Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air


Ok. Catching up on the world after a whirlwind weekend spent hiking in the Presidio and eating garlic and road-tripping around Napa and Sonoma. We had loads of great adventures (pics to come at some point), but after a 4:30 am drive to the airport this morning, it's good to sit in front of my computer and just catch up again and be quiet.

Read this Anna Quindlen piece earlier today and if you are at all interested in a mindful look at the whole abortion debacle, it's worth a few minutes of yer time. Quindlen's shit sometimes annoys me - too "mommy-lit" style - but others of her work are consistently stellar. And this is one of them. Go here - "How Much Jail Time?" - for a sharp look at the question, "If we do criminalize abortion per the anti-choicers' whims, how should women who have abortions be punished?" Click on the link she provides and you can watch the video. The dude behind this YouTube video asks brainwashed Illinois abortion protestors this question and you can see the wheels in their heads cranking as they desperately try to respond with an answer to something they've never even given thought to, even though some of them claim to have been doing this protesting for 5 years and more. Um, remind me never to move to Libertyville, Illinois. UGH.

There's buzz about Chelsea on the campaign circuit, courtesy of the Times. "Primed for a Second Stint as First Daughter" I've always been somewhat interested in the whole Chelsea factor, as she and I are nearly the same age, and I could only imagine what it was like to be a teenager in the miserable public eye the way she was. Anyway, it's an interesting thought, this whole second-time First Daughter thing. Though I'm feeling doubtful about Hillary's chances. Am pretty over the whole '08 thing at this point; sick of the onslaught of media coverage already, feeling inundated by the saturation from every angle. So much empty talking and very little of substance being said, as it's all projection at this point. I'm so sick of the prattling on about suits and hairstyles and campaign-sticker fonts. What is it about these people that they are still not cynical about politics by the time they hit middle-age? I'm having a hard time even caring anymore...it seems so much about egos and hubris and self-aggrandizement. Sigh.

Saw Hairspray over the weekend. Other than the fact that I was snoring at one point midway through (sorry, Travolta), it was overall enjoyable. A little pastel-perky for my tastes, but decently well-done. I was pleasantly surprised by the talent of that young kid, Zac something, in particular - and James Marsden, as well. Always nice when people come out of the woodwork to rock some musical theater skills. The newcomer Blonsky girl was fine, a little grating, but fine. All in all, it could've been a lot worse. Though it seems many reviewers are lamenting the loss of edge and grit from John Waters' first 1988 film version. Did you catch that Ricki Lake cameo late in the film?

And tomorrow is August 1st. Sigh. Where's the summer gone? I feel like there's so much to do and not enough time to do any of it. And the fog's rolled in now for the evening and it's cool again. And I'm going to settle in for a long night of writing. Have a copy of Warren Beatty's "Reds" sitting on my desk and can't wait to hit that later tonight. I do love me some hot commie filmmakers.

Buh-bye.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air


"Are you into leather??"

How's that for an appropriate intro to SF? That's what Tom and the Little Bro got yesterday from some unassuming Abercrombie-looking dude while grabbing a bite at California classic, In-N-Out Burger.

The boys are snoozing, so here's a quickie bit from me before we head out again for the day. No wonder they're exhausted; yesterday we spent walking all over creation, and since we have mad karaoke plans tonight, I figure they'd better catch a few winks now, because once the Debbie Gibson comes on, it's all over, man.

So Jersey Boys was excellent. Didn't honestly expect to like it much, it being, well, a colossal commercial juggernaut and all, but I found it much more coherent and less maddening than the train wreck that was Mamma Mia. It's really not my favorite music genre, that whole annoying nasally 60s bit, but the harmonies were really tight and the four title performers flawless. These guys could move. I think the most pleasant surprise was the choreography: deceptively simple, but classic and catchy. I've spent the last day and half walking around snapping on every other beat and belting out "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." In other words: "I LOVE YOU BA-A-BY, I LOVE YOU BA-A-BY." Pretty hot.

We walked all over aforementioned creation yesterday, through Union St. and Cow Hollow and the Marina onto the Wharf and whatnot. So now that the boys have seen where all the Rich White Pretty People With Laptops live, it's time to move on and see parts of the City with a little more spirit. I will say, the architecture down there is so classically Mediterranean, I love it; we've got some good pics circa the Palace of Fine Arts that I'll throw up when I have a sec.

