Saturday, October 30, 2010

1988 John Waters Hairspray movie vs. 2007 non-John Waters Hairspray movie

Old Hairspray: A+
New Hairspray: F-

I don’t have words for how bad the newer Hairspray movie is. Well ok, maybe a couple.

John Travolta as Edna Turnblad is by far the most frightening thing I’ve seen so far this Halloween season. Makes Divine, in the same role in the original movie, seem as safe and natural as a basket full of sleeping kittens.

Whereas Ricki Lake was genuinely charming as Tracy Turnblad, this new young girl just sang too much. Always with the singing.

I found that watching Cry-Baby immediately afterwards allowed me to erase the scary John Travolta images from my brain. Yay for John Waters!!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Favorite

One of my all-time tried-and-true favorite songs is Saint John by Cold War Kids.

The first song I heard from their album Robbers and Cowards was the opening track, We Used to Vacation, which is a little too One Tree Hill theme song for me, so I wasn't sure about these guys. This song, however, totally sold me on Cold War Kids (*). It's so powerful that if you're not careful it will actually rock your socks off.

When I went to see them at The Pageant a couple of winters ago, I got there maybe 30 minutes past the time when doors were supposed to open and was shocked and kind of horrified to realize that I was coming in on the tail end of their set. What show ever starts exactly on time?! It was pretty disappointing, but the three songs that I did get to hear were amazing and happened to be my favorites (Saint John, Hospital Beds, and Hang Me Up to Dry) so it was worth going anyway.

* their next album was a bit of a letdown so I'm not truly 100% sold on these guys in general, but I am definitely 100% sold on this particular song. The One Tree-sounding song aside, the rest of the album is pretty stellar too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Apple

There's something not quite right about this guy. He looks like he might be high or he's peering down some girl's shirt or something.

I expect nothing less from the spokesapple for a company located in Washington Missouri, former meth capital of the world.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Room Switcheroo

Jonny and I decided to switch our living room and office. Now we have a really big living room/office and a cozy family room. I haven't even started to redecorate yet, but I'm excited to get to it! It feels like we have a whole new house!

This is what our living room used to look like.

This is what it looks like now.

This is what our office used to look like.

This is what it looks like now.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A story about Boardwalk Empire turns into a story about Joel Gion and a t-shirt‏

I've watched five full episodes of HBO's new show Boardwalk Empire and I'm still not sure if I like it/dislike it/have any real interest in it. It's pleasant to gaze at Michael Pitt (so dreamy), and I love that a Brian Jonestown Massacre plays during the opening credits, but other than that I could kind of take it or leave it.

Speaking of BJM, if you think it seems like I'm obsessed with the Avett Brothers at the moment, trust me when I say that when I first saw the movie Dig! my obsession with Anton Newcombe and Joel Gion waaaaaaaay surpassed whatever I'm going through right now. Which is not to belittle my current fixation, not in the least. Just so you know, when I find something new that I love I get excited about it, sometimes rather enthusiastically excited.

When I lived in LA I had the chance to go see Joel's band, The Dilettantes. When I first walked up to the venue (Silverlake Lounge?), Joel was outside by himself smoking a cigarette. I showed him the couple dollar bills and bunch of quarters in my hands and admitted that I was using my laundry money to see him! Twenty seconds later, the girl at the door refused to take the coins so I had to walk straight back outside and explain the situation to Joel who very kindly gave me dollars for all the quarters and told me that now he had laundry money! That was a strange moment, but he was super-nice about it, plus he complimented me on my t-shirt! That was already one of my favorite shirts, but ever since then it's been my lucky shirt too. That whole night was super-fun -- I talked to Joel and Dave Deresinski after the show and ended up hanging out with people I met that night till like six in the morning.

