And Your Silly Website Too…

This week I review a foreign film for which I didn’t need subtitles (except with all the sexual slang.  No one taught me those words in Spanish class).

Y tu mamá también (2001)

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Written by: Alfonso Cuarón and Carlos Cuarón

Summary: Two young men, Julio (Gael García Bernal) and Tenoch (Diego Luna), from Mexico City go on a cross country trip with an older woman, Luisa (Maribel Verdú), in the process discover some things about class, sex, and friendship.

Things I liked: When Jano calls Luisa to tell her he cheated on her she’s wearing just a shirt and panties, and the panties are borderline granny panties.  It’s not attractive, but it makes her seem that much more vulnerable and a little pathetic when she gets the news.  There’s also a sequence where Julio is running around in his tighty whities and it’s very unattractive, but kind of supports the idea that he’s not half the stud he thinks he is.  I love the highway scenes on the highway because it really shows the weirdness that is driving the highway in Mexico.  The narration about Tenoch and Julio using each other’s bathrooms highlights the class difference between them very well—it’s a nice way of showing it without hitting you over the heads with it.  The movie seems really determined to constantly bring you back to the harsh realities of life for most Mexicans.  In some places this works wonderfully, but in others it’s just distracting.  One place I particularly liked it was a sequence where Julio, Tenoch and Luisa are driving and through the windows you see a truck of armed soldiers pass them then stop and go after some poor men standing by the side of the road.  What’s particularly telling is that the characters don’t really notice it.  I like that the actors look like real people; okay, I don’t know anyone who looks like Gael Garcia Bernal, but I feel like I could know someone who looks like him.  They aren’t glammed up.  The note that Luisa leaves Jano on the phone really got to me for some reason.  It’s the combination of what she says—a few things that hint at what she’s really feeling then a lot of menial details (“pick up your clothes from the cleaners” etc); that combined with the camera work is really effective.  The camera shots are often distant and that almost makes you feel like a voyeur.  Like you’re spying on these people and aren’t supposed to be watching.  It also allows you to see everything that’s going on and get a full perspective on the characters’ reactions, etc.  When Luisa and Tenoch have sex it’s very obvious he doesn’t know what he’s doing which is realistic when you consider his age.  The camera work when Tenoch and Julio are in the leaf covered pool is beautiful.  Tenoch getting so upset to learn his girlfriend had cheated on him with his best friend, when he has just fucked his cousin’s wife and apparently slept with his best friend’s girl shows a common type of sexual hypocrisy, once again without beating you over the head.  I love the shot where Luisa is saying goodbye to Jano on the phone and reflected in the glass next to her you see the guys playing ping pong.  It beautifully illustrates the differences in what this trip means to him versus her.  I like the way the movie tells you the fate of so many of the people they run into, including the pigs that wreck their campsite.  It kind of highlights the way so many people come in and out of your life and you never know what happens to them.  For whatever reason it’s sadder to me that Julio and Tenoch never saw each other again than it is that Luisa died.  Though to be honest, neither was much of a surprise.  The last line of the film is  a double entendre that doesn’t really translate:  It can either mean “Give me the bill” or “I had a realization.”  Not only do I think that captures a lot about the moment, it allows me to show off my knowledge of Spanish.

Things I liked less: The scene at the beginning with the traffic jam caused by the pedestrian from Michoacán being killed is a little random.  I get that that’s the point, but for me, it really didn’t work.  The scene in the restaurant where the camera leaves our characters and goes into the kitchen where the poor people are cooking and dancing and listening to music.  I get that it’s trying to show the social stratification, but it’s very strange.  Not sure what I think about the way the narration is inserted, where it goes totally silent before the narrator comes in.  I like the narration, I’m just not sure I like the way it’s incorporated.  I wasn’t that bothered by it, but I feel like it needs to be said that there’s a lot of penis in the movie.  Like naked time all over the place.  Don’t watch this one with the parents.

