“Skyfall” Review

My husband and I saw “Skyfall” last night.  It was pretty good.  We definitely did not think it was the best Bond ever, but it also was not the worst.

Daniel Craig as Bond? No thanks.  Sean Connery was heaven as Bond, James Bond.  Roger Moore was pretty good too.  Having a gay Bond (gay in real life that is) is a stretch for me, and I am far from homophobic.   Mr. Craig is getting on in years and I am hoping that they turn him in for a younger, hotter, and more virile version.

Highlights:

Adele’s song.  It is beautiful.  Her voice is one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard;

Javier Bardem’s entire performance.  He was chilling and acted to perfection.  Can you win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Bond movie? If so, bring it on;

The underwater scenes, as always; and

Some very cool cinematography.

Low Points:

Introducing Ralph Fiennes.  Go away! You are no good in this role and boring to boot;

The women were not as sexy as usual;

Duration.  Sorry, but no Bond movie needs to be two hours and twenty-three minutes; and

A lot of the action scenes were pretty contrived and the special effects were less than stellar.

Okay, okay.  I know what you are thinking (I think).  What do you expect from a James Bond movie? This is not film-making at its deepest.  So I will relax and tell you that it is a fun, action-filled movie, though a bit too long.  As a diehard Bond fan I would not have missed it and neither should you.  It might be more fun in IMAX.

See it.

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Songs After Sandy

Okay.  Off to Florida this afternoon for the weekend.  Had to buy a few new songs to put on my I-Pod for my long runs, in shorts for the first time in quite a while!

Here you go:

“Sister” and “Lonely Boy”, both by the Black Keys,

“All These Things I’ve Done” by The Killers, and

“Til the Casket Drops” by ZZ Ward (love this one!!!).

Check them out.  The ZZ Ward song is especially good for cardio.  I will be singing these out loud and very loud and off key (much to my husband’s chagrin), running by the ocean early tomorrow morning.

Smile if you see me.

 

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Happy Birthday Mommy. We Miss You.

Today is my mom’s birthday.  She would have been seventy-six years old today.  My mom died three years ago, just after her seventy-third birthday, way too soon.

Mommy, I miss you.  I hope you are in a better place. 

I hope you are:

Playing slot machines and Pai Gow Poker,

Smoking lots of cigarettes,

Drinking your wine or your cosmos,

Wearing your beautiful diamond ring,

Carrying a Chanel bag,

Wearing your big black sunglasses,

Wearing a gorgeous suit from Escada and showing off those always perfect legs,

Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle in ink every day, without a dictionary,

Playing solitaire and Scrabble,

Making people laugh with your crazy sense of humor,

Breathing easily,

Laughing freely.

Mommy, I miss you every single day.  We all do.  Rest in peace beautiful.  We will always have you in our hearts and in our minds.

 

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What We Lost

On 9/11/2001, we lost our home.  I was dropping my children, then five and seven, at their school, just a few blocks from the Twin Towers.  Our home was even closer, and we had to move away for a year.  It was terrifying and insane.  Our apartment was contaminated, as we had left our south facing windows open, and almost everything was lost.

The most upsetting losses after 9/11 were my children’s keepsakes.  I had all of their baby blankets, and stuffed animals, and special clothes.  My parents had never been “savers”, and I wanted my children to have these things later in life, to pass along to their children, or just to look at, and possibly remember.  These things, I thought, would remind them of how much I have always loved them both.

I was able to salvage some items from their early years.  In my basement storage unit, I had their baby books, which I had painstakingly updated from the day each of them was born.  I had photos, report cards, awards, all of their special art projects and schoolwork.  They were all in cardboard boxes, at the very bottom of our storage bin in Western Soho.  They were all drenched with water last week when Hurricane Sandy hit our neighborhood.

For the past four days, since our power was restored, we have emptied everything out of our basement and brought what could possibly be salvaged up to our apartment.  Every flat surface has been covered with stories, and photos, and first birthday cards.  Much has been completely destroyed, and is now in the trash.  What I have been able to save is mostly faded and warped, colors and words running together.

