18 March 2007

Assorted Ramblings

It was Evan Dando of The Lemonheads who first introduced me to Ben Kweller. Not personally, of course, although that would be much cooler. About a year ago, I read somewhere that Evan was so impressed with Ben that he invited him to go on tour with him across America and Europe. I hold Evan's opinion in high regard, so I decided to check him out. I think Ben's a talented songwriter and I really dig his old-school rock yet indie style.

Yesterday, I wasted two precious hours of my life watching one of the most boring movies I've ever seen. Warning: Do not rent Running with Scissors!!! If you already have rented the DVD (or heaven forbid, actually paid full-price to see it at the cinema) I offer you my sincere condolences. Here is an IMDb user's review that pretty much summed up exactly how I felt after watching this rubbish:

"Just because something happens in real life doesn't mean it should happen in a movie. Case in point, Running With Scissors. Memoirs rarely make good movies because they have no plot to speak of and are generally made up of random events that lead to nowhere. Any good filmmaker knows this, but writer/director Ryan Murphy went ahead anyway; he merely has the narrator make a disclaimer up front that we might not believe everything that takes place. Oh, I believe everything happened, all right. What the "creative" team forgot is that the point is not to make me believe, but to make me care. They didn't...and I didn't."

"One bizarre scene after another piles upon the viewer until we're stacked with dysfunctional drivel up to our eyeballs. And it makes no difference whether or not the performances are any good if we're anxiously waiting for the damn movie to be over. Even the usually wonderful Annette Bening cannot salvage this material so completely devoid of rational thought that it knocks off ten IQ points each minute. And, um, what in hell is Gwyneth Paltrow doing in this movie? Did she have some unpaid traffic tickets to take care of? Or is she serving community service? I just don't know. And to tell the truth, I just don't care."

"I won't even dignify this behemoth of boredom with a more detailed review. I just had to warn anyone thinking of seeing this movie that their lives will be robbed of two precious hours that could be spent doing something more productive, like organizing recipes or vacuuming the tub. For those who did pay for this pile of garbage – and I mean emotionally, not financially – I've come up with a plan to get back at the filmmakers. I suggest every disgruntled viewer run with scissors to their local movie theatre and chop up every reel into guitar picks. Then stop by the bookstore on the way home and pick up Augusten Burroughs' funny and insightful book that never should have been adapted (well, obliterated) in the first place."

Believe me, don't let the outstanding cast fool you, this movie sucks. If you want to see a good movie about family dysfunction, there are plenty to choose from. Try renting the hilarious and poignant Little Miss Sunshine, the brilliant The Royal Tenenbaums or one of my all-time favourites, American Beauty.

From celluloid to literature...As I anxiously await the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (which I sadly won't be able to read until I get back from Switzerland since it won't be available until July), I've found a distraction from my obession with Harry Potter. I am currently mesmerized by another fantasy series featuring a young magician.

The series I am speaking of is The Bartimeaus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. I am almost finished the third book and I just don't want the story to end! The two main characters are Bartimeaus, a sarcastic demon who provides much comic relief throughout and Nathaniel, a bad-ass Harry Potter. I would recommend these books to anyone interested in the genre. Kristen and Isabelle, I think you would like this trilogy!

While I'm on the topic, I was thrilled to recently find out that another favourite trilogy of mine, His Dark Materials by Philipp Pullman is being made into a film, due for release in December 2007. Actually, the film will be based on the first book of the trilogy The Golden Compass but I'm sure that they will be making movie versions of all three books, because each ends on a cliff-hanger. The film will be starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. I can't wait!

In other news, I stopped taking dance classes a couple of weeks ago. I was enjoying the classes, but had to cancel for two reasons: I need to save money and I would have missed too many classes as well as the show because of my upcoming trips. Which brings me to my really big news...

I'm going to Japan!!! My friends Mike & Miyuki are getting married (omedetou gozaimasu) and they're flying me to Japan for the wedding. They are the kindest, most generous couple and I am honored and thrilled to be attending their wedding. I am so excited about seeing them as well as all of my other friends. I'm also very happy about re-visiting my home away from home, Nakatsu. I've been brushing up on my Japanese, studying every day during my lunch hour and am simply salivating at the thought of all of the oishii Japanese food that I've been missing.

I will be leaving on April 23rd and returning on May 4th. I wish that I could stay longer, but I can't afford it and must return to work for a month before heading to Europe. It will be difficult going back to work, but it's only for a month, so I'll have to suck it up and wait it out, while looking forward to returning to ISCM in Switzerland. Then, come June 1st, it'll be sayonara for good to Playskool! I mean it this time. Of course, I'll miss the kids, but I won't miss the constant illness, the lack of communication and organisation or (the worst part for me) the unbelievable shallowness, pettiness and cattiness of some of my fellow co-educators.

I will be leaving for London on June 12th. Then, I'll leave for Geneva on June 17th. My first day of work at ISCM is June 18th. My last day is August 25th. I'll be flying from Paris to Montreal once again, but this year I'll be spending a couple more days in France and plan on possibly visiting Versailles. I will be returning to Montreal on August 31st and then...who knows what adventure awaits? I plan on heading to South Korea but have no definite plans yet, except for the fact that I am definitely not going back to Playskool or any other daycare for that matter.

Lastly, I'm doing rather well with my latest weight-loss and exercise regime. I do cheat on occasion, but have managed to lose 8 lbs since the beginning of February. Of course, I gained 10 lbs within a month of returning from Europe (where I had surprisingly lost 2 lbs...I guess it was the daily alpine hike to work that did it). I have been exercising daily. I do two sets of 300 crunches a day. My abs have never been stronger! I'm not really doing enough cardio, especially since I dropped the dance classes but am looking forward to cycling to work every day once all the snow melts. I'm so sad...it was almost all gone due to springlike temperatures but we were hit with about 20 cm this weekend.

I guess that's it for now. This has been a freakishly long post and I hope that you've enjoyed it. It's actually my second attempt at publishing. My first attempt failed for some reason and I had to start over. Is it me, or is the screen looking a little fuzzy? My head is spinning. Okay...I'm copying and pasting this into Word right now and trying again. Here it goes...

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