Friday, February 24, 2012

We Have Cats

3 weeks ago, we adopted two cats from the Hanover Humane Society.  We were almost rejected as adoptive parents! GET OUT OF MY BEDROOM!!! Oh wait, not because we're gay.  They checked two personal references and called our old vet who reported that we'd not gotten old Spot a shot.  Huh?  We have no independent recollection of declining to get him any shot he needed - the vet may have said - hey, we could shoot him with this, but since he's never out on his own, he really doesn't need it or he's 17, I think he'd be fine without it and then we'd say OK, let's skip it.

Not sure how they decided to ignore that, but fortunately they did and we were able to bring home Petunia & Tank.  At pick up time, the agency let them run around the room while we signed the 20 pages of paperwork for each of them (really you guys?  Really?).  Tank was playing with a little toy mouse while Petunia hid.  We'd put the cat carriers on the floor and Tank immediately carried the mouse over & put it in the carrier.  Little did we understand where we'd find that mouse (and all the others we've gotten in the last weeks) around the house.  We had to wrestle Petunia into the carrier and she cried the whole ride home.  Heartbreaking!

We got them home and confined them to the guestroom.  Instead of running under the bed, they chose the dresser (much safer).    Fortunately, they are still kittens (8 & 10 months), so feather on a string or a toy mouse is just irresistible.  But it was hard that first week when we had to coax them out every time.  Food & treats wouldn't work, only playing.  And so we played for hours.  Whenever they'd get close enough to us, we'd give them a gentle pet, letting them know that they were safe and we are safe for them.

Now three weeks later, they race around the house like the thundering herd that they've become.  We have our rituals that they haven't quite gotten accustomed to - like after playing for an hour, it would be nice to GO TO SLEEP!!!!!  And Tank loves to chase Petunia off the bed at 5am and then wake me up to pet him and play with him.   This may be cute at 7am or 9am, but at 5am, it's a behavior I'm working to change. 

Petunia is such a kind soul.  She loves to chase a string and jump and grab a feather, but she is a gentle kind.  Tank is jealous of any attention we give her, so we often have to double-team them, just to make sure Petunia is getting enough affection.  There's been no lap-sitting, which I'm still hoping for, but they do sleep on me every night.  They just wait until I fall asleep to come to bed.  I have hope that they'll grow to understand that if they come to bed while we're awake, we will pet them and love them and make them purr.

Maybe next month!  But I surely do love having cats in my life again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Oscar's Best Pictures for 2011

We picked a really bad year to see every Best Picture Nominee.

We've now seen 6.5 out of the 9 nominated and only think 2 deserve a nomination. 

In the order we watched them:
Midnight in Paris
The Help
Tree of Life (<1/2)
The Descendants
The Artist
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

War Horse

"Midnight in Paris" - Anita 2/5 stars.  I originally gave it 2.5, but it's shrinking.  I enjoyed the main character in modern times running into 1920's characters.  I had fun trying to name them before they gave up their names.  But I can't recommend it.  Owen Wilson was the same as he always is - flat.  Nonchalant time-traveling while walking the streets of Paris.  Just didn't work.

"Moneyball" - we both gave it 3 to 3.25.  You'd better love baseball or Brad Pitt or statistics or this is going to be an extremely long movie for you.  I like baseball & Brad Pitt.  Not sure why Anita liked it.  Might have just been that it wasn't "Midnight in Paris."

"The Help" - I pre-judged this one. Anita liked it better than "Moneyball."  I did not.  I thought Viola Davis was marvelous, but that a lot of the rest of the cast over-acted, including best-supporting actress nominee Octavia Spencer.  I'd give the Oscar to Melissa McCarthy, but that's just me.  2.75 stars from me.  Anita says .25 higher than whatever she gave "Moneyball."

"Tree of Life" - I liked the hour I watched more than I thought I would.  But that doesn't mean I've managed to watch the rest.  It's annoying at best.  There's no story, no through-line, very little acting, certainly no actual direction.  Lots of pictures of things - galaxies, weird-ass aquatic life, trees, unidentifiable shit.  With music & whispered voiceovers.  I turned the sound way up to hear what was being whispered and then asshole Terrance Malick would show a volcano erupting with sound.  Scaring the crap out of our cats and Anita too.  Fuckhead.  Movie is pretty though.  I can't rate it until I see the rest, which may be never because our DVD player committed suicide before I tried to watch the rest of it on Sunday night.  Seriously, no power.  Hysterical.

"The Descendants" - 2 stars.  At MOST.  Total piece o' crap.  I love George Clooney, but there are no redeeming qualities here.  Not even Hawaii.  Boring.  Tedious.  No one cares about these characters.  Uck.  Would have had a nice nap, but Anita inadvertently woke me up.  Would have gotten 2 solid stars if I had slept through more of it.

