Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Resist the Urge to Watch the Latest Book-Turned-Movie Hit

So, a couple of nights ago I finally gave in. I watched "New Moon", based on Stephanie Meyers Twilight series. Why? It wasn't because I was dying to see it. It was because New Moon was the only book in the series I can honestly say I've read more than once without feeling guilty about admitting it.

Obsessing over the Twilight books is, in my mind, kind of like admitting you got drunk and toilet papered city hall before barfing Cheez Whiz on the front steps. It's awesome when you're sixteen. It might even be acceptable when you're a twenty-something. By the time you're pushing thirty, you ought to know better!

That being said, I really liked New Moon. I suspect it had something to do with the notable absence of everyone's favorite vampire and the fact that someone came along, wiped some of the drool off Bella's chin and gave her something to do besides trip over her own feet for a while. So, I used and abused the power of Netflix and picked up "New Moon".

I was shocked to discover I actually enjoyed it. See, I'm that person. The one that sits in the back row of a movie theatre quietly but explicitly hating on any movie that's based on a book. I hated the "Harry Potter" movies (I've only seen 2) and threw popcorn at the screen when I realized they'd bastardized the end of "Hannibal" to appease Hollywood movie goers. I refused to watch "Memoirs of a Geisha", and I'm still kicking myself for actually spending money to rent the original "Twilight".

Yes, that's right, I'm that person. And I'm here to tell all of you other haters out there, you're not alone. They always screw up the book. It's never as good. To everyone who's ever dragged themselves to see a movie based on a book and walked away bitterly disappointed, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to do it. You can resist peer pressure, turn away from crappy movies and enjoy the untainted memory of a good story in its purest form!

Here's how.

First, resist the urge to read the reviews. Somewhere inside us is a sick, twisted need to have our opinions on books-turned-movies validated by hearing critics say it sucked. When they rave about how incredible it is, you start to wonder if you were wrong. So even though you hate yourself for it, you cave.

Step away from temptation. It will all go away.

Always check to make sure there's another movie you want to see when you go out with your friends. That way you don't get dragged to the literary flavor of the week. If you argue hard enough about Hollywood's inability to effectively transpose long, emotional, internal monologue into a decent film format, you'll convince them to wait until it comes out on DVD-or at least to wait until you're not with them so they don't have to spend the entire movie telling you to shut up while you rave about how much better the book was!

Speaking of books, let's move on to phase 3: Avoiding the family get-together. You know the routine. You're settling in for an evening with friends, and somebody pulls it out of the case. At this point, you have four options. You can fake a life threatening, fatal disease with bodily fluids spewing everywhere. You can beg your host to reconsider. Or, you can whip a book out of your pocket and curl up on the sofa, sneaking occasional, unnoticeable glances at the film between paragraphs to satisfy your curiosity. You might have to watch the movie, but at least no one will see you when you get sucked in.

What-ho? That's only 3 options, you say? You're right. That's because the 4th option is to launch into a stirring dialogue about how Hollywood always gets it wrong, how they inaccurately portray great characters, cut huge sections out of the book to suit time constraints and change the details any way they see fit. Resistance is futile. Your friends and family will pat you on the head, your host will assure you that this one is different, and the show will go on.

It was too depressing to contemplate.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

How to Play Pool without Embarrassing Yourself

Learning to clean up at the pool table is a useful skill. An admirable one, even. Not to mention a lucrative one from time to time.

Unfortunately, it's not a skill I happen to possess. When you're looking for a partner to play pool with, I am NOT the person you want on your side. That makes me completely unqualified to teach you ANYTHING about playing pool (aside from how to order another beer)!

Fortunately for both of us, there are people out there more talented than I am. So, for one night only, I'm going to quietly duck out and do my homework like a responsible citizen and leave you in the very capable hands of the YouTube pros.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How To Pretend You Know How to Dance! (Or at least make your date think you do)

Hello, hello, hello! Have you missed me? I've missed you. I think I need to write a blog on how to wriggle out of work in five minutes or less! In the meantime, let's get back to it! Here's a look at a subject that's near and dear to my heart...how to pretend you know how to dance!

You've seen them. I've seen them. The men and women in the slick slacks and hot dresses lined up against the wall of the club, just waiting for their chance to hit the dance floor. You can't wait for the show. Until the music starts!

There's nothing like a square on the dance floor to make you wish you'd stayed home with a book, especially if you happen to be the square!

Anyone can dance, but it comes more naturally for some than others. I strongly suggest you take the time to take some dancing classes to work on your rhythm and give you some slick moves for the dance floor. In the meantime, let's talk about how to fake it!

First and foremost, walk out onto the dance floor with confidence. Avid clubbers are piranhas. If you show fear, they'll eat you alive purely for the entertainment value.

Men, you've actually got it easy here. Grab your date by the hand. Spin her in. Spin her out. Now, start a simple box step. (If you don't know what that is, follow the link. Quickly.) Step forward two counts, to the side two counts, back two counts, to the side two counts, repeat ad nauseum. Lift your arms into an "L" shape, bob your shoulders in time with your steps and resist the urge to snap your fingers. Every once in a while, grab your girl and spin her again.

You won't win any awards, but you might have a fighting chance at a second date when you're done.

Ladies, you've got it a little rougher. The good news is, men aren't hard to entertain on the dance floor. I suggest you go with the simple Figure Eight. Without moving your upper body, drop your left hip and bring it forward. Circle back as your right hip comes up. Drop the right hip back down and repeat. Practice until you can make a figure 8 smoothly. This move can be done while moving up and down, left to right or back to front. As long as you do it slowly on a 1-2-3-4 beat it works with almost anything you'll find in a club.

Now, lift your arms slowly to shoulder level and make a small Figure Eight with your shoulders to go with your hips. Again, it won't be Saturday Night Fever, but you won't embarrass yourself out on the dance floor.

The important thing is to relax! Nothing screams "I'm faking it!" like the stench of stress rolling over the pheromone laden dance floor. Have fun.

If they chew you up and spit you out, you'll go out with a smile.