Thursday, November 30, 2006

Soooooooo Cold

There's something about California cold weather that really shocks your system. Last night it dipped down into the 40s, but it felt much colder than that (I can't imagine how freezing it must've been near the beach). Even Mr. Octopus, who grew up in Connecticut, said that it gets colder in LA than on the East Coast. While I don't agree with that, there is definitely something about the California cold that is different. Maybe it's the temperature swings. 80 degrees during the day, 40 degrees at night, which means that if you're out all day, then you're not wearing enough clothes to keep you warm after dinner.

To make matters worse, we haven't turned on the heat in our house. Not that we can't, we just haven't (we should!). We have an old house, with old ducts, and I think we want to get the heating system checked out (ducts cleaned, filter replaced) before we turn it on. As a result, our house is freezing. My fingertips actually turned numb this morning. We're calling some HVAC people come over soon. I'm looking forward to turning the heat on full blast next week.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Him Yummy

Before Casino Royale, I'd only seen two James Bond movies-- Goldfinger and Goldeneye -- and I didn't care for either of them. I thought James Bond was a lame and outdated character. Which makes it all the more puzzling when I realized that I wanted to see Casino Royale. I'd never heard of Daniel Craig and I don't care for blonde guys. And yet I was like, yes please!

So Mr. Octopus and I caught the late screening in Glendale on Sunday. The bad news first: the movie is too long (almost 2-1/2 hours) and the plot is confusing. The good news: Daniel Craig is really good (just the right combination of rugged masculinity and sensitive loverboy), the story is interesting enough, and, um, Daniel Craig is really good. Me likey!

Two Hours of My Life That I Want Back

Running with Scissors went on forever and ever. From the previews, it looked like a comedy about a dysfunctional family. A crazy mom, her husband and her son. No, it's much more than that. There's a crazy mom, her husband and her son, plus her crazy shrink, his crazy wife, their crazy children. Think Wes Anderson, but instead of everyone being lovably quirky, they're annoyingly psychotic.

I read somewhere that Annette Bening is a contender for the Best Actress Oscar. Nothing could be more hilarious. It's really not that hard to play a bipolar delusional narcissist. I can do that (I do do that!). It's way more difficult to play normal.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

VN News

I've noticed a lot of press on Vietnam and Vietnamese-Americans lately. Here are some select tidbits:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Resolutions for 2007

For those of you looking to get fit in 2007 and happen to live in LA, NYC or Chicago, you may want to consider getting a Health Fitness passbook. It is full of coupons to lots of different gyms, yoga and pilates studios and other fitness centers in the city. If you haven't already committed to a gym or studio, this is a good way to see what's out there without busting your budget.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Home Sweet Home

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving. We spent the weekend in Texas, of all places. First in Dallas, then in Houston. Mr. Octopus has relatives in both places and his extended clan also flew in. Lots of food and kids. It was a great intergenerational gathering, with relatives ranging from 3 years old to 70+. The older I get, the more I like family get togethers. And thank goodness for the kids. They make the whole thing fun.

This was my first time spending any significant amount of time in Texas and they ain't kidding when they say Texas is flat. It was unsettling looking around and not seeing a hill in sight. All I saw were subdivision after subdivision. And the houses were all big; one stately McMansion after another. The houses were almost all new (or newish) and built with brick or stone, giving them a faux distinguished and weathered look.

We touched down in Burbank this afternoon. It was good to be back. I felt at home and at ease driving back to Eagle Rock with its old character homes, the mountains in the distance.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Burbank, Who Knew?

Soon after I moved from Minnesota to California in 1986, I got a letter from my friend in Minnesota saying "I hear that a lot of famous people live in Burbank. You should go there." (Apparently, all of our favorite movie stars and bands had their fan mail directed to some P.O. box in Burbank.)

Twenty years later, I'm finally getting around to exploring Burbank and man, this place rocks. I'm not kidding. There are some 1950s era gems like Bob's Big Boy (the oldest Bob's still standing) and Papoo's on Riverside Drive. There's also the Toluca Lake district, which has some really beautiful old houses. I love old houses! Especially the fairy tale/storybook looking ones. There's an IKEA, Barnes & Noble, movie theater, among other life essentials. To top it off, there's the Burbank Bob Hope airport (he was a longtime Burbank resident and was supposedly very jealous that John Wayne had his own airport). It's one of those fantastic old fashioned, teeny weeny airports where the lines are short and the parking is cheap.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Eagle Has Landed

Good press on Eagle Rock. Yee haw! Makes me feel better about moving here at the tail end of the housing boom.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I really liked this movie. Penelope Cruz is excellent, as is everyone else. I generally like character-driven movies more than plot-driven ones, and this one is no exception.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I'm in the minority here. I didn't like this movie. It had it's funny parts, but overall a little tiresome. I also couldn't help thinking Borat is a Mahir ripoff. Remember Mahir from 1999?

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Hello Madam Speaker!

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Lookee loo, chanchow's been chugging for a year. Cupcakes for everyone!

Hope you all get out to vote.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Howl's Moving Castle

We watched this on DVD last night. I'm not a big fan of Japanese anime or Miyasaki, but this was awesome. The story was strange (I don't get it!), but, as you can see, the castle and the whole show was a visual feast. To top it off, the English dubbing was first rate. They got Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer, Billy Crystal, Jean Simmons, Blythe Danner and Lauren Bacall to voice the characters.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Flushed Away

Delightful and funny!

Friday, November 3, 2006

Fridays Are the Best

In fact, they've become even better now that I have a job where I don't work weekends. This morning the sun is shining. The sky is clear. The birds are chirping. Since Fridays are casual I'm trying to figure out what shirt I should wear with my jeans. We've got a full plate of plans for this weekend-- Flushed Away tonight, birthday party tomorrow, Volver on Sunday. And of course, there's eating in between. The older I get, the more I live to eat.