Thursday, March 23, 2006

Survey Says!

You know how you get those "getting to know you" surveys from your friends? Well, I've been saving them for a few months. Once and for all, here are my definitive answers to all of those burning questions. I took some editorial liberties, removing time sensitive questions (the right now questions) and the ones I just don't have a true opinion about ( I truly have no preference between Disney and Warners). Basically, I kept my "favorites." There's still a lot of information to be revealed, though, so without further ado:

What's your full name? Daisy Christina Abreu

Are you named after anyone? My Mother and Paternal Grandmother
Been in a car accident? I wasn't in a car, but it was definitely an accident.

Buttered or salted popcorn? Both, and don't be stingy!
Do you consider yourself adventurous? Only with my heart.
Do you have a Diary? I think you're reading it.
Do you have any bad habits? I curse a lot. I'm too hard on myself.
Do you think that you're strong? I'm stronger than I thought I could ever be.
Do you think there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? I hope so, otherwise why do gay guys keep following me?
Do you trust others easily? Too easily.
Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? I don't. Is that bad for shoes?
Do you use sarcasm a lot? DO I?!?! (couldn't help it)
Do you wear contacts? I don't, but I probably should. I think I'm nearsighted.

Ever decorated a toilet? If you mean puke, yes, many times.
Ever loved someone so much it made you cry? Yes.
Favorite car? I don't think I'm qualified to answer that.
Favorite day of the week? Lazy Sunday.
Favorite fast food restaurant? McDonald's. The fries are like crack.
Favorite food? Fried pork, white rice, black beans, sweet plantains, Materva.

First thing you notice about the opposite sex? Hotness (Like you don't? PLEASE)
Ford or Chevy? Tom Ford versus Chevy Chase? I think we all know the answer to that one.
Hair color? Pepper with some salt, I fear this is changing rapidly.

Have you ever been in a mosh pit? Toad the Wet Sprocket concert. WEIRD.
How do you release anger? I dance or clean. Sometimes both at the same time.
How many tattoos do you have? I have a belly button ring. I'm such a hipster.
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Back to Ireland

What would you like to accomplish before you die? To be published. Does this count?
If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Paper Bag Brown

Would you be friends with YOU? Only for the cards.
Name a person you wish you could sing like. Myself, but on key.
Scary movies or happy endings? Happy sad endings.
What are you afraid of? Heights, rodents (and no, I have never said "EEK! a mouse!"
What are your favorite colors? Deep red, navy blue (you'd think I'm a freaking sailor)

What is your favorite word? Grace and voracious
What are your nicknames? D, Daze, Chris, Daisy-Baby, and some unprintables.
What books are your favorites? To Kill a Mockingbird, Girls' Guide to Hunting & Fishing
What characteristics do your friends have to have? Brains, heart, nerve.

What class do you think is totally useless? Calculus (sorry Mrs. Passante!)
How many times you failed your driver's test? None, never took it.
What do you do most often when you are bored?Fill out surveys.

What's the first thing you think when you wake up? How much longer can I lie here before I absolutely have to get up?
What's your favorite alcoholic drink? Beer

What's your Favorite board game? Scrabble
What's your favorite candy? Cadbury Dairy Milk
What's your favorite curse word? Moth-er-fuck-er.
What's your favorite day of the year? My birthday. (what a selfish bitch)
What's your favorite Ice Cream flavor? Chocolate, chocolate chip.
What's your favorite smell? A man after a shower and shave.
What's your least favorite food? Anything in brine.
What movie could you watch over and over? Auntie Mame
What was your favorite toy as a child? Holly Hobbie
What was your first concert? Sting at the Hartford Civic Center.
Where were you born? St. Mary's Hospital, Hoboken

Would you ever bungee jump? Did I mention I'm afraid of heights?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

This One Writes Itself

An email from my sister entitled Dr. Mom Strikes Again...

