Tuesday, July 31, 2007

media update: July + bonus tsuris

Last night, when I flushed the toilet, it wouldn’t stop running. Okay, no sweat, not like I’ve never dealt with that before. I jiggled the handle vigorously and went back to the living room to watch TV.

Still running.

So I went back to the toilet, picked up the lid, and looked inside to see if the chain dealiemabobber had come loose or something. Nope. I jiggled the handle again, and when it became obvious that I couldn’t do anything else about it, I wrote a note and took it down to the landlady’s office and slipped it in the mail slot.

Can I just mention how FUCKING IRRITATING the sound of a constantly running toilet is? I closed the door and I could still hear it. To add to the joy, the toilet wouldn’t flush either, so it’s a good thing I tend to be on the constipated side. Wouldn’t want to sour my relationship with my new landlady by leaving her a bowl full o’ bowel babies.

Anyway, the rest of the night was uneventful. I ran some errands, I did some cleaning, I read a mediocre book. I stayed up a little later than usual because I was taking the morning off to deal with the internet installation dude.

This morning, at about 8:45, I was awakened to the sound of knocking on my door. I was disoriented as hell, since I’d been in the middle of a dream, and I staggered to the front door just as it unlocked and my landlady stepped in.

I’m not particularly vain, but I was really embarrassed to be seen in such deshabille. I was wearing a really tight shirt with a gold foil print of Foxy Brown on the front and flowered pajama pants. My hair was a tangled mess and I had eye boogers and a truly exquisite drool crust on the right side of my mouth.

“Eeeek!” I squealed.

“I’m so sorry, I thought you’d be at work!” P said. “Do you need me to come back later?”

“No, this is fine,” I said. “I’m usually up and around by now, but I’m taking the morning off for the internet guy.”

Anyway, she fixed my toilet while I hid in my bedroom. She left about ten minutes later, and I emerged to wash up and get dressed.

The Time Warner guy showed up at 11:15AM and promptly said, “Okay, so I’ll install your cable and then do the internet.”

I honestly thought my head would do a Scanners.

“I already told one of your phone reps that I only needed internet,” I said in as pleasant a voice as I could muster.

“Oh, okay,” he said, and got to work.

I’ll spare you the boring details, but let’s just say I still do not have internet. No, apparently there’s some problem that requires a bit of ironing out. They’ll be back on Monday to (HOPEFULLY) get everything taken care of. I already have Monday off, so that’s not a problem, but my god, what does a woman have to do to get some fucking internet already? I can lug my laptop to Whole Foods and take advantage of their free wi-fi, sure, but everybody looks at my screen as they walk by and that bugs the hell out of me. True, I’m not exactly peeping hardcore porn or anything, but I still don’t need the trophy wives of my little burg poking their perky noses into my business. Or I could go to the library, but the odds of getting a computer are always pretty slim, and when I tried to go to Perez Hilton, I got a screen saying it had been blocked for “provocative attire”. (I guess they didn’t have a category called “cum dribbles drawn on with Microsoft Paint”.)

Okay, so that sucked, but worse things have happened. On the plus side, I wouldn’t have to blow an entire vacation day, so I got dressed quickly and headed to work. I scored a nice spot in the covered garage, and I thought to myself, Not too bad…I only had to use three hours of vacation for this foofaraw.

And then I realized that somehow, in the rush to get to work, I LEFT MY GODDAMN PURSE WITH MY GODDAMN GLASSES ON THE GODDAMN COFFEE TABLE.

So I had to go back home and get my fucking purse.

As I drove back to work for the second time in twenty minutes, I took deep breaths and finally calmed down…

…just in time to get pulled over by a cop.

Long story short---and yes, it’s a bit too late for that---I managed to get off with a warning, possibly because I was literally on the verge of tears. And that three hours of vacation turned into four.

And I still don’t have internet.

But after tonight, I might just have a drinking problem.

Enough bitching, and on to the media update. Fear not, Gentle Reader, there are NO spoilers for the last Harry Potter book contained within this entry. In fact, to be on the safe side, I'm not going to say a word about it; I'll only note that I read it.

I'm ashamed to admit how much trash I read this month, but I needed some serious escapism. Work was way busier than usual, and most of my free time was spent either doing things related to the move or finishing the last season of The Sopranos. I know the finale was very hotly debated, but I'm coming down squarely in the "Holy Shit, That Was Actually Really Fucking Brilliant" camp.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans: The narrator is a man who begins going to a therapist to figure out why he's afraid to hold his infant son. He starts thinking back to his childhood, during which he insists he was plagued by a demon...or was he actually losing his mind? I thought this book was pretty meh until I got about fifty pages from the end, and then it started to freak me the fuck out.

2. Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon: This is a ghost story/murder mystery hybrid about a woman who comes home to take care of her mother, and shortly after she arrives, a teenage girl is murdered. The narrator's friend had been murdered in the exact same way decades earlier, so the narrator tries to find the killer. Decidedly mediocre.

