1: "(reading) maul: to injure by a rough beating. because, see, also a heavy hammer. so technically you could be mauled by a shark..."

2: "with a hammer?"

01.29.09: the dirty dozen, part I {open & close}

01 academy award nominee rental #1: the visitor (directed by tom mccarthy, better known to me as scott templeton, the jayson blair-ish sun reporter from the wire). really more of a comment on foreign policy and a character study than a movie: it's about an angst-ridden college professor who bonds with a syrian immigrant in the east village. the dramatic arc is super-predictable, but richard jenkins is very sweet as he falls in love with the djembe, and the film does a serviceable job of making me feel guilty about taking new york city for granted (though i, too, get excited when i take the staten island ferry; next to showering, taking ferries could be my favorite free thing to do). i have three best actor performances yet to see, but i can at least stand by my call about brad pitt losing; i think jenkins mops the floor with him with a similar, restrained acting style. the visitor is a solid rental, especially if you feel strongly about african music (wabes, i'm of course looking at you). next up: vicky cristina barcelona.

02 via loobylu, the guardian's 1000 novels everyone must read. i tweeted about this yesterday,* but it continues to fascinate me: is it true that i must read three ian fleming novels and only one by david foster wallace? is it more important to read neil gaiman's american gods than it is to pick up some of sandman? should i have given myself partial credit for the books i began and discarded (15 in all)? if the english like stephen king so much, can we just give him to them? so many questions.

03 we bought art, hooray! we've been trying to buy art since august, what with our theory that instead of gifting each other for birthdays, christmas, and all kinds of silly things, we should just combine occasions and get a painting or some such once a year for our anniversary. said art is a big step for us, as we rarely purchase works that aren't green, music-related, or, like, robots; it's terribly exciting.

04 i got word earlier this week that my Official Blog will be, well, dying at the end of the month. nothing to do with me, i'm told; in fact, i've been encouraged to contribute elsewhere in months to come. i'm glad for the other opportunities, but internets, i liked this one. alas.

*and got my count wrong, actually: i've read 108.

01.27.09: frak.

it's been a bit more than a week since we relocated our microwave and toaster oven to the appliance morgue beneath the trash chutes next to our building.* we've done pretty well without the toaster oven, i must say; it might get hectic the next time we need to, like, toast some pine nuts, but we're not big bagel people (read: i love bagels so much that it's safer for everyone to keep them out of the apartment), and i think we could broil something in the oven if we wanted it badly enough. i thought we weren't big microwavers, either, but i was oh so wrong: while we don't zap much frozen food, we do make big sunday night batches of dinnerish stuff (chili, soup, lentils) that need to be coaxed back to the world of the living during the week. i tried playing the tough guy and eating cold chili after work last week and it nearly killed me, man.

so we're in the market for a microwave. in the course of our search, we've learned that microwaves, like americans, are a lot bigger than they were a decade ago; most microwaves are butt ugly; the 29th result for "microwave oven" on amazon.com is an episode from the fourth season of bones; and it's really hard to shop for microwaves online.** you have to be able to slam the door, beep-boop the buttons, all that good stuff.

we know that we want something big enough to fit a dinner plate, probably stainless steel, hopefully not gigantic. futuristic, but in a retro way (a '78 cylon centurion, if you will - not a reimagined one***). have you seen that sort of microwave in your travels, internets? if you like the one you have at home, does it have a sister (that is, would you recommend your model)?

*i'd feel guilty about that, but both of them still worked, technically; if the microwave in particular could make it from an anonymous hallway to our friend tony's place however long ago, and then from tony to us in 2003, i think it will find a new host (in both senses of the word) without trouble. also, let's all ignore how i just told you our microwave came from a hallway.

**harder than shopping for skinny jeans online, and how is that possible?

***translation: NO POPCORN BUTTON.

01.22.09: my bologna has a first name

i can hardly describe the mellow yet formidable southern californian rage that churned around in me as local newscasters refused to give me word of the academy award nominations breaking this morning. yes yes, hillary clinton rolls into the state department, caroline kennedy won't be our next senator,* whatever. give me my movie news, ruffians!

i have a huge backlog of titles yet to see, so i'll spare you most of my predictions for now; instead, i'll comment on the few that are already under my belt. what have you seen so far, folks? any early calls, or strong feelings about what i should be sure to see?

as in previous years, films i've seen are asterisked.

best actor

richard jenkins - the visitor
frank langella - frost/nixon
sean penn - milk
brad pitt - the curious case of benjamin button*
mickey rourke - the wrestler

i love brad pitt in david fincher movies (fight club might still my favorite movie of all time), but there wasn't a lot of acting for him to do in this one: he won't win.

best supporting actor

josh brolin - milk
robert downey jr. - tropic thunder*
philip seymour hoffman - doubt
heath ledger - the dark knight*
michael shannon - revolutionary road

can we talk about robert downey jr. as sherlock holmes? directed by guy ritchie, with jude law as watson? this has nothing to do with the oscars, of course, but it's so sacrilegious that i'm afraid i can't get behind RDJ winning anything ever again. also, heath ledger really was incredible.