Rating: I was surprised by how much I liked this one, because I’m often annoyed by all those films that are about the “gritty reality of modern life”.  Four out of five jars of peanut butter.

Coffee With….Anita Garibaldi

Cammy:  Honestly, this is one where I feel like I should have left it to Kristy to kick off–she being the Latin American Grand High Poobah of MTVMPB, but when I was perusing Wikipedia for today’s birthdays, Anita Garibaldi’s name caught my eye.  And yes, those of you who know me well, it’s totally because I was thinking of Garibaldi from Babylon 5.

But despite the total happenstance of choosing this person for today’s entry, I honestly want to have coffee with her.  Granted, Wikipedia lies sometimes, so maybe she’s not as awesome as her entry made her sound (and that’s all I’ve got to go on here), but if there’s half a chance she’s as cool as that?  I want to have coffee with her.  She was the wife of Giuseppe Garibaldi, and she more or less hooked up with him when he was leading a separatist movement in southern Brazil.  What makes her cool is that she fought along side him, joined him on his ship and apparently taught him a thing or two about riding with the gauchos on the plains.  That’s right. Latin American Cowgirl meets Rebel Pirate.  Tell me that’s not a movie you’d watch.  Sadly, she died while on a campaign in Italy with her husband fighting against the Austrians.  She was pregnant at the time (which should pretty much tell you she was a badass).  With that kind of background I can’t begin to imagine the kinds of story she’d have and you’d better damn well believe I’m ready to grab a cuppa joe and a Portuguese translator to listen in.  This woman’s life sounds like a goldmine of plotline wonder.

Kristy:    Hell yeah, I’d have coffee with Anita Garibaldi.  And I suspect she’d appreciate that I just said, “Hell yeah!”  Honestly, I didn’t know anything about her until today, which I guess is not surprising considering the Facebook page for the upcoming action movie about her life Anita:  Mother of War (don’t worry, our movie will be better) states it’s rare to have any mention of her in history texts.  The name Giuseppe Garibaldi sounds vaguely familiar, but I’m hardly a Brazilian specialist.  But yeah, from my admittedly minimal research on her, she sounds pretty awesome.  Like someone with a couple of fantastic stories to tell.  Who would probably be fun to hang out with, and if nothing else would give us an interesting story or two to tell.  And I bet she drinks her coffee black.  No pansy assed girlie coffee for her.

MTV, MPB Gets Virtuous

In an episode of Bones Angela commented that she always feels virtuous after shopping at a certain organic grocery.  I’ve honestly never felt morally just about shopping at any grocery store.  But where I do feel virtuous is shopping at my local farmer’s market.  Being organic and environmentally friendly is swell and all, but combine that with supporting local farmers and helping the little guy economically and I’m just a sucker.  Also, our farmer’s market has buskers, and you know from previous posts that I love supporting buskers.  So every Saturday morning I drag my college student ass out of bed at 8:00, even though the movies say I should be sleeping till 2pm, and head down to the farmer’s market.  I come home feeling like a saint!

The farmer’s market in my current city of residence is good sized, but not as diverse as the ones some of my friends frequent.  About 1/3 of the vendors at my market are Amish, so they may be less than adventurous.  Honestly, due to my budget I don’t buy much.  Usually just whatever fruit is in season, cucumbers, and maybe a few special things for the week.  I ate a hell of a lot of eggplant this summer before decided we needed to see other people.  I also had some great blackberries.  When colcannon season starts up again I’ll be buying potatoes.  If I buy eggs, which I rarely do, I buy them there.  The last couple weeks I’ve bought beautiful heirloom tomatoes, jalapeños, and tomatillos because I’ve been making salsa (recipe forthcoming).

This prompted my favorite farmer’s market moment so far.  You know you’re in the Midwest when you have this conversation:

Random woman sampling purple cherry tomatoes: (pointing to the tomatillos I’m buying) What are those?

Me:  Tomatillos.

