After a day that was filled with unexpected agita at work, I’m ready for a pick-me-up and I’m ready to put my brain on autopilot for a while.

That’s why I will be watching Sharknado 2: The Second One on the SyFy channel at 9pm EST tonight.

And you should, too.

Sharknado 2

I started my Saturday by heading up to my brother’s place, where I got some positive news and some annoying news.  The positive part was that my brother DID remember to bring the donation bags downstairs for the Salvation Army to pick up, and so now the apartment is roomier.  The annoying news was when I asked him on my way out what he thought of the chili I’d brought over two weeks ago (I’m trying to supplement his frozen dinners with SOMETHING homemade), and he said that he hadn’t actually tried it yet.  So I said that it had gone bad already, so he needed to throw the food out and we’d pick up the container the next time we visited.  Sheesh!

Then from there I took the express bus to the Upper East Side to go see Begin Again, which I was curious to see because Keira Knightley was supposed to be a surprisingly good singer, because I like Mark Ruffalo as an actor, and because (this could be the primary reason, but I would be much too embarrassed to admit that if it was true) I wanted to see how Adam Levine (from Maroon 5 and The Voice) did as an actor.

Begin Again

It turned out to be a very good movie but not a great movie.  Adam Levine is a good actor, Keira Knightley is a really good singer (seriously, if the acting thing fell through she could have a backup career), and Mark Ruffalo was very good as always.  The highlight of the movie is the music itself, which means that if you like the music you’ll be swept away by it, but if you DON’T like the music you’ll be all, “Wait … didn’t I just hear this?  Why am I listening to it AGAIN?”  There is a lot of heart in this movie, plus a level of sweetness that feels like a throwback to the days of old-time musicals when a great song could … you know … change lives.  Fix things.  Make people see the truth in a way that regular words could not.

Then from there I went to grab a quick lunch at Papaya King ….

Papaya King

and then I went shopping at Eli’s Manhattan for lots of great food, including more of that superlative Jeni’s Ice Cream (yes, I went on their website to find out where they sold it in NYC.  I planned ahead!)

Elis Manhattan Stuff

Then I went home and finished reading Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, which I highly recommend if you’re into smart, funny, weird books about sexuality and giant grasshoppers.  Not necessarily in that order.

And THEN I went back to midtown to see Deliver Us From Evil, which I’d wanted to see because I was familiar with several of the Bronx locations where they’d filmed, and because I wanted to see how Joel McHale did in a serious role.  Yeah, I see movies for weird reasons sometimes.  FWIW, since I knew that this was going to be a demonic possession / exorcism movie that was at least somewhat derivative of its cinematic predecessors, I FINALLY saw The Exorcist two weeks ago in preparation for this movie.

McHale and Bana

Anyway, Joel McHale was suitably cool and tough.  His character doesn’t have a lot of depth, but one of the few dimensions he has is (of course) the Wisecracking Cop.  Oh, and according to IMDB he did most of his own knife stunts, so hooray for him!  Eric Bana is all moody and brooding and pissed off, to the extent that it felt like the producers told him he would get a bonus check every time he got this look in his eye like he wanted to strangle someone.  Note to self: Don’t hang out with Eric Bana unless he’s in a good mood, because otherwise … look out!

Other than that, most of the other characters were there on screen to revolve around Bana and McHale — the victims, the comic relief, the possessed people, the things that leap out at other things to try to make you spill your popcorn on the theater floor … Oh, but then there was the priest.  Edgar Ramirez plays the coolest, hippest, sexiest Jesuit you’ve ever seen.  This is so NOT your mother’s Exorcist!

Von SydowMendoza (EDGAR RAMIREZ)  in Screen Gems' DELIVER US FROM EVIL.

He drinks!  He smokes!  He has stylishly tousled hair (and, for that matter, uses stylish hair care products)!  He’s not a saint, he’s a REAL MAN who has done REALLY MANLY THINGS in his life!

Anyway, so … um … he was pretty hot.  Just sayin’.

A lot of the movie is fairly predictable, with the horror movie tropes being thrown at the audience in rapid succession.  WILL the lights flicker ominously and then go out?  WILL something leap out of the darkness, startling our heroes and, more importantly, us?  WILL the jack-in-the-box hold an unwelcome surprise?  [Seriously, though.  Between movies and TV, I've become scared to death of those damned things.  Who would ever buy one anymore?]  WILL the innocent and pretty people be victimized so that our heroes will have an extra-personal stake in rescuing them from evil?  WILL the evil stuff get progressively more evil and … um … GROSS as the movie goes along?

That being said, I enjoyed a lot of things about this movie, both the stuff I expected and the things that set this movie apart.  I liked the Bronx settings, especially the streets and buildings I recognized (lots of Belmont and Kingsbridge stuff, and hey, the Bronx Zoo!)  I liked the immigrant family talking to the police through their little kid.  I liked watching this movie while surrounded by a large audience on a Saturday night, when I could be surrounded by a crowd of people who were all laughing, then jumping, and then laughing at the same time.  And … did I mention that priest was pretty hot?

So, all of that was my outside day yesterday.  Today I’ll be catching up on mostly indoor stuff (paperwork, laundry, email, packing, etc.) but I’ll take breaks once in a while to go for a walk before coming back and buckling down to my chores again.

My boyfriend is upstate at an educators’ conference this weekend, so I had to decide how I was going to fill my time.

My first instinct was, naturally, to be the female version of Tom Cruise in Risky Business when he’s a kid who has the house to himself.  Except instead of running around the house in my underwear and lip-synching to Bob Seger music I would be … hanging out with my hair in curlers, wearing a facial mask, and eating bonbons?  That’s what chicks do, right?

