Monday, March 27, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha, a novel

Memoirs of a Geisha (1997)
Author: Arthur Golden

Jag rates it 3.5 out of 4 Stars.

When I first started working in TV, the receptionist was reading Memoirs of a Geisha, and since then I'd been wanting to read it. This gal was on her 3 reading of the book and loved it, along with many friends who've loved it. When the movie came out, I moved it towards the top of the priorty list so I could see it before the movie.

The book wasn't as compelling as I hoped it would be. I read it much slower than expected. I did love the very beginning with her disintegrating family, and I did love her relationship with Nobu. However everything seemed drawn out, but I'll accept it as written as a memoir. But, it seemed to really fall apart at the end when we find out what happens between her and the chairman... a few more facts... and then it ends. Once again, I prefer the sad stuff....

V for Vendetta

Currently in Theatres
Dir: Wachowski Bros

Jag gives it 5 out of 5 stars.

I wasn't expecting to love it, but I did. I should have known I was going to, because it's my kind of love story. It has been described as 1984 meets Phantom of the Opera. And to me, that's like the best formula, ever. I'll have to stop myself here before I spoil it for you.

Mad Hot Ballroom

Mad Hot Ballroom (2005)
Dir: Marilyn Agrelo

I rate it 3.5 out of 5 Stars.

So almost any ballroom dancing movie has me at HELLO. Personal all time favorites include Strictly Ballroom and the '97 Japanese film Shall We Dance? I still not brave enough to watch the J.Lo version. I really like this dance program that's offered to these kids. No, actually, love it. But this particular movie had it's so-so moments. Perhaps it would have been better if it was shorter or more involved with fewer kids.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Oley Wedding Weekend: Wednesday/Thursday

"Can you handle it? Can you handle my truth?" - Britney Spears.

It's one of my favorite and most quoted lines, for real.

Years in the making, Marie and Eamonn's wedding was finally upon us. I'd been given the title wedding coodinator, and I've been Marie's support staff in this effort since their engagement. But really, I wanted to be the coordinator so I could yell at people and Marie could put aside her roll as bridezilla.

WEDNESDAY: Make-up trial
Marie's make-up was in the bag, and it came time for Robin to be America's Next Top Model. We were pleased to find out that Robin had spent a small fortune at Sephora and they made her into an angel!

Robin embracing ikea's "schlong."

Many phone calls and hours later, pizza still wasn't there. Robin had to take off, and it was getting late and we were starving. I am very pleased to announce that the new Oley nest is dangerously close to Astro Burger, and we enjoyed the fine dining all for the first time. We also all feasted on the veggie burger with avocado, fries and onion rings which Eamonn called baby skin. Nonetheless, it was scrumptious and hit the spot as we went over the schedule and strategery for the weekend.

My tummy was full of butterflies. This was it. We were leaving for Cambria.

I picked up Miss Marie in my mommy's car since my bitty car wouldn't even accomodate our shoe collection. We then met Miss Robin and from there we rode in the rockin Element. Made a stop in Solvang for gas, and I needed a snack. We shared all the Carls Jr goodies: crisscut fries, fried zucchini, and chicken strips. But it was ok to eat because as Marie pointed out, it was just like tempura.

It was a super easy drive as usual, and we checked into the hotel. Our bad boy suite comfortably sleeps 6 people, with a bedroom, balcony, sofa bed, murphy bed, and two fireplaces. It was prefect. We unpacked and made sure everything was accounted for before we headed off to dinner.

But wait. Where was Marie's fur?

Marie's wedding dress was made complete with a rabbit fur bolero (sshhh, don't tell PETA) to cover her shoulders in the chapel and keep her warm in the brisk central coast weather. When we were on our way in my mom's car, Marie made a point to pull out the fur so she could keep track of it.

And suddenly upon arrival in Cambria, it was gone.

Ok, ok, no time to worry. It had made it's way as far as my mom's car, so at least we knew it made it to Thousand Oaks. Could Marie have brought it up to Robin's and forgot it? No. Could it still be in my mom's car? I didn't think so because I looked everything over to make sure nothing was left, but that's where we decided it must be. Dear Lord, don't let it be on the ground!

We devised a plan for Tom, Robin's fiance, to drive bring the fur when he came up on Friday. However, if it was in my mom's car he would have to pick up a key from them. So, after Tom's late shift on Thursday in Santa Monica, he'd have to drive to the west valley and up to TO.

After all the appropriate phone calls had been made, we were stah-ving. We were on our way out of the hotel for dinner when Marie looked into a shopping bag.... and there it was. Pristine, white rabbit fur.

We had to laugh. It was like a test, and we passed. No one freaked out, and we were quick to problem solve. Ok, first hurdle down and now time to eat!

With the many trips to Cambria under our belt between the three of us, none of us had ever dined at Robin's.

