Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Let me decorate your bachelor pad. Please?

I just sent an e-mail to a friend of mine about how he's furnishing his place (he's lived there for a year and still needs one of everything, apparently). Me being the whimsical type, I sent him some suggestions, and then suddenly realized that HEY: I AM A GENIUS. Here is what I wrote:

I'd expect nothing less than a red velvet couch shaped like a set of women's lips, and a throne or two, and maybe a transparent telephone with glowing neon inside it, and a skateboard ramp. And a calliope. And a few hundred weathervanes. And a ginormous disco ball which reaches practically from floor to ceiling, which -- and I'm just spitballing here -- could have a door on its side, which opens onto a conversation pit INSIDE. And at least one velvet painting of Elvis, because that would be classy.

. . . .

NB: candelabras with bead fringe and bronze naked ladies are always advisable.

Sometimes, I just amaze myself. I totally need my own design show on TLC.

random pop culture stuff

[from Facebook]
Who Were You In a Past Life?
Your Quiz Result:

You were Teddy Roosevelt in your past life!

Of all of your past lives, old Teddy was your most prominent. If your dreams are ever filled with faint visions of conquests, horesback [sic] riding, spelunking, hunting, cigars, governing, masses of people, and quiet studying, these are glimpses into a world once occupied by your 'vessel'. Cherish your past life and invigorate your current one knowing that you embody greatness in all that you do.


I'd never seen the words "spelunking," "cigars," and "masses of people" all in the same sentence with each other before. That, coupled with the fact that I saw Sissy Spacek and Adrian Grenier recently WITHOUT requiring someone to point them out for me, makes my life complete. I mean, I NEVER recognize famous people. Huh. Neato.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

and lo, a bus rained down from the heavens

Disabled Spy Satellite Threatens Earth

Great, just what I need -- in addition to all my other concerns, I now have to worry about getting hit by something the size of a small bus without it being, in fact, an actual bus, small or no.

On the plus side: rain! In L.A.! Only imagine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I've still seen more movies than you

Inspired by defective yeti: my adventures through the revised AFI Top 100 Films list.

green = stuff I've seen (47 films on this list)
yellow = stuff I've seen but don't remember well (6 films on this list)
red = stuff I've never seen, or have seen in chunks, or out of order (47 films on this list)

Just for the record, I don't understand what some of these are doing here -- Pulp Fiction? West Side Story? Huh. Also, many of my favorite films are not on here, which I sort of understand (The Princess Bride, for example, isn't exactly historical or paradigm-shifting, and neither is Sneakers), but what about Gattaca? Or The Muppet Movie? Gattaca addresses hot button issues like genetic determinism in an increasingly Big Brother-like society, and didn't the Muppets pioneer the extensive use of puppetry in a feature film?

Or am I on crack? (Which wouldn't surprise some people, I guess.)

1. Citizen Kane (1941)
2. The Godfather (1972)
3. Casablanca (1942)
4. Raging Bull (1980) [I did take a class in screenwriting taught by Mardik Martin, though]
5. Singin' In The Rain (1952)
6. Gone With The Wind (1939) [I've seen chunks of this on TV]
7. Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
8. Schindler's List (1993)
9. Vertigo (1958)
10. The Wizard Of Oz (1939)
11. City Lights (1931)
12. The Searchers (1956)
13. Star Wars (1977)
14. Psycho (1960) [this one is hugely embarrassing for me] Seen it! BRILLIANCE.
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
16. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
17. The Graduate (1967)
18. The General (1927)
19. On The Waterfront (1954)
20. It's A Wonderful Life (1946)
21. Chinatown (1974)
22. Some like It Hot (1959)
23. The Grapes Of Wrath (1940) [tried reading the book, couldn't do it]
24. E.T. The Extra-terrestrial (1982)
25. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
26. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939)
27. High Noon (1952)
28. All About Eve (1950)
29. Double Indemnity (1944)
30. Apocalypse Now (1979)
31. The Maltese Falcon (1941) [rented it and fell asleep]
32. The Godfather Part II (1974)
33. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975) [read the book and the MAD Magazine parody]
34. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937) [read the original fairy tale, as well as the written version published by Disney with animation stills]
35. Annie Hall (1977)
36. The Bridge On The River Kwai (1957)
37. The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946)
38. The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948)
39. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
40. The Sound Of Music (1965)
41. King Kong (1933) [I still know the whole story -- impossible to avoid in our society]
42. Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
43. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
45. Shane (1953)
46. It Happened One Night (1934)
47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
48. Rear Window (1954)
49. Intolerance (1916)
50. The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
51. West Side Story (1961) [tried watching this twice, hated it and turned it off in disgust]
52. Taxi Driver (1976)
53. The Deer Hunter (1978)
54. M*A*S*H (1970) [saw episodes of the TV show]
55. North By Northwest (1959)
56. Jaws (1975)
57. Rocky (1976) [read the parody in MAD Magazine] Seen it! Made me cry with happiness.
58. The Gold Rush (1925)
59. Nashville (1975)
60. Duck Soup (1933) [tried watching, decided I'm not into the Marx Brothers and turned it off]
61. Sullivan's Travels (1941)
62. American Graffiti (1973) [read the parody in Mad Magazine]
63. Cabaret (1972)
64. Network (1976)
65. The African Queen (1951)
66. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
67. Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966) [read the play]
68. Unforgiven (1992)
69. Tootsie (1982)
70. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
71. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
73. Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969)
74. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
75. In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
76. Forrest Gump (1994) [I've seen this entire film out of order]
77. All The President's Men (1976) [read the MAD magazine parody]
78. Modern Times (1936)
79. The Wild Bunch (1969)
80. The Apartment (1960)
81. Spartacus (1960)
82. Sunrise (1927)
83. Titanic (1997)
84. Easy Rider (1969) [did meet the cinematographer, though, plus I read the MAD Magazine parody]
85. A Night At The Opera (1935)
86. Platoon (1986)
87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
89. The Sixth Sense (1999)
90. Swing Time (1936)
91. Sophie's Choice (1982) [I don't think I could handle this]
92. Goodfellas (1990) [many guys have yelled at me for this]
93. The French Connection (1971)
94. Pulp Fiction (1994)
95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
96. Do The Right Thing (1989)
97. Blade Runner (1982) [in my personal top three]
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
99. Toy Story (1995)
100. Ben-hur (1959)