RWSPCT:  What do you do with them?  Do you peel them?

Me:  Yeah.  You peel off the dry part and then wash them well because they’re usually sticky-

RWSPCT:  Do you fry them?

Me:  Uh… you could, I guess.

RWSPCT:  That’s what I’d do with them.  I’d probably fry them.

Me:  Yeah… I’m making salsa.

I like that without even tasting them she decided the best course of action was frying.  I guess John Crichton knew what he was talking about.  You really can eat anything if it’s fried.

Gratuitous Rewinds: The Netherfield Ball

The 1995 Pride and Prejudice miniseries is packed with moments worthy of a gratuitous rewind for one reason or another.  But tonight we focus on a personal favorite (and the one I caught myself re-watching this afternoon as I did laundry):  The Netherfield Ball.  More specifically, the Lizzy and Darcy dance sequence

What makes this worthy of the Gratuitous Rewind?

1) It’s a ball.  Balls are fun and no one has them anymore, except on TV.

2) Fun clothes.  Yeah, I know this kinda goes with the entire show, but the duds in this scene are particularly schnazz-tastic.  I’m not saying I want to wear them myself (Lizzy B might be down with having the girls out on display for all England–me not so much), but I can appreciate great costumes as a spectator.

3) Line dancing.  For me, a person who can’t even handle the Electric Slide without looking like Mr. Collins going the wrong direction, I am always impressed by the fact that there are no collisions involved in that bizarre series of movements.  Despite the fact that I’d epic fail at this dancing, I would still support its comeback.

4) Banter.  Verbally picking at and harassing the hot-asshole who insulted you, and is apparently a life ruiner for your pals is inherently awesome.  Lizzy does so politely.  And does it without missing a beat in the aforementioned line dancing.  And Mr. D?  Maintains the cucumber-coolness, and while he doesn’t go on the offense, he lobs everything back at her without batting an eye.  Brilliant.

5) Mr. Darcy.  The man makes the entire flick one gigantic gratuitous re-wind, because Darcy is hot.  He is hot as the character in the book, and his hotness is only enhanced by way of Colin Firth.  And in this particular sequence, he takes it up another level because, really?  The guy’s smoldering for Lizzy even while she’s verbally skewering him.  Sure, it’s crappy line dancing, and sure she’s lambasting him–but he’ s still getting to dance with her and he is all about that.  What girl can’t (jealously) appreciate that?

It’s a scene that may not be as dramatic as some, but still manages to bring the kind of chemistry that makes you reach for the remote to go back and watching again and again, trying to pinpoint everything that makes stick in your head…..

Now, if you’ll excuse me….I have a DVD to back up……

What’s your sign?

Favored pick up lines of BSG characters

Adama: Have you ever flown in a battlestar?

Roslin: You wanna be closer to the gods?  Or their messenger at the very least?

Billy: Goes up to the lady with a friend and hands friend a 20$ bill “You’re right!  Those are the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen!”

Gaius: Have you ever watched the sunrise over (fill in nearby geological feature with a strategically placed hotel)

Six: It’s God’s will that we…

Doc Cottle: Don’t worry.  I’m a doctor.

Dee: (okay, this is so wrong I can’t believe I’m typing it, but…) I’m off at 9.  Wanna get off at ten?

Apollo: Come here often?  ‘Cause if you do I might come back.

Starbuck: Let’s go!

Tyrol: Generally doesn’t use a line.  Just rambles on about engineering stuff. (Or after a few too many) You’re pretty!

Cally: Incoherent giggling.

Helo: “That’s a nice tattoo.  Wanna see mine?”

Sharon: “Wanna be my baby daddy?”

Gaeta: “Would you like to go out sometime?  ‘Cause if not I have some photos I might have to spread around…”

Tigh: The type who silently buys a girl a drink from across the bar

Ellen: “You would not BELIEVE how drunk I am!”

Tori: Waits to be picked up

Anders: So… Did I tell you I play pyramid?

