Monthly Archives: October 2008

She with the Painful Shoe Wins

I’ve often found women’s relationship to shoes to be an exercise in examining the hilarity of society. Men did not have such an irrational relationship, right? I turns out they did when they wore frilly shirts…and they’re starting to have it again. But men and women still see shoes differently. Or are seen differently because of their shoes.

Now I’m open to the changes in fashion trends…all right, the pants hanging off boy’s backsides isn’t fashion-I’m saying that right now, but other trends I find interesting; however, the moment a guy’s shoes become bigger than his head, he’s umm..thinking with his arse! I’m not sure I can trust the fate of the world to a guy who can’t learn to tie his own laces!

I make fun of men and their shoes only because I have my own obsession. I’m anti-shoe. There, I’ve admitted it just like an alcoholic going off the sauce HI I’m DRIVER and I’m anti-shoe. No I’m not a nature nut or trying to save the “born for their hide” animals in 3rd world countries. I’m anti-shoe because I’m not a fan of my feet.

Feet are an industrious and wondrous invention. We should really thank our Lord that we are bipeds and have this pair of flexible flippers to march us from here to there. I don’t object to them for that reason. My objection to feet is this: women and men are not even remotely equal when it comes to shoes. Women and men can wear the same kinds of suits, pants, glasses, watches, bracelets, necklaces and even earrings and nary an observer would chasten them for doing so, but put a woman in a comfy loafer and all of a sudden our sex, sexuality and overall girliness is called into question. What was I thinking trying to save my back or my bunions (kidding, I don’t have bunions..really) or my toes? I was thinking we could all just get a little practical, but noooooooo practicality is for the weak. And women must be strong or stylish as the case may be.

For the first ten years of my working career, I almost always wore skirts and high heels. Yes, I crammed my toes in those svelte pointy-toed monstrosities every day and limped home every night, soaked my digits in a nice hot bath and begged for extra peppermint foot balm in my Christmas stocking. Who was I trying to please? Not myself, because I was in pain. My toes were in serious trouble. Then the magic happened. I dropped out of the working life and went back to college. This would seemingly have no effect on the shoe issue other than the fact that classes are a bit more casual, right? Wrong-O! Why? Because the university of choice for me was Hills and Stairs University (name has been changed to protect the semi-innocent). There wasn’t a chance I’d survive a day having to cover over 800 stairs-not including the two flights to my dorm room.

Hills and Stairs U stepped me into a new way of life. Shoes were irrelevant. Really, people were barefoot, flip-flopped, sneakered or booted de la hiking store and one pair got a person through for the year. Yes, the year. Hiking boots and dresses were common and nobody cared. Of course, women with hairy legs were common too, but I just got the shivers around them. HSU was a true change of lifestyle. Men didn’t evaluate women on the whole package, the just did it on the package from the knees up. That way everyone could survive the two mile walk when they had to find a place to park their car at 4am. How did this change me? My feet recovered from their pains and I actually liked to walk! I had gotten so used to several pains, I didn’t even think they were shoe related, just signs I was getting older. Limping was now only done in reaction to a sprained ankle and shoes with heels were thrown into the corner and buried under the empty pizza box experiment with the roommate during senior year.

So, it’s been a while since I’ve lugged around books for educational purposes, but I stuck with the comfy shoes for a good long while. And that’s how I noticed the difference between men and women and their shoes. Why can’t we (women) all just revolt and wear the same grungy pair of Vans? Oh that’s right, Vans are now expensive and cool. Funny, when I was a kid, they were the poor kid’s shoe…and I was the poor kid. So what kind of show could be a universal equalizer for men and women? I surely hope it’s not the UGG!

driverpicksthemusic

Driver Picks The Visitor

The Driver saw a film recently called The Visitor. It is written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. When a writer/director is a good actor, one of two things happens. One, that person gets a chance to become a dictator and creates/destroys the pictures made. Two, that person adjusts the equation and makes brilliant pictures. Thomas McCarthy is the latter. In this case, he uses his knowledge of acting to write and direct a smooth piece in which he does not act.