"Sooooo, your brother calls me & it seems he has a sty, he makes the HUGE mistake of telling Mami & what does she suggest??? "Ponte un poquitico de Bibaporru en el palpado para que tu veas que maƱana no tienes nada." Can you FUCKING imagine putting Vicks anywhere near your eye? Of course the sty will be gone tomorrow because it will burn the hell out of your eye & next thing you know we'll be having to take him to get fitted for a glass eyeball. She's NUTS!"

"BTW...she went to Salazar's house yesterday & apparently she had a few drinks. Pete says she was SMASHED & casino night went on until 2 a.m. at ole 5800 Jefferson. Love you!"

This is the sort of thing my siblings and I call and email each other about all the time. We have HUNDREDS of these stories. The thing is, my mother means well, she really does. She loves us in her own way, but her methods are sometimes questionable. I'm surprised none of ended up down a well when we were growing up. She probably would have tossed a jar of Vicks down there too.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Tears may fall...

My ipod holds something like 120 songs (it's a shuffle) and I've selected all the songs on it, obviously. My question is this: is it possible that the thing can tell, through some sort of sensing of the vibrations in my body, what I need to hear and when I need to hear it? Because when you're already on the verge of losing it, what are the chances of hearing Walk On (U2), You Gotta Be (Des'Ree), Good Mother (Jan Arden) and Save a Place for Me (Tracy Chapman) in a row? That's quite a set up for the unleasing of some type emotion, is it not? (I have a plenty of upbeat tunes on this thing too, so that many gut wrenching songs in a row is something I find peculiar.) That's not even what did it, though. It was Seal, mutha effing Seal singing Love's Divine. Next thing I know, I'm sitting on the kitchen floor, bawling.

I should've seen it coming. I was weepy last night (the book I was reading did not turn out as expected), and I've been out of sorts for a while. Could be work, could be hormones (I hate to pull the PMS card, but it's possible), could be the universe messing with me. But this was the most awesome cry I've had in a while. We're talking a thirty-minute, fist-pounding, chest-heaving sobfest. It was like the main line was busted. Obviously I needed it. Felt good, once it was over. Except for the stingy eyes and stuffy nose, of course.

So, in the book, (I'm not naming names, don't want to ruin it for anyone who might need a good cry) the main character loses someone very close to her after a long illness. Vague enough for you? As I'm reading, my thoughts naturally turn to my Dad. The last time I saw him (conscious), I knew it was the last time. As I soon I got home that afternoon, nearly three years ago, I knew. I probably relive that month more than I should, if there is such a thing as should in this case. I think about the last week of his life and how lucky I am to have been there with him. We were all there, my siblings, my mother and I. There were also what seemed like hundreds of people visiting during that final week, but at the end of each day, it was just us. We took turns giving him medicine, changing his clothes and sitting with him. One night, as I sat by his bed, I held his hand and told him, that it was ok to go. We'd be ok, I said, we'd look out for each other and take care of Mommy. My brother and sister had each done the same thing. My mother finally did too. He let go on the afternoon of September 29. But I don't think we ever will.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Travels with My Mother

Seven days since my last post? Damn. I'm still trying to find a balance. The highlight of my blog-less week? Going to the casino with Mike and my mom. We didn't win big, but I think she had a good time. And when she's happy, peace is plentiful for her children. She's a kick in the pants, my mother, truly. She's very much herself, and that's often more than enough.

We picked her up at the train station Sunday morning. I asked if she needed to drop anything off at our apartment before we jumped on the highway and started the hour-long drive. Logical question, since she always brings us food (because you know, there aren't any stores around here). "Oh, no, just a poundcake and a bag of seafood for Mike, but that's frozen solid, I wouldn't worry about it." Of course she wouldn't worry about it! This woman will put a paper towel over a bowl of soup and stick it in the fridge "for later." She has tupperware, but apparently is afraid to use it. Mike and I looked at each other, turned the car around and deposited the perishables safely in our refrigerator.