"The Artist" - 4 stars from me.  Nice.  Charming.  Wonderful.  The first BP nominee we've seen that we agree deserves a nomination.  Anita wasn't all that keen on it (3.5 stars), but I really enjoyed it.  It may have helped that I wasn't looking forward to it, but I think it has a lot of genius in it.  Jean Dujardin is wonderful as is Bérénice Bejo.  It was extremely well directed and well-written.  With two movies left to see, I think it has a real chance to win nearly everything it's nominated for.  I especially loved the last 15 minutes of this film.

"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" - 4 stars from me.  Anita liked it better than "The Artist."  You had to work a bit for "The Artist" so I understand why she liked this one better.  I really did love this movie.  I hope I never see it again.  My eyes and head still hurt this morning from crying so much last night.  Max von Sydow is terrific as is Thomas Horn and Sandra Bullock.  Tom Hanks annoyed me with his accent.  Not sure what he was going for, but he missed NY by a long stretch.  I mentioned that to Anita and she wholeheartedly agreed.  He'd have been better off without trying for an accent.  Thomas Horn's character reminded me very much of The Kid we went to NYC with last month, which could be making a difference as to why this movie hit us so deeply.  Another movie that I especially liked the ending.

And so now we have 1/2 the Tree of Life (ugh), Hugo, and War Horse.  Can't believe we picked the worst year ever to see all the BP's, but glad now that we've seen two movies I very much enjoyed that I likely would not have seen.

NYC Trip

A different kind of NY trip for us this time, which was been terrific.

We went with 2 friends, one of whom is an under 10 kid. Me! In NYC with a kid? Some will wonder how this happened. Some will wonder if this will change my total lack of desire for children of my own. Some don't read my blog.  Isn't that the real shocker?

I'm not sure how it happened. No, it doesn't look like it will change any of my life goals.  Won't even move the needle, even though this kid was really great (and when that facade slipped, Mom was there to remove her from our presence before any explosions occurred).  That's probably why our perception is that she was awesomely behaved.

But back to NY. We had an amazing weather weekend. Got up to 60 degrees Saturday (Jan 7), but there is no such thing as climate change, right?

We arrived on Friday afternoon and immediately headed to see the tree in Rockefeller center.  It seemed smaller than in years past.  Until we realized it had to be 3 stories tall.  Guess it was a big tree after all.  Perhaps it was that we saw it in daylight, probably much more impressive at night, but it's cold at night and I'm sleepy and there are shows to see....It was fun to see The Kid see the tree for the first time.  She was not awed.  Not a bit.  But she was fascinated by the skating rink, which was fun to watch.


So, I've been writing this for 5 weeks now.  We have a second NYC trip scheduled for the 1st weekend in March.  I've got to finish this.  Here are the play reviews:


Starring Alan Rickman and Hamish Linklater with Jerry O'Connell. 

Anita hit sound sleep.  Never a good sign.  This was intended to be high-brow and cynical, but for me, it ended up being pretentious and mean-spirited.  At a loss for words?  Fine, have the two women in the play flash their boobs or ass.  Really?  Weak stuff here, though the performances were all good.

I knew we were in trouble when the first 5 minutes was continuous drivel about Kerouac's "On The Road."  Neither of us has read this book and though certainly I've read about it, I clearly don't have an opinion on it's value to society as a whole.  FYI, this did not inspire me to read it.

I think my brother & sister-in-law might like this play, as they are more intellectual than we are.  However, we didn't like it and I think most of the critics that did are doing the Emperor's new clothes are awesome kind of a thing.

Skip it, unless perhaps you think Kerouac is the second coming.  Note that I've really enjoyed David Mamet's plays which tend toward an intellectual cynicism (except his latest, "Race").  So, it's not that I'm anti-cynicism.  It just has to be funny or meaningful or SOMETHING.

Sunday we saw the new rendition of "Godspell."  It's theater in the round, which can be great.  It was great.  Great.  We had front row seats and each got to high-five Jesus during the show.  Cool.  At intermission, they invited everyone on stage for a grape juice communion.  The Kid loved it.  I always kind of forget that the last 10 minutes of this show are pretty intense.  Fortunately, (and this is the first time I've ever thought this) the Kid is being raised Catholic, so she wasn't shocked at Jesus being crucified.  I was.  It was a very emotional staging and I wept. 

Afterward, we hung out by the stage door and since the entire cast is filled with Broadway rookies, they came out and signed programs and stood for pictures as long as anyone wanted.  Very nice introduction to the Broadway stage for the Kid and lovely for the rest of us as well.

I highly recommend this version of "Godspell."

In March, we're going to see another year of the Broadway Backwards benefit where the Broadway love songs are sung in a same sex vein.  We hope to see 3 other shows while we're there, so I hope to bring you some more Broadway reviews in March.