songbird's crazy world
life in and around NYC is insane
Friday, May 24, 2013
Monday, May 20, 2013
And Drew and I headed upstate to the graduation of a friend's daughter. Small college in the Hudson Valley, the graduation ceremony is held outdoors, on the quad, rain or shine. And it rained. And rained. And rained. Spent the whole morning huddled under an umbrella, but got drenched anyhow. What we do for friendship....
Lunch was at The Texas Roadhouse in Kingston, NY. We've eaten at this chain before, there's one in East Meadow, not far from where Drew lives. It's a bit gimmicky, you can choose your own steak from the butcher counter at the front of the restaurant, the room is decorated with fake cacti, and the waitstaff will occasionally stop what they're doing to participate in a line dance. The signs in the entryway let you know peanuts are being served; you get a bucket of peanuts on your table, and a second bucket to dispose of the shells. Food is, for the most part, decent. We all ordered steaks and no one was disappointed. The fried pickles are light and crisp and served with ranch dressing, which is a good thing, because the pickles are very salty. I didn't have dessert, but the apple pie my friend ordered looked amazing. Service was very very slow. Waiter forgot to bring one of my side dishes, and had to be asked to refill our drinks. But not a bad experience overall.
Driving home on the NY State Thruway....sigh....
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I had some time to kill today, so I downloaded the 1974 version of "The Great Gatsby". So now I gave a real basis for comparison.
Interesting how two directors had such very different visions.
The 1974 movie is a misty, sentimental romance. It's beautiful to look at, with its Gold Coast mansions and elegant costumes. The decadence, the conspicuous consumption, the lavishness, that seems to be missing. The green light on the dock, so symbolic of Gatsby's longing for Daisy, is almost an afterthought. The music . . .well, the music is contemporary to the story line, all from the 1920's, but it's all popular ballads and instrumentals with lots of weepy violins. No jazz, not even during the wild party scenes.
The disparity between "old money" and noveau riche is downplayed. Redford's Gatsby is suave and sophisticated and confident. You'd never suspect he was a poor boy from the midwest, the Oxford manners and mannerisms seem natural, not an affectation. He was clearly miscast.
Daisy's position as the mother of a little girl, downplayed in the current film, is emphasized in the 1974 movie. Her ultimate betrayal of Gatsby is simply not there. There's just some vague talk of her leaving Tom.
Similarly, the pivotal scenes involving the car accident and Tom's conversation with the bereaved Wilson actually take place off camera. We are deprived of the emotional impact.
Leonardo DeCaprio is a better Gatsby, and the 2013 film is a better film.
Well, the good news first.
Jen has been working as a teaching assistant at a synagogue nursery school for the entire school year, as well as coaching JV cheer leading at her old high school, and in January she started her Master's in education. She's got a summer job lined up, at the same day camp where's she has worked almost every summer since she was 17; she'll be taking a group in the travel program. She applied for a job as a paraprofessional in one of the elementary schools in our district; the fact that she's a district resident, an alum of the high school and has already cleared a background check because she's coaching in the district are all factors in her favor.
Becca is finishing up her junior year. She had two prestigious internships this year. One of those internships invited her back for the summer -- she'll work two days a week at the internship and she'll also go back to her job at the mall and pick up some work as sales help. She's already talking about her graduation next year.
Now, about my father....the change since last May has been disheartening. I won't bore you with a list of the ailments and issues he's dealing with. But the steady deterioration, the rapid decline from a vibrant older man to someone who is weak, debilitated, dependent ...Sigh...I know where this is going and am not happy ...
Monday, May 13, 2013
I loved the book. I have a vague recollection of the 1974 movie with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, which didn't quite work for me. Drew didn't care for the book or the 1974 movie, but was willing to give the new movie a shot. Drew didn't like it, but I enjoyed it.
This version stays very close to the novel. We saw it in 3D. The 3D effect doesn't add anything to the movie. The sets and costumes capture the opulence, the decadence and materialism of the times. The director threw as much money at this movie as Jay Gatsby threw at his parties.
I did not like the soundtrack. I like hip hop, but didn't care for it in this movie. The 1920's were called "The Jazz Age". I know that hip hop is to modern times what jazz was in the 20's, the same freewheeling style, but you don't Charleston or foxtrot to hip hop. I kept listening for jazz. But the soundtrack wasn't overly intrusive and didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the movie.
I liked the way the story is framed, with Nick telling his tale to his psychiatrist. Gives us an opportunity to hear Fitzgerald's narration. And I really liked the way DiCaprio brought Gatsby to life. You could tell that the Oxford man was all affectation and artifice, you could see the gritty bootlegger beneath the surface. He made you believe that he realky believed Daisy would be with him . . . Definitely worth seeing.
Afterwards we wound up at Applebees. As chains go, this is one of the better ones, with choices that range from burgers to pasta to steaks to entrees geared to people watching their weight. Drew had the twin whiskey steaks and I had the riblets. Both were well prepared. Large portions, we both brought home leftovers. I seldom order dessert, but caved into temptation and ordered a strawberry cheesecake shooter -- a small but satisfying portion of cheesecake with strawberries and whipped cream. We will be back.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
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