Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hi, Guess Who's Back!

I wish I had a madly glamorous reason for having disappeared like that, but unfortunately, what happened is that I was flat on my back with the flu from hell. I found this deeply annoying. Well, first of all, it's annoying to have flu just in general. And then all the newspaper articles about this year's strain kept saying that the people least at risk were my age group. And thirdly, I haven't even had a bad cold in three or four years. Oh, yeah, a couple of days of feeling under the weather here and there, but nothing like this. Anyway, what with the chills, and the fever, and the (ongoing, damn it) cough...somehow a cheerful blog just didn't seem likely. And who wants to listen/read about somebody else's fever? Dull, dull, dull.

Actually, I haven't done anything interesting anyway (mostly because, you know, I had this flu). However, I am in a position to recommend movies, which is pretty rare because I tend to wait until they come on cable. But with my lovely largesse from SAG, I feel really up to date now.

First up, to get the thing out of the way. I wouldn't recommend Inglourious Basterds to a blind dog. It is sickeningly violent. The only good thing I can say about it is that Christophe Waltz, as the Nazi officer, richly deserves his Golden Globe and anything else he may win. He's a wonderful actor. As for the movie itself, it is nothing more than a celebration of blood and gore and horrendous cruelty. Ugh.

Up In The Air: Oh, come on. What's not to like? We've got George Clooney here. I enjoyed the hell out of it...perhaps more so as it has some interesting twists that startled me in what I assumed was going to be your basic romantic comedy. It's great fun to watch, and most certainly doesn't end the way you think it will.

Precious: See it. It is NOT easy watching, but it's absolutely worth it. As in Christophe Waltz, above, MoNique deserves everything they can award to her - she's amazing. And Gabourey Sidonie (which may or may not be the right spelling) is superb. The whole movie is spectacularly good, and so is everyone in it. And bizarrely, it's very hopeful.

I still haven't watched An Education or Julie and Julia, because of the damn flu...I couldn't focus on anything without getting a splitting headache.

In other news, I seem to be meeting with a real estate agent in the next week or so, so things are moving right along there. Now that the holidays are over, I'm getting really itchy about getting out of here and starting the next phase of my life. Naturally, people are jumping in on me...Sarah and the gang were sitting around the other night telling me I absolutely couldn't decorate the way I wanted to because it wouldn't go with the couch, or some damn thing...personally I think a black leather couch will go with anything I choose to throw at it, and anyway, whose apartment is it? And the whole thing is kind of wildly the hell do I know how I'm going to decorate until I see WHAT I'm going to decorate? For all I know, I could walk in the door of my new place and it could immediately demand mid-Victorian, or high 1960's camp, or Second Empire French. The places I've been seeing online seem to be modern bland white boxes, which I can throw anything at, but when I start working with a broker, I know I'll see other types of places. Anyway, the couch stays.

I'm still transcribing, at least for this coming week. I'm about to finish a German gent who speaks beautiful English, and the next and (last) one is either American or British, so a quickie...and then I am free to submit for more film work and study my script for the one woman. Oh, yeah, and clean this joint. The other reason the flu annoyed me is that I had just started on a thorough clearout of my bedroom (which is the place in the house where all things go to die), and it's just been sitting there looking even worse than usual for two weeks. Growl.

Meanwhile, Joshua called from Thailand and is still trying to move back in with me. This is going to happen as soon as I become 25 again.

Love, Wendy

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Walmart - The Family Store

I just had to get this down before I forgot about it again.

I saw a commercial for Walmart that says that it costs $45 to take a family of four out to dinner. This causes me to assume that these people are eating at McDonald's, of course, or something of that nature. Well, they'd have to be, wouldn't they?

The commercial goes on to breathlessly announce that if you bought one of Walmart's frozen entrees and ate at home just once a month, you'd save $475 a year! (Or some such figure.)

Are there people like that? Who take the family to McDonald's or KFC or something EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for dinner? Good God.

