Jerry Orbach, “Sideways,” and Other Items of Interest

I am really sad that Jerry Orbach died. He was just always the best part of “Law and Order,” and I loved watching clips of him singing Broadway tunes. He will most definitely be missed. He was entirely too young.

If you miss Jerry too, check out “Broadway’s Lost Treasures,” a video of old Tony Awards performances. He hosts the program and is featured in a clip from “42nd Street.” The second collection of these “Lost Treasures” features Orbach in “Chicago,” dancing about in his underwear. Both clips are worth the trip to find the video. You might also check local PBS affiliates because that’s where these programs first aired.

So, I saw “Sideways” last night. I didn’t know a thing about it before I went, which made me a little nervous. But really, I shouldn’t have been. If you get the chance, go and see it. It’s a story about two friends who go on a driving trip in Northern California to explore wineries as a bachelor celebration. Everything goes fine until the would-be groom decides he wants a final fling or three before the wedding. Craziness ensues! The other character is a downtrodden wannabe author and schoolteacher, who is divorced and miserable. There are some very interesting symbolic representations of wine and men in the film. Even the title of the movie has meaning, which I shan’t reveal here, as it might spoil things.

After we got back from the movie last night, I dyed my hair. I have been wanting to color it an eye-searing, fire-engine red as a celebration of… uh… I don’t know, the new year, or something. I bought a color from the Feria line, and I think the name of it is “flaming copper red” or somesuch. I have been dying my own hair for awhile now, and… I do an okay job, but I always miss a strand here or there. It produces a streaky look which usually looks a tad more natural anyway. This time I think I pretty much avoided that, but I’m looking very Carrot Top this morning. It’s more orange than I might like. Of course, this is my own fault. I didn’t read the package carefully enough, missing a tiny sentence that said something like, “Not recommended for light to medium blonde hair.” Uh oh. My hair was a strawberry blonde before this, and light to medium for sure. So, right, the results are a little more shocking and intense than I wanted, but red dye fades super fast anyway. I won’t be a Carrot Top for more than a few days. I have already had a few positive comments about my orange hair, so I guess it didn’t turn out too badly.

Also, I finally finished The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett. It was most enjoyable, being quite silly and irreverent. I would recommend it for those looking for a new fantasy book to read, or for those looking for good satire. Twoflower the Tourist made me laugh. After my recent airport experience, I wonder if I can borrow The Luggage for my next trip.

I somehow also began Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment last month (at the same time as three other books, yoinks,) and so far it is even funnier than The Color of Magic. The fellow that thpeakth with a lithp maketh me laugh muchly. (He’s a soldier recruit named Igor. So. Danged. Funny. I don’t know why exactly, it just makes me giggle like an idiot. You can’t ask for more from escapist reading.)

What are yunz guys doing for New Year’s? We are never much for the hoopla, but we may finally go see the new Phantom philm. I have been listening to the soundtrack, and… it’s… interesting. I think Gerard Butler must have problems anunciating, or perhaps his Scottish accent gets mixed in when he sings? (Does he even have a Scottish accent? Just guessing here.) It sounds like he’s really struggling to make sure each word is accented and clear. It sounds like, “The. MUsic. Of. The. Niiiight,” as in, the lyrics come out a little choppy. Has anyone else noticed this? He seems to do better with songs that don’t require a basic… er… smooth transition between words, such as maybe “Point of No Return.” There is an amusing moment in “Point of No Return,” actually, where Christine and the Phantom join in to sing with a dramatic orchestral crescendo, and it feels like it’s a train about to leap off the tracks. The conductor and orchestra don’t sound like they are with the two singers, who don’t sound together either. Huh. I also noticed that they slowed this song down. At least, it sounds that way to me, from the various POTO recordings I have heard. I dunno. I’m not a Phan, per se, so some of these little details go right over my head. I saw it on Broadway two years ago but I have forgotten quite a bit of these details. I remember Howard McGillan was particularly good as the Phantom. Maybe they should have hired him instead, eh?

Work. Yeah, I’m at work, wasting time. Rather, I’m catching my breath for a few minutes. I am the only one answering the phones, which will not stop ringing. It was like this yesterday too. Why is everyone suddenly calling us?? The voice mail is always jam-packed, and I’m not finding any time to call people back. Some of them are getting really testy about it, and there’s nothing I can do. Yesterday afternoon I got a break because Sharon The Great took over the phones for the afternoon so I could get some work done. It was very, very nice of her. She is my new hero.

I have to laugh at my boss who took the week off, saying, “Well, there just isn’t that much going on right now.” Yeah, right. She was getting some 80-90 calls a day while I was on vacation. There were at least three days’ worth of entry on her desk that had not yet been put into the database. Next time you take off, just leave, don’t make up dopey stuff on the way out the door. I also wonder about this uber-boss who came in a few minutes ago and told me to take off at two o’clock this afternoon if I wanted to. (We have tomorrow off. Happy New Year’s to us.) I have a pile of data entry on my desk that would choke a goat, and I’m just supposed to take off? With people asking every thirty minutes if I have all the entry done? Riiiiight. Plus I have all these little tasks people are throwing on top of my already cluttered desk. I have this feeling that if I left, there would be someone looking for me five minutes later, and I might get in trouble. Hmm. Should I risk it anyway?

We have a new lady at work, which is a subject of great amusement for us in this office. The Boss of Bosses has now hired three exceptionally attractive ladies for important jobs here, and… we don’t think he is picking them through the usual university channels. We haven’t seen people around for interviews, which we have always seen with other positions, so this looks a little strange. So this new lady, a young, voluptuous redhead, arrived last week. I don’t know much about her, except that… well… she has a hyena giggle. Seriously. She has this wretched giggle that sounds like a hyena on laughing gas. The first time I heard it I almost fell out of my chair laughing. It also sounds horribly fakey, like she’s laughing with someone who she needs to impress or something. Each time she lets loose with her psychogiggle I wonder when the glass in the windows around my desk will shatter. Perhaps I should buy some safety goggles or something.

I just went to meet the new lady, and she was obviously very underwhelmed with me. I just went to introduce myself and shake her hand and welcome her, because I was on vacation when she did the rounds last week. She… totally didn’t want to meet me. It was so completely obvious. Maybe she’s afraid of my carroty locks? Maybe she’s jealous because my hair is redder. Maybe she’s got the maturity of a six-year-old and worries I might bring her an incurable case of cooties. Either way, pffft. I didn’t want to meet you either, HyenaLady.

Oh, for those wondering, we should have our fiction stuff posted very shortly. Huzzah. Stay tuned.

I guess I better get back to work now.

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