Friday, July 30, 2010

My week thus far in pictures...

On Tuesday, I went to Bryant Park after work to unwind with my crossword. I had this mental image of myself lying sprawled on the lawn with all the reflective buildings gazing down on me as I raced through the empty boxes with my pen, finishing the crossword before dusk. In my Bryant Park fantasy, I was intellectual and content.

The reality: The lawn was closed so I sat on a hard, butt-numbing wooden bench with no back. I was almost stung by a bee. A couple sitting in front of me seemed to think that they were in a cheap motel room. I gave up on my crossword early – I'm not even smart enough to get through Monday's very-easy edition – and almost fell asleep doing it because 3:30 a.m. was the time I went to bed the night before. At least I got the "reflective buildings" part right.

On Wednesday, I decided to go to Central Park to try and catch the Black Keys on SummerStage. I didn't have tickets to the concert (that would have required spending money) nor did I really have a plan. I tried to get someone to go with me but no one really wanted to stand outside a concert venue looking in, trying to get a glimpse of a band they don't really care about. So I went by myself. I found a giant rock outside the concert area that had a ton of people on it and there was a spot on it with a clear ("clear" is a relative term) view of the stage, so I was just perched there. This would be the second day in a row that my butt lost feeling.

I don't have a photo of this, so this will have to suffice:

Yes, I'm cool - why do you ask?

I actually didn't think it was that weird for me to be there by myself, but other people did because they asked me why I was there by myself. I had zero expectations for this, did minimal planning, and in the end felt blessed that I was able to hear everything, much less see 'em.

Here's my view:

They sang a lot of stuff from their new album, which I don't really know but it was still really good. Toward the end, they played "Your Touch," and it was great. I don't usually go to concerts because I just don't really know music, but when I do know and like a song at the rare concert that I attend (peer in from outside of), I feel like the band is playing that song just. For. Me. It feels fucking awesome.

All in all, The Black Keys rocked, even from a distance, and I think next time I'll actually shell out money to see them.

Finally, I saw this today:

Media rivalries always strike me as petty, but they are also hilarious. Probably because they are so petty. Although, this message probably would haven been more effective if it wasn't parked right outside the Times building. "Ooh, yea, you really told 'em, NYT."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cannonball Read #28: The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie

This book is a bit of a cheat for me because I've actually read it several years ago. I think I bought it at an airport because of Hugh Laurie, read it during my flight, and then promptly misplaced it. When I saw it at the library, I decided to revisit it since I really don't remember much about it.

So I'm happy to say that it's just as satisfying a read the second time around. Laurie's voice is very humorous and dry throughout the novel so even at the high-intensity parts, I was still smiling to myself. His hero and narrator, Thomas Lang, seems like a pretty ordinary guy except for the fact that he's a total bad ass; Laurie writes him as so nonchalant a character that every time Lang manages to squeak past trouble, even he seems surprised at his own skill and luck.

Though there seems to be a twist in every chapter, I think this book is definitely more character-driven. We rely a lot on the narration of Lang to keep us focused on the details of his situations, and it's such a good thing that Laurie, and therefore Lang, is hilarious. If not, I think the plot might have been a little convoluted.

It begins with Lang being offered a job to assassinate a rich American industrialist. Being a good man, he refuses, and then decides to take the further step of warning the American industrialist of the assassination. From there, he falls into a giant international conspiracy that involves the CIA, MI6, and an evil billionaire whose name sounds like "murder." Lang is pulled into this because he seems to be a hopeless and hapless romantic, in love with the beautiful daughter of the American industrialist. Yet he also seems unable or unwilling to stop the proverbial wheels from turning, and is just swept along for a long, fast-paced ride where he's beaten up on, shot at, forced to take on and shed identities, improvise on a high-speed swerving motorcycle chase, and maybe partake in the occasional sexy time with a femme fatale. It is to Laurie's comedic credit that Lang is able to eke out the sarcasm and wit during this insane plot and still be believable as a character.

I wish I could end with some quippy quote from the book, but I feel like I would be short-changing the humor so inherent throughout the entire novel. If it is possible, Laurie's comedy on the page is just as successful as his performances. It also helps that I kept picturing House (Yes, Gregory House, not Laurie), except less of a curmudgeon, as Lang – which made for a very pleasant read indeed.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Quick Ones

As I said in the previous post, my best was in New York for two weeks. A more detailed post of her visit will come soon.

I caught Inception opening night and it was amazing. Despite my high expectations, I was still impressed. I cannot wait to rewatch it when it comes out on DVD. I am also nursing a serious crush on Joseph Gordon-Levitt - it hasn't been this bad since Brick.

I also watched Top Gun for the first time - it was projected onto bedsheets tacked up in the yard of a friend's place in Bushwick. It was fantastic and I'm so glad I live in New York in the summer.

Things I am not glad about: this insane heat wave.

Last bit: One of journalism's greats just passed away. I wish I knew more about Daniel Schorr and his work when he was alive. Thankfully, my ignorance can countered by all the great stories being told about him all over the Internet.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Guess who's coming to New York...

That last picture was taken at prom. The reason why it is so small is because we were actually on an upper level of the ship (Yes, our prom took place on a boat! It was really cool! And then I discovered that I get sea sick) and our friends were on the bottom deck. This was at the end of the night as we were inching toward the exit, and our friends snapped a photo of us from afar. Good thing we were camera-ready! The photo was cropped, and I don't even have the original anymore.

Two more days!