Meanwhile, as I'm housecleaning my brain here, I spent New Year's weekend watching the Lord of the Rings - all of it. TNT had it on, one movie each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I must say, I admire the scope and vision of the whole thing - what a monumental undertaking! (And what thousands of background actors.) And it was quite fun to watch. But...seeing it more or less all at once like that made me really, really tired of orcs. And battle scenes. And oh, my heavens, those movies are long. But I did it! There's a New Year's resolution for you. I am going to spend a total of something like 12 hours watching orcs fight. I don't know...somehow I feel it lacks gravitas.

But tomorrow's movie watching will be much more fun. My nice union (Screen Actors Guild) has their awards coming up, for which I vote, as a member. And to make sure I vote correctly, nice people are sending me movies - free. Today I opened my mail and found Up in the Air, which is tomorrow's treat. Upcoming are Precious and Inglourious Basterds and a couple more. Yay, SAG!

And the tree is down, the ornaments are packed away, and now all that has to be done is getting rid of the New Year's Eve decorations - my kid is great at putting things up and lousy at appearing to take them down again. Then I can go back to cleaning the house for sale...sheesh.

But I've got work tomorrow and Friday, unfortunately not the movies, but the transcription stuff. Also unfortunately, this interviewee, I found out today, is Chinese with a slightly offbeat grasp of English...and the tape is 40 minutes longer than the others I've done. Ouch. Ah,'s all money in the bank, right?

Love, Wendy

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Slightly Belated Happy New Year

Well, all went as planned at Christmas. Then we suddenly had a very large New Year's Eve party (Sarah and Vicky's idea, of course) which went until New Year's Day. I was a very good girl...I had about four drinks and went to bed around 1:30 or so. My God, there must have been 80 people in and out of the house.

Now it's back to real life. My unemployment ran out, so I reapplied. You know, I have to wonder how the government thinks - if, that is, it does, which I'm finding less and less easy to believe. Now that my jobs have dwindled to almost nothing, unemployment has cut my weekly rate. I had a net of about $260 a week - now, because I have so few jobs, they've reduced it to a gross of $103 a week. This is just enough to buy my weekly prescriptions. I do know that the rate is tied to what your employers contribute based on your service to them...but it does make things a bit difficult.

However, I got a lovely call from one of my temp agencies today - the one with the nice transcription work. They've got at least four more interviews for me to transcribe, possibly starting this week, so that will keep me going until I get my Social Security and can rejigger my budget (my what?) a bit to compensate for the almost total lack of unemployment money. It'll all work out. (Anyway, if I get depressed this early on, it's gonna be a looonnng year.)

But that means that I've moved into high gear about getting the house together for sale...and lo and behold, housing prices are going up again! Yay!

And for the last two days I have managed to do exactly (with one exception) the tasks I've set myself. Yesterday was the library, the grocery store, the cash machine and the drugstore. Today was clean the cat litter and start work on my bedroom, which is the worst room in the house. I also planned to get to that damned script for my show, but that will have to be done tomorrow, when perhaps there will be a little less wind. I suppose I should explain that, because it sounds loopy. The big sliding glass doors in my bedroom which lead to my little balcony are old and leaky, and my desk is right there next to them. The result is that if there's a stiff wind outside, it blows right in on one. Since I have found over the years that the easiest way for me to learn long speeches is to type them over and over again, this causes rather a problem, as you can see. However, tomorrow I shall wrap my legs in a blanket and pound away. Promise!

The reason for all this planning of each day's goals is that I am a natural winter hibernator. If I don't force myself to achieve something or other, it's back to bed with a book for a nice nap, and that doesn't get much of anything done - although frankly, it's a lot more fun than scrubbing my bedroom floor.

I got lovely books and a gorgeous sweater and neat new spatulas and wooden spoons and stuff (to replace what Joshua ruined, of course) and - the best news of all - I have mostly solved the ongoing cat shit problem!

It turns out (and an old cat owner like me should have thought of this ages ago) that the cat simply wanted his box back in the downstairs bathroom where it always lived. Joshua (who else?) insisted it be moved upstairs, and that's when the problem started. Oh, we've had a couple of little mistakes, but nothing like the unending daily slog of chasing the cat around with a roll of paper towels and the Lysol. So now the cat food and box are downstairs and everyone is thrilled to the very cores of their beings.

By the just made my year so far when I saw the headline on the NY Post regarding the underwear bomber: 'GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!"

Love, Wendy