It might be time to retire this shirt. When I wore it earlier this year when BJM were in St. Louis I still got turned away from that super-sold out show. Maybe I've worn all the luck out of it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Virtue of the Week: Tolerance

The older I get the more I understand that nobody is perfect, least of all me, and it's important to keep an open mind in all situations. This is something I've been particularly mindful of the last couple weeks. When I was five days into my discovery of the Avett Brothers all I wanted to do was quit my job and listen to them all day and go see them as much as I could, and it was at that moment that I realized that I had become very much like people who are into Phish, people I have made fun of for years. Ooops. Lesson learned.

Twice in the past five days I've come across Plato's quote "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." And this week's Virtue of the Week from St. James the Greater's bulletin? Tolerance. Perfect!

The entire rest of the post is copied directly from the St. James bulletin, with no permission whatsoever.

Virtue of the Week: Tolerance

Tolerance helps us to accept differences and frees us from being judgmental. It is recognizing that all people have feelings, needs, hopes and dreams. Tolerance is an appreciation for diversity, whether of culture or temperament. It leads to unity. It is being patient and forgiving when others make mistakes, while calling on discernment to know when to stand up for justice. Tolerance is accepting things that we wish were different with humor and grace. It allows us to embrace the pain as well as the joys of life.

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." -- Carl Jung

The Practice of Tolerance
I appreciate differences.
I free myself from prejudice.
I refrain from judging myself or others.
I forgive mistakes.
I accept what I cannot change.
I balance acceptance with justice.

I am thankful for the gift of Tolerance. It broadens my horizons.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Damon: Bust of the Ages™ with Autumn Leaves

This guy lives in the flower bed in front of my parents' house.
His name is Damon, officially Damon: Bust of the Ages™.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Favorite

One of my (newer) all-time tried-and-true favorite songs is Dimestore Diamond by Gossip.

1. Crazy catchy

2. Perfect for singing along to while playing way too loud in the car, or in any setting

3. Beth Ditto! That girl is all pipes and personality.

4. This is the song that constantly lived in my head during the time when I started this blog and it is definitely the reason I chose the name “Dogtown Diamond” when all my other choices were already taken.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

This One Time . . .

This one time when I worked as a cashier at Barnes & Noble in Santa Monica I checked out Viggo Mortensen. At B&N, every time I checked somebody out I had to ask them if they had a membership card, and if they didn't already have one I had to ask them if they wanted one. It's stuff like that (not to mention dealing with the general public) that makes working retail a real headache.

So anyway, I asked Viggo Mortensen if he had a membership card and he gave me his phone number (no one ever carries their cards, we always just looked people up in the system by their phone numbers). His phone number pulled up his name and Christina Ricci's name. The only way it would have been set up like that is if the two of them were in a Barnes & Noble at the same time when they first set up membership and they wanted both their names on the account. Intriguing, right?

The next day I used my friend The Internet to look into the connection between those two and found some quotes from her saying how she was totally obsessed with him and she used to watch Lord of the Rings to fall asleep every night. Another search just now shows that Christina Ricci thinks that Viggo Mortensen deserves a special Academy Award to recognize his naked fight scene in Eastern Promises, but I am still unable to confirm whether or not they ever went out.

I also checked out Larry Hagman once. His old man eyebrows were out of this world! The time I checked out Matt Groening involves me geeking out to an embarrassing degree. I'll tell that story at a later date.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Have you ever seen the movie Meatballs? It's hilarious. The synopsis on imdb is "Wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp." ("hijinks"!! Best word since shenanigans!) That explains the basic idea but you can't begin to comprehend the laughs without seeing it.

When I was a kid, this one St. Louis tv station used to play the same movie pretty much the entire weekend. One weekend the movie was Meatballs and my brothers and I watched it maybe 10 times in those two days. I've loved Bill Murray ever since that fateful weekend.

I distinctly remember my mom walking in on me and my two little brothers all laying on the floor of her bedroom watching it on the tiny tv from our van and asking incredulously "You're not watching that again, are you?!" Then she told us to go play outside, which we didn't. Then she came back in later and got mad because we were watching it yet again and none of us had moved an inch the entire time. That tiny tv made the rounds of rooms in our old house when it wasn't actually in the van, though I can't really explain why the floor of my parents' bedroom was ever a good spot for it. The screen was maybe 6 inches and the picture was always terrible, but when you love tv you make certain sacrifices.