I've put many of the red-titled films on my must-see list for this year. And, hey, since I'm baring my soul and subjecting myself to public mortification as an 'uncultured' filmmaker (never mind that I've seen, like, a bajillion foreign films, as well as another bajillion American films released before 1950), here's what else is on my list, since people keep mentioning these at me all the freaking time:

The Karate Kid (1984) Seen it. I don't understand the big deal, but it's a decent yarn I guess.
Y tu mamá también (2001)
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
City of God (Cidade de Deus, 2002)
Chocolat (2000)
Breathless (À bout de souffle, 1960)
The Untouchables (1987)
Unfaithful (2002)
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
Chungking Express (Chung Hing sam lam, 1994)
Decline of the American Empire (Le Déclin de l'Empire Américain, 1986)
Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap, 1973)

Okay, I'm off to do productive things. Let the bloodshed of Astrid's Filmmaking Credibility begin.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Doo-Dah Parade and January gallery

Okay, so this was going to be just a gallery post, but that was before I met up with Jason and Kazuki to go to the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade today. The mayhem began when I first stepped into the elevator in my building, and chatted with a cute neighbor who looks roughly about my age (29+1).

"Hey," I said, "are you going to the Doo Dah Parade today?"

He looked at me, surprised. "The what?" he asked.

"Doo Dah Parade," I said. "I don't know anything more about it, but apparently it's some sort of Pasadena tradition, and I can't believe this will be the first time I'm going, after having lived here in Pasadena for a few years now."

The guy looked thoughtful. "I once had a client named Doo Dah," he said. "The poor guy was convicted, and he eventually got out of jail, thank goodness, but not before getting teased by everyone in prison for being named Doo Dah."

So my neighbor is a lawyer, a drug dealer, or possibly both. Very interesting.

He then raised the question of whether this was a "ye olde medieval Pasadena thing" as the elevator doors opened and I walked out into the lobby. A bespectacled guy was waiting for the elevator with an empty laundry basket, looking sleep-deprived.

"Sort of," I smiled as I struggled to keep the doors from closing, "except that Pasadena isn't that old -- founded in eighteen-something--" And that's when I started losing my battle with holding the elevator doors open. Neither Drug Lawyer Guy nor Laundry Guy were helping at all, the jerkos.

"Well, yeah," Drug Lawyer Guy said, "I know we're not nearly as old as, say, England--"

And the implacable elevator doors slammed shut.

Laundry Guy regarded me with a bemused expression.

"Hey," I nodded at him. "What's shakin'?"

He shrugged.

Inwardly sighing at being Desperate Girl Holding Elevator Doors Open Because Slacker Men Won't Help Out, I spun on my heel and strode off purposefully to the train station to meet Jason. The parade itself was a hoot and a half, and by the time Kazuki joined us, the weirdness was in full swing. If San Francisco, Greenwich Village, and West Hollywood banded together to do a joint parade, the result would be not unlike the Doo Dah Parade. With tongues firmly planted in cheeks (NO, not those cheeks, ew), it was a very grassroots, anti-corporate, anti-war, pro-liberal, pro-saucy absurdity on wheels. Pennyfarthing bicycle wheels, in some cases, quite literally so. There was a group which was promoting a baby for president, and the baby was in a little three-piece suit and waving an American flag. There were zombies, roller derby gals, Obama and Kucinich folks, old people driving fabulously vintage cars, transvestites galore, and even a Raelian float followed immediately by a CFI float. AWESOME. One of the CFI people was holding a sign saying "When the Rapture comes, can I have your car?", which I must have on a T-shirt, or else I may cry.

