Category Archives: favorite

Pretty in Pink

We have HBO again, now that the Sopranos are back.

Yeah, premium channels! I scanned through the movies for stuff I’ve been wanting to see and impulsively taped Pretty in Pink which I have not seen in I don’t know how long. Has to be over 10 years.

It was released in February 1986 which means I was basking in the light at the end of the tunnel of my college education. I have zero memory of my first time seeing the film but I suspect I liked it a lot because I loved Sixteen Candles (84) and Breakfast Club (85) and had some sort of girl crush on Molly Ringwald which is hard to imagine right now.

Two things I do remember about Pretty in Pink was being hypnotized by her amazing accessories drawer, shown in the opening credits and the soundtrack.

On the former: she was poor, yet had oodles of beads and hats and belts. I wanted those accessories. I think I still have the single extra-long strand of plastic “pearls” that I bought for .99¢ at Express at the mall. My quest to amass an impressive accessories collection ended quickly probably because I wanted to spend my money on other things, I was too lazy to scope out thrift shops and garage sales and I didn’t really want another box of crap to lug around every time I moved.

I obtained the soundtrack through a prehistoric method of illegal song sharing that involved taping a vinyl recording onto a cassette tape. I listened to it in my car for years. Psychedelic Furs, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Echo and the Bunnymen and New Order. Still a classic.

My intent in watching the movie now was to see how well it holds up after 20 years and the answer is: I don’t know. Am I watching as my grown up self who no longer squanders valuable brain real estate worrying about accessories or the politics of being under 25, or as my 22 year old self who wanted to have cool bracelets and a cute guy to notice me and oh God, was a fully functioning human being in the 80’s which are flawlessly preserved in this film in a way that is simultaneously horrifying and exhilarating. (Hair! Clothes! ak!)

The story was then and still remains, completely stupid. A girl from the wrong side of the tracks, which is hamfistedly driven home by an establishing shot of a train chugging slowly across the screen and passing in front of a dilapidated shack, falls for a cute, rich guy, played by Andrew McCarthy who between this movie and St. Elmos Fire, we all loved and then something happened and then there was Weekend at Bernie’s and we drove him from our minds, seemingly until forever and then there was Kingdom Hospital and we remembered him and swooned all over again. The guy likes the girl. The girl wants to go to the prom with the guy. But oh, the other mean rich kids, mainly Steff, played in a classic pouffy haired performance by James Spader, try to drive the young lovers apart.

This is a staple of movie and TV plot development where high school is a world of absolute black and white cruelty. I remember high school. I didn’t love it. Yes, there were cool kids and not cool kids. Yes, there was meanness. But I never saw anything like the scene you see in every show where a cool kid will walk up to a not cool kid, trip him as he carries his lunch so that all the other cool people can laugh at him and then tell him that he’s hated because he’s [fill in the blank: poor, smart, of a certain ethnicity, of a certain religion, fat, handicapped, other]. I never saw anyone go to elaborate lengths to publicly humiliate a kid just because he was a nerd or especially because he was poor. The whole rich v. poor thing is more subversive than that and not like it disappears after high school.

Stupid story aside, what makes the movie so watchable is Duckie and to some degree, Iona (the loopy boss at the record store). Who didn’t love Duckie? He had his own funky intro music. Remember the scene when he’s in her room aching with his teen adoration for her? When he tells Harry Dean Stanton he plans to marry her? The Otis Redding number?

“I live to like you” he tells her after he finds out she’s going out with the rich guy and his little Duck heart is broken.

As legend has it, the original ending was to have Andie and Duckie end up together but TEST AUDIENCES which much be a euphemism for dumbasses wanted Andie to end up with major appliance named, Blane. So Andie goes off with Blane at the prom and Duckie’s consolation prize is a winking Kristy “I Ran Off with My Married Skating Partner” Swanson. I still hate the ending.