So tonight it's Barry. He needs to have a miraculous night (3 homers) if we're going to catch anything of interest, but Lincecum's pitching and it should be a fine sunny day, so add some garlic fries and that should be just right.

Ciao for now.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Random shit I wanted to post that has no feasible connection whatsoever to any definition of "rawness"


Little Bro arrives tomorrow for a week's visit (along with his old buddy Tom, who's pretty much like a second brother to us all anyway). Good times. Got the house sparkling (why do I like cleaning so much, and what the hell is wrong with me that I could never be content being a barefoot pregnant housewife, because damn, would I be good at it; you know, the whole high-heels-vacuuming-Valium-dinner-on-the-table thing?). Anyway. House is sparkling, fresh white roses and eucalyptus are set up in the living room, calendar's cleared for the next week so that I can show the Bro just why San Francisco is the best place on earth.

So you might not hear a ton from me this week; we've got tickets to see Jersey Boys tomorrow night, and they're seeing Alcatraz the next, and then we've got hot - read me, H.O.T., as in, "boy, were those a pain in the ass to try to get" - tickets to the Giants/Braves game Thursday afternoon, Row 2, Center Field bleachers, which means that my friend Mr. Bonds needs to hit a couple of homers in the next two days so that we can catch the big one Thursday, after which I will promptly move to the Italian Riviera with my share of our million dollar earnings and never be heard from again. There's some Beserkeley and some hiking on the agenda, along, of course, with the requisite Golden Gate Bridge crossing, drinks at the Top of the Mark, a cruise down Highway 1, and a day in Napa tasting some wines. Whew. I'm tired already. But it'll be nice to have one of the fam out here for a few days (hi guys, all so far away...), and also, even nicer that the Bro is now of age, so he can sit at my bar.

So watch for us on the big screen Thursday afternoon. I'll be the one making the diving catch. Or, uh, ducking. Could go either way. And stay tuned for updates: we're going to try to catch the new Hairspray (I've heard mixed reviews - Travolta in drag?!?) along with some serious karaoke ac-shun. 80s classics: here we come.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Raw, adjective: 11. unprocessed or unevaluated: raw data

Stream of consciousness edition...

First of all, a moment of silence for my man Steve Martin, who, I've just read, is to be married (to someone who is not me). Granted, the guy's a little old, but still. A little piece of my heart (from the section not belonging to Giorgio) just shattered. Kisses, Stevie.

Also, this weekend there's something or other about a Harry Potter book or something? The media doesn't seem to be talking about this AT ALL so I'm not surprised if you haven't heard. Something tells me a lot of people's Friday night plans involve lining up at the bookstore. Which, I'll admit, is pretty fab, in spite of the fact that I have never gotten on the whole HP wagon. Not so much one for broomsticks, or wizard shit, or whatnot. Sorry. I'm sure they're great. But I'll leave them for the rest of yous to read, at least until a) I run out of all the other shit I am supposed to read first, or b) I procreate and need to read them con mis ninos.

Yesterday I read an article (don't remember where, sorry) that predicted that by 2015, 75% of the US would be overweight, and 41% obese. Ay. Holy health crisis. Just when the boomers are all really hitting old age. And, shit - 2015 sounds far away, but we're only talking 8 years here, people! And the many-fingered epidemic rolls on...and people still aren't putting the puzzle pieces together, about Doritos and hot dogs and macaroni & cheese and donuts and Froot Loops and other plastic foods not meant for human consumption (but oh man, why do I have to love Ho-Ho's so much?).

So, that in mind, it's off to yoga class I go again. I was itchy for yoga last week being away, and it's been difficult and refreshing to get back into my regular daily practice since returning. I've had that word on my mind lately: "practice." I remember when I started doing yoga, I hated how pretentious the teachers sounded talking about their "practices" - ugh, gimme a break. But I've grown to appreciate it - this idea that we can apply to any parts of our lives we're attempting to make strides in, this notion that we can't just pick up and do something perfectly just yet, but we can sure as hell practice at it, and some days will be shit, and others a breeze, and you just have to keep the whole practice mentality in mind as you do it. And it's true - some days I can pop into my split, and some days it hurts to even turn my head. And it applies for more: for the whole raw foods thing (ay, that blue cheese yesterday), or my ongoing attempts to Not Suck as a pianist (which the Sondheim will challenge any day), or even something as simple as practicing patience, or practicing actually picking up the phone when it rings, or practicing remembering to water the plants.