Jonny just quoted "Don't you change" from Meatballs this weekend, and we both throw out "What, no mustard?" on a weekly basis. I can sing you the entire C.I.T. (Counselors In Training) song on request. Quotes from Caddyshack come up quite regularly as well. God bless Bill Murray! A while back I went on a couple dates with a guy who admitted that he didn't really remember lines from movies and I'm not kidding when I say that that was one of the reasons why we only went out a couple times.

I'm a huge movie re-watcher to this day, using the skills I learned as a child. The last Chicago apartment I lived in didn't have cable so I watched Bottle Rocket every day for six months in lieu of tv. I don't currently have a "go to" movie, but the last time I did it was The Darjeeling Limited. Thanks for all the good times, Wes Anderson!

Jonny watches Polar Express all the time, and he has this funny bit where if somebody walks in while he's watching it he pretends the remote control is broken as if that's a valid reason for watching a kid's movie for the 100th time. [Jonny wants me to point out that this bit originated when he used to watch Beauty and the Beast on VHS constantly and if somebody walked in he'd claim that the vcr was broken and he couldn't get the tape out.]

Speaking of remote controls, my family has always referred to ours as "the mote." I wonder if anybody else calls it that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Three Things That Make Me Happy

My first cup of coffee in the morning.

The fact that even as grown men these two still occasionally dress alike just like my mom always dressed them alike when they were little.

This time of the year / these colors.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tomorrowland, Mad Men Season 4 Episode 13

Joan's going to need the money that will eventually come with that Director of Agency Operations title when she has to raise her (and Roger's) kid by herself after her husband dies in Vietnam. I knew she didn't have that abortion! You can't fool me, Red!

Joyce's nickname for Peggy is Pumpernickel! How cute is that?!

Speaking of nicknames:
Sally: Who's Dick?
Don: Well, that's me. That's my nickname sometimes.

It was funny that Megan brought up her teeth because I had just then noticed how toothy that girl is. Toothy or not, I wanted her and Don to end up together, so I'm happy about their engagement. I'm not sure how I feel about Don proposing with Anna's engagement ring from Original Don. That part seemed kind of impulsive considering he had only had the ring in his possession for a couple days, but really, the whole proposal was impulsive. Just like when Don cannonballed into the pool! What a funster!

I loved the scene where we realized that Don doesn't care about spilled milk(shakes), it was high-strung Betty who got all bent out of shape about stuff like that. The new and improved Draper household will be relaxed rather than rigid, calm rather than tense. I had to smile when Megan told Don "I know who you are now." Well, no, no you don't, but it's sweet that you think that.

I was never that big of a fan of Dr. Faye, but I did like what she said to Don when he broke the news of his engagement, "I hope she knows you only like the beginning of things." I think that statement is part right on and part sour grapes. Let's face it, most of us only like the beginning of things.

Oh my gosh, Pete "Emily Post" Campbell just had to correct Ken and explain that when congratulating a newly-engaged couple, one says "Congratulations" to the man and "Best Wishes" to the woman. What a smary square he is! He makes me sick. Betty makes me sick too. I can't believe she fired Carla. What a thing to do! She'd be better off relinquishing parental rights to her, not firing her. Is she scared someone is going to find out about the time she let Glen have a little lock of her hair? We all know you're imperfect Betty, giving that kid your hair is the least of your offenses.

Terrific finale of an outstanding season of a fantastic show.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Three Things That Make Me Sad

This sad squandered Lion's Choice ice.

This sad dilapidated blue house.

And the fact that tonight's Mad Men is the last episode of this season.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Favorite

One of my all-time tried-and-true favorite songs is So Lonely by The Police.

As I've mentioned previously, I didn't really get into music until my college boyfriend took my musical education into his own hands. We listened to music all the time, we went to see every good band that played the Blue Note in Columbia (and EVERYBODY seemed to play there in the early-mid nineties), plus he made me these amazing mixtapes filled with songs that made me fall in love with him and with music. So Lonely was on one of those mixtapes so listening to it always takes me back to that specific time in my very early twenties that I remember quite fondly.

