30 October 2007

13 Across

I'm back on crosswords. (All thanks to Jeff S. and PBS!) I'd been crossword-free for so many years I'd lost count. And I can count pretty high, sometimes.

I have a hard time doing something a little bit. Something, ha, more like everything. There are very few things in my life that I don't care DEEPLY about. Deeply, as in: intensely, intimately, passionately, anal-retentively, thoroughly, obsessive-compulsively, diagnosibly.

(Is that a word? Well, it is now.)

So it follows that when in a relationship, I'm known far and wide for my level of commitment and intensity. Good, if you can work up an appreciation for that kind of thing. But historically viewed as bad, more often than not.

I've known some unfortunate relationships. Stupid guys. Mean guys. Harsh, heartless, soul-sucking, deliberately cruel, ill-tempered, malicious, vicious, contemptuous, gleefully sadistic guys with, by the way, very small genitalia. (It's all that bad karma.) The thing is, such guys are experts at marketing and you don't realize you're in stormy, even dangerous waters until you can no longer see the shore. And since I, historically am not very good at knowing when to stop beating a dead horse, I found myself barely treading water a good number of times.

I've always looked back on these relationships with shame and regret. "How could I be so stupid as to be fooled initially, up front, then to stick around even after the truth was quite clear?" Just thinking of them, made me cringe and shudder.

Recently however, it dawned on me that if it weren't for one particularly smug, snively, misogynistic, mouth-breathing, bottom-feeding, bed-wetting (oops, getting carried away. . . . ) individual that I knew early in college, I might not have embraced so completely my love and loyalty to the Beatles. I was all in with David B, therefore I was all in with the Beatles. Basic math.

I love the Beatles, all four. With my favorite rotating fairly because they all have equal merit. In my opinion, Paul is the cutest, John was the most gifted, George was the most overlooked and underrated and Ringo was the drummer. Girls, at least this one, love drummers.

I was born in the sixties and should have already had a healthy exposure to the Beatles but I am from Yakima, so instead I was exposed to Glen Campbell, Donna Fargo and BJ Thomas. Knowing of the Beatles of course generally, it wasn't until the early eighties that I dove in head first. And it's all thanks to David. An intensely charming, disarming, magnetic, heart-melting, entrancing, beautifully long haired son of a bitch, who when he wasn't busy bewitching me could invariably be found mesmerizing some other stupid, naive, foolish, trusting, confused girl, who probably and conveniently enough for David, happened to be naked and nodding enthusiastically at the time.

Anyway. . . . .

I thought if there was an upside to David B, there should be an upside to any other unfortunate encounters from my previous lifestyle.

For example: Jeff S. introduced me to the daily crossword. Regardless of what else happened on any given day, the crossword puzzle was not negotiable. Some people need coffee or crack to get started each morning, Jeff had to do the puzzle. So I did too. I can't seem to be anything but "all in." We'd buy two papers and sharpen our pencils. Jeff, when he wasn't covertly visiting an ex-girlfriend for twisted nostalgia sex or waiting to get bailed out of jail for DUI, also taught me how to shoot pool. (Every mother's dream for her daughter.) So I've got that going for me.

It's true. I thank David B. for the Beatles, for ER Rogers, for Dirty Mothers, for ham bao, for Sunnyside Beach, for teaching me to use chop sticks, for the things that linger in my life as positive side-effects, in spite of David himself.

I thank Steve O. for Gasparetti onion rings (to go) and for getting that other girl pregnant so I can safely say "Whew, close one!"

And I thank Jeff S., whose mantra when it came to intercourse and intimacy was 'variety is the spice of life,' for Manhattans straight up and the silver linings that are left over from an otherwise torturous slice of my life. I am still pretty lousy at pool but at least I look like I know what I'm doing. And today I knew instantly what 13 across was.

Unfortunately there are others. I'm still trying to come up with the bright side of Gary (cringe) and Mel (shudder). How on earth is it possible that I could be such an idiot? Rhetorical question by the way, you can stop making that list.

A few nights ago, there was a PBS documentary on crossword tournaments. Who knew? And for a moment I was taken back to the newspaper folded into quarters and the haunting voice of Jeff yelling at me because I dared to use a pen and some of my letters were lower case. After the show I scoured the house looking for an old paper, so I could do a puzzle. It was great. I hopped into bed that night telling myself "I am totally going to do this crossword puzzle" all giggly and giddy. Then I took a look at some of the clues and amended that statement to "I am totally going to start this crossword puzzle." All the relaxing, intellectual challenge without the toxic company and verbal abuse. Win/win. So now I'm back on crosswords. At least one a day, sometimes more (all in again). Did you know there are usually two puzzles in the paper now days?

