Wednesday, February 29, 2012

bye Davy

I think it caught everyone off-guard when Davy Jones died today.  I was exactly the right age to be crazy about the Monkees, although I was also a huge Beatles fan at the time. Back in the 60s, the Monkees were derided for being a Beatles rip-off and a "created" band. The four members were cast for a television show, which was inspired by the Beatles' movie A Hard Days' Night, rather than forming as a band on their own. Other people wrote their songs and played most of the instruments, although some of the Monkees were actually talented musicians, and they all sang on their records. As a disparaging riff on the Beatles' nickname "The Fab Four," the Monkees were often referred to as "The Pre-Fab Four" (meaning "pre-fabricated").

But over the years, people started to realize how really good their music was. This owed in part to the outstanding songwriters who created their songs, including Neil Diamond, and Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart. They were always hugely likeable and remained well-liked over the years.

Davy, Micky and Peter continued to perform, occasionally reuniting as The Monkees. Mike Nesmith performed as a solo artist, in a more country vein. He also produced movies (including one of my favorites, Tapeheads); he also started creating promotional videos for Warner Brothers songs which became a Nickelodeon show called Pop Clips which became (wait for it) MTV. Nesmith was already a millionaire many times over because his mother, a secretary, invented (wait for it) Liquid Paper.

I'll try to get some Monkees clips up here later. For now:

Davy ("the cute one") on the right.

I went out for coffee last night (although we didn't end up drinking any coffee) with an old friend from summer camp with whom I recently reconnected on Facebook. He was a cute, sweet, hippie-looking guy back then, and we kind of crushed on each other, fooled around a little, never anything too heavy or serious. At sixty, he's still very sweet, very gentle. I have to say I had no anxiety about meeting with him and we talked for a very lovely hour. Considering that my friends have been none too available to listen to me, it's nice to have Bob back in my life, and good to listen to him as well. I look forward to seeing him again; it was a truly nice time.

I bid on and won some metal bangles in an eBay auction yesterday; it was actually a link to eBay from eBay India. I had to pay 576 rupees! Fortunately, that translates to $10.76. This is going to give me a pretty good collection of metal bangles:

I'll have to buy some more glass ones when I get paid.

A couple more pix:

My impossibly adorable nephew Walter. (He's wearing a kippah/yarmulke for a bat mitzvah he was attending.)

It's Amitabh in The Wall Street Journal (literally).

Monday, February 27, 2012

just not a restful weekend, just not a good Monday

It's like that, sometimes.

Didn't have time to share Oscar picks with friends, didn't have time to go online all weekend, didn't have a minute to sit still and relaxed and enjoy all weekend. I came home tied up in Pennsylvania knots and now I'm tied up in New York knows. At least I sold some jewelry this weekend, so I'm tied in knows with a little change in my pocket.A rare crappy day at work, and of course, a long one. This past weekend was supposed to big a big highlight for me, so here I am now without much to look forward to -- except coffee with old friend Bob Steiner tomorrow after work.

I know it could be worse...some of my best friends are going through dreadful things now. I help as I can, but I need help, too.

I finished reading Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology which was excellent. She seemed to have gotten at a whole mess of their secrets,although I'm still not clear about how they approach homosexuality and homosexual members. I used to hear that "they marry their gays off to each other." I just wonder about some of their highest profile members about whom there have been gay rumors (Tom Cruise, John Travolta).

Also read Susan Orlean's Rin Tin Tin, which I had been dying to read. She's such a marvelous writer. She does tend to put herself into the book, but it never overshadows the subject. I follow her on Twitter and I hope I'm not too stalker-ish. I really admire her.

I was away from the computer all weekend. Maybe this is why people have smartphones. But truly, I didn't miss much. A couple people did want to see my Oscar picks. I picked The Artist and Meryl Streep and George Clooney, so I got 2/3. Haven't seen a new Indian movie since Nanban.

I just feel shitty, really. I want a do-over on that weekend, just watching a movie or two and making some jewelry an emailing with a friend or two and sleeping in my own bed with my cats. And right now I feel tired, and have almost two hours to go before I can leave. Monday nights truly suck.

Friday, February 24, 2012

most trayf thing ever

Gotta be shrimp wrapped in bacon. With a milkshake.

OK, students of Yiddish and Yiddishkeit (Jewishness), Let's talk about dietary laws and the words attached to them. (Of course, you can just skip this and read Wikipedia, but I bet this this is more fun.)

The big one is kosher. Kosher means in accordance with Jewish dietary laws. Informally, it can be used to mean "on the level," "honest," "proper," etc. "I'm not sure if this deal is exactly kosher." Trayf" means non-kosher, but colloquially can also mean "unclean," "no good," etc.

