Archive for April, 2015

I’m Not Technically Here, But . . .

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

I’ve decreed April as my (much-delayed and long-awaited) sabbatical*, so I’m trying to avoid le computer wherever possible. However, I wanted to slap a few recent recs up here before I abandon ye all until May.

(Lovely woman we met at the hot springs: “One month is a vacation. Six months is a sabbatical.” CORRECT. But I’ll take what I can get.)

BOOKS

1) So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson. I love Ronson for so many reasons—hilarity, humility, neurotics (neuroticism, heh)—but most of all for his vulnerability. In this book, he’s everything that’s great about himself, and the topic is riveting. And important. And sad. Highly recommended.

2) I’m Not a Terrorist, But I’ve Played One on TV, Maz Jobrani. Similar type of rec here—i.e., a smart, funny guy doing his smart, funny thing—although this is lighter fare, a comedic memoir by a very lovable comedian.

3) No Land’s Man, Aasif Mandvi. A light, quick tour through some of Mandvi’s stepping stones to Daily Show stardom. Fun, basically.

TELEVISION

1) Am I the last one to the party re: Garfunkel and Oates? Probably. Anyway, they’re fresh and funny and surprising and adorable.

2) And the very most highly recommended of all . . . Season 4 of Louie, now available on Netflix. I’ve never been so tempted to write a fan letter, because this stuff is pure, gobsmacking genius. In fact, I’d say that it’s movie-making auteurship at its finest. There are three separate plot lines that run multiple episodes, and they’re all very, very great, but my most favorite is the 64-minute Into the Woods, in which C.K. juxtaposes present events with flashbacks in an unbelievably potent and breathtaking way. And the flashbacks! Are gorgeous and excruciating and meticulously directed and marvelously acted! Which is all the more astonishing because the actors are very young—twelve or thirteen, I think? JEZOO, this stuff. I mean. I am in awe. And I am struck by C.K.’s generosity, that he’s spending this genius on a TV show and not making movies out of it. Maybe it’s just easier, because it’s already in place—the funding, the crew, etc.? I dunno. Somebody should give him a heap-ton of money to make a movie.

THEATER

New show at the Berkeley Rep! Immensely powerful and alive. First thing I’ve seen by the young uberstar Tarell Alvin McCraney, and I am most definitively on board.

LANGUAGE APP UPDATE

You know how I’ve been brushing up on languages via iPad app? Welp, I recently discovered that when I successfully complete each level, I earn “lingots,” i.e., in-app currency to purchase more lessons. Initially, this was an excellent discovery, and I spent my lingots on a lesson about idioms. But very quickly, I began to focus on amassing as many lingots as possible without spending them. Because I am like that. And . . . oy.

A few points for clarification. First, this entire app is free. I am receiving great benefit without paying for a single thing. There isn’t even advertising! Second, these lingots are not viable currency anywhere but within the app. Saving them up does me no actual good. If the apocalypse comes, I will not be rewarded by having saved them; I will not suddenly be able to purchase more zombie-fighting technology (or sun screen, whatever) for having them. The only thing I can buy is more language lessons.

Nevertheless, I am ever so acutely aware that if and when I spend my lingots, I will have no more lingots. (Unless I earn more. Which takes a long time. But which I will probably end up doing merely by virtue of continuing to use the app.)

Recent interaction between me and John:

Me: [Sigh.] I wish I lived in a world where lingots didn’t matter.

J: [Silence, thinking.]

Me: Don’t say I already do.

J: [Silence, sweet grin.]

Me: Next topic!

Happy April, everyone!