Friday, August 20, 2004

I'm a little out of sorts today. Penelope (my cat, for those of you keeping score at home) is spending the night at the vet. Nothing too serious--she's constipated, apparently--but as you might imagine, just seeing enough of a behaviour change to warrant my taking her to the vet in the first place was pretty upsetting to me. Having her stay overnight... The house just feels completely empty when she isn't here. Hopefully, things will get moving overnight, and she'll be able to come home tomorrow. We'll see.

Also, yesterday was the going away party for a librarian friend of mine. (This would be professional friend, rather than social friend, but still...) This is a woman I have a lot of respect and admiration for, who served as something as a role model for me. Twice in recent memory, I was feeling pretty frustrated at work, and talking to her managed to get me through that. I should look at her leaving as a positive thing--it's not one less librarian I know here, it's one more library branch manager I know in Oregon, and it increases the circle of my professional contacts, blah blah blah--but it isn't the same. But that's all selfishness, really. It's sad for me that she's leaving Las Vegas, but it's to be the branch manager of a library in Oregon, which is a great career move for her, and they're really lucky to have her. And I'm lucky for the chance to get to know her, so I am grateful for that.

Watched Lost in Translation last night. Like Punch Drunk Love, I can see this being the sort of movie that people would either love or hate. It stars an actor--Bill Murray--who brings so much baggage just by being in a movie, it's rare to hear it judged on its own merits. This one, for example, always seems to be described as the change of pace Murray film, or his art-house movie, or whatever. Me, I loved it. I'm not a big fan of the traditional relationship movie, but I do enjoy these sorts of brief encounter films, (see also Before Sunrise; not sure the sequel to that one even turned up in local theaters). It is nice to see Murray playing a different sort of role, and he does a great job. Which is no surprise; being a fine comic actor means you have to be a fine actor, and it's not really his fault that he rarely gets a chance to play anything else.

And it should come as no surprise that I'm completely in love with Scarlett Johanssen at this point. (Heck, I bought Perfect Score, for crying out loud.) We can only hope, with the delays, she'll still be in Mission: Impossible 3.

I was also impressed with the use of Tokyo as a character. Just like with shows like Boomtown and movies like Heat, there should be a reason for setting a story in a particular city. You shouldn't just be able to say it's LA and shoot everything in Toronto or New Zealand and get away with it. And if a story is going to be set in a specific city, then the story needs to justify why it chose this setting, and not some other one. With Lost in Translation, the characters needed to be in a foreign environment, one that is flashy and high-tech and somewhat impersonal, in order to draw them together to make the personal connection that forms the core of the movie.

And I don't feel like writing any more, because I just stepped away from the computer and walked down the upstairs hall. Out of habit, my eyes automatically glanced to all the places Penelope usually sleeps, and when I realized what I was doing, I remembered that she wasn't there, and won't be here all night. And that's pretty upsetting. This will actually be the first time in a number of years that I've been in my own home at night without her, and I'm not happy about that at all. And I'm doubly not happy because she's out for health-related reasons. So I'm going to stop writing now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

According to, Alias star Jennifer Garner is single again.  Apparently, she and costar Michael Vartan, who plays her love interest on the show, have split up.  Which is really, really surprising, because whenever I hear that two people who play lovers on a TV series or movie have become a couple in real life, I know it must be honest to goodness true love, and not them getting their emotions at all confused with playing lovers all day at work.
Please.  It's called acting, kids.
I call dibs.
And on last night's episode of The Amazing Race, cousins bitchy Mirna and little person Charla were eliminated.  Charla gave a heartwarming speech about how little people have to work twice or three times as hard to prove that they are capable, and you could see that host Phil was about to bust out crying.  To be honest, I didn't particularly want to see them win--Mirna is too much of a bitch, to be honest--but they had personality.  The remaining teams... they're just not as much fun to watch.  Still in the lead are Colin and Christie, the "dating couple," who are probably yuppie scum.  They stand the best chance at winning, but I just don't like them.  Also still in the race are Brandon and Nicole, the Christian "Dating Models."  That pretty much says it all.  There's supposed to be some sort of blow up for each of those teams next week, according to the previews.  Also still in the running: Chip & Kim (married parents from LA), Karli and Kami (the clueless twins), and the Bowling Moms, whose names escape me.  As the field narrows, my guess is the next team to go will be the twins, who seem to have managed on good luck, and by not being quite as hapless as the other teams that have been eliminated to date.  The Bowling Moms are also going to need to sharpen up their skills to stay in the running.  No, I suspect it's going to come down to Colin & Christie vs Chip & Kim.  Though I could be wrong...

Monday, August 16, 2004

Oh, and I wanted to see Thunderbirds on Saturday, and it's already out of the theaters.


I mean, I didn't think it was going to be great. I just wanted to see the ships zipping around on the big screen. And now I won't be able to, and I'm so bummed, I don't really want to see anything else, either.

Screw 'em. I'll buy the DVD. Won't be the same, but at least I'll be contributing to making that a success.

I mean, freaking Catwoman is still in theaters, for Grudd's sake.
So here was a weird phenomenon last night: I had to go out to pick up my pill refill, and decided to grab something to eat. There's a gas station near the pharmacy, with a quickee-stop type market and a Jack in the Box attached. So first I went into the store to buy a Yoo-hoo, which costs 99 cents. I give the clerk a dollar, she takes it, puts it in the drawer, and shuts it. And that's it. So I ask for my change, because even though it's just a penny, she owed it to me, and she says, "Oh, did you want it?" Like it's her decision, her call to make or something! So, of course, I said yes, and she opened the drawer and gave it to me. (And if she hadn't just assumed that I didn't want the penny, I probably would have dropped it in the "leave a penny" dish. But since she didn't even do me the courtesy of asking, of course I wanted it. Because giving customers back their change isn't, in fact, a freaking option.)

So then I go into the restaurant and order a burger, which costs $3.21. So I give the woman a five dollar bill, and she rings it up as $5.21, and gives me two dollars back. So I point this out to her, and she is convinced that I gave her 21 cents. Which I didn't, and I tell her so. So she takes one of the dollars and gives me 80 cents back. So now I'm up a penny. And I'm thinking that maybe I need to be paying for stuff with exact change, because clearly, this is something people are having trouble with.

Change! It's the new "Would you like a box for that?"

And I just read that the new Alias DVD set, the forthcoming third season, is going to have a seven-minute animated featurette. Which is quite cool, but also quite weird. It's like everything gets some sort of animated companion any more: Riddick, Van Helsing, and now Alias.