Times change and so do I.

10 October 2007

Much Ado

I have a special place in my heart for Michael Keaton.
(Translation:I have a serious crush on Michael Keaton.)

I really can’t elaborate much, mostly because I don't understand it myself.

He's no Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp (although according to IMDB.com he was considered for the role of Capt. Jack Sparrow).

Or the more seasoned Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford or Mel Gibson. But this is all good from where I stand, because being unlike these is a mark in his favor. I find myself drawn to his subtle, dry, intelligent humor. And the spark in his eyes when he grins doesn't hurt.

Do you know if he's married? Never mind.

Granted, he really hasn’t been in much recently, but in my world this is also a plus as opposed to a minus. I love this guy. He does a little something for me.

Does he have a pierced ear, do ya think?
As I was saying. . . .

Of course as with any actor, he has some good stuff and some ‘eh’ not so good stuff.

  • I can take or leave Batman.
  • He was hilarious in Night Shift, but a little over the top in my ideal fantasy land.
  • Beattlejuice was funny, but there weren’t enough Keaton scenes as far as I’m concerned.
  • The Paper was good but a bit too serious most of the time. (Randy Quaid was too funny.)
  • He was cute in Multiplicity but the movie itself was not good in my opinion.
  • My Life was all about him dying, that just made me sad.
  • I think Mr. Mom was a cute movie, but not a classic exactly.
  • He was also good in the movie, Live From Baghdad. Of course, this was a win-win for me, because I had read the book about CNN’s live trendsetting broadcasts from our first Iraq conflict back in the nineties. The book was fascinating (I recommend it), the casting of the movie was simply frosting on the cake as far as I was concerned.

My all time favorite Michael Keaton part is the role of Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Talk about not enough scenes, his role may qualify as a cameo, but I watch this movie strictly because of Keaton (although it has some of the best one-liners of any movie I know). If you haven’t seen his work in this movie, it’s the best. I recommed it just to see him. Even if you are not a Michael Keaton fan, I believe you’ll laugh.

Do you think he'd wear clogs for me? Hmmm, maybe . . . . anyway.

I work at a library and so wanting to know what other Keaton material we had in the system (it had been a while since I’d had a good dose), I did a search of our catalog.

An unexpected DVD came up in the search. A documentary that he narrates. Okay, not exactly my 'fix' of choice, but it piqued my interest anyway. Mainly because the subject of the documentary was Fred Rogers.

I have a special place in my heart for Mr. Rogers.
(Translation: I have such a profound appreciation and respect for this man that watching this DVD was a double jackpot.)

Apparently Micheal Keaton began his career working at a small public TV station in Boston that also employed Fred Rogers and they worked together in the early years. It was so cool hearing the admiration for Fred Rogers in the voice of Michael Keaton. The DVD was a bit predictable but wonderful all the same.

I grew up on Fred Rogers. Now I didn't exactly mention it to my friends on the play ground, but I watched him every day after school. Because of my skeptical, cynical nature even at that age, I know I didn’t benefit as much from the spirit and intent of the show as I could have, but I knew even then that it soothed my soul in some way. It was relaxing and reassuring.

When I was grown with children of my own, we watched it together.
When they were older and going to school, I’d watch it without them.

Well, ‘watch’ is probably not the right word. As I was folding clothes, making beds, posting teacher conference reminders, scanning PTA memos and peeling potatoes for that evening’s dinner, making the list of science fair supplies we’d be picking up from Lowe’s hardware and trying to get the glue stick detached from the carpet, calling the vet for the inevitable appointment in Velvet’s future and searching for unseen but inevitable Lego pieces and Barbie shoes from under the sofa I would listen to Mister Roger’s Neighborhood.

I was calmed by his voice, by the piano, by the songs of encouragement, by the words of truth. I was soothed like a familiar meditation. What ever the chores in my daily life, my world was quieted by Mr. Rogers.

Probably neither of these men will ever be in the 100 most Googled celebrities, but I am a fan. And I love the way the universe works and brought them together in their careers and in my affection.