Going, going…

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sigh. Since 10 p.m. PST last night, I’ve been on the move. Early this morning I arrived at National Airport, went to my apartment to drop off my bags, dashed back out for a dental appointment, and then went to work. Now I’m back. Finally, I can stop and sleep.

As the page turns

DALY CITY, CALIF. — Today my mom and I stayed home. It reminded me a bit of childhood days spent at home for summer vacation, when time stretches and yawns before you like a lazy cat. I finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Wow. This is definitely a Great American Novel. It’s sweeping and almost epic, and deals with coming to America (New York in the 1930s, no less) with a comic-book dream, striving to realize it, dealing with both disappointments and triumphs, and so forth. It has a few tedious and wandering passages, but on the whole I liked it a lot. I think it would make a good movie, and I’m pleased to read on Michael Chabon’s website that the book is being adapted for Paramount Pictures, with Sydney Pollack as director. The next book I may take on is Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi, recent winner of the Booker Prize.

Leavin’ on a jet plane. Late tonight I leave on the red-eye to D.C. with an obligatory layover in Newark, N.J. — but not before I get to Jack in the Box and have a tasty Sourdough Jack and seasoned curly fries — and it’s back to work, and a dentist’s appointment tomorrow. I know, exciting. But unlike the traveler in the song to which I allude, I do know when I’ll be back again: Thanksgiving, in about two weeks.

Up and away!

Autumn fog

DALY CITY, CALIF. — Here I am on the West Coast. The past few days have been lovely. First, some preliminary observations. Friday morning, I watched some of CBS’ The Early Show, which I never usually see. Though I previously thought Julie Chen’s stints as host on Big Brother were a step down from any semblance of her journalistic integrity, I had gotten so used to seeing her on BB3 this past summer, that now I can’t take her seriously in any context. She was reporting on the U.N. resolution on Iraq, and I kept waiting for her to use the words “houseguest” or “eviction.”

Inflight entertainment. I watched the first half of Scooby Doo en route from D.C. to Houston, before I gave up on it. I love the cartoon series, but this adaptation was not fun to watch. However, the second flight onwards to San Francisco was a treat, with The Importance of Being Earnest as the featured movie. Fabulous. Also, the WB must have some sort of deal now with the airlines, ’cause afterwards they showed an episode of Reba. Blah. For kicks, I watched it with the Spanish audio, and it was actually entertaining.

Friday. I helped my parents set up their (by extension, I will say “our”) new Dell computer, on which I am working at this very moment. It’s quite swank compared to our previous clunker of a machine. Whee. Mmm, CD burner.

Saturday. Fun-filled, action-packed day. I drove down to the Dana Street coffee house in Mountain View and met up with the barkada: Sandro, Adrienne, Rebecca, Jeff, and Subarna. From there we set out to Grant County Park in San Jose. It was quite a long and winding road up to the park high in the hills, but the views on the way are spectacular. Despite the so-so weather, we had a great picnic, highlighted by pumpkin cake for Adrienne’s birthday. (I’ll post pictures when I get back to D.C.) Afterwards, we drove back down to Palo Alto to rent a movie, and watched it at Stanford. Kissing Jessica Stein: this was my second time seeing it; it’s a cute movie. Check it out. And to cap off the evening, we had pizza at Amici’s in Mountain View. Ah, good friends and good food. Does it get any better?

Sunday. My dad’s birthday. We had a nice dinner at home. My aunt and her family joined us for lots of good Filipino food, mostly from Goldilocks on Callan Avenue. It’s been a long time since I’ve had Filipino food, and so much food at that. Yay.

Finally fall

Hallelujah, it’s raining… Republicans?! Yikes. It’s at times like this that the whole thing about D.C. not having any congressional voting rights really bugs me. Oh well, at least President Bartlet won on The West Wing, right? And I had wondered how they were going to write Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) off the show, and I think they’re handling it pretty deftly with his interest in a congressional race in Southern California.