Random thoughts on this random Friday morning. Now I'm going to "practice" editing the chapter I wrote yesterday. Newest writing goal is to be at it from 8-12 every morning. So far, the practice is going ok...even though it's been more like 9-12, with coffee breaks every 5 minutes...but what can you do?

Go get your Harry Potter on.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Raw, adjective: 9. disagreeably damp and chilly, as the weather or air




"Living without newspapers or magazines, I can be free, a little, of the moment, and get such news as I need from the falling of the leaves, or the Emerson essays on my shelf."

-- Writer Pico Iyer





(Almond Branches in Bloom, 1890; Van Gogh)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture


Back on the research beat this morning, and blowing through a killer book on spirituality and consumerism by Tom Beaudoin called "Consuming Faith." This shit is delicious. Beaudoin relies heavily on Naomi Klein's important 1999 condemnation of the whole branding/globalization process, "No Logo," and takes it one step further by integrating a theological worldview with Klein's brilliant economic analysis.

Beaudoin's stuff is useful for me in the ways it looks at the underbelly of branding in conjunction with materiality; the ways bodies, real human living breathing bodies, are implicated by commodification, both as victims of abuse at the third-world factories that produce the goods Americans buy at Wal-Mart and Kohl's and Macy's and Bloomingdales, but also the way that identity and personality are trampled on by the increasing ubiquity of brands. There's a massive disconnect right now in the popular "Christian" imagination about economics, a great blindness to the connections between these people who supposedly live a "moral" life (whatever that means, which is usually something about abstinence and no alcohol and Republicanism and homophobia) and the ways our daily economic choices are implicated in what it means to be moral.

Whew. Anyway. I could go on. But sitting here, now, it all makes sense, and I think, geez, no wonder the media doesn't report on this shit. Because if people actually make the connections between the J. Crew shirt they have to have to define themselves as "cool" and "sporty" or "bourgeois" or "preppy" or whatever (instead of doing so without the help of a brand) and the serious human rights violations going on outside of their line of vision, well, wow...things just might change.

Sidenote: "Lush Life" is playing right now...which, if you don't already know it, you should. Go. Now. Soon. "Burning inside my brain..." Ahh, great lyrics!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Raw, adjective: 10. not diluted, as alcoholic spirits: raw whiskey.


We did it! They're hitched. Aren't they smashing?

This one's my favorite: beautiful bride, gorgeous groom, relieved "minister."

This was taken at, like, midnight, after we'd been shaking our groove thang for approximately 5 hours and 27 minutes, given which, I am shocked and surprised that the a) sweat and b) champagne don't really show. Shortly after this photo was taken, I hauled ass to catch the end of "Hey Ya" before smearing my entire body with devil's food cake.

Now, let's back up a little. Here's mom and daughter picking up the gown Thursday afternoon:



And again at the rehearsal dinner Friday night:



Moving right along to Saturday morning, with Meliss figuring out how to get in that big ol' car:



They took pics at the Vanderbilt Mansion, a stunning Mediterranean-style terrace overlooking the water:



That's the view. Not bad, eh.



And onto the fun stuff. I don't have pics of us up there in the gazebo at sunset doin' the bizness, but that's because I was, uh, slightly busy at the time. Rest assured that it was gorgeous. Meliss, big points for the Claire de Lune (Debussy) string selection. One of my faves - heart-wrenching. And the e.e. cummings - breathtaking.

And then it was on to what we'd all been waiting for: cocktail hour. And time to hug everyone I hadn't seen in months (or years, in some cases - Tara!). We sat outside overlooking the water amidst tiki torches and willow trees. I've never been happier to have a cocktail in hand than when my spiel was over and I could stop being The Rev and start being The Rach.

So first, well-behaved:



Then, not so much:



(Ped and Andy, have fun with those job searches. You saw what happened with Miss New Jersey!)

And more of the UD gang assembled: the shot for the Delaware alumni mag, with Meliss and Matt as "Double Dels" and the rest of the Newark people there that night (minus Shaun, who arrived shortly thereafter, after taking the train from Manhattan after his performance that night).



And my boys at dinner:



And my girls:



(I've deliberately cropped out the cleavage - that's ours to share, right, ladies?)