Years later, when I lived in LA, I came across So Lonely again. Danny Masterson (Hyde from That '70's Show) had a great radio show, Feel My Heat, on Monday nights and he played awesome songs for a couple/few hours then always, always closed with So Lonely. I remember the time I spent living in LA rather fondly too. It was a time in my life when I clung to music in a big way.

I will always love hearing So Lonely no matter where I am in life or in the world.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A roundabout story involving Martha Plimpton

Have you ever seen the movie Pecker? The movie is just ok, but the soundtrack is a smile-inducing funfest! I was so charmed by the songs that I ran out and bought the soundtrack the very next morning after I saw the movie.

Martha Plimpton was in Pecker, she's currently on the tv show Raising Hope, and of course she will live in the collective hearts and minds of 80's kids forever as Stef in The Goonies.

This week on Raising Hope I heard a funny song with funny nonsense lyrics, Do-Wacka-Do by Roger Miller, that sounded like it would fit right in on the Pecker soundtrack. It made me smile.

Martha Plimpton looks great and I'm glad to see her on tv.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Grass is Always Greener

Remember when you were little and it was always more fun to go play at somebody else's house? There was absolutely nothing wrong with our house; our house was a very very very fine house. There was always someone around, tv to be watched, a big backyard with a sandbox and swingsets, yet I usually preferred our next-door neighbors' house. The vibe was more relaxed over there, plus someplace else often seems more interesting just because it's someplace else.

The dad at that house was a Playboy fan, evidenced by framed photos of him and his dad (and accompanying bunnies) at a Playboy club hanging in his office, a super-cool Playboy pinball machine in the basement, plus a stack of Playboys in his bathroom. My parents are pretty conservative, and were even more so when my brothers and I were kids, so to know someone in our very own neighborhood that seemed to flaunt a hearty interest in pornography, soft though it was, was kind of a big deal (in my head).

The laid-back atmosphere at the neighbors' house was in such stark contrast to my house where we weren't even allowed to say words like poop or fart or boobs. My brother Rich made the mistake of saying "Ow, my nuts!" when he and my brother Mike were roughhousing one time when we were kids, and he got disciplined by my dad with a good belt-spanking for using "that kind of language" in front of me. Seriously, that happened.

But enough about the hilarity of corporal punishment, let's get back to the neighbors' house -- the fun basement housed two (count 'em, two) pinball machines, a jukebox stocked with Olivia Newton John hits, and mats on the floor that my best friend and I used to practice gymnastics and make up dance routines. We spent so many countless hours down there that I could probably still remember some of our dances, and I definitely get the song that the Playboy pinball machine played stuck in my head every once in a while.

Upstairs, they had a microwave in the kitchen, a couple of marlins on the walls of the family room, and a real life babysitter. We didn't get a microwave until I was in junior high, so theirs was a real novelty. On the days when the mom worked this lady named Mona watched the kids and, speaking as Kid# 4 out of six kids, the idea of a babysitter who wasn't a sibling was a novelty to me too. I remember her name after all these years because she is the only Mona I've ever known, not counting Mona from Who's the Boss. The marlins were just cool.

This is like the one the neighbor's dad had. You can hardly tell it from this image, but one of the four women in the hot tub to the left of Hef is an old granny with gray hair in a bun, glasses, a big nose and chin, and old lady boobs.

Unrelately, I haven't stopped listening to the Avett Brothers except to sleep for the past couple days straight.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Avett Brothers

I caught the Avett Brothers on Austin City Limits the other night (originally aired in January of this year) and they totally blew me away. Beautifully crafted songs with beautiful lyrics, performed beautifully. I've read about these guys for a few years and they always seemed like they'd be right up my alley. They are.

The song Murder in the City makes me feel so tenderly towards my own brothers that it almost makes me cry. All right, there's no "almost" about it, the truth is I've cried twice in the past three days listening to that song. The lyric Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name gets me every time.