Did I mention my mom speaks very little English and my boyfriend speaks very little Spanish? Whenever she sees him, it's "Hi Baby! Como esta?" and he says "Bien. Y tu?" and she says "Bien" or she says "Goooood". There might be a little of her asking about his parents, "You Mommy and Daddy gooood?" but that's pretty much it before I have to step in and translate. When they're together, I end up talking more than usual in two languages, and I talk a lot just in English, so it can get a little exhausting and confusing. My sister's husband couldn't speak a lick of Spanish when they met either. He's still not fluent, but he understands enough to know when we're talking about him. So really, there's hope for us yet.

We arrive at the casino and she heads straight for the slots. She's dressed to gamble, too: light blue turtleneck, black blazer, black velour sweatpants with a white racing stripe down the leg (no elastic on the ankle though, thank you Jeebus!) and khaki sneakers. (My sister was outraged when I described the outfit, but if she'd seen the other ladies at the casino, she would know that our mother looked like the cover of AARP magazine. Pushing 70 and Still Fierce!). She picks a machine, pulls out a twenty and starts working. We flag down a "wandering waitress" for a Vodka & OJ. Gambling makes her thirsty, I guess. No luck at these slots, time to move on. "What about your drink?" "Don't worry," she says. Sure enough, she finds the waitress and grabs her drink. "Let's walk around." Now, I don't spend a lot of time in casinos, so I don't know the rules, but I was under the impression that you couldn't leave the gambling area, drink in hand, and wander into the mall and food court. I was wrong. We walked by a cashier station, two security guards and more cheerleaders than I've ever seen in my life (there was a spirit competition going on) and no one said a word to her (not that the cheerleaders would, but maybe their parents would say something). When she was through with her drink, she deposited her glass on a wall separating the dining area from the shops. She shrugged at me as if to say "Someone will get that later." I almost expected to hear the words "They have people for that." The woman knows her way around a casino. How foolish of me to ever doubt her.

We had a nice seafood lunch and she told Mike (through me) about the trips we'd taken when I was little. Someone from her social club would charter a bus, Mommy would pack a bag and we'd be off for a few days. I don't remember whole trips, just lots of bits and pieces: Niagara Falls, Washington DC, Toronto. She still takes trips when she can. Since my dad passed away, she's been to Florida, Vegas, California and Atlantic City. She saves her money, books a trip and sometimes stays with friends. She's off to Washington DC with a girlfriend in June. Mike told me he thought it was great that my mom still travels and seems to live so well. I told him what she said to me once, "I want to have something to tell your father when I see him again." Daddy always did like a good story.

Monday, March 06, 2006

There's got to be a morning after

Ok, so not only am I spent from staying up last night to watch The Big Show, the weekend as a whole was exhausting. Mike had a gig at the Groggy Frog in Southington on Friday 11pm. Is that rock n roll or what? First we stopped at a little place called Jitters to hear our friend Marc Douglas Berardo bust a few tunes out and to get jacked up on coffee for the late show. Mike played balls out as usual, rocking everything from some of his new tunes to Whitesnake's Here I Go Again. And no, I was not writhing on the hood of anyone's Jaguar, it's still too cold for that in these parts. We got home at 2:30 am, had a snack, caught an episode of The Jeffersons (with the original Lionel and a guest appearance by the actor who played Rog on What's Happening! awwww yeah!) and turned in at 3ish. On Saturday night, we had drinks and a little dinner with some friends at the Blue Pearl and then came back here for a nightcap. I had a movie date on Sunday morning. The Goonies! I'd never seen it all the way through and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. Sean Astin had chops, even back then. I didn't cry at the end, not the way I cry EVERY TIME I catch the end of Rudy on TNT, but I got a little misty. The film is good, it's just a wee bit dated. Chunk: "Sixteen thirty-two. What is that? A year?" Mouth: "No, it's your top score on Pole Position." AWESOME.

Now, for the show at hand. Some notes, high and low. Not the most satisfying telecast, I've ever seen, but not the worst. (Need I remind you of Rob Lowe and Snow White again?) Warning: like most Oscar coverage, the following may be heavy on Clooney references.

