Sunday, August 31, 2008

The French have a word for it

Basically everybody in France goes on vacation for the month of August. We all know this. But what I didn't know until today was that the coming back from vacation and starting school and going back to work is this whole big thing. They even have a word for it: rentree (with an accent over the first e). Like it looks, it means re-entry, as in re-entering the "real world". Everything starts up again. People make resolutions, like we do on New Year. There are all these articles in the magazines about it, like "How to Make Rentree as Smooth as Possible" or "The 10 Must-Haves for Rentree." Weird, huh? Well, it's only weird because we don't have anything remotely like that here in the land of "What Vacation?" How ironic that in the so-called Land of the Free, we have less free time than anybody because we're always working. Imagine a month of doing essentially nothing. So much nothing that experts make money telling people how to get their lives in gear.

This summer has been remarkable only in terms of the weather. It's been stellar. It's been one astoundingly gorgeous day after another. Unfortunately I have spent most of them in a windowless office. But I'm not going into that now. As sad as I am to see summer go, I am now counting the days until the Large Hadron Collider goes online at CERN in Geneva on September 20th.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I really am tired of worrying about money. I've been doing it for way more years than I care to think about. And it always seems to happen that just when I think I'm in a pretty good position and I can save a little more, something comes up and I'm back to square one again. They promised raises at work a YEAR AGO and they still haven't come through. All of this makes me cranky and also depressing to be around. I don't want to talk about it any more.

I did indulge in a movie last weekend. I finally saw The Dark Knight. Heath Ledger was beyond spectacular. But the rest of the film -- eh. I thought it was about an hour too long. I thought that it was full of a lot of crazy pyrotechnics and fights that didn't go anywhere. I thought the plot was muddled. I thought everyone tried very hard but the story didn't know where it was going or what it wanted to say. Of course I'll watch Christian Bale in anything. I can't wait to see him as John Connor. But I have to say, I liked Batman Begins way, way better.

Friday, August 08, 2008

2008: The Year the Olympics Jumped the Shark

Color me cranky. Color me a miserable misanthrope. But I think that the Olympics have finally been totally subsumed by the onmivorous monsters Marketing and Spectacle. What does any of this have to do with athletic competition? Not a thing! And not only are the organizers of the opening ceremonies making me crazy, how about the TV commentators, who are trying to interpret everything and impute to everything some ancient and weighty meaning? AAAAaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!! Shut the fuck up already!!!!

Having my admittedly puny insight into Chinese (non)culture and (non)ideology, I know that they all go gaga over glittery spectacles with absolutely no substance. So okay, they've got a few thousand years of history to draw on, but they're doing it in such a phony, self-serving way, it's almost laughable. I think the opening ceremonies started to go downhill in 1984 in L.A., when dozens of grand pianos rose up out of the stadium floor, or something. I don't remember it too clearly. But I remember being slightly freaked out as I tried to figure out what they had to do with sports. From then on, it's been one lunatic spectacle after another. And the Chinese, being consumate experts at lunatic spectacle, have just put the icing on the freaking cake.

Okay, here's another idea. How about making the opening ceremonies a competitive event in the games? That way, every country could compete in putting on the gaudiest, showiest, most ridiculous event. I think it's a great idea. But I've been totally turned off to watching any of the actual sports events.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The most incredible news that almost was

A friend of my brother writes for some aviation publication. He gets to cover the NASA missions and space stuff. When I see him we talk about it. Yesterday my brother told me that he heard from his friend that there might be some REALLY BIG NEWS coming out of NASA within a week or two. He said that they were keeping it very tightly under wraps, but seemingly the word "diatom" was being tossed about. ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT THEY FOUND EVIDENCE OF LIFE ON MARS????????? I was beside myself with excitement. What in the world could possibly be more amazing and wonderful?

Well, it didn't take that long for it to come out. Now, I shouldn't get too disappointed because as the NASA guys say, they don't know what they have. And maybe that's their way of saying without saying. Maybe they already know it for sure but can't say until they can prove beyond a crumb of doubt. Or maybe it was just rumor that ran away with itself. But for a day, it felt like anything was possible. It may still happen. It will still happen eventually. I just really really really hope it's soon.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Kissing my baby goodbye

No, I don't mean the kid. I mean THE PLAY! I have finally started sending it out - submitting it to theatres for production. I'm not nervous and I wasn't afraid to let it go. It's just that everything takes so freaking long to get done! Everybody wants different information. Some want the whole thing, some only want ten pages. Some want a 2 paragraph synopsis, some want a 2 page synopsis. Some want a cover letter. You get the idea. Surprisingly, writing the synopsis was really difficult. But it's done. Huge sense of relief and medium-sized sense of accomplishment. Now I just have to wait. Tony Awards, here I come!