Archive | March, 2013

Back to Work

26 Mar

It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

A year ago this week, I left my job and went in search of a new one.

I was optimistic, armed with a strong network of contacts and great experience, and had every reason to believe I’d be back on my feet in no time.

But things didn’t go exactly according to plan. While I was lucky enough to find freelance work (actually, most times it found me), and I enjoyed having time “off” (especially during the summer), the ensuing months were frustrating as job leads didn’t pan out and I intentionally downsized my social life.

All I wanted was something new, and for my life to move forward. Instead, I felt like my life was on hold.

But that’s over now.

Continue reading

Die Hard at the White House?

22 Mar

olympus_has_fallen_posterThe White House and other Washington monuments get blow’d up real good in the new film Olympus Has Fallen — good news for anyone who wasn’t satisfied by that kind of sight in movies like Independence Day or The Day After Tomorrow.

The film, directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), is big and loud, with lots of macho action and plenty of ’splosions to please the mostly male audience that’ll likely seek this one out.

Gerard Butler stars as Mike Banning, a former Secret Service agent who finds himself in the right place at the right time when North Korean terrorists take the President (Aaron Eckhart) hostage in the White House’s underground bunker. Through it all, Banning stays in touch by phone with national security bigwigs played by Angela Bassett and Robert Forster, not to mention Morgan Freeman’s Speaker of the House character, who is asked to step in as acting President.

Of course, Banning and those remote experts don’t always see eye to eye, but the former agent’s resourcefulness comes through more than a few times to prove them wrong and save the day.

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This Is Not What I Signed Up For

21 Mar

spring_breakers_posterOh, spring break.

The week when college kids head to warmer places and let their inhibitions run wild.

This rite of passage sounds so idyllic to so many people that it’s become a cliché over the years — one that’s played out in movies such as Where the Boys Are, The Real Cancun, and From Justin to Kelly, to name just three.

But whereas those movies have shown a mostly chaste version of what goes on when you put thousands of college kids together under the hot sun, add alcohol, and mix it all together, Harmony Korine’s latest film, Spring Breakers, gives a much different, much darker version of events.

Oh boy, does it. Continue reading

Let the Right One In

20 Mar

admission-posterGrowing up, one of my favorite movies was How I Got into College.

It provided a light-hearted look (to put it mildly) at the college admissions process, and while some of the humor was typical of lame 1980s comedies, it touched a chord for this young applicant.

Cut to 24 years later, and the new film Admission tackles similar ground — albeit from the perspective of an admissions officer. But unlike that ’80s “classic,” this one won’t be earning a special place in my movie memories. Continue reading

5 More People from Twitter Who I’d Like to Meet Offline

15 Mar

twitter-logo-circleI love Twitter the most when it’s people talking to people, not marketers promoting their products and services, or people autosharing their Foursquare check-ins or Instagram photos, or readers generically sharing an article headline.

Just good ole person-to-person conversation.

When people on Twitter let you in, and show you that they’re about more than their job, and they actually show a personality, then you want to learn more about them and everything they want to share.

Even better, you begin to feel like you actually know these people, even if you don’t.

Because a simple “Follow Friday” tweet wouldn’t suffice, last week I shared a list of five people I follow on Twitter who I’ve never been in the same room with but I feel like I kinda sorta know, and who I would love to meet offline.

Here’s another five, in no particular order:

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They’ve Got Magic to Do, Just for You!

14 Mar

incredible_burt_wonderstone_posterHarry Houdini.

David Copperfield.

Penn & Teller.

Ricky Jay.

Those are the names of some great magicians.

Burt Wonderstone thinks he’s on that list, and the huge crowds that come to see his show every night at Bally’s in Las Vegas may back that up, but times are changing, and this spray-tanned egomaniac is not the star he once was.

Of course, I’m not talking about a real person. I’m talking about the title character in the new film The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, in which Steve Carell rebounds from the awful Seeking a Friend for the End of the World to show us how funny and endearing he can be when he’s in a comedy.

Continue reading

I Just Can’t Let Go

12 Mar

delete-buttonLadies and gentlemen, I am a pack rat.

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, this will not be breaking news. But it’s still true.

I save nearly everything: Magazines, concert and other event tickets, posters, mementos, books, DVDs, CDs, promotional tchotchkes, hangers, etc.

I save clothes until they’ve either shrunk to the point of not fitting, faded to the point of being unrecognizable, or ripped so badly that they’re useless — and that applies to shoes, towels, and backpacks/messenger bags too.

I have 20 Newbury Comics pint glasses, and I still use them, even though I have plenty of actual, nicer glasses (and I live alone).

I drove my last car for nearly 11 years before getting a new one.

I still have my old computer, which I replaced in 2006, my old VCR, my old TV, and my old DVD player.

It’s March 12 and I still have holiday cards displayed on my refrigerator.

Something to Save” was one of my favorite tracks on the George Michael album Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1.

Maybe you get the point. I’m not exactly a candidate for Hoarders, but there’s a reason I have two — yes, two — basement storage units. Continue reading

5 People from Twitter I’d Like to Meet Offline

8 Mar

twitter_logoIf you use Twitter the right way — that is, you use it to engage with other people, not just to share headlines or Foursquare check-ins — then you provide a window into who you are.

That’s why, if you’re active on this social network, you often find you think you know people really well when you’ve never actually met them in real life.

I have that “problem” all the time: I forget that I don’t really know some of the people I interact with on an almost-daily basis.

But that’s a good thing, I think (thus the quotation marks around “problem”). I wish more people used Twitter in a way that made it seem equally personal.

I wanted to find a way to recognize some of the people I enjoy following, but I didn’t think a simple Follow Friday tweet would do it. So I thought I’d start a regular feature here on my blog, a list of a few people on Twitter who I feel I kinda already know and would love to meet offline.

You won’t find celebrities or politicians or other big names here, even though, sure, I’d love to meet Cory Booker, Bill Maher, Alec Baldwin, the writers of Modern Family, and others like them. I’m keeping this list limited just to regular people, ones with whom I’ve never been in the same room.

Here are the first five, in no particular order: Continue reading

Not Quite Wizard Enough

7 Mar

oz-the-great-and-powerful-horiz-posterShall we get some of the expected clichés and puns out of the way now?

Pay no attention to that movie behind the curtain!

This Oz is not so wonderful.

No brain! No heart! No courage!

It’s wicked bad.

Don’t go off to see this Wizard.

Witch movie should you see this weekend? Not this one.

And of course … There’s no place like home (when you’re deciding whether to go out to see Oz the Great and Powerful).

From those lines you can probably surmise that this Wizard of Oz prequel is neither as great or as powerful as the 1939 classic film that inspired it. Not even close. Continue reading

Are You Ready to Check in to a Life Less Social?

6 Mar

Foursquare-stickerHow times have changed.

It wasn’t so long ago that I used to check in on Foursquare everywhere I went, to an almost obsessive-compulsive degree.

The supermarket, the gas station, the post office, my home, every store I shopped at in the mall, T stops, my parents’ apartment, my friends’ houses … if it was on Foursquare, I’d check in there right away. And if it wasn’t, then I’d create a place or find somewhere close by to check in to.

I was a stalker’s dream.

But now, I hardly check in at all. Only when there’s a mayorship I need to maintain, or it’s a particularly interesting place (like a movie or a good restaurant or a special event).

Otherwise, checking in to the same places all the time — whether it’s an office, gym, coffee shop, or whatever — isn’t all that exciting anymore. And more important, no one really needs to know (or, if I’m being honest, cares) where I am at all times. Continue reading

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