3. Whistling in the Dark by Lesley Kagan: During the summer of 1959, two young girls are left to their own devices when their mother is hospitalized and their stepfather turns to the bottle. But there's someone murdering little girls in their Wisconsin town, and the older sister is determined to protect the younger one at all costs. Eh.

4. The Manny by Holly Peterson: A wealthy woman, whose husband is too preoccupied with his job to pay attention to their son, hires a "manny", or male nanny, to keep the boy company. Of course, she soon finds herself attracted to the manny, and complications ensue. It's like injecting cotton candy directly into your brain.

5. The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan: You can totally tell the author was trying to write the Indian version of The Joy Luck Club.

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows* by J.K. Rowling

7. Drop Dead Beautiful by Jackie Collins: Makes The Manny look like Proust.

8. Because She Can by Bridie Clark: A woman begins working for a famous editor (rumored to be based on Judith Regan), and her dream job soon turns into a nightmare when she realizes just how nasty her boss really is. Sounds a lot like The Devil Wears Prada, doesn't it? Well, it's not nearly as good. It's unbelievably predictable, but it has its moments.

9. Party Girl* by Anna David: A woman who loves partying and cocaine winds up in rehab after a particularly grim experience with Special K. When she emerges, newly sober and proud of it, she's offered a dream job writing a nightlife column under the guise of "Party Girl". But when her sobriety starts to interfere with her glitzy job, she has to decide which one's more important. I really enjoyed this book; it can get a bit preachy, but for the most part, it's smart and funny.

10. No One Belongs Here More Than You* by Miranda July: Even though I generally don't like short stories, I wanted to get this because Miranda July wrote, directed, and starred in Me and You and Everyone We Know, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. I'm pleased to say this book did not disappoint. She has some truly amazing turns of phrase, and she is now officially my girlcrush. (Which is, of course, different than a turnable. I don't want to boink her, but I do want to go to the Huntington Gardens tea room with her and have weird conversations that last for hours.)

11. Dedication by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus: A woman gets the chance to confront the man who broke her heart when they were both teenagers...and then went on to become a huge recording star whose biggest hits are all about her. First of all, this book should have ended one chapter sooner than it did; second, I couldn't really get into it because I kept wanting to grab the narrator by the shoulders and shake some sense into her.


1. Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez: The author went to Afghanistan to open a beauty school in order to help women gain some measure of independence. It's a fascinating look into Afghani culture.

2. Train Wreck: The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith by Donna Hogan: I think reading this actually diminished me as a human being.

3. Down the Nile* by Rosemary Mahoney: Man, this chick has stones! She rowed a small boat down the Nile all by herself, encountering creepy fishermen and battling an almost paralyzing fear of crocodiles and scorpions. I found it hard to put down.

4. Behave Yourself! by Michael Powell: An informative guide to etiquette around the world.


1. Better Luck Tomorrow*: A compelling, often funny, occasionally disturbing look at a group of Asian-American high school honor students who get involved in drugs and money-making scams. Imagine a Bret Easton Ellis novel or a Gregg Araki film with half the nihilism.

2. Half Nelson: Ryan Gosling is fantastic as an inner city school teacher battling drug addiction, but I thought Shareeka Epps, as the student who discovers his secret, was almost as good.

3. 1408: A man who writes about supposedly haunted places checks into a hotel room with a dark history. He's unable to leave, and he must find a way to escape while battling supernatural phenomena. I'd say they were borrowing from the plot of Silent Hill 4, but this is actually based on an old Stephen King short story. Not a bad movie, just not as scary as I hoped it would be, aside from one really creepy scene and a couple of cheap jump scares.

4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix*: The book was by far my least favorite of the series, so I wasn't sure what I'd think of the movie, but I really enjoyed it. The ending seemed a bit too rushed to me, but the rest was great. I especially liked the wall of meowing kitty plates in Dolores Umbridge's office.

5. Black Snake Moan: A weird Southern gothic potboiler about a young sex-crazed woman and the older black man who aims to cure her of her sinful ways. Christina Ricci desperately needs a nice sammich.

6. The Host*: Okay, imagine if the cast of Little Miss Sunshine was Korean, and instead of rushing to get their daughter to a beauty pageant, they're rushing to save her from the enormous mutated tadpole monster that's terrorizing Seoul. That's The Host in a nutshell. See it now, before some American studio remakes and ruins it.


1. Make Up the Breakdown by Hot Hot Heat: This album's peppy, 80's flavored songs made it an instant classic in my eyes. My favorite tracks are the organ-driven, jittery "Bandages" and "Oh, Goddammit", which mixes an upbeat melody with rueful lyrics. I have a burned copy of this somewhere, but I can't find it, and I had a sudden urge to hear these songs again. Sorry, guys; you deserved my money a long time ago. Their follow-up album, Elevator, wasn't nearly as good, except for the following three tracks.

2. "Ladies and Gentleman" by Hot Hot Heat

3. "Goodnight Goodnight" by Hot Hot Heat

4. "Soldier in a Box" by Hot Hot Heat