Monday, February 23, 2009

Deepish Oscar Thoughts

The red carpet interviews should be watched on mute.

Hugh Jackman is a safe choice for host. He sings, he dances, he probably won't insult anyone.

Supporting Actress: Penelop Cruz

WHAT has happened to Goldie Hawn?
Penelope Cruz is better without bangs.

Original Screenplay: Milk by Dustin Lance Black

Oh my god, I just Googled Dustin Lance Black. This dude is younger than me. I feel lazy and unaccomplished. Where is my wine?

Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire by Simon Beaufoy

Solid acceptance speech. References repression of British men, and ends in a timely manner.

Animated Feature: Wall-E

Jennifer Aniston on stage. Cut to shot of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Rob and I both wince visibly. Because we are so clued in to their emotions.
I think about Dustin Lance Black again. Damn him.

Animated Short Film: La Maison en Petits Cubes

Perhaps I should watch an animated short film at some point. But I just keep thinking I don't have time.
The winner comes to the stage and makes his speech. Rob: "Uh, did he just say 'Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto?'" I look at him like, how racist can you be? Then we rewind. He did say that.

The show has now been on for 45 minutes. "I'm bored," Rob announces. "This show needs to be one hour."

Blah blah blah, more awards:

Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Duh. I was halfway through typing the winner when they announced it.

Costume Design: The Duchess

I am pretty sure I've heard of this movie.

I decide I do not like Oscar speeches. I just sit here rooting for people to wrap it up without embarrassing themselves.

Makeup: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Why are they doing a montage on Romance in 2008? They really needed to make sure this ceremony lasts 3 hours?

Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire

Ben Stiller pretends to be Joaquin Phoenix. So perfect.

Jessica Biel is wearing a positively awful dress. It's white, like that of many, many other women at the show. But it also seems to have another dress hanging off of it. Bad choice. Sorry.

Live Action Short: Toyland

James Franco announces the award and Seth Rogen starts laughing like Anthony Edwards in Revenge of the Nerds. Real nice.

During a dance routine with Hugh and Beyonce, I Google Dustin Lance Black again. His Wikipedia page has been updated to reflect his new Academy Award Winner status.

Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger

I like the way they're doing these awards, so that 5 former winners come out to announce the nominees.
Oops, Alan Arkin introduces Seymour Phillip Hoffman. "Seymour" raises his eyebrows.
Heath's family accepts the award. Sad and sweet.

Documentary Feature: Man on Wire

Two men go up to accept the award. A little man rushes up after them. He, it turns out, is the acrobat the movie is based on. He balances Oscar on his face.

Documentary Short Film: Smile Pinki

When you rent a short film, do they cost the same as regular length films?

Visual Effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Sound Editing: The Dark Knight

I feel I have to keep documenting the awards, because I started doing it...but I want to go to sleep. Rob is right, this is boring. I wonder what Dustin Lance Black is doing right now.

Sound Mixing: Slumdog Millionaire

Film Editing: Slumdog Millionaire

Original Score: Slumdog Millionaire

Is there a pattern emerging here?

Original Song: Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire

Foreign Language Film: Departures (Japan)

Directing: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire

I think I should see this movie. We tried to go Saturday night, but it was sold out, because everyone in Chelsea had the same idea.
In other thoughts, Reese Witherspoon's dress is also wearing a dress.

Actress: Kate Winslet

Actor: Sean Penn

"You commie, homo-loving sons of guns...I want it to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me...often."

Movie: Slumdog Millionaire

Is that 8 wins of the 9 awards this movie was nominated for?

I'd like to thank the Academy for dragging this show out, as usual. I will think of you tomorrow when the alarm goes off. I would like to thank Rob for ordering the pizza. Lastly, I would like to thank Dustin Lance Black for motivating me to finish this post. Shoot for the stars, people.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sallie Mae, Take the Money and Run

I called Sallie Mae last week. This is the company who loaned me money for college and then, when I graduated, convinced me to consolidate at the bargain rate of 8.25%. About five minutes after I did that, the rate dropped to 2%.

You see, I was suffering from what is commonly known as "Bonehead journalism major did not take math class in 4 years of college, and will now work to pay off student loan for next 17 years."

So I recently decided I should increase my monthly payment to the education scalpers, and went to their website to do so. It was like informational confetti: lots going on, none of it very substantial. After digging around for 10 minutes, I called the 800 number.