Two more things if you’re still here reading what has turned out to be a marathon post:

Did you not cry when you saw that abomination of a prom dress Andie made out of the adorable dress Iona gave her? Tragedy.

I thought I blogged about this but can’t find it now. Veronica Mars did an episode where they had an 80’s dance. Meg had on this horrible dress and I was thinking: it looks like that terrible prom dress in Pretty in Pink. At the dance, Duncan appears, dressed as Duckie which was when I figured out Meg’s dress was supposed to be the horrible prom dress in Pretty in Pink. To add an extra layer of irony to the whole thing: here we finally get to see a version of Andie end up with Duckie, yet on Veronica Mars we don’t want Meg to end up with Duncan. We want it to be Veronica (to end up with Duncan)

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Born to Be Wild

Finally, here’s the Las Vegas scoop. The story always loses steam over time. We’ll see how I do now.

Heidi and I cruised into Las Vegas on Thursday (Mar 2) for a long-planned kick back weekend. I think the highlight was dancing on the bar at Pink Taco next to Paris Hilton with my skirt over my head. Then some chubby tan guy named Sal asked me if I wanted to sit in his lap. Just kidding.

Paris, Las Vegas Heidi's Head Caesars with Treasure Island

The only thing that would have made it 100% perfect would have been pool weather. But it was 60’s and I was outside without a coat which was good enough for me.

Heidi and I used to hang out in the 80’s rocker daze so this was like the Return to Greatness Tour. HA. More like the Can We Stay Up Past Our Bedtime? Tour.

I asked if she might want to stop by the Hard Rock or would that be too cheezy? And she said, “The cheezier, the better. Maybe there’s a band playing.”

So I check out their website and turns out, The Cult is playing on Friday night. Could we possibly be so lucky? We saw the Cult back in 1990 at the Universal Amphitheater.

The Cult April 1, 1990

Friday night we’re standing in line at the Hard Rock. A woman came up to Heidi and asked what we were standing in line for. Heidi: The Cult. The Woman: SHUT UP! I totally saw them in college.”

Show was sold out. We plodded along in a line that stretched around the casino. We pass a guy with a broom who is sweeping up a broken beer glass by a machine. The patron plays on, barely lifting his feet. I tell Heidi I saw a guy at our hotel who won 14,000 on nickel slots. We try to figure out how much this is. Not as impressive as it sounds. But, better than a sharp stick in the eye.

The line drags beyond time. Arrogant attorneys behind us. (“If he was smarter, he wouldn’t be a cab driver in Vegas.”) Everyone at Hard Rock looks like someone. I see a Bono-be, a Nikki Sixx-be, a David Spade-be (?, yeah, I know). The attorneys tell a story about the bar at the Hard Rock at 4am. It’s all high class call girls and super desperate men. One guy asks if they try to kick out the call girls and the other guy says, they’re like cockroaches. You step on one and three more come in.

We finally get into the club and zoom toward the front of the stage. We both have earplugs. This is how far we have come.

Above the stage is a sign that says: Humanity is Instrumental.

If anyone knows what that means, please email me.

The Cult March 3, 2006

There are huge screens up by the stage and Verizon is kindly hosting text messaging to the screen. Damn! Why haven’t I signed up for this? What could I get away with? The crowd is an odd assortment of the rote alpha male in uniform: jeans, starched buttoned shirt, untucked, and short hair spiked with product. 90% of the men in Vegas look like parodies of men in Vegas. A good number of women in absurdly tight pants, low waist with muffin top bulging over. There are goths with clove cigarettes, men with strange beard configurations. Not a lot of Heidi and me “we were actually there 16 years ago” types — but a few.

The band finally rolls out and to be honest, for the first 5 minutes it’s pretty Spinal Tap. The guys look like, “Fuk, I’m here to pay the rent.”

That spazzy girl that’s at every show is in front of us, pumping her fist with her now flabby tricep, flipping her hair and turning back to mouth the words to us. I wish I’d killed her 20 years ago when I had the chance. A guy with no hair grabs her ass.