Actually, read the rest of it on Wikipedia. There aren't too many other good words, except "fleischig" for meat and meat foods and "milchik" for dairy foods, which may not be eaten together. Foods which are considered neither, and can be eaten with either, are "parve".

Anyway, I'm going to Jannah's this weekend, and will pretty much be maintaining internet silence. I don't have a smartphone - the one I have is actually called a "feature phone," although of course I just call it a "stupid phone." And it doesn't seem particularly polite to ask my hostess to use her desktop. So no email, no Facebook, no Twitter, no blog, and no EF comments. I suspect I will not be dreadfully missed, not over such a short time. I will be back on Sunday but mostly likely buried in the Oscars.

Had a little tweet back-and-forth with Mary Lynn Rajskub the other day and today with Josh Malina. Way cool in my book.

And of course the big news - well, maybe not for everyone, but for a few million people - is that Amitabh went home yesterday. He'll be recuperating for a few months, but he's safe and sound.

Speaking of which - I seem to have a bit of a readership here! The hits on my blog have increased some, and definitely more folks from India. Hi, folks from India! Welcome!

I'm taking two movies with me this weekend, to intro Jannah to Indian films, if she so chooses. Most of my movies are on my hard drive, but I have a dozen or so on DVD. I'm bringing Don (which version do you think? take a good, hard guess) and Ek Ajnabee. Haven't seen Ek Ajnabee yet, but I read the notes on the cover, and what do you know! it's Man on Fire! And by the way, anyone who wants to watch Man on Fire, the 1987 version with Scott Glenn is way better than the 2004 version with Denzel Washington. But almost any movie is better with Scott Glenn in it, except The Keep, which would suck with anyone in it.

Scott Glenn is one of my favorite actors, though he's not super well-known. Movies to see: Urban Cowboy, The Right Stuff, Silverado. Similarly, David Strathairn. I like him even better than Scott Glenn, and he can be seen in: Good Night and Good Luck, Silkwood, Limbo, Eight Men Out, A League of Their Own, and I personally adored him in The Return of the Secaucus Seven, kind of an uber-indie.

So, have a good weekend, watch movies, have fun.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I am such a smart-ass on Twitter! plus, what is a knish? bonus: the movie where Salman Khan speaks Yiddish

@northofconey if you want to see for yourself. I go smart-ass on some famous people sometimes and don't even care if they respond. I did get a retweet from Merrill Markoe, which made me happy for a whole day. I'm connected to almost a totally different set of people than on Facebook. Of course I mostly follow well-known people I don't know, I was found there by Tricia Vita, who writes the excellent Amusing the Zillion blog about Coney Island. Now I'm also linked to one or two other Coney Island groups. We post links to things about how fucked-up business interests are trying to ruin Coney Island and how much we hate Mayor Bloomberg. (a lot.) I'm loving Twitter, though I read a lot more than I write. I retweet and sometimes reply.  Fun.

I am glad Amitabh is going home soon. I am glad Shiva is feeling cheerier (and that he likes seeing his name here). I am glad that Barry had a job interview today. I am glad I am going to Jannah's this weekend. I am glad Bob Steiner is being a bit flirty on Facebook; I was fairly crazy about him when we were teenagers at summer camp. I am glad I went to that Indian store on Second Avenue last week and bought silk pants and glass bangles; there were photos of Indian movie stars taped up inside the dressing room. I am glad to be learning how to get the glass bangles on and off without busting them, and I am glad for the pretty sound they make clinking together on my wrist. I am glad that my jewelry is in a store, for the first time in many years. I am glad it was a warm day. I am glad I had a big discussion about knishes on Facebook today with someone I never got to know well at college but always admired.

I am anxious for a friend who won't read this because she's too busy doing the thing I'm anxious about.

Knish (pronounce all the letters) is a savory pastry usually stuffed with seasoned mashed potatoes but sometimes with kasha (buckwheat). It's about the size of your fist. There are other kinds, but potato and kasha are the only ones that matter. A knish is old-school Jewish food, meaning that it's extremely heavy, about the density of lead, and one of the most delicious things you've ever eaten.

I've explained Yiddish words on this blog on and off for some years now. I don't know nearly as much as I'd like to; American Jews of my generation have parents who felt it was not "modern" to speak Yiddish, that it made them like their old-fashioned parents, so my parents didn't pass it on the way their parents did. Barry's parents were about ten years older than mine, so they spoke more Yiddish, Barry knows more than I do, and I've learned a bunch from him. It's way cool. It's extra-cool when you hear it from people you wouldn't expect. There's an old James Cagney movie, The Fighting 69th, where he suddenly says a line in Yiddish and it's a shock. Cagney was very Irish, but he also grew up playing in the New York City streets with other children of immigrants.

