing. He also incorporated sharply astute observations about pop culture in his writing (this was something I was hoping for in Chuck Klosterman’s “Sex, Drugs, and Coacoa Puffs: a Low Culture Manifeso,” but he failed almost across the board, in my eyes).

I’ve gone on to read “About a Boy,” and “How to Be Good,” and I gave an honest crack at “Fever Pitch.” That the plotline of “Fever” was so inextricably entrenched in the characters and history of British football made reading difficult, and I abandoned ship about three quarters of the way through. After all, why bother plodding through when you can get the point in a much more enjoyable fashion by renting (or, ahem, buying) Fever Pitch starring one Colin Firth. Colin Firth…

Anyhow… this new movie. Opening April 8th. The Americanization of “High Fidelity,” in my mind, crapped it up royally. Yes, they were lucky to snag Jack Black as Barry, but there was something missing with the cross-over. The producers are taking an even bigger risk here, because there’s no way baseball is as big a crazy obsession as footy is. It’s just not a part of the national consciousness like soccer is in England. This is opinion, of course, but I don’t think that aspect will translate. I’m looking forward to seeing how they managed to wrangle an ending with the Red Sox actually winning a World Series for the first time in decades. This synchronicity could be great for the story (it happened for Arsenal in the original), or saccharine and garbage.

And, on a lesser note, the title isn’t as clever. “Fever Pitch.” Get it? Pitch like a football pitch? Huh? Ah? Oh.

And… scene.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bloodbath.

Ah, Bryan Adams.I’m playing his greatest hits right now, the “So Far So Good” one that was out years ago. I think it was a good purchase. His stuff after that was a lot weaker, to the point here now I’m a bigger fan of his photography than his music. Did you know that stamp with the black & white portrait of the Queen was taken by him? That’s pretty cool.

It’s just a little reminisce-y, I guess. Bryan, that is. I used to play this CD a lot. A lot. I think we all do that… play music and think of idyllic times. My roommate Jeremy plays that double Smashing Pumpkins album all the time. I think it stinks, but maybe it reminds him of fun times.

It’s feeling very summery here today. The sun is out, and it’s 12 degrees. It’s nice and cool in our apartment, and I’ve done very little productive work today. I did three loads of dishes, and am now trying to muster the energy to start doing laundry. Our laundry room is in the next building, so I have to trek a little. I also have to strip the futon cover, because sometime last week I somehow managed to spray a swath of chocolate milk over it. It’s as if I spun with the full glass and now there’s this crescent of a stain that looks, very unfortunately, like dried blood. It looks like Jeremy and I finally had the “Battle Royale” we’ve been promising each other and one of us tapped a vein.

To finish up, I groomed my eyebrows today. It was a success. I feel like a total diva. I wish I had a digital camera, the hardware to upload it to my computer and then the ability to attach it to this post to let you all see how GD well-groomed my E-brows are. (See Jan. 29. 2005. post for comparison.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Actually Working On My Thesis.

Yes, friends. I have begun analysis of my fieldwork, and... AND tomorrow I'm presenting a rough outline of my thesis so starting writing won't seem so daunting.

My advisor finally did the thing I was dreading: she emailed me asking if I wanted to come talk to her about my work. I panicked and booked a flight to Mexico. I guess it was Kismit that I booked the flight on Jetsgo, because now I'd be sunburnt, on the lam, a resident alien in Mexico, and out of an MA. So, this was motivation and I've been doing crap. Man, I'm awesome.

High School Confidential.

A few weeks ago the chair of Religious Studies forwarded along an email from a teacher of Religion at a Catholic high school here in Hamilton to come and talk to his grade 12 students about what RS is in university. So, not having anything better to do… (cough)… I volunteered!

So, for the last couple of days I’ve been going to St. Mary’s High School telling them what RS is, why I chose it, what kind of courses you can take, and what you can do with a degree in RS. This last part was the most challenging. Obviously, RS is not like dentistry, where there are jobs out there – you have to get creative and apply the skills you’ve learned to the jobs you want and can do. The problem still is, so many people don’t really know what RS is. They think I’m training to be a minister.

Well, the kids were good, and responsive. It was neat to be a Catholic high school. They all were wearing uniforms, and the class I spoke in was their “Religion” class. Really, it’s mostly Catholicism, or at least from a Catholic point of view, but they seemed well balanced besides all that. Some didn’t mind being taught a religion in school, others called it brainwashing. There was a fairly even split.

Anyhow, it was good, and kind of made me feel good about my field of studies, because I’m now looking at the job market and I’m having to think about what the heck I’m going to do for rent come September. Do you think there’s some sort of secret trust fund set up that I don’t know about?

Extry, Extry! I Hate My Blog!

Have you ever written a stupidly long email to someone, only to hit send and it gets lost in cyberspace? Has that ever happened every three times you wrote an email? Did you want to tear off your own arm and beat your computer with it?

This is what happens when I try to post to my blog. It’s really just as easy as sending an email, so the analogy fits, but there’s no way to measure the madness to which this drives me.

So from now on I’m going to write my entries in Word and cut-and-paste. Suck on that, DNS Error 404!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

I hate this time of year. Well, I like it, because it is the beginning of Early Summer*, but apartments across the land are overheated as the days get warmer and the furnaces continue to crank out 25-degree heat. I slept last night with my window open and a fan pointed at my bed. I can't wait to get into an apartment with a thermostat that I can adjust. Jeremy and I are really dried out, with itchy scalps and I have the ominous feeling that at any time I might break out in a nosebleed. Mike said he is experiencing the same thing in his apartment.