The Visitor follows an ordinary professor, living life alone, as he happens upon an immigrant couple living in his rarely visited New York apartment. His encounter and subsequent connections with the couple (a Syrian musician and a jewelry maker from Senegal) bring a spotlight on his true separation from the world around him. As he begins to seek life again through the vibrancy of music, the rules of the world around him jeopardize his new friendship and then introduce the possibility of an even larger life.

This film is smart with rich non-American characters that we don’t find in American films. I happened upon this film not knowing the writer/director also made another Driver favorite called The Station Agent.

What I like about The Visitor is that I feel like I’m a fly on the wall of the lives of the characters. I could just as easily end up in these situations (they’re never out of the realistic realm of possibility,) and would feel the same conflicts. It’s much more vivid when I’m watching it play on screen than I’m sure I would feel if it were my own life. In the end, I feel resolution, but not an end. I like that. It leaves me wanting to write more of the story. Or at least wait for Thomas McCarthy to dream up something else. Whatever writing juice he’s drinking….the Driver wants some too, please.

No Politics, No Religion and…No Music?

Is music like politics? Or Religion? Those things we aren’t supposed to talk about? I’m starting to think so. Used to be we, lovers of sound, would smile and have an “OH JOY” moment when we discovered a great new song or rediscovered and old artist. After the joy, we would tell all our pals about it. And strangers too. We would blare it at the drive-thru so the others waiting in line would also have a joy moment (although they may have used a few choice words other than joy.) But something has gone horribly wrong.

Awhile back I was a happy cat at work, jammin’ to my iPod in my own office and a co-worker tromped in and gave me that small head-shake scowl. Was I supposed to stop my enjoyment just for this dog to hand me a couple sheets of paper? Nosiree, I say! And I did say, “Hey, have you heard of Beth Hart? She’s one great bluesy rock broad…or rocky blues broad.” Nothing…only the scowl. “Have you?” Papers slough onto my gargantuan desktop, already covered in stacks of junk, and Mr. Scowl o’ Lantern departs. Not a word.

Recently, I’m in Driver mode, cruising along and then I have to stop at a light. It’s  summer/fall, so I have my window open and the back passenger window open for nice cross-breeze. My music is up.. ‘cause DRIVER PICKS THE MUSIC. I get some soccer mom yelling over my music. Now it’s not anything racy, nor is it a Christian tune (which seems to offend, I’ve found.) It was THE POLICE. Come on! Message in a Bottle! How can that not be a classic?

The last straw came today, when I was in my office again (yes I work, it sucks often,) and a guy (Bob-to protect the guilty) came in and was actually excited to hear Mais Que Nada by Sergio Mendes. Wow, someone with eclectic taste like me. I thought I was going to get back on track. That Bob was going make me believe music hadn’t become a forbidden subject. Just then then I got this whole story of how Bob’s dad loved Sergio Mendes. Nice info and love to chat dude, but ummm the song is still going!

What’s happened here? People don’t actually want to hear sound anymore. They just want to talk (yes it’s like I’m talking here, but you can listen to music in parallel, so no prob, dude.) Is it the instant rewindability of digital music? I’ve had to hear my fair share of “teen now trashy” blondes screech junk until my ears bled in a zillion places-even bathrooms, but I’ve LET IT GO..all for the good of society. Music expands the mind. But NOOOOOOOOO (read in Steve Martin style please), my choices must obscure the line of social acceptability and put me on the Short Bus of Life.

I say tusser off! I want to impact people with scads of music diversity. That’s one of the ways we grow from each other, right? In the office, out the home window and in the car. Most definitely in the car! That’s why my license plate frame says DRIVER PICKS THE MUSIC, SHOTGUT SHUTS HIS CAKEHOLE!
But you’re welcome to reply 😛

Where to start?

  • Beth HartBottle of Jesus (just some bluesy rock chick fun!)
  • Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66Mais Que Nada (I’m sure it’s in some car commercial now)
  • The PoliceMessage in a Bottle (because you didn’t live through the 80s without them)
  • KornComing Undone (I think this should be screaming during the “previously” section of Supernatural)
  • U2 & BB King When Love Comes to Town (how can you not play air guitar or imaginary drums when this plays?)
  • Brian Setzer OrchestraJump, Jive & Wail (I’ll always be a fan of the former Stray Cat)
  • The Cajun Dixie CupsIko Iko (I can’t count how many movies this song, or some version of it, is used to set the tone of the flick)

I saved the BEST FOR LAST

ARTIST

  • KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD (start with Blue on Black or Everything is Broken)

Kenny is my go to guy for modern blues. He has that voice.

