Sunday, June 29, 2008

Everyone agrees that...

In terms of movies made in 2002, Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her is better than Tom Tykwer's Heaven.

Totrilla española is tastier than potato pancakes.

If I wanted to leave tomorrow and come back in a week, Orbitz indicates that it will cost me $2000 less to fly Iberia to Madrid than it would for me to fly Lufthansa to Berlin (or, actually, Madrid).

Hm. Movies. Food. Flights. Soccer.

Yep, Spain is better than Germany.

(yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!! sorry, Hausfrau, but that was one heck of a game!)

Sunday, June 22, 2008


YES!!! (Have I mentioned that I'm a fan of the Spanish national team? With Turkey down several players in the semi-final against Germany, Spain only needs to get through Russia to get to the final. And then, the husband of the Desperate Hausfrau and I can definitely start the trash-talking...)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

With the family out of town...

...I've naturally taken to watch some porno.

Particularly, you know, if said porno features Isabella Rosselini. And an impish grin. Meow.

(Hat tip to Stinkylulu! This turns out to be great stuff for my fall course...)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Nothing beats a great pair of legs

My students hate the "Broadway Melody" sequence. Every time I show Singin' in the Rain (which is practically every semester, since it is a great film to reference throughout any film course), I always brace myself when we get to the big number about three-quarters' through the film. It stops the plot dead with absolutely no relevance to what has come before and it will take about 17 minutes for us to return to the story at hand. No matter that this was the reason why audiences went to see the film back in 1952, my students generally hate the sequence.

But oh, those legs. No one can deny those legs.

Every time I see Singin' in the Rain -- which, between my classes and my son, is often -- I still get chills every time those green-clad legs come on screen. I remember that even as a kid, I was mesmerized by those legs. Cyd Charisse never says a single word and yet, in this spectacle-within-the-film, she has a brilliantly executed character arc, created only by dance. And while the movie isn't done in widescreen, Charisse's stretched legs certainly makes it seem otherwise.

Charisse's passing follows the other greats from the film: Lina Lamont (1977), Don Lockwood (1996), Cosmo Brown (2003); only spunky Kathy Seldin remains with us. Each one dancing into the afterlife makes me thankful for the wonderful world they left behind. Mme. Charisse, you will be missed.

Wednesday Whyning 2 (now with added mooning!)

It has been hot around here. Like good American consumers that we are, we bought a cheap inflatable swimming pool (made in China, natch) for all of us to cool off with in the backyard. Last week, Xan had returned from school, only to remove all his clothes to throw himself with wild abandon into the pool. We are, needless to say, not exactly the most modest of families.

I had been cooking, realized the rest of the family was home, and went outside to say hello. This included a trip to the aforementioned pool.

"Daddy, I want you to take off your clothes and come into the pool."

Hm. Yes. Well. I did say the whole family is like this, and back in the day when it was hot and Xan and I stayed home together (before school), there were many celebrations of Naked Boy Day. (I used to have a posting about this, but I have no idea where it went...) "I'm sorry, Xan, I'm cooking. I can't take off my clothes and come into the pool right now."

"Why can't you take off your clothes and come into the pool?"

I decided to tell him the truth. "Because there are laws against Dada taking his clothes off outside where the neighbors can see him."

Oddly enough, he accepted that idea.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

15 years from now, this posting would probably show up on Facebook titled "After the first frat party"

Angela and Xan left last night for the road trip to Cape Cod, with an overnight pit stop in New York. The trip was uneventful and actually fun for everyone involved. (If I'm not mistaken, Angela has not had quite the solitary summer road trip experiences with Xan -- with optional emergency issues -- that I have had in the past.) They arrived without incident early this afternoon and he took one look at the grandparents' backyard, said "I need to mow," and clicked back into his summer groove. Apparently, he has also managed to completely scrape up one knee less than 6 hours after arriving. Beautiful.

After putting him to bed and checking her email in another part of the house, Angela went to check on Xan in his bed as she normally does. She fumbled around in the bed for a little while in the dark . . . only to discover that he wasn't there. For a moment, she got confused and a bit worried, wondering if he had perhaps gone in with his grandmother? maybe? did I put him here?