Opening short film: The dance that Jon Stewart does in the bed when he wakes up next to The Cloon and is told he's not dreaming, that's the dance I would do.

Jon Stewart as host: There's a lot of debate about this, but I think he was, overall, pretty good considering this was his first time out. And he did get better as the evening progressed. He reacted well to what was going on around him and had some strong off the cuff jokes. (Scorsese: zero Oscars. Three 6 Mafia: one.) Also, I love him and I don't care what anyone says. Not everyone is Billy Crystal, OK? (My sister's going to offer a rebuttal on that one, I know it.)

The major categories: Not too many surprises for me here, not even Crash winning Best Picture. I'm not saying there was a Brokebacklash, but there is one big surprise every year and that was it. (Remember Adrien Brody in The Pianist beating out Daniel Day Lewis in Gangs of New York? I haven't. I'm still a little pissed actually, but whatever.)

The montages: Ummm, WTF? God knows I love a good montage, but this just seemed a little off for the 78th Annual Oscars. I kept thinking, "Why didn't they do this for the 75th year? Now, what are they going to do for the 80th?" Although the gay cowboy montage was hilariously creepy (creepily hilarious?). Gregory Peck and Charlton Heston? UnCOMfortable!

The presenters: I have a theory that the Academy likes to have presenters that are either friends or costars of the nominees considered front runners . That way, if the front runner wins, it makes for a nice little moment in the telecast. This happens more than you realize. Nicole Kidman presenting to George Clooney (The Peacemaker) and Morgan Freeman presenting to Rachel Weisz (Chain Reaction)? Last year, it was Renee Zellweger presenting to Morgan Freeman (Nurse Betty). And let's not forget Julia Roberts presenting to Denzel Washington (The Pelican Brief), if only because she hung all over him for the rest of the night. I believe he sort of carried her off stage in one arm, while clutching his Oscar with his free hand. How did his wife feel about this, I wonder. There's another trend here: Oscar winners presenting to their costars from some long ago, kind of crappy movie. It's sort of a "Yeah, baby! Welcome to the gold club! We're never going to make another crappy movie again! We have arrived!" And then one of you signs on to do Bewitched or America's Sweethearts.

The musical numbers: Oh dear Lord, why won't they just let the performers perform the damn song? Why must there be interpretive dance? I don't even know if the song from Crash is any good, because as soon as I saw the fire at the rear of the stage, I decided to use that time to change into my pajamas and get a snack. I could not look at it. I'll tell you this though: They let Dolly go out there alone in her white pant suit and "ooooh oooh" herself silly, didn't they? Dolly doesn't need scantily clad dancers acting out how hard it is out here for a transexual, does she? I bet they tried to sell her on maybe having a couple of transexuals out there working some Debbie Allen choreography while she sang about how hard it is out here for country girl like herself. But, no, Dolly turned them down. You know she would be sweet as pie about it, too. I can just hear her now, "Gosh, that's awful sweet of you to offer, but I came all the way from Dollywood just to sing my song for these nice people here and I don't need any fancy dancing to make things more complicated than they already are. All I need is a good wig, a good bra and some platform shoes and I'll be just fine. Thank you kindly, just the same, though. I sure do appreciate it. "

The clothes: Some things are clear, to me anyway: Salma Hayek has a slamming body and can wear almost anything. Jada Pinkett Smith is fierce in her gorgeous petite-ness. A ballgown with pockets, when done correctly, is a good idea. So is wearing one or two signature pieces of jewelry and nothing else (some really big earrings, a giant diamond cocktail ring...if you're Jennifer Lopez, a giant cocktail ring that you OWN). A man in a classic tuxedo is always a good idea, especially when the man is question is, well, you know. I'm not going to discuss the, shall we say, riskier choices that made on the red carpet (Charlize, Naomi, I'm talking to you) because the ladies at Fug have already said most of what I was thinking, all the way down to the Clooney Coma. Mmmm, the Cloon....

That's all from my little corner of Oscar Central. Good night, and good luck (see that, I couldn't leave it alone.)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where have all the P.I.s gone?

