Monday, March 31, 2008

Q&A Part 2 - Pop Culture

What would The Matrix have been like if Will Smith had played Neo?(he turned the role down)
I'm no advocate for Keanu Reeves's acting abilities, but he (or probably his agent) is a genius when it comes to choosing roles suited for his wooden delivery. He looked cool and animatronic and that's what Neo was all about. Will Smith as Neo would have meant The Matrix as (Insert Forgettable Action/Adventure Movie Here).

In your opinion is Britney Spears a bad mother?
I could write an entire blog filled with my opinions (based on biased popular media coverage and my own highly untechnical and wholly uninformed armchair psychology) on the Britney situation. I think her current behavior is due to a collision of fame, immaturity, money, bad advice, stubbornness, cultural values (her culture being lower-income American south), and a case of postpartum depression. I don't think she's a bad mother, I just think she needs to get the right kind of help and to grow up a little before she can be a good one. I suspect millions of mothers make the same kinds of choices she has made, but their mistakes happen behind closed doors. I hope she turns things around, but to do so she needs to give up the media attention she's lived with for her entire adult life, and I'm not sure she can imagine how to do that.

I finally started reading some Chuck Klosterman -- how do you feel about Billy Joel?
"Billy Joel's Greatest Hits" is one of my top-five sing-along albums for long car trips. I once spent a long stretch of highway memorizing all the lyrics to "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant."

Christopher Hitchens: total pompous douchebag; really smart; little bit of both?
Both. And that's why gets the big bucks. But I'm glad I don't have to sit in the cubicle next to his.

You're invited to attend the Oscars. Which designers would YOU invite to create YOUR gown?
First, I would hire a stylist, preferably whoever styles Jodie Foster because I have the feeling she doesn't have fantastic dress sense but she always manages to look good at red-carpet events. Then, I would have my stylist place a call to Narciso Rodriguez's people, and have Valentino's people on the line as backup. Also, s/he could do some shopping at the Chanel warehouse because vintage Chanel might work in a pinch.

Who are your writer crushes?
Jon Stewart goes without saying, right? And, since I'm all about the funny geeks, Cameron Crowe and Joss Whedon are right up there too. I can't come up with anyone outside the TV/Movie realm. Maybe I'm too jealous of print writers to have crushes on them?

Q&A Part 1 - About Me

Books - March 2008

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
It's difficult for me to read a book like this, that has been praised and discussed so widely, with clear eyes. I loved the descriptions of Afghanistan's land and culture, and the depiction of how the country changed. The characters and story lacked complexity and seemed manipulative to me.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Q&A Part 1 - All About Me

Thanks for your questions; I'm having fun answering them. I'll get to all of them in upcoming posts. If you have more, just keep putting them in the comments. Here we go:

What were you like in high school?
I was a know-it-all who complained constantly about living in a small town. I hung out with the popular kids in school, judged them all for partying on the weekends, got good grades, and wondered why no one wanted to date me. Anyone out there who knew me in high school (despite the above characteristics I did have a few friends), please feel free to chime in.

What's the one aspect of parenting you enjoy the least?
I can take the frustration and the whining because the payoffs of smiles and laughter and watching him grown and change are fantastic. But the lack of intellectual stimulation - how many hours can I spend lying on the floor, putting the blocks in the box, and dumping them out again? - drives me batty.

Who's your favorite designer of women's shoes?
I think Christian Louboutin's shoes are gorgeous and timeless. I probably wouldn't ever wear them even if I owned a pair, though, because really high heels make my feet hurt. I shop for dressy shoes at Nine West, and comfy shoes at Born or Clarks.

If you had to pick a group sport to join, what would it be?
I've always wanted to learn to play tennis, but that's not a group sport. I am horribly uncompetitive when it comes to sports and I'm not at all athletic, so I would choose something that few people could judge, like Jai Alai or Curling.

What's the worst job you've ever had?
I've always been picky about my jobs (much to my parents' displeasure sometimes), so I've never had a job that I completely hated. I had a boring summer job as a receptionist at a suction cup factory. The employees were nice but I had virtually nothing to do all day. I was a waitress for a brief while and again, I didn't hate it, but I did not excel.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

20 Questions

Maybe twenty is an ambitious number. But it's question-and-answer time around here, so don't let this chance pass you by. Is there something you would like to know about me? About Germany? About Theo's request for hair plugs? About my thoughts on Richie Sambora's recent arrest?

Ask me anything, and I promise to come up with an answer.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Linkin Park

We're preparing to go away for the long Easter weekend. I refuse to place our destination in print because we all know what happened the last time I did that. And I also won't bore you with my tales of packing woes and hotels that don't have a crib available, and SNOW outside my window this morning.

Instead, here are links to my latest discoveries. Go forth and enjoy.

Sublime Stitching
I love these patterns! Is anyone up for starting a sewing circle, after I dig my embroidery skills out of the Girl Scout camp part of my brain?

Beautiful resume ideas that work
I want to learn to use PhotoShop. Then I'll put it on my resume. Then I'll make my resume look pretty like these ones.

