Friday, August 28, 2009

Week in Pop Culture

Here's a sign I'm recovering: I've collected the REAL news for you! Enjoy!

Cindy Crawford has cellulite! I ♥ her!

Heidi Montag "performed" at the Miss Universe Pageant. I'm so glad I was watching "True Blood" and "Mad Men" instead of this train wreck.

Speaking of train wrecks...Melanie Griffith checked into rehab. SHOCKED! SHOCKED I SAY! (That's my attempt at a sarcasm font)

As if George Hamilton didn't already creep me out, knowing his "secret" to a youthful appearance rocketed him to the top of the creepy list!

Sheryl Crow sold her music catalog for $10 million. I wouldn't turn that down, but it seems awfully low. I think I could make that kind of money off my music catalog - and I'm a HORRIBLE singer!

More shocking news: Chris Brown assaulted Rhianna before the big blow up. Douche.

Lindsay Lohan's home was burglarized (again). Apparently, some embarrassing photos, videos and documents may have been taken. Really? Could they be more embarrassing than her latest work?

Crazy Train Update: Anne Heche is still on board.

VH1 has discovered that its reality shows aren't so good.

Natalie Portman likes her rap dirty and her cakes filled with ice cream. In other news, we might be related.

Jeremy Piven's fishgate is over. Who wins?

Kim Kardashian is working on a fragrance. I imagine it smells like ding dongs with a hint of desperation.

I've decided that Megan Fox is an attention whore.

And I'll leave you with this little gem:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Road To Recovery

I'm starting to feel better! It has been six long months, but I can finally see the light at the end of this tunnel!

Let me go back a bit to explain what's been going on.

Back in February, I started to notice that I wasn't hungry. In fact, it seemed no matter what I ate, I would feel stuffed for hours. It wasn't that, "Oh, I'm completely satisfied" full feeling. It was like I had just had a complete Thanksgiving meal - miserably stuffed. I didn't pay much attention at first. It wasn't until I went to the doctor in late March that I learned I had lost weight. She asked what I was doing and I said, "Not eating." I explained how I felt. She said I needed to go see my general physician for a diagnosis.

I don't exactly like going to the doctor, so I didn't have a GP at the time. So I made calls. I got on waiting lists (because what I was experiencing wasn't an emergency, I figured it could wait). I'd make more calls, choose another doctor, cancel the previous one. While all that was going on, I realized I was still losing weight. Pants no longer stayed on me. I really paid attention to what I was eating to see if a food allergy might be to blame for my lack of appetite. There was no obvious clue - a salad with non-creamy dressing, a single cookie, a bowl of soup - anything could leave me feeling stuffed for 24 or more hours.

Once I met my new GP and explained my symptoms, she zeroed in on two things: liver & gallbladder. Blood tests confirmed my liver was OK. Off for an ultrasound - which did not reveal any abnormalities. Then, the nuclear test which focused solely on the gallbladder. This was the least fun test. They injected nuclear chemicals into my arm, which somehow went straight for my gallbladder. I had to sit still for two hours while the chemicals slowly worked their way out of my system. Within days, I had a call from the doctor's office saying I needed to come in to discuss "gallbladder reduction." Note to any doctors reading this: I fully understand the need for HIPA, but having someone from your office call with that kind of information is not helpful. Either you call me directly or instruct someone to give me a general definition. Making me wait days to see you to explain that is incredibly nerve wracking!

The doctor explained my gallbladder was losing function. No stones. Just a dying organ. I met with a surgeon who was very patient with my million (or so) questions. The bottom line: nothing could make the gallbladder healthy - it would only get worse. There was no telling how long I'd have with it. I scheduled the laparoscopic surgery for last Wednesday.

I've never had surgery on my stomach. Right now, I have four small incisions on my belly, still covered with tape. I'm bruised. I'm swollen. I'm sore. But I no longer have that silly gallbladder inside me. And to prove that I had it removed, the doctor took a picture for me. Here it is:

My appetite still hasn't returned to normal. I'm eating small meals - 2-3 a day. I haven't dared eat a cheeseburger or some spicy, cheesy Mexican food as I just have no idea how my body will handle it. I'm like a science experiment now, waiting to see what each meal will do to me. Luckily, I have not had the nasty side effects of the surgery (if you're squeamish, look away NOW - I'm talking about diarrhea).

