Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscars, briefly (very briefly)

  • Marion Cotillard
  • Taxi to the Dark Side
  • Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova and their song from Once
  • Jon Stewart bringing back Marketa after the commercial break to give an acceptance speech because she got played off by the orchestra after Glen Hansard talked
  • Ratatouille
  • Atonement. Boring score.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum. Three awards? 100%? Yikes
  • Jon Stewart's crack after The Bourne Ultimatum won Editing that "Wow, somebody just got ahead in the Oscar pool based on a guess."
  • No Country for Old Men --not a full-on boo, but I just don't get the fuss about that movie. Nor about Juno. Ugh
  • The length of the show. It was, like, barely over three hours! Terrible! I love loooong, languorous Oscar ceremonies.
  • They were so into starting up that music to play everyone off, and then they wasted our time with the historical clips of previous winners, so it's like we got to spend more time hearing past winners than this year's. Tsk, tsk.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


Well, a mere 29 hours away from the Oscars, I have completed my viewing of the five nominated documentaries. Apparently, I saved the best for last.

Here in New York, War/Dance is playing only at Cinema Village, and only at 11:15 a.m. Sat and Sun, not on the weekdays. I'm pretty sure it's playing at only one theater in L.A. as well. Those of you in middle America (hehe) may have missed your chance to see it, if you even had one. But let me tell you that any effort you put forth to see it (for example, saving it in your Netflix queue) will be well worth it.

Here's my take on the documentaries, in the order I viewed them:

Sicko - Tibetan Food (****1/2)
(note: Don't bother spouting your knee-jerk reactions to Michael Moore here. If you have something substantial to say about his films, fine, but if it's going to be all empty-rhetoric hatred because someone has convinced you he's "inflammatory," the same way they've convinced you that Hillary is "polarizing," then take it elsewhere.) A thoughtful, entertaining, moving, and well-handled film. I laughed, I cried, I gazed fondly at Cuba on the screen. This is a great candidate and actually has a chance to win the Oscar because contrary to popular squawking head propaganda, Michael Moore makes great films and they are well-liked. Sicko was better than I thought it was going to be, and I thought it was going to be great. Amusing and inspiring, it brings a message of peace and unity in addition to the sobering look at health care. I like it for its basic point that the U.S. is not the "greatest/only great nation in the world." In any other year I'd be rooting for it to win.

No End In Sight - Italian Food (***)
Unoriginal in presentation, packed with lots of good information, but it's information that you all should have heard already. You know that bumper sticker I had on my old car, "If you're not outraged you're not paying attention"? Well, I realize that the problem with the Iraq war is that the vast majority have not been paying attention, blinded as they were by 9/11 and the subsequent call-to-warmongering masquerading as patriotism. So I get frustrated by this documentary, which is kind of like a very well-done episode of Frontline or something, because I'm so frustrated that it's being perceived as revelatory. Anyway, it's likely going to win. And I will roll my eyes, thinking 'Too little too late,' but I will not throw things, because 'better late than never,' I suppose.

Taxi to the Dark Side - Mexican Food (*****)
Up until a few hours ago, I was sure I wanted Taxi to the Dark Side to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Now, I don't know. I will be happy if either that or War/Dance wins. Taxi... affected me so strongly that I have found it impossible to compose the blog entry about it, a blog entry I have been meaning to write for almost two weeks, to release the thoughts about the film that are churning around my head. I came home from viewing it and basically started bawling as I tried describing it to Brian. It's about torture. The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld policies of torture, to be precise. And in contrast to No End In Sight, this Taxi ride reveals some disturbing new information indeed. The film is framed with the story of a taxi driver in Afghanistan who has the terrible misfortune to be picked up by the U.S. military, imprisoned by them, and eventually murdered by them. But as we know, the military does not stop there, because it continues to torture and murder people in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo, and we see it all broken down in this flick. If you're only going to see one film, you should probably make it this one. It's horribly depressing, but we don't deserve any better emotions until we do something -- anything -- to stop this torture policy and practice that continues today.

