Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

If you’ve browsed through any news source today you may have noticed that Elizabeth Taylor passed away this morning. I found out once when I saw the front page of CNN and as usual when I hear of a classic Hollywood stars passing I quickly slipped into a moment of intense grief and mourning. I don’t know what it is but whenever one of those old movie stars pass away I get all crazy emotional and it’s a total buzz kill to my day. You should have seen me on the days that Deborah Kerr and Charlton Heston passed away. I WAS A WRECK. A stranger would have thought they were my grandparents or something. This just goes to show that I wasn’t joking when I ‘ve claimed to have an unhealthy fascination with all things pop culture and celebrity. All I’m saying is that the day Britney Spears kicks it I will NOT be attending my daily game of Bingo at my retirement home in Palm Springs. Lord willing I go first because I’m not sure if my heart could take the pain.

So normally during these dark times I crave a good movie marathon as a way of remembering the movie legends and I’ve found it’s a healthy way to channel my grieving. Now since my parents are still using rabbit ears to get the news, I obviously won’t be tuning into the 24 Hour TCM Elizabeth Taylor marathon *Sigh* :’(. However we already have quite a few movies of hers and I even went out and rented Cleopatra and Butterfield 8, which I’ve never seen before so I’m super stoked. I was really hoping to add National Velvet to the marathon but after spending most of my morning scouring the shelves of Shopko, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Bi-Mart, Hot Poop, and the public library I came out empty handed. It’s days like this that I loathe living in a small town because we have no selection! I was really surprised that Bi-Mart didn’t have it because 90% of their movies have a horse or John Wayne on the cover. I will give them this, they obviously know who their target audience is these days.

The main reason that I had my heart set on National Velvet is because it’s one of the first movies I remember seeing as a young tyke and and it was also the first movie starring Elizabeth Taylor. Even though it's been like 20 years I remember being super into it. I mean how could you not be? Elizabeth Taylor? Mickey Rooney? Angela Lansbury pre-animated teapot fame??? My first viewing of the movie was also around the time my mom’s favorite scent was White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor, what can I say she’s a classy lady, and I totally got it for her as a Christmas present one year. Since those days I’ve become much more acquainted with her film work such as Little Women, in which she is absolutely hilarious. A Place in a Sun, which is super good and she looks AMAZING and it stars one of my other favs, Montgomery Clift. Then there’s Giant, where she stars alongside Rock Hudson and James Dean. Another fav would be Cat on a Hot Tin Roof which was written by Tennessee Williams so how could it not be good?? But I really think the quintessential Liz movie would have to be Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf. It’s just so different from anything she ever did and it’s also what got her a second Academy Award. If you haven't seen any of these movies I've mentioned, shame on you. Fix it.

Now that I think about it I guess I can’t recall a time of life when I didn’t know about Liz which I guess is why a feel a tinge of sadness with her passing. It’s strange how we can grow attached to people we’ve never met. I remember hearing about a man who was interviewed in some documentary about film addicts and he said that the day Audrey Hepburn died was worse than when he’s lost family members. HOW CRAZY IS THAT! Hopefully I don’t ever get to that point….. however I will forever love Liz and be fascinated by her life. Her work as an artist. Her Beauty. Those violet eyes. Her private life dramas. And I mean I know that she made some poor life choices, eight marriages was a bit obsessive, but I mean we’ve all made mistakes. Above all else, I do truly admire her for the work she did raising money and awareness for the fight against AIDS during a time when people were very judgmental and unsympathetic to those affected by the disease.

RIP LIZ. You rock my socks off.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Just got back from a 24 hour road trip to Boise, Idaho and it was a true delight. Due to the fact that the Walla Walla airport couldn’t convince enough people to take a direct flight to Boise on a daily basis, me and Lo (my new car) had to drive it. I had my reservations about making the 4 and a half hour journey because the last time I drove to Idaho I was pretty certain I was about to meet my maker. This was back in 2005 when my friends Heather, Michael, Meagan and I had all planned a Christmas road trip. The plan was to all meet in Nampa, Idaho where Meagan’s family lived and from there head to McCall to hit the ski slopes at Brundage Mountain Resort. This was the Christmas where I worked at Klicker’s Fruit Stand selling Christmas trees so I had to join the gang a few days later. Fortunately, at that time there actually was a flight from Walla Walla to Boise. Unfortunately, Walla Walla is in a constant state of fog during the winter, so of course my flight got cancelled. This upset me because I was really looking forward to the some mile high free time. I had just bought Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and was looking forward to hopping on the Hogwarts bandwagon. And if you know me at all you’ll know that it takes a Christmas miracle/ a stack of Bernstein Bear books to get me excited about reading so time was of the essence. Due to events out of my control I never had a chance to read the book, but I did see the movie. Which is basically the same thing, right??
With the cancelled flight I was left with no choice but to drive to Idaho, which my parents were not at all thrilled to hear. I was a lot more fearless when it came to winter driving back in those days. I attribute this to the fact that it occurred before the Christmas Break of ‘06 near death experience. It all went down a little bit outside of Ellensburg, WA on my way back to Seattle. Snow was coming down like crazy and the roads were incredibly slippy and nearly every five minutes you passed a car stuck in a snow bank. So there I was, driving Burt, just minding my own business. I was going through a huge Kelly Clarkson phase at the time and I remember I was belting “A Moment Like This” at the top of my lungs. Talk about ironic. All of sudden a big ol’ semi came out of nowhere so I decided to quickly but carefully change lanes, which would have been fine if there hadn’t been a patch of black ice that sent me and Burt spinning into a 360 before hitting the snow bank. Luckily I had spun to the left otherwise I would have crashed right into the semi truck. BTW, thanks God for throwing me a bone that day. Its been a real treat to go on living.