Jason, Kazuki, a whole batch of other fun-loving madpeople and I will be getting together later this evening for our monthly 'family' potluck dinner, but in the meantime Jason and Kazuki went off to cook and clean and I figured I might as well do some much-needed blogging before picking up a rotisserie chicken. Let's do some sightseeing!

I love this shade of blue, I love the moped, I love metallics, and I love how faux-startled-yet-bored this chick looks. So stylin'!

I love how futuristic this looks. Why can't stereos look this cool today?

LOVE THIS WALLPAPER. OH BOY OH BOY. And Langston Hughes is no slouch, either.

Also: I have the exact same bed (from IKEA, amazingly). Which is part of the Astrid Triumph of this past week; when I had moved, back in August, the moving guys lost all the bolts to my bed, so I couldn't put it back together, and I was stuck sleeping on unframed mattresses, which wasn't ghetto-looking in the slightest, but then I found out the IKEA in Covina (about an hour away from me) potentially had the bolts I needed, and SURE ENOUGH, they did! And it only took five months to get an IKEA store to help me! WHOO.

Incidentally, if you're ever in the IKEA in Covina, and you see a gal named Martha in the Returns/Exchanges department, give her a big ol' bear hug and tell her what a fantastic human being she is. She'll have no recollection of helping me with bolts for my bed, I'm sure, but she deserves to know how splendid she is anyway. We love you, Martha.

And you know what? I love my bed, I really do. It's handy for holding up my mattresses, for example. And I can stare up at the ceiling wistfully like this poor guy above. And then I can pretend I'm like those kids in Bedknobs and Broomsticks and pretend I'm hanging out on the ocean floor with Angela Lansbury. And I can unscrew the tops of the bedposts and put candles there for mood-setting purposes. And I can drape random crap on said posts, just because I can. And, you know, tie things to those posts, not that I'm suggesting anything beyond a PG-13, heaven forfend. Ha ha! Hi, Mom and Dad, I know you read this blog every so often, how's it going?

Ahem, moving right along....

Bardot really has a way with those legs, doesn't she? What I want to know is, how does she get her hair to defy gravity like that? Crazy.

Scary. And adorable. And scary.

This was taken by Javier, who's been kind enough to leave lovely comments here on what a fab human being I am. Poor, deluded Javier. Anyway, he is also a mind-blowing photographer who has traveled to amazing spots such as the one above. Thank you, Javier, for sharing your experiences and talent with us. You rock.

I first spotted this at IKEA on my Covina pilgrimage. Am I alone in this, or does muesli have no business being this sexy? This tawny-eyed beauty belongs in a hair-metal music video, or at least hanging out in a place where I don't have to see her and get all jealous and put a brown paper bag over my head. Just sayin'.

I love this man.

You'd think they could put a clear strip around the center of the tire for visibility. Huh.


Cheeky mailbox.

WRONG. So, so wrong.

I wish I could do ballet in the street. Très neato.


If I were ever to fall in love with a woman (not likely, sorry ladies), then that woman would have to be Katie Beaton. She's an ingenious artist with a wickedly loopy sense of humor, and she gives me hope for humanity. Huzzah, Katie!

And here's one last thing: I am now, finally, after several years of serious hunting, the very proud owner of a

CLOCHE HAT. Je t'aime, mon petit chapeau.

It's beautiful, matches nearly everything I own, cost less than $20, and makes scary-looking Teamsters holler at me from their trucks "Hey! Nice outfit!" It's fascinating, really, how the bigger/scarier/gruffer/more seriously-mustachioed the man, the more he's prone to telling me how much he likes this hat. Power of the cloche, kids, lemme tell ya.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Astridica, Bluffing as an Authority since 1977

Happyjoy 2008!

This past weekend has been a Weekend o' Victory on The Astrid Frontier, for reasons I'll get into in a subsequent post, since I'm kind of in a rush right now. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I'll be a guest speaker tonight at the January UMEC meeting, UMEC standing for University of Michigan Entertainment Coalition. If you are a UM alumnus/alumna, and you're in 'the biz' or a biz groupie (or, hey, even an Astrid groupie), come on over! Here are the details, or 'deets' as the 'kidz' apparently like to say:

James Stewart Building, rm. 302
Sony Lot

rsvp by noon today to UMEC president Ted Houser via lapresident at um-ec dot org

Mainly, Ted needed a gimmick to get higher attendance at this month's meeting, and since I'm an 'authority' who, like, shoots movies and crap, he e-mailed me yesterday in desperation a fit of inspiration and asked if I could speak. Should be groovy; there will be llamas on fire, as well as dancing girls with tambourines. This is entirely true, except for everything that came after the word "groovy".