Ah Bugger

The vapid utterings of a neurotic mind.

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Location: DC, United States

I ain't too proud to bug.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pouring rain at the boring Oscars. I'm imploring exploring some changes.

A friend of mine grumbled about the boring Oscars on FB yesterday. I took umbrage, partially because of the wine and partially because C’MON! It’s the Academy Awards!! I want to be there someday. And Patricia Arquette won! And Idina Menzel got to be facially molested by a very creepy John Travolta. (What the heck happened to him? Was he always this way? Is he medicated? Is his toupee too tight?) Idina looked gorgeous, by the way, though I am not certain about the hairstyle. But that dress! And boy, she just nailed it and handled the molestation with grace. J’adore.

Then they topped it all off with the queen of the world, JULIE ANDREWS, who at almost 80 looks better than I do now at the ripe age of, uh, 22. Yeah, 22. So, yeah, I was high on the sightings of these beautiful, strong women that I admire.

The Everything is Awesome song from the Lego Movie (snubbed for best animated picture) was performed in a most fun manner. Then Glory from Selma brought tears from everyone, myself included. (I then proceeded to watch it 2 more times, backing up my Oscar viewing pleasure and making me learn that Dame Jules was coming from my Twitter feed. Totes worth it.) Also, how hot was Chris Pine with a teary face? I never felt it for him before, but…

And David Oyelowo! I saw him on a talk show a while back, and he was hilarious and smart. But after the great glimpses of his heart and his goofiness after the show, I love him!! I HAVE to see Selma. 

My predictions were fairly good. I am surprised at Eddie Redmayne’s win, but not upset. His speech made me think that a show about his tending to his Oscar would be like Ted, only British. Also, did I mention that Patty won??? I think I will talk about her speech in another entry. Everyone’s speeches promoted awareness, strength, inclusion, and equality. What’s not to love?

But yeah, the show was otherwise boring. NPH did not bring it, unfortunately. Though the opening song was great. And can we please enough with the generalizing of women already? Yes, fashion is an industry and okay, you can ask who they are wearing, but let’s not pan their bodies and tell them how pretty they look. Let’s talk about the emotional choices they made as their characters. Let’s talk about what’s in their heads as opposed to how fabulous their nails look. Talk to them the way you talk to the guys. Jeepers.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Year of the Meta Film

In a few short hours, I will be donning my finest sweatpants, cracking open a bottle of the best $12 wine, and commenting wildly on the shenanigans that are your 


Just for the record, I am rooting for Inherent Vice to win anything and everything as my friend Michael Cotter is in it and that makes it fabulous.

The year in Memoriam is going to be horribly sad this year. We lost so many wonderfully talented people in 2014. 

I am ashamed to admit that I did not do well on actually seeing a lot of the nominated films and this is truly tragic as I think only 6 films were nominated for EVERYTHING. Still, I read EW, People, and assorted other magazines, and my level of television watching is Ph.D worthy, so I have an opinion.

For complete transparency, these are the films I have watched:

  • Birdman
  • The Imitation Game
  • Boyhood
  • Gone Girl
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Boxtrolls
  • Virunga
  • Maleficent
  • Intersteller
  • Ida
I rented The Theory of Everything, but Comcast decided to wig out because of the massive snow storm we got, so the picture was pixelated and annoying and I couldn't watch it. I proceeded to continue to indulge my Patricia Arquette addiction brought on by Boyhood, and watched Beyond Rangoon, instead. 

I claim to be a screenwriter, right? (Write). So let's begin with the screenplays. 

Original Screenplay
Should be won by Birdman. Though the story was not necessarily something new, the ending really made me think and analyze and extend my experience with the film by reading up on it. 

Adapted Screenplay
I don't understand why Whiplash is in this category. It was originally a feature script that went nowhere, so it was rewritten as a short which then caught attention enough to shoot the feature. 

I actually think that The Imitation Game should win. I read the book and love what they did with the film. 

-----Skipping the boring (read I dunno who should win) categories-----

Best Documentary
I only saw Virunga and I was enthralled. It's heartbreaking to see what they are doing and man, you all know how devastated I get by the maltreatment of animals. But I have no idea about the other films in this category. 