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience - Thai Food (**)
Ugh. It was pretty well done, if not my style, but it also bothered me on a few levels, as noted in my last post. So all these soldiers, mostly in Iraq, write poems and stories telling about all the horrible things they've had to do/experience/witness over there, and these are read by actors and interspersed with interviews with the soldiers and some authors who've written about war. And the whole thing is done with this sort of handwringing, woe-is-us, what-have-we-got-ourselves into approach, doing its utmost to respect the soldiers and never actually saying "this war sucks" or anything like that. And I think that is a terrible choice. Because one way to stop the war is to stop trying our hardest to tiptoe around it. You watch this film and you watch a bunch of people beating themselves in the head with a hammer saying "God this is really terrible how this hammer feels, let me tell you all about it, because you are back home not getting beaten by this hammer..." and everyone is nodding soberly saying "Oh that's so awful and terrible for them" and I just want to scream "PUT down the bloody hammer, for god's sake!" Ugh.

War/Dance - Mexican Food (*****)
A contented sigh escapes my lips. It was just SO good. As powerful as Taxi to the Dark Side, as illuminating as Sicko, but even more transcendent. And after the four I'd seen, I went to this one ready to be put through the wringer again, and I told Brian I was fully prepared to come home all depressed again (have you noticed he manages to avoid seeing all these? and instead of getting emotionally wrecked he just gets an earful upon my return?) and instead I am not depressed. I was uplifted. It showed us people who had dark horrible things happen to them, and how amazing it is for them to be able to sing and dance and live again after having to go through a kind of death-in-life. It's about children of the war in Uganda, who've had their families abducted and/or killed, some of whom were made to be child soldiers, and it follows this primary school in war-ravaged northern Uganda as they prepare for the national music song and dance competition. It's stunning. It will stick with you. As well it should. It hasn't really received much buzz, but anyone who has seen it has got to consider it a strong contender.

It was not lost on me that a child, who was maybe nine years old and kidnapped and brainwashed and forced to kill someone the rebel "Lord's Resistance Army" wants gone, is not all that different from an eighteen-year-old who is recruited and propagandized and forced to kill someone that the "righteous" "god-fearing" U.S. of A. wants gone.

They're sending soldiers to distant places
Xs and Os on someone's drawing board
like green and plastic, but with human faces,
and they want to tell you it's a merciful sword.

But with all the blood newly dried in the desert
can we not fertilize the land with something else?
There is no nation by God exempted:
lay down your weapons
and love your neighbor as yourself...

We may be looking for our deliverance, but it has already been sent.

--indigo girls, 'our deliverance'

It has been said that I am an "extremist" with some of my political views. I must say I don't mind at all being an anti-war extremist. Who else is an extremist for peace...the Dalai Lama? Gandhi? Jesus? I'm in some pretty good company!

So in keeping with my new cuisine themed star system of rating films, I have decided to bestow a special award -- kind of like Best Picture, but more so -- on the film that best exemplifies all that is right and good and to which I want to return over and over, and which I want to share with everyone. I will call this my Cheese Enchilada Award.

I am proud to say that I hereby give my first (annual?) Cheese Enchilada Award to War/Dance.

Let there be widespread viewing of fabulous documentaries, and let it begin with me.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Operation Stop Deceiving Ourselves

I just watched the Oscar-nominated documentary Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. It has an original concept: interviews with soldiers and authors who've written about war, interspersed with the poems, stories, and other actual words of soldiers in Iraq etc (but mostly Iraq). So you'll have interview bits with recurring soldiers, authors such as Tim O'Brien and quotes from Hemingway and Plato, and then an actor like Robert Duvall or Beau Bridges reads some account of a convoy killing children or of a medic attending to the wounded father of a civilian Iraqi twentysomething that's just been killed.

OK, so it is interesting.

And it has all kinds of "revelations" about war and how horrible it is. And how all these young people fighting it are changed by it. And it basically goes on and on "revealing" this, and once again I am frightened -- just as I was frightened watching No End In Sight -- because there are actually still people out there who need this revealed to them. I don't care how snotty the following sentence sounds. I seriously start to think, upon watching a film such as this, that maybe some of us are just more evolved and are able to see so clearly what it apparently is taking others a reeeeeeallllllly long time to figure out, i.e. that war is hell.

Man-made hell, no less. At least that point was made in the film, that obviously there is no god of any sort behind this madness. But I just kept thinking: you all volunteered. Our all-volunteer military is out there doing this, and if everyone would just stop agreeing to do this, then it wouldn't be the same. One Vietnam vet even mentioned that in part of his interview, that it's interesting how they were all drafted but these people are volunteers in Iraq, though he supposes once you're out there and your body is being ripped to shreds those distinctions probably fall away.