One day I want to see Salman Khan turn to the camera and say, "Meshugganeh ayeh, meshugganah lockshen." The literal translation, "Crazy eggs, [so] crazy noodles," basically, "the kids turn out like the parents." I would write a whole screenplay around having him say that. Salman Khan is in love with Kareena Kapoor, but she's a little odd. He goes to her house, and meets her father, who is totally wacky (Johnny Lever?). Then he says the line, then they sing and dance next to a tree, alternately dressed in tacky disco clothes and rich traditional garments. Subplot: Salman's widowed mother (maybe Kirron Kher) meets Kareena's wacky widowed father, and it turns out that she's also kind of wacky, but has always felt she had to act in a very serious manner. Kirron: I've finally met a man I can be myself with! Then they sing and dance in a colorful marketplace, during which they grab different things from the various vendors (a scarf, a piece of fruit, a pot) and do funny things with them. I could so write this movie.

Next up: I write a movie around Amitabh singing "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Last but not least:
Raghu Dixit is a crossover artist in the best sense of the word. His western sensibilities are from acoustic singer-songwriters, not glossy pop stars. And he sings without some elements of the Indian vocal style that are peculiar to a western ear not acquainted with Indian music. I said to Barry, "It's Indian David Hidalgo!"

Actually, if you put Cesar Rojas' beard on David Hidalgo, he would kind of look like Raghu Dixit.

amul, amat, utz

Let's see if I can explain this stupid thing properly. It's kind of stupid, but also kind of cute. Or maybe just a WHOLE lot of explanation for a very small chuckle.

Anyway, there's a brand of potato chip called Utz, which I think is a local east coast brand, from Pennsylvania. They have a trademark of a little girl who looks like this:
Barry always says that the Utz girl looks like me. There is of course no physical resemblance, but he thinks I'm as cute as she is. He says, "Look, Sweetie, there are those potato chips with your picture on the bag!"

We now travel to India, where the Amul Dairy girl bears a striking resemblance to the Utz potato chip girl:
Seriously, they could be mishpocheh (family, related).

OK, so if the Utz girl is me, and the Amul girl is the Utz girl...wait for it...stupid joke...

Yes, ladies and gents: a get-well picture of me and Amitabh.  Well, even if it isn't me, it's extremely adorable.

I've started watching Luck on HBO, and the excellence of the cast is carrying me through the learning curve of horse racing. There's a lot of jargon and racetrack details and so on that are going to take a while. But hey, there's also Dustin Hoffman, Dennis Farina. Michael Gambon, Richard Kind, Kevin Dunn, Ian Hart, Jason Gedrick...and then there's Gary Stevens.  I had seen him in Seabiscuit, a movie I really liked a lot, and thought he was absolutely perfect as George Woolf (since I'd read the non-fiction book on which the movie was based, I had some firm opinions about the casting. I knew that Stevens was a former jockey, but that was about all. I was impressed that his acting was pretty good, since most professional athletes are poor-to-middling actors.

I was glad to see him again in Luck, partly (I must admit) because he's a way handsome dude. And he's actually a very talented actor - he has quite a bit to do, playing a drunken, addicted jockey. Pulls it off like a boss. And then I looked him up. He's not just some former jockey, he is a fucking legendary jockey, with eight wins in Triple Crown races. He actually won the George Woolf Memorial Award around six years before he played George Woolf! I'm really impressed. Remind me if you can think of any great athlete-actors.

And speaking of athletes, I'm sad about Gary Carter. He played for a really great Mets team and always seemed like a very sweet guy. Baseball was pretty important to me at that time (it hasn't been for a while now), plus I was a pretty serious baseball card collector, so Gary Carter almost seemed like family. (All of the Mets were, really, and big local heroes. I used to go to an upper east side gym that had a fair smattering of celebrities, but what really excited me was seeing Rusty Staub and Keith Hernandez, multiple times.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Bad on so many levels, being disappointed. Something didn't happen, someone wasn't heard from, something good was given and received without comment. There should have been a surprise but there wasn't. Someone didn't accept, didn't answer, didn't thank you. Someone didn't do what they usually do, or what they might be expected to do. Something wasn't where you expected it to be. Something did not arrive on time. Something wasn't as enjoyable as it should have been. You didn't sleep well after a long, tiring day. A mystery went unexplained. A secret was not revealed. A film, a show, a song did not live up to expectations. A distraction did not distract. Good news did not arrive; bad news did not fade away.

It throws such a gloom over what could have been good times. And yes, I know that my disappointments are mostly my fault, the result of that pesky habit of expecting something. Mea culpa.

