Nothing but Flowers
Friday, January 30, 2004
NPR : All Things Considered for Friday, January 30, 2004
My brother was on the radio today. I was in the car, the radio on very very low, when I heard some guitar music that sounded very familiar...then a voice offering opinions that I recognized...so then I turned the radio up and realized it was indeed him. A little bizarre and kind of great.
I have no caffeine-containing substances in my apartment. I think that is the best motivation to leave the house I've eve known. Especially on a day when the high temperature is supposed to be 0.
Kids these days DO go to the theater. Or so Hedy says. And she's right...at least about the companies and genres she names. But I was one of the very youngest people at the Goodman last night, best regional theatre in America or not.
(or maybe there is a strong cause and effect having to do with, for example, ticket prices. It costs about $10 to see House, about $70 to go to the Goodman).
Pixar is splitting off from Disney
Also in the news, Kerry attacks Bush and brings up Vietnam, Clark touts being an outsider with military experience, Edwards' father worked in a mill, Tom Brokaw told Howard Dean to be polite, a space rover is working again, there is fighting in Iraq and Israel, the superbowl is this weekend, and Georgia may ban the word 'evolution' from schools.
It has been an unbelievably long week. A truly awful, terrible, no-good, very bad week. It started bad, it got worse, and tomorrow will be hell. I have so much work to do, and a long meeting in the middle.
The meeting is to chose who will direct the outdoor summer Shakespeare show. We've opened it up to alums who graduated in 2001 or earlier and are willing to work under our conditions for a modest fee. We have five proposals. Will it be one or another of my close friends? Or will it be one or another person who terrified me in college? Or will it be someone I'm pretty neutral about, but who has far less experience then the others? They are all very strong proposers--three will get their MFAs in directing this June, 4 have done a lot of directing in their 2-4 years post-college--but they are not all strong proposals. Which is a crucial distinction, especially since most of the people making the decision don't know the characters involved. I imagine that tomorrow we will make a decision, a completely logical and smart decision, that will hurt me deeply.
Plus I'll then have to finish all the course catalog edits and collect all the spring quarter proposals. on the upside, it's pay day.
You know how sometimes you really really need to pick a fight with someone but you can't because it's never the right time? It's kind of like the universe is saying "let it go, let it go", but you can't. At the same time you can't actually say what you need to say because a million things come up--real, legitimate things--that mean it would be incredibly insensitive of you to say what needs to be said.
Yeah. Like that.
It's just not worth it. But I have this obnoxious tendency of letting things build until it all explodes, which always gets me in trouble.
On a brighter note... I saw "Light in the Piazza", the new Adam Guettel musical, tonight. It's not quite as good as "Floyd Collins", but it's pretty darn good. Emphasis on pretty, which is its defining feature. Pretty music, pretty lights, pretty set, pretty actors. There are no bad guys, all the conflict is internal (and mostly maternal) emotion.
Unfortunately the leading man (who is in his first major production) seemed to be losing his voice--way too much breath and a missed note or two that even I heard. But if he weren't losing his voice he'd be perfect: he looks right, he's got the right mix of post-adolescent drama and fervor.
And Victoria Clark is AMAZING. I can't emphasize this enough. She delivers an impassioned and nuanced performance that is believable, heartbreaking, and smart. It's a good thing she's the star of the show.
The young lovers aren't quite as believable. Perhaps its because you feel the central conceit of the show doesn't quite work. I suppose the language barrier (he's Italian, she's American, both speak broken versions of the other's language) is supposed to make you think the young Italian man wouldn't notice that he's fallen for an American woman trapped with the brain of a 12-year-old, but it's a little stretch.
I think they'll try to move it to Broadway and it will fail. It will fail like so many Sondheim musicals, and for similar reasons. But I hope it transfers so that Victoria Clark can win the Tony (not that I've seen Donna Murphy or Kristen Chenowith, so I suppose my opinion means little, comparatively at least).
