Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reviewed: Beards

Last week I met Murph’s new boyfriend for the first time. For some reason I started talking about how I am jealous of men because they can grow facial hair, and now I’m a little worried about the impression I made. I mean, it’s not as if he didn’t know about my crazies (Murph had to inform him of my fear of going to new people’s houses [it gets so claustrophobic]) but this time, after half a vodka tonic, I think I was a little too adamantly sincere.

But beards are cool, so I am kind of jealous. Men are so lucky! It’s like expressing your personal style—on your face! It’s not like I’m going to go out and take some hormones or something, but I’m just saying if women had the ability to grow beards naturally and it was socially acceptable--if not applauded--to do so then I would totally do it. Even just to have the option of growing a beard seems more free. So we all agree it’s completely unfair. Periods, breast cancer, date rape, FGM; women always get shafted.

Now I’m going to list some of my favorite beards: Aragorn, Ryan Gosling, Al Gore, Casey Siemaszko in Young Guns, John Goodman, John Lennon, Lincoln, Dumbledore…hm, I’ll probably think of some more later.

66 Stars.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reviewed: Christmas Gifts for Mom and Dad

It’s a pretty safe bet that my parents don’t read this blog considering they don’t even have internet in their house (which, come on, is practically sacrelig in 2007 even though it probably has more to do with cheapness than being unconnected to the modern world [which I also feel safe saying, since that’s where cheapness gets you!]) so I can totally review the amazing presents I bought for them this year.

Joe always makes fun of me because I usually pick out presents that I would want and then give them to other people, which is to say I’m not a very good gift-giver (ahem, the homemade pillows of 2003, that coconut purse I got Tesch for her birthday.) Anyway, this year I feel is going to be completely different. I’ve spent the last 11 months writing my novel and the first three of those months following Robert Olen Butler’s method of exploring the unconscious and I think, somehow, that advice allowed me to transcend my fallbacks and get things people would really enjoy.

My dad always comes home from work and empties out his pockets, and since he’s a blue-collar-my-pockets-are-my-office kind of guy that means the kitchen counter becomes the repository for loose change, keys, folded up invoices and reminders and receipts, keys, nuts and bolts, keys, (he has a lot of keys), etc. I figured, wouldn’t it be nice if he had a super posh place to put all that junk? Here’s what Dad’s getting:(This picture is the Pottery Barn version, which is prettier, but I ended up getting my Pops the one from because they have a larger version.)

My mom loves to take baths. Nothing too exquisite; just hot water and body wash and a clean wash cloth. She takes the best baths out of anyone I know—the simplicity is the secret—and she makes them look so good I’m sometimes tempted to slip in the water right after she gets out (she’s my mom, it’s not gross!) So I went to Macy’s and got these fantastic soft, organic cotton towels in an oatmeal-y, natural color (the Haven by Hotel towels in Rice.) The edging is kind of rustic and luxe at the same time. Mmmm…I think she is going to really like them.
I did a good job, didn’t I? I think I did. 88 Stars.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Reviewed: American Airlines

Joe and I flew AA last weekend down to Miami for our short trip to Key West. I’m one of those people that hate to fly. Not because I’m scared of crashing, but because the cram-‘em-in style of air travel really terrifies me. I’m little bit claustrophobic and it’s hard for me to handle the slim amount of space between rows, the tall and imposing seat backs, and the way there are like 30-50 people--some big, some tall, some smelly or coughy or sniffy or broad shouldered and you know they are the trampling kind--between you and the tiny little door so far away and hidden at the front.

But with American Airlines, even the little things about air travel that make it somewhat bearable are absent. The biggest one being, no snacks. If you want a snack you have to buy one for $3-5, and they only sell one kind of candy bar (3 Musketeers), one kind of chip (Pringles), trail mix or a ginger cookie. With the exception of Pringles (maybe) all selections are things you’d find in the back of the cabinet at your grandma’s house.

The flight attendants are kind of jerky and the planes are kind of junky. Considering kayak and orbitz make airlines pretty competitive these days, I think I probably won’t be buying American.

26 Stars. Twinges of nostalgia over the fact that my grandma used to always fly American (or TWA) when she came to visit us, presents in her carry-on bag. On her way home we would watch out the window from the gate as she climbed up the stairs onto the plane, then wave as the plane taxied down the runway. Old school airport, Peoria, Illinois, circa 1980’s.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Reviewed: Ayelet Waldman writes about Christmas for BAZAAR Magazine, says there's no Santa

I’ve never been one to be concerned with any of the debates that come around this time of year, not Bill O’Reilly’s so-called war on Christmas or all the Jesus is the Reason for the Season hoopla. I’m not religious and I enjoy the holidays mostly because of the existence of Santa Claus.

So that’s why I was a little miffed after reading what Ayelet Waldman, spouse of novelist Michael Chabon, had to say about Santa to her daughter, Sophie, in this month’s Bazaar magazine:

“…the mother of my then-four-year-old daughter’s best friend called to request that I tell Sophie that there was, in fact, a Santa Claus [so as not to spoil the holiday for her daughter]….
Not on your life. I told Sophie, as I have since told her younger siblings, that there is no such thing as Santa Claus, that he is a character in a story just like Willy Wonka or Amelia Bedelia. I further instruct them that their Christian friends are sweet but gullible, and out of respect for their limitations, we should all work hard to sustain their delusions for as long as possible.”


Too bad for me, I guess, since I was one of those gullible, limited, deluded kids (and sometimes think I still am.) Heck, I still get a kick when the news anchor announces Santa sightings on Christmas Eve. Santa is kind of like my hero; he eats tons of cookies, gives away hundreds of presents, and sticks it to all the meanies with a lump of coal. How awesome is that?

If believing in Santa Claus is an example of my limitations that’s the least I have to worry about. I’m reveling in my delusions.

3 Stars. One year I even convinced myself I saw sleigh marks in the snow. Anyway, if you want to talk about gullible, Murph thought the ending of Alpha Dog had an interview with the real Susan Markowitz when it was really just Sharon Stone in a fat suit.