And apart from suffering over various disappointments, things move along. Wendy from The Village Scandal was not as unconditionally thrilled with my work as I'd hoped, though she did take 2/3 necklaces and both pair of earrings. Robin is in the middle of something...I can't even begin to talk about it, but it's distracting her from everything. When I saw that she spent a good time of our evening together texting someone else, there you go. But she did take a moment away from texting on her phone to take a picture of me:
Probably one of the better ones taken in a while.

We also went into an Indian store on Second Avenue, and I bought some pink print silk "harem" pants and eight glass bangles. And then ate on Sixth Street, as we have for so many years, this time at Taj: lamb madras, garlic kulcha, and two guys playing sarangi and tabla.

I did not feel right on Friday and I don't know why. I was somewhere in the neighborhood of dizzy and exhausted, for no good reason, and I called in sick. Barry went out and got me a handful of tulips, late valentine's. And then we wrapped up valentine's by going for dim sum yesterday. There are several excellent places not far away, and we ate like crazy.Sticky rice, pork siu mai, shrimp dumplings. beef rice rolls, lion's head meatballs, shrimp in bean curd skin, and so on. I drank a lot of jasmine tea. Felt a little food-drunk after, but that's dim sum.

Made a necklace and two pairs of earrings yesterday, which is  a big chunk of work for one day. I'll try to do more earrings today - I want a bunch to bring to Jannah on Friday.

Last piece: Ranban. This is the first Tamil movie I've seen, and I have to say, I like it better than I liked a lot of Hindi movies. It was not very glossy and very unpretentious. The characters and relationships were novel, and I was very taken in by the character of Pari; I felt he was someone I'd like to know. Sathyaraj was impressive as the school principal "Virus"; he was silly but also substantive. Vijay as Pari was a casual, charming star. It was pretty much a buddy movie, and the obligatory female character didn't jar the script off track. Apparently this is a remake of the Hindi film 3 Idiots, although my understanding is that those remakes mostly go the other way, Tamil or Telagu to Hindi.

Something else I have to mention: the movie was meticulously subtitled. I felt at if they were trying to make the English understandable, but also get across the various nuances of the Tamil. For instance, there was a sequence in which the protagonists substitute different words into a speech to be delivered by an annoying fellow student, and it was all made perfectly clear by the subtitles. I mentioned recently that I missed a lot in ZNMD because the subtitling was so poor, and had to stop watching Rockstar for the same reason. It's a little weird that some Hindi movies, the big commercial mainstream in India, are so poorly titled, and that a Tamil film (I assume it's a smaller industry) did it exactly right.

Anyway, the film was delightful, and I would consider forgoing 3 Idiots entirely if Aamir Khan weren't in it. I've gotten to be something of a fan.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

much better now

I was feeling pretty crappy over the weekend. My head kind of ran away with me. I fret too much over the past sometimes, I obsess about the future, and therefore I am miserable in the present. Smart, huh?

So I'm taking the "friend cure." Dinner with Robin tomorrow (plus I plan to take my jewelry to The Village Scandal beforehand).

Barry and I are going for dim sum on Saturday, which is a late valentine's something. Significant gifts don't really happen with us anymore except birthdays, when we do manage something. But to be entirely truthful, I'm a little bummed that I didn't get flowers yesterday, not from anyone. Maybe I'm a little old-fashioned, but I love getting flowers. Kama Sutra says you should give flowers with your tooth and nail marks in the stems. Call me ancient-fashioned, but I think that's kind of hot.

Monday, a little wine-and-cupcakes get-together for Bob Steiner's 60th birthday. Even though he only lives in Park Slope, it's probably been about 20 years since I've seen him. He's another one I've been in touch with on FB. On top of that, his old summer-camp roomie Ethan Ries is showing up, and I haven't seen Ethan since camp (I think I friended him on FB but he doesn't really post and we haven't communicated). Bob and Ethan were each briefly a bit more than a friend to me, but that's how camp was.

A week from Friday, I am off to Yardley for a weekend with Jannah, which is always so wonderful. We will just be taking it very easy, talking about everything, and cooking and eating and partaking of our favorite herbal remedy, and we usually watch a movie at night. (Oh man! I gotta bring an Indian movie with me! Of the 11 Indian movies that I actually have on DVD, all but one are Amitabh, big shock. Jannah will love him, I think. Which movie to bring? I'm thinking Don, and maybe also Nishabd, for younger Amitabh and older Amitabh. Quien es mas guapo?) Anyway, I'm going myself; I go about three times a year, and Barry comes with me maybe once. So it's very serous girl-time. Jannah is bummed out about something (either husband or difficult teenage daughter), and said I should bring a lot of earrings, so I guess she's in a buying mood. (No matter how much I give her, which is always quite a bit, she wants to buy more.) I always feel so great after a weekend there: lots of talk-time, a slower pace, laughing, sitting out back when weather permits. She sometimes uses my visits as an excuse to invite a bunch of folks over, and by this time (I've known her 8 or 9 years now), I know her friends pretty well. They're very eclectic, mostly quite smart, and comfortable to be around. If I'm lucky, I'll get to see John and Linda Andrews; I first met Jannah at a party at their house. Love them. Love Jannah.