What James Earl Jones is to the spoken word, Kenny Wayne is to the blues song.

SONG

  • O FORTUNA (from Carmina Burana)

This music is often in movies when that crescendo is needed as the team of Vikings or warriors come galloping through the trees in that last stand battle scene.I dare you to go back and watch the trailers for all the summer action flicks. You’ll find it in a few of them.

Have you noticed it too? The HORRIBLY WRONG PART OF NOT BEING ABLE TO SHARE MUSIC ON THE STREET CORNER? Music relates to movies and TV…and life. I didn’t mention it yet? Pick an important song in your life. It’s important because you remember something about yourself when you heard it before. I remember my first junior high dance every time ROCK LOBSTER plays on the radio. I also remember wearing my DEATH BEFORE DISCO sweatshirt when I got a Saturday Night Fever album as a Christmas gift. Music is a tent pole that holds up the circus tent covering our lives. Can’t we share the pole so others are protected too?

Oh What You Can Learn..from the Internet

Ted Talks have changed my life…and not. I like brainy stuff just as much as the next chick, but most of it goes over my head. Yeah, my own friends call me smart, but there are times when I wonder if I’ve collected a pile of friends dumber than me just to feel smart. I was wandering around iTunes podcasts one day and landed on a TED Talk. I don’t remember was it was, but I remember saying “TOTALLY COOL!” and “REALLY?” several times. Then “This is freakin GREAT!” came soon after. TED Talks are smart people talking about amazing stuff. Smart stuff, dumb stuff, interesting stuff. They have those great jobs where they get to wander around in their own heads and think for a living. And what they think of is changing our world. I subscribed immediately and hung on for dear life until a new podcast arrived. Every single podcast was an investment in brain growth. Info I learned turned out to be useful in a varied set of situations. I even sounded smart about dark matter on a date!
Back when I started the TED addiction, podcasts were on a catch-up schedule. TED had lots of older recordings, but they were only posting the casts every so often (about one a month). Nowadays, casts arrive about every week or everyday in a good week so I was salivating early on. I breathed, ate and drank in each and every podcast and learned about amazing things, like the fact that villages in Africa naturally build their structures in fractal patterns. I learned Mathematicians are sexy. Well anybody is sexy when they are passionate about their subject matter. I also learned about advances in replacement limbs for war veterans that are getting so close the real thing we may soon be able to order long model-like hands on eBay (kidding). Quite a range of information and quite an eye-opening experience.

THE BUMMER—–
One day, life was kind and I got one of those giant Mac screens to have on the desk when my macbook is parked at home. I enlarged my iTunes window and TED descriptions appeared. I never expanded my iTunes window on the macbook because real estate on a 13″ screen is far too valuable. Up to this point, I only had a name to go on for each podcast and let’s face it we often don’t remember the names of super smart people (if only we could have a current day Einstein as a childhood hero instead of a rapper whose bullet wound count marks the height of his stardom) so I watched everything. Now I can filter my viewing choices. These stinking descriptions have become TIVO for TED. I hate it. I no longer stumble across fascinating information. I evaluate whether the subject interests me up front and then decide if I want to watch it. Of course, I only watch Ted Talks on things I already have some connection to (we like the familiar dontcha know) and I think I miss what could be life bending subject matter. The Internet in general has the same affect. Early on I wandered and learned, but now I live on about 10 sites when there’s a smorgasbord of stuff out there.

So then it came to me. We need Grab Bag Tags. Everyone should have to pull an item out of the Internet grab bag at every logon. Sure you grab what you need or browse what you like, but then you have to go to the grab bag and expand your horizons. Why is this important? I make this observation as being akin to distant travel. You know when you take a trip to a far-off place, you enjoy the food, the sites, the sounds and even enjoy complaining about the hotel shower so when you return home there’s that thank goodness I have my life feeling, yet you turn around to connect to everyone around you and talk about your adventures in the far-off place. We need that-a way to physically socialize the Internet. Information is only as good as our ability to transfer it to another. And mathematicians need to have more dates anyway.