I wisely used up the film before Sunday morning's brunch, which, after being up till 4:30 singing "Cecilia," eating cold pizza and hunting down the groom, was a little slower-paced. Let's just say I've never been more glad to get on a long flight home and let the food coma set in. On the heels of two weeks or so of stellar raw action (and feeling at the top of my game, great yoga practices, even better long runs, and mad energy), all bets were off the night of the reception, with cake and cheese and all kinds of get out of jail free cards. And I am definitely feeling it today; can't wait to get to my yoga class tonight and get back in the vegan groove. But that devil's food cake alone made it worth it.

Lessons learned?

-- I absorbed more of my father's wedding technique than I realized. Felt him so near all weekend, especially in the course of the service itself. Which was a bittersweet gift. Also, it's not so hard to lead a liturgy when you know there are frozen drinks with umbrellas waiting for you when you walk down the aisle.

-- Long Island is green after all, and not so bad. Still doesn't mean I'd ever live there, but it's redeemed itself in my eyes, fer sure. And oh - those bagels!

-- Weddings are important after all; I fell back on my sociological mind long enough to see the ritual everywhere I turned, and yes, the manicures and the dinners and the dancing, they're all important, indeed, in whatever form you might find them. And when else do you have these remarkable gatherings of people you otherwise could only dream of having all together at once again?

-- Long loose dresses are fab for the kinds of receptions with sushi and spinach crepes and martinis and mashed potato bars - for hors d'oeurves alone. When in doubt: wear a gown that can double as a maternity dress! Then you can pack that deliciousness in between dances. It also makes for prime booty-shaking. And can be stuffed in your roll-on, too.

-- Never traveling Southwest again. I'll give them credit, the whole deliberately laid-back "corporate culture" thing has its charm, but ugh, I felt like a fuckin cow getting herded through those gates onto the airplane. Fuggedaboutit. It's not worth the hassle. Though it was definitely worth it to fly into Macarthur and thus avoid traffic headaches and JFK and all that nonsense. Smart thinking, Meliss.

-- Can I reiterate once more what rockstar friends I have? Every time I see you guys I'm reminded. And this time was just a cross-section of the gang...but I am constantly impressed with the number of doctors and performers and sexy badass brilliant peeps we've cranked out. The kind who are not only intelligent as fuck, but can shake it like nobody's business on the dance floor and wail at the top of their lungs in 4-part harmony at 4 am. Geez. I'm fuckin lucky.*

-- It doesn't matter where I go or who I'm with...I am always glad to come home to SF. And miss it before I leave. And the fog and the quiet of the City on a late Sunday night and the sound of the trash man this morning outside my window and the knowledge that I can head out for kale-seaweed salad around the corner, and my lilies still blooming in the living room, and my piano with Sondheim all set to be played...well, what can I say.

And that's the round-up, my friends. Enjoy the Picture Extravaganza, because that's probably it for awhile. And think of poor Melissa and Matt lounging on the beach in the Caribbean drinking pina coladas right now, and then go back to your desk, and try not to curse them too loudly.

* Um, why do you all still live on the East Coast again? Goddamned 3000 miles. A girl could go mad.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Random shit I wanted to post that has no feasible connection whatsoever to any definition of "rawness"

Dispatch from Long Island:

So here I am, smack in the middle of Long Island (well, actually, only about a block from the water, right on the south edge of it). Arrived late last night after a fun 12 hours of flights (whoohoo) and more sitting on my ass than I ever care to do again. The weather here's not as oppressively muggy as I'd expected; there was a great low-lying mist last night on my arrival, but today broke clear and brilliant and it's stayed that way all day.

Went for a good long run this morning to shake the restlessness out of my sedentary legs after such a long day sitting. I'm constantly surprised by the lushness of the vegetation here. All I'd known of Long Island from the other 2 or 3 times I'd been here was traffic, interstates, and more traffic. Not fun. But I'll say, here in the quiet little idyllic town where Meliss & Matt live, it's all clapboard houses and verdant green lawns and heavy-hanging boughs and blue hydrangeas swooning all over the place. It's enough to make a girl take back everything bad she's ever muttered under her breath. Ran to the local marina and found it full of boats and bandshells and kids on swings (very different from the Marina in SF, which tends to be thronged with Banana Republic models and overpriced laptops and bored mommies pushing strollers in the middle of the afternoon).