So yeah, I already feel better to have so much friend-time scheduled, and of course my online posse also does my heart good. I've gotten a little less absorbed in FB and Twitter and such, although I've been watching a lot of music on YouTube and posted quite a few videos on FB.

And speaking of online communities...Amitabh is still in the hospital. He was doing very well for the first day, but did not go home after 24 hours as expected. He started to have pain, then more pain, and then it was determined that the pain was not from the surgical incisions but from something else, so he's having more CT scans, x-rays, tests and so on. He's been blogging and tweeting through all of it, but his blog was very brief today, and he actually tweeted something mildly angry, which I've never seen him do before. It was something along the lines of "Anyone who is asking me to reply personally right now is being very inconsiderate!" More cranky than angry, maybe. He's is not doing well. The EF are extremely freaked out. And this isn't just the FmXt (same as EF) that comments on the blog, about 250-300 people per day. This is also the people who read the blog but don't comment, and I have no idea what kind of page hits he gets.  This is also the (wait for it...) TwFmXt (figure it out), the two million plus people who follow him on Twitter. Then lets add in the people who aren't online and only get their news from radio, TV, and newspapers. There are a lot of freaked-out people out there.

As far as the blog EF...all of the religious people are getting really religious. (Most Hindus, maybe some Muslims, and a couple of Jews - also an astrologer.) The non-religious in-love-with-you ladies are somewhat hysterical, and offer to come to the hospital (some from overseas) and help with anything. Everyone else is just a little on-edge and frantic. Amitabh reports his his discomfort pretty bluntly, and the blog hears more detail than the Twitter followers. He doesn't name or detail any conditions, but we always know how he feels. He reports mild worry, but I think he's a bad liar. I think he's scared.

The blog EF definitely consider him a friend. He treats us like friends. He's at least skimming the comments, because he never fails to wish happy birthdays, wedding congratulations, get-wells and condolences. He mentions certain of us here and there, and every so often replies to about 40 comments. It's not an equal relationship we have with him, but it's also not entirely one-sided.

But enough about Amitabh for now. Check this out:

I don't want to say when this was taken because I am lately a little self-conscious about my age. I refuse to explain why that is. In this picture (which Robin took, in her old apartment), my hair was still naturally brown. I started to go grey when I was about 25, so I'm a young kitty here, 23 or 24. I do not appear to be wearing a speck of makeup. I dressed a different kind of weird than the other girls my age, and I dressed fairly fearlessly.

Video time! (no Indian ones today.)

The extremely great Emily Kaitz, singing a cougar song before anyone used the word "cougar." For many years, I had a cassette of a performance she did with The Dysfunctionells in the early 90s. Met her once. Very shy. But her songs are great and I love her voice. She's pretty low-profile. A couple of her songs have been recorded by The Austin Lounge Lizards and Trout Fishing in America, which is slightly less low-profile than Emily. I really try not to be an asshole hipster about obscure music and bands, but the truth is that I was truly truly into some really fringey music for a lot of years, most of which radiated out from The Holy Modal Rounders and Michael Hurley.

I'm not gonna scare anyone with the Rounders just yet, because they're something other than an acquired taste. It's more like, you have to be born with a genetic abnormality to like them, and the first time you hear them, you get it immediately and become deeply into them. If you don't have that predisposition, you just go, "they suck," and nothing will ever change your mind.

Michael Hurley is a far gentler vice:

Michael (and also Dave Reisch, playing bass here) are serious old-school country hippies. I met Michael (generally known as Snock) many years ago, and I used to see him every time he was in New York. Despite his relative obscurity, he was one of my major musical idols, and I did get to spend a little quality time with him on a couple of occasions. Way back when we both still drank, we were both at a party at Peter Stampfel's, and Snock and I stood and talked and drank a huge amount of red wine for about two hours. I cannot remember a thing we talked about. And maybe fifteen years later, he was in town gigging, possibly with Stampfel or The Du-Tels (Stampfel and Gary Lucas), and for some reason - maybe killing time before soundcheck? - we ended up going out to eat pirogi at a Polish restaurant in the east village, just the two of us. Michael's a good guy. but I find it hard to connect with those DEEP country hippies. Even at my most relaxed, I'm a little too urban. Dave Reisch lives in an old school bus on top of a mountain in Oregon. Which is not to say that I don't have mutual warmth with some of these guys.

Oh, all right.

