200 and Counting

Well, I’m not one to brag but sometimes I just have to toot this old horn of mine. For, this is my 200th post.

200!

And, maybe that’s not a big deal to some, but to me it’s the cat’s pajamas. The bee’s knees. For, in the nearly two years that I’ve been blogging, I never thought I’d get this far, and I certainly didn’t think I’d have this much to say! Why, that’s more than 180,000 words on topics that run the gamut, from silly to the ridiculous to plain borderline crazy.

Of course, Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, did help.  He’d tell you himself, but he’s in a funk right now as the reality has finally dawned on him, that he’s not going to make it to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Worry not, I told him, for he’ll be able to watch it all on The Today Show, and everyone knows how much dogs love to watch Matt Lauer globe trot around the world (not really). He’s living the dream, Henry says, rolling his eyes.

In other news, allow me to fill you in on how I did with my Fifty/Fifty Challenge in May.  I’m getting close to the halfway point, so you’d think by now I’d be honing in on the midway mark to my Fifty/Fifty goal.

Think again, mon frere.

Yes, the clock is ticking, the year is running its course, and right now I’m feeling like Ray Milland in The Big Clock. That’s the 1948 film noir thriller, in which Ray Milland plays a hapless guy whose boss’ mistress is murdered and Ray Milland becomes the number one suspect, caught in a web of deceit, jealousy, intrigue, power and corruption.  Add to that, poor Ray has mere hours to find the real killer (his boss) or get the book thrown at him.

Yep, that’s me. Except instead of facing a murder rap, I’m facing a stack of unread books and a TiVo, so stuffed with films I’ve yet to see, I need a plunger just to get the darn thing working.

So, here’s my official list for May:

Films:

Dark Shadows:  If you haven’t seen this latest film from Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, run, don’t walk to the nearest theater. It’s absolute fun. A fond tribute to the campy classic by the same name, back when soaps aired live and props and scenery would fall on the set during what was supposed to be a serious scene. Depp is in high form as the 200-year-old vampire, Barnabas Collins.

Other films I got to see in May? Two that celebrate amore in all its glory: Love Story and Lady and the Tramp.

Yes, Lady. The story of a Cocker Spaniel and the mutt that befriends her. Look for the spaghetti scene. Awfully cute.

Now, as for Love Story, I have to wonder why it was such a big hit at the time—a blockbuster, even—but then I remember that those were different times. I really tried to like it and I almost did, but, for crying out loud, couldn’t Jenny Cavalieri, played by Ali McGraw, have a little backbone? Wasn’t this the height of the feminist movement, after all? And yet, Jenny gives up her dream of studying music in France, just to marry a petulant boy who hates his father.

Then, when Jenny gets a fatal disease, the doctor alerts her hubby, Oliver—and not Jenny. She’s kept in the dark!! The doctor even tells Oliver to try to keep the news from her for as long as he can. What’s wrong with this picture? Shouldn’t Jenny know that she’s dying, so that she can make her final arrangements and say her goodbyes?

Yikes, I hope Hollywood isn’t planning a remake, as I’m not sure it would fly today. What do you think?

Books:

Well, I started two books and am still reading both (don’t judge me).  But I did read a children’s book (so that counts, right? 😉 ) Here’s my review of On My Way to the Bath:

Move over Eloise and Fancy Nancy! There’s a new girl in town and her name is Livi.

Like her two predecessors, Livi is a girl after my own heart. The kind that is creative, sprightly, and capricious. Dare I say this pint-size tyke is “Livi-acious?” What’s more, she’s about to take a bath—ready or not!

On My Way to the Bath, is a new children’s book written by comedian and blogger, Sarah Maizes, and is sure to delight young and old. For Livi will do anything to get out of taking a bath, even if it means having to transform into a snake, or perform a tuba solo in a marching band. Anything, to avoid the dreaded tub of water.

Livi hits a nerve for me, as I can remember many a time I didn’t want to take a bath and all the bubbles in the world couldn’t lure me into the bathtub.  I only wish I’d had an ounce of Livi’s moxie to keep my bath time at bay.

