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Meg's Blog

Media Round Up

I'm back from my whirlwind weekend in Ohio, where we attended a college friend's wedding. It was a nice break from the grim reality of the fact that I have about a million projects that were due, um, yesterday, some of which I still haven't started yet. And also that hurricane season is upon us here in the Florida Keys, and I have two houses to board up this time around.

Anyway, I realized I haven't mentioned much lately about what I'm reading/watching, so I thought I'd jot that down now, in case any of you are looking for something good to read/see. Or to help steer you away from things you shouldn't bother reading/seeing.

One word of explanation though:

My TV viewing has really fallen off lately. At first I thought it was because

a) my TiVo still isn't set up yet in the new house, and

b) there's nothing good on, and

c) what there is on that's good, I've already seen.

Then, on the plane home from Ohio, I read an article in a magazine about something called the slow movement, where people try to slow down the pace of their lives, and really savor spare moments and not have such a hectic, fast-paced schedule. Like, they cut down on their must-see-TV, and go watch the sun set instead of watching, say, JOEY, which, let's face it, you can miss an episode of and still know what's going on when you tune in again next time.

I realized as I read the article that since moving to Florida, I have basically perfected life in the slow lane: I have pretty much cut out most if not all TV viewing, due to the fact that there is hardly anything good on (although this will change when the new season of Degrassi starts). I can't get a driver's license (which is a good thing for the general populace), so I ride a bike everywhere. I spend hours floating on a raft in my pool, doing nothing, or sitting on my front porch, also doing nothing. I eat locally caught fish or chicken that my husband barbecues because our new house's oven is broken and we can't afford to eat out every night due to owning two houses and having two mortgages to pay, and buy only the produce that can fit in my bike basket.

These are all tips, it turns out, given by advocates of the slow movement, on how to slow down and find more time for family, creativity, and relaxation. I am a member of the slow movement, it turns out, and I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT.

Which made me wonder. What if I am a member of other organizations and I don't even know it? Like, what if I am actually a Scientologist?

This thought scared me so much that I went to their website and checked. Thankfully, I am not a Scientologist. I have never, for instance, “sweated out the impurities in my body”—at least, not on purpose. And no one has read my e-meters, at least lately. So I think I'm safe for now.

Still. You never know. It could be the slow movement today, and Scientology tomorrow. I'm just saying, you need to be on your toes about these things.

But anyway, regarding the movies and TV shows I HAVE managed to watch lately, here's my 411, for what it's worth:

*Six Feet Under on HBO*
Maybe it's my new membership in the slow movement, but I just can't get into this show this season. It's too depressing. I love Clare, played by Lauren Ambrose, but it's like she's not even the same funny character she used to be. Yelling at her mom like that? That's so not her. I watched the first two episodes and realized they were making me really depressed, so I stopped watching. Who needs to feel depressed by a TV show?

*Rescue Me with Denis Leary on F/X channel*
This show–about an alcoholic fireman who lost a lot of people he loved on 9/11 and whose family left him–SHOULD be depressing, but it isn't. Rescue Me is like the anti-Six Feet Under: the people on Rescue Me actually have legitimate reasons to be depressed, and yet they aren't, really—they're still super funny. Watching Rescue Me after watching Six Feet Under is like drinking really cold water on a super hot day—refreshing and totally satisfying.

*Superhomes*
Oh my God, I have only seen this show once because I don't know when it's on or what channel it is, but it is great, it's about real-life realtors trying to sell, um, super homes, like in Lake Las Vegas where Celine Dion lives, and it is HILARIOUS and dishy. I'm not sure it means to be, but I LOVE it. Superhomes is actually a Super Show and if I ever figure out when it is on again, I will watch it.

*Dancing with the Stars*
I thought this show, about real life TV stars being paired with professional dancers and competing for the title of Best Dancer or something, would suck. But one night there was nothing else on and I got sucked in and it was pretty good. I mean, you actually learn something on this show—about dancing and dance history—and the stars were pretty funny and they wear cute outfits. I definitely prefer it over most of the rest of reality TV. At least no one has to eat bugs.