And so please don't misconstrue my words. I'm trying really hard not to blame random-ass soldier when the so-called "leaders" of our nation clearly deserve blame. But it was the thing I didn't like about this film: it approached the whole thing with a sense of powerlessness. A very much woe-is-me attitude of "what is happening to us out there?" And then it purports to answer that question of what is happening without stopping to critically examine the "to" in "to us." I daresay we'd best reconsider the soldiers and the U.S. military's role, which is clearly that of acting subjects, not passive objects.

One soldier actually says the following:

"Before I went I think I was kind of one of those kids straight out of college who wants to save the whole world and I worry sometimes that it changed me in a way where I realize maybe I just can't care about everything."

To save the world? This seemed like a viable option of a way to help save the world?

For that I can fault the never-ending warmongering propaganda machine of government and the military complex. Largely. But I also really want the 18-, 19-, 20-year-olds, and the older young adults, and especially the old adults, to wake the hell up and realize that they can't swallow this crap and expect to escape unharmed.

War is over. If you want it.
-- you know who. you'd better, anyway.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes..."

Here's when it works: I Am Sam. Here's when it works even better: I'm Not There. Here's when it doesn't really work: Mamma Mia. As for Across the Universe? Gosh, I just don't know.

This really saddens me, and here's why. When the movie came out I really wanted to see it. My thought process was something like this: "Oooh, gorgeous trippy movie with all the best Beatles songs. oh, no 'Norwegian Wood'? OK almost all the best Beatles songs and lots of swirling hippie things and all you need is love and creative art and filmmaking and Beatles OK I'm in!" Then every review I read was mixed. Every review. Mixed. I thought -- no one loves this movie? But no one hates it either? Whatever is the deal? I mean, I have some friends who are like these spectacular Beatles fans to the depths of their souls. And their reviews were -- mixed. I was determined to love it or hate it, but to feel something extreme.

And instead, I, too am compelled to give it a mixed. A truly-I-don't-know. I mean, sure, it's OK to watch. But so much of it is laughable. ("Dear Prudence" anyone?) And yet at the same time much of it is thoughtful. Some of them can SING. Evan Rachel Wood has a gorgeous voice. (You have to kind of wonder about her and Marilyn Manson maybe singing a duet together or something. At least, I have to wonder about that. A lot.) Some of it is trippy fun. Bono tears it up with "I Am the Walrus." And I am the last one (seriously, the last) to criticize anything extolling the virtues of hippies, the 60s, and all that. I do say that I want a revolution. Of peace. But....

Yeah. But. This film is like one big "But..." None of it makes any sense. I know, I know. The war didn't make any sense, the tragic interrupting of lives with death doesn't make any sense, acid trips make little to no sense, I get it. Love is unexplainable (although I would argue that it does make sense). But what I kept thinking as I watched this, and as I enjoyed some of the songs very much, was that while she had creatively interpreted the Beatles oeuvre, she had not in fact made a good film.

I mean, this would have made a kick-ass multimedia installation somewhere in the Chelsea art scene. But does that make it a film? No, it does not. The first third of the movie, especially, I found myself thinking and even uttering to Brian, "This is really stupid." I suppose the experience of watching it is just that much better when you're shall we say chemically enhanced. I hereby offer no comment on what action I took in this regard about halfway through. After all, this is a family blog. Still, in the end, it was just - weird. But not I'm Not There weird. More like Mamma Mia weird.

And by the way, it gets one Oscar nomination -- for costume design? I would have thought Art Direction, myself, if it were going to be just one.

In keeping with my newly devised ratings system, I would say this one is definitely Thai Food (**). Might be right for some people, and I didn't hate sitting through the meal, but I can't imagine ever craving it. It's certainly nothing that's gonna change my world.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

B.O. Phone Home

I subscribe to a lot of political and activist e-newsletters. Of late I have found myself more and more annoyed with the missives many of them are sending to me; this is especially true since the Obama bandwagon has started rolling through the Internet, propelled by evangelical-like fervor based on little that is specific or reasonable. My favorite new thing to do is to not just delete or unsubscribe (as I recently did from John Kerry's, which had been coming to my inbox since '04) but to write back telling them exactly why their newsletter irked me.