And then she heard some light snoring coming from elsewhere in the room.

At which point she found the boy in the following position:

Naturally, the whole family was called to witness this. Many photographs were claimed to have been taken. A beer was almost placed into his hand. Please make note of the seeming cat-skin hat perched on his head: to get the full effect, you must also know that the kid-snores were accompanied by the obsessively purring cat (not Vega; this is good ol' [friendly] Cous-Cous).

Angela called me about this. How can he sleep like that? she asked incredulously. I really don't know what you mean, I replied, but he sure looks like a drunk frat boy to me.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A new set of eyes

I was perfectly happy with the old blog template, having had the same (Dots Dark) since the beginning with only a few modifications. Then Angela told me, luddite that I am, about RSS feeds to manage blog-reading more efficiently. I then discovered I could post the feeds on here, simply by adding a new form of a blog-roll. Neato.

Doing so, however, threw my whole template out of whack. Primarily the picture of Xan's eyes, which were now floating in Nowheresville instead of over the blog title, like I originally had it. And no matter what I did, I couldn't get it back to the way I had it.

Basta, I said, it's time for a slightly more radical change.

Truth be told, I really didn't care for many of the other template choices. It's the first time I've been peeved by blogspot for screwing up my original format. I was annoyed by the one I finally settled on as well, since it had this random orange star right at the top.

That is, until I discovered I could simply cover it up with a banner.

I think it will take getting used to seeing my blog this way, but change can be good. Tell me if you think agree that change is good (bonus points if you can identify the other set of eyes). Who knows: I might even post more often.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sick day

Xan had a 102-degree fever today, which pretty much matched the weather outside. Luckily, celebratory revelry this weekend forced us to bring down the giant air conditioner, thus the boy was able to exist in relatively cool temperatures. We'll see where he's at tomorrow.

Since he was a baby, however, living with fever basically means one thing: he becomes the Cling Monster. A parent going to, say, the refrigerator to get him some orange juice is taken as if the limbs of his favorite stuffed animal have been ripped off. (Going to the bathroom? Forget it.) Basically, the entire day he wants to be held, even if it's ridiculously hot between the weather and his feverish body. On the plus side, this activity is a relatively good indicator of whether he's better because then he wants to, you know, play or stand up by himself or something. On the minus side, until the fever is past, there is no plus side.

Like I said, this has been this way since he was a baby. Sucker that I am, I give in to whatever he wants when he's sick, to my own detriment. Case in point: my lunch today consisted of some crackers with hummus that I managed to shove into my mouth before my lap was demanded in a pathetic whimper.

By dinnertime, he felt much better. As we were eating, however, Angela observed with bemusement that I was still in my bathrobe, having never made it to the shower. (Don't think she got off too easily today: as her bike was stolen late last week, we replaced it over the weekend; as this bike wasn't quite up to speed, however, she spent roughly an hour and half at Target this evening trying to return it.)

Xan, who was polite all day today (!), asked to be excused from the dinner table. He scampered off a little and I finally relaxed a bit. "I noticed you're still in a bathrobe," Angela said, bemused.

"Yep," I replied. I jerked a thumb toward Xan's favorite tiger and affected a Marshall Dillon accent. "Me and Tigeroo have been clutched to all day long. First moment we've had free pretty much all day. I'm thinkin' he and I should go for drinks."

"There's all that margarita in the fridge."

Oooh, indeed there was! Someone brought over a gigantic vat of margaritas, mixed nice and strong, over the weekend. (Really tasty.) Surprisingly, we hadn't finished it all yet. "I think that's a great idea!"

She poured a glass, stepped back and laughed. "This would make a great picture. You could post about how you deal with a sick day."

I laughed. "Go get the camera."

Who needs a shower when you have tequila?

Friday, June 06, 2008

The terrible threes(ome)

M is a sweet and pretty little girl at Xan's school who apparently is relatively shy and reserved, often plays by herself.

That is, unless my son is involved.