This past Monday I was all packed and ready to hit the open road but I had a feeling that I was beginning to battle a cold so I had to act fast. Over my dead body was I going to be sick on vacation. NOT TODAY ZURG!!!! NOT TODAY!!!! Thank the good Lord my parents had a stash of Airborne in my favorite flavor, key lime -- so I chugged that the whole way to Boise. Downside to that was the fact that I have the bladder of an 80-year-old man, thus I felt the urge to pee almost every half hour. As fate would have it, it quickly became apparent that Oregon and Idaho had a limited budget that allowed them to place rest areas about 50 miles apart. I’ll admit it. There were some close calls. And when I say close calls I mean my fly was down and I was reaching for my empty Wendy’s value menu cup to take care of business before my bladder exploded. At that very moment an angel appeared and placed a sign on the side of the road that read “Rest Area 2 Miles”. It was a total God thing.

This drive to Boise turned out to be quite the contrast compared to the drive of ‘05. This time the sun was shining in place of snow that my wipers could barely keep up with. If you’ve every attempted to drive up Cabbage Hill during the winter you know how bad it can get. It’s an incredibly steep incline and there are emergency exits every half-mile for semi trucks who aren’t able to stop. SCARY!! Oh and then to top it off, the whole drive up the hill you keep seeing signs for the exit called “Dead Man’s Pass”. Yeah, real comforting. What I want to know is who the hell thought that would be a good name for a highway? Who in their right mind would take it???? Another big help on this trip was my GPS. How I managed to arrive to any destination before getting this piece of technology I’ll never know. On the trip to Nampa, in place of a GPS I had about 10 pages of MapQuest instructions on how to get to Meagan’s house. They weren’t much help and I ended up getting majorly lost out on some backcountry road called Chicken Dinner Lane (I swear Idaho has the strangest street names) with the only landmark being a farm that raised Buffalo. Seriously, only in Idaho.

But despite the risk factors and ever-looming thoughts of death, road trips to Idaho have always resulted in nothing but fond memories such as:
· Watching my friend Michael get got off of a chair lift for the first time and while doing so knocking down two elderly woman. The best part was he hadn’t learned how to stop on skis so he couldn’t even get a chance to apologize.
· Going to Denny’s for breakfast and being served by a lady named Peaches who looked like she had been trapped inside a tanning bed for the past 30 years.
· Visiting Michael’s grandparents home in Fruitvale where Heather, while in the middle of taking a tinkle, was slightly alarmed to find a dog in the bathtub staring her down.
· Watching almost the entire second season of the OC with Meagan as Heather and Michael put a puzzle together. I know, I know, some people just don’t have their priorities straight.
· Attempting to make virgin pina coladas during the 3 hours it took to cook lasagna that was harder than a frozen tundra. Worst idea ever.
· Playing apples to apples and someone putting down Oprah, for the card Blank is the new Black. I nearly died laughing.

This weeks trip was no exception to fond memories as I got to spend nearly 24 hours with my dear friend Jess Miller who was on her spring break from the college where she works. We painted that town of Boise red, figuratively speaking. First we caught up on life at Rembrandt’s coffee before indulging in some retail therapy at the Macy’s clearance rack. I found a sexy new black polo for my next night on the town and Jess found a cute 60’s checkered dress. Meeeeeoooow. After shopping we saw the movie Tangled for 3 bucks, which was AMAZING. We laughed. We cried. Well…… at least I cried. Jess is so much stronger than I. Let me tell ya, there’s nothing like a Disney Princess in distress to turn on the ol’ waterworks. After that we grabbed dessert with our old friends Meagan and her husband Levi before taking in some local “night life”, if you could call it that, in downtown Boise. The night ended with us indulging in the guilty pleasure known as the season finale to “The Bachelor”. SO MUCH DRAMA. SO MUCH WATER PROOF MASQUERA. I was eating it up with a spoon.