** when you watch this video, you have to look past the tank tops and beards. Close your eyes and just listen if necessary. Then watch the whole Austin City Limits show. You won't regret it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blowing Smoke, Mad Men Season 4 Episode 12

The Return of Midge!! I was watching this episode with my little brother Jonny, and almost as soon as Don walked into Midge and her "just for the bread" husband's apartment, he said "This is some kind of set-up." Correctamundo! I didn't see it coming, but Jonny did and Don quickly figured it out too, thanks to clues from the Heroin Husband. Heroin!! Wow.

For a minute I thought we had seen the last of Pete's blue suits. He wore a black suit last week for a funeral, and in one of the first scenes of this episode, he and Don were sitting next to each other both wearing grey suits. Samesies!! Sadly, he was back to a blue suit the next time we saw him. Rats.

My favorite lines from this episode came from Sally Draper and Bert Cooper.

Sally: "She doesn't care what the truth is as long as I do what she says." Therapy with Dr. Edna has really helped Sally, and I'm happy that she's figuring out how to get along in this world. Too bad her mother, a grown woman, still hasn't figured that out.

I so wish Betty hadn't caught Glen and Sally in their secret but completely innocent meeting place. Sally truly was being a good girl and nothing bad was going on, but there's no doubt Betty will twist the situation around to turn something innocuous into something dirty. Just as Dr. Edna is able to talk Sally through what could have been a lifelong neurosis, Betty has to come along and heap another complex onto Sally's poor little mind.

Bert: "You there! Get my shoes!" This was just comical. I giggled for minutes in a row.

The most perplexing line of this episode was supplied by old #92, Glen Bishop. Reaching the end of his Coke, he asked Sally "Do you want the backwash?" Really? Who wants the backwash, especially when you don't even try to disguise it as something else?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eating Spaghetti in the Bathtub

When I saw Cloris Leachman eating spaghetti in a bathtub during this week's episode of Raising Hope, it took me back to a similar scene in the movie Gummo that haunted me for years. For years.

When I saw the movie Kids back in the mid-1990's, it affected me deeply. My teenaged life had been nothing at all like the lives of the kids in Kids, so it wasn't that I identified with them strongly. I didn't identify with them at all really. My square middle-class Midwest upbringing bore no similarities to the lives of these New York City kids who comparatively ran wild. Maybe it was the realization that someone's life could be so diametrically opposite from mine that struck a chord. I don't actually know what it was, but I do remember being so hypnotized by the characters and their stories that the first time I saw Kids I stayed up until five in the morning watching it twice back-to-back. Shortly after that I felt like I couldn't live without continued access to this movie so I special-ordered a VHS copy from a movie store at the mall. (Remember life before DVDs, DVRs, even before widespread use of our friend The Internet?! What a different world it was back then)

When Harmony Korine, the writer of Kids, directed his first movie, Gummo, a couple years after Kids came out, I was super-excited to see it. I was certain that lightning was going to strike twice and Harmony was going to change my life again. I wasn't wrong, but it wasn't what I expected. Gummo affected me strongly too, but not at all in the same way Kids did. Whereas Kids told the somewhat/sometimes attractive stories of 'cool' teenagers in NYC, Gummo tells the stories of complete weirdos in completely weird Xenia, Ohio. While Kids had instantly captivated me, Gummo immediately and forevermore repulsed me.

I can't remember what theatre in Chicago showed Gummo, but I remember it was old and dirty and I was wearing a ridiculously short dress that just barely covered my bottom when I was standing up (Ah, Youth!). The longer I sat with not nearly enough material between my body and that dirty seat, and the longer I watched scene after scene of filthy houses and strange-beyond-belief people, the grosser I felt. The scene that disturbed me the most was the one where a dirty kid is taking a dirty bath in a dirty bathtub while eating a plate of spaghetti. I'm not a germaphobe, but I couldn't get all that dirtiness going on out of my head and I went straight home and took a shower, plus I couldn't bring myself to eat spaghetti for years after that. For years.