But you have to love a show that rhymes "naked boys" with "corduroys". Even if the overture--played to a cyclorama that dances with light--feels like a cross between a Tchaikovsky waltz and "West Side Story" (real musicians will, no doubt, find this a very bizarre opinion on my part).
Oh, and the last number of act 1, "Say it Somehow", runs out of words and into musical vocalization. I suppose it's the language barrier, but the ahhhhhhhahahhhaaaaahhhhaaaaaa in pretty melody doesn't quite convey the feeling it's presumably going for. And there are some huge plot leaps that you can almost suspend disbelief for, but just almost. Characters make emotional leaps that come very close to making sense, but just barely fail (not for lack of trying on the actors' part).
There's also a sense of "I guess it's done now because we're open". I know there were re-writes after the original production, and I'd heard rumors from friends in the know that they were making cuts and adding songs up to opening night. There is also a song listed in the program that was cut from the show. It's listed as being sung by a character who doesn't exist as anything more than background. Hmmm. (to be fair, most of the programs were stuffed with inserts containing an updated song list. I just didn't get such a program and was very confused).
It's also hard to have so much of the show actually in Italian, or with very heavy accents. There are only 3 characters who actually speak English--unless you count the super-meta-moment when the non-English speaking mother-of-the-groom breaks, faces the audience in pure white light, and explains what the hell the rest of them are saying. Amazingly, this almost works.
The New Yorker review of the show ends as follows: "Still, Guettel's kind of talent cannot be denied. He shouldn't change for Broadway; Broadway, if it is to survive as a creative theatrical force, should change for him." I think that that is an overstatement: Broadway is what it is, and that is part of why Chicago theater and off-Broadway theater is what it is. And I don't think there's anything wrong with that.
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Halle Berry 'just fine' after accident
Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Between the primary and the Oscars, where to begin?
Well, nowhere, I don't really have time or energy to write anything right now, oh faithful readership.
I'm tempted to whine about an annoying-pretentious-ass in one of my classes, but really you should be paying attention to either the oscars or New Hampshire right now, not to me. Although I'll gloat a little that LOTR did so well and Cold Mountain did not. And maybe tomorrow I'll have something insightful to say about Mr. Kerry. Or at least a scream of frustration.
Monday, January 26, 2004
Ah the Golden Globes. No surprises, except The Office, which was a little surprising. And I guess surprising that Cold Mountain lost so man, but really it was a terrible film. But I didn't have to look anyone who won or presented up on fametracker (though I could have just for fun).
I'm glad "The Office" did so well, even though I've never seen it, because Michael Gervais had the best line of the night "I'm from a little place called England. We used to rule the world before you". His reaction to the second win ("ah, bookends. you really do need the two. I know what I'm doing, I've been here before") was pretty funny too.
Elijah Wood (who I adore, but still) was pretty funny introducing LOTR:ROTK, just not purposefully. He said something very redundant like "the first time a trilogy has been nominated consecutively in all three years. in a row". Either he couldn't see the teleprompter or whoever wrote that line is really bad.
I was surprised that Fran Walsh was as camera shy as I had assumed (no IMDB picture and she's the only major LOTR player who isn't on any of the interviews in any of the documentaries. Which, since she was the principle writer, is a little weird). I was pretty sure that I was just inventing that about her. Also, I'm pretty sure that if she even went up with them to get the best film prize she hid behind the others (a lousy LOTR turnout, btw, Cate Blanchett joined them on stage, but she was there for Veronica Guerin).
Justin Kirk annoyed me as much as a presenter as he did as Prior (he was one of the few things that I didn't like about Angels in America, but since he had the lead that pretty much ruined the whole thing for me). He was so jumpy and stutter-y...I mean, I know the Golden Globes are pretty much a joke, and the champagne flows liberally...
What was with inarticulate stars? I understand that most of them are too excited or nervous or whatever in the moment of winning, but it's amazing how wildly giggly and fidgety most of them were. I really liked tim robbins' reaction to getting the first award "well, now I can drink". I'm pretty sure that the later winners hadn't held back much.
