Odds and Ends: 2011 so far

Hello. It’s been a while since I last wrote something here. That was in early December. After that came the mad rush that was ‘The Holidaze’ and then after that was the month of January, famously my profession’s busiest month of the year. So, most nights over the past month, I have arrived home from work tired and exhausted. hoping something on television could hold my interest for a bit, never even thinking about the energy required to write. I think that mood has passed though, and now I decided to post some musings on what has happened so far in 2011.

* On Sunday January 2, Eddie and I attended the Redskins season finale against the New York Giants. We had great upper level seats that gave you a full view of the field. As usual, the Skins found a way to lose a game that they could’ve won, but nonetheless, Eddie and I had a great time, despite the performance on the field and the fact that for the last hour of the game our limbs were complete blocks of ice/

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I had a great time, and Eddie wants to do it again next season. We might, although I still believe that football is a game best watched on your couch with instant replay and a beverage in hand [that doesn’t cost eight dollars]. We’ll do it again, only next time, we’ll shoot for September/October instead of January.

* I don’t usually write here about work, but I want to take a second to state, for the record, that my boss is one of my favorite people, and that I truly admire and enjoy those whom I work with. This month has been crazy, as expected. The friends I work with help keep me sane and allow me to look forward to coming to work everyday to face whatever challenges may lay in wait.

*Keith Olbermann was fired by MSNBC. I’m still bummed about this and I really miss his show. I hope he lands somewhere soon.

* The Decemberists released a new album this month, ‘The King Is Dead’, and much to my dismay, it is currently number one on the Billboard Album Chart [The Top 200]. Congrats to them on a great album and on reaching #1! They are on tour right now, but so far no dates in Virginia. Hopefully when the weather warms up they add some more dates and I’ll go see them.

* Speaking of shows and tours, I haven’t seen any shows yet this year. Not really much out there that interests me at the moment. I am seeing both of Taylor Swift’s shows in Atlanta in July, and I plan on seeing one of her shows in DC n August, but I’ll write much more about that later. Eddie and I had talked about seeing Brad Paisley in Roanoke next month, but it’s on a weekday, and it is a long drive for one show so, that idea never really got past the talking stage. Anyway, when I start seeing shows, I’ll write about them here.

* One thing I have done several times this month is go to the movies, so here are some mini-reviews of what I have seen.

   True Grit — Saw this New Year’s Eve afternoon. Very enjoyable film. Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon get top billing, but the true star of this movie is Hailee Steinfeld, as Mattie Ross. I was thrilled when I read that she received an Oscar nom for her role. Much deserved. I’ll be rooting for her.

   The Fighter — Probably the most realistic depiction of boxing I’ve seen since Raging Bull. Christian Bale is a tour de force and is at times very tough to watch on screen. If you enjoy an underdog story without sap, this is a must see. Nicest surprise of this movie was seeing Melissa Leo [someone I enjoyed when I first saw her on the TV show ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ in the early 1990s] be completely transformed into mom Alice Ward. Stellar cast and a fantastic story.

   The King’s Speech — OK, I am going out on a limb here and say that the cast and writers of this film will wear out a path between their Oscar seats and the podium come Oscar night. Colin Firth once again embodies a role so well that I forgot it was him onscreen. Some moviegoers are turned off by British films, and I really don’t know why. This film has no explosions, no violence, no sex, but what is does have is a great script, a cast of A-List actors and, like The Fighter, it’s a true story. A great film that I probably will see again before Oscar night, just because it is that good. Thanks to Dana and Annette for seeing this movie with me. The company helped make for a fantastic movie-going experience.

   Black Swan — Whereas the other movies I mentioned are truly no-brainers when it comes to Oscar nods, Black Swan is something different. It is a very intense psychotic thriller that you are either going to love and never forget [that’s how I feel] or you’re truly not going to understand and wonder aloud why this film is up for eight Oscars [that’s how the other eight people who were in the theatre when I saw the film felt, and their snickering and loud protests made their feelings no secret]. I was mesmerized by this disturbing portrayal by Natalie Portman of a dancer’s battle with her inner demons. Those of you who know me know that I have liked Mila Kunis since I saw her on That 70s Show, and in this film, she leaves no doubt that she is going to be a breakout movie star. Black Swan is definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy thrillers where the line between reality and madness is blurred, this is an unforgettable film.

So that’s my 2011 so far. I’m looking forward to the Super Bowl, NASCAR and, above all Baseball Season. There will be more posts about those things in the weeks to come.

Thanks as always for reading.