Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lousy start to the week

Last night, astute readers may remember, I was due to go to salsa class with Mam. Unfortunately this didn't happen, because I had a panic attack in the car on the motorway on the way there and had to turn around and come back. This was incredibly frightening, because my foot just lodged itself onto the accelerator and I couldn't slow down, and the car managed to get itself up to 130 kph, and I was hyperventilating and felt like I was on the verge of fainting (I've never fainted, so I don't really know if this was likely to happen or not) and couldn't figure out what to do, when the exit for Balbriggan loomed up in front of me and I was able to turn the wheel and get off, and the act of turning the wheel kind of freed up my foot to move to the brake, and I calmed down a bit.

Except of course then I went into shock, and had the slightly comic experience of sitting in crappy rush hour traffic in Balbriggan with tears streaming down my face, listening to some bloke on Matt Cooper's show talking about Cork GAA players and watching the traffic jam and thinking Jesus, imagine living as far out as Balbriggan and still having to cope with rush hour traffic.

Anyway, I got home okay and Mam came and sat with me and Mister M came home and it was all fine and we decided that I'm not going mental at all, sure, everyone has panic attacks now and then.

And now I have a monstrous toothache.

It is a bit of a shit start to the week. So, let's play Things to Look Forward to:
1) I have almost acquired Season One of The Wire, so we can finally see if it's as good as everyone says it is (I really hope it is).
2) Lost on Sunday. But not just Lost, oh no. HIGH DEFINITION Lost. You can come and watch it if you want, but you have to be very quiet and watch out for panicking motorists on the motorway.
3) Being a bit pissed off is always a good excuse to post a picture of Naveen. So here he is.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Are you anticipating?

(If you don't understand the picture, then you are not anticipating.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

WTF? Heath Ledger's dead!

So weird. Early reports suggest some kind of overdose. He never seemed particularly strange, did he?

He was only 28, too. Poor lad.

No Country for Old Men

Bless the IFI. They may like to keep their cinemas incredibly stuffy, and there's no leg room at all if you slump down in the seat low enough to actually rest your head on the back of it, but at least they had a lovely clean print of the film and the place was reasonably quiet. This is, as Ray pointed out, crucial to your enjoyment of this terse, spare, movie.

The plot concerns a man (Josh Brolin) who finds some money in the desert. Other men (Javier Bardem, Woody Harrelson, some random Mexicans) are looking for the money, so now they are looking for the man who found the money. One of these men (Javier Bardem) is a little more determined than the others, and is also a total psychopath. A chase ensues. Tommy Lee Jones is also there.

The first 4/5ths of the film are basically amazing. The domestic chat between Josh Brolin and his wife, Kelly McDonald, is beautiful; the way he goes about finding the money and dealing with what he's found is so clinical and everyday; everything--the amount of dialogue, the level at which it's spoken, the amount of movement exhibited by each of the characers--is dialled down to the bare minimum: there is a tool for getting this job done, and that tool is sparsity.

The problem is, though, that the film doesn't want to stop there. As Mister M points out, it suffers from the modern movie drawback of having too many endings. He also tells me that the book is the same, so it's not like the Coen brothers arsed it up or anything. The story stops, but the film carries on past it. This would be really annoying, except that Barry Corbin turns up at the very end, and everyone loves him, right?

Apparently the ending has sparked some debate, over what the film is really about, and who the main character is. Is the film centered on Javier Bardem vs. Josh Brolin, and should it therefore end when their story ends? Or is it about Tommy Lee Jones, in which case, should it end with the end of his story?

It's a valid question, and in theory I like the idea of the action-based story being a single event in a larger story, but I'm not sure it really works in practice, because it does just add time to what is already a long and intense evening in the pictures.

Still, it's pleasant to see a film that's worth a little bit of debate. Also, Texas looks wonderfully bleak in it, and I haven't seen anything so beautifully shot since Brokeback Mountain. Solid stuff.

Friday, January 18, 2008

All the Pretty Horses

Not read, but listened to, which still counts for the purposes of the New Year's resolution. I recently upgraded my eMusic account to include audiobooks, and have recently started listening to them while I try to tire the cat out in the mornings so I can get some work done.

This is an abridged version of All the Pretty Horses, read by Brad Pitt. He's an excellent reader for Cormac McCarthy, because he has that young but weary tone to his voice, which is ideal for telling the story of young men who cross the border from Texas into Mexico looking for work and getting into serious and grim trouble. This story has all the hallmarks of a Cormac McCarthy book (Note: I have never read a Cormac McCarthy book, I'm just going on what people tell me), including horses, trekking across inhospitable landscapes, feelings of loss and loneliness, and extreme and random violence. It's a pretty compelling story, and I'm looking forward to listening to the other two books in the trilogy, which are also available on eMusic for one audiobook credit. Pretty good value, I think.

God, this post really reads like one of those fake ones that people are paid to write to big something up, doesn't it?

