Sunday, July 22, 2007

Monthly Sidebar Update

It's just about time for the Monthly Sidebar Update! In fact, since I'm doing it right now, it is exactly time for the Monthly Sidebar Update. Q.E.D.

This month's Object of My Affection is Christina Hendricks. You might not recognize the name, but you may recognize the face. She's currently playing Joan, the oh-so-worldly head of the secretarial pool on AMC's excellent new drama, Mad Men. Before that, she was mousy Nicolette on the short-lived Taye Diggs vehicle, Kevin Hill. And before that -- attention, nerds! -- she had a recurring role as the sexy con artist Saffron on Joss Whedon's Firefly. Noooowwww you recognize her, don't you? Hard to believe -- a spitfire redhead on a sci-fi show caught Tom's eye. It's as though that character were specifically designed to reach the Tom demographic. And it worked! She makes me go like this: grroOOOWWWwwlll.

Currently, in my Kurt Vonnegut Project, I'm working on the brilliant collection of short stories, Welcome to the Monkey House. This was one of the Vonnegut books already in my personal library; you can see by its well-worn condition how much use I've put it through in the past:

This is what happens when you put a book in your back pocket to read later.

And currently, in non-Kurt Vonnegut reading -- well, what else could it be but J.K. Rowling's final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I'm about 100 pages into it so far. If anybody spoils it for me I will pinch you so hard.

Under "Listening" I've got the new Fountains of Wayne album, Traffic and Weather. I told you last month it was the next album I should buy -- and so I did. It's very good in general, even if no track really matches the cleverness and catchiness of the first single, "Someone To Love." Though "'92 Subaru" comes close.

I haven't bought any new DVDs in quite a while, so nothing new for the "Watching" category. I had the Dodgers up under a combined "Watching/Loving/Hating" entry last month, and you know what? I'm leaving them up there again, under "Loving." No Hating this month! (Well, maybe there's a little bit left over for the Dodgers, as usual. It's tough being a fan!) The Boys in Blue have been rewarding me with the best baseball they've played pretty much since the last time they won the World Series (in 1988, half my life ago, as I believe I've mentioned once or twice before). And it's been a sheer pleasure watching them do it. They're going all the way this year, I can feel it!!

Guess that means we need another Bonus OoMA -- Dodgers style. Last time, it was Alyssa Milano in her Dodgers gear. This time, it's Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer -- and recent Playboy poser -- Amanda Beard, looking tremendously cute in her Dodgers top, while still frightening me somewhat with her disturbingly large choppers. (My fascination with Amanda Beard, and her massive teeth, goes back several years -- to the 2004 Olympics, in fact, as you can see here and here.)

The Lyric of the Month is in honor of my return from my Austin vacation to, and my impending permanent departure to Austin from, California. It's from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' "California," off the tremendous soundtrack album, She's the One. I've been resigning myself to the difficult-to-accept fact that, once I leave California, it's entirely likely I will never return -- not as a resident, anyway. And that thrills me with the prospect of the unknown, but it also depresses and terrifies me. I was born in California; I've lived here all my life. And I've travelled enough to know that there is no place on Earth better than California. There just isn't. Sorry, all you other chumps, but that's the way it is, and deep down, you know it: California kicks all your asses. It's got everything you could ever want, and then ten times more. I love it passionately; I love the state more than I love my country. (Even before President Monkey took office.)

But -- I want to experience life outside California, for once. Sadly, moving out of California is pretty much a one-way trip in this day and age; once you leave, unless you hit the lottery, it's financially unfeasible to ever return. (Ask my sister in Colorado.) So I've been thinking a lot lately about my home state, about all its beauty and wonder and wildness and weirdness. I'll miss it deeply. Hell, I'm already missing it. As Petty sings, "It ain't like anywhere else."

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