Leoben: Sends over a napkin saying, “You have a destiny…”

Zarek: “Wanna come back to my place and discuss the oppression of the masses?”  Yeah… Zarek doesn’t get laid a lot.

Scratch That Time Vampire

Yeah, I know that Kristy decreed last week that we were supposed to stop running into Time Vampires that pose risks to our health and well being.  And I was honestly all for that!  I had a time vampire in mind on Tuesday, but before I could write it up, another Time Vampire reached out and bit me, so to speak.


Yup.  For reasons unknown to me, on Wednesday my face started to feel…itchy.  A glance in the mirror, and comments from a co-worker confirmed the general splotchy-ness of my appearance.

The trouble is, with no known allergies, and no clue about any new or wicked substance I might have touched or encountered, I have no clue why.  Sometime like 70% of all flare ups of hives go undiagnosed, because it’s a time vampire in and of itself to determine the source of the reaction.

But the real time vampire for me is communing with antihistamine.  Like many other people, antihistamines knock me out.  I once lost a whole day to half a dose of Benadryl.  It’s not just sleep, it’s the kind of sudden-onset and incredibly deep sleep that makes me question the possibility that Mulder was on to something and maybe I’m going to find myself in a little cage next to a little grey man who’s holding his head and chanting “This is not happening.”  I honestly can’t tell you if taking the stuff helps me stop itching because I’m completely down for the count.  It’s hard to notice you’re itchy when you’ve lost consciousness.

And while I appreciate the itch-free time in whatever form I get it, after spending a whole day at work where I’m not allowed to be uselessly doped on allergy meds, this has happened during some of the nicest weather we’ve had since spring:  cool, dry, clear evenings.  And I’m driven to bed early to avoid falling asleep in some odd location (like the back yard).   No evenings in the hammock (unless I wanna be there all night).  No puttering in the flower beds.  Heck, I couldn’t even keep my eyes open for Degrassi.

So my lovely after-work hours are sucked away in an effort to prevent myself from flaying my face off.

*sigh*  Here’s hoping that next go round, I have a fun Time Vampire to share with the class.

Kristy Handicaps the WAG World Team Selection

Yeah, it’s another gymnastics post.  Don’t worry, I’m limiting myself to an absolute maximum of one per week—there are enough gymnastics blogs out there, we don’t need to turn this blog into one.  Also, Cammy’s not really into gymnastics, so that could make things awkward.  Anyway, there’s a reason for this post:  Yesterday USA Gymnastics released the names of the women who have been invited to attend the first World Team Selection Camp.  World and Olympic teams in Ladies competition are now determined not by any particular competition, but by a series of camps which are a combination of training and competition.  The first camp will be 13-18 September and then somewhere between eight and twelve of the women will move on to a second camp 3-6 October which will determine the final team.  The team is chosen by a selection committee headed up by Marta Karolyi.  Going to the first came are:  (courtesy of Gymnastike)

Rebecca Bross, Plano, Texas/WOGA Gymnastics
Mackenzie Caquatto, Naperville, Ill./Legacy Elite Gymnastics
Chelsea Davis, Lakeway, Texas/Texas Dreams Gymnastics
Kytra Hunter, Frederick, Md./Hill’s Gymnastics
Amanda Jetter, Milford, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics
Mattie Larson, Los Angeles, Calif./All Olympia
Alexandra Raisman, Needham, Mass./Brestyan’s American Gymnastics
Alicia Sacramone, Winchester, Mass./Brestyan’s American Gymnastics
Samantha Shapiro, Los Angeles, Calif./All Olympia
Bridget Sloan, Pittsboro, Ind./Sharp’s Gymnastics Academy
Morgan Smith, Clermont, Fla./Brandy Johnson’s Global Gymnastics
Cassandra Whitcomb, Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Gymnastics

If you’re wondering why there isn’t a competition to determine the team, look up the shenanigans that went on with the 1992 Olympic team.  And if you’re still not convinced of how problematic competitions are for forming successful teams, go to YouTube and look up Kim Kelly, then ask yourself if that 90 degree split would have scored well in Barcelona.  Current competition format also means that the best team is not necessarily made up of the top six gymnasts.  There are six women to the team, but in team finals only three compete on each event.  So the game is to put together a team made up of six gymnasts that also gives you the top three on each event.  It’s like a logic problem.