Achievement in Directing
I'm going to guess that Rick Linklater gets this. To be able to corral these actors year after year, when they are busy living their own lives, playing other characters, and get them back on track and make this film is a miraculous feat. Also, it makes me want to work with him because heck, if you return for 12 years, you like working together. 

Achievement in Cinematography
Birdman. Those scenes were tough to shoot, beautiful, and creative. 

Animated Film
I wanted to see Big Hero 6 and Boxtrolls. I really wanted the story in Boxtrolls to be better. But the stop action animation is cool. I have no idea. Going with Big hero 6... I think. 

Supporting Actor
J. K. Simmons. He's magic. No one else could have played this role.  (That's always my criteria for these awards. If anyone else could have played the role as well as the actor who did, then no prize for you.)

Supporting Actress
PATTY!!!!!! They should have called the film Motherhood. It was all her. The movie was carried by Patricia Arquette. The sadness, the heart, and life (literally) came from Olivia. Plus, watching this film sent me on a crazy Patricia Arquette filmography viewing. I will be waiting for this moment for the whole awards show. 

Lead Actor
This is actually a fairly rich group of nominees. I love Steve Carell in deeper roles. He's such a good actor and we miss out when Hollywood doesn't allow him characters that have range. 

I love Michael Keaton. I harbor a minor crush. But I could have seen this role played by other actors. I would have liked to see a little more vulnerability from him. There were great scenes and I'll admit that I saw this film whilst insanely hungover, so I don't stand 100% behind what I say here, but I want more for the Academy Award. 

Eddie Redmayne pulled off an incredibly difficult role and he had me believing him (in the ten minutes of the flick that I was able to see). But he's young and the politics of the Oscars might not allow him to win. 

I think Michael Keaton will win. It's his first nomination, and he won the Golden Globe. 

Lead Actress
Julianne Moore will win. She has no Oscar and she's due. I have not seen the film, but I hear she's magnificent. Plus, she is a glorious actress. She should have won for Children of Men. Hey, did you know Chiwetel Ejiofor is in that film? Go watch it. It is so good. 

Best Picture
I don't know what to make of the Selma controversy because I have not seen the film. But the previews look amazing and I do feel they were cheated. But again, the politics of the Awards are immense and if they did not get their films to the voters in time, that would have hurt them. That said, I don't think the film will win. 

I think Imitation Game should win. Though I cracked the Enigma code within 10 minutes of the film. Obviously every transmission is going to have "Heil Hitler" in it, right? Anyhoo, I may be biased because I was at TIFF, and this film won. And I enjoy films and books about WW2. But I thought it was a great film and my dearth of true knowledge of most of the nominated films keeps me from being able to make a truly educated guess. Also, I am too lazy to check who won all of the big awards. 

I think Boyhood could win, but as much as I want all success for my new bestie, Patty Arquette, I feel like Linklater had 12 years to write a better and more engaging script

I cannot root for American Sniper, because I feel like the film I worked on, Fort Bliss (which you can now watch streaming on Netflix), was a better depiction of army life. Michelle Monaghan was so good, she truly deserved to be on the award radar. 

May the countdown begin!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Interviewing Bug in Marie Claire, Part 2

Once again, Buggie answers questions posed to someone else by Marieclaire.com.

This time the questions are directed at Sarah Jessica Parker, who is starring in…. oh, she designed something for someone…  She was ANNIE! She shall always be a star!

What brings you the most joy? Doing something. Anything, really. Or, seeing my mom happy. My cat being cute. Finding a way to make a grumpy person smile. (Shotgun approach to answering the question. It works. Shut up)

What are your vices? Joe Biden and  Selena Meyer.

What is on your nightstand? Dust and a lamp

Do you have a secret Talent? Yes. Shhh…

What is your greatest indulgence? Getting to live my life! At some point it will come back to me, but right now, this is pretty awesome.

What should every woman try at least once in her life? Aw crap. This one I actually have to think about….. … … Travel to a country where you don’t speak the language. Sacrifice some aspect of beauty for something bigger, like long fingernails to play guitar.

What makes you laugh?  A lot of things. But they are usually unintentional.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I am immensely introverted. Also, I am intensely talented at putting furniture together.

