Some of the crossword bloggers link to me, so I should say more about puzzles. One of today's NYT theme entries is
Here's one from earlier today: I almost lost the Panasonic electric pencil sharpener by jamming in a tiny stub which then wouldn't come out. Banging on the back and trying to edge it out with a paper clip didn't help, nor did sticking the point of the unfolded clip in the eraser and pulling. As I got resigned to buying a new sharpener (this one is at least 20 years old), the stub whirred and jiggled and moved back enough for me to pull it out. I immediately threw away all the other stubs I keep around. It killed me to discard perfectly good erasers, but I have stand-alone erasers and lots of other pencils with erasers.
I have a portable Sanyo sharpener that stopped working a while ago and is now discontinued, so I bought a generic replacement last year. I never used the new one, though, because it didn't work even after trying 2 sets of batteries. I just tried again - using different +/- configurations - and it still doesn't work. The batteries expire in 2012 so that shouldn't be the problem. Meanwhile, I never threw out the Sanyo so I just plugged it into an outlet to see if it recharges. (Update: Ooh, I think it's going to work. Maybe I hadn't noticed the slide-out plug prongs for recharging.)
I haven't finished any more books, but saw 2 movies and a play. After being quiet for a while, the TV org had invites for two screenings last week. I couldn't make "Journey to the Center of the Earth" but did see "Hancock." The guest I asked couldn't make it and it was getting late to RSVP so I went myself. The line outside the AMC Lincoln Square had people from other groups (including NY Women in Film & Television, which I'm wondering if I should join), but our organizer came around, checked us off on the list, and gave us 2 numbered blue tickets.
At the top of the escalator, someone looked into my bags checking for cameras (they're concerned about illegal recordings), but I was stopped again a few feet ahead by people seated behind a table. The man seemed skeptical that I didn't have a cell phone ("Not only didn't I bring it, but it doesn't exist!" I insisted) but did let me through. I was tempted to dump the entire contents of my bags on the table, but figured I'd never get invited to anything again so remained polite. Everyone else had to check their phones in special bags, so maybe that's what the tickets were for (I held mine, hoping for a raffle that didn't exist). I was happy later to breeze out while everyone else waited on a long line to retrieve their phones.
The auditorium was the same large one as our abbreviated Tribeca premiere. Almost the entire middle section was taped off for people with white tickets, so I took one of those isolated single seats on the side. I'm not sure who the white-ticketed people were, but eventually they filled the center. There were also extra-special VIP aisle seats with double rows of tape, I think for critics. I'm happy just to go to these things, but there's always some level of "you're not as important as THESE people." That's showbiz.
The movie? Will Smith plays Hancock, an atypical LA superhero - rude, drunk, sloppy, destructive. But he gets the job done. When he saves a P.R. exec from an oncoming train, the grateful man offers to improve his image, includes him in his family life, and things move along entertainingly. About an hour in, there's a twist and then some sci-fi mumbo-jumbo I'm not sure makes sense. Sigh, that's showbiz. Big, loud, and violent, with lots of broken glass.
While I'm not the ideal audience for Hollywood blockbusters, I'm also not the ideal audience for arty experimental films. Such a film (I can hardly call it a movie) was Yvonne Rainer's "Privilege," which I saw at MoMA yesterday. It focuses on menopause and female aging (always fun topics) as well as race and class, through a series of real and fake interviews and flashbacks with a skeleton of a plot. Tough going. Some people walked out, but I stayed for the end and Q&A with the filmmaker (who I was amazed to later learn was born 1934 - her dance experience must keep her looking fit).
Walking to 8th Ave. for the bus, I could see the lights of Times Square glowing a few blocks down as I passed 7th Ave. and Broadway. It's still exciting to me.
I ordered more AMC discount movie tickets. The cheapest source I found was through the Entertainment book for $6, good after the first 2 weeks. I got the last batch free with credit card points but don't have enough reward points from any source to do that right now. If I can get to the theater before noon Fri-Sun, it's also just $6 (for which I'd pay cash, since why waste a coupon?), but I never seem to be up that early.
I was up at 6 a.m. the other day and got a hot bagel at Times Square Bagels just after they opened. Unfortunately, I was up at that hour because I was STILL up from working at the Times all night. Two more weeks of puzzles were ready and I went after another event, and then slept most of the day.
Today I was up before noon in order to get to a play: "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" by Christopher Durang at Roundabout. At first, I had to get used to the theatricality (people don't talk like that!) but then it moved quickly and was absorbing. But still, a lot of theater lacks naturalness. You know they are ACTING.
I could have gone to "Umbrellas of Cherbourg" at MoMA afterward, but had work to finish so went home. I could have used an umbrella because it was pouring when I got off the bus. I almost got off much earlier to avoid an old, crazy guy (I assume someone yelling and screaming incoherently is crazy), but luckily he got off around Lincoln Center.
Oh, and maybe the highlight of the week (mentioned in a comment on Jeffurry's blog): the Associated across the street had Minute Maid Light raspberry passion! They hadn't had it since I discovered it there in the first place, 2 years ago. This is not an easy item to find, and I got 2 containers which are already finished.
The non-highlight of the week: homemade turkey burgers. I think I need to season them; plain-broiled tasted like dry hockey pucks.