Last night, I had some friends over who have never watched American Idol. (I know what you’re thinking: how is it possible that such people would actually be friends with ME? Well, it happens. Rarely, but it does.) Anyway, because it was Tuesday, I had the show on while we were all sitting around talking, and before I knew it I found myself performing a sort of tutorial. “Okay, so that’s Randy, and Paula, and Simon, they’re the judges,” I explained. “And they decide who gets cut?” my friends asked. “Well….no,” I said. There was other confusion as well, as when my friend Erica got Ryan Seacrest confused with Ryan Phillippe (can you imagine HIM hosting? I would love to see that) and, of course, having to explain the phenomenon that is Sanjaya. “So he’s not really that good a singer,” they said. I nodded. “And a lot of people really hate him.” I nodded again. “So why is he still there?” This, of course, was a question I could not answer. So I just pointed out Haley’s VERY short shorts again and left it at that.
In other news, besides Idol, there’s been very little new on, so I’ve found myself watching a lot of movies on HBO. More telling, I’ve been watching movies that I didn’t see in the theater because they got such bad reviews. I’m not sure why this is. Maybe because free, in my living room, I think they’ll have some sort of great transformation and become great? There’s a weird thing, though, about sittting down to a movie and expecting it to stink. It often….doesn’t. Or at least not to the level you think it will. This is the power, I guess, of low expectations. Hence, Rumor Has It, with Jennifer Aniston, was actually not so terrible (although far from great) and The Lake House wasn’t really that awful either (and made me want to go to Chicago, so props for that). I’ve mentioned here many times about things going the other way, a movie hyped so much that it can only disappoint, so I’m beginning to wonder if maybe this isn’t a better tactic. Not expecting anything to be decent, and maybe they might be. This is not that far off from my mother’s approach to life in general: “Expect the worst, and maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised!” Which, frankly, is a mindset I’ve been trying to get away from for, oh, I don’t know, about 36 years. So maybe I’ll just stick with what I’ve got. Might be better.
Finally, a reading update. I finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, which was GREAT and I highly recommend. It’s about travel, and spirituality, and so many other things, and newly out in paperback. On deck, I have another Tom Perrotta book, Bad Haircut, which I’m way looking forward to, but for now I’m revisiting a book I read and loved years ago, Suzanne Finnamore’s The Zygote Chronicles, which is all about her pregnancy, so for obvious reasons I’m relating to it a bit more this time around. All of this reading is so nice, and feels so decadent that it’s going to be hard to drag myself away from it and back to my own book, although I must. Still, it’s not such a bad thing to be inspired going into a revision: it’s like having the perfect amount of expectation. Not too much, not too little. Just right. Or so I’m hoping.