Archive | February, 2006

Fat Marty!

28 Feb

Just a quick posting to say Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!

In honor of the day, I’ve decided that when the saints go marching in, I, too, would like to be in that number.

Buy Rent

27 Feb

After watching the DVD of Rent this weekend, I’m happy to report that I have a bit more enthusiasm for the film. As you may recall, I didn’t exactly love Rent when I first saw it last November. I felt that the film had serious pacing problems that made it feel long, and the decision to cut one or two key songs eliminated all the emotional impact. But now I’ve watched all the deleted scenes and the full two-hour documentary, and I’ve played the movie straight through (admittedly, it was more like background music since I wasn’t watching too closely) and I can honestly say I don’t hate the film as much as I did. Sure, I still think director Christopher Columbus was wrong to cut “Goodbye Love” (which you can watch here, along with some other clips), and I actually like the alternate ending more than the one that’s actually there, but as a lasting memento of a musical I love, I could do a lot worse than this movie adaptation. And it’s worth noting that the documentary feature is actually quite good and worth watching, even if you think you know everything about Jonathan Larson and Rent. So there’s my ringing endorsement, without a lame “it’s a good rent-al” pun. Oh wait …

I Guess I Just Didn’t Do It

26 Feb

I suppose it goes without saying that I never joined the gym. If I had, you’d surely have read about it here. My heart just wasn’t into it, and I took too long to act on my initial enthusiasm. So, I took that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be and I decided not to join.

In fact, I let a few things slide in February: I was set up with a woman, went out with her and another couple, and then didn’t follow-up when I got her email address. I had a bad week at work and I let my frustrations show a bit too visibly. My apartment has started to get a bit messy and cluttered again. I actually haven’t done my laundry in a month — which would be pretty gross if I didn’t have enough clothes to go another week without doing it. Hell, I didn’t even see a movie all month. And, against all my better efforts, I got sucked back into American Idol.

But that all stops here. I’m declaring February an “off” month. In March I will get back on the horse. I went out with another woman last week, and I’m not going to brush this off so easily. I’m going to clean up my apartment (again). I’m going to try and focus better at work so I can reach my professional goals. And no, I’m not going to join the gym, but that’s alright. I’m going to be more realistic about setting goals I can actually achieve.

It’s a couple days early, but Happy March.

When Am I Going to Get Mine?

26 Feb

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy buying gifts.

I think it’s a fun creative exercise of sorts, and a test of how well I know someone or what they’d like.

And I think I’m good at it — usually — or at least I’m told I give great gifts.

For example, I was supposed to go fishing a couple weeks ago with a friend of mine for his birthday. The trip didn’t work out, so I bought him fish of a different variety, the Swedish kind.

And I also have no problem buying a bottle of wine or something when I go over to someone’s new house or apartment, or spending extra if I find a gift I particularly like, even if I know it won’t be reciprocated.

Similarly, and please don’t get me wrong on this point especially, I am happy for all my friends’ marriages, births, and other special occasions. Continue reading

Back to Filene’s

25 Feb

Apparently, many of you out there were interested in my shopping experience at Filene’s last weekend, so I thought I’d offer up a quick update since I tried out another store today, the one in Chestnut Hill. And I’m not saying I found anything different there (still an overabundance of small- and medium-size clothes), but I didn’t walk out of this store empty-handed.

Full disclosure: last week and this week I went to Filene’s at least partly hoping to find myself an argyle sweater, and I’ve had no luck in that department. So perhaps it was the lower discount (40%–60%), or maybe I just had more patience or a greater determination to buy something this week, but I found myself a rugby shirt, a tie, and a sweater vest, and the whole thing cost me only around $60.

Also worth noting was the selection of labels. A liquidation sale is a great time to see just what the hierarchy is in a department store. Not much remained in the Ralph Lauren or DKNY departments, for example, but there was plenty of Bahama Joe and John Ashford. Club Room, too. Expect this stuff to be available for 50%–70% off next week.

And I suppose I’d be accused of not telling the whole story if I left out that after Filene’s I went downstairs to Brooks Brothers, where I found a pretty cool argyle sweater on sale for 50% off (which at Brooks Brothers is a really sweet deal). So I bought it and called off the argyle search for the time being.