Today Meliss and I picked up her gown and did all the other last-minute things a bride's supposed to do. (It's gorgeous, naturally). I feel like I'm getting a lesson in How To Be A Chick. Make-up and new shoes and gowns and manicures, oh my. It's enough for this cynic to crumble...especially after losing myself in the gala collection of sparkles and sequins and ruffles and satins that was the bridal shop, which reminded me of being lost in the Lincoln High costume department in the old guts of the building back when I was seventeen or so. Hi, my name is Rachel, and I am a sucker for big fluffy dresses. It's out. I admit it. I can't hide from the reality any more.

So now it's breaking in the wedding heels (a great look with my linen cargo pants and tank top tonight) and hammering out the last details of the ceremony and crossing the last bits off all of the lists. It's summer on Long Island and we're having a wedding. And in spite of myself, I'm really digging it.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.


This Sunday morning I am, uh, working on my sermon.

Say what? Yes. You may now call me Reverend Rach.

Some of you know that I am off to play minister this weekend for the wedding of my old college friends, Melissa and Matt. Last year Melissa asked me if I would do the honors, and I of course agreed, and so last month, I hopped onto the Universal Life Church website (www.themonastery.org) and signed myself up as Rev Rach in just under 4 minutes. My father is currently doing pirouettes six feet under. I can just hear him saying: "I toiled for 4 years in seminary and learned Greek AND Hebrew just so that you could get the same title in shorter time than it takes to walk around the block?!?" Thank goddess I saw him do all those weddings every summer Saturday of my youth, so that I at least have a modicum of sense how to march up there and do this.

You've probably heard about the ULC - a quick read of the website reveals a well-intentioned and fundamentally populist notion of spirituality and pastoral authority, in spite of its utter lack of theological structure and its clear need of a good copy-editor. This online ordination movement has made it possible in the last decade or so for friends and family to officiate at weddings, baptisms, commitment ceremonies, you name it.

So, yes, on Saturday I will be standing up front with M & M and helping them recite their vows. I've got my little draft of my "homily" (heh heh) all written and so far it makes me smile, so that's a good sign, right? I will say, anyone with any wisdom about love and marriage, feel free to send it my way and I'll make some edits. And if you need any christenings or blessings done in the years to come, you know who to call! But just be forewarned, this minister is more likely to be sporting sequins than an alb and stole.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture

Once again my favorite columnist Mark Morford has hit the nail on the head. If you missed it, last week there was an article in the Times about the amounts some women of a certain age pay in hot spots like NYC and LA just to keep themselves properly primped and plucked. We're talking upwards of $3000 a month. And in this morning's column, Morford hits the sadness and the total unsexiness of the whole shebang:

"...You don't actually have to *be* sexy, or smart, or well put together, or healthy attuned desirous spiritual likable. You just have to *look* like you are...."

Big theme in a lot of my favorite writers' work on beauty: this notion that people are so consumed with taking care of the superficial that what's inside remains simply an Empty Package. Anyway - here's the article. Read it and be renewed.

"Why Aren't You More Beautiful?"

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions


So the patriots' holiday looms and every store window is blanketed in red, white and blue. I'm muttering under my breath as I pass by the buntings and the flags spread seemingly everywhere, even in this hedonistic city. And the week makes me think of two artists: Jasper Johns, the painter, and Edward Albee, the playwright.

This is Johns' "Summer," painted 1985 in his collection of the Seasons. He's famous, of course, for his variations on the American flag, but I prefer this one for its inclusion of his own shadow and the Mona Lisa, recurring motifs in his work. The SF MoMA included this piece in the Picasso exhibit earlier this year. I'm glad for the juxtaposition of the dark with the eternal perkiness of the flag.

All the patriotic gusto this week has me fleeing to memories of an article I read some years ago in the Guardian, an interview with Edward Albee about one of his new works (he of the famous play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"). Albee's always been fearlessly edgy, which I admire; I scribbled down a piece of something he said back in 2002 and it remains on my wall. In the article, he described his work as "an examination of the American Scene, an attack on the substitution of artificial for real values in our society, a condemnation of complacency, cruelty, and emasculation and vacuity, a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachy keen."