Ten Hard Ways to Make Your Life Better
Hard is the new easy.

Down for everyone or just me?
Can't get into your gmail account? Wondering why your eBay search for Dachshund Hair Plugs is taking so long? Here's where you can find out if your favorite site is down for everyone, or if it's just your fracking ISP again.

I am on the cusp of trying a home exchange but I've never been brave enough to take the plunge. If I do, here's where I will do it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kiddie Swag

I've started a new Flickr group called Airline Kid's Swag. It's your one-stop spot for viewing the stuff the airlines give away to kids to keep them quiet on the airplane. If you or your offspring have received any of this stuff, you should join. Especially if you've got some plastic pilot's wings, because we're sorely lacking in that area.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Deal or No Deal

After our first year's adventures in Deutschland including the peak of my life accomplishments thus far, passing the German driving test, I have avoided most government bureaucracy. That's a tall order in a country where one must pass a state test to get a fishing license, but with a few exceptions (a blurry visit to the city hall when Theo was five days old to pick up his birth certificate being one), I've remained under the radar.

My rapidly approaching passport expiration date necessitated another round of visits to the pencil-pushers, so last week I was back in the saddle. I began with a visit to the US consulate in Munich, where the very friendly guard approached me when I was a half block away, asking how he could help me. Apparently there's not a lot of guarding to do when the whole place is surrounded by barbed wire already. After I made it through airport security, my interaction with the cheery consular employee lasted roughly eight minutes, and that included some chitchat wherein he spontaneously recalled meeting me a year ago when we applied for Theo's birth certificate. Hmmm...not a lot of business in Munchen? Or else he just thinks mothers of newborns who are frantically trying not to leak breast milk on their outfits are sex-ay. I had my new passport in hand in less than a week. Anyone want to go to Thailand? (sob)

Today, Theo and I rode the bus to the city hall so that I could straighten out my residency permit. We entered a waiting room full of chairs, surrounded by closed doors, each bearing a number. It felt a little like those waiting rooms in old Candid Camera episodes, except there was no statue of David sporting a fig leaf that would shoot water at me when I lifted it. Or else I missed it while attempting to prevent Theo from licking the chair legs.

I will not bore you (further!) with the details (they are sordid but what's a young alien to do?). However, after spending some time behind door #2, I am proud to announce that I will be allowed to stay in Deutschland for a little while longer.

Who needs American Idol when my life is just one big game show?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Latest Theo Thursday

My books did not tell me to expect that age 13.5 months is the Clingy/Whiny milestone, yet here we are. I'm trying to enjoy the clinging (we're calling it "snuggling") and do my best to ignore the whining. Ignore ignore ignore. I can't hear you when you're whining. Isn't that what our grandmothers said to us?

Theo has also become increasing sure about What He Wants and is getting better at pointing out his desires. Literally. I realized yesterday that I was (once again) acting as his minion as I carried him around in my arms as he pointed in the direction he wanted to go. I would take him there, and then he would turn around and point somewhere else, and we wandered around the house this way for some time. It's a glamorous life.

He's also learning words and Jeff is teaching him to point to various body parts (we've hit a bit of a roadblock with "eyes," wherein instead of pointing to his eyes when we point to ours, he reaches out and attempts to remove our eyelashes).

There is still no unassisted standing or walking, and for that I am truly grateful.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Winners' Circle

Last year we had 51 participants; this year, 27. I was remiss in sending my usual rounds of prodding emails because I was busy screwing up our family vacation and eating fried squid. Forgive me.

However, those of you who participated made a rousing set of predictions. It's too bad for Julie Christie and Cate Blanchett (and fortunate for Marion Cotillard and Tilda Swinton) that you aren't more prescient. A few of you were saved from humiliation by a culinary rat and/or Jason Bourne. Those of you who chose songs from "Enchanted," (a certain trash-talking film school graduate included) should really run off and watch the "Falling Slowly" video on YouTube a few more times. (Although I just found out that she is 19 years old and he is 37 and they're a couple in real life, which is a little eyebrow-raising but who am I to judge? Then I learned that they met 6 years ago when she was 13 and, well, I'm just trying to ignore that I know that.)

Each of our BIG WINNERS, Katie and Mel (who won the grand prize of a handsome Oscar the Grouch t-shirt in 2006 and came in second in 2007), will receive $25 toward the Threadless T-shirt of her choice. I expect photos.

The few, the proud, the participants (and their scores) in this year's Oscar pool (aka BOP*):

Katie - 13
Melanie - 13
Courtenay - 12
Karl - 12
Kristen - 12
B. - 11
Britten - 11
Sandi - 11
Scott - 11
Tom - 11
Anna - 10
Christina - 10
Kylee - 10
Aubrey - 9
Chad - 9
Korie - 9
Stacey - 9
Erica - 8
Jeff - 8
Megan - 8
Mike - 8
Tracy - 8
Abby - 7
Daniela - 7
BelgianWaffle - 6
Whitney - 4
Francie - 4

*Blythe's Oscar Pool