The Office

Forgive me for being late to the party, but I've just started watching NBC's The Office on Paramount. Because they're showing two episodes a night and the first season is only six episodes long, I have missed the entire first season and came in at the fourth episode of season two. I liked it just fine; the characters are pleasant and the whole show is less cringey and comedy-of-embarrassment than the original version, so the fact that I wasn't laughing at it didn't bother me.

Last night, though, they showed "Take Your Daughter to Work Day", and either the characters have finally clicked with me, or it was genuinely a much funnier episode, because I laughed until I was almost sick. It feels a little like when The Simpsons finally realised that Homer rather than Bart was the star of the show; The Office seems to have figured out that, unlike the British version of the show, the will-they-won't-they relationship and the overpowering manager figure are not the centre of the show. The centre of the show is Dwight. I hope it keeps up like this.

Also, the great thing about watching it on Paramount is that I'll be able to catch all the episodes I missed when they run them again in a couple of weeks time. The only thing is that you can never, ever sit through the ad breaks on Paramount unless you want to see the same ad for Everybody Loves Raymond, That 70s Show, or some random bloody Lee Evans or Al Murray thing over and over again, every break, every show, forever.

The trouble with movies

Next week, all things being equal, Mister Monkey and I will take our first trip to the cinema in about three months. We never go to the cinema anymore, because I hate it, for reasons with which you will be well acquainted if you have ever met me.

However, I have agreed to go and see No Country for Old Men, the new Coen brothers movie, with Mister M next week. Mister M is a big Cormac McCarthy fan, and we both love the Coen brothers, even if there is some division in the Monkey House over what constitutes a great Coen brothers movie

(The Hudsucker Proxy is a bad one. Hey! It's my blog.)

One the one hand, I'm kind of excited to see this film. Who doesn't love a critically acclaimed new Coen brothers movie? Many of my friends whose tastes in film I would endorse say it is great. Also, you can never have too much Kelly McDonald in films, nor Barry Corbin neither.

BUT! It could be really boring. A few people have said it was really boring, and the comparisons that people make with Blood Simple (a Coen brothers film I have to admit I find, well, a little boring) make me suspicious of it. Also, I don't like Javier Bardem. Like, really, in an irrational way don't like him.

We shall see.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Post-op smidger update

It seems to be safe to leave her alone for hours at a time now, without me worrying what that crashing noise was, or her trying to pull the collar off over her head and getting wedged with it half in her mouth (as she did yesterday; Tuesday she managed to pull it off entirely and give her stitches a good tug).

But really, this post is just an excuse to include a cute picture I took, in which she looks like a future space cat from the 1960s.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Post-op smidger

Rory went to the vet yesterday for her op. I haven't put a female pet through a spay since we had Layla, so I wasn't quite prepared for just what a major operation it is. Unlike bloke animals, where everything's on the outside and just gets whipped off fairly summarily (I was sent home with a buster collar for Milo, but he never needed it and never wore it), the smidge has to wear a collar for the next ten days, and her side is all shaved and has a small but deep scar on it, because everything has been taken out. This will be difficult, because her favourite way of getting downstairs is to climb between the bannisters, which she currently can't do.

The good news is that she bears us no ill will, and was up and about and eating and bumping into everything and sleeping on my lap again yesterday evening like a good 'un. Now I just need to look up the best way to wash her, or she will get manky and be upset. She's a fanatically clean cat, and even loves her comb. It will be hard for her not to be able to get at herself. Having said that, the inside of her collar is spotless.

Now Mister M and I and the fish are the only gendered animals left in the house.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Hot Dogs by Himself

When Queenie came home at Christmas, she and Himself arrived like the Magi, bearing gifts. A suitable book, the most excellent note cards (I keep opening up the box and just looking at them; I may never send them, they are too nice), a six-pack of Monkey beer, and a jar of home-made relish, courtesy of Himself.

This evening, this cold and rainy and miserable evening, I decided that the time had come to scoff the relish. So I took the weiners out that I had bought for Mister M, and I grilled them along with the veggie sossies I bought for myself. I also fried up some mushrooms and two types of onion. Then I split some hot dog buns and opened up the jar of relish Himself had made for us.

I was expecting it to be good, but I wasn't quite prepared for just how good it was. Sweet and crunchy. Everything a weiner could want. Of course, now we both have pains from inhaling the hot dogs so fast.

Thanks to Himself for brightening up a rotten winter evening. NOM NOM NOM.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I have just booked my mother and myself into a ten-week salsa/aerobics class, because I like dancing and I like the idea of being able to go to a dance class where I don't need a bloke.

Also, I am a fatass.

It might be fun. Right?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Birthday wishes

Wishes for happy birthdays go out to palzors Myles and Andrew today. Myles is one of several people I know who turn 39 this year. Next year is going to be busy with HUEG parties, I imagine.

Right Myles, right?

Andrew turns 23 again today. Bless him.