Tuesday, December 28, 2004

One last shot...

Okay, so this is everybody... Aimee and Andy are at the far left, I am at the far right... now who can name everyone else??? Posted by Hello

Where Are They Now?

From left to right: Darren Johnson, Mara Pedersen, Dee Gaab, and the All-Comedy-One himself, Chad Carlson! If you have any information pertaining to these lovable ex-Science Worlders, LET US KNOW!!!! Posted by Hello

Carolyn's Christmas card

Carolyn Stanley was one of the people from Science World whom I have very fond memories of, as well as scads of letters from. She was always hilarious, wry, and incredibly creative. After we lost touch during college, she tracked me down last year. This year she sent me a Christmas card with the photo of herself and her husband Carl and their little bun in the oven!

I would like to pass on an excerpt from her letter:

"We are in a continual state of awe and amazement at this blessing God has bestowed upon us. It is truly a miracle, which seems exponentially multiplied when one considers the trauma my body has survived... Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we await his arrival sometime around April 4th, 2005."

Carolyn, we're so excited for you!

Carolyn at SW

Carolyn is in this photo as well, back in the day (3rd from right)... she is wearing a tie-dyed shirt and has her hair in a braid... and has her back to the dashing bubblemeister in the Boston shirt second from left... wonder whatever happened to that guy? Posted by Hello

Congratulations Carolyn and Carl!

Carolyn (Stanley) Anderson and her husband Carl (and baby boy!) Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Umm, no.

Merry Christmas, first of all. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your families, and that many new and priceless Christmas memories were created in your celebration.

That said, sorry mate, I hated "Love Actually" and none of your arguments even began to sway my opinion. Yes, I have a predisposed sensitivity to fat jokes. Most people who have suffered an eating disorder do. I forgot to mention that in addition to the ridiculous remarks about Martine McCutcheon, there were plenty of fat jokes at the expense of the sister of the whippet-thin Aurelia character, mainly made by her father who insinuated she would never get a husband being fat. Actually I think he flat out said that. Fat jokes are so cheap. British humor being as sophisticated as it can be, it's absolutely pathetic how many times the film stooped so low. This is partly why I cannot stand the Bridget Jones series either (aside from Renee Zellweger, who is sooo frigging annoying!!!).

I didn't care much for the little kid. I didn't like Liam Neeson's character or Laura Linney's, either. I just felt as the whole story was forced and sappy and tied up neatly in a fluffy bow at the end... but not without a final stab at how "heavy" Martine's character was. I am sorry that I cannot agree with you, but I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree...

If you want to pick a new favorite Christmas movie, I am going to take a risk and suggest you give the movie "Bad Santa" a try. It has its faults (namely the whole Lauren Graham character) but it also has some incredibly hilarious moments (mainly by the kid who played Thurman Merman).

Happily, this Christmas has turned out to be an Eddie Izzard Christmas! Nate's family has embraced his humor and I relish the thought of being the one to bring it to them.We gave Nate's dad "Unrepeatable", "Circle" and "Glorious" for Christmas and he was so excited! Now there is some excellent British humor without having to stoop to a fat joke. Oh yes, and I also received "Shaun of the Dead" for Christmas! Another EXCELLENT British film, with no fat jokes, and yet incredibly witty and so, so smart. Simon Pegg is adorable, and the cast is so great. I hope you get a chance to watch it soon.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Defending Curtis

Time for a Christmas movie review:

While Love Actually might be considered a dark horse to win Christmas movie notoriety, remember that it does take place throughout the month leading up to Christmas (called "December" by some), and has holiday themes woven throughout. I have officially now added it to my list of favorite Christmas movies, which puts it in good company -- It's a Wonderful Life, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and (recently) Elf are also on that list.

Here's the thing: I was distressed to learn recently that Lisa -- a person whose opinions I savor and whose anglophilidness comes the very closest to matching my own in its fervor -- hates this film.

She cited three reasons in her personal, crushing review to me (which I'll bet she never expected to see here):
  1. Too many fat jokes about Martine McCutcheon
  2. Hugh Grant dances for no reason
  3. "Keira Knightley. Bleah."
She also continues her blasphemic tirade against Love by suggesting that it's no Notting Hill. Whoa, there, sweetie. Yes, Notting Hill had Julia Roberts and some great comedic moments, but I believe it has only one scene in it that deals with British embarrassment* -- something at which Richard Curtis is normally a genius in translating onto the screen. Notting Hill is an 8. Love Actually is a 9. Four Weddings and a Funeral is a 10.