best actress

anne hathaway - rachel getting married
angelina jolie - changeling
melissa leo - frozen river
meryl streep - doubt
kate winslet - the reader

i have a feeling that i'll like anne hathaway - that movie looks brutal in the best way - but who can say?

best supporting actress

amy adams - doubt
penélope cruz - vicky cristina barcelona
viola davis - doubt
taraji p. henson - the curious case of benjamin button*
marisa tomei - the wrestler

again, i think the benjamin button contender hasn't got a chance (though she was decent). marisa tomei, maybe? i'm on the fence about whether the prospect of seeing the wrestler excites me or makes me want to nap/die, but i have accepted that it needs to happen. i really like darren aronofsky (requiem for a dream was good, and i think pi was brillliant), so that's some consolation.

best director

david fincher - the curious case of benjamin button*
ron howard - frost/nixon
gus van sant - milk
stephen daldry - the reader
danny boyle - slumdog millionaire*

danny boyle edges out david fincher for me; both are heavy on style, but boyle's is better suited to his material (fincher's made a forrest gump narrative slightly more interesting, but really, brad pitt's face did most of the heavy visual lifting in benjamin button).

best picture

the curious case of benjamin button*
the reader
slumdog millionaire*

it's not impossible to dislike slumdog millionaire, but i think it's impossible to get through it without liking something (i myself liked many things about it). early call: danny boyle's india for the win.

*i still say it's going to be cuomo, though there's a bit of wish fulfillment in that (joe's life would be simpler, and i would have more opportunities to say cuomoerotic, which is still my favorite fake word).

01.18.09: avalon

the good news is that our buggy laptop is back from washington and well again; the bad news is that we don't seem to have its current password, so my MLK internettery is limited to what i'm willing to accomplish at the office (i am, sadly enough, not the only one here).* on a more festive note, i give you joe: sleeveface.

joe x avalon

*the other bad news, speaking of bugs, is that we also lack both a microwave and a toaster oven; the former got itself kicked out of the apartment when i opened the door immediately after zapping something and found a live cockroach taking laps around the perimeter like a racewalker at the mall of america. i decided the cockroach had earned the microwave and left them both on the curb. the toaster oven...was an accomplice, and ten years old and awfully grotty in its own right. it's peanut butter jelly time, as it were.

01.16.09: at night, the ice weasels come

(e-mail) 1: I wanted you to know that I froze to death on the walk to work this morning and am now but an icy lump in front of the T-Mobile store, so you are free to marry George.

(e-mail) 2: It is as I foretold!

Are you being snarky, or was the walk as brutal as I imagine it was?

(e-mail) 1: I am being snarky. It really wasn’t that bad, though I did change into pants because my sweater smelled funny.

01.12.09: good-bye to all that

going to the gym in the morning has the magical effect of making me suitable for little more than television and couch-lounging, at least for an hour or two, which is why i could never be one of those people who goes before work (i'd be unemployed in a week). forgetting that we had a luscious netflix pile of dark shadows and x-files episodes, the missus and i blew a bit of our saturday on a style network "dos and don'ts" show (don't paint yourself orange, do follow trends [except for the painting yourself orange trend], &c).

to my great surprise, the item about excessive facial piercings actually got to me. my eyebrow bar and i are great friends, and i could give a monkey's about what people in the office think about it, but i was finally able to admit to myself that it doesn't have a lot of relevance for me these days. joe and i had a long talk, i took a deep breath, and i took out all of my exotic piercings* - for good. the tragus ring that inspired mom to threaten to keep me from going to college: adieu! the cartilage bar i acquired in berkeley on a date with paul: bless! the eyebrow bar, snagger of sweaters, instant dater of wedding pictures, way to kill fifteen minutes in london when lukas refused to leave a record shop on berwick street: may the wind ever be at your back! you were all great friends of mine, and i feel pretty naked at the moment, but i think i needed to slough a few outdated bits of identity. also, i've always been a big fan of monkeying with my appearance: change is the constant, no?

okay, really naked.

*except for ye olde navel ring. it's had such a hard life (remember, kids: captive bead rings are not key rings) that i don't have the heart to confront it again.

01.07.09: new year's realizations

kyle maclachlan is much more attractive than i'd given him credit for being.*

reading poetry is dandy, but writing it leaves me a bit cold at the moment (and that's fine; we'll reconnect if we're meant to settle down together).

there is nothing wrong with failing to own belts.

if bed bugs want to live in your apartment, they pretty much will.***

i've got a photography ego (even though i'm a newbie and i know it).

i'm fond of my job. quite fond of it, actually.

*poor kyle: david foster wallace's "david lynch loses his head" (in which he became "nerdy and potatofaced") really did a number on a generation of ladies, i think.**

**exception that proves the rule: kick-ass agent cooper tattoo.

***not my way of saying we have or have had them ourselves; i've just been reading about them (fun book, incidentally, though it'll freak you out about the bee crisis).

01.06.09: keywords

what ho, internets! being trained to Blog (and then Blogging) for the ladymag has already deprived me of my will to live (and blog for personal amusement). i'm sure it will return shortly; in the interim, please enjoy this photo of a beer and a ms. pac man table.

ms. pac man, microbrew

i would like to be enjoying those things right now, as it happens.