Friday, July 13, 2012

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

How long does one allow oneself to be miserable before one does something about it? This actually has nothing to do with Gone Girl, I was just curious. (By the way, I can't say “Gone Girl” without breaking into a raucous version of Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel.) It has more to do with me, because that's the reason I read Gone Girl (hey pretty baby with the high heels on). I have been unhappy with my job for a long time, it seems, and have missed myself a bit. I decided it was time to take some action! One of the things I have been missing is reading so I ordered a stack of books … yes, a stack … and I allowed myself the time to read. I started with Gone Girl (you knock me offa my feet). This book promised more twists than a Chubby Checker concert, and on that promise, it delivered. This falling apart story of the perfect couple began slow and steady and more than a tad calculated. Told in the He Said/She Said style of 1st person story-telling by Nick and diary entries by the Girl, Amy, the story left me constantly wondering whom I liked, whom I trusted, whom I believed. And I liked that. I loved that. But, sadly, the style changed. The middle section of the book picked up a lot of momentum like a lit fuse burning quickly toward the dynamite. The dramatic increase in the pace left me feeling like the story were less contemplated. And this is actually where Gone Girl (just kiss me baby and tell me twice) lost me. I found Amy rather trite, actually, and boring. And, I do not want to ruin anything for anyone, because in all honesty, I couldn't put the book down, but I found the whole thing extremely anti-climactic. The dynamite at the end must have been soaked in the Missouri River because there was no explosion. I must say, however, it felt so good to read an entire book in a timely manner just because that is exactly what I wanted to do! I am excited to move to the next book in my stack and say goodbye to Gone Girl (my lonely days are gone). Hee hee hee (that's going to take a little Michael Jackson imagination on your part)!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Stepford Wives

My thoughts seem a bit scrambled this morning. I have a lot on my mind. A lot to think about. I like to escape my own brain at night before I go to sleep, so I will trade in a book for old episodes of Mary Tyler Moore and Bob Newhart. Sometimes I like the subtlety of older films and television. I like the innuendoes. I like picking up on the hints. I feel like I'm “in” on some private joke when I understand what they are not saying. They seem to give me the credit I deserve for being so damn smart! I watched The Stepford Wives on my computer last night. I mean, the good version from 1975, not that campy piece of nonsense that came out in 2004. I think I was nine years old when the film was released, so probably 12 by the time I saw it. How did we see movies back then … before the VCR? How long did it take for a box office hit to find its way to the television? I was in 4th grade when my dad came home one day and told us about this crazy new invention “they” had. It would seem you could record something on one channel while you actually watched another channel! Then, you could watch what you recorded later. This conversation came about when Helter Skelter was set to air as a week long television event in 1976, aka: the week Rebecca spent evenings in her bedroom with the door closed playing with The Sunshine Family and Kojak-The Board Game (with her many invisible friends). So, I watched The Stepford Wives last night. I enjoyed the subtle science fiction of the film and the lack of information was actually a bit refreshing. That would never fly nowadays. We need all the answers in today's films! We can't leave anything to our own imagination, not when there are filmmakers out there willing to do all the dirty work for us. What I do not understand is how an entire town full of unattractive, boring men were able to “catch” such beautiful women. I do, however, understand why they would want to change them. It happens all the time. Men want the beautiful woman but do not want to deal with her beautiful mind. So, he tries to change her into the perfect house keeper, lover, and minimalist in the art of conversation. It's boring as hell, but I can certainly see how that would be easier for them. But, the film. We were talking about the film. I appreciated that it allowed me to do my own math. Joanna's new friend, Bobby, was far too bubbly, animated and delightful to last long in Stepford. We knew what would happen to her from the moment she bounced across the screen and we were sad for that fact for the duration of their friendship. She had spunk, and unlike Lou Grant, I love spunk! Joanna's husband's band of boring men friends had former careers far more interesting than their characters deserved … artists, animators, linguists, etc with companies like Disney and Playboy listed on their resumes. These bores had the experience and know-how to make the perfect automatons! It's actually very sad. The film explores a theme I've heard my whole life: Men want beautiful women who never age, or think, or contradict. They want to feel like Tarzan. They want to be The Best. And, embarrassingly, while I was watching, I thought – a couple of times – it would really be so much easier if I could be reprogrammed that way. (Until I saw the ending, of course!) I am being very simple in this “review”. Of course I caught all the themes tucked neatly between an abundance of product placement throughout the film. From the man carrying the naked mannequin to Joanna's flesh-colored, body-hugging hostess dress. Men want to play with beautiful dolls. (And Katharine Ross was very beautiful!) (I was happy to see Mary Stuart Masterson, too, as Joanna's adorable daughter.) Women were burning bras and growing their hair when this film was released and I absolutely get the social commentary. I also, quite simply, enjoyed the film.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Power Junkie

