Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Key to "Fame"

Dave dragged us to "Fame."

I had my hestitations. I mean, we'd memorized the football team's moves to "All the Single Ladies" in the last "Glee" episode. What could stack up to that?

Ten minutes into the remake, my boys were suffering badly; nothing on the screen was transforming into destructive robots, or firing space lasers at rebel alliances.

Hang in there, I told them.

But I was barely holding on, myself.

Where was the humor? There was room there for some. Any. A little, at least.

Where were the homosexuals? This was a school. An arts school. In New York. Yet the only gay student was alone and suicidal. Unfair representation.

Where were the interracial romances? Why did the whites hook up with whites, the African Americans with African Americans? Real kids don't care about that. Why did these kids?

And along the lines of stereotyping, why were the characters and plot predictable? The Italian kid's family owned a restaurant. Malik came from the Hood.

"Fame" was really insightful for me. I craved a big twist, an unlikely character, and more than anything, for the cast to bust out in Pat Benatar's "We Are Young."

That would have made the movie.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


In the market the other day, my girlfriend asked if I'd ever had a Red Bull.

I haven't, I told her, nor a Monster.

And I've never texted while driving, either. Or bungee jumped, or sky dived, or had any kind of heights-related "fun."

I've never swallowed black licorice or owned a shiny leather jacket or a big, fluffy bathrobe.

But I've never not dressed up for Halloween. And I've never not struggled with math. And I'm never going to get to sleep if I don't post this blog. And I might need one of them there Red Bulls in the morning.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Haven't Been / Have Been

I know. I haven't been blogging. I haven't been writing much of anything. I haven't been revising, either. Or creating the syllabi for the classes I'll start teaching next week.

What I've been doing is... a lot of school stuff with my kids. Because when school starts for me, I can't do much else. So I've been walking to the pond on field trips. And to the farm. I've been driving around forgotten lunches. And having "goal-setting" conferences.

I've done drywall.

And yesterday, Dave took me up to the point of origin for the 160-acre Deer Creek Fire.

I've been gathering up medical receipts for reimbursement.

And taking pictures of the lack of posted speed limits where I got a ticket a couple of weeks ago.

I've watched the "Don't Stop Believin'" part of Glee with Daney about 25 times.

I've read with Rees, and helped Dominic with the Challenge Problems of his math.

I've had breakfast and lunch and dinner with girlfriends. Then walking and running and doing yoga to burn off at least some of it.

So, see, I've been working. Just not on writing stuff.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'

On Fridays, Dominic has a late school start. Today, while Daney and Rees scribbled away in their little desks, Dominic and I cozied up on the couch and watched Journey music videos. After seeing Steve Perry sway his hair around a while, we had a nice, long chat about '80s music, and just to put the miracle of it into perspective, we then looked up some '90s stuff.

Halfway through a Nirvana track, Dominic rightfully claimed that the prior decade was musically much superior. In the '90s, he went on, talent must have been optional.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Glory of "Inglourious"

If revenge trumps love, and a bumbling Southern idiot pulls one over on villainous masterminds; if humor is injected into an interpretation of one of the darkest times in human history, and if all predictions are pointless; if you've left the end of the movie feeling confused but satisfied, with more questions than answers, it has to be Quentin Tarantino.

No master of brevity, Tarantino whittled "Inglourious Basterds" to over two and a half hours, with serious devotion to dialogue.

There are chapters, obscure actors, interwoven stories, and a (distracting)comic infuse.

There is action.

My favorite part of going to the film was not only admiring the movie itself, but watching viewers leave the theater with looks of sheer shock and perplexity. Tarantino delivers big concepts to small towns.

This is not a documentary, though, which is important to remember. "Inglourious Basterds" is entertainment. And art. And an exercise of the "What if..."

Friday, September 11, 2009


The kids went back to school this week: to middle school, fifth grade, and second. It was funny, the way they adjusted to the bulkiness of their backpacks; with super tweaked senses of space, they bumped into each other like those colorful balls in the Fisher Price popper.

While my three bouncing babies learned class rules and met a few friends and tried to accommodate their new dimensions, I was intending to fill my empty hours with household duties that had backed up over the last, oh, since June 7.

Instead, I listened to my own kind of music and read my own kind of stuff and ate my own kind of food. I opened my course syllabus file with a serious shot at rewriting it, but closed it immediately. Then I went to breakfast.

I should have cleaned. I should have queried. I should have written, or revised, or something.

But it was delicious, this freedom: an open abyss of time and possibility. Which I did absolutely nothing with. And am so looking forward to doing again all of next week.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

All I Want To Do Is Have Some Fun

I have no idea which was the best song at the Sheryl Crow concert the other night. I mean, I was dancing. In the Skybox. After the catered dinner. With Dave and Linda and a whole bunch of great people.

There were truffles.

And magic lemonade. Spiderman's mom brought it to me in mass quantities.

The lead singer from the opening band, "16 Frames" ditched his backstage party to whoop it up with us.

Oh yeah, and there was music.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It had been just over two years of Rees' self-imposed vegetarianism when he stood in the kitchen last night, watching me cut up a roasted Cornish game hen.

"That looks so good!" he said, wiping the drool from his chin. "I want some of it so bad!"

"Would you like a bite?" I asked him.

"A drumstick," he said.

And two years ended, just like that.