So now you either love this or you think I'm crazy for liking such sucky music.

The above album, of course, is way old, and I didn't hear it until many, many years after it was released. Here are Steve and Peter the way I knew them:

And if I do not stop thinking about those days right now, I will get myself into a dark mood once again. Good night.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Disturbing movie, and not really satisfying. John Hawkes was great, though.

Zindagi Na Milega Dobhara

This was a well-thought-of movie from last year, and was personally recommended to me. It's certainly a very modern Hindi movie; the songs are incorporated very naturally, and there's a more relaxed and realistic approach to sex - even one very appropriate kiss.

Even the travelogue element of the film was organic. Sometimes in Hindi films, the entire movie stops for two people to start dancing in front of Egyptian pyramids with several costume changes. ZMND's plot concerns three old friends taking a bachelor trip to Spain before the marriage of one of them. So tourist stops in Spain are already part of the movie.

What I'm trying to say, a little clumsily, is that this movie doesn't just glue on the songs and scenery; they really are integral to the plot.

Now, when Americans make a movie about a pre-wedding buddy trip, you end up the The Hangover, a film nowhere near as warm and sweet at ZMNDZMND is something of a feel-good film, and a very successful example.

I'm not sure what is to be done about Hrithik Roshan, because it's really hard to watch anyone else when he's on the screen. He has so much charisma and is so good-looking that I can't even tell if he can act - and he's truly not even my type. The EF will probably come and beat the shit out of me if I mention his name in the same sentence with Amitabh Bachchan, but time will tell. I don't think Roshan is as talented as Bachchan, but the looks and charisma will have him nipping at the heels of Shah Rukh Khan, just as Khan nips at the heels of Bachchan. Please don't tell the EF where I live.

Something else I learned from ZMND: Hrithik Roshan only has ten toes. They're not even webbed.

I liked Katrina Kaif in this, in part because her role was somewhat secondary. Also, she played a very nice character, a pleasant person; not a glamorous or sexy role. And I'm always happy when Naseerruddin Shah shows up. He's such a class act.

That being said - I can't believe how poor the subtitling was. There would be lines and lines of dialogue with no titles...or a three-sentence speech with six words of subtitle. Imran's poem were not translated. There was a speech that began (titled):  "There are two rules for this..." and then the "rules" weren't subtitled. I can't say I didn't understand the movie, but I'm sure I lost a lot of detail. I cannot imagine how in this day and age anyone gets away with such poor subtitling, especially with a very recent movie that was very popular. How do they get away with it?

And since the subject of Amitabh has come up...his five-hour abdominal surgery was successful, he was up and tweeting about ten hours later, and blogged about his operation in great detail. The guy's a champion, pure and simple. Maybe the EF are right and I shouldn't compare him to anyone in any way.

I'm insanely backed up with movies to watch, but the next one may be from the young Amitabh collection. But I have SO many movies in general that I want to see, American, Hindi, and even some Tamil and Kannada movies I (finally) found with subtitles.

I also wanted to mention that YouTube has gotten to be oddly important in my life. I guess it's partly because you just can't post mp3s, and YouTube kind of gets around it, so you can use it to share music on social media. Which becomes a way to have interesting musical dialogues with others. I'm watching a lot more of what friends post to Facebook and links I see on Twitter, meaning I'm listening to the songs. But in the case of film songs from India, the video is a bigger part of the whole. I always hated the typical rock music videos and was never an MTV viewer. I always figured that songs were for listening, and a good song should stand on its own, no pictures required. But the images do add something. And I've gone back to the relatively small numbers of music videos I did see and enjoy, and I'm rethinking the whole thing. (Although I watched a video the other night of Moon Martin singing "Doctor Doctor"; I love the way he sings the song, but he's really creepy-looking. Bring on Robert Palmer in a nice suit!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

devoured by my own pleasures

My head is a little hazy this past week. Not enough hours of the day for music, reading, watching movies. There's a different and deeper involvement with social media. Twitter is really new to me, and it's nice to be able to drop a quick line to someone I admire. Not just, oh, say Amitabh Bachchan (it was his fans I followed there in the first place), but also an odd assortment of folks like Josh Malina, Pee Wee Herman, Susan Orlean, Merrill Markoe. I read little snippets from Colin Quinn and the Dalai Lama and Joe Hill.  Met up with Tricia there, the woman who writes the amazing Coney Island blog Amusing the Zillion (I originally registered there under the name @northofconey so the Coney Island people do follow me.) Not many of my friends are there, but Gretchen Kunz is, and of course it's where I first met Shiva.