I'm looking forward to feeling completely better. I can't wait for this tape to fall off. I am excited about being able to get up (and sit down) without flinching from the pain. And, most importantly, I'm really excited about the next few months, when I've forgotten all about this surgery. Maybe I should start by taking down that surgery photo from my refrigerator...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nine Days, Eleven Movies

I took the week off because I needed to be able to do things without deadlines (well, at least not with firm deadlines like the ones I have at work). When I scheduled the time off, I had no idea that I'd need it just to try to relax and feel better (more on that in another post). So, I decided to do just four things for my own pleasure:
  1. Sleep whenever I want.
  2. Watch movies (that Netflix queue isn't going to shrink on its own).
  3. Read (books & magazines).
  4. Work on my book (I did - and added 1,200 words - which is a LOT! You try it!)
I mixed it up with the movies. I saw a little bit of everything. I discovered movies to add to my favorite list. I discovered some I would have never checked out on my own. And I realized Netflix doesn't always know me well. Here's what I watched (with no spoilers - PROMISE):

(500) Days of Summer
This was a movie I was most excited to see all summer! I had moments where I thought, "Ugh. With all the 100+ degree days we've had, the LAST thing I want is 500 days of summer!" Then, I remembered the girl, played by Zooey Deschanel, is named Summer. I loved every bit of this quirky, funny, sweet movie. The writing was clever. The acting was great. The music was also awesome. Maybe it's because this was the first movie I saw on my nine day challenge, but it was my favorite of the week! Super cute - but not too girly. I recommend this one!

Gran Torino
I rented this because I just love Clint Eastwood. I never made it to the theater for this one (it seemed too long). Once I got over the shock of Eastwood's Korean War Veteran brashness - and prejudice - I realized he's a man in pain. I have been lucky in my life to have known few people who are like this character. Maybe it's Eastwood's raspy voice or his eyes that seem to reveal his kindness, but I couldn't help but hope he'd see the error of his ways. Great story. I hope he's around for a long time so I can see more movies like this.

I had been meaning to see this one for months. I finally made it and am happy to report it was worth the wait! I didn't look at the time, but I would say I first cried within the first 20 minutes of this animated film (and before you get all snarky, YES, I CRIED REAL TEARS). I also laughed a lot. This movie made me want to get a collar for my dog to allow me to hear what he's thinking. Not that I think my dog has anything profound to say, but I think it'd be nice to hear him say, "Where have you been? I missed you!" and "Yes. I was a good boy. Now, where's my treat?" This movie got me. It made me want to go out and find a cranky old person and force him/her to be my friend. Oh. Wait. I have grandparents. I suppose could just call them. I also think one of these days I'll learn not to see a kid-friendly film early in the day. It's kind of hard to concentrate when you hear kids shout, "OOOH! Balloons! Puppies!"

Away We Go
This was another one I put off going to see. I don't know why I did that. This was funny and sweet. It made me wish I was a little more adventurous - willing to just pick a place and move there and if it didn't work out, keep on mapping until I found the right one. It did not make me want to do that pregnant (I'm not so don't go looking for a registry or anything). This film shows that you never really know what someone else's life is like until they let you in. And once you see it, you might wish you had looked the other way. See this one!

A Very British Gangster
My brother told me I should watch this one. It's a documentary about this British gangster (duh). Now, at first, I thought, "Wow! He's robbed armored trucks! Sweet!" Then, I learned he's gay. As I watched the young boys who surrounded him I wondered if he might be interested in them less for their hooligan ways and more for what's in their pants. The police kept finding ways to arrest this guy and he kept managing to walk away from the charges - for the most part. I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if he tried to set up shop in the US. I would think he'd probably get smacked around a bit. I was kind of bored through this one. But I did have one favorite moment: there was this kid, probably in his late teens, who was the "singer" in this gangster family (apparently, they all have one of them). He said, "I sing at funerals, wedding and acquittals - mostly acquittals." Then, they showed him performing Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." Seriously. GAYEST. GANG. EVER.

Let The Right One In
Mike recommended this one. I remembered him telling me it was foreign when I added it to my Netflix queue, but forgot that by the time it arrived in the mail. It took me about 45 minutes to realize the movie I was watching was dubbed. Then, I was too lazy to change the settings so I could read the subtitles. Then, the voices became comical - young boys sounded like teenage girls. This is a vampire movie. It's not "True Blood" or "Twilight," but it was good. A boy is a bit odd and is bullied. His vampire friend helps him out. There are plenty of disgusting moments in this one. Oh, and apparently, it's being made into a TV series (of COURSE it is). Watch this one with the bar set low and you'll like it. Expecting vampires like you've seen before and you'll be a bit surprised.

Sexy Beast
This one was recommended by Netflix. My experience with the recommendation has been hit or miss (with more misses than hits). But when I saw Ben Kingsley was in this, I figured I couldn't go wrong - when is he NOT amazing in a movie? He was raw and nasty in this. I liked it. He plays a gangster who does not take no for an answer - probably helpful in that line of work. The language was off the charts here. I don't have a problem with that as I have a bit of a potty mouth, too. Maybe it's seeing Sir Ben talk like that that made me giggle, or maybe it's the good writing and acting. I don't know.

