May 11, 2000

"Miss Congeniality" Films Downtown

I've met someone who's in the movie biz, usually as a production coordinator, but this past week, he worked as a rigging grip on "Miss Congeniality," which is shooting in Austin right now. So last night we were on set watching everything. They've turned the Cue Lounge on Fourth Street (next to the Alamo Drafthouse) into a Russian Mafia bar in New York, complete with Cyrillic signage (ЛАЙКА) and wonderful Russian murals of Lenin and so on inside and even a Battleship Potemkin reference. Sandra Bullock was there roughing up a Russian bad guy, and Benjamin Bratt (Julia Roberts' main squeeze) was playing a cop going undercover as a homeless guy, and Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider, New York, New York, My Best Friend's Wedding) is the cinematographer. They had "New York" cabs and background cars with NY license plates, rain trees to, well, make it rain, and tough-looking extras, and copies of the New York Post for authenticity, etc. I even got to nosh from the craft services truck. So I'm a bit tired today, but it was cool. Maybe they'll keep the sign up and leave the bar as is.

May 1, 2000

Lightning Strikes

After kinda drifting off on the sofa with Teresa the kitty on my lap, I finally decided to drag myself into bed, and just when I was falling asleep, a huge lightning bolt hit the transformer across the street. The resulting fireworks both woke me up and knocked out the power for long enough to reset all my clocks. I don't think I actually fell asleep until 6:30 or later, because my alarm clock (battery backup) went off at 7, but I was in such a deep sleep I didn't actually wake up until 7:30. I'd really rather not be awake right now.

I was reading a Time online article about the movie "Gladiator," and realized that I have met the producer, Douglas Wick. He came to Wellesley when I was a senior to talk about "Working Girl," which had just been released. I was in a video production class at the time, so I made a point of talking to him. I got the feeling he really dug me, which I might have used to wangle a job, but I was intent on finishing school first. Maybe I shoulda been like Brad Pitt, who ditched school his last semester to go to Hollywood. Maybe not.

April 24, 2000

Easter 2000

Easter was a bright and beautiful day in Texas, if rather hot. I went home early Sunday morning so I could go to church with my mother. All the old faithfuls were there. It's nice to have that kind of continutity in one's life. That's one thing I miss here in Austin--knowing adult-type people who have known me all my life. Then we had pancakes at home, went and visited my grandmother, and then had a lamb shish kebab/ham dinner at the Luccheses' house (Mrs. Lucchese was my Latin teacher, and led the Europe trip I went on 10 years ago). It felt nice to be doing something Easter-y.

My mom is off to Italy today with her old friend Debby--she'll be gone for almost 4 weeks, and will be driving back from her friend's house in CT with a "new" Saab (new to her - it's Debby's old one). There was some excitement last night, because most of the flights in and out of Logan Airport had been canceled, so she had to find another way to get there this morning and catch her flight to Zurich. She just called me from Newark, so I think all is okay. By the way, she got re-elected as the head of the school, so I guess she's out of retirement now. I think she mostly retired before to take care of my dad, so now that Oma's in a nursing home, she has no more invalids to care for. Still, being the head of a school is more work than I'd want at her age.

April 19, 2000

Limerickal Silliness

There once was a young man named Srini
Whose passion was dining on blini
When the deli ran out, the loss made him pout,
Saying, "Now I must eat beany weenies!"

April 6, 2000

Tornado Nightmare

I had a mini-nightmare this morning that I was standing in my office, looking out the window at some ominous clouds that looked like they could be distant rain or a distant huge tornado. The radio only played maddeningly cheerful music--no storm warning or anything. Then suddenly the cloud came closer, and it was an enormous wide tornado full of dirt heading straight my way. Then it turned and started going down 183, whirling police motorcycles into its midst. I thought, whew! But then it turned again down Shoal Creek, I thought it was going down the middle of the street, past me, but then it changed course and headed inexorably my way. I suddenly realized I didn't know which way to run, and was only wearing night clothes. I thought, "They're going to find my battered body half naked in a pile of rubble." AAAAAH! And then I woke up. And realized that I had dreamed all that in the short musical interlude between two news stories on NPR.

Of course, when I drove to work this morning and saw similar clouds on the horizon, I just about had a fit, thinking my dream might have been a premonition. But the sun is out now, so I'm feeling calmer.

March 29, 2000

Mucho in March-o

Things are just now calming down a bit for me. I got hooked up with a badge for SXSW, so even though I was exhausted from work and everything, I felt compelled to go to as many panels and shows as possible. My friend B came in for just Saturday and Sunday, to do SXSW too. His wife was supposed to come, but she had an ear infection and couldn't fly. This past weekend, I threw my annual Oscar party, which went pretty well I think-Alice came, but it went on so late this year, she had to leave before it was over. But she and Jamie tied for most winners guessed correctly!

I was trying to deliver a party invitation Saturday night, looking for a friend's house, and I stumbled into a party hosted by a film production coordinator, where one of the guests was Wellesley class of '90, a French major, and very much interested in film! What are the chances of that happening? I hope maybe it's the beginning of some new friendships.

March 23, 2000

Oscar Party 2000

Here's my Oscar Party invitation from 2000.
"American Beauty" won Best Picture honors that year, and my prediction about Kevin Spacey winning Best Actor also came true.

February 9, 2000

Ah, Zoning

I have been trying to negotiate with everyone about the parking lot next door to my house. I went to the North University neighborhood meeting on Monday, where we discovered that if we allow a zoning change which would legally permit parking there, it would also open the door to a 60 foot high office building. So we decided to try to get it landscaped and a wall put up which would reduce the noise level, without involving the owner at all. (Trudy's isn't the owner; their patrons have just habitually parked there for years.) I'm trying to figure out how much more financial, landscaping and or food & drink-type consideration I can/should ask for. This is all very exciting, I know.