But wouldn't it have been funny if Tom Cruise had won and had to get the statue from Nicole Kidman? Her "You're not Sean!" to Clint Eastwood--accepting on behalf of the unsurprisingly absent Sean Penn--was pretty funny, and probably not meant to be caught by the mic.
Carson picked J Lo as best dressed, with Nicole Kidman a close second. I can agree with Uma Thurman (3rd best) and Sarah Jessica Parker (4th), but I definitely didn't think J Lo was best dressed, and I hated Nicole Kidman's dress. It wasn't really a dress. And was it just me, or was Diane Keaton wearing her costume from The First Wives Club?
If you are wondering how much of a joke the HFP is, check out this article from the trib.
It's amazing that the early date for the Oscar (leap day!) means nominations will be announced tomorrow. I don't even have to lose my trashy obsession with award shows--I'll be dissecting last night in my head through the nominations, and those too, and then EW will come, and it'll be great. However, the early date for the Oscars means that I will be in tech during the broadcast. I wish I had a TiVo.
Tomorrow it all begins! I'm sad not to be in New England for spectator seat, but hey.
It's supposed to snow on and off all day today. You'd think (okay, I'd think) that would mean it would warm up a little. Nope, still in the single digits pre-wind chill. but the high is 25, which is positively tropical. Oh, and the snow continues tomorrow, except tomorrow it is "snow and wintry mix", whatever that means.
If everybody likes it, it must be bad art, right?
Saturday, January 24, 2004
Some day I'll have a job that I don't have to go to on Saturdays, right?
Leg warmers are amazing. I had been scoffing, but then my co-worker bought me a pair, which she made me wear yesterday. And I'm never going back. When it is as cold as it has been, long underwear and layers of sweaters actually aren't enough, and the leg warmers help a lot.
I got a postcard from the fabulous man who helped me choose my new glasses (which, BTW are awesome). The postcard reads "hey heidi- whoo-hoo you are a new fashion queen in the land of specs! diiiiiiiivine! Thanks for coming in." I'm very amused.
Did they really just realize that there are no WMD left in Iraq?
The GOP read the Dems files, but they think that's ok.
Chicago's Sweet Tooth is Chipped
11 year old girl gives birth
Apple's core: The Mac turns 20
Friday, January 23, 2004
Chicago Reader Guide to Performing arts: minireviews
Reader Review. better than the sun times one, still not brag-agbout-able. BUt then again, they are true, it's not like it's the deepest show ever. It's pretty much just funny. Except when it's touching and/or political.
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Is it Friday yet?
Guys & Dolls at Court last night was, well, fine. Everyone can sing (mostly), they're all pretty, the music and show haven't changed...but the concept for the show is "dark". Which mostly seems to mean that things are slightly slowed down. And the light design is "just barely light enough to see" interspersed with "yellow". It's kind of unfortunate. Granted, I saw final dress and things will still get ironed out into previews, but... There is only so much you can fight the text, and even less far that you can fight the music. It's too up to be down.
Loop fires rules homicides
Art Institute of Chicago Appoints New Director
Garfunkel caught with Marijuana. I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling in this establishment.
I think it's really unlikely to work, but Hynes would be a good home for Boston Ballet
Very interesting arts journal blog by andrew taylor on self-sustaining non-profits.
Apparently Power point is evil. I'm sorry I just found that article (courtesy of the artful manager, linked above), it's kind of satisfyingly great. Especially considering my power-point obsessed teachers.
and, how could I let you go without posting Hedy's review of Sex!? It's awful. And slightly unfair; the reader review still isn't out, which is odd since the paper came out today and the reviewer came last week. Oh well, maybe they're ignoring us.
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Students at CU want to get their professors fired for being too liberal. GOP students launch complaint Web site .
Please hear my crying scream.
Army deployed in beer rescue
America's Best Christian: Mrs. Betty Bowers. Christian Advice and Republican Bush Politics from America's Most Saved Baptist
thanks to Jon for the link. It's amazing.
Monday, January 19, 2004
No more text messages from Jesus - Jan. 19, 2004
Man accused of striking 2 cops with stolen car
Longer `Lion King' run would have paid royally
O'Neill will accept open submissions again after all, but only through 2/6
More proof that musical pedigree runs in the family.