I'm reading I'm a Stranger Here Myself by Bill Bryson. It's a "fish out of what used to be familiar water" story. Basically, he's moved back to the States with his family after living in England for twenty years and he's trying to readjust to American life. Every chapter is about something that has flustered, flummoxed or frustrated him to the point of near insanity, and it's all pretty amusing. The thing that got me going tonight was his chapter about television. It wasn't the fact that he noted there are more channels than anyone could ever need (a whole channel for the films of Tawny Kitaen does seem excessive), or that what's on is mostly repeats of shows that are no longer running (does anyone really love Raymond enough to watch him get verbally abused by his entire family until the end of time?). Bryson was expressing a longing for the simple shows of his youth, and I started thinking about the shows that would suck me in as a kid. I watched a lot of crap, who didn't? There was a lot of it on all the time. Don't tell you me you didn't watch Charles in Charge, because I'll know your lying. Here's the thing: I'm wondering what happened to all those detective shows.

You're saying "Are you kidding me?" I know you are, but give me a minute. Yes, there are more versions of Law & Order and CSI than I can count. And yes, no bunch of detectives was more deliciously flawed and occasionally nekkid than the gang on NYPD Blue. These are not the people I'm talking about. I'm talking about those renegade private investigators, people with no affiliation to the police whatsoever (as far as I could tell). They were all over the place, and honestly, a lot of them had no business snooping in anybody's bushes. Maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention, but did any of these people have credentials? I mean aside from the ladies working for Charles Townsend, of course. Clearly, they had qualifications. Tanya Roberts and that gang of braless fashionistas aside, a lot of the private eyes on TV were eccentric, sometimes drunk, frequently bumbling, and generally underqualified to be anywhere near the scene of a crime. How could they become investigators? And why did I keep watching?

Still with me? Ok, let's talk for a moment about Jonathan and Jennifer Hart, their "manservant" Max and their dog Freeway. Nothing against these exuberant lovers, Hart to Hart was on the short list of shows I could stay up late and watch and I loved it. I know that it's escapism, but come on. A relatively young, attractive (RJ Wagner, very suave), fabulously wealthy couple can't find anything better to do than solve crimes that had nothing to do with them? Seriously? Hey, how about buying a private island and spending your days shagging while Max mixes up pitcher upon pitcher of Bahama Breezes, instead of saving it for the end of every episode. OH Jonathan!

Here's another favorite: Riptide. Yeah laugh, go ahead. A good looking blonde guy (Perry King is hot, with or without that mustache) with a boat, a good looking dark haired guy (Joe Penny of Jake and the Fatman fame) with a pink helicopter and a geeky guy with glasses known as Boz. Together, with the help of a robot, they solve mysteries. I may never figure out what these guys were up to, or why they were all living together on this tiny boat (how do you get any play with the Roboz in the next room?) but I found it all totally compelling. Then again, I was twelve and it was on after the A-Team.

McMillan and Wife (he was the police commissioner so he had reason to be at a crime scene, but his wife always wanted to help solve the mystery. Like I Love Lucy, without musical numbers), Simon and Simon, Scarecrow and Mrs King, did any of them really have a license to carry a gun? McMillan, yes, the Wife, not so much. Even Mrs Columbo had her own show before she went on to be Captain Janeway (geek check, right here). And then there's Magnum. Perfect formula. Hot guy (again, classic 80s mustache) + hot car + Hawaii=appointment television. Apparently Thomas Magnum was a former Naval Intelligence officer, but at the end of the day, wasn't he just Higgins' bitch? At least Jessica Fletcher and Ben Matlock had day jobs.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

And the Oscar goes to...