More about TED Talks-
If you haven’t heard of TED, stop reading me and go check out the TED Talks. They’re on iTunes too. Subscribe today! You’ll learn mucho…like how to end a sentence properly and not with mucho like a dog with a hanging dingleberry.

So far I have a few favorites:

Jill Taylor – This woman is a neuroanatomist. That alone made me fascinated. What the heck does a neuroanatomist do? In this talk, she describes her stroke. Which is mind blowing because she’s one of the few people in the world that could explain what having a stroke does in the brain!

Robert Ballard – The ocean is our last great place of discovery. Who knows what gift we have, but haven’t yet seen?

David S Rose – How to pitch to venture capitalists. I wonder if this the same as a screenwriter’s pitch to a suit in Hollywood?

A.J. Jacobs – A year of living biblically, but the first part of his talk mentions the best month of his life, when he outsourced his life, having a staff in Bangalore handling his life (answering his email, fighting with wife..)

Have Movie Heroine Will Travel

I’ve always considered myself a movie lover. Not a highfalutin film buff, just a person who likes to disappear in the dark for two hours (four if I’m breaking the rules and theater hopping on a Sunday afternoon-sorry Lord) and forget every single thing that exists outside the red curtains. Over time, my pals and co-workers have figured this out about me. Guess I’m not the enigma I’d hoped I be. Now I’m the go-to girl for observations and suggestions as to which movies might be best for their particular palette. Could that be a business? Like the magic wish machine in Big?

Driver is not your average girl when it comes to movies. I had two gigantic, but equally opposing influences: Brothers vs. Mom.  I have three older brothers and a big age gap from me to them. You’d think they wouldn’t take me anywhere, right? Mis hermanos were peaches among men and took me to lots of places: car rallies, the snow in Big Bear, Knott’s Berry Farm and to the movies-lots of movies. The seminal event on this side of the table was Star Wars. I was ten (yes, that dates me I know) and I got to sit in line for an eternity to see it opening day and was grateful for the privilege. I still can recite half the movie dialog by memory. A sci-fi geek I will forever be.

On the other side of the table were Saturdays with mom.  On Saturday afternoons my brothers would inevitably be out with friends, so mom and I watched the local channel’s classic movies show. Most were black and white and in the early years of our ritual and we liked it that way. I found out what a classically handsome man was when I watched Burt Lancaster, Cary Grant and William Holden, then was introduced to those fellas that the bobby-soxers (before my time) thought were the bees knees like Tab Hunter and Robert Wagner (met him recently-what classy guy and still darn sexy!).

I got to know women of strength and courage through Kate Hepburn (The Philadelphia Story & Desk Set,) Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle), June Allyson (Little Women & The Opposite Sex) and Judy Holliday (Born Yesterday.)

Saturdays were heaven. Here’s where I found my movie anchor. The one who made me believe movies were worth watching…even when they tanked: Barbara Stanwyck! Sure most know her as Big Valley’s Barbara Stanwyck, but no-this woman, the woman from films of the 40’s & 50’s was an actress wholly different in nature.

Classic Beauty

Classic Beauty

Actually her career ran nearly 60 years. The greats: Stella Dallas, Double Indemnity and Ball of Fire. My faves are The Bitter Tea of General Yen and The Gay Sisters. The latter I’ve seen only once. It’s not a standout in movie terms, but one scene still resonates clearly after a decade-THAT’S how good SHE was. I won’t tell you which scene, we’ll have to find it together at some point ’cause I can’t find it on video. She appeared hard as nails, but always had the gooey insides to make you love her characters. Side note:  B had a big secret affair with Robert Wagner when he was MUCH younger than her and she over 40! Hurrah for the cougars!