What is on your bucket list? Seeing Yo-Yo Ma which I will do in August at Wolftrap! Also, administering an epi pen.

What is on your feet right now? This is a dumb question, but I guess it was directed at SJP, and not me… so… I currently am wearing white socks with a Paul Frank monkey on them. Well, I am wearing one sock. I had to remove one to see what was on it.

How did you make your first dollar? I am pretty sure I stole my first dollar. I have older siblings. They seemed rich. My first legit dollar was probably earned babysitting or doing random yard work in my neighborhood. I was always good at coming up with a plan for some work.

What superstition do you believe in? I scoff at them all. I believe in them all. Ugh. I hate those emails, or FB thingies where you’re cursed when you don’t forward them. Because somewhere inside I DO believe. But c’mon! Also, fortune cookies and horoscopes. But then they are so stupid. But they’re REAL!

What items in your closet do you wear the most? The things I wear the most never make it into the closet. They get washed and re-worn right away. I am a lazy dresser. This is  a boring question when directed at me.

What is the best gift you’ve ever received? I got a bunch of daisies when I was in a play in high school. They were sweaty and a little wilted, but it was such an acknowledgement that I was doing something that someone else noticed and that meant the world to me.

What is on your liquor shelf?  MC sure likes the idea of a liquor shelf. My little bar has all sorts of crap in it. But I will never make anything with gin.

What is on your kitchen counter? Containers filled with tea bags, and crumbs. I really should be  a better cleaner.

What would you never leave home without? My clothes. Shoes. Keys. Sometimes I do walk out without keys. Oh, and sometimes I go barefoot. So, my clothes.

What movie has the greatest ending? Oh geez. The Others was pretty great. Oh, just about any film that either completely fulfills what you expected and hoped for, or the films that utterly rock your world by presenting an ending so completely divergent from what you thought would happen.

Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? Oh, there is the ideal list of fantastic people I’ve never met, but I think the people I do have in my life, the ones that take me for what I am and continue to choose to be there, I couldn’t do better than them. So, them. And Idris Elba.  

What is one thing you wish you had know when you were younger? That you don’t change. So embrace who you are and be you to the best of your ability. Screw anyone who says that is not good enough.

Theatre and Glee and stuff

The latest Glee episode is Rachel’s opening night of Funny Girl on Broadway. This is the culmination of everything we have seen this character do, and be over the course of the show. And it was beautiful.

My New Year’s resolution this year was to take in a live performance at least once a month. I’m on fire, having seen 9 shows so far, with a litany of performances ahead. I chose this as my resolution because there is something so inspiring about seeing a live show: the sheer amount of work that goes into it, the balls it takes to go on before a live audience night after night, the fortitude to do it night after night after night. It fills me with a desire to create and to fill the world with my own ideas.

It was good to see Rachel’s breakdown before her opening night. I know it’s a TV show, but she’s obviously so very talented and so young and having a role like Fanny Brice at 19! On the Great White Way?!? It’s no wonder I panic about people seeing my work. But she panics, too. It’s not really that easy for anyone. Every somebody was nobody once.

It was great to get to experience Rachel’s stage debut. They shot it so that we got all sides. We sat in the audience and watched her. We were on stage with her. We were in her head. The show gives a glimpse of Broadway that many people don’t have the luxury to see. It could end now and we’d be complete. It was always about Rachel, after all.

But for me in my venture, it’s the beginning. (The middle?) I am really enjoying my year of theatre. I have a sitcom based on all of this that I am working on. Maybe someday it will be my Funny Girl. My Glee.

On Sunday I will embark on my 10th play and have the delight of having drinks with the producer of that show. Hopefully he won’t mind my picking his brain for a better understanding of what it takes to put on a Broadway play.

Friday, January 17, 2014

1945 was a long time ago...

We came to the US from Germany when I was in Kindergarten. Somewhere in grade school, I found that kids would draw swastikas on my papers. I'd lose my mind, my Heidi braids flailing as I bit the offenders. Being German was, and is, a huge part of my identity.