Now obviously I’m not an expert, and even more obviously I have no say, but just for fun, I’m giving you my thoughts and predictions on the team.  Keep in mind that World Championships aren’t till 17 October, which leaves plenty of time for someone to get injured (gymnasts are very breakable), so this is all tentative.

Rebecca Bross will definitely be on the team.  She’s the national champion and can easily compete all four events in finals.

Mattie Larson is also looking close to a lock.  She could potentially go up on any event, though she’s had some problems on beam here and there.  She has a glorious divalicous floor and the international look that Marta Karolyi loves (that’s code for “she remembers to point her toes, and she can dance”).  She comes with the Johnny Weir official Diva certification, and at the moment USA Gymnastics needs a little more of that.

Alicia Sacramone looks to be in good position to make the team because they really need her vault.  She’s also been solid on beam and could contribute on both events.  I have doubts about Marta trusting her on beam in another major competition, but she’s seemed positive about her recently.  ASac also brings personality to the team which, let’s face it, they need.

If Bridget Sloan is healthy and ready, she’ll be on the team, and like Bross should be able to go on any event.  Being totally healthy is a big if though—even if she’s on the team she may not have all events back.

I think Raisman has probably done enough to prove her case and will probably be on the team.  The drawbacks for her are that she’s started to look more rattled in competitions and she has terrible lack of toe point.  She could be iffy at this point.

For the final spot I’m going to throw in Mackenzie Caquatto (please note:  if you’re ever stuck for the name of a US gymnast, assume it’s Michaela or Mackenzie—there are a lot of them) as a bars specialist.  She did fall off bars during finals at nationals, but it was on a nothing move and she came back and put up a great (for her) beam set.  That shows a mental “toughness” that Marta seems to really like.

So the team would break down like this:

Vault:  Bross, Sacramone, Raisman

Uneven bars:  Bross, Sloan, Caquatto

Balance beam:  Bross, Sacramone, Raisman

Floor:  Bross, Larson, Raisman

Team:  Bross, Sacramone, Sloan, Larson, Raisman, Caquatto

There’s a lot of wiggle room on this team; both Sloan and Larson could do more events than I have listed for them.  This could be good in the case of a last minute injury.

Other possibilities:  Marta could put Larson in on bars and pick another power gymnast instead of Caquatto.  If so, I would predict that spot going to Kytra Hunter who is a phenomenal tumbler even if she lacks a little in the form and finesse department.  Chelsea Davis could easily take Caquatto’s spot as bars specialist.  If Sloan is out that will probably open things up for Hunter or Davis.  Sam Shapiro also has those pretty “international” lines Marta loves, but she lacks experience and breaks if you breathe on her hard.  But if she does well at camp they could look at this as an opportunity to give her experience.  Cassie Whitcomb could be a possible bars specialist too, but Marta’s had a lot of opportunities to give her assignments in the past and hasn’t.  It all really depends on the camps at this point.

Yum, yum, yum. Human Hand

Today was a rough day.  Funny was desperately needed.  I have several of my go-to sources for humor, but the only one that cut the mustard today was Foamy the Angry Squirrel from the Neurotically Yours series (NSFW) .

If your sense of humor is not such that you can tolerate swearing, violence, sex, and any number of blatant violations of political correctness, these cartoons probably aren’t for you as a series.  Foamy rants and raves in the most offensive (but often accurate) way possible.  Personally?  I find most of the shorts absolutely hilarious, but I also know I have a very not-PC sense of humor.