I am heartsick.

I know that many fared so much worse than we did.  I am very grateful that we did not lose our homes, or our lives, as so many others did.  My heart goes out to all of them.  But I am still upset.  The “real stuff” does not matter to me, but these reminders of my children’s lives from birth through middle school, feel significant to me.

My prayers go out to everybody who is still displaced and without power, to those who lost more.  The world is going crazy.

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We’re Home Sandy!

We just returned to our apartment in Western Soho after what I am calling a “surreal mini-vacation” on the Upper West Side in a hotel.  Would you believe that our hotel, On the Ave, on 77th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway, charged us over $500 a night for a room that is normally $169? We faced the interior of the hotel, looking into ugly brick walls and other rooms.  Our television did not work until yesterday.  When we tried to use their Fitness Room we found two old treadmills, neither of which worked, but we made due with two rickety elliptical machines.  This, after we had to stay in our dark apartment with no heat, electricity, or running water until Wednesday, as the city had NO hotel rooms available, and forget one that would accommodate a dog.  On the Ave had a three night minimum, to add insult to injury.  Nothing like taking advantage of people who have lost their homes… I am so tempted to call “Shame On You”. 

On the flip side, it was sort of fun to live in another neighborhood for a while.  I worked out at Physique 57 twice, and my husband and I took advantage of a free yoga class at Lululemon on Broadway this morning.  We hung out with my in-laws, took our dog to get groomed, got our nails done, ate in restaurants that we usually don’t go to.

I saw two movies; one with my son and one with my husband.  Reviews later.  I finished a book and started another.

The worst thing that we suffered was our storage bin flooding.  We lost almost all of my children’s keepsakes during 9/11, and the little that was left of theirs was stored in the bottom of my bin here.  Now I have nothing to show them later in life, to remind them how precious they have been to me every single day since they were born.  I am going to write them each a letter, explaining.  I will NOT put those letters in a basement storage room.

My son has not had school all week, but it was hardly what one would call a vacation.  We just found out that his school, which is located down on Broad Street in the Financial District, had serious damage and he will not have school until Wednesday, at which time he is being relocated to another location, much farther from where we live.  Looks like I will be a school chauffeur once again.  My son has been such a sweetheart though that it is my pleasure.

I am grateful for a lot.  I am grateful that:

our home was not ruined,

my daughter was upstate and experienced no power losses or inconveniences,

our friends and family are all okay,

we were able to find a place to stay where we could shower and flush the toilet and dress in light, rather than by dim candlelight,

I was with my husband and son and our dog Grandpa.

I am grateful to be home today.

I am happy to be alive.

I am also reporting that I have not had a drink in twenty-three days.  I know that this will come to a shock to my friends, family and readers.  In the past I had posted about taking a hiatus from drinking, which never lasted longer than two days.  Now, even with the stress of Hurricane Sandy, I feel healthy and alert and happy.  I am not moody or anxious most of the time.  My new drink is Pellegrino with lime.  My son (who gave up soda over two months ago) has developed a taste for it too (sans lime).  He is my new drinking buddy.

My love goes out to everybody who endured this awful storm with us.  My heart goes out to those who really suffered losses… of life, of loved ones, of their homes and cars, and to those who remain without power.

Our “surreal mini-vacation” has come to a close.  We are off to buy food and drinks now, along with the rest of lower Manhattan.  See you at Whole Foods.

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Three Movie Reviews: A Yes, A No, and A Maybe

My gorgeous husband and I have seen three movies together recently.  One was great.  One should have never been made.  The third was okay.

The movies were “Paperboy”, “The Sessions”, and “Argo”.  Want to guess which were the good, the bad, and the so-so? 

Okay.  Your time is up.

“Paperboy” was among the worst movies I have ever seen, despite the fact that Nicole Kidman gives a fantastic performance.  She plays an aging beauty who spends her time writing to Death Row inmates.  She falls in love with one of these men (played by John Cusack — also a very strong, but disturbing as anything, performance), and the crazy sickness really begins.  