He Knows How I Feel

20 Feb

It says something about where my head’s been lately that I was just watching VH1 (or MTV) and a brand-new video came on that hit a chord (no pun intended). The song/video is Daniel Powter‘s “Bad Day,” off his self-titled CD (which is available at iTunes). In the video, a young woman (played by Samaire Armstrong, from The O.C. and Entourage) and a man go through their near-identical daily routines, while Powter (in full piano-driven ballad, singer/songwriter mode) plays and sings to the camera. Of course, for most of the video they’re oblivious to the fact that someone else shares their pain, but they meet at the end. It’s not the most uplifting song or video, so it sorta bummed me out that I could relate in a more ways than one — including the fact that it appears one day during the guy’s week, he actually wears a tie to work. Thanks to my DVR, I rewound it and watched a second time, had a similar reaction. And thanks to Powter’s web site, you can watch it as many times as you like. Anyway, if the video or song should come on next time you’re flipping the channels, stay there for a minute and take it in like I did. Good, sad stuff. Chances are you’ll be hearing this one a lot; it has sensitive pop hit written all over it, sort of like Gavin DeGraw.

Much Ado About Something

19 Feb

I don’t often blog about political topics — for good reason — but I just wanted to express how annoyed Meet the Press was making me this morning. All week I was simultaneously laughing at the Dick Cheney story (tuning into The Daily Show every night), and bristling at how easily Cheney was getting away with it. And this morning, on MTP, it just seemed to typify everything I hate about the Bush Administration and its handling of the situation.

First Mary Matalin said that Cheney took his time to comment because he wanted to sort out the confusion. Excuse me? He shot someone. That’s black and white. And his silence only fueled the confusion. Then Matalin called the whole thing “much ado about nothing,” a point she repeated time and again. Is she kidding? The vice president shot someone. Sure, maybe in the grand scheme of things it only affected the victim and the vice president and their families, but when you’re the second in command, that’s not “nothing.”

NBC News Chief White House Correspondent David Gregory, who was sitting next to Matalin (and who had gotten into verbal sparring matches with White House press secretary Scott McClellan earlier in the week), questioned her about how Cheney had an obligation to disclose this to the people — a point that was supported by a Time magazine poll showing 65% of Americans thought he should have taken immediate responsibility. Matalin’s response? “It strikes you as odd because you live in a parallel universe. It did not strike Americans as odd.” Huh?

Columnist Maureen Dowd was also on the show, and yes, she’s a staunch liberal and no fan of Bush, but she pointed out that not only did Cheney shoot his friend, but he also blamed his friend for being shot. Matalin didn’t even acknowledge this. And then Paul Gigot, of The Wall Street Journal had the gall to say, “You know, sometimes people make mistakes, human mistakes. And this is one of those cases where I think we ought to treat it in human terms.” Dude, the vice president shot someone!!! When you’re the vice president, you can’t just call that “a mistake.” Thankfully, this was Dowd’s reponse: “I think reporters would have had a lot of empathy for the vice president if he hadn’t sent people out for four days to blame the victim…. I’ve learned a lot about hunting this week. And the thing I’ve learned is that the shooter bears total responsibility for where everyone in the party is before he shoots, and they shoot abreast, not while someone’s fetching a duck. So for him to send all these people out to blame this guy for so many days was not appropriate.”

Near the end of the segment, Gregory made the point I wanted someone to make, which was: what would the Republican response have been had it been Al Gore who had done this? I for one know that they would have come out with guns a-blazin’ (pun intended). Suffice it to say, neither Matalin or Gigot gave that a straight answer. Instead, they took the opportunity to point out that Gore was in Saudi Arabia this week making false statements about the Bush administration, which, they seemed to imply, was a worse offense than shooting someone. (And the fact that Hillary Clinton was also critical this week gave Matalin the chance to take a cheap shot at her too.)

It just drives me crazy how Republicans use this overconfident, haughty, privileged, out-of-touch, insulting, do-no-wrong, “who, me?” and I dare say in the case of Matalin, downright bitchy style, to evade situations like this. Matalin and Gigot repeated numerous times that it wasn’t even a story, and that the press should have been concentrating on things that mattered. “Let’s distinguish political events of no consequence to the nation from those that are,” Matalin said at the end. If Cheney had misspoken or done something harmless, that’d be one thing. But he shot a man, which led to him having a heart attack, and the administration acted like it was no big deal. To me, and to many others, this was a big deal.