Today, Wes Clark wrote to me on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. This is the newsletter that comes every once in a while to remind me that packing the Senate with Democrats is the answer to all our problems. Evidently I am supposed to believe this based on, say, how well the current Democrats in the Senate have stood up to Bush & Company. Anyway, sometimes they talk about other things too, like the President, and today Wes Clark informed me that if John McCain gets elected it will be "dangerous" because John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years.

Here's what I wrote back to the DSCC:

from Linda Napikoski <>
date Thu, Feb 14, 2008 at 1:11 PM
subject Wes Clark's message
mailed-by 1:11 PM (43 minutes ago)

I take issue with the e-mail received today from Wes Clark about John McCain being "dangerous." John McCain is military - that's true. He is also from a generation that learned of (and I daresay witnessed?) honorable aspects of the military. Anyway, that's beside the point. The important point is that he is against torture. He called out the military (this one - the dishonorable one) on the egregious acts of torture being perpetrated in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and god knows where else.

Can Wes Clark and your Senate of Democrats say the same?

I'm also tired of hearing people talk about how "now" more than such-and-such percent are against this war. Some of us did the wise thing and opposed the war from the beginning, so it fails to impress when people have their come to Jesus moment (or was that "come to Obama") after the fact.

Before you send emails about your Democratic Senate saying the real United States' strengths are its economy and freedom, you might want to look into the torture and murder of innocents being perpetrated around the globe. Use your powers to stop that, and I'm way more likely to support you.

~linda napikoski~
who votes

In other news, the following bugs me: OK, we all know it's aggravating when someone's cell phone rings in an inappropriate environment i.e. class. Is it even more annoying when it's the professor's phone, as has happened for me twice in the past two weeks? Not necessarily, I suppose. But I noticed a disturbing pattern of them being far more flummoxed by it. If a student's phone rings, they hush it, quickly, usually without having to remove it even from the bag or pocket from which it sounds. Both professors have apologized but then elaborately picked it up, looked at it, maybe flipped it open, silenced it, looked at it again, etc. Geez. Is it a generational thing? Would they go through the same nonsense if it (god forbid) rang in a theater? Ugh.

This may in fact tie into my larger qualm with people, in general, who cannot find it in them to ever ignore their phone. I rarely feel compelled to answer my phone. I know that often mystifies friends of mine. It's really funny to me how some people drop everything when the phone rings. "OH MY GOD THE PHONE! It's ringing! Where is it? I MUST answer it at all costs!" So silly. I have even heard of some people who have answered it during sex. Wow. If that happened, I would be out of there so fast. I just don't get it. It's a phone. Especially now that everyone on the planet has voice mail, I really don't get it.

Hmmm, I've been working on establishing a link between unthinking, illogical Obama supporters and unthinking, illogical evangelical-like people; maybe I should be working on establishing a link between unthinking Obama supporters and unthinking people who will scurry across broken glass to get to their ringing phones.

Thanks to Erin, who alerted me to this article about donations to superdelegates' campaigns. As she put it, "Who's the Washington insider now?"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Just in case anyone was wondering (those who've known me a while), I still hate Valentine's Day. OK? See, it had nothing to do with being in love, as I've said before. Valentine's Day is stupid, and it remains stupid.

Over and out.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Les cartoons, and the best eats of '07

All right, when I last blogged I promised my top films of 2007 list was almost ready. And so it is. As I "fought the law" yesterday, I also rewatched 3:10 to Yuma, which is very much about fighting the law and who wins, and which we saw in the theater but just Netflixed for further enjoyment/consideration. It definitely is quite good, as you will see from its place in my ranking. I have also just this moment concluded my viewing of Ratatouille, and I hereby declare it my favorite animated film since The Triplets of Belleville. And THAT is my favorite animated film ever. For those of you who are new to this blog: I am very, very picky about animated film.

(Rounding out the top three animated, if you're curious, is Shrek. As for older...Aladdin, and as for truly old school, probably Bambi and The Fox and the Hound. I was always partial to the really sad animal ones, even though I cried my eyeballs out. I like 101 Dalmatians too, of course, who doesn't?)

Hmm, I just realized that Ratatouille has Frenchiness just like The Triplets of Belleville. Maybe it's a French thing for me and the animateds. Anyway, Ratatouille was clever, fresh, filled with awesome little ratlets, and true to Disney form made a great statement. But this statement was even greater than some of their great statements, as it was about creativity. I won't spoil it here (yet). Watch it! Netflix it! (Don't forget, friendos, that I will happily send you a free Netflix trial to lure you in. Just ask me.)