A man answered. He informed me that I could not adjust my monthly payments online. He went on to say that he could not make any changes for me over the phone. In fact, he continued, I would have to email Sallie Mae to request the change.

Not a problem, as I was in front of the computer and am adept at emailing.

"What's the address?" I asked.

"Um...send the email to Sallie Mae," he replied.

"That's not an email address," I said. "So maybe it's Sallie"

He mumbled a bit and put me on hold. When he returned, these are the words that came out of his mouth:

"The email is broken. You'll have to write a letter."

"I'm not writing you a letter!" I exclaimed, adding as a defense, "It's 2009! I just want to make a simple change. How is it possible that your website can't accommodate that and your email is broken?"

"Please hold on," he said. And never came back.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Salad Dressing

Saturday morning. I surround myself with cookbooks and the latest issue of Food & Wine and decide to make something interesting that night. Not because it's Valentine's Day--in fact, Rob and I are both unaware of this fact until the doorman (who is a woman) stops me on my way out to ask what we are doing for the evening. She raises her eyebrows lasciviously like it's a big night, and I want to tell her "trust me, it's really not", but I can't burst her bubble. I smile.

I'm just a much bigger fan of Saturday than I am of Valentine's Day.

Ultimately, the entire meal plan comes from Food & Wine, and if you don't get that magazine, I am recommending it. It is food porn, plus there is a handy guide at the front to tell you which recipes are healthy, fast, staff favorites, vegetarian, and/or require minimal last minute prep. I prefer the healthy, fast, staff faves. Another page gives you wine pairings for all the recipes.

I write a list of ingredients and head to Chelsea Market, where there is a fish market, a produce place, an Italian deli, a wine store, a dairy bar, a bread shop, an espresso stand, several cupcake bakeries, and a tea salon. Plus tango lessons on the weekend.

In the produce place, I am filling up a basket, and everything is fine until I look at my list and see "pea shoots." I stop for a minute and, I don't know what those are. I ask one of the store employees, who guides me towards the dried beans. Shaking my head, I wander down each aisle of the small store, but there is no sign of pea shoots.

I call Rob. "Can you please Google pea shoots?" I ask. "I need to know what they look like and if they go by any other name."

"One word?" he asks.


After a few seconds, he says "I can't really find's just coming up with links for actual shoes."

"Not shoes! Shoots!" I spell it. Several people glance over at me. But really, pea shoes? I consider this, and decide it's not much stranger than pea shoots. I continue to scour the store.

"Ah," he says, having landed on Of course there would be an entire site devoted to this obscure grocery item. Reading aloud, "Pea Shoots are the leaves of the traditional garden pea plant...harvested after just 2-4 weeks, depending on weather conditions, when the leaves are tender, young and literally bursting with a distinctive pea flavor."

A distinctive pea flavor. I have a minor laughing attack in the fruit aisle. Because I'm five.

But, aided by the handy description, I search near the sprouts and sure enough, find a small box of sweet pea shoots for $3.49. The salad is saved.

Crab, Avocado and Asparagus Salad
[I halved this recipe for the two of us and there was more than enough]

Total time: 45 minutes

1 lb thick asparagus
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 medium basil leaves
1 small shallot, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (Note: Kosher salt is really good. I bought a restaurant sized box of it and it is my new best friend.)
3 1/2 oz pea shoots, trimmed
1/4 cup salted, roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
2 Haas avocados, each cut into 8 wedges


1. Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. Cut off 1 inch of the asparagus tips and cut each tip in half lengthwise. Using a peeler or mandoline (Note: I used a knife. It worked better than the peeler), shave the asparagus spears lengthwise. Blanch the asparagus tips and strands in the boiling water until just heated through, 10 seconds. Drain and transfer to the ice water to chill; drain well. Pat dry and transfer to a bowl.
2. In a blender, blend the oil, lemon juice, basil, shallot and 1/4 cup of the parsley. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
3. Add the pea shoots, pistachios and the remaining 1/4 cup of parsley leaves to the asparagus. Toss with half of the dressing and season with salt and pepper. Add the crab, avocado and the remaining dressing, toss gently and serve at once.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Turning over a new Leaf

On Friday afternoon, Rob sent me the YouTube video clip of Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman, and if you haven't seen it by now, you must check it out. I warn you, though, you will be uncomfortable. After 10 seconds of watching it at work, I raced into our sales department, announcing that I could not see this alone and someone had to join me so we could cringe together.