But don't tell my boss. she'll be annoyed that the article only mentions Tina once. It includes this quote, "In fact, no one in musical theater writes from the place Adam does -- that sub-sub-sub-thermal layer he starts from. There's a reason why it takes a long time to write these things. He's pulling stuff up from a place that is primal. And then comes all the honing and polishing and turning it into something that's perfect for the piece itself."
Word on the street is that Light in the Piazza will be good, if a little rough, by opening tonight. Lots of rewrites through previews have left them all a little exhausted. Here's hoping! My tickets are for next week. It's only runninng a month--guess that "mid-season transfer to broadway" is as much a possibility as a hope at this point.
noise legislation in Europe might be bad for Beethoven
the Jerry Springer Opera was nominated for EIGHT Olivier awards
Sunday, January 18, 2004
Ok, I know my last few posts have been link-heavy and light on the other things I blog about. But really, I'm not so self-centered to think that this has been an enormous loss to your worldviews.
A couple of thoughts for the day.
1) Caucuses are really confusing and slightly ridiculous. They may well be forms of "pure" political expression, but if you actually look at the milllions of steps in a caucus it reminds you how arbitrary elections in America can be. And also how confusing the whole system is. Quite frankly, it doesn't really matter who "wins" tomorrow--in a couple months, when Iowa's delegates are actually confirmed, some of the results will most likely have changed.
2) I'm really glad I don't live in an early state. I still have 2 months to make up my mind.
3) Too bad Carol Mosley Braun had all those corruption problems. She's remarkably smart, poised, and honest. But as (some publication I can't remember) said, that has no place in modern politics. Ouch.
4) Meetings that start at 9am on a Sunday are no fun for anyone involved, especially since no one wants to be there and consequently everyone is grumpy.
5) One of my classes divides readings into 3 categories, required, recommended, and optional. Since there are at least 500 pages of readings in the "required" category, who beside the most committed reg-rat will do the rest? Particularly when some of the "recommended" reading is in French? Nothing wrong with French, it just isn't the language we're studying in.
6) Hedy Weiss came to the show Friday night, but no review yet. Jack Helbig of the reader was there last night, but that won't make it until Thursday, if at all.
7) t's bar, at clark and winnemac, serves beer as singles or doubles, mixed drinks as tall or shorts. If you get a double (which is a double pint--or as someone pointed out this morning, a quart), you will feel like a hobbit.
8) The advantage to a 9am sunday meeting? On my way I heard Andy Serkis on NPR. I'd heard most of what he had to say on previous interviews or the extended DVD of LOTR:TTT. However, I had never heard his "Sound of Music" tour as gollum/smeagol impression before. Imagine this in the gollum voice "climb every mountain / shut up". That alone pretty much made the meeting worth it.
9) If you call a meeting for 9am and promise to bring breakfast and coffee for those who are a few minutes early, you should show up early and with breakfast and coffee. Otherwise someone like me will unwittingly walk into a crowd of tired, uncaffeneited, hungry people waiting outside a locked door.
That's it. Back to the grindstone, this is day 2 of my 2-day plan to catch up on 2 weeks worth of work. If you run into me in the next couple of days please don't ask about distributive justice, I might growl.
Spalding Gray is still missing
Friday, January 16, 2004
'Sex!' is an affair that succeeds in a faux-academic way
Pretty good, though it kind of sucks that most of it is about an actress breaking.
Billy Crystal will be back
...to host the oscars
Apparently, according to NPR (and more specifically the Morning Edition Wonderbread rappers--an amazing thing to hear) there are millions of celebrity endorsements for various candidates. Including that ani difranco has endorsed Dennis Kucinich.
What the heck is that about?