All right then. Les rankings. I have decided that I need a ratings scale to elaborate to my readers how I feel about films. Since falling in love with Netflix, I have come around in many ways to their five-star scale, ranging from loved it to hated it, but differing from the traditional four-star movie review. And before even seeing Ratatouille, I had decided to look at my film taste like my taste in cuisine.

*****: Mexican Food Simply the best. I could eat/watch over and over. It offers so much, and I never get sick of it. I long for it when it's not around.
**** 1/2: Tibetan Food Like Indian food, but harder to find and therefore a bit more alluring.
****: Indian Food Flavorful, (ful)filling, varied, rich, consistently fantastic, and I'm almost never going to turn down the chance to partake of it.
***: Italian Food Solid. No particular critique, and I enjoy it, but it can be a tad overrated sometimes, and I am more likely to pick Indian or Mexican if they're around.
**: Thai Food It's OK, and I know some people adore it, but I never, ever crave it.
*: Korean Food Ugh. It can literally make me sick, and what few things I'm not allergic to I find distinctly unappetizing.

So, for example, Ratatouille gets four stars from me (Indian food) -- I really, really liked it -- while The Triplets of Belleville and 3:10 to Yuma are just a hair above so they get the four and a half stars (Tibetan food). Juno is very much Italian food. Atonement is serious Thai food, and I Am Legend? Korean food all the way.

My best of '07, as it happens, are the films that merited rankings of Mexican Food or Tibetan Food. I will now declare the order for you. One caveat: I have yet to see 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, and I have a feeling that my top eleven could become a dozen after I do. But until then...

Linda's Top 10 11 Films of 2007
1. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
2. Into the Wild
3. There Will Be Blood
4. Charlie Wilson's War
5. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
6. Sicko
7. Once
8. Sunshine
9. I'm Not There
10. 3:10 to Yuma
11. Lars and the Real Girl

The top three are the best, in a class by themselves, like Olympic medalists. I would say they are the recipients of my Cheese Enchilada Prize. The Mexican/Tibetan food split comes between Sunshine and I'm Not There.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fight the law, and nobody wins

I am thisclose to being ready to unveil my Top 12 movies of 2007. But first I must tell you about today. Today I went to a public interest career fair held at NYU Law School. Obedient young lemmings come from all the law schools around to do a day of marathon interviewing, scheduled in twenty minute chunks, kind of like speed dating. Only with even more dubious chances of getting a fulfilling relationship out of the whole thing.

Even the process of signing up sucked -- submitting your resume on-line for the organizations to browse through, ranking your preferences. It was basically like rushing for a sorority. Anyway, Hofstra's career service office basically acts like this career fair is the be-all and end-all for those of us who seek to work in public interest law. (= as opposed to making copious amounts of money in a law firm) So I dutifully signed up and went and honestly, within five minutes of getting there I was roundly disgusted by the lapdog/preening/jackassical behaviors on display, and I was bored out of my mind.

Let me explain about boredom. Interestingly, just today on the subway on the way to that very event I was reading a piece in The New Yorker by Nancy Franklin about the new HBO show In Treatment that contained the following wisdom:

Being bored doesn't mean that "there's nothing to do," as children imprecisely complain to their parents on a rainy day, dragging their feet on the rug and kicking the sofa. It means that something big -- whether it's rain, other people, or our own hot-to-the-touch fears -- is keeping us from doing what we want to do, from playing outside, from expressing ourselves, from moving forward.

Thus are my feelings about law school neatly summarized.

There was another fantastic piece in this issue of The New Yorker. It's about Jonny Greenwood and his compositions, particularly the music in There Will Be Blood. Which, you may recall, was my favorite film score of the year from what may well be my favorite movie of 2007. "There may be no scarcer commodity in modern Hollywood than a distinctive and original film score," Alex Ross begins. Oh, it's a magnificent article, and you should go read it. You should also see that film of course, if for some reason you have thus far ignored my admonition to do so.

And coming up next, my Dozen Best of '07 will be revealed, complete with a handy guide to my personal system of rating them.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

See how they (I) run

I am skipping yoga tonight for two and a half reasons. One, my hand is still a little black and blue and painful when pressure is applied, so maybe all that downward dogging isn't the best idea right now. Two, I have reading to do for my classes. Two and a half: it is Super Duper Tuesday, after all.