Now, back to that list. Allow me to debunk, if you will:
  1. There are two. And PM Hugh Grant defends her to his annoying black staff member (who's obviously only working this job to pad her own bloody résumé for some better political position in the future). As for Martine, she is a joy. I love her, and have loved her since I first saw her on the small screen in England. We would often watch "EastEnders" -- more so after I discovered that she was on it. Rowr. Besides, it's destiny for the two of us, as I was delighted to discover last May; we share a birthday. (George Lucas, too, but he's too old and moody for her.) No, she's not a bit fat. The role was obviously not written with her specifically in mind. The disdain Hugh's character displays at the suggestion that she has big thighs works well in context, though, simply because she doesn't. No need for a rewrite. It works. Get over it.
  2. The man is celebrating his British smackdown of the American President. Lisa, if Tony Blair did to President Monkeyboy what Hugh's character did to Billy Bob's, you don't think he'd be doin' the watusi at 10 Downing? Please. Plus, he's just realised he likes Martine's character, and he realizes that this was as much a defense of her character as it was a defense of Britain against the mighty US of A.
  3. She certainly doesn't make or break the movie, but I don't know why (apart from the fact that she's really simply too thin for anyone's good) anyone wouldn't like her. It's not her acting. I thought she was great in Bend it Like Beckham. Maybe it's her teeth, which are actually quite large. Maybe that's just in proportion to her tiny body, though.
Even given these three, though, there are far too many redeeming qualities this film can boast to pan it so evenly. Two of the storylines are priceless:
  • The entire Christmas Number One story is dead on and extremely well done. I was lucky enough to be there for Christmas, and had a hard time believing how much hype there was concerning who would be Number One. (It turned out to be Michael Jackson, BTW, with "Earth Song," which I don't think was ever even heard here in the States... but I sure got sick of hearing it!) They even call it "the silly season." Literally anyone can (and often does) emerge from obscurity and take the prize. Brilliant parody there.
  • The Brit Heads to Wisconsin for Women story. Of all things, I thought this would surely forever attach this film to Lisa's heart. 'Nuff said.
But there's so much more. The child actor who played Sam, the kid in love with the American girl, was phenomenal, Laura Linney's character complex and tragic, the language-barrier-breaking love between Colin Firth and "Aurelia" strained and hopeful... there's just so much. Literally the only complaint I had after my first viewing was about the shamefully limited use of the comic genius of Rowan Atkinson. That's why this isn't a 10.

Now, I urge you to go watch this movie again, and open your mind to all things British. Go in without expectations. It's not a movie guys like more than girls or even vice versa. It's an optimistic movie about love.

One last assertion from Lisa: Shaun of the Dead is "an incredible film with classic British wit." It was released on Tuesday. I plan to watch it soon. We'll see. Be warned, though: I'm going in with high expectations....

Merry Christmas!

* This is best summed up by John Cleese's Archie Leach in A Fish Called Wanda (the ultimate comedic film -- British or otherwise -- to which all other comedies must aspire, and which none will ever match):
Wanda, do you have any idea what it's like being English? Being so correct all the time, being so stifled by this dread of, of doing the wrong thing, of saying to someone "Are you married?" and hearing "My wife left me this morning," or saying, uh, "Do you have children?" and being told they all burned to death on Wednesday. You see, Wanda, we'll all terrified of embarrassment. That's why we're so... dead. Most of my friends are dead, you know, we have these piles of corpses to dinner. But you're alive, God bless you, and I want to be, I'm so fed up with all this.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Amen brother.

Yes, I should have added physical abuse as well... point taken, and he is pure evil. I wish Bolo would eat him.

Friday, December 17, 2004

TARred and Feathered

Verbally abusing her?!? Last week, he actually physically abused her! She's standing in the middle of a street in Berlin, crying because he smacked her and is yelling at her and berating her because they have to come in first place. The absolute best moment was when Phil Keoghan actually got sick enough of Jon-boy blabbering on and on that he basically shut him up and told him, "Uh, I think you might want to go talk with Victoria now (you fucking idiot moron asshole)."

And what did he say to her when he did? That this was a race and that it wasn't about compassion.

I hope that Jonathan literally dies a slow, agonizing death, that it is filmed by the TAR crew, and that Victoria stands by and watches it happen without lifting a finger to help.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

How's about some hot tangent-on-tangent action?

Okay, ewwwww. I shall never look at Molecular Diagnostics the same way again. Thanks for warping my fragile little mind. Ukka. Or as my mom would say, "Ukka. UKKA UKKA!!!"

The rest of that little rant on voice-automated problems was quite entertaining. None of the stuff I got to read was along those lines. I basically had to recite the address and website and ask them to leave a message because they had called after business hours, etc. It was awesome.

Tangent: Speaking of warping fragile minds... did you catch "South Park" last night? Woodland creatures, satanic ritual (including a blood orgy), talking mountain lion cubs, a heartwarming abortion clinic montage, and the devil's spawn, all under the guise of being a children's Christmas TV special. I thought nothing could top Mr. Slave inserting Paris Hilton into his anus. Silly me.

Tangent: Speaking of the devil's spawn... how about that Jonathan, the "entrepreneur" from LA who is constantly verbally abusing his wife Victoria on "The Amazing Race"??? If he gets much worse, I don't know how much longer we can watch it. (FYI: Nate and I are rooting for the long-distance dating couple and the father-daughter teams.)

"Please Make a Note of It."

Well, you may have finally given me a reason not to hate those messages, Lisa.

