Sunday, February 13, 2011

Canned dispatches from spam bots ...

So what the hell happened this past week? Who knows because I can neither prove nor disprove it with the aid of a hand held internet device. I'm on Day 4 of no iPhone and I'm trying to convince myself this is a nice vacation from the world, but really the list of things I want to cross reference while I'm reading/watching TV/having a conversation is overwhelming. It's like having half my brain tied behind my back. Not to mention the volumes of people who probably think I've punked out of our game of Words with Friends.

Meanwhile, according to FedEx's website, my new phone is sitting at their facility! No one wins under these conditions.

***

The Pista parents were in town this weekend. We went out to dinner last night:
Pan-seared scallops with cider-dijon cream sauce, grilled asparagus spears and risotto. I traded the asparagus spears for Ma Pista's sauteed Brussels sprouts. I liked it all a lot.

Then we all went to breakfast today, where I introduced them to the wonder that is the scotch egg.

I found something that has helped me get through those predictable pokes about how Chuck and I aren't married. I just repeat the mantra: You, Pista, are a middle-aged woman and can simply file your mother's lifestyle critiques like it is a canned dispatch from a spam bot. You're allowed to do that.

***

I have a lot of deep thoughts about this past week's episode of "Jersey Shore" -- which I have watched twice and would have no qualms about watching again.

Here is the stuff I did this past week.

MOVIE
Pulse: Despite the fact that "Japanese" and "horror" are my favorite two-word descriptor, I just could not get into this early 2000s cautionary tale about the alienation of the internet. (The evil comes through the tubes to getchya!) People get wonky, then kill themselves, leaving behind a weird shadow smudge on the wall. However. In the aftermath of seeing this movie, I've been freaking the eff out. Immediately after watching it, I went outside. It was well after midnight, and a dark figure was wandering aimlessly half a block away. Since the person? didn't seem to be scooting in a specific direction, and looked a lot like a shadow, I was in full horror mode. Other places where I have seen weird shadows: Out of the corner of my eye; Standing next to my car. So fine, Japan. You win again.

Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff + Robert Mapplethorpe: Oh, documentaries. This one is billed as the story of how curator Sam Wagstaff, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith influenced the NYC art scene in the 1970s. But it's really not about that at all. It's about the freakishly good-looking Sam Wagstaff's genius eye and genius artistic impulses and his manic quest to collect. And then there is a little bit on Mapplethorpe, including a woman shrieking about how Sam Wagstaff was used! used! by that hustler Robert Mapplethorpe with blurbs from Patti Smith talking about hanging out with Sam and Robert in a way that makes it all sound pretty freaking fun. So the whole thing is a little disjointed, and doesn't do what it is blurbed to do, but is fascinating nonetheless.

Of Human Bondage: I had no idea that Bette Davis was such an annoying actress. She portrays the evil user waitress, perpetual disser of Philip Carey like she's got a bad case of the yips. Plus, this version lops off the first 300 pages of the book where a lot of my favorite things happen. Still, I couldn't stop watching. So there.

BOOKS
Popular Hits of the Showa Era: A Novel by Ryu Murakami: I think I have read enough Ryu Murakami at this point to safely call myself a connoisseur without sounding like too much of an asshole. This Japanese horror writer always manages to tickle my gag reflex or give me school bus giggles. He is lurid. He is inventive. He is hilarious.

However, if I wasn’t a Murakami-sseur, I’m not sure his novella Popular Hits of the Showa Era, most-recently translated to English, would inspire the sort of “supple undertones, oaky aftertaste” style of fandom I’ve developed. In fact, I’m not sure I’d bother following his career. Luckily, I count his novel In the Miso Soup among my favorite books of all time and was appropriately stunned at the first sentence of Coin Locker Babies so I know how to sift out the moments of gold in this sort of crudely-drawn semblance of a story well enough to consider it a fine read.

Full review here

Of Human Bondage (Modern Library Classics)by W. Somerset Maugham: an orphan with club foot who drops out of school, tries his hand as an accountant (badly), decides to become an artist (mediocre), then moves on to med school (off and on) all while the wrong women get nutso futso for him and the one he wants hangs around until her wardrobe is updated and she’s been distracted by some new eye candy. He tries to shake her from his craw. Every once in a while things go his way. It’s also about shedding organized religion and the powerful hold money has on a person. It’s about love and like-but-not-love and it’s about the changing topography of a person’s social circle.

Full review will be here

What I'm reading right now: Just Kids by Patti Smith. I'm totally sucked in, just like the Rock Star Amy Abts predicted.

2 comments:

futbol said...

wonderful simile. i think i'm going to try to write something about all the ways in which moms are like spam bots. i'll give you proper credit.

Sproactually said...

Marriage is over rated, and personally, I feel a dying and unnecessary institution.

If your not married you can pack your bags at will and leave. It's almost as once your married, you have a license to stop respecting each other. So you actually work at maintaining your relationship because it is something you want, vs. something you have.

This of course from someone that is very happily divorced going on 16 years.