In which I am needlessly brave…

…and exceedingly cowardly.

I was just getting ready for bed when I noticed a spider perched on one of the cabinets in my dressing/technology walk-through area (my apartment defies description). I quickly grabbed my designated spider-killing shoe (no treads for them to hide in) and, with a few squeals, dispatched with the intruder. I carefully (and at a distance) turned over the shoe, to make a positive ID on the corpse, only to be faced with…

…a small bit of grey string.

Which I then flushed down the toilet, just to be safe (in case the spiders have worked out some sort of cunning disguise).

I embrace my phobia; don’t you judge me!

ETA: I KNEW I WAS FEELING JUMPY FOR A REASON. A REAL, NON-STRING SPIDER HAS INFILTRATED MY HOME! HAD. HE IS DEAD NOW. I KNOW I SHOULD CATCH THEM AND TAKE THEM OUTSIDE, BUT I FEEL THAT TECHNIQUE REQUIRES ME TO BE WITHIN TOO CLOSE OF A RANGE FOR MUCH LONGER THAN JUST SHRIEKING AND ATTACKING BLINDLY WITH A SHOE ON MY HAND. ALSO, I DO NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THEM FINDING THEIR WAY BACK INSIDE.

THANK YOU, TREAD-FREE SPIDER-KILLING SHOE!

Fiction: Essays

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Now that I’ve read three (is that right?) in a row of his, I’m starting to see what Michael Ian Black was talking about (I’m pretty sure he’s sort of joking, but, either way, I can see why it’s funny [or true]). First I liked him, then I didn’t want to like him, and now, building on my desire to dislike him, I’m starting to wonder what it is that makes David Sedaris’ writing so special (more specifically, why he deserves an apartment in New York, one in Paris, and a house in Normandy). When I read his books, I keep thinking ‘I could write this!’ not unlike walking through MOMA or the Tate Modern and thinking ‘Well, I could paint a canvas red’ (or wherever it is – you know the one I’m talking about).

Of course, maybe that’s the true mark of the artist – you know how in the summer, when you watch Wimbledon and it’s Federer vs. Nadal and they just look so effortless that you just think ‘Oh, anybody can play tennis, heck, I could do that if I felt like getting off this couch.’ And then you debate getting up to get another Fla-Vor-Ice and try to convince your cat to do it for you instead.

But you get my point. Maybe the very fact that I’m starting to question Sedaris’ talent is the tip-off that he actually does deserve his romantic, jetsetting life.

In other Sedaris news, I think I may actually be his female counterpart (I’ve decided I’m not going to examine the fact that I want to dislike him – that could get pretty disturbing pretty quickly). Seriously. Not writing-wise, but, like, fundamentally, I’m starting to think we may be the same person. To wit, when lamenting his single status (shortly before meeting Hugh, his soon-to-be long-term partner):

Another part of the problem had to do with my long list of standards. Potential boyfriends could not smoke Merit cigarettes, own or wear a pair of cowboy bots, or eat anything labeled either lite or heart smart. Speech was important, and disqualifying phrases included ‘I can’t find my nipple ring’ and ‘This one here was my first tattoo.’ All street names had to be said in full, meaning no ‘Fifty-ninth and Lex,’ and definitely no ‘Mad Ave.’ They couldn’t’ drink more than I did, couldn’t write poetry in notebooks and read it out loud to an audience of strangers, and couldn’t use the words flick, freebie, cyberspace, progressive, or zeitgeist. They could not consider the human scalp an appropriate palette for self-expression, could not own a rainbow-striped flag, and could not say they had ‘discovered’ any shop or restaurant currently listed in the phone book. […] In terms of mutual interests, I figured we could spend the rest of our lives discussing how much we hated the aforementioned characteristics.

Now, it’s not the list of standards I identify with, but that last sentence – the thought that such petty things should be the basis for rejecting or pursuing a relationship. It’s probably human nature, but that’s what’s special about his writing – he makes me think ‘Yes, David, only I understand you. We are soulmates!’ when really everybody else reading it is thinking the same exact thing.

And again, Sedaris runs the gambit from laugh-outloud funny to literally crying (he was talking about having to put pets to sleep – what was I supposed to do?!). I have only Naked left (I haven’t decided about Barrel Fever as I don’t think I’ll like his stories as much as his memoir essays), but that’s okay because by the time I finish that one, there should be a new Temeraire book and then a new Artemis Fowl book (I’ve missed you, baby!).

My rating: A

ETA: Alas, my reading schedule has been thrown off by the new Georgia Nicholson book (how do these things keep sneaking up on me, I’m usually very on top of my book release dates?!).

Summer blockbuster tally, part 5

I actually saw this a few days ago, but I’ve been putting off posting about it because I still can’t decide what I thought of it. And I typed that last sentence a few days ago and still haven’t decided.

For starters, this is a much darker movie – darker like The Incredibles was dark, dealing with a quite scary (for the grown-ups, at any rate) premise, but I’m not sure it redeems itself. It ends on what is meant to be a hopeful note, though I’m not sure it actually is and is not really reassuring at all.

And that’s the root of my problem. Wall-E (the character) is really, really cute and whenever he did something funny, I’d start to laugh. And then I’d remember what started all this and I would start to think ‘Oh. It’s not really funny, is it?’ But I think I was meant to laugh and that’s what I find unsettling. There are also some other things that made me uncomfortable (the robots in the maintenance ward and what we evolve to [though that may just be me and my vague food issues]) and I think the filmmakers wanted me to laugh at them.

About ten minutes into the movie, I thought ‘Crap. I’m going to have to buy this movie.’ Not because I really think it’s one I’d enjoy watching over and over again (unlike Ratatouille or The Incredibles), but because I’m absolutely desperate to watch it with a director’s commentary (which Pixar usually provide). I have to know if they meant to unsettle their audience (the grown-ups – kids won’t realise what’s so scary about all this) or if that’s just me projecting my various fears onto the movie.

So, I’d say go see it – it’s interesting (both for the reasons I’ve talked about and the fact that Pixar have made an essentially silent movie into a summer blockbuster) and well done – but I’ll warn you that I spent much of the movie on the brink of tears for one reason or another. If I’d been at home by myself, there would have been crying.

Of course, all of these complex emotions and conflicting ideas may have all been down to the fact that I was drinking a grape Icee INSTEAD OF A BLUE ONE! Seriously, my moviegoing world has been turned upside down. What is the point of going to a movie if you don’t leave it with a blue mouth?!

Seriously.

My rating: 2-2-1

Semantics note: I’m calling this one a draw because I think it was a good movie, but I don’t think I enjoyed it and that’s really all that counts in the summer blockbuster tally.

Safety note: Avert your eyes during the previews. Beverly Hills Chihuahua will make you lose the will to live.