Facebook has been a slightly busier place than usual for me of late. Of course, it's more public.  I only have 23 followers on Twitter, but I have 131 friends on Facebook. Then again, Facebook does have private corners like messaging and text. A lot of music content for me there, since my friends are a little heavy on the musician side. (Also rediscovered a little know of my college radio friends.) I haven't counted recently, but there are quite a few of my old boyfriends there, a few of whom do flirt. Old reliable Bob Steiner, wicked Michael Sheehan. And some old friends where the arm's-distance quality of Facebook is just right.

So many music clips! so many movie recommendations! so many jokes and political quips, clever notes to respond too.  But then there's also a like of YouTube to look through to find just the right bit with which to represent myself. There are emails I have to crop, which would run to a novel if I said everything I wanted to.

This is a winter of breathing slow and hard, thinking warm thoughts.

After a long online chat the other night, where I was told about how fascinated westerners seem with the Kama Sutra, I decided to finally read it. I'm not sure how many translations are around, but I downloaded Sir Richard Francis Burton's (Project Gutenberg), which I know was the first English translation. I guess like most (stupid) westerners, I believed it to be something like a sex manual, with hundreds of sex positions laid out, and so on. The beginning does deal with sex, explaining how a man and woman should properly enjoy each other, and describes and names certain attitudes and acts. But a lot of it, and the entire book, is just more about relationships and social rules -- most of which seem to be bendable or breakable. For instance, it tells how a proper wife should be chaste, but then there's a lot of space devoted to methods of seducing married women, or sneaking into a harem to enjoy the king's wives. Most of the book is about courtship, really. Some is quaint, some is sensible, and some is astonishing.

Enjoy an unwilling woman by drugging her and taking her home, then enjoying her before she comes to? Legitimate pastime then - date-rape now. Attracting a woman, when encountered at a party, festival, or friends's house, by stroking your mustache, jingling your ornaments, and (my personal favorite), sitting a child on your lap, placing paan in its mouth with your tongue and stroking its chin. O rly?

Overall, it was a pretty interesting social history, a really odd, ancient slice of life. Vastly entertaining.

And our old pal Amitabh is again in the hospital. I knew about his 1983 injury while making the movie Coolie, but did not know that he had subsequent abdominal surgery in 2005. I knew his spleen ruptured and was removed in '83, but apparently he's had lasting intestinal issues, including an incisional hernia. So he's having an operation today for something related to that, and apparently the doctor saw something else on a CAT scan. The EF, of course, are losing their minds. Those are some seriously crazy people, and I still sometimes make the mistake of trying to interact with them. There are a couple I can say that I like, but not many I enjoy reading. Anyway, I think I can also say that Amitabh is maybe too soft-hearted when it comes to those crazies.  He follows a handful of the craziest on Twitter, and blogs from his hospital bed to make all of the insane fans happy. (Though it does also serve the purpose of getting accurate information to the media.)

Some video? oh, if I must. I was lucky enough to find this one, the opening song of the show I attended last January: 

This is how to love David Johansen.

Then I started with "Smooth" again, by Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas. That song hooks me and earworms me up more often than I'd imagine. I'm afraid I may have passed it along to Shiva. There's something so sexy about that song that it's almost scary:

Kind of makes me wish for summer already.

Plans for the weekend: finish watching Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (recent movie, well received, Hrithik Roshan).  Make one more necklace and one more pair of earrings for the Village Scandal. Continue to play four or five different games of Words with Friends at once, and get creamed in most of them. (My Scrabble skills are way rusty, and my friends are way smart.) Buy a few things online. We got our hands on a little extra money and I may finally buy myself a kameez and a bottle of Mitsouko.  

I've been wearing Bal a Versailles, which I bought - reasonably - on a hunch. It's not bad but I have a feeling my aunt Mara used to wear it -- it makes me think of her. Barry likes it a lot, but it's not my favorite. 

Actually I saw a thing on Fiverr the other day where someone will blend a cologne sample to your liking, which of course intrigues me.

I think everything is intriguing me lately. He does feel like it should be spring, leaning into summer...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

my head is spinning somewhat

Can't really say why, but it is.  Too much good mood.  Too much good mood + can't talk about it = what do you think it equals?

All else is what it is and what it's been: work is still good, I feel hopeful about the jewelry, I'm trying to arrange a dinner with Robin for the 16th or 17th.  Robin will understand the spinning-head stuff.  Her head has been known to spin over such things.

Money sucks, sucks, sucks.  Barry had a shot at a job at Ohel, working with developmentally disabled people, but it turned out he had to have a driver's license.  He's now applying for a slightly less good but similar job, also with Ohel.  Of course, I suggested that he look for similar jobs in other agencies, WHICH HADN'T OCCURRED TO HIM. 

As we say in Mangalore, oy vey.

Monday, February 6, 2012

oops - double LMFAO

I guess I did LMFAO for two posts in a row.  Well, I like LMFAO.  Watch the videos again -- maybe you'll like them, too.