Okay, on to movies. I haven't seen that many movies, but I can tell you about the one I did see. And I'll tell you what my friend Beth thought about the movies she saw this summer, because she has seen them all, and she is generally pretty dependable on this kind of thing:

War of the Worlds
***Warning: Spoilers***
Okay, I was having a bad day and at 12:15PM I realized there was a 12:30PM showing of this at the cineplex and that it would only cost $5 to see it, and even though I don't want Tom Cruise to get one cent of my money, $5 seemed reasonable since I was really in the mood to see things blow up. So I made my husband take me in the car, because the theater is too far to bike to, and even though that was like a week ago, he is still so scarred from it that at odd moments, like right before we're about to fall asleep, he'll be like, “But WHY didn't the Tripods attack Boston? WHY??? Why were they everywhere but Boston?” or “Why did that Robbie kid run off like that? And how did that wall of fire not kill him?”

I enjoyed the first hour of this movie, because a LOT of things blew up. Then when they went into that basement with Tim Robbins, the whole thing began to unravel due to not enough things blowing up and too much talking, and by the time Tom got sucked into that spaceship, I was like, PLEASE get back to the fun blowing things up stuff, PLEASE. Only it was not to be. I guess Stephen Spielberg is too big a star or something for someone on his staff to be like, “Dude, the second hour of your movie? It's kind of a big yawn compared to the first hour.” But I will always treasure that first hour, even while I try to block out the second.

*Batman Begins*
I didn't see this movie, but my friend Beth says it's really good.

*Mr and Mrs Smith*
I didn't see this movie either, but my friend Beth says it's really good, as well.

*The Holy Girl*
I didn't see this movie, but my friend Beth did, and she said it made her want to gouge out her eyes, so I wouldn't recommend going to see this movie, based on that recommendation.

Here are some reviews of some books I've been reading:

*The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova*
I was all excited to read this book because it's about a sixteen year old girl hunting for her dad, who is hunting for Dracula, so I thought it would be good. And it WAS pretty good, only it was kind of confusing, because basically there were four different narrations going on in four different time periods at the same time—modern, 1972, the 1950s, and the 1930s. I understood why the author did this, but I was mostly interested in the 16 year old's story, and some major things that happened were kind o
f glossed over in favor of very long descriptions about bridges or the history of certain monasteries. But I still enjoyed it. I can't wait to see how they try to make it into a movie, if, in fact, they do this.

*Appaloosa by Robert B Parker*
I went through this major western phase when I was younger, where all I would read was Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey. I even went to see Zane Grey's house on Catalina Island, one of my favorite places in the world. Westerns still really do it for me, so I was excited about this new one by one of my favorite mystery writers. I haven't finished it yet, but so far it is pretty good, except for having this annoying female character. But I think she's supposed to be annoying, so that's all right. Some readers of the Spenser series, one of my favorite detective series of all time, think Spenser's girlfriend, Susan Silverman, is annoying. But I love her. Especially how she calls their dog Pearl “the baby,” as in, “Not in front of the baby!” I now say this all the time about Henrietta.

*The Locked Room by Laurie R King*
This is the latest installment to the Laurie R King series about Sherlock Holmes and his wife. I don't generally approve of modern day writers profiting off other authors' characters. Like, if I die and 50 years from now someone starts writing The Princess Diaries from the point of view of Michael or Fat Louie or something, and actually gets published and paid for it, I will be totally angry, because I think authors work hard to create characters and it's not fair for someone else to come along after they're dead and try to profit off the hard work the dead author did before them. That said, I love this series, because it is so well written and funny. I haven't read this book yet, but I will. And I bet it is going to rock. So I guess I should say, I hate it when modern authors rip off dead authors' characters–unless they're really good writers and they do a good job.

*Murder on Lenox Hill by Victoria Thompson*
I love this series featuring a midwife slash detective in turn-of-the-century New York. It is very interesting to read about old time New York, especially if you've ever been to modern day New York. And the heroine has an on again/off again romance with a real detective that is just so cute, if somewhat irritating since you just want them to admit they like each other and get married already. But they come from different classes so I guess they can't. Anyway, I haven't read this installment yet, either, since it and the Laurie R King book are my reward for finishing my many projects that are due, um, now. They are both excellent incentives for getting to work…which I think I will do right now, so I can hurry up and get to reading them.

That's it for now from the slow lane.

More later.

Much love,

Meg

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