The Bridge
This was another Netflix recommendation. I don't know what I've watched that made them decide I should watch a documentary about suicides, but I agreed to watch it. It is shocking to see someone plummet to his/her death from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Hearing the stories behind some of the jumpers made them human. It was heartbreaking to hear the tales of mental illness from family members who tried desperately to help these people. I know there are thousands of people who cross that bridge every day and never jump. But I just don't know why they don't build some sort of structure to keep people from doing that. I know suicidal people will find a way, but this bridge seems to be an ending point for people at the end of their rope - when no suicide hotline will help. Sad to watch, but worth it.

Julie & Julia
Seeing this movie after that sad documentary was the highlight of my day! Meryl Streep could read the phone book to me and I'd be happy. But her portrayal of Julia Child was amazing! And Amy Adams is great (as usual) as Julia - a woman who challenges herself too cook Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year and blog about it daily. For some reason, I didn't think about having a snack before I went to the theatre. Julie (my friend, not the Amy Adams character) reminded me the movie is about food. Friends, don't do what I did! Put something in your belly before you see this one! My craving for chocolate cake was overwhelming. I have always admired that cookbook, but seeing everything movie Julie went through, I think I've done the right thing by leaving it in the book store. My novice kitchen skills would not be able to pull off those delicious looking dishes!

Funny People
I had really low expectations with this movie. I mean, you put the word "funny" in the title of something and it can only disappoint, right? Despite the cast of people who are funny, I still wasn't sure I'd laugh much during this one. I found myself feeling sorry for Adam Sandler's character through much of the movie. I thought the other people in the film were much funnier, especially Eric Bana. I mean, that guy's known for such serious parts. Who knew he could do funny? I laughed plenty, and not just at the parts that were in the trailer (which didn't exactly make me hold my sides in laughter). This was certainly not my favorite film of the week. I'd put it right in the middle. But I'm sure I'll watch it again - just not in the theatre.

The Soloist
Every time I see Robert Downey, Jr., in a film, I am shocked. I mean, this is a guy who shouldn't even be alive! Maybe it's because I like to root for the underdog (and with a life like his, I have to say, I'm rooting for him to stay alive and keep turning out great work). But I can't think of a single film where he has not made me smile - at least of the ones I've seen. But I have to say Jamie Foxx is so good in this one! I think I prefer him playing real people. Yeah. No more fiction for Jamie. Just people who have lived these crazy, interesting and amazing lives.

I have put quite a dent in that ol' Netflix queue. Some day, I'll really make progress - or at least keep cutting out movies that have no business on that list so that it's not obscene. I'm not telling you how many movies Netflix is holding for me. I'll just say that I could watch a movie every day of the year and still not get through it.

If you think you can do better at recommending movies than Netflix, let me know in the comments section.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Week in Pop Culture

Mark Wahlberg got married.

I'm less interested in Jennifer Love Hewitt wearing a bikini while playing tennis than I am in her choice of footwear.

Just when I was beginning to respect Ryan O'Neal for how well he cared for Farrah, he has to go and do this - AND talk about it!

Now, you can look like Jessica Simpson - under your clothes. Whatever you do, DON'T show your boyfriend. He'll probably just dump you and tell his neighborhood security you're not allowed there anymore.

Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee might be back together again. I smell a sex tape. Wait. That's not what I smell.

That guy who was The Hulk on TV might be on "Dancing With The Stars." I hope it's true! I'd like to see what happens when the judges are mean!

Angelina Jolie looking less than beautiful - though not many people could pull off grey clay.

And maybe that's why she didn't make Vanity Fair's "Best Dressed" list.

Paula Abdul is not returning to "American Idol." Will it be worth watching without her wackiness? But she may have found another reality competition show to give her a paycheck.

Victoria Beckham, AKA Posh Spice, will be a judge on "Idol." So if she's qualified, so am I (don't let the fact that I've never actually "been in a girl pop group" get in the way).

WHAT!?!? "The Hills" is NOT real?

Cameron Diaz as Maria VonTrapp? PLEASE GOD, NO!

Don't cry for Jennifer Aniston. She's OK. Really. Whew. I almost lost sleep over that one.

Sherri Shepherd bravely walked out in a bathing suit on "The View." Lucky for us, her ginormous boobs stayed in the suit!

At his age, Steven Tyler should NOT be living on the edge of anything.

I'd like a Susan Boyle makeover. If I can't have that, can I have her airbrusher?

Sad news: John Hughes died! Here is a great tribute to him from his pen pal. And watch this to see his work wrapped up in just a few minutes.

I've Been Up To Something...

I'll tell you what it is later.

That's right.

I'm a tease.

I'm sure to disappoint with my week's adventures, but I hope you'll come back to see anyway!