So two sides of the table helped me be open to everything, almost. I’m catching up on the horror genre. So I’m sure I’ll be talking about my insights on a wide array of movies and what might tickle your fancy for one reason or another (MY SECRET GEM OF A MOVIE RIGHT NOW….ELVIS AND ANABELLEJoe Mantegna is fabulous.) I try not to glom on to the expected as much as the next guy and I hope you take something I’ve listed as an introduction and put it on your Grab Bag Tag list of things to expand your own knowledge in this world. More on the Grab Bag of Tags in the next installment.

Oh and by the way, highfalutin is a word…from the 19th century no less~

Check out Barbara Stanwyck’s page in IMDB. Click Here.

What’s In A Name?

I’m currently obsessed with the TV show Supernatural. If I could worship anyone in addition to God, I’d be bowing down at the altar of Eric Kripke.

I came into the show early in Season 3 and after two episodes, ravaged my iTunes credits buying the entire kit and caboodle. Sure I’m a girl and the show’s leads are a pair of smokin’ hot guys (Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), but apart from that the writers just wow me over and over.

This show has that great combination of dramatic character growth, interesting stories, scare factor and just plain balls out humor. Of course, from the blog name you know what my favorite line is:

Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole!

There’s one other line that just makes me giggle every time I pass over the episode. In The Kids are Alright, Dean is talking to his brother about a yoga instructor he had a fling with and commented that it was the bendiest weekend of his life. At the end of the scene he then says, “Gumby Girl…does that make me Pokey?” I LOVE IT!!

Top 5 Superficially Great Things about Supernatural:

  • Seriously…how many times can you fit the word seriously in an episode?
  • Dean is always eating
  • Our new angel Castiel has great hair! This is important because they keep shaving Dean’s head (but kudos to the hair and makeup team)
  • The Motel rooms are true artwork. I can’t wait to see what kind of room it will be in each episode. (I noticed it was missing in the episode Monster Movie and it was just a little bit lacking for that omission) My fave is the fishing theme.
  • All the women die! ‘nuff said

This Office is Missing The Human Connection

I have an office at work. Now to some people in the mundane office world this may be seen as a status symbol. It was to me too…when I had a window. I was thisclose to a spot that overlooked the bay (more on the bay in a future blog). Then I was downgraded to the hovel-an interior office no bigger than a desk and chair. I swear it was smaller than a prison cell. A second person had to stand or sit in a chair next mine. Seriously, it was right next to mine. I was humbled back to the we’re all one team thinking and got over the office thing because a weird perk came my way.

My hovel here at “the fat-boy” (my name for the company I work for) was, for all intents and purposes an inhumane box, yet I had tons of people visit and hang out, laugh and joke, deliver and pick up stuff and toss and return stress balls. Everyday I could waste a good two hours on water cooler gossip, the latest episode of whatever TV show was important or the ponderings of how anybody could be as loving as Joseph after his brothers sold him into slavery (we ran the gamut from porn to proverbs.) I made real friends in the hovel. Some of the people I work with migrated from knowledgeable acquaintance to person you could call if you found yourself arrested. It was an incredibly good time.

I thought I was humbled by the hovel, but I must have shifted back to arrogance because I have again been humbled by my office-my new one. I was moved to another floor at “the fat-boy.” This office is, theoretically, better than the hovel. It’s much bigger. I have a gigantic desk, a credenza, guest chairs and a window. It has to be better, right? Right? Umm, yeah-no. Not really.

Let me count the ways:

  1. Nobody visits
  2. They don’t call
  3. They don’t write
  4. My window overlooks…a cubicle
  5. The loudest fire alarm on the planet is over my head
  6. Conversations in my office echo out to the cubicle farm outside my door.
  7. I have no privacy (funny I didn’t know offices could do that)

What happened? I thought I was exactly the same, so why am I the odd woman out? Hmm, wait I heard this before LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.

Why was the hovel so great?

  1. It was off the beaten path
  2. There were no windows, so a meeting with the door closed was private
  3. It was next to a conference room (good for pre/post meeting visits)
  4. It was an “all IT floor” –information transfer among geeks is great, but outsiders skew the mood.
  5. It was at the corner of a cubicle farm. The liquor store on the corner gets more traffic than the one in the middle of a strip mall.

So I think I’m a little depressed about the loss of location.