In the end, Livi dipping a foot into the bathwater is inevitable, simply because everyone needs a bath at some point, right? But how will she get there? What will it take? That is the point of the story and remains to be seen. To find out, you’ll just have to read the book!

So, tell me. What movies did you see or what books did you read in May?

Happy 200th to me!

Liz, Pierre and Siri

I need to find myself a larger home. I’m not kidding. It seems the one I’m living in isn’t big enough anymore. Not since my new roommates moved in. The ones that go by the name of Liz, Pierre and Siri.

Oh, I haven’t told you about them?  Well, allow me to fill you in.

Henry doesn't know what to make of all these roommates.

Liz has been living with me for two years now, ever since I got my new Camry back in 2010. She’s my GPS assistant, and knows this city like the back of her hand. If she had one, that is.

In fact, Liz knows how to get around anywhere in the whole country, probably even Canada and Mexico, assuming we ever ventured out there. Unfortunately, the only place she can’t get me to is Hawaii.

I know this because, on a lark, I once asked her to take us there.  We got as far as the Pacific Ocean, which means we drove west for 8 minutes. Once there, she broke down in tears, realizing she didn’t know the rest of the way. And, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it would be impossible to get there, anyhow, by crossing the ocean in a car.

“What can I tell you?” she said, “I’m landlocked.”

“Don’t worry, Liz. I know it’s not your fault.”

“I’m only human,” she replied, choking on her words.

“Well, actually, about that,” I said.

Then there’s Pierre, whom I assume is French Canadian. I don’t know why I assume this,  except that his accent is rather robotic and clearly that can only mean he’s from Canada. He may even be an undocumented worker—one never knows with Canadians. Every time I ask him for his identification papers he ignores me, but, I put up with him because he’s my butler. And by butler I mean, he takes phone messages for me when I’m away.  Though lately, he hasn’t had much to do, given that I’ve rid myself of my landline once and for all.

My latest roommate arrived last month when I joined the millions of cell phone users who depend on Siri, that clever gal who comes with her very own iPhone 4S.

My only problem, is that I’ve yet to get into the habit of using Siri. I mean, here I have a helper, a personal assistant and I don’t delegate anything to her! I’m still doing it all myself, while she props her feet on my coffee table, watches TV all day long and waits for me to give her something to do. Go figure.

So, the other day, I decided it was time to sit down with the roomies and tell them that, from now on, they’d have to pull their weight.

Which is when Pierre, said, “Excuse me, I think I hear the phone ringing,” and left.

Liz, said, “Don’t pressure me. I’m still feeling bad about our ill-fated trip to Hawaii.”

Siri, flippantly added, “How much are you going to pay me? I’m an Apple and I don’t come cheap, you know.”

Which is when I replied, “Well, then, what good are you, roommates, if you can’t help around the house? Can you at least help me with my blog?”

Liz offered, “I can do a blog on the best way to get from California to New York,” to which, I shook my head and said “I think that’s already been done by a guy named Mapquest.”

Pierre yelled from the kitchen, “Don’t look at me for help! I’m all thumbs when it comes to typing.”

Siri added, “The best thing I can do for you is remind you when it’s time to write your blog. That’s my forte.”

“You mean, you can nag her about it, right Siri?” Pierre said sarcastically.

“Alright, alright,“ I replied, feeling defeated.  “You guys are a bunch of freeloaders, so forget I said anything.”

“Great!” said Liz. “How about you make it up to us by taking us to see a movie? I know a great drive-in and can get us there in not time flat.”

“I can look it up and tell you the schedule,” chimed in Siri.

“I’d make us a reservation for dinner but, Mon Cherie, you got rid of the landline.”

“Okay, okay, enough! I’m not going anywhere with you guys until you learn to tow the line.” And, with that, I went upstairs.

Which is when Siri turned on the Tivo, and the four of them sat down for a game of Canasta, followed by a round of Word with Friends.