My mother was born in the war. My childhood was forged by her experiences, and those of family members. Anytime I would visit older relatives in Germany, particularly those who were adults during WWII, I would be encouraged to eat EVERYTHING. No seriously. They would make a huge meal and expect my 4 foot, 80 pound self to eat it all. What was not eaten was carefully placed into the fridge or the freezer for a later meal. Nothing was wasted. Today I find it hard to throw out an egg; my mom cannot waste bread.

I've been watching documentaries about the war. Hitler's Children struck a chord with me. We have no choice who we are born to, yet we carry the weight of their actions with us. One woman in particular, Monika Goeth, the daughter of the "Nazi Butcher" Amon Goeth - you might remember Ralph Fiennes portrayal from Schindler's List - made a particularly strong impression upon me. I don't know why her short interview made me feel so protective of her. It just struck me that this woman, whose father died before she met him, was set up to fail. She didn't learn the truth about Amon until her teens. Her truth was obfuscated by her mother and she didn't really understand who he was until she saw Schindler's List. There is a documentary about Monika and a young woman who worked in Amon Goeth's household, called Inheritance. Inheritance, indeed. Should she be forced to bear the weight of her father's atrocities? 

My mom came over today with a box full of family pictures. It includes her parents, and my dad's parents and a few pictures of the generations before them. For my birthday last year, my aunt sent me a picture of my great grandmother at age 4 with her family. My cousin's little boy looks just like her.

So there is something to be said about strong genes, right? My sister and her daughter look just like my Grandmother. But that's all just looks. What about personality? How much of that is genetic and how much is nurtured?

I don't suppose I really have a point. It's more of a musing to me, at this time. I see how stoic my mother is and I wonder, had she been raised in a less stressful time, would she laugh more? Cry more? Would she demand more? Because Lord knows she asks for nothing.

The holocaust was not the first time, nor the last time massive genocide took place. We consistently have weak spirited people given a modicum of power who decide to use it to brutalize people to make up for their own shortcomings. But this era is definitely a time we can examine and decide for ourselves that we never want to become like Amon Goeth, or Heinrich Himmler, or Hermann Goering. We can decide to educate ourselves and open our mind to things we might otherwise be afraid of.

I still wrap my identity around being German, even if at this point I am solidly planted in American soil. Perhaps that is why I question all actions taken by our government to cut off the rights to someone based on their gender/religion/race/etc. I cannot imagine standing by, terrified for my friends and family, while the government actively slaughters an entire population. It's a life that goes on everyday in parts of world.

This is long winded. I apologize. I suppose I am feeling sentimental, and perhaps a little cautious. This country of ours is a little terrifying in some of our leaders choices. Living in Virginia is especially nerve-wracking as woman. I have yet to crack to motive on many choices my state, excuse me, commonwealth makes on my behalf. I am anxious about the dismissive way we treat our planet. I am angry, filled with rage at  (there isn't word strong enough for how I feel) with the active extinction of our species. I cannot imagine the mindset of people who choose to stand in the way of human rights, particularly those that have nothing to do with their own personal way of life.

Maybe we aren't sending people off to concentration camps, but when we choose to continue to isolate and dismiss people for living a life that is different from our own, we still condemn them to a life of torture, if not death. I, for one, want my descendants refer to me as the one they're like. Kind, open, and affirming. I'm working at it.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Tased and Confused

I got a taser for my birthday. Yup. I asked for it. I have wanted a taser forever. Now that I have it, it lives in a box with all its instructional information and the battery removed.

I’m scared of the taser. (I should be. It's scary. Watch these idiots test their taser.)

When Brian gave it to me, he showed me how to use it. He showed me the terrifying laser that points at the target. That would be enough to disarm me, but I’m not really someone who is going to be engaging in something that would require me to get tased. (Don’t tase me, bro!) He took out the ammo. You know, the part that fires two prongs 25 feet to connect with and take down the evil doing perpetrator.

 He pushed the safety off and hit the button that got the taser to send rays of electricity flailing. 

It made so much noise!! Clack clack clack, etc. Who knew that electricity sounds like clapping? Is that really the message I want to send? Applause? Additionally, once you hit the button, it fires for 30 seconds. That’s a commitment. 

