Monday Media Review

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I’ve lazily looked around all the usual suspect news sources for something interesting to pontificate about today. No luck. I’ve hit all my favorite blogs, both political and otherwise. Nothing.

Slow news day? Sure. I could blather about the Red Sox victory over the Indians. And the coming World Series with the Rockies. Nah. Old news, really.

So I’m going to borrow an idea from a rather vain blogger I read (who is NOT from NM, in case you are wondering). Today I’ll recount the media that’s currently swirling around in my world. Just cuz I can.

On my bedside table:

Just finished:
How to Hepburn: Lessons on Living from Kate the Great. Always been a big fan of Katharine Hepburn. Huge. This book is sort of biographical, sort of instructional, focusing more on Kate’s struggles with insecurity and being such an oddball in Hollywood. All in all, though, a great read. Especially if you like Hepburn.

Currently reading:
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. I stumbled across Moore’s darkly funny A Dirty Job: A Novel (about Death. I mean the hooded one.) this summer and laughed my ass off at his real black humor. Plus he’s a Bay Area guy so I was interested. “Biff” was published back in 2002 so I’m quite behind the curve, but this book is so witty, so laugh out loud, so jealous I-wish-I-could-do-that. He makes it seem effortless. He’s got a biting humor with a heart and that’s hard to do. I’ve read so much dreck lately that this book is like a breath of fresh air and I consider it a reward, like dessert, to be able to sit down and read a chapter or two.

Also on my bedside table for when I finish “Biff” is Straight Man by Richard Russo. This will have to be my next read because it is the subject of the November meeting of my local library’s book discussion. Those are some smart well-read folks in that group, so I have to stay on top of my game. It’s supposed to be funny, but I fear after “Biff” it won’t be…we’ll see.

But the one I’m salivating over is Mary Roach’s Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. I love, love, love Mary Roach. I became enamored with her from the book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. It was a well-researched yet wryly funny book. Plus she writes a genuinely funny monthly article in Reader’s Digest of all places. And she makes it work. She adds a lot of light and air to that very stalwart old magazine (that yes, I admit I read…or at least used to. My dad used to gift me with a subscription, but sadly when he passed, my mom decided not to continue the gift). So this one is down in the stack but I’ll get to it. Oh yes I will…..

In the DVD player:

The Cute Boy™ and I are huge fans of movies so we have an obscenity of DVD’s sitting by the telly right now, begging to be watched.

My secret bon-bon:
Season Two of Grey’s Anatomy. I usually loathe medical shows. I’ve eschewed “ER” for years. But one of my friends at work talks about this show all the time and says that I am the real life Addison (which, watching these early seasons, I realize is NOT a compliment…despite Kate Walsh being haaaawt). I watched an episode about a year back and decided to give it a try. I liked Season One. Season Two not so much. Oh well. I watch this evening soap when The Cute Boy™ is off doing other things. I promised I wouldn’t subject him to it, despite the fact that he knows one of the actors on the show.

My “where the hell have I been?”:
Glengarry Glen Ross. One of The Cute Boy’s™ favorite films. Now I understand why the first time I took him to New Mexico he snickered whenever anyone referred to Rio Rancho. This dates back to 1992 but is a great film. Well acted, great script. Memorable lines. Plus, I work daily with sales weasels in my job, and this was a stunningly good insight into the mind of a desperate salesman.

My do gooder viewing:
Fast Food Nation. A fictionalized rendition of the hard-hitting book. I read the book and was seriously moved. The film did it no justice.

My surprisingly good:
Little Miss Sunshine. Way better than I thought it would be…added touch of the family coming from New Mexico.

The nod to the legends:
Gotta watch a classic every now and again to see how it’s done. The Lion in Winter fit the bill. Great script, crappy editing, great cast. A VERY young Timothy Dalton is yummy! And Katharine Heburn, well into her sixties, still rocks the screen.

Coming through the speakers:

Been struggling with music lately. It’s my favorite distraction but I find I’m tending to listen to the stuff I already have, occasionally buying a single song or two from iTunes. Nothing is firing me up lately. I’m mostly back in the old stuff. On a Glen Campbell jag lately (would love to catch him live). Mostly my listening is limited to my Sirius radio. Channel 62, The Roadhouse, playing oldies country. (yes, I admit it).