The gals, after an exotic meal, bottle of wine, and let's not forget the dessert.

When our tummies were happy we made a brief stop at the Oley's and headed back to the hotel, where the women's ice skating finals were waiting for us. And when that was all over, we had to put ourselves to bed immediately because we had a big day ahead of us. Immediately after scrubbing our teeth with baking soda and burning off the top layer of our skin with a masque, that is.

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything (2005)

by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
4 out of 5 stars

(Could I be procrastinating on the Oley Wedding Blog? I coordinated the dang thing, why is blogging it sound so daunting? Soon enough folks, coming soon I promise)

I just finished Freakonomics. It was chosen as this month's book club reading pick (my book club, not Oprah's) and I pushed for it since I've been wanting to read it. It's not really what I expected but that's ok. I must say that I did enjoy economics in high school and college. It was the one business class I actually understood.

I recommend this book to everyone. It's facinating, you know, things that make you go hmmm. It's a very quick read so when it comes out on non-large print paperback pick it up.

To entice you, here are the chapters:
1. What do school teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
2. How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?
3. Where have all the criminals gone?
4. What makes a perfect parent?
5. Would a Roshanda by any other name smell as sweet?

I hope you read it, so we can talk more about it. And if you're wondering where have all the criminals gone, well, they were never born. Thank Roe v. Wade.

Do I still have you interested? You can also see the Freakonomics website with reviews, author blogs, and more.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Dir: Joe Wright

Every six months or so I get in the mood to watch a good romance. I usually don't prefer them. But every now and again I'll get the bug. I give P&P 3.5/5 stars. I was distracted by my own thoughts which is probably why I was a little disappointed. Also, I thought there was a lot more turmoil in the book. I'll have to revisit it one of these days since it's been about 10 years since I've read it.

Why do I believe there must be a lot of pain and sadness in order for a love story to be good?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Batman Begins

I'm going to add a new element to Friendship Night. I came across a blog of a friend of a friend, all about the books she reads. And this girl is a serious reader. Last year she hit 130 books. I'm not that person, but maybe my reading AND movie watching will hit big numbers. I decided to start with this movie because the title says it all.

If you didn't know, I'm a huge batman fan. Really. I use Batman as my bowling alias. I love that guy. He's rich, handsome, smart, a superhero without superpowers, toys, cars, women... I wanna be Batman when I grow up.


Batman Begins (2005)
Dir: Christopher Nolan

4 out of 5 stars, meaning I liked it a lot. I enjoyed it. I love Christian Bale and I love him as Batman. I also thought Michael Caine and Gary Oldman were great additions to the Batman family. Katie Holmes, not so much. I think her droopy eyes and cutesy teen looks does not qualify her as a Gotham Distric Attorney and Bruce Wayne's love interest. It also struck me as strange that Christopher Nolan wrote the character with Katie in mind. For more fun trivia go here. I am not a fan of Katie Holmes in general, but she did a great job in Pieces of April which I thought was a great movie.

While I was watching the movie I was also thinking I've seen this before. Bruce Wayne's story reminds me a lot of The Count of Monte Cristo. I'd like to hear Brian's feedback, since he is the expert on Dumas.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

President's Day Weekend

President's Day Weekend is up there in favorite holidays. Because it's around Brian's birthday. Good sales. Long weekend. And the last holiday before a long stretch of rain? cold? work? no work?

It's also prime time for traveling/accepting visitors. This particular weekend, Christian kissed the Attorney General of Arizona and little Ziggy good-bye and we went in search of other fabulous people. Celebrity types, you know. Seen any lately?

We drove around for a bit. Spotted some nice cars. Took a tour of Santa Monica. View from the pier.

A cool exhibition I'm interested in. I hope it's still there.

We also saw Transamerica. Hahaha. I liked it.

[Insert here, pictures from Xian's camera]

We made a stop at the Dresden to say hi to Marty and Elaine. I also bumped into some Alabama kids from work. I felt very Hollywood. Very Swingers.
"You're like a bear, and you don't know what to do with these claws."
"Didn't you apply at Starbucks?"
"This place is dead anyway."


We did the Hollywood tour. Saw the Hollywoodland sign.

Made a stop at Amoeba.

And then went to Hollywood & Highland. Saw the Chinese Theatre and Kodak Theatre.

Then we went to Melrose and ended up spending hours at Marie and Eamonn's new diggs, expanding the music list for the wedding

By the time we got back home it was perfect timing to catch Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy. You know, the one at the end where George hooks up with Meredith. I'm sorry, George is just asking to get crushed!

And I'm very pleased to annouce the resurfacing of my friend and fellow Wildcat Justin. Not only did he resurface, he is now living just minutes away in a super incredibly fantastic neighborhood, and I'm so jealous and happy.

So the three Media Arts kids caught up, and we schemed great things.

Happy VD!