It's actually kind of cool. I mean, I am little. Not too tough. I'm not like Clussy, who when Harms jumped out and scared her, reacted by punching Harms in the nose. I was scared by my boss the other day, when he snuck up behind me in the parking lot. I reacted by waving my arms like a hatchling bird and singing a little aria. See? Not tough. 

Having a taser scares me because it makes me afraid that I am going to suddenly think I'm tough. I will have the solo gang mentality because I have taser back-up. 

It got me thinking about George Zimmerman. I think he had gang mentality because he was carrying a gun. He got cocky and felt protected. That's why he got out of his car and went after Trayvon Martin. I bet if he did not have a gun, he would not have gotten out of his car.  

I don't want to carry my taser until I have learned all about it. When I am confident that I understand the risks of what it can do, I will take it with me. Not always, just in those times when I think I may need extra protection. Actually, it will probably stay in my house forever, quietly hoping it will never be used. But you'd better not break in to my house! I will tase you, bro! And yes, I do worry about it getting into the wrong hands, i. E. my cat. He has that shifty look.

Upcoming post: How I accidentally tased myself. (Kidding).

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ghost Story

My cousin died last week. He was born a year before my oldest brother was born. I'm aching for his parents, siblings, children, and wife. It's just not right for parents to have to mourn their child. I'm sad for his siblings who will never be a complete set again.

My oldest brother died almost 15 years ago. Holy smokes! It's crazy to think he's been gone so long. I think about him, but it seems like more and more time goes by between my being reminded of something he would say, or how he would laugh. I miss him terribly, yet at the same time he is fading from me. He is slowly becoming a really intangible memory, not unlike a movie character from a film I loved long, long ago.

I don't actively seek him out. It's kind of jarring to see someone make an "a" in the crazy way he did, or tie their shoelaces on the side of their shoe, or actually see his face in a photo. Sometimes I get a whiff of him in the air and it sends me sprawling back on my spiritual ass. So, no. I don't seek him out. Because for as wonderful as those moments are, it hurts. It kind of really hurts. I can't have him back.

Geez, I loved him. He always took me places with him. He paid attention to me, when no one else did. He actively cherished our friendship. He got me really cool presents and wanted to hang out with my friends. He listened to me and told me when I was in the wrong. But he never held it against me. He liked me.

I do admit I am always wondering if he would have liked the guys I have dated, or hung out at my apartment. Would I have made the choices I have made had he been around? What kind of person would I be if I still had him to confide in and to keep me in line? Would I be as stoic? Would I allow myself to show it when people hurt my feelings? Would I be better at standing up for myself?

Maybe I am romanticizing him. What if I'm not remembering him right? I just think everyone loved him. He was sweet, to a fault. He worked so hard. He had good intentions which, sometimes backfired on him, but in a "I have a great story to tell you" way for me.

Today I was working at my bar. (I don't know if he would have drank much there as he was kind of a wuss drinker - see frozen daiquiris - and we don't have a blender). I was doing my eavesdropping bartender thing and overheard some guy saying he graduated around the time I did. I inquired and learned he went to my rival high school. So we got to chatting. He asked me my name. He said he met one other girl with my name. He worked with her brother who had cancer. I'm all, hold up! That's my brother. That's me!! It was! He had worked with Christoph at Hechinger, a hardware store. He really remembered him. He was telling me stories. He liked him.

I felt like I got to have him in this moment again, even if just a little bit. My memories were validated. He was a nice guy. He was liked. And he liked me. He nurtured our relationship today, from beyond the grave. I am so grateful.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The last time I ever use Budget Rental cars.

I went to Panama for my birthday. I was so excited! Got my hotel booked. Flights were booked. All I needed to do was get a car. I vacillated between renting a car, taking taxis, and hiring a driver to take us to the sights! (Yeah, I think I am high-faluten).  Reality set in which scratched the hired driver off of my list. Taxi costs looked prohibitive, plus my mom's (my date for the trip) gentle reminder that I drove without incident through the maddening streets of Copenhagen, made my choice for me.

Now to choose a car rental place!