As I said at the start, there’s a good reason why I don’t often write about political topics on my blog, but this just bothered me. It’s times like these that I’m reminded why I support Democrats. These people make me sick.

Art is Art is Art … I Guess

19 Feb

There’s a truly weird photo gallery of the year’s “Great Performers” in today’s New York Times Magazine. It’s a bit disarming because this time of year, we’re so used to seeing actors and actresses photographed in what can only be called Glamour Shots, or at least ones that portray them “working.” But the photographers here are going for some bizarre looks, using body paint and other effects to create what can only be called “artsy fartsy shots.” Not sure I like many of these (Charlize Theron excepted), but they’re worth a look because they’re so startling and different.

Where Are All the Small Men?

19 Feb

The real problem with the liquidation sale at Filene’s isn’t the fact that the “sale” prices in some cases have been higher than normal sale prices were before the liquidation started. Nor is it the picked-over selection of remainders. It’s the fact that all the small men in New England seem to be unaware it’s taking place. That’s the only realistic explanation I can think of to explain why everything I went to buy yesterday in Burlington and today in Downtown Crossing was unavailable in my size (XL). On the other hand, there was plenty of clothes available in S and M. It made two shopping excursions rather unproductive.

Unless, of course, the small men are smarter than I am, and they know they are in the minority, so they can wait to shop at Filene’s until the prices go down even lower. After all, right now the sale is only 30-50% off. Next week it’ll likely be 40-60% off. It must be nice to wear a less common size of clothing.

Putting My Past Behind Me

15 Feb

On the T this morning, I saw a guy I went to camp with back in the day. I’m not sure exactly what his first name was — he had a brother who wasn’t exactly an identical twin since they were a year or two apart, but looked pretty similar — but suffice it to say, we sat directly across from each other, and after an initial quick eye contact, I put my eyeballs back into my issue of Entertainment Weekly without ever acknowledging him. (And for the record, he didn’t acknowledge me either.)

Of course, I considered saying hello, especially since this was not the first time we had seen each other on the T, or the T platform at Park Street. But I decided it wasn’t worth my time or effort, because back when we were younger, this guy wasn’t especially nice to me and just generally wasn’t a good guy. Now granted, when he knew me, I was a much wimpier, dorkier kid (no comments, please) and I suppose I’d have made fun of me too if I was him. But that was, like, 15 years ago. If I consider myself to be a totally different person from how I was when I went to camp, which I do, I’d hope he would be similarly different. And like me, I’m sure he’s a better person nowadays.

Still, I was stuck in 1991. For example, the fact that I couldn’t remember this guy’s name, but I still remembered him by his nickname. A similar thing happened two weeks ago when I bumped into another camp acquaintance at COSI. While we’ve seen each other plenty of times and have been much friendlier, I was still inclined to call him by his nickname, which was funny back at camp (especially considering he had a younger brother, and they were “big” and “little” versions of the nickname) but isn’t so much now when we’re in our 30s. (For the record, I called him by his actual name.)

I guess I just have a tough time letting go of the past sometimes. But I’m getting there. The other day, as I walked by a framed collage of pictures from my 5-year college reunion, I glanced at a picture of an old, unrequited crush. And after thinking about how our relationship has turned out over all these years, with her not staying the least bit in touch, I finally thought to myself, “What did I ever see in her?” So for the first time in many years, I actually felt like I was over her.

Lesson is, I need to be better about keeping my past in my past. So perhaps it’s time to move on with this guy from the T, and next time I see him I should just say a friendly hello. After all, in the name of my own self-PR, why shouldn’t I let him spread the word to whoever he’s still in touch with that I’m doing well? Isn’t that the best revenge on someone who was cruel to you as a child? And it’s not like I’ve been carrying these bad feelings toward the guy for all these years. They just come up whenever I see him. And especially if every summer I say I want to drive up to New Hampshire and visit the campus, partly to change how I feel about the place.

But until then, I suppose the door to my past will continue to creek open every so often. I have to be better about keeping it shut.