Sunday, August 27, 2006

In England

It's odd that a place so familiar can at times seem so alien; a place that has been home to me on and off since childhood and that smells and tastes so familiar can still be so foreign. And so, because it takes me a couple of days to get in the swing of things, I must do the following for the first few days...without fail.

KEEP LEFT. This is imperative and I really musn't forget to do it. My drive to Eastbourne (my Mother's home) from Heathrow was uneventful, which is a fabulous thing. The roads were surprisingly unbusy and I was able to keep foremost in my brain, LEFT LEFT LEFT. Pretty soon, I was even bold enough to fiddle with the radio knobs. I was also able, pretty soon, to smack my forehead in disgust as I remembered I'd left the CDs I'd really wanted to bring, back in Topanga.

LOOK RIGHT. That's what you must remember to do when you step off the curb. I remind myself of an ad that was on the telly (yikes, I really am in England) when our children were small. It said, "Look right, look left, look right, think bike." The ad was born in an attempt to save motorcyclists and cyclists from over-anxious drivers of the four-wheeled ilk and I used it to remind my kids to look both ways not just once, but one more time as there could be a cyclist who ran them over if they didn't. Now I use it to remind myself not to step off the curb after just looking left, as you do in the States.

JUST SAY NO. I'm trying but will most likely fail to just say no to all the familiar flavours (see, I'm spelling like Mummy taught me to spell) that I miss so much and love so dearly. I feel like Homer Simpson eyeing sausages and sweets and fish and chips. Just going out for a power walk with my octogenarian Mum. She'll straight me out!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Off to Blighty

Yippie! Virgin said I could bring my laptop on board with me. Will try and blog from my Mum's house in Sussex. Dial-up. Patience required on many fronts.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

La Moustache

Himself and I are pretty much always up for a movie, unless of course we've ordered it from Netflix, in which case it will sit next to the television for months since neither of us is up for The Sea Inside (I know, I know, it's a wonderful film but he is a quadriplegic and the whole idea make us both just so sad) or The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Apalachia (again, uplifting, I know, poverty and hard times, worth watching, I KNOW so stop staring at me like I'm a snob). See, these are winter movies and I'm returning them today, for sure, so we can get something more uplifting from our queue. So, within the next few days we should get The Wedding Crashers, A Very Long Engagement and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. And we WILL watch them within the week.

So, when Himself asked me to the movies a few days ago, I was up for a movie. I checked out the closest Laemmle since there's always a film playing there that I want to see and I decided that this particular French flick sounded perfect. It couldn't have sounded more perfect with words like Kafkaesque and Hitchcock bandied about in the same rave review. So we went to see La Moustache. Haven't seen it yet? Don't worry, it will be available at Netflix within the week, I'm sure. These are the reviews that had me almost running to the cinema in excitement:

  • A paranoid thriller in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock (Chicago Sun Times)
  • A feast of sustained tension (Variety)
  • A mini masterwork (Village Voice)
  • Hitchcockian (New York Times)
Couldn't get there fast enough...and then I wasn't thrilled, tense or weirded out in a Hitchcockian manner. Not one time. Not ever. And a mini masterwork? Who are these reviewers?

Here's the Wikipedia synopsis.


'La Moustache' opens with Marc Thiriez, a middle aged Parisian, asking his wife if he should shave off the moustache he has sported for most of his adult life. His wife, Agnes, wryly comments that she wouldn't recognize his without it, yet as she leaves Marc shaves the moustache off. Upon her return, Marc asks his wife if she notices anything. She does not respond. A day passes and he then asks his wife is she has noticed that he has shaved off his moustache. She tells him that he hasn't had a moustache in years. What follows is a moment of catharsis-Marc is told that his father is dead, that his best friends do not exist, and he soon learns that his wife wants to have him institutionalized. In a moment of panic, Marc flees the country and travels to Hong Kong.

The movie's resolution is unclear, as is the movie itself. La Moustache captures an element of suspense, though the actions and plot are ambiguous. Many critics have said that the film's events are not literal, but metaphorical and are symbolic of Marc's loss of identity (of a possible Mid-life crisis).

I'm not a complete dolt, but when the actions AND the plot are ambiguous, well, it's hard to sit on the edge of one's seat. And Himself didn't mind going back for a refill on the bathtub-sized tub of popcorn in the middle of an 'exciting' scene. That's how exciting it was.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blogher '06

Lots of beautiful women, most of them young and with infectious energy. Lots of laughter, sidelong glances, computer envy, shoe envy. I got past all the shoe envy by wearing my havaianas or my support flip-flops at all times.

While Blogher was a good time, and I did learn a few things which isn't surprising, considering how little I actually know, I think I had the most fun just hanging with my friend, Betsy. There's something rather special about roadtripping women. When you travel with a girlfriend, these are the things you don't worry about:
  • Being lost
  • San Jose Grand Prix fucking up traffic everywhere
  • The time
  • The cost of anything

But you care about the following:

  • Coffee breaks
  • Lunch breaks
  • When's dinner
  • The view out the window
  • Getting together with friends in Pasa Robles

And guess what...Betsy's going to have a blog. Two to be precise.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cell Block 6

As Betsy and I approached Building 6, I commented that it looked like a college dorm (at a sub-standard school). Walking into our hot, sweetly-sick smelling room, the ripped curtains were our first clue that this Hyatt San Jose was different to any other Hyatt I'd ever been in before. We pulled the curtains back, allowing the full glory of the room to be revealed. Thumb-sized gouges had been scooped out of the desk and the bedside table. I looked at Betsy and shook my head to the negative. This would not work.

We wandered down to the front desk where I had a quiet chat with the nice Hyatt lady. She seemed to understand me so easily and the fix was so quick that I almost had the impression that they were waiting for us to complain. She said there were two available rooms overlooking the main courtyard and I took the first one offered with the understanding that if it wasn't okay, I'd check out the other. The room was fine. The furniture was in good nick, the bathroom clean and the beds were deliciously comfortable and we had a balcony.

Next day Blogher.