My TiVo Hates Me

Late last night, while I was typing away at my computer, and Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, lay cozily napping on my bed, I heard a voice whisper loudly,

“Hey, Monica!”

I looked up. No one was there. I resumed typing.

“Psst. Monica. Over HERE!”

Again I turn around. Henry opened one eye.

“Henry, was that you?” I asked.

He shook his head and fell back asleep.

“Psst, behind you!”

Looking around the other way, I noticed the sound was coming from the vicinity of the TV.

TiVo? What are you doing on at this hour? I haven’t watched you in days!”

“Days? More like weeks. I’m getting overloaded here. I’m going to pop a cable if you don’t start watching your shows soon. I can’t keep saving everything, you know. Something’s gotta give if you’re not going to watch, and I’m afraid it’s going to be me.”

“I know, I’m sorry,” I respond. “Cut me some slack. I’ve just been so busy with my writing.”

“How do you think I feel? You used to love me and watch me all the time! Now, you only have eyes for that thing.” TiVo shrugs and aims it remote at my computer.

“One of these days I’ll get to you.”

“One of these days? How about now? Parks and Recreation isn’t going to stay around forever, and besides, don’t you want to know if Leslie Knope wins the election? And, Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but not that cold.”

“And what about me?” came another voice from within the TiVo box.

“Who’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s Brian Williams,” TiVo responds.  “He’s getting a chip on his shoulder and is feeling snubbed. Wolf Blitzer isn’t too happy either, and, believe me, you don’t want to get him mad. I’m running out of excuses for you.”

“What do you mean? What have you been telling them?”

“First I told them that you were on vacation.”

“Where did you say I went?”

“Atlantic City. I loved that show, Boardwalk Empire.”

“TiVo, what did you say I was doing there? Going on some sort of Prohibition run?”

“Hmm…I hadn’t thought of that. Well, after a while they stopped believing it, so I said you were being held in North Korea where you were being forced to serve as a propaganda mouthpiece for Kim Jong-Il.”

“Did you get that idea from a 30 Rock episode in which Jack’s wife, Avery, was kidnapped and being held by the government?”

“Well, maybe. That’s on your season pass, is it not?”

“Touché. Anyway, TiVo, have you gotten around to telling them the truth? That I’m busy with my writing?”

“No, I didn’t want to hurt their feelings. I might have said that you went off to Afghanistan and were hunting for Osama Bin Laden.

“TiVo, the Navy Seals got him a year ago.”

“Tell me something I don’t know. Remember you made me record that CNN coverage? You never did watch, but I did.”

“That’s because I ended up getting all my information from Twitter.”

“There you go again. Always with the computer or social media.”

“So, TiVo, what excuse are you giving them these days?”

“That you left for Antarctica to save the polar bears from extinction.”

“What??”

“Yeah, I saw that on an episode of National Geographic.”

“TiVo, for crying out loud! Look, I’m on deadline. I’ve got to get back to my writing.”

“Sure, be that way.”

“I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

“Okay, but no guarantees as to what you’ll find on your “Now Playing” list when you do return. I may just start recording my own recommendations and deleting yours.”

“So, how can I make it up to you?”

“Start watching and ease my load! Oh, and you can tell that dog of yours not to stare at me whenever I’m talking. Gives me the heebie-jeebies.”

“Henry? He doesn’t stare at you.”

“He does whenever he sees a dog in a commercial. Then he barks like a coyote at a full moon.”

“Ignore it. Just, go back and tell Brian, Wolf and all the others, the truth about why I haven’t been watching.”

“I think I’ll tell them you’ve just left for Spain to run with the bulls.”

“Excuse me, TiVo? What show did you see that on?”

“What’s it to you?”

“Goodnight, TiVo.”

“Chaio, bella.”

“Let me guess. Roman Holiday on TCM?”

“No, Lady and the Tramp on in-demand.”

So tell me, readers, do you have a DVR that’s overloaded and giving you grief? How do you manage your television viewing?