February 8, 2000

Gilbert & Sullivan & St. Paul

Well, my mom showed up unexpectedly on Saturday night, thwarting my plans to drape myself across a bar stool at the Sardine Rouge and trawl for millionaires, ha ha, and stayed through Monday morning. We ended up doing some stuff around the house, and then going to see Topsy Turvy together Sunday night.

The film was very well made, but as someone who has been in most of their shows, I don't think it displayed the genius and thrillingness of Gilbert and Sullivan oeuvre to the uninitiated. None of their best songs were performed, with the exception of "Three Little Maids from School," and the tone was rather mordant, considering it was about two men who made their living creating comic operettas. Reminded me of "Chaplin" in that respect. A tragedy about comedy.

My mom and I also went to All Saints' Episcopal on Sunday, and the epistle reading was from one of Paul's letters to the Colossians or the Ephesians or some such, and his attitude made me mad. It was about pretending to be all these different people so he could convert them. Seemed dishonest and underhanded. Maybe no worse than any politician. "Ah feel yo pain - try my religion."

I really like the Native American prayer my friend John B. sent me. Very simple and humble; dovetails exactly with my belief regarding the purpose of religion--namely to recognize our own smallness and insignificance in the great scope of things, to realize we are our own worst enemies, and to appreciate the everyday beauty and blessings we are given. I think I'll post it on my office door.


O Great Spirit

Whose voice speaks in the winds, and in the trees
Whose breath gives life to all the world.
Listen to Your creature!
Hear me!
I am small and weak.
I need Your power.
I need Your wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty,
And let my eyes be glad beholding the red and purple dawn.
Make my hands touch all things You have made with love,
And help my ears to hear Your voice in everything.
Make me wise that I may understand the sacred teachings You have taught;
Help me learn the lessons hidden in every leaf and every stone.
O Wakan-Tanka,
I need power not to be greater than my relations
But to conquer the enemy in myself.
Make me ready to come to You always
with a pure heart and with clear eyes,
So when the time comes for my life to fade away, as the sunset fades,
So may my spirit come to You with honor and without shame.

January 6, 2000

How I Spent the Turn of the Millenium

My holidays were rather topsy turvy this year. I was crazy busy at work the week before Christmas trying to complete our 10K report; I missed most of a friend's wedding reception because I had to work on the weekend, and my mom was here, also, so I didn't get to do much with her, either. I did almost 40 hrs. of work just in the first three days of the week, but I didn't get paid overtime for any of it because of the holiday (we got Thursday and Friday off). It was nice having those days off, but by that time, I had a million last-minute holiday preparations and shopping that I hadn't gotten to do because I was working the week before, so it wasn't very relaxing. And I woke up Christmas Eve with horrible bright pink puffy poison-ivy-like stripes under my eyes, which I spent all day trying to find a doctor to diagnose. (It wasn't pink eye, which was one suggestion, but some kind of allergic reaction requiring hydrocortisone cream, my initial self-diagnosis!) I didn't start actually wrapping presents until 8 pm Xmas Eve, and was up until 2:30 or 3 a.m. At times like that it sucks to be a perfectionist, but they sure looked nice when I was done. I gave my brother lots of clothes, so I had lots of big boxes to wrap. Afterwards he actually said "I don't know what to wear!" Never heard that from him before! Because my dad is in no condition to argue, we completely deviated from our usual Christmas menu, and instead of our long time tradition of repeating Thanksgiving turkey, etc., we had roast beef with red wine, mashed potatoes and a "Southwestern" relish on the side, papaya black bean salsa. We brought my grandmother from the nursing home and got my dad up to join us. Not sure if he knew it was Christmas, although we showed him the tree and all the special old, old ornaments he had as a child.

I didn't get the flu until Boxing Day, when I woke up feeling achy and tired all over, and really had to push myself to drive home. I actually went to work on Monday, but was up coughing all night; not even the narcotic cough syrup knocked me out enough to sleep. Tuesday, I went to the doctor, and he gave me lots more medicine. I had nominated myself to throw a New Year's party for all my friends, so I had a lot to do last week to get ready, like wash glassware, put up lights and clean out/organize the dreaded Back Room. Luckily, I had a lot of help from friends, and my mom managed to get away. She came up for the party and helped out a lot with preparations, so the house looked really nice. I was still getting dressed at 8 p.m., but most people arrived after that, and the whole shindig went very well, after all. I was afraid that since we got a keg, the party would attract buffaloes who would crash around, behaving badly and breaking things. But everyone was very respectful, perhaps because my mom was there, and it was my house, not just some rented dumpy place. One guy brought sparklers and Roman candles, which we fired off at midnight over the park/ creek in front of the house. Kinda risky, being only a block from the fire station, but even though they drove by, no tickets were issued, and no fires started.

Since then, I have been trying to shake off the lingering effects of the flu. Tuesday, I thought I would take a short nap and then get up and watch "Will & Grace." Nope, just slept straight on through. Guess I must have needed it. I get sick so rarely, but when I do, it really hits me hard. It seems that this is the year of the universal flu, though. Just about everyone I know, all over the country, has been sick, so it's not a sign of weakness.

I just got the new Victoria's Secret "Catalogue" and I noted the striking resemblance my friend Caroline bears to übersexmodel Heidi Klum.

Well, this ended up being very long and chatty, since I just kept adding to it for two days whenever I had a minute. I'll go back and read it years later, and it'll be a nice record of how I spent my holidays at the turn of the millenium.