Pardon, someone's very behind in her blogging and must get caught up before that things starts. What's the word?? Ah, yes, WORK!

So to catch you up to speed I spent Valentine's Day as usual with the girls. I was actually fortunate enough to have a date last year, but two VD's in a row with the fiance would just seem obscene! Hmm, let's see, after many a phone call the day before VD I was able to get a reservation at Lola's. For those of you unfamiliar, this was the site of my bday a few years back, one of Marie's bday's as well... and a great martini bar with rockin mac and cheese. I have pretty high standards.

Oops, I forgot to mention before dinner, we caught Lady and the Tramp at El Capitan.

And before the movie, there was a short cartoon. One I'm sure you're all familiar with. An old school Disney cartoon. And then Mickey and Minnie came out dancing!

We also made a quick stop at the Disney Soda Shop.

For Kermit and Meredith.

Gill, on her mobile, dodging cameras and a creepy cupid from the Jimmy Kimmel show.

Did I mention Lola's has an extensive martini menu? My favorite is the key lime pie, and it's always fun to point out the garlic mashed potato martini. If anyone is brave enough to try this concoction, it'll be my treat.

After a super tasty dinner (I had a goat cheese salad and split mac and cheese with Gill who also had the filet and I think Angie had the chicken... oh yeah and we each got our own desserts and I'm still thinking about that chocolate bread pudding...) and a couple rounds of drinks we were ready to lay in our new found obesity.

Hope you had a good VD too!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Last Day in San Diego

I was supposed to leave San Diego, but I decided to stick it out while the hotel and sunshine were no charge.

We dined at PF Chang's, and while my pals ran off to make their last afternoon of confering, I stuck around the most glorious mall I have ever experienced. It was so glorious it hurt. Really. I had to leave before I even ventured on to the second floor.

Meredith got out early and we hit the hot tub.

Mere looks good in my bikini.

Then we got ready for a final night on the town.

Check me out, I made that scarf.

Trying not to commense his I-look-like-I'm-stoned-but-I'm-not face.

It was a long week of banking snafus.

It's a California thing.

Dinner at Seaport Village. I am still dreaming about the goat cheese salad.

We call this dessert, OH!

The gang.

Making friends with the art.



After consulting the fanny pack of our concierge friend Edward (?) we ended up at Dave and Buster's.
A healthy dose of skeeball.

It's like a Chuck E. Cheese for adults.

Sadly, no air hockey.

But to redeem itself, they had DDR.


And then we were thirsty, so we sat at the bar near our bartender Trevor. YAY TREVOR!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Time Out for Laundry Day

Ok, by very special request I am taking a time out from my San Diego, Cambria, and Disneyland vacation chronicles to tell you about that special time of the month. Laundry Day. This is hardcore folks. Can you handle my truth? (see jag use any opportunity to quote Britney Spears) It doesn't get any more real than this.

So far on Friendship Night, you've seen nothing but moments of fabulousness. This is only because the quotidian details need not clutter the world wide web. But to keep in touch with my homeboys I'll show you that like J.Lo, I'm real.

A Day in the Life (which was actually yesterday)

I wake up. I enjoy the cozy blanket Anthony gave me for my birthday. I eventually surface and get out of bed. It's before the PM. A success!

Plop on the couch. Turn on the TV. Check my email. Check myspace. Hop in the shower. Get ready for the day. Walk and make a drop off at the dry cleaners. Get home and order a pizza and salad from Domino's. It's like college. Comfort food. And I'm still in a tequila haze from the night before. No wonder I'm craving it. Pick up the pizza. Put on Broken Flowers and eat lunch.

Sidebar. I love Netflix. I live off of it. I've been a member for about 1.5 years and I've seen everything from Outfoxed to Sunset Boulevard, The 40 Year Old Virgin to Taxi Driver. Musicals, Westerns, Documentaries, obsure, tv shows, and somewhere in the mix are some crazy workout videos. And yet I still have over 400 videos on my list. Dare I tell you that 99% of my fiance's queue is Star Trek? I swear by Netflix, especially since I don't have cable. Loves it loves it loves it. Netflix is my constant companion.

You'll commonly find me eating to a dvd. Just one of my things. Hey, Jarhead comes out on DVD on Tuesday. Watch it. That little Jake Gyllenhal's got a bod on him. I also really like Peter Sarsgaard. I digress. Once I was nourished I sorted my laundry. There was quite a pile since it's been almost a month since my last load.


This round came out to two loads of darks, two lights, one white, one of towels, and three sets of sheets. It's a good thing there are two washers and two dryers in the building. Well I ran out of quarters so I was unable to get to the sheets. That'll have to wait til the weekend. And then I went to the movies to catch Match Point. I'm very behind on the Oscar contenders. Got back home. Checked email. Checked myspace. And I think I watched a little Conan before hitting the hay.

And today I went to Disneyland.

We now return to our regularly scheduled Friendship Night.