The deal breaker for me was no navigator. I had read that Panama City is in a state of disarray as they are tearing the city up to put in an underground subway system. Also, my mom said that it was crazy driving there in the 60s, can't imagine it changed much. Budget had a navigator and a good rate. Woo-hoo. Sold. I made my reservation online and then just had to wait for the day of the trip.

Two days before we leave, my mom calls me to tell me she thinks she broke her foot. Whaa? She went to the doctor and received a pretty intense brace for what turned out to be a solid strain. I asked if she still wanted to go. She said yes. So off we went!

We got to Panama without ado. Headed to the Budget counter with my hobbling mom. I sat her down in some chairs and stood in line. (Me thinking: Why a line? None of the other car rental places had a line. Must be the best!) I noticed that of the two people behind the counter, the lady looked frazzled and the young man looked useless. He was just kind wandering around, randomly picking up pieces of paper and putting them back down. I shall call her "frazzled" and him "feckless". So Frazzled keeps saying stuff to Feckless and he does not react. My Spanish is non-existent, so I just had to go on how they were acting, and not what they were saying.

The two guys who were being taken care of also looked annoyed and frustrated (and sweaty. Was that because of Budget, or the heat? I'll never know). I stood in line behind the guy in front of me for 20 minutes. Nothing was happening. So I moved over to the National Car rental where they had no line and spoke English to me. I was about to rent from them, but Budget called me over because they were suddenly ready for me. I figured I should stick with them since I made the reservation there.

Feckless is helping me. His English is almost as bad as my Spanish. Okay, I know I am a foreigner in a land where the language is Spanish. I don't really need much, except assurances that what I requested is what I am getting. I have even recruited the help of a translator who is very helpful. Wow I sound awful. I don't mean to be that American. It would not have been a problem except he accused me of stealing. That was a problem. BIG!PROBLEM!

After about an hour of shuffling papers, looking for pens and staples and forms, playing with little canvas bags, Feckless gives me my car. I go out with a Budget Rep to look at the car. It's a banged up old white Yaris with an after-market stereo jammed into the dash. I made sure to notate every scratch and ding (because I read that they will charge you a lot for any additional damage to the car. In fact they make you fill out two credit card slips so they can use one for the car and the other for the damage).

The navigator is not inside the car, so I go back inside and ask about it. Feckless says he gave it to me. I say nope. You never even showed it to me. He gets upset and says, I gave it to you! I just continue to shake my head. He goes out to the Yaris with me to look for it there. Not there. We return inside where he asks, where is your stuff? I show him what I have in my hands and in my bag. Not there. He tells me he's going to have to look through my luggage. I say, you can look through everything I have, but you never gave me the navigator. He makes asides to Frazzled. He starts to look through each of the canvas bags he looked through before. Turns out those are the navigators. He calls his supervisor and tells me that the supervisor will be reviewing the surveillance footage to see what happened. I say, bring it! In fact, let me watch, too.

He is getting increasingly upset and Frazzled is helping someone else. As he continues to examine the navigators and tell me that he already gave it to me, his face turns white. Yeah, he found the unit "he gave to me". He takes it out of the bag and shows it to me. No apology.

There is a piece of tape on the power switch. I ask him to notate that it was already there so I don't get charged for it. He tells me it's fine. I say, no. I want you to write it on my receipt. He says "I will remember". I raise an eyebrow. "Write it down". Feckless shakes his head as he writes it down. "You are not a trusting Mrs." DAMN STRAIGHT I'M NOT! "Now sign it!" I command.

I take the navigator and gather my mother and our suitcases. I put all of them in the Yaris. I set the navigator up. It turns on.... then shuts off. I try several more times. Same thing. Leaving my Mama in the air-conditioning, I return. When I pop up again, like Groundhog Day, Frazzled actually laughs. I feel her. Seriously, I'm like a cold sore at this point. I wave the navigator at Feckless.

"It doesn't stay on".

He tells me it's fine. The battery is just low. I tell him I am not leaving without a Navi that works. So they send me out with another guy who tests it in a new car. Works fine. Tests it in the Yaris. Nope. So the cigarette charger is broken. Inside I go again. This time Frazzled comes out with me. She puts me into a new Kia and off I go (with suitcases, Mama, and a working Navi).

This took 3 hours!!