Xan had a hitting incident with me this morning (for which he was reprimanded with some stern words and a three-year-old lecture on the perils of hitting, particularly the perils of hitting me). When I brought him to school, another kid came up to hit him while I was there. I was proud that he didn't hit back right away and mentioned this morning's incident to one of his teachers. "Oh yeah," she said, "it's his new thing, the hitting. He's definitely in that rambunctious phase." We've known this for a while: don't let anyone tell you anything about the "terrible twos," which I now think is a completely myth -- it's the threes you have to worry about (and Ange's Mom said she was the worst at four so I guess it could get worse). His teachers mentioned, however, that this new bravado turned out to be a good thing in another way: apparently, his current wild-man phase has been pulling M out of her shell a bit, since she adores him and will happily follow him around, even doing some naughty things herself because he did them. This is actually a good thing for her, according to the teachers, since they would like her to mix things up a bit. So while they are not letting him get away with everything, secretly they are pleased about the residual effect on M.

Anyway, Xan went over to M's house yesterday for a play date after school and they had a great time. This evening was the school potluck and M's mother sat next to me while the kids were supposed to be doing this group exercise thing in the campus amphitheater; my kid, meanwhile, was running around the back part of the plant area. "Look," M's mother said, pointing to her daughter who was running after him with the biggest grin on her face. "She is so smitten with him. I think she has a crush."

I had seen this a little earlier, when the two of them went off together to play on the playground and then she followed him to the tricycles. He had pedaled away and she was standing there. "Would you like to ride as well?" I asked her. She shook her head and said simply, "I don't know how to ride the tricycle yet." (This is totally understandable: Xan has only just learned, and through much determined effort because of his neverending obsession with wheels.) I watched him ride away with me and her standing there, looking after him. And she had that look in her eyes that said, Wow, he is just so cool. I thought to myself, Oh my goodness, I think M totally has a crush on my kid. This is so freaking adorable. Except, male that he is, he isn't really noticing at all. Typical guy.

I mentioned some of this to M's mother, who laughed. I looked back at the kids and at M running after Xan, trying to get his attention. But at that point, I noticed he was doing the same thing -- only not with M. I turned to M's mother and said, "M may have a crush on Xan, but right now it looks like Xan has a crush on R" -- one of the twin boys in his class, who Xan was indeed chasing after and imitating, no matter than R was trying his best to ignore him. In an exact parallel of what was happening with M.

For a moment, I realized with some surprise that this was mimicking the plotline of Threesome, a movie with Lara Flynn Boyle, Stephen Baldwin and Josh Charles that isn't all that great but that I still have an affection for, maybe because in 1994 I identified with it a bit too much when I saw it (and that is all of that story any of you people need to know, thank you very much). Still, all we need is for R to have unrequited affection for M, and then they go to college and...

No, no. No.

Still, it's incredibly cute to see what seems to be the first crush. (Just don't tell Jolie. Seriously. M doesn't stand a chance.)

Attention: Worlds officially colliding

Buffy_lI read Entertainment Weekly's Popwatch blog semi-religiously. It keeps me in touch with what's happening in pop culture, it occasionally has some great things to dish about and it produces America's Next Top Doll, which makes me bust a gut every time.

Today, they brought up the Slayage Conference on the Whedonverse happening right this second in Arkansas. This is a fab conference, with lots of really fun Buffy geeks. I should know: I went to the first one in Nashville several years ago. I'm even an official "Buffyologist" since the paper I presented there subsequently was picked up and published in Slayage. And yes, it's part of the scholarship material of my tenure file (which, incidentally, went to outside readers this morning). I am very proud of my little piece on the treatment of race in the American musical genre and "Once More (with Feeling)" I am also particularly proud that one of my graduate students is there right now (hi, Lauren!) and can't wait to chat with her about her experience.

But I digress: back to Popwatch. I decided to leave a comment on the article earlier in the day. I checked back again tonight, just to see what else had been posted about the conference. And in the comments, I discovered the following comment left by someone named Alissa:

Middento is a professor at my school. This popwatch comments section has become too surreal.

Ah, the 'verse is small indeed. Not to mention surreal.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The birth anouncement

Please welcome the birth of Writing National Cinema: Film Journals and Film Culture in Peru, which will be published by the University Press of New England sometime in 2009. The author, Jeffrey Middents, reports that he is exhausted but doing fine.

O Happy Day!