Otherwise, I'm still listening to Hindi music, but I've thrown some Latin music and a few other random things (Robert Palmer for one) back into the mix.  How often can I listen to Eer Bir Phatte and scratch my head over what it might mean?

no Super Bowl content whatever

I really have to remember that no matter how much I love reading Amitabh Bachchan's blog and even leaving comments, most of the commentors (the "EF") are totally insane.  Or some are totally insane, many are partly insane.  Anyway, I am often stupid enough to let some of them bother me, and often it's an issue of snub or neglect rather than attack.  Still, I let someone get to me over the weekend, and I let it make me feel lousy.  And then -- whoop, mood swing! -- I saw something this morning on Facebook that tickled me no end.  Only takes one nice person to counter a dismal mood.  I'm lucky enough to have a lot of nice people in my life, so the nasty ones can just take a hike. I only have to remember not to let myself be bothered by them.  I'm so oversensitive sometimes.

I made one more of the Village Scandal necklaces this weekend:  8mm lapis beads, with dangles in white "rice krispie" pearls, 4mm round blue agate, 4mm lapis barrels, 4mm iolite saucers.  (For those of you scratching your heads:  dark opaque blue, white pearls, translucent medium blue, dark opaque blue, transparent dark blue.)  The blue and white looks very fresh.  I think the third one will be pink and light green, which is pretty much my favorite spring color combo.  I have some round 10mm faceted cherry quartz that's been sitting around for a while, and I have insane numbers of all kinds of green beads.  And I think some little pink pearls.  For some reason, I have way more green and yellow/orange stone beads than any other colors.  Way lower on the pink/red, blue, and purple.

I did make the move to silver-plated headpins.  It didn't hurt too much.  They're sooo much less expensive, and they look fine.  And it's really nice to work with material where I don't have to feel stingy.  I bought 500 headpins for around $8.

It looks like my PPSC holiday jewelry sale is going to go ahead, except it's been morphed into a crafts fair, which means I'll be alongside other sellers.  It'll be small, so there won't be other jewelers, but there may be a potter, a painter, etc.  I'm slightly disappointed, because I really wanted (and expected) to have the showcase all to myself; and I'll certainly earn less money.  But it's a big vote of confidence and a great opportunity, even a little diluted; the Board of Directors voted to go ahead with it on Friday, so I really have no cause for complaint.  The Board rocks, really.  I used to take minutes at the Board meetings at NYU Law School, and man, that was a dull group and a dull meeting (although the lunches were pretty good).  The PPSC Board is smaller and way less formal, plus I can even make some suggestions or comments and it's OK -- sometimes even very much welcome.

The people at PPSC...well, we all understand that they have professional training that I don't, but no one uses that to put themselves above me.  They all act as if we're all talented and useful, just in different areas.  No one assumes that I don't know things.  When I worked at Tarcher, the editor-in-chief, Mitch, was (and is) a very bright guy, but he tended to assume that other people were not, especially people in lower positions than he was (like me).  Once we were coming out of a sales meeting, and he said, about a sales guy in the meeting, "You know, Hal Fessenden's brother is this really crazy avant-garde movie director."  I said, "He's Larry Fessenden's brother?"  And Mitch said, "How do YOU know about Larry Fessenden?"  Pardon me, but fuck you, Mitch.  No one would ever do anything like that here...not only that, but they're always quick to give me credit, and always welcome new info and new ideas.  It's not just that I'm a little older now and not someone's kid assistant; the people here don't really have anything to prove, and they're mostly pretty warm, kind folk.

I guess I'm counting blessings right about now.  Financial need has been twisting my life in a truly miserable way over the past year, with no end in sight.  But I work for and with nice people, and I have some very wonderful people in my life.

Apart from making that necklace, I spent a lot of the weekend watching Downton Abbey.  Highbrow and addictive.  I watched the entire first season on Netflix over a couple of weeks, and then totally cheated and downloaded the entire second season and have now watched all of it.  So they'd better hurry up and make that third season!  I'm reserving my opinion on HBO's Luck; so far, a lot of good actors, and a whole lot of horse-racing jargon.  That guy Gary Stevens is in it, an actual jockey who was also in Seabiscuit.  In fact, looking at the IMDB, it seems he won the George Woolf Memorial Jockey award in 1996 before playing George Woolf in Seabiscuit in 2003.  You can't get much better trivia than that!

Although...speaking of trivia...I've kind of come late to the game concerning LMFAO.  I guess Party Rock Anthem was a huge hit last summer, but I've just discovered it.  Those guys are awesome.  And here's the cool trivia part: not only are they uncle and nephew, but they're the son and grandson of Berry Gordy

So I guess I must...