It seems Joaquin is giving up his acting career to become a hip hop artist, but he is also giving up his interview career to become a hostile vegetable. All over the web and probably the world, people are trying to figure out whether this is a stunt or if the man who was once Leaf Phoenix has just gone mental.

But what I'm wondering is, if it is a stunt or a joke, what's the punch line? There's not really anything funny about branching into a music career--though if you've also seen the clip of Joaquin performing his music at a Vegas club (and falling off the stage), you will admit that there was something comical about the hopping and the hand flapping. Perhaps we will discover that he's making a comment about people who think that rapping is easy and that anyone can do it. Or that he's simply preparing for an upcoming role.

So there it is, your options are a) joke--and who's going to be laughing? b) stunt--and he does have our attention c) new career path, complete with attitude--and possibly drug--problem

We'll see what happens, but Joaquin, if you're serious, you just might want to lighten up a little about it.

By the way, guess who else thinks he could have a career as a rapper? My father. Yes, Joe often brings up the fact that it doesn't take much skill to rap and speculates that, given a chance, he'd be pretty good at it. Because he can breathe and talk.

Monday, February 16, 2009

There will be Blogs

Happy President's Day! I have the day off and Rob and I are driving to Long Island to see his sister and her kids. Here is what happens when we do that: His sister opens the fridge to show us the 7 bottles of champagne she bought for the occasion, and we all make noises like "we can't drink all that, that would be craaaazy" and then a few more people show up and we drink all the bottles. She also makes an amazing home-cooked meal which usually involves several entrees, all of which we are expected to eat on top of a mound of pasta. Then there's dessert. Skipping this course is not an option.

But despite the fact that my brain and body will be in recovery mode and not doing anything creative besides digesting for a few days, I am promising blog posts. Here's a sneak peek:

Deepish Thoughts on Joaquin Phoenix

A Deepish recipe and the search for ingredients

Deepish Thoughts on My Insane Student Loan Institution

Monday, February 9, 2009

The President will see you now

Watching President Obama speak and answer questions tonight made me realize how long it's been since I've seen a President speak and answer questions. Seriously, I never even pretended to watch Bush's news conferences (though I did catch the highlights on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.) I wasn't that interested in what Bush had to say, but I also had no confidence in his ability or desire to talk to the American public in an honest way. Plus, I think Gilmore Girls was on.

But Obama began talking about the stimulus plan tonight and I knew what he was saying: the man was making sense. And even if you don't agree with what he says, I think it's clear that he can string coherent thoughts together in a way that feels, well, Presidential. For a moment, I felt like I was watching a movie or an episode of 24. Eventually, I think I will be able to associate The White House with eloquence and intelligence, but for now I'll just say it was so totally American President.

I have to admit, it wasn't all amazing. The first question (asked by some woman from the AP who looked like she had ridden her motorcycle to the White House without a helmet) was met with a lengthy response that seemed to go a bit off the path. I got bored. I started to blog. See?

However, as question after question came from the earnest reporters, Obama talked and I listened. He was responsive; he was thoughtful; he was occasionally long-winded. He was pretty real. It was quite refreshing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Later, they tucked her spleen back into her eardrum

Soooo, not to ruin the punchline, but this link will take you to a story about a kidney which was removed via the donor's vagina. Read the story, if you want. You basically have all of the important information already.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Home is where the football is

I got back from Chicago on Saturday and, almost immediately, my butt magically attached itself to the couch. From this standpoint, the only topic I can write about with authority is my favorite Super Bowl commercials. Though I would like to give a little shout out to the audacious bastard who was smoking a cigarette on the subway yesterday. Hats off to you, sir, for your general disregard for others. Impressive.

I could watch this commercial over and over. The look on the singing baby's face as he breaks out the second time makes me proud to have once been a baby.

I love anything with Bob Dylan, so this is on the list, but I should admit that even this ad won't get me to drink Pepsi.

An honorable mention goes to the commercial, because I watched in rapt silence and even if I was kind of bummed with the punch line, it reminded me of a 30-second Wes Anderson movie.