That last only merits a half because I would not actually stay home to watch the results trickle in, but since I am home I will watch them trickle in. Make sense? Oh come on, that has to make at least as much sense as voting for someone who makes charismatic speeches even though five minutes later you can't remember what he said.

On that note, one of the scariest things about all those Obama people, who are so "inspired" and so won over by his charisma, is that a whole lot of people were blinded by Dubya's charming speeches and empty rhetoric, too.

Well, I suppose the time has passed for pontificating here. I have yet to hear anyone offer a reason Obama should be the next president instead of Hillary Clinton ... no matter how much I ask and plead, no one ever gives me a reason ... sigh...

But I have other worries. In addition to wondering how long I will be able to handle listening to the squawking heads, that is. And in addition to my jammed thumb. And in addition to the Hofstra Wellness Center recommending I see an orthopedist to make sure there's no torn ligament, but my "limited benefits" medical plan being seemingly unable to recommend an orthopedist that still actually takes my coverage.

Chief among my other worries: I want more free time. I am feeling SERIOUSLY busy, and I do not enjoy it. I actually like doing the reading for my classes, but the Immigrant Defense Clinic is very time-consuming and mentally demanding besides. Maybe it's a seasonal thing. Maybe at this point in the year, when I just have so many better things to think about, doing school work gets harder and harder. Unlike last year, when February dawned and I promptly stopped reading for Property, Civ Pro, and sometimes Contracts, this year I don't have the option to start blowing off school. Sigh... At least my work is interesting right now. My theme for this semester is immigration. As I mentioned, I am in the Immigrant Defense Clinic which means that for six credits, and many many hours of work, I will be working with a partner under the supervision of a real attorney professor on an actual case with a real live client. All of our cases in the Immigrant Defense Clinic are people in various stages of deportation/removal proceedings. I am also taking the Immigration Law class (3 credits) as well as Constitutional Law II: The Sequel (3 credits) and Sports Law (2 credits). My conclusion so far: U.S. immigration law is a byzantine joke. Big surprise. So yeah, I'm very interested....

It's just that -- it's Oscar season! I still have like ten movies to see! (The Savages, In the Valley of Elah, Taxi to the Dark Side, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, Gone Baby Gone, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Across the Universe, War/Dance...) And I still have to decide whether to see the ones multiply nominated in lots of random categories that I otherwise wouldn't see (The Golden Compass, The Bourne Ultimatum). And then there's the annual debate whether to bother watching the animated films (Persepolis, Surf's Up) and knowing I probably will watch the multiply nominated animated film (Ratatouille).

After a recent leg injury and two weeks of rest (and yoga!) I have made my triumphant return to running this week. It feels great. I am not sure now when I will be able to return to gymnastics, what with this not-quite-broken thumb, but I am good with the running and yay! relaunching into my training for a 25K in May.

I myself voted absentee Massachusetts.

Go, Hillary, go!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm kind of scared of what this means

OK, remember last year when Kurt Vonnegut died and suddenly everyone I knew was coming out as a Kurt Vonnegut fan and going into mourning and blogging about it and texting me about this great loss, and I was like, "Wow, who knew I had so many Vonnegut fans among my friends?"

Well, this past week I have discovered the same phenomenon with another recent announcement. Multiple friends have passionately reacted to the news, spreading it far and wide, breathless with anticipation, can't contain their excitement, rejoicing because New Kids on the Block have announced they will reunite.

Um, hello?

I think "Wow, who knew I had so many NKOTB fans among my friends?" goes without saying. But the scariest thing of all? Yes, these outbursts of Vonnegut fandom and NKOTB fandom have in fact come from many of the same people.

The mind boggles.

In other news, I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this weekend: Brian and I both have Saturday AND Sunday off from work, school, everything. Sure, I still have tons to do, but it is so refreshing to have a "normal" weekend for once with only fun scheduled obligations, and all the not-as-fun obligations able to be fit in whenever I choose to schedule them. And tonight of course we will be heading to our friends' house to watch a little football game. Go Pats! But if you're thinking of trademarking the phrase "19-0" you have been beaten to the punch, just to let you know. And not by the Patriots, either. The bad news of the weekend is that I may have broken my thumb playing dodgeball. Oh well, it can't be all good all the time, now can it?