Warning: Good Mood Ahead!
But why, you might ask. Let me tell you, it is for a multitude of reasons:
a) It is Friday
b) Our long-anticipated training, requiring many, many man/woman hours and a whole heck of a lot of work was completed yesterday. AND, to all accounts, was a success. It went very, very well, and we now have some momentum built up for good things in the next several months.
c) Perhaps the most important reason: I'm going on vacation all next week! No, nowhere exciting. In fact, I'm not even really doing anything. I just happen to have well over 60 hours of vacation time stored up and haven't had a vacation since 2001 (and no, being unemployed for 6 months of 2003 does NOT count as vacation time). So I will be off sleeping in, knitting, visiting friends, sleeping, watching terrible movies, and helping my friend move into her new store (she opens Feb 5th, but doesn't get the key till Feb 1st!)
So, circumstances being what they are, I'm not certain I'll be blogging next week because I will be RELAXING. It's such a foreign concept for me. I'm going to try to get a pedicure, maybe a massage, maybe a haircut. I have plans, people. Very self-absorbed plans. And I'm going to enjoy every moment.
Have a good week, and I'll 'see' you February 7th.
Beware The Sockdolager!
So today someone at work told me that s/he had resigned from the company. I'm going to call this person PAT since it's a nice androgynous, non-specific name. So Pat explained that s/he was leaving the company, and wanted me to know. Pat followed this information up with the comment, "...and nobody really knows about this yet."
I was just starting to formulate the thought about how I must now be a cool kid, since Pat felt like sharing this information with me before the screaming hordes. But before I could even fully generate this thought in my head, Pat continued, "well, nobody except Kyle. And Steve. And Pam and Tim. And Ron. And Joe. And Barbara.*"
DUDE! That's not nobody! That's like everybody on my floor. What a letdown. I guess I'm not cool after all.
*All names have been changed to protect me from the potentially litigious.
Just A Few Things Floating Around Inside My Head
I currently have the headache that ate...something really big. Not quite Manhattan, but maybe a small Nebraska town. I've had it for three days. I think it's sinuses. The Boy thinks it's a migraine. It thinks it owns me and has made me do its bidding for the better part of the week, including downing an alarming amount of pistachios and fire-hot Jolly Ranchers. I'm starting to feel a wee bit sick at the thought.
Wanna really tick off the fundamentalists? Wanna enjoy some sponge on starfish action? Apparently you can kill both birds with one gay yellow stone...er, sponge.
I think I may have a bad habit of anthropomorphizing things. I just had a 15 minute phone conversation with a coworker re: if we were to collapse in pain or imminent death, whether our cats would a) yell at us to get up and feed them, b) taunt us, or c)curl up next to us and meow in our faces to pet them. I also surmised that my own dear bit of fluff (a.k.a. Puff Kitty[TM]) would position himself next to my hands so that if I was twitchy I would inadvertently pet him.
You know what I hate? I hate how judgmental vending machines are. You heard (read) me right, baby. Your dollar bill has to be perfect, fresh, clean and STRAIGHT, STRAIGHT, STRAIGHT if you want that soda or packet of chips. I never realized before how homophobic vending machines are. It's really rather disturbing.
Well, that is about all that's in my mind. Sad, isn't it? Sayonara, suckas!! Oh wait, I'm still at work, so I guess I'm the sucka, huh?
To Sleep, Perchance To Dream
In this case, to dream of an administration that valued human life half as much as they do 'moral values'. To dream of a president who would not lie to the American public to achieve his own ends. To dream of a country that did not villify anyone who is 'different' or 'foreign-looking'. To dream of a leadership that understood the role of the most powerful nation in the world to be one of leading by example; caring for the 'least of these'; protecting the rights of its citizens, as well as their safety; fulfilling the dreams of its populace, not creating a living nightmare that we must endure each day.
As my blog sleeps today, please reflect on what we can do in the next four years to honor every one of the American soldiers who have lost their lives in a war built on lies, and to prevent our country from further becoming entangled in unwinnable wars for questionable goals, built on specious grounds.
Scott Simon Called Me Stupid
On NPR's Weekend Edition last Saturday, Scott Simon related a story that the North Korean government thinks that long hair leeches vital nutrition out of our brains. So, according to their theory, long hair makes you dumber.
This explains a lot about me.
Here I thought Prozac had eaten my brain, but it turns out that it was growing out my hair out that is depleting my intelligence. You just know that after hearing that I had to look into it further. (That and make lots of jokes with The Boy about how he has to talk slowly around me 'cause I have long hair.) It wasn't easy to find much, but I did find an article from the BBC.
A snippet from the BBC article states that the report,
"...stressed the 'negative effects' of long hair on 'human intelligence development", noting that long hair "consumes a great deal of nutrition" and could thus rob the brain of energy."
Oh well, at least I have a reason now.
Le Fantome De L'Opera
Since it appears that my adoring fans (Jen & Jenny, that would be you) cannot stand waiting for the next blog appearance from moi, I will violate my own vow not to blog until February with this treatise on The Phantom of the Opera. Also, I'm waiting for approval on some stuff at work, so I'm sort of bored.
