Even though I've freelanced often since being downsized out of my corporate job in 1996 (the TV work was full-time but had hiatuses when we weren't in production), I still feel like I'm playing hooky when walking around the city during business hours. It's a great feeling and I love love love semi-retirement, but sometimes I need to structure the day to avoid a sense of aimlessness.
This being New York, there are many possible events to put on the calendar, and that's without always looking at Time Out New York which would mean even more events. So today I considered seeing a documentary about the Congo in the nearby library or a $6 pre-noon movie at AMC ("Sex and the City" was the top contender) or something at MoMA... but I also wanted to process another week's NYT puzzles (we're getting ahead, which is great since I can plan things for Wednesdays instead of frantically finishing the puzzles that day to make the deadline).
I woke up too late for an early movie, could have seen the Congo film, but decided to get the work done. I got there just before the rainstorm which loudly pelted the 4th floor roof. I just missed being able to make a 6:30 MoMA movie, and could have waited around for an 8:15 showing but went home instead, just missing another storm that erupted after I was safely inside.
No culture today, but I did see 2 more movies this week:
"The Taking of the Pelham One Two Three" - This is the favorite movie of a puzzler. I'm not sure if that's because one of the criminals is shown doing crosswords, or if it's just a good action thriller. It was part of the MoMA "jazz score" series, and has a pumping David Shire score that sounds like the subway. At first, I felt that trapped feeling of "Why am I submitting myself to this scary, possibly violent scenario?" but the gunshots and tension were punctuated with genuine humor, and the movie was extremely New Yorky, with what looked like the real subway stations on the 6 line. I read later that a disappointing TV-movie remake was obviously shot in Toronto, and a new theatrical remake is in the works (WHY????).
"Notorious" - For a movie fan, I've seen surprisingly few classics and very little Hitchcock (just "Psycho" with a rollicking group in the 9 Furnald floor lounge senior year of college), so I was glad to add this to the list. I thought I was going to see "Chinatown" but when I arrived at the 58th St. library "Notorious" began instead. According to the NYPL site, that was supposed to be next week. Unlike the nice auditorium at the Donnell (soon to be demolished - sigh), this branch had a room with some chairs and an old-fashioned projector at the back aimed at the front wall. The sound was iffy and the reels rattled and shook. The projectionist said the print wasn't great, and we might not get through it, but after stopping and re-starting a few times, we made it. Not the best viewing environment, but the movie was intriguing and well done.
My reading was lower-brow (not that "Pelham" is high art, but it's well-regarded enough to screen at MoMA):
"Red Carpet Diaries: Confessions of a Glamour Boy" by Steven Cojocaru - I knew the author as a style columnist for People, and the dishy celebrity gossip did not disappoint though there's not much about his personal life. Like my father, "Cojo" grew up in Jewish Montreal. I'd heard he had serious health problems, but that happened after this book and indeed is the subject of a later book.
"Deep in the Heart of Texas: Reflections of Former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" by Suzette, Sheri and Stephanie Scholz - After watching the Cowboy cheerleader reality shows, this book was a natural. The authors are sisters who were all DCCs in the '70s-'80s, and their tales about drugs, anorexia, and kept women are page-turners. The football-mad, big hair, Texas mentality is foreign to me, but fun to read about.
Friday was cousin S's second birthday party, and since they live near the Strand, I couldn't not go there beforehand. I looked through most of the outside racks and picked up 8 books (4 from my want list) for $8. At one point, a guy remarked I was following him around. "I'm sorry!" I said, and he then said he was kidding. I guess he was flirting, but I was too busy looking for books. I also ordered even more books from my list from discount online vendors. Oy, where will I put them all? If I unpack the 2 remaining boxes of Nana dishes (inherited in 2000) which are piled in the kitchen, I could put books in those boxes without taking up any new space.
A review of "Women's Murder Club" in an 11/07 EW mentioned that Angie Harmon's character is "a wary divorcee forced to work with her nice-guy ex." This exes-working-together theme has become a cliche. I guess it allows for personal tension, but can't people just work with random other people without needing to have a history?