Monday, October 29, 2007

What kind of man would take a job like that?

We had the 1st Annual Jane Rauth Memorial Broadway Show trip yesterday. My mom, my aunt, two of my cousins and their half-sister and I all went into NYC to see "Curtains" with David Hyde-Pierce and Debra Monk.

Can you tell we're related?

It was great for several reasons, not the least of which was just getting out of the house with some other "girls" for a day and talking about girly things. We had dinner at an Indonesian restaurant just up the street from the theater, which was that perfect NY combo of delicious, cheap and exotic. Yay, New York! This is one of the reasons we moved to Princeton, so we 'd have easy access to this kind of stuff.
The show itself was quite good, kind of a classic old-school show-within-a-show musical murder mystery comedy type deal. The cast was excellent - really the only snag was that David Hyde-Pierce has a shockingly bad "Boston" accent. He sounded like he was doing a Sean Connery impression with a mouthful of marbles. But other than that, he was impressive and quite funny - he had a chance to do some of the more Buster Keaton-esque physical comedy that I always thought he excelled at (and was underrated for). (See also: Niles Crane attempting to iron his pants.)

(In case you were wondering, Jane Rauth is my late grandmother, and was always the impetus behind all of our various trips to Broadway - she took me and my mom to see "Les Miserables" when I was 13, and when you've grown up in the barren cultural prairie of Wyoming, a Broadway production on the massive scale of "Les Mis" can really blow your mind. So I've always been grateful that she thought having some fun/entertaining/cultural events in your life was important. [My mom of course felt compelled yesterday to tell everyone else the story of my Broadway de-virginizing, when, as the orchestra struck up the overture at the start of the show, I turned to her excitedly and said, "Mom! It's a live orchestra!" Such is the thrill of the Great White Way when you grow up in a town where Cowboy Poetry passes for culture.])

All in all, an excellent way to spend a lovely autumn afternoon. I will save my rant on the exorbitant prices of Broadway tickets for another time.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quick! Someone call the girl police, and file a report

It is currently 77 degrees here in Princeton, at five o'clock in the afternoon in late October - does anyone else feel that there's something wrong with that? Pumpkins on the porch, leaves on the ground...and shorts and flip-flops on every passerby. Although occasionally I do see someone engaging in what I call "wishful dressing" wearing jeans and a turtleneck, pretending it's autumn and sweating like crazy.

Whew. I'm glad I wrote that last back-to-reality post before I checked everyone else's blogs...Doc Broc's post would have made me a wee bit self-conscious, I think. I don't post those lists to sound cooler than I am*,'s more like, since I consider this blog (and all y'alls blogs) the way that we keep in touch with each other, I like to tell you what I'm up to. And read what you're up to. And then if we've read the same thing or seen the same movie we can talk about it. You know. Connect. Promote interaction. As much as is possible on the web, anyway.

I kind of went on total non-computer status there for a while - didn't read anyone else's blogs, didn't check e-mail, didn't surf the web at all. I'm not exactly sure why...I just needed to disconnect for a while, I guess. These past few months have felt like a sort of time out of time, an extended summer vacation, and the ridiculously warm weather hasn't done anything to disabuse me of that notion. I keep feeling like this life we're living in Princeton is just for now, and that sooner or later we'll have to go back to "real" life, whatever that is. Maybe it's because we lived like that for so long that I expect it to continue, or maybe it's because we're only renting this house so I don't think of it as our "real" house. I don't know. But there's been a feeling of impermanence hanging around me, and I need to take steps to remedy that - start getting involved in life in Princeton in a real way.

*Precisely 19% cool, if you want to know.

And now, a cute Nolan story, apropos of nothing:

Jake (the bigger, male, slightly-less-astonishingly-dumb one of our pair of cats) was having a spazz attack, running around the house in that sudden urgent way that cats have. Nolan was eating breakfast at the table. Nolan says, "Why are you running around, Jake?" and then answers himself as Jake and says, "I'm chasing my tail!"

And another bizarre message has arrived from the outlands of my brain regarding my choice of reading material and inter-arts confusion: I'm reading a book called "The Shadow of the Wind," a sort of gothic, multi-layered book-within-a-book set in Spain around the time of the revolution. It was recommended to me by my mother-in-law, who read it for her book club, and although I normally steer clear of "book club" books and anything that comes with a so-called "reader's guide" in the back, Ann (my mother-in-law) has pretty good taste in books and has recommended some past winners to me, so I'm checking it out. Of course, every time I go to pick the book up and see "The Shadow of the Wind" on the cover, I get the song from Pocahontas stuck in my head, the one that goes, "Can you paint with all the colors of the wind..." but since I never really got into Pocahontas the way I did some of the earlier "new" Disney movies (see also: Little Mermaid, Aladdin, etc.) I don't know the rest of the words to that song, just a vague scrap of the melody, and then that runs over and over through my head and becomes distorted until it further resembles Ronnie Dobbs' plaintive show-stopper "Y'all Are Brutalizing Me" from Mr. Show's second season. And then I start thinking about that episode and how the movie they made from it, "Run, Ronnie Run" (with a guest appearance by Ebony's mayun) never really lived up to the brilliance of that episode, and how some comedy skits should just be left in their short incandescent wonderfulness and not be stretched and tortured into full-length films. Not that anyone from Saturday Night Live would listen to my puny little opinion, and not that I'm not grateful for the sight of Mandy Patinkin, stark naked, singing "Can't a man not control his bitch with violence?," but still. You see where I'm going with this? Neither do I, but it's far, far away from General Franco and the plight of everyday people in war-torn Spain, which is where I started.