I think I'm addicted to electricity. Now I have to add that to my list of vices and I didn't even realize a person could have such an addiction. But here I sit, sweating in my summerweight pajamas, drinking a luke warm Diet Coke and wishing I could watch tv or get on Facebook. When I left work last night at 10:20pm, it was still a sweltering 100 degrees outside and the air was heavy with humidity. Even at the late hour, it felt difficult to breath and I hit the “MAX” button for the A/C in my car. For the first 5 miles or so, it was a normal drive, like any other summer night. As I approached the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, the wind picked up. And when I say “the wind picked up”, I mean, the wind picked up my car and moved it to another lane on the highway! Crossing the bridge, debris was flying and dirt was hitting the car like a full blown sandstorm. I don't know how so much debris could accumulate on a bridge – a bridge that sits very high off the water – and I honestly never thought of the banks of the Potomac River as particularly sandy, but that was the occurrence last night. By the time I crossed the bridge and veered off onto my exit, the rain had started and my vision was almost completely impaired by torrential currents, dirt and debris pelting me like I had done something naughty earlier in the day and had been caught! Another mile or two and the lights went out and the trees began falling onto the highway. I love living in such a beautifully wooded area until the woods start throwing themselves onto the pavement, then my feelings change somewhat. Trees were hitting the highway, cars were hitting the trees, rain and airborn trash was hitting the cars, and I was hitting my brakes. It took a long time to get home at this pace. The only lights on the road were the blaring lights on police cars and the hazard lights of vehicles that had become victims of falling trees. I plucked my way home feeling sad for my new car and more than a little worried that a tree was going to fall on my head. And anxious to get home to the dogs who are afraid of storms. (Well, the ringleader, Wednesday, is afraid of storms, so Puzzle and Prozac suffer fear by proxy.) I had to reroute myself in my neighborhood due to a large tree that had fallen completely over the street. In the darkness, I could see more than one vehicle looking quite smashed by the falling timber. But I finally made it to my little street. Usually, when our whole neighborhood loses power. We do not. I have no idea why we are spared, but I have followed the glow of my television home like the North Star on more than one occasion. But not last night. Last night, my house was just as dark and abandoned-looking as the rest of the neighborhood. I was a little sad about that, but happy to be home. I entered the house to find three very wet and smelly dogs. Why do they like to play outside in an ever-loving monsoon?! What is wrong with them? I thought Boder Collies were smart? They must all be mixed with Dummies. “What kind of dogs do you have?” “Oh, they're Border Collie/Dummy mixes.” Bordummies. Dodo Collies. But I digress ….. The only flashlight I could find in the disorienting dark was a small light on an elastic strap that fits around one's head. I fumbled with it and got a red light to glow. Ha! I picked my way upstairs using infrared headgear! By the time I changed clothes and made it into bed, I figured out how to get the light to glow regular white light and used that to read until the elastic squeezed my brain and I went to sleep. I was disheartened to find we were still out of power this morning. My weekends off are rare and I had plans for today. Plans that would include blow drying my hair, perhaps even using a curling iron a bit. Plans that would include ironing my clothes. I am a vain person, after all. Even after all that I put into my appearance, I still walk away feeling ugly, so imagine how I feel when I can't make any improvements whatsoever! It's going to be well over 100 degrees again today. I grew up poor and never had air conditioning, but we did have electricity and a well-placed fan or two. I would like a fan blowing on me right about now. Yes, I would.