I fear that holidays like the 4th let us slip too easily into that complacent self-celebration, allowing us to cease to wonder whether this quagmire that is spreading American-style globalization can be averted. And I am reminded of something that theologian Matthew Fox once wrote: "There are no nations." Four simple words. No nations. Only people separated by arbitrary boundaries that give us permission to ignore the suffering across those borders in the name of nationalism.

That is why I am no patriot.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Raw, adjective: 2. not having undergone processes of preparing, dressing, finishing, refining, or manufacture


Ooh, this is delicious.

On the heels of last week's dumpster diving article, the Times has a piece exploring the ethical and environmental implications of "green chic." It's basically highlighting that bourgeois trend of late that makes supposedly environment-friendly shopping the latest stylish means of keeping up with the [green] Jones's. They call out the "eco-narcissism" involved in satiating ourselves with ostensibly green products while not dealing with the underlying reality that buying MORE isn't going to make the environment any healthier. And then they do a decent job of countering that at the end of the article.*

Don't want to beat a dead horse with this topic, but I think it's relevant and it's time to take the next step beyond consciousness-raising (I mean, who isn't an environmentalist these days?) toward becoming more responsible for our individual choices every day. And buying that second home in Jamaica made with solar panels and recycled wood isn't necessarily going to do so. Once again we're confronting that capitalist mentality underlying everything we do here in the grand ol' US of A that says MORE MORE MORE is always the answer. And, funny, people still end up feeling empty even after they've got the Lexus and the earth-friendly sheets. We are so blind to our affluence, relative to the rest of the world...

Here's the article. "Buying Into the Green Movement"

*Points earned for the Fashion & Style section for finally including a mindful little piece amidst the shit about socialites and overpriced handbags.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Raw, adjective: 7. brutally or grossly frank: a raw portrayal of human passions


Last week (don't ask) I revisited that old favorite of my days as a 14-year-old girl, the sweeping wannabe historical epic "Legends of the Fall." Ok. Let's just be frank here. This shit is like prairie porn. Sweeping vistas and wild pastel sunsets and wind rushing down the bluffs and tombstones overlooking rolling rivers tumbling along the landscape. I mean, seriously. Between the prairie views and the cast (which we'll get to in a minute), I had to force myself to turn the damn thing off every twenty minutes or so to get a good breath in.

And that cast. Aidan Quinn, Julia Ormond, Anthony Hopkins hitting it hardcore in the bear coat and bad 'stache. And, of course, Brad Pitt in one of his earlier major-league roles as Tristan Ludlow. It's 1994 and he's rocking the Kurt Cobain/California surfer dude locks, all golden tresses flying behind him in the wind as he trots in on his trusty steed with his earth-toned shirt undone to the waist, bare feet caked with mud and face covered with blood. Of course, in heavy-handed movie language, Wild Hair + Bare Feet = Crazy Dude, Watch Out.

As much as the film is clearly an attempt to make a grand epic of love and loss and death and tragedy, it is more readily a soap opera melodrama set in the Old West. And that, of course, along with Pitt the Wild, is why I loved it. James Horner's sweeping score crescendos along with the rise of the camera as it sails over the horizon looking west; in classic prairie style, there are few words, but lots of overwrought montages full of period costumes and gorgeous 20s cloche hats and horses and gardens and whew, too much to handle for this chica. In spite of the contrivedness of the tragedy, man oh man, is it a weeper.

I've decided that Pitt is in best form when he plays some variation of Id. He did it in Fight Club (as mentioned in the past - hello, Tyler Durden!) and here again he's all nature, all wild, unharnessed, crazy unsustainable unsettled madness. And oh boy, do I love it. The acting is pretty poor at points and sometimes you just think to yourself, "wow, please just keep your mouth shut, Brad"...but then he saddles up on that horse and rides broodingly off into the sunset, and you'll forgive him for any bland line readings.

I've been tempted lately, very tempted, by that vision of riding off into the sunset and getting on a boat and sailing to Africa and just disappearing for a good long while. In the midst of all the hubbub over the new iPhone and Google Street Views and all of it, I just want more than ever to be able to unplug. And isn't it easy to get all kinds of wistful over that long-lost prospect of just getting on a horse and disappearing for awhile into some silence and nature and simple earthy being outdoors alone under the sky. I do what I can to stay relatively unplugged (cell phone's rarely on, blah blah blah), but man, do I wish it was that easy to fly under the radar anymore. GPS systems be damned.