Today I start my Special Edition Exam office hours. The students are going to come in and look at their exams, then decide they hate me because I gave them a C- on their essays and now they can't get into Med School and oh my god it's all my fault, and I should have overlooked the fact that they didn't answer the whole question and did a mediocre job on the rest. Sigh.

*I don't believe in seasons like "Spring" or "Autumn." I believe in Winter and varying shades of Summer: Early Summer, Summer and Late Summer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

That's When the Hornet Stung Me.

This week I was diagnosed with Thesisitis, a common affliction of grad and honours students. The patient presents symptoms of restless sleep (tossing, turning, night terrors), lethargy, fear and panic. I was assured by another professional that this fever will eventually break and then a still calm will come and work will be fluid.

I was meant to go to Toronto this morning to photocopy dumploads of articles that Mac does not have, but I found some of them on-line, so I've postponed that trip for a while. I should wait until I pay my Visa. I have to save some dosh for Thursday, anyway. It's St. Patrick's Day, don'tcha know?

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Double Feature.

I watched Dodgeball and I Robot last night. One was quite good. One was very not. And they’re probably not the way you’d expect.

Dodgeball was total shit. I didn’t care about anything that happened. Not the characters, not the conflict, not even the actors. In fact, in the place of saying I didn’t care, let me revise that to say I hated them. I now hate Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, his wife whose name I forget, and any other git who had the misfortune of being associated with this movie. (Except Hank Azaria. He’s awesome.)

I Robot was pretty cool. It wasn’t hard to follow, there were some stock choices in the script, though. Like the police captain who didn’t believe Will, the little girl who died, the robot that came to life with a calm British accent. Why do robots always have British accents (save HAL from 2001)? Is it because we want to enslave the Brits? Or is it that we hope that our slaves all sound like Alec Guinness?

So please, please, please don’t see Dodgeball. I wager a lot of you have seen it already, so all I can say is sorry. I’m so sorry. For those of you who have seen I Robot, it wasn't bad, eh? Did you spot the "Ah hell, nah!" nugget. It's in most of his movies.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Home Alone, Furiously Masticating.

Did you ever stop to ponder the wonderful job your tongue does?

As you chew, it pushes whole food to your teeth, and then it guides half-chewed bits for another go-'round.

It's all unconscious! We do it and don't even think about it. Is this learned? Is this instinct? Was this the big deal with the shift to solid food 25 years ago? Is this why my parents were so keen on shifting me to steamed carrots? So when I was in grad school I wouldn't maim my tongue every time I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich?

Monday, March 07, 2005

Asparagus.

This is just a brief note on my love for the beautiful vegetable called asparagus. I got 2 bundles of lovely young and slender asparagus for $3 at the market this week, and it was the best I've had. 2" of water in a frying pan and boil snapped spears for about 5-6 minutes for a nice tendercrisp. It was so sweet.

And, as a pre-emptive strike, I don't want to hear from any of you lame English majors responding with innuendos of phallic imagry.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Parental Visits.

Ok, I've had a good couple of days.

On Monday my weasely students wrote their midterms, which I marked unconscionably fast. On Thursday night my classmate and next-door neighbour Lily hosted a sushi party, after which I left for Mike's to skunk him soundly at some cutthroat cribbage.

Mum and Dad then came to visit. Yup, Mum and Dad. It was nice, because neither had seen the apartment I'm in now. AND I had to clean the place in a big dirty way, so this was a great excuse. That night, Mike, Mum and Dad and I went to Das Schwartzwaldhaus, this German place Dad loves. It was good, too. Then we went to Mike's for a 2-on-2 crib night. The ladies won best of 7. Yeah!

The next day Mum and I went to the Farmer's Market, one of my favourite places in Hamilton. In the meantime, Dad went up on "the Mountain" to see a friend from NS hehadn't seen since 1965! Can you imagine! Then we got Mike, went to Canadian Tire and IKEA. We came back here for a little nap, then went to supper at Kelsey's with Mike and Jeremy. Yumma. Then, Jeremy went home and we had another crib throwdown at Mike's. The men won a solid series. The ladies were humiliated.

So, they left this morning and I was quite sad when they'd gone. I didn't expect myself to be, but I was. I sure do love those two crazy cats. They're so supportive and sweet. Sweet.

I got some nice-looking asparagus at the market, so I'm up to Mike's tonight for chicken, rice and 'gus. Perhaps a beer or two with some crib? Oooh! Who knows?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Bending Over and Taking It.

I'm having a hard time with something.

Have you ever wanted something so bad it hurts?

Yeah, right now I've totally worked myself into a lather because I want to work for the CBC so desperately. I have to write a cover letter and submit my resume, but I don't know where it start. Basically, this is what it would read if I wrote it now:

Dear CBC,
I love you. I've been a fan way before I was of an age when it was cool. Hell, it's still not cool. I'm willing to start at the bottom, just to have a chance to work for the company that has so much history, talent and patriotism wrapped up in one crown corporation. Thinking about you makes me weep.
I'll pour The Mansbridge's coffee. I'll clip Shelagh's fingernails. I'll lovingly comb gel through Rick Mercer's curls and I'll do any number of unmentionable things for Stroumboulopoulis.
In conclusion, I'm willing to grab my ankles for you every day 9-5. It's hard to find that kind of dedication.
Think about it.
Love,
Catherine S. Sweet.

Suggestions?