Really, it's not so much the "If you know your party's extension, you may enter it at any time," or the "For our business hours, please press 1" that bug me; it's the goddamn "We are using a service that can recognize your voice" ones that make me want to commit homicide.

True "conversation" I had recently with the Verizon DSL "voice":
Her: Please enter or say the ten-digit telephone number associated with your account.
[I did]
Her: Okay, now please tell me, briefly, the reason for your call.
Me: Oh, um... okay, I, uh... well, my wife can't access her email. She's getting an error.
Me: She's using Outl--
Her: [Interrupting] I'm sorry, I wasn't able to get that. Please try again.
Me: Outlook. Error. Email.... Can't access.
Her: Okay, I still didn't understand. Here's a list of options to choose from. When you hear the one you want--
Me:[Interrupting] Oh, fuck it.
My feeling: If you have a list of options, just list the fucking options at the beginning of the fucking call. I don't need to be made to feel that I'm talking with someone who can help me when I'm clearly not.

[Follow-up: For those of you who Googled, say, "Verizon DSL fuck" and reached this post, here are the choices when you reach that voice prompt:
  • technical assistance
  • installation support
  • order status
  • billing
  • new service
  • cancel service
  • other
No idea what "other" gets you. Perhaps a party line with other Verizon customers who got lost in the menu mist.]

NOW, as for that gig at Third Wave, they are definitely moving a step up from the current hoochie who talks at you when you call. There may be a geographical area associated with her accent, but I sure wouldn't want to get a flat tire anywhere near it!

I shall call them endlessly, waiting for the day when Lisa's sweet, silky voice replaces Nurse Ratchett's... at which point I shall probably commence calling them endlessly.

Tangent: Molecular Diagnostics? I wonder how many prank calls they get from bitter women claiming they've got a job for them, looking in their ex-boyfriend's/-husband's pants.

Hey Wisconsin Peeps!

I had 2 voiceover jobs this morning... one was for Carson's Ribs which will air locally in Chicago, but the second job was for a company called Third Wave Molecular Diagnostics, which is in MADISON!!! It wasn't a commercial-- it was an automated voice recording for their toll-free number and their customer service and technical service numbers. I have ALWAYS wanted to do one of these and it totally rocked (it doesn't take much to make me happy, obviously)!!! I got to say all the "press 1" and "press 2" lines, etc. as well as the days of the week, the months of the year and the days of the month, and it was sooo fun!!! I don't know when it's going to be put on their voice messaging system, but I'll keep y'all posted.

The phone number to hear me will be:
So you Mad-town residents, call and you can listen to me!!!
I'm famous!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

This is so hideous but also incredibly funny. He's so pretty with that diamond necklace on. This whole hoo-ha about the Nativity is so darned silly... Posted by Hello

Monday, December 13, 2004

Posh/Nativity Update

Those bastards!

I mean, why didn't they deface Bush, for crying out loud?!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

How "Posh"

Madame Tussaud's has done it now. They've pissed off the Vatican. They really went all out for this year's Nativity scene, starring, among others, David Beckham and his wife (and one of Lisa's heroines) "Posh Spice," Graham Norton, and Hugh Grant.

My feeling: Eh. It's a Nativity. Stars are appropirate.

Think about it.

My beef: George W. "Idiot Spice" Bush as a Wise Man?!?!! Now that's blasphemy.

Blasphemy! ...And blas-for-you. Blas for everybody in the room!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Friends 4 Ever

Last week, on the day after Thanksgiving (or "Sparring Day," as I like to call it), I got together with a pretty big group of my friends from high school. We were all theatre geeks together, and we've kept in touch fairly well -- we even have our own Yahoo! group to make that just a bit easier.

At one point or another in high school, it seems just about all of us dated one another, so we're really close. And not in a strange, ooh, this is so awkward -- he's seen my boobs! way. In fact, if anything, it usually means we feel that much more free to talk about just about anything and everything with one another, and it makes the time we spend together that much more meaningful and memorable.

It got me thinking again about something that Matt said at one of our get-togethers several years ago, and which has always stuck with me. In a nutshell, he was saying that -- while everyone always says that the friendships you make in college are the most meaningful -- for him, it was his high school friends that he felt were the ones he'd keep for the rest of his life. As soon as the words were out of his mouth, they were cemented in my psyche. I've always known that to be true, even if conventional wisdom has stated otherwise. (Who am I to stick with conventional wisdom, anyway? In Roget's, the top antonym for popular lists my name.)

[Tangent: Is this a Mars/Venus thing? I wonder if Matt and I feel this way because we were never high school girls.]

I take this theory further for the purposes of this post, though. I met Lisa and Aimee when we were only just teenagers, yet I still feel more connected with them than I do with most of the friends I made in college. We've kept in touch and genuinely cared about what is going on in one another's lives ever since Science Camp. Each of us really knows what makes the other tick. We can make each other laugh because there's a tacit understanding between us. We can have a conversation that is really just a continuation of all of the other thousands of conversations we've had in the past.

It rocks.

That's, I guess, why you should read this blog.