American Arts Alliance wants candidates to explain their position
remember, you still have to give $ to your local NPR station
opening last night went well, I'm just glad to be able to sleep it off and go back to my normal routine of just work and school, except, of course, on the weekends.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
New Scientist: The politics of restoration (this time of David)
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
CNN.com - Braun to drop out, endorse Dean - Jan. 15, 2004
Braun to drop out, endorse Dean - Jan. 15, 2004
Do you think that's what she planned all along? to go right up until Iowa and then make a graceful exit? Not an entirely bad strategy, I guess.
Things I love about stage managing:
calling a show out of a nice, clean, well marked book. With nice, organized cue sheets as reference points.
Things I hate about stage managing:
generating a nice, clean, well marked book. Creating nice, organized cue sheets as reference points.
Things that complicate my life even more:
not having a designer
having an ensemble cast as co-designers/directors
manual light boards
cuts after 1st dress
rearranging the order of scenes after 1st dress
anticipating that there will be new music for 2nd dress
having to refocus lights because of the set.
It's 1:30 in the morning. I'm at SQ 35 and LQ 37 (you do the math about simultaneity) in the cue-sheet generating phase. I'll get a new script in my inbox in the morning, and with luck will have time to write the cues in before arriving at the theater for call for tomorrow's runs (one of which will be a preview, effectively).
It's actually a really great show. And it will be short, in fact they're threatening to stop (in the neofuturist aesthetic) if the show breaks 80 minutes. But it's late, I'm tired, and I'm too old for this kind of thing. especially since I have an early meeting at work.
Whine, bitch, moan.
Don't get me wrong. I love it. but right now I'm tired. And sick of typing.
Also, I'm feeling like I need a 3rd arm and second brain. Calling complicated cues is fun. Executing complicated cues is fun. Being the person who does both, a little confusing. Especially those that involve a sound cue coming in while the house lights, (the switch for which is about 2 inches above my comfortable reach) go down (they were up for an audience-participation sequence), the chase lights go on, the set lights go black. and then 5 seconds later I'm in a new light cue that I have to get into the sliders.
If that made no sense, just believe me that it is complicated and requires more rehearsal then I get.
whine, bitch moan. It'll be fine for opening Thursday. It'll be better next week.
Variety.com - 'Taboo' to close Feb. 8
I quote the article: "its failure would appear to be the biggest loss any producer-investor has suffered in the history of Broadway."
The Times article quotes Ms. O'Donnell as saying " `Taboo' was by far the most fulfilling experience of my career". And that, folks, is worth at least $10million.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
Had a whole blog post. Actually it was mostly links. But then the internet done broke on me. And I can't be bothered to re do it all.
The were from the NYT, CNN and the free part of the WSJ. So you can find them.
topics covered included Howard Dean, Wes Clark, a recent poll, Paul O'Neill, Faberge and Forbes (yours for only $18million!) and maybe some other stuff.
oh, and the fact that sometime in the middle of last night my cat took her first foray into ignoring the litterbox for greener pastures...right in the doorway to my bedroom. She is very very very lucky that I missed this when I stumbled out of bed. If I hadn't, she'd be on a plan to LA, poodle or no poodle.
Monday, January 12, 2004
Sorry it has been a while, life and work have been busy.
Little Shop auditions, callbacks, casting and scheduling all went well. We did lose a do-wop girl, but with luck will have a replacement by the end of the day. It all looks pretty good, and now I can stay uninvolved for a couple weeks, as my trusty assistance handles rehearsals. I like that my commitment is two meetings a week plus 4 runs in total before we go into tech.
Taking the Next Step was okay. Our panelists were good, but I heard complaints from the students that there wasn't enought time for anything. Some also complained that they were hoping for more concrete advice about how to get a job after college, but they still have 18 months until they graduate. The keynote speeches were good--one was a little too political for the forum, and the other perhaps a little too humerous, but overall they were interesting and held people's attention, which is really all one can ask for of a 20 minute speech.
Tech for Sex! went well. [aside: I wonder if talking about this show will change the google hits to my blog much...hmmm...probably...]. We didn't have most of the music last night, so I'm a little scared for tonight's run. I suspect it will be hard to juggle. Stupid manual light board. It's not that any of the cues are particularly complicated, they're just simultaneous and I only have 2 hands.