The band comes to life after a few songs and the show is drop dead awesome. I remember almost every song. A highlight of the weekend. The only Cult I own is on vinyl. Maybe I’ll download that instant Cult show from the Internet.

Instant Cult

Most of the weekend was spent wandering around shopping and finding food. We bought Heidi a pair of Dansko’s, the best shoes known to woman. Did you know there’s a store in LV that sells 4 floors of crap with M&Ms on it? And it was PACKED? Even George Lucas has sold his soul to the devil/M&M and you can find stuff with Jedi M&M’s (which admittedly, was kind-of cool). Also in the Aladdin shops they have a “show” which is a rain storm and I actually stood there and waited for it and watched it. Seriously. Like I can’t do that at home?

Later we made a new friend. We stopped for a refreshing adult beverage and met a charming Irishman at the bar.

New Irish Friend

We had a good visit. It was his first visit to the States. We had a great conversation, not interesting enough to summarize here but I will say that at one point he told us that they call Condi, “daughter of Chuckie.” HILARIOUS. I can’t wait to visit Ireland.

I broke even. Better luck next time.

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Valentines in History

The first time I had a boyfriend and Valentines Day at the same time, I was a senior in high school.

I took him to Love’s Barbecue. My memory’s a little fuzzy on the details but I seem to recall Love’s BBQ being a big chain, at least in southern California. My web research reveals only two locations now, neither the site of the date I’m about to share with you. You’d think a place called Love’s BBQ would go on forever.

Love’s had some sort of lovers special for Valentine’s Day and I made reservations for this. It probably involved ribs and coleslaw for two with a sundae for dessert. Sadly I don’t remember the specifics but I do remember this:

At some point during our meal, the manager came out and introduced himself. He was a sort of big and sweaty guy and seemed sort of nervous. Since we signed up for this lovers special, he was presenting us with a certificate of our love. And I remember people in the restaurant watching this and smiling. And I remember my teenaged “it’s all about wonderful me” mind noticing the nervous manager and smiling people and how these must be glances of envy and admiration, what with us being so young and adorable with our whole lives ahead of us.

What I realize now is that all of those people could barely keep themselves from laughing to death. Can you imagine? A certificate of our love. The manager probably sat in the back clutching his belly and laughing until tears squeezed out of his eyes. No wonder he was sweaty.

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Someone Other Than Me

A couple of weeks ago I read an article – I think I saw it in the NYT magazine but I’m not sure and way too lazy to look it up for you now. The point was division of labor among the sexes and about how historically and through most cultures the job divisions were more or less the same. The men went out hunting and the women stayed home and tended the fire. The explanation was that women need to keep the kids safe. If you’re out hunting seal in your kayak, you can hardly have kids hanging around.

The article went on to talk about more contemporary issues, which I won’t go into detail here except for one which caught my eye which was how men don’t like to do housework because the women tend to criticize how they do it. Also that men sometimes do a poor job intentionally so that they can get out of doing it in the future. This intentional thing I totally buy into which was why when pretty much the 2nd time I’ve ever seen my husband pick up the vacuum and 5 seconds later a fuse blew and the vacuum was broken, I suspected foul play. I think it was subconscious foul play, but foul play nonetheless.

I took the vacuum in to get it fixed but warned him that he wasn’t finished with vacuuming, but next time could look forward to more supervision. Meanwhile, my house has not been vacuumed in over two weeks and has been driving me nuts. He brought home our freshly fixed vacuum, UNDER WARRANTY! on Saturday because I strongly urged that he should do this and not because he thought of it himself.

Tonight as I was climbing out of the car after work he was bringing in the garbage cans and he had a sly look on his face. I said, “What’s up?” and he said he had a surprise for me inside and he thought I would like it. I kid you not I jumped up and down and let out a girlish squeal and said, “Did you vacuum?”

“I haven’t been home that long,” he said (wearily). Instead he brought home tortilla crowns for our taco salad dinner which was indeed very exciting but nearly as exciting as having my house vacuumed by someone other than me.