Who’s creek is it anyway? I also watched Dawson’s Creek, as usual. It only occurred to me about forty-five minutes into the episode that Dawson himself hadn’t appeared at all. And you know what? I didn’t miss him. Jack was smart and turned away his romantically interested, closeted professor. Instead he’s going out with new guy David. TWoP tells it like it is: “He’s possibly getting the party started with Tiny, Gay, Elfin David, who is now my favorite character on this show. No, really. He is. He’s, like, normal and charming.” Which is more than can be said about the rest of the neurotic bunch. But yeah, the banter between the two was actually cute. This better turn into something.

Finally fall. This morning I was momentarily entranced by the view from my office window. It’s more picturesque than usual, with trees turning autumn colors as far as the eye can see. If I remember to bring my digital camera to work one of these days, I’ll take a pic.

‘Survivor: Congress’

“I love it in there. I drag it out, leisurely punching the names I want as if sipping whiskey in front of a fire.”

— Sarah Vowell, on the pleasures of the voting booth,
in The Partly Cloudy Patriot

Really, can we vote people off the Capitol? Well, despite the rain and an avowed sense of apathy, I voted. I have to say, I did experience a slight pang of appreciation for the very peaceful (read: boring?), orderly, and democratic (no Florida jokes, please) process of voting. The area surrounding the ballot machine was kept clear. I went to insert my completed ballot, and when the person behind me in line didn’t see the “stop here” marker on the floor and thus continued to walk up behind me, the clerk said to him, “Step back. Confidentiality, you know.” Ah, the sanctity of the ballot box.

Adam suggests this would’ve made a great SNL sketch. I’d turn around, ballot in hand: “Best step back, yo. Don’ choo be steppin’ to me.” Ha. And we’d get Maya Rudolph in there as the ballot clerk, reprising her big-haired Jersey girl role (in which she previously played an airport security screener and post office clerk). But I digress.

Schlock box. Al Gore is scheduled to host Saturday Night Live on December 14. Yikes. (Well, I suppose some good can come of it, if Darrell Hammond gets to do his spot-on Gore impression: “In my plan…”) The WSJ‘s Opinion Journal makes the point that other politicians, including Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, John McCain, and Bob Dole, have appeared on SNL. All ran for President in either 1988 or 2000. And all lost to one George Bush or another. Cue the Twilight Zone theme, thanks. (Speaking of Dubya, there’s a HBO documentary on tonight called Journeys with George. Critics seem to like it.) But I suppose McCain and Gore prove there isn’t an SNL curse. They had already lost their election with neither the help nor hindrance of the venerable but cracked-and-peeling institution that is Saturday Night Live. I tell you, hosting SNL just ain’t the gig it used to be. Of course I say this as if I have Lorne Michaels on speed dial.

Last weekend’s episode with Eric McCormack was just all right. It’s maddening to see a great actor like him in less-than-great (okay, I’ll say it: crappy) sketches. The “boobies” song? And what was with the bullhorn in the courtroom? There were brief glimmers of something approaching comedy in the Bachelor and “celebrity game” sketches. The American Morning/Paula Zahn thing was okay, but as one message-boarder suggested, it might have been funnier if they spoofed a more widely known program like the Today show. Oh well. I’m just happy Eric is getting more screen time.

In related W&G cast-member news, Sean Hayes stars as Jerry Lewis (and Jeremy Northam as Dean Martin) in the CBS TV-movie Martin and Lewis, airing Sunday, November 24. Unlikely casting, eh? Both are great actors, though, so I’m sure they can pull it off. (Oh, shush.) Here’s a cute pic.

More TV notes. Tonight, 24. I know, I should take in Buffy or Gilmore Girls as well. Tomorrow, CBS will pre-empt The Amazing Race with the Country Music Awards. Grr. Ah well, I’ll console myself with The West Wing. And make note of the special forty-minute episodes for this Thursday’s Must-See TV: Friends (8 p.m.), Will and Grace (8:40), and Scrubs (9:20). Take that, Good Morning, Miami!