Last weekend The Boy and I saw the movie The Phantom of the Opera. Most people who know me know that I love this musical. I read the book when I was in Jr. High (which I realized recently was 1/2 of my lifetime ago--how's that for feeling old?). I read the book before the musical exploded in popularity all over the L.A. area and the choirs were singing all its songs ad nauseum. I LOVED the book. I felt pity, compassion and sorrow for the Phantom. I understood his obsession with Christine, and resented her for being unable to see past his infirmity to the tortured genius within. And I have always, always detested Raoul, the Viscomte de Chagny. Whoop-de-doo, you're royalty. That's special. What else you got?
Anyway, so we saw the movie, and it was fantastic. I did see the musical once, on its last day in L.A. in 1993, at the Ahmanson. We had terrible seats, way up at the top of the steeply pitched seating area. I could barely make out the Phantom's figure, let alone his itty bitty little mask, but the music was captivating, and you felt that you were drawn into the story through the orchestra and the singing.
The movie was like that, but even better. Because with the movie, you get to see expressions and really feel that you're experiencing the circumstances. Unless you are very, very wealthy or very, very lucky, you seldom get to see the expressions on the faces of the actors of a major stage performance like Phantom. So you could see the confusion that Christine faced; you could palpably FEEL the pain that the Phantom experienced. You could further dislike Raoul and his simpering perfection (er, maybe that's just me?).
Having said all that, let me tell you WHY I loved the movie. In two words: The Phantom.
a) Dude, he's pretty hot! I mean, wow. Yeah, yeah, deformity, blah, blah, blah. But for 90% of the movie he's wearing a mask. And when he's wearing the mask, baby...well, let's just say Raoul wouldn't have stood a chance if *I* were the ingenue of the Paris Opera House. The Phantom is a freakin' genius. Interior design, architecture, composition, singing, art...(The guy probably invented the light bulb and discovered isotopes, too, but LeRoux didn't want to make the story any longer than it already was). And when he and Christine sing together, there are sparks, and connection, and all kinds of things that she never experienced with the Viscomte de Boring.
b) The passion between the Phantom and Christine is almost overwhelming in its intensity. You feel that Christine is conflicted because she knpws that this man--in all his complexity--is unique and fascinating and totally crazy about her, and he both scares and intrigues her. You never see that kind of connection between Christine and anyone else in the movie (cough, Raoul, cough).
C) Dude can SING. That Gerard Butler guy who plays The Phantom in the movie is going places. Seriously.
d) The Phantom looks good in a mask. Like Johnny Depp in Don Juan de Marco. If the guy wanted to wear a mask forever, you wouldn't hear me complaining. Besides, as The Man In Black [scroll down for pictures] tells us, "...it's just they're terribly comfortable. I think everyone will be wearing them in the future."
e) I will say that the Phantom deserved a much more awe-inspiring, less commonplace name than Erik. I always thought he should have had a good strong French name (no Guys, or Andres here, thank you very much). My apologies to any readers named Erik (if I even have any), but 'Erik' just doesn't sound nearly potent or powerful enough for the mastermind that was the Phantom.
Okay, I also really liked Christine. She has a beautiful voice, and it doesn't hurt that she's really quite pretty. Minnie Driver is hilarious as the diva. There are lots of great character actors portraying some small roles. Miranda Richardson plays a quasi-good character, Mme. Giry. She's all mysterious and dark, like when she was in Sleepy Hollow, but she contributes a lot to the story.
Sadly, it's been a long time since I read the book or saw the play, but I will say that the movie does a really good job of filling in some of the gaps that I think are left by the play. Namely, viewers discover how the Phantom came to be the way he is (look at my rebellious grammar, ending a sentence with 'is'). The film really makes him a much more sympathetic character, as I believe LeRoux meant for him to be seen. I think one of the messages is that he is not a monster, he is a human being with the same longings and desires as any other, and it is only through love that he can be saved.
As you could probably tell, I am not a fan of Raoul. It's not the fault of the actor playing him in the film, it's the character himself. I think that, like the Phantom says, Raoul falls in love with Christine for her singing ("He was bound to love you/when he heard you sing"). And it doesn't hurt that she's pretty, and they were childhood sweethearts. He doesn't really KNOW her. He never seems to appreciate her talents and how hard she's worked. He's so dismissive of her and her fears and concerns. When she tells Raoul about being kidnapped by the Phantom, and the mystical world that he has built for himself under the opera house, Raoul tells her she was dreaming. That so gets under my skin.
It just never seems to me that they are really in love. For her part, it may be that he is good enough looking, rich, and safe, as opposed to the Phantom's wild, passionate nature and outcast status. She could never really have any kind of life with the Phantom so she chooses the safe route of being a Countess. (It's Casablanca, but with opera singing and better sets.)
In summation, it's a wonderful movie.
And I really think that the Phantom probably would have stopped killing people if only he'd had the love of a good woman.
The Dark Days of January
I'm not going to be posting much for awhile, especially next week and the week after. We are preparing for a relaunch of our company and a sales training where we will present all of our new information. I'm the Marketing Writer. When you add these facts together, Stephanie is a very busy girl!
I hope you are all well, and I'll get back to regular posts in February.