But “The Amityville Toaster” is a classic that comes with only the most minimal level of offense and which bears watching and re-watching.  So far it’s tested well with several different circles of my friends.  It’s whacky.  It’s slightly twisted, and yet very very addictive.  Especially the little song over the credits…..

I really want this toaster–even more than I want Sheldon’s Cylon toaster from The Big Bang Theory.  Honestly, can his toaster do this?  I think not!

Coffee with the Divine

No, not Jesus.  A different kind of divine.  Please note:  This coffee with was suggested by faithful reader Bridget.  If you would like to suggest a “Coffee with…” leave us a comment or email Kristy or Cammy.  Or PM us on Twitter.  Whatevs.

Would we drink coffee with… Bette Midler?

Kristy: In a heartbeat!  I’ll admit to only being a casual fan of the Divine Miss M, but I find her positively delightful!  I like her singing voice.  I haven’t seen many of her movies, but I like what I’ve seen.  More to the point, she seems to have a wonderful sense of humor and to know how to have fun.  Also, we were born in the same town.  I like that she has curves and knows how to use them.  More importantly, seems to generally know how to dress them.  I’d love to dish with her about the people she’s worked with.  To hear what she has to say about working in the entertainment industry, about what it’s like trying to control your fate there as a woman, particularly as a woman with unconventional looks.  But mostly, I kind of just want to drink coffee, people watch, and giggle with her.  She seems like the type to have fun with that.

Cammy: Sure.  I want to pick her brain on the businesswoman side, because I’m sure she’s got enough advice and stories from the trenches to make for some good coffee conversation (and a very educational experience).  Also, she definitely brings the funny on-screen and I strongly suspect that’s true of reality as well.  But before we meet up with her, seriously Kristy, you’re gonna have to sit and watch all of Beaches.  Hey, do you think if we scoot over from the coffee shop and into the bar, and if we could find someone to man the piano over in the corner she’d kick off a night of piano-bar-style karaoke?

Kristy: If we could make that happen I would be beyond happy!

TV Show Promo Confusion

There are always at least a few people out there who watch vastly different kinds of TV programs–the kinds which one would never expect to have any fan overlap.  Like the guy who watches The News Hour on PBS and Silent Library on MTV.  It happens, but it’s rare.

And the statistical likelihood of an overlap is what has me confused about the TV show promos I’ve been seeing on some channels lately.  The timing and targeting of TV shows is generally something that is based on statistics.  You show promos during a program for other programs that are likely to bring in a similar audience.

So why the HELL does the National Geographic Channel, while playing “Dawn of the Oceans”, a documentary on, for lack of a better description, primordial oceanography, keep showing me ads for “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” on E!?

Like I said, I know there’s someone out there who would find both shows entertaining.  Probably multiple someones.  But statistically speaking?  That number’s going to be a fraction of a fraction of a percent.  If that.  And more to the point, the percentage of people watching this documentary who had to ask someone else who the hell the Kardashians were, and–upon receiving an answer– concluded that they would probably rather put their heads in blenders than watch bad reality TV about pseudo celebrity white trash with money, is probably rather large.  Or at least statistically significant enough to justify someone saying, “Hmmmm, why are we bothering to waste ad time when we know most of these nerds would loathe watching this drivel?”

I’m left scratching my head here, because, yes, I am on of the people who, for the longest time, didn’t know who the hell these Kardashian people were.  I’ll be honest, I’m still not sure who they are or why I should care, but everything I’ve seen from all the TV show promos has been of white-trash behavior by people with what appears to be a lot of money.  I’ve seen no promo that leads me to believe any of the program’s content would dovetail with the current show (Honestly, if any reality show out there at all started involving the investigation of black smokers and the evolution of life in the ocean, I’d be pretty freakin’ impressed).  Does NatGeo really think they’re going to sell me on this?  Does E! really think they’re going to find an untapped market in the NatGeo set?

So confused….