Ok people, 4 days and counting til the big night! The Oscars are almost here and I'm more excited about this year's crop than I've been in a while. Maybe it's because it's the first time in a while that I've seen a number of the nominated films (thank you, Criterion Cinemas!) or maybe it's because I honestly don't believe anything is a sure thing this year and that's a nice change of pace. Some people say Brokeback (or Brokedown, Brokeass or Bareback depending on your taste) is going to take the big ones (Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay), but Crash is a strong contender based on it's track record at some other award shows. Sure, Reese Witherspoon won the Globe and the SAG, but Oscar loves when a pretty girl gets "ugly" for a role (more on this in a moment) so Felicity Huffman's got a reasonable shot.

As you can see, I have a number a theories about the Academy Awards based on my extensive research (faithful viewer since as far back as I can remember) and I am happy to share them with you now. Please do not use my theories to determine your picks in the Oscar pool. Like I said, it's anybody's game. This year, the only that's certain is that at some point someone will ask Bill Conti to "please stop playing the music, I have some more people to thank."

For your consideration,

The "Sorry We Never Gave You One of These Before." Oscar. Case in point: Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond. I love this movie and I think he was great, but I also think the Academy was going "This guy can't die without getting a competitive Oscar. (The honorary one he received in 1980 does not count, in the official book. Yes, there's a book. ) He's an icon! We already missed out on Cary Grant!" So, Henry got the Oscar for On Golden Pond and Grapes of Wrath and his amazing body of work. See also Paul Newman for the Color of Money, who won in 1986 for playing Fast Eddie Felson, a character he was originally nominated for playing in 1961.

The "We Went With Someone Else the Year You Gave the Best Performance You May Ever Give, So We're Giving You One This Year to Make Up for It" Oscar. Case in Point: Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple. Poor Celie. The Academy later boosted her spirits by giving her a little gold man for her performance in Ghost. Really? She'll never be better than that, Academy Voters? You really think so? Damn.

The "Crazy Crippled Englishman Oscar" Case in Point: Daniel Day Lewis (My Left Foot), Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs), Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune). Over a three year period, these veddy English actors played characters (two of them playing Americans!) that were either physically or mentally disabled and each took home a statuette. The only man who could stop this? Al Pacino playing a blind man in Scent of a Woman. Al brought home the Oscar and once again made it safe for American actors like Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Philadelphia), Nic Cage (Leaving Las Vegas) and Jack Nicholson (As Good as it Gets) to play damaged men with hearts of gold. Whoo ah!

The "Pretty Girl Gets Ugly Oscar": Case in Point: Charlize Theron (Monster), Nicole Kidman (The Hours),Halle Berry (Monster's Ball) Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry). Oscar loves ugly. These women were all fine (ok, pretty good) actresses before they landed roles that won the Oscar, but they hadn't shown enough commitment to the craft. Apparently, commitment involves removing all your makeup, putting on or losing some weight and donning some prosthetics to draw attention to the performance and not your pretty face and rocking body. Please keep in mind that Halle Berry played a crackhead in a Spike Lee joint and reportedly did not wash for days. Where was Oscar then, I ask you?

The "You Aren't Scorcese" Oscar: Case in Point: Mel Gibson (Braveheart), Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves), Warren Beatty (Reds), Robert Redford (Ordinary People). If you're an actor and you've been nominated for your first attempt at directing film and you're up against Martin Scorcese, your chances automatically go from 1 in 5 to 1 in 4. This man is considered one of the greatest film makers of all time (Goodfellas,Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, I could go on here) and he's never won this thing. It boggles the mind.

The "Try This On for Size, Kid" Oscar: Case in Point: Tatum O'Neal (Paper Moon), Anna Paquin (The Piano), Patty Duke (The Miracle Worker). Youngsters so good, they won right out of the gate. I give Dakota Fanning another year or two of being the best thing in a crappy movie before she takes one of these home. Ditto the kid who sees dead people.

Feel free to discuss this further amongst yourselves. I will be in seclusion on Oscar Sunday, but can be reached during commercials to discuss the program. Watch this space for my full "review" of the program.

In case you're wondering, my all time favorite "what were they thinking moment?" at the Oscars is Rob Lowe's memorable duet with Snow White. The song? Proud Mary. I wish I was kidding.

* I say these things as a true fan of film, so if you are offended, then you don't know me very well.