Streaming at the top of my bandwidth. Thanks to Real’s CD Listening Parties page, I’ve been listening to OK Go a lot lately. Pretty good. And right now I’m playing Diana Krall’s Live in Paris. Fabulous. There’s a DVD of the concert, and it’s on my wish list. (Check out the blurb for Laura Pasini. “Italy’s Celine Dion”? Is that supposed to make me want to listen to her? Okay, fine, in the interest of fairness, I did listen to a few tracks. They’re right. It’s the same middle-of-the-road easy-listening drivel.)

I also checked out Hostage (directed by John Woo), the latest short film in The Hire series at BMW Films. Good stuff. I do like Clive Owen, and while it has a well-crafted, tightly wound plot (like most good short stories), they all feature BMW cars, here the Z4 Roadster. I want one now. Like, really bad. But like, bloody likely. So I guess the film-as-advertisement angle worked. (It’s at least sleeker and less obnoxious looking than the Z3).

J’accasse

Johnny Knoxville at La Grenouille in ManhattanI’m not planning to see Jackass: The Movie any time soon (or at all, really), but I did find today’s Times article on Johnny Knoxville and the accompanying photo interesting enough. Bookish? Who’d a thunk it?

On the media. The Seattle Times comes to some conclusions on why ticket prices to big-name concerts have been skyrocketing. The Chron tracks a slowing trend in internet pop-up ads, but says “rich media” ads are on the rise. Ugh. I hate those. Especially the MSN 8 ones that take up the whole screen.

Waiting in the wings. In theater news, Elton John and director Stephen Daldry will collaborate on a musical adaptation of Billy Elliot (Daldry’s directorial film debut of 2000), which may appear on the London stage as early as next year. Also in early development for the theater is Disney’s The Little Mermaid, to be directed by Matthew Bourne, whose modern, male production of Swan Lake I absolutely love. So it better be good. I know there’s a level of cheesiness built in, but if he, known mainly as a choreographer, can bring to Mermaid some of the exuberance that Julie Taymor brought to The Lion King, I’ll be happy. And lastly, the Jeff Awards?!

Check out that package. I look at all the clutter in my apartment, and wonder, why are cases for DVDs so much larger than they need to be? I suppose it’s to align the DVD format with VHS tape, and differentiate it from audio CD. But still, I feel like chucking all my DVD cases, and keeping the discs in a CD holder — I won’t, though, ’cause I know all that plastic will just relocate to some landfill, and sit there for a millenium or two.

As an aside, remember how CDs used to be sold in boxes twice the size of the actual CD? The first CD I ever bought was Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation, and I might still have the box somewhere in my old room at home. (I just looked up the original release date: September 1989. Wow. I was 12. What I won’t admit as readily is that the other CD I purchased at the time was Vanilla Ice. I’ve long since gotten rid of that, though.)

Robin! To the voting booth! Tomorrow, it’ll be time once again to rock the vote. It seems to be a relatively dull election season here in D.C. Since it looks like the top posts will stay in the hands of the incumbents, the only other big races are for city council… and how do you get excited over that? Well, I suppose I should be more aware of local D.C. politics, but it’s hard to focus on that in a place where national politics are so visible. Eh, I usually just vote a straight Democratic ticket anyway.

Just Jack. A TV note: W&G‘s Sean Hayes will be on with Letterman tonight. Ah, those blue eyes. He’s really great in interviews, like he’s having so much fun.

Blah

Nothing of note in Jeffland today. My domestic achievement was dusting the ceiling fan. Now I’ll watch Alias, and call it a night.

Wait, I just saw a commercial: Barbara Walters is interviewing Justin Timberlake on 20/20. Yikes. Ah, and that holiday “happy life” commercial for Target is on now. Swank.