Well, I'm nothing if not slow to adapt to change. (I had bangs until my mid-30s!) So when I found myself holed up for a week with the flu, I finally began to check things off my To Do list -- things from the "glorious" aughts, that is.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Circa 2003: My friend Jay has all but threatened to cut me off if I don't finally get around to watching "Arrested Development" -- the DVDs of which I received for my birthday in 2005. (It was two years "old" then, you may remember!) The minute someone tells me I "have" to do something, my natural reaction is to resist. And with the nearly unrivaled hype surrounding it, I've been putting it off for nearly a decade. But finally, in a fever-induced moment of weakness, I plopped my flu-ridden ass down on the sofa and fired up my Netflix (those DVDs are still unopened!) and voila: I was instantly a member of the cult. (You were right, Jay. You were right!) The second Lucille told Michael she'd "rather be dead in California than alive in Arizona," I knew I was onboard. But where do you even go from there? Tobias, sobbing so loudly in the bath he can't hear that casting agent calling to offer him the part part Lindsay initially got! Gob, asking his mom if he can stay with her for three days (“Hey, if I can’t find a horny immigrant by then….”)! Everything out of Lucille's mouth (how can I not love a woman who thinks Portia de Rossi is homely and fat?)! Buster! (When the PR woman told them they needed to get jobs to improve their image!) I'm only 20 episodes into it, but I'm already depressed that it's going to be ending soon. I've never seen a show this continuously funny from beginning to end, yet it doesn't feel forced and gimmicky. It truly is revolutionary. A reunion and movie don't necessarily seem ideal to me, but no one's getting any younger -- well, except Jason Bateman -- so if they're gonna do it, do it! At the risk of sounding like Jay and every other person in my life: Can't recommend this one enough. The Bluth family "car" is reason enough to watch!
Circa 2007: So you know I finally entered the aughts by getting an iPhone recently. Over my weeklong flu ordeal, I had lots of time to finally play with mine, really get to know it. The verdict is pretty much exactly as everyone as told me: It's the most incredible thing I've ever seen in my life -- assuming you don't want to do anything on it that is remotely associated with the functions of a phone. For starters, I can't call anyone. Somehow EVERY contact in my 15-year-old email account got imported into my Address Book -- usually creating multiple entries for every person -- so finding any particular person is virtually impossible. Even if you do, it will be the wrong "entry." Talking on the phone isn't something I enjoy much anyway, so if I really need to speak to someone, I'll just call them from a pay phone. How about text messages? The iPhone is so cool in the way you can drag anything to make it bigger -- pictures, e-mails, websites -- everything except TEXT MESSAGES, and the font it uses is TINY. So on top of the fact that the touchscreen keyboard is a nightmare that I will -- no matter what anyone says -- never get used to, I can't even see my typos. (Oh, wait: Unlike on my blog, at least then I'd have an excuse!) Yesterday a friend asked me for another friend's phone number. In the process of trying to retrieve it for him, I promptly deleted it out of my contacts. (So much for the touchy cut and paste method -- I accidentally phoned my friend repeatedly while trying to "copy" his number, and then a few seconds later it was gone.) Fortunately, it was then in my call records (unassigned to anyone), so I was able to do what any sane person might do: I jotted it down on a piece of paper and then sent it to my inquiring friend. Voice mail is less and less of an issue for me, but I have to say that poor Michael physically cannot check his, for the life of him! I've watched him try to press the "play" button two-dozen times on the touchscreen and he's never once connected. (It's actually quite comical.) I used to write lengthy emails and (sometimes) blog posts on my BlackBerry -- I could type on it without even looking -- but now I find that I avoid correspondence on my phone at all costs. Michael and I used to text each other a dozen times throughout the day just to keep to say hi, to check in on each other. Now we might send a "Howz it going" (anything to avoid the apostrophe and question mark) and an reply and then just wait till dinner to have any communication. It's kind of sad, but it's just too much trouble and too hard to see. But enough about the phone. How about those apps?!!! They really are something. The NY Times, Daily News, Washington Post and (especially) NY Post are all so cool and easy to use. (And they almost all have bigger type or are adjustable!) I've just started to use the iPod functionality, but I can already tell it's sweet. Listening to music, reading "the paper" and keeping an eye on my emails and blog comments while waiting for the subway -- with just one device in my pocket? Truly spectacular. The 4s camera is awfully impressive, too. Granted, I'm coming from the grainy BlackBerry. But the zoom function and automatic flash are worlds away from what I'm used to, and some of the photos I've taken are truly great. The fact that I did not have one freakout while switching phones this time -- and it doesn't take much -- is a true testament to how incredibly user-friendly it is. Well, user-friendly assuming you don't want to do anything on it that remotely mimics the functions of a phone!
Circa 2001: Now I was busy finishing Bill Clegg's "Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man" and starting Lizz Winstead's "Lizz Free or Die," but I did manage to get out one afternoon and also picked up a copy of "The Corrections," Jonathan Franzen's acclaimed novel that took home the National Book Award in 2001. The HBO adaptation has been scrapped, but at my brother's recommendation, I'm going to give (another) work of fiction a chance (my review of "The Imperfectionists" is still TK). "The Corrections" was the one book I remember EVERYONE at The New York Times raving about, yet I resisted the hype. After my "Arrested Development" experience, I'm ready.
With the help of my friend Christopher, I've recently become a huge fan of New Pornographers. Feel free to tell me what other great things I might have missed in the aughts. In my defense, I was kinda busy!