I'm sure I can find the scene on youtube, but honestly I don't want to see it again and I don't want anyone reading this to feel like they have to watch it either. Trust me when I tell you that it's OK if you never watch a minute of Gummo. Just picture every house you've ever seen on Hoarders being in the same tiny burned-out town, and that entire town is wholly populated by the 32 people included in a bizarre special Redneck edition of the Who's Who of Mental Illness.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chipped Tooth

I liked The Town.

Jon Hamm being an FBI guy instead of Don Draper didn't bother me in the least.

I also liked that one of Ben Affleck's front teeth was a little bit chipped. One of my front teeth is chipped a little too (less than his), so I feel like we're Chipped Tooth Buddies now.

TV Babies**

I'm going to see The Town tonight, but I'm concerned that it might be weird to see Jon Hamm as someone other than Don Draper. I loved him on 30 Rock though, so I guess it will be ok. Hopefully I can avoid thinking of him as Donny D. the whole time.

Lately I've been having a hard time separating actors from their previous characters. For instance, last week on Parenthood there were a couple scenes with Lauren Graham (Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls), Mae Whitman (George Michael's girlfriend Ann from Arrested Development), and Zosia Mamet (Peggy's lesbian friend Joyce from Mad Men), and I couldn't stop thinking "I'm watching Lorelai, Ann, and Joyce!"

It doesn't help that Lauren Graham's character on Parenthood is pretty much the exact same character as Lorelai, plus that show has Coach from Coach, Nate from Six Feet Under, and Lyla from FNL so I'm already thinking that kind of thing the whole time.

I watch too much tv.

** you should watch Drugstore Cowboy this weekend.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tin Roof, used to be Rusted! + I Killed a Snake

The City of St. Louis sent us a letter recently ordering us to paint our rusty backyard shed, something about it looking too white trash.

So over the weekend Jonny did a bang-up paint job and now we call it The White House.

While he was painting, I did some exploring around the yard and uncovered a ferocious snake!! Without even thinking about my own safety I quickly got my trusty spade out of the shed, braved the hissing and striking, and chopped this menacing reptile into 3 pieces.

I'm no hero, just one girl out to rid the neighborhood of dangerous slithering serpents.

You're welcome Dogtown.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chinese Wall, Mad Men Season 4 Episode 11

Seriously, Bert Cooper looked almost identical to Colonel Sanders in this episode. I think he was wearing a string tie, which clinched the resemblance.

Peggy's new guy Abe (Charlie Hofheimer)

keeps reminding me of Fred from Valley Girl (Cameron Dye), even though I know it's not him.

Ken Cosgrove's father-in-law is Leland Palmer (Ray Wise)!! Another David Lynch actor (Lane's dad is Mr Reindeer)!

I wish Megan and Don wouldn't have hooked up so soon. What's done is done though.

When Trudy's dad, confused why Pete was hanging around the waiting room while Trudy was in labor, said "I was at a ballgame when Trudy was born", it reminded me of something Roger said a couple seasons ago while reminiscing about his daughter: "One minute you're drinking in a bar and they come and tell you your kid's been born, the next thing you know they're heading off to college." Later in this episode, Pete, class act that he is, heard the news of his daughter's arrival then immediately went to network at the funeral of someone he probably barely knew. [My dad was at a Fourth of July parade when I was born.]

Peggy's response of "Every time something good happens, something bad happens. I knew I'd pay for it" (after hearing the news of SCDP's loss of Lucky Strike the morning after impulsively sleeping with Abe) was very relatable. When a seemingly consequential negative experience totally kills the high of a positive experience, it kind of ruins your day and makes you beat yourself up a bit. But really she shouldn't have slept with that Abe guy that she was so mad at just a couple episodes ago anyway! I don't know what she sees in him, or what she saw in Pete (yuck) or Duck (too old, among other issues) or that weak Mark lame-o. Pegs, shape up! You're the coolest chick I know; why can't you see that about yourself? At least she's not falling for Stan (totally gross). I loved when she asked him "Why do you keep making me reject you?"!