So I’m open to suggestions here. I’ve grabbed a couple of the Song of the Day free downloads from Starbucks, but nothing yet has fired me up.

This sort of depresses me. For me, music is essential to my sanity. The search continues.

On the ‘net:

Just found the blog Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Again, where the hell have I been? I’m only a couple days in but this is pretty entertaining…the ongoing tales of a city woman who married a country man and moved to the middle of nowhere. She’s smart, witty and surprisingly open. Fun. Her Ethel channeling Britney sound clip is worth the click. Found this blog from the comments section on a jezebel.com article about women prefering cowboys to city boys. I could weigh in on that topic another time….

And I’m stupidly addicted to I Can Haz Cheezburger?. I dream one day my cat will do something interesting enough so I can lol cat her heiny. For now, all she does is sit on my desk and look at me disapprovingly.

See?

Sheepish

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Owing to my good Catholic upbringing, it takes very little to toss me to the throes of guilt.

And I have it, baby! Catholic guilt, that is.

And owing to my good Catholic upbringing (tho currently quite non-practicing), confession is good for the soul, right?

Here it is:

Yesterday…I got a speeding ticket. *gasp!*

Yep, I’ve been having crap commutes lately. Yesterday morning my thirty-minute commute took seventy. The night before, stop and go and stop and go and…well, you get the idea.

So I took off early yesterday to 1) avoid the commute and 2) spend more time with The Cute Boy™. So gleeful was I that I guess I put my leaden foot a little too hard on the gas. I say “I guess” because I don’t know for sure, but I do know that a CHP pulled my arse over (and they are NOT as cool as Ponch and John, let me tell you).

The officer glared at me, I guess he has to. God knows what they come up on during traffic stops. He took my license, my registration, my insurance card and wrote up a ticket.

I’ve never gotten a ticket in California. I guess ten years is a pretty good run, eh? My last ticket was in 1994 in New Mexico. I glanced at the ticket to see how much I’d have to pay. It doesn’t work quite that easy here, you get a ticket with a “notice to appear” then I guess they send you a letter where you can either pay some money or go to court.

The nice CHP gentleman did not say he used a radar, so I *could* try to go to court to fight it. A quick Google of the officer’s name turned up that he’s a quite well respected member of the force, and had a nice write up in a local paper for his hard work.

Yeah, I don’t think I’d stand a chance in court.

I found the California fine schedule online. Let’s just say the fine is ouch-worthy. I shall pay the fine and be a lot more cautious about the needle on the ol’ speedometer.

Ok, I guess today I’ll go do an act of contrition or something to help me find my penance (in addition to the pain of writing a check to a state that already way overtaxes me).

My first act of penance was to ride CalTrain to work……..I gave myself a vehicular time out.

Do you think Governor Arnold will grant me absolution?

The silver lining is maybe riding the commuter rail will give me some good blogging ideas……

Edit: Oh no! It’s a conspiracy! The Man trying to bring down the displaced New Mexicans!!!

(image via)

The Results Are In

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It’s that time of year again. Chile roasting outside grocery stores. Hot air balloons hanging in the sky. Frosty nights and crunchy leaves.

And at work, that annual tradition known as performance reviews.

Now, I hate performance reviews. I know we have to. It’s a whole human resources thang. I get it. But I hate them. I hate giving them. I hate receiving mine. I just hate the whole process.

I got them done for my staff a couple weeks back. Got them done without incident, which was nice. It helped I had some new folks that were too new to review, so I was able to struggle through the few I had and get them completed.

My Lady Boss, on the other hand, has an inordinate amount of employees so it’s taken her longer. Yesterday was the last day to get ’em done, and we squeaked it in under the wire.

As usual, I walked in knowing I worked my arse off this year, and yet was scared. This happens every year. I somehow always think there’s something I’m missing. Something I failed to do. Something I did wrong and didn’t know it. So with shaking legs I sat down and took my medicine.