Sometimes I worry about me.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Yes, some new Nolan pictures are coming soon. Soon, I tell you!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Everyone goes south every now and then

Howdy, y'all.

No, I'm not dead, everything's fine. I just took a little blog break, that's all. I went through a month or so of thinking, "I really should post soon, it's been awhile" and then another month or so of thinking, "I'd better come up with something really good to post about to break this long silence, to somehow justify my continued absence from the web," and then the pressure (admittedly self-imposed) was too much and I didn't think about it at all.

So now I just thought, "Fuck it, Caroline, just write whatever, jeez. It's only a blog."

So here I am. We are all fine, Nolan's good, KB's good (Happy Birthday tomorrow, Sweetie!), I'm good, Princeton's good.

Things I have discovered in the past two months:

The ocean is a force to be respected.

Skinny jeans are not a trend I want to have anything to do with.

I'm much happier when I don't have to drive, but if we do go somewhere in a car, I wanna be the one driving. I have control issues.

You don't have to be a good gardener to grow good tomatoes.

Watching birds is really quite peaceful and relaxing.

Every home should have a musical instrument or two.

Sometimes it is better to want something but not to get it (a material item, that is, not something like world peace or a cure for cancer.) It keeps you craving and alive. Ditto for being hungry. It's okay to let yourself get hungry every once in a while. You appreciate your food more.

Books I have read in the last two months:

"What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng" by Dave Eggers - Powerful, grueling, humbling and inspirational.

"Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert - Fun and funny, but quite possibly the worst possible book to read after "What is the What" - they are so different; even though both are ostensibly non-fiction, they take place in totally different universes.

"The Book of the Dead" and "The Wheel of Darkness" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child - I used to love these guys; I read "Relic" in one sitting, but lately it seems like they just have a formula and they plug in the old reliable characters, add a dash of supernatural intrigue, and then half-bake the results. Don't know if they're worth my time anymore.

"The Big Girls" by Susanna Moore - I felt the same way I did about "In The Cut" - bleak and thrilling and like nothing else I've ever read.

"The Echo Maker" by Richard Powers - Picked this one up totally at random at the library and got lucky - an interesting amalgam of medical procedural and meditation on the meaning of identity.

"Bad Monkeys" by Matt Ruff - Fun and silly thriller, right up until the final one-twist-beyond ending, when I lost my patience.

"Midwives" and "The Double Bind" by Chris Bohjalian - Eh. Maybe I read them too fast, but I saw the ending coming a mile away in "Bind" and didn't care much one way or the other with "Midwives."

"On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan - Engaging and typical of McEwan, in that he allows his exploration of the innermost thoughts of the characters to comprise the entire story ("novel" is too generous a word for this one), but c'mon: a Booker-prize nominated book about premature ejaculation? Thank goodness it didn't win.

"The Yiddish Policeman's Union" by Michael Chabon - Very good, but not as good as Kavalier and Clay. Again, I suspect I may have read this one too fast.

Movies I have seen in the last two months:

"Michael Clayton" by Tony Gilroy - Amazing and well-written, going to have to see it again. And find the screenplay. So nice not to be condescended to at the movies.

"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" by Shekhar Kapur - Fun costume drama/soap opera. A real "movie" movie. Plus, Clive Owen in a puffy pirate shirt! Alalghalghaglaglllll...

"The Descent" by Neil Marshall - Started out sooo promising, then descended (pardon the pun) into typical schlock horror-gore. Disappointing.

"Raging Bull" by Martin Scorsese (yes, this was the first time I'd seen it) - Not really sure why this is considered such an awesome movie. Awesome acting, yes, but fairly pedestrian as bio-dramas go.

"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" by Shane Black - Pure pulp. Very funny and arch - made me love Robert Downey, Jr. again.

"Hot Fuzz" by Edgar Wright - Not as good as "Shaun of the Dead," but still better than 90% of the straight buddy-cop movies out there. KB laughed his ass off.

"Miller's Crossing" by Joel and Ethan Coen - Excellent, excellent, excellent.

"Richard III" by Richard Loncraine - Interesting adaptation. Ian McKellen kicks ass, of course, but not as revolutionary as I would have thought.

"Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead" by Tom Stoppard (had to make KB watch it) - One of my all-time favorites. Every time I watch it I see new things to love.

"Coffee and Cigarettes" by Jim Jarmusch - Uneven but ambitious. Some of the scenes/skits made me think, "Why am I wasting precious free time watching this?" and I almost shut it off, something I rarely do, but I stuck with it and there were some worthwhile and funny bits, too.

So. Yeah. That's what I've been up to.

That and looking at real estate porn. Never in a million years would we be able to afford that house, not even when (if) KB makes partner and is making the "big bucks," but I love looking at it. I (heart) that house.

How are you?

Thanks for reading.