Then there was my second instinct, which sprang from my “no boyfriend + no cat = ZERO snuggling opportunities!” realization.  But the idea of inviting all of the neighborhood dogs to my apartment for a massive snuggle party was, I admit, pretty unrealistic.

So instead I’m going to go to my brother’s place first to check up on Stuff That Needs To Get Done, then from there I’ll take the express bus downtown and go to see a movie or two.  And then I’ll do some fancy food shopping on the way back home.  Now, I still have to figure out what to do tomorrow …

I read and reviewed a few books.  I supervised a couple of teen programs, and the kids who showed up were pleasantly well-behaved.  I went to a meeting where I got to use the librarian part of my brain by discussing and recommending books.  One of my blog posts is doing well on my library’s website.  And I had a VERY productive free day … (more…)

We signed the lease for the new apartment this week, and I sent in my official notification to my current building management company that I would not be renewing my current lease.  We’re going to have a 2-week overlap in August during which we’ll be moving stuff, painting, having furniture delivered, having stuff installed, etc.  Going from a studio apartment to a 2-bedroom is going to be very exciting — another TV!  More rugs!  A new bed!  And more things we haven’t thought of yet!

I’m sorting out some more website/podcast stuff.  I moved my website content and podcast episodes to a new server several weeks ago, and while my newest content definitely exists on my website and sort of exists on iTunes (the new episodes are showing up, just in a new location), if you actually look up my podcast on iTunes all you see is the old list of episodes which stopped updating several weeks ago.  So I just sent iTunes support an email that I hope was polite, well-constructed, and able to convey that I took multiple steps to try to figure things out myself before bugging them about it.  So we’ll see how that goes.

Speaking of podcasts, I have several more episodes in the pipeline on other people’s shows.  So I’m waiting with bated breath to see if my brilliance / hilarity / impeccable comic timing will be revealed soon … ish?

We went to see the Rifftrax presentation of Sharknado at a theater in Union Square this week, and MAN, was that fun!    BTW, if you missed it they’re going to be re-airing it on July 15th!  Go see if it’s in a theater near you!

I went to several meetings in midtown this week, which means that I got to pick up some lovely lunches at Hale & Hearty Soups and Five Guys Burgers & Fries, in addition to some splendid desserts.  Oh … plus I got to exercise my mind, and stuff.  That’s what people usually remember about going to meetings, right?

Tonight I’ll be attending the going-away party for the librarian who’s leaving our system (and whose lovely apartment I’m inheriting!)  So that will mean good company, good food, and good drinks.  It will also mean loud music, but I can put up with that for an hour or two.

Tomorrow my boyfriend and I will visit my brother and deal with some more legal paperwork and banking stuff.  Next week I’ll be going to my bank to start on my beneficiary paperwork, as well as opening my own IRA and perhaps a savings account.  I need to set up several accounts so I can roll things into other things. It’s all VERY exciting.  Or, I suppose, it will be when it’s all over.

In which I open my mother’s jewelry boxes and cookbooks and make some cool / beautiful / alarming discoveries … (more…)

The best part of a 3-day weekend is that in addition to having time for our usual chores and family obligations, we also have time for ourselves.  Today we spent that time going downtown to see a movie and then have lunch.  We started by going to the Landmark Sunshine Theater to see Life Itself, a new documentary about Roger Ebert.

Life Itself Poster

I was a fan of Siskel and Ebert when I was a kid watching their show on TV, and after Gene Siskel died I continued to watch the show with its different co-hosts.  But it wasn’t until I received a copy of the book I Hated Hated Hated This Movie as a present one year that I became a head-over-heels fan of Roger Ebert.  Because I love bad movies to pieces, and it takes a certain kind of skill to write about bad movies in such an entertaining way.

Anyway, up until now my experiences with Roger Ebert were limited to the reviews I read in books, in archives, and on his blog, his appearances on The Tonight Show and The Howard Stern Show, and of course his excellent appearance with Gene Siskel on The Critic.

Siskel and Ebert on The Critic

Over the last few years since he became sick, disabled, and disfigured, I couldn’t bear to watch videos of him anymore because I would get too depressed.  While this documentary had a lot of great background on Ebert and was even laugh-out-loud funny at times, at other times it focused on the last years of his life and his deteriorating condition.  Which means that I cried about a dozen times during this film.  I’m still glad that I watched it and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Roger Ebert and/or film history.  But I would NOT be able to watch it again.

After the movie was over and I went to wash my face and then put on sunglasses to conceal my red and swollen eyes, we went out to eat.  We went to Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue for a meat-based lunch of brisket, spare ribs and pomme frites:

Mighty Quinns Entrance

MQ Meats and Drinks

MQ Pommes Frites

We’d eaten their brisket sandwiches at Smorgasburg before, and they are absolutely DELIGHTFUL.  But this was our first trip to one of their brick-and-mortar locations, and the other menu items we sampled were wonderful, as well.

Then we went to go get dessert at Big Gay Ice Cream, which we’ve heard about for a while but never tried before.  We each had a cone — my boyfriend had a chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles and a chocolate shell and I had a “Rocky Roadhouse” cone that had a ridiculous amount of marshmallows and nuts in it:

Ordering at Big Gay Ice Cream

Rocky Roadhouse Cone

So now Mighty Quinn’s and Big Gay Ice Cream have been added to the long list of places we’d like to visit again when we go back to the East Village.

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