Classes are good, but of course require a lot of work. Especially advanced professional writing. The other one is just readings, and fascinating ones at that.
Can't think of much else to write about, at least not at the moment. I'll be better about posting after the show opens Thursday.
Friday, January 09, 2004
I miss New England sometimes
This courtesy of my friend Jeff... Tax-weary Vermont ski town considers joining New Hampshire
Burger King customers told: 'You are too fat to have a Whopper'
Courtesy of Jon: Burger King customers told: 'You are too fat to have a Whopper'
Thursday, January 08, 2004
I'm a little Brtiney obsessed this week.
Britney's hometown not laughing at 'joke' marriage - Jan. 8, 2004
Pay special attention to the last line.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Am I the only one who thinks "The Producers" is a tad overexposed? Apparently... When You’ve Got It, Flaunt It: Film Deal for ’The Producers’
Despite my personal crusade for better tast, Lloyd Webber leads theatre list again.
But at least Andrew Taylor agrees with my about how cool apple's new toys are.
Kids' books face censorship over gay characters
My Cat Hates You
I've been meaning to link to My Cat Hates You for a while, but keep forgetting. Some of the pictures are amazing, and a story about clementine reminded me of another story about clementine, which reminded me about this site (that made sense to maybe 3 people. But hey, it was for their benefit anyway).
At least I admit when my blog is pandering.
(edited for spelling)
It's too darn cold
Have I mentioned that it is cold?
Subzero before you account for wind chill.
So cold your breath freezes (like in a cartoon!).
I've twice now made the mistake of walking 10 or so blocks in this cold. I had places to go where cars aren't convenient and bus schedules erratic, and walking is my usual habit. Hah. My legs are still cold just thinking about it.
To be fair, I stopped in convenience marts on my way last night. too cold to keep walking, too stuborn to give up, so i bought a lighter.
Aside from the cold, all is good. My classes are pretty cool, though both require a lot of work. My first assignment for "Advanced Professional Writing" is due tomorrow, which really sucks since I have auditions tonight. My Ethics class has already covered technological change and the impact of 9/11 on personal freedom, soon we move on to affirmative action, abortion, cloning, and the redistribution of wealth, to name just a few. Should be fun. The class is too big, and the prof. signed in a few too many unregistered students (it's and econ dept. & business class), so no one talked.
Work is annoyingly busy still. I am pretty sure the next 2 weeks are going to be utter hell, but this too shall pass.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
You are about to be so elucidated on my bagel-buying routine. It's gonna be amazing.
The transformation of the coffee shop in my building into an Einstein Bros. Bagels over winter break filled me with joy. I imagined better coffee, my favorite bagels in Chicago, and the convenience of not stopping on the way to work.
Couple problems with that premise...
First, the training period. The employees of the new shop are the same as of the old coffee shop. And still as incompetent as they were before, despite training in the new brand. They also fail to recognize the Einstein terminology. For example, at my home Einstein you are shunned by the cashiers if you mention "plain bagel with onion and chive cream cheese". They expect you to say "shmear. chive on plain". That phrase gave me some trouble this morning: "you want a what?" (this despite the menu board's typical Einstein declarations of shmears). Furthermore, they haven't got the whole process thing down to a science, though I'm sure this will come in time. At my home location I can walk in, have Jazene say "hey honey, want your usual?" nod, and watch as she calls "chive on plain!" down to the next person, who expertly grabs a bagel, puts it down the chopping chute, catches it, puts it in the toaster, and soon thereafter grabs it, smothers it with cream cheese, drops it in a bag, and hands it to me as I'm finishing paying. Foolproof. My $1.87 well spent (add $1.70 if I get a drink).