I was so disgusted by this movie that I actually wanted to leave the theatre about twenty minutes before it ended.  I would have left if I was alone, but my husband was with me, and sometimes he likes these sick things.  

Matthew McConaughey is another central player, proving once again that he is willing to play a truly horrific role (why is the question here).  

The great? “Argo”.  It is based on a true story, which I always like.  In fact, if “Paperboy” had been based on truth I would probably have been okay tolerating it.  I just could not deal with the fact that somebody would fabricate a story so truly demented.

But, back to “Argo”.  Ben Affleck is amazing, really.  This film is about Iran Revolution which started when Irani’s took over the American Embassy there, capturing sixty-six Americans and taking them as prisoners of war.  Six of the sixty-six escape and find refuge at the Canadian Ambassador’s home, and Affleck (playing a CIA agent) is brought in to try and save them.

“Argo” is great, despite the lukewarm previews that I watched beforehand.  I learned from it, and we were entertained by it.  If you are looking for a movie to see before Hurricane Sandy hits later today, this should be a consideration for sure.

And finally, the so-so.  We saw “The Sessions” yesterday.  This film too is based on a true story, this time the story of Mark O’Brien, who suffered from polio as a young boy and now lives most of his life inside an Iron Lung.  John Hawkes give a brilliant performance as O’Brien, a highly religious man who earns his living writing articles and poetry and who wants to experience love and sex.  With the guidance of his priest, played by William Macy, he hires a sex surrogate, played beautifully by the rarely seen Helen Hunt.

“The Sessions” is interesting and extremely well acted.  It is sad and poignant.  It is definitely not a must see movie.  I recommend waiting for it to hit your television screen, but if you really want to sit back in a movie theatre (the bedbug threat notwithstanding) and dig into a big tub of popcorn, it is not a terrible choice.

Two thumbs up for “Argo”.  No thumbs up for “Paperboy” (one down, and the other sideways).  Two thumbs sideways for “The Sessions”.  It’s your money folks.  I am just providing my humble suggestions.

 

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The Case of the Missing Socks: Solved at Last!

You may or may not remember the post I wrote a while back about my sock dilemma. We have a washer/dryer in our apartment, and every single week we lose an average of seven socks. We are left with a pile of unmatched socks at the end of each week, and by month’s end I normally go out and purchase another twenty to thirty pairs of socks so that our feet remain clean and warm.

My husband did not understand how it was possible for us to be losing so many socks. It was making him crazy. What did he think I was doing with them, I would ask him? Eating them? Throwing them away? “They must be getting sucked up by our washer or dryer” I have told him repeatedly, but he has not bought into this explanation. (Also, just think of how many “pairs” of socks are getting sucked up additionally, so the twenty or thirty socks that we are losing each month could actually be forty or more if you really think about it).

This morning I went into my laundry room and saw fifteen lonely socks sitting on top of my dryer. I leave them there for a week or two, hoping that with the next load some of the mates will reappear. They never do.

I went to my doorman.

“My socks are disappearing at an alarming rate,” I told him. He started to laugh, loudly. “I’m not kidding,” I continued. “I was wondering if this is happening to other people in the building.” He called the Super, and I explained my problem to him, fully expecting that he would tell me that I am crazy (aligning with my husband, as men so often do), and that I was the only person in the building who has ever mentioned this to him.

“Oh,” he answered, “that happens to everybody.” Relief and sadness enveloped me. Relief that I wasn’t alone in my sock losses, but sad because so many of us are being affected. “They get sucked into the pipes in the washers,” he went on. “The only way to prevent this is to put all of your socks on the very bottom of the machine.” (Not really sure how that works, since the machine spins around and around, but I am not a Superintendent, or a washer/dryer expert by any stretch of the imagination.

I immediately called my husband. Mystery of the Missing Socks solved, at least somewhat. “We should buy one of those lingerie bags,” he suggested.

Brilliant, right! Why didn’t I ever think of that.

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