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Perfect Pass

I’ve been doing morning writing projects where I pick a random topic and write until I seize on a memory and then scribble about it in as much detail as I can remember. For example, a couple days ago my topic was swimming pools and I wrote about swimming in RB’s pool with the yellow fish on the bottom way back when I was in about 2nd grade.

Today’s topic was boyfriends and I wrote about my first boyfriend FR. A lot of details were fuzzy which is probably a good thing. I vaguely recall meeting him around that elementary school in Oak Park I think AZ and I did gymnastics on the lawn over there. I don’t remember how we (me and FR) ever ended up going together.

This was when I was 16 and for our first major “date” we went to the beach. I think a large part of my appeal to him was that fact that I had a car. I guess he must have been used to going to the beach with the guys because the first thing we did was play catch with a football. This is what I get for dating a jock, the one and only jock of my dating career. Look at my wee girl hands. I can barely hold a football, much less throw it. He’d drive a hard pass at me which I’d catch (sometimes, if I kept my eyes open) with a THWUMP that knocked the wind out of me and painfully smashed my boobs. I’d dutifully lob it back. He must have gotten tired of it landing about 6 feet in front of him because we switched to Frisbee.

How do you aim a Frisbee? I’m sure it’s possible since there are Frisbee games that require a certain level of precision and other people seem to enjoy throwing and catching them. Even dogs can catch them. Not me. I am bad at throwing and catching things. Again, like a sport, I’d give it a whirl and it would float off on a course of its own, yards away from my target. Or else it would flop straight down in a spray of sand. He’d run after it, pick it up and spin it back and it would float gently straight for me, bounce off my forehead and into the sand in front of me.

You can see why we ended up eating grapes and mashing on the blanket.

As I wrote this I grew a tad embarrassed, thinking that if I had such a date now, I would probably apologize for being “so lame” but at the time I was so stressed out about how to act on a first date it didn’t occur to me that I was anything less than a perfectly fun time. Then I thought, WTF? Do you think he felt apologetic for clobbering me with a football? What kind of guy plays football with a date, anyway? Shouldn’t he have been apologizing for not wanting to hang out in the beach chairs reading Great Expectations (me, junior honors English) and Tom Sawyer Cliff Notes (him, sophomore remedial)?

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Manapua Cobbler

Yesterday I tried to make manapua and I’m no expert on the correct names and origins of this food but generally I think you could also call this hum bao or bao buns or steamed buns. I have never made this before or seen anyone make it, but my cousin Lisa told me she made them once and it was easy.

So I made the filling and that went fine. I didn’t like the recipe’s filling so I invented my own which was chicken and pressed tofu baked in homemade bbq sauce and then minced carrot, turnip, onion and mushroom sauteed in a bit of bbq sauce and mixed with the tofu/chicken.

Then I made the dough and that actually turned out okay too except it seemed to need an awful lot of flour and I had a tough time getting it all mixed in and the recipe said to be careful not to knead too much because you didn’t want gluten to form.

I did all the steps, did the dough rise, rolled out my dough, filled em up and here’s where the problem came in. The recipe guy said he steamed them in a bamboo steamer in his wok. Since I don’t have a bamboo steamer or a wok, I decided to use the steamer insert in my soup pot. He said he did 12 at a time, two layers of six, but as I made mine I thought, “Hey, I can fit 12 at a time, in two layers,” and I packed them all in elbow to elbow.

So when I did the rise, the buns all fused together into a giant lump of dough and then when I did the steam/cook part, the only part that cooked was the bottoms and along the sides. Then when I took them out, the individual buns were all stuck together and when I tried to separate them, the filling flew out. So bascially I ended up with a manapua dough cobbler. We threw them on a cookie sheet and baked them in the oven and salvaged them somewhat. But I was quite disappointed as this was a fairly labor intensive meal. At least I know what I did wrong for next time.

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