This morning at the new location it went something like this: "May I help you?" "yes, shmear. chive on plain please." "you wanna what?" "plain bagel, toasted, onion and chive cream cheese, please" "ok" (pause while he writes this on an order card) "may I have your initials please?" "HT" "okay, step on over". I pay, once the woman at the register has finally located the correct button (this I have sympathy for. It's their 2nd day open, though they have been training for three weeks). I then wait. And wait. Finally the bagel woman says "you wanted what?" I repeat my order, and show her my copy of the useless order form. "oh, here, in the toaster!" She removes a burnt bagel, which I reject (by burnt I mean REALLY burnt. Totally black). We start over. Except, now they are out of plain bagels. "Asiago cheese?" I inquire, in an attempt to imitate Margo. "say what?" turns out they don't have asiago cheese. or any of the "top shelf" bagels. Sigh. I settle on honey wheat (sesame is also sold out). It is toasted properly and then-sacrilege-cream cheese is lumped on one half in a ball, the bagel is squeezed together, rotated in few vicious twists (is that an attempt to spread the cream cheese?) and given to me. I understand why it isn't called a shmear...
I sincerely hope that we work through these growing pains, but at this rate I may say screw the time savings and go back to Jazene.
I'm such a snob.
Monday, January 05, 2004
CNN.com - Britney Spears marriage annulled - Jan. 5, 2004
This is my favorite story in a long time. hee!
CNN.com - Britney Spears marriage annulled - Jan. 5, 2004
Sunday, January 04, 2004
Britney Spears weds childhood friend and US Weekly didn't give me any hint that it was going to happen? What has this world come to?
Ah, vacation. hmm.
The movies: LOTR: ROTK again (awesome, even though my sister found it way too violent). Cold Mountain (pretty damn bad, utterly predictable, melodramatic, and not nearly as good as the book, obviously). Fog of War (Great! And look carefully--the man in profile at the foot of the cuban missile crisis table pictures and then walking behind LBJ in a tape clip is my grandfather). Also saw Under the Sand, which was pretty awful, on DVD. And then with the cold war theme hangover we had to watch Thirteen Days even though it pretty much sucks (but if you listen carefully, when they are talking about firing everybody, bobby Kennedy (I think) says to JFK "leave Neat-ze and Gailbraith in charge...", which validates, Hollywood style, the trauma of my mother's 15th birthday).
The places: Boston, same as always. Aspen, great fun and lots more snow then usual (especially as I tried to leave yesterday. my sister and her husband ended up driving to Denver).
The holidays: Christmas, very traditional, lots of fun, fewer fights than usual (the "which church to go to" fight was solved, unexpectedly, by my brother-in-law who has joined the choir of my stepdad's church). New Year's: in the dead middle of the world. A Beautiful sleigh ride out at 8pm lasted just long enough--when we arrived the "I'm too damn cold" feeling was just beginning to hit. The food ranged from perfectly amazing (the appetizers) to so-so (my overcooked entree), but considering the inaccessibility of the place, that seemed reasonable. And of course there was plenty of wine and champagne and family.
I didn't write Christmas cards this year because I'm a terrible person. So if you are one of the many very lovely people who sent one, I am very sorry not to have responded. Next year.
Skiing was lots of fun. One celebrity sighting (Melanie Griffith), unless the person I told off about cutting the Cold Mountain line was indeed Roy Scheider as I'm afraid it may have been.
My youngest cousin (he's 18 and a freshmen at University of Denver) tore his ACL skiing on the first day, which is no fun. He had to have surgery on New Year's Eve. Double no fun.
My other 18-year-old cousin, actually the oldest son of my oldest cousin (i.e. my first-cousin-once-removed), dropped out of Vanderbilt and enlisted in the Marines--not ROTC, not OCS, straight up and off to basic training. Reasons why are fuzzy, he had gotten into the best frat and seemed to be making friends. His grandparents, my aunt and uncle, suspect there was a little too much partying in his life and he wanted to straighten out. No one thinks it had anything to do with the war or excessive patriotism, and everyone seems a little shocked.
Where is the snow? We were supposed to get 6 inches by morning, nothing doing so far. Sigh.
I still need to unpack and open mail. I was greeted (so sweetly) by flowers and a giant bear with a "welcome home" sign, courtesy of the boy. He'd also made cheesecake, which was in my fridge with a "don't eat me!" sign.
More later, I suppose.