Like usual, it was fine. She had many nice things to say. My Lady Boss is fairly new to the department and I still don’t quite have a read on her, but now I got my report card. Now I know the teacher thinks I’m doing ok. (The best compliment was regarding the kick ass job my team did this year. They did all the work and it’s not fair I get the credit, but I’m proud as hell of each and every one of them.)

She had a couple items for “development” that were spot on, and I appreciate her feedback. She then would up the review by reminding me that in 2008 I shouldn’t argue so vocally and vehemently with (her boss) my Vice President. (I actually did this. I was angry. It was deserved. I don’t regret it. But her point was well taken. I *could* have presented my case a bit better…..)

I got a better than average rating and a slightly better than average raise. However, “slightly better than average” at this company means “just slightly above the CPI”. It’s true, I checked. But you know what? I’ll take it. My friend who also works here got NO raise. Yep. Zip, zero, zilch, nada. And he worked hard this year. So my meager increase is something. With that, I’ll get back to work and rest easy for another year, at least on that front.

Ever forward, back into battle.

Hey, now that’s cool!

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It’s no secret I’m a bit of a baseball fan. My team’s season ended in a blaze of humiliation, some 18 games out of first place. To make it worse, two teams from our division, the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies made to the post season.

Oh the pain of watching the competition extend their season.

Been having a hard time deciding who to root for in post-season games. I think I’m loving the under-dog, whooda-thunkit magic season of the Rockies. So in the NL, they are my team (not a tough decision given the lightening in a bottle they have working), especially after rolling over the Diamondbacks in four straight games.

In the AL, it’s harder to decide. I mean, I like the Indians, they are a ne’er do well and know the pain, like my beloved Giants, of going to the World Series and coming home empty handed. I have a good friend who is from Cleveland so out of respect to her, I’ve been mostly cheering on the Indians. However, in previous years, I’ve been a post-season Red Sox fan. So I guess all this is by way of saying I’m waffling…..

In today’s ABQjournal I read an interesting article that I’m now taking into account while sitting on the AL fence.

While the young man mentioned in the article, Jacoby Ellsbury, isn’t a New Mexico native (cuz then I’d be off the fence and on his side in heartbeat), he does have ties to New Mexico.

Plus I just think it’s pretty damn cool that he’s the first Native American of Navajo descent to play in the majors. He was called up to Boston in August when Coco Crisp went out with an injury and so wowed critics and fans that Francona added him to the 40-man roster in September. Now in his first year in the bigs, he’s playing on a post-season team trying to get to the World Series. He’s been praised for both his speed and enthusiasm and is a pretty good hitter.

Damn, that rocks. Gonna have to squint at the screen a little more now to get a look at this up-and-comer. Maybe he can log some playing time in the ALCS and I’ll just have to root for him.

I always did love a story of someone living the dream.

It’s a short walk from me to thee

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Often when I’m bored at work or killing time until my next meeting (too many of those today), I like to look at the “odd news” on Yahoo. I mean, I LOVE weird-ass stories. But inevitably, I find one story that makes me uncomfortable. One of those “wow, with a slightly different set of circumstances, that could be me.”

So this afternoon, exhausted from the day, I took a peek at the latest crop of weird news. And here it is, the story that “but for the grace of < fill in all seeing entity of your choice >, that could be me.”

From the Associated Press on Friday.

Basically, a guy got drunk and then angrily attacked the Halloween display at a woman’s house. Guy went flailing after inflatable ghosts and a pumpkin. The owner reported “she heard hollering and swearing and looked outside to see Odee struggling with the giant pumpkin.” When she yelled at him, he then smashed his head through a window.

The police were called and “after a brief struggle” he was arrested.

I dunno, it sounds wacky, but didja ever get so mad you wanted to punch one of those cutsey ghouls populated on someone’s front lawn? Or wanted to kick the fun animated light up reindeer that it seems everyone has each year? Or thought you’d feel better if you dropped your aged vehicle into four wheel drive and ran asunder over someone’s *fabulous* holiday display?

No?

Oh, it’s just me, then.

Go on about your business…..