W. by L.

It's a week later and I can't get this movie out of my head.

I thought I would and I thought I would spare myself (and you) having to blog about it, but the entire experience was unsettling... mostly because it was so unexpected.

You see, I thought going to see W would be like going to see a Michael Moore movie, the ole "preaching to the choir" experience. It's like when you go to see a romantic comedy. You know you're gonna laugh. You know you're going to get choked up when the couple that almost didn't happen gets reunited by fate. You know you're going to feel comforted by the omnipresence of Tom Hanks.

Well, the election was getting me down (I will hold my breath until midnight on November 4th; I've learned not to count my Obamas before they hatch!). I wanted some light comedy, so we decided to go see W. It would be a roundhouse kick to his wee wee, right?


The first thing you should know is that Josh Brolin is distractingly handsome. I didn't expect this. I never thought twice about him, have never seen him in anything, and kept getting him and Christian Bale confused (Lilly's Pop Vault will tell you the reason: both of their dads married famous women; Brolin's dad married Barbra Streisand, Bale's married famed feminist and former Lilly hero Gloria Steinem). But he's a hottie, and so the first problem I had with this movie is that I spent 2 hours being vaguely attracted to George Dubya. That I had never expected. I never anticipated the lethal mix of Brolin's good looks mixed with a compelling portrayal of George.

Stone knew what he was doing. He puts a disarmingly handsome and capable actor in the seat, and suddenly our defenses are down. That old thing about how you can't hate on beautiful people and all of that. He's pretty, so we listen closely and watch his actions.

And here's the second problem -- Oliver Stone had the gall to paint an evenhanded portrait of the President! Ever the sucker for psychology (me), Stone goes back into the Bush family dynasty and the father-son dynamics. You start to feel for W and to see the position he was in, the need to prove himself that so many people (author included) feel. While Stone puts Bush where he chronologically belongs, ie. in meetings with his team about WMDs and Saddam, he also makes sure the other players are there. You have heard about Cheney's machinations, but to see them play out (courtesy of an uberCreepy performance by Richard Dreyfuss) allows you to take new stock of Bush's behavior. Stone even throws him a smarty bone; Bush makes a comment about his father's campaign against Dukakis that is marketing genius. It would probably go unnoticed if I wasn't so darn b-school obsessed. Ultimately Brolin portrays a likeable, warm, and often charming man.*

I struggled with the call from God. Man, President of our country is not a job I would want, so you have to wonder who would, and why? W's "calling" is portrayed so sincerely that I couldn't even muster up the laugh I had been practicing all week. His religious conviction is so sincere and was so necessary in light of his drug/alcohol abuse that you can't even taunt him for it. It's a problem we see, not just in the American presidency, but worldwide: what do you do when someone believes so sincerely and with the best of intentions that they're doing the right thing, when you know what they're doing is wrong?

I don't know George Bush, so I'd spent a good 8 years painting himself as aggressive and evil in my mind. What if he's not evil but, to use Dan's phrase, just "has a tiny brain!"

When in Texas, do as the Texans do. I fold. Not without resentment and disbelief that we had this guy in office for 8 hours (I was touched by the film; I didn't get a LOBOTOMY!).

I am as ready as ever to usher him out of office but will do so with a little less hatred.

*to answer your question: Brolin is a staunch Democrat and apparently a very dedicated actor?

The Great Depression; My Solutions for the Modern Economy

So maybe I'm not the only one feeling this way. Lately I wake up every morning in a complete state of panic. I have weird dreams and then awaken to a beautiful California day and a sense of dread.

Some say it's the unreasonable number of things I'm up to at any one time, to which I say "well then I'm just not trying hard enough!"

In any case, as you all know, I'm in business school right now. While I was in law school I saw how that changed how I thought and operated, but now I find myself undergoing a different type of change. I'm an efficiency machine. Today I heard my friend get off the phone with someone at work about the schedule and I looked at her -- oh so knowingly -- and actually said "Operations management issues, huh?"

B school is taking over my life, and by my life I mean my mind. It's true. Basically I find the entire world operating inefficiently and have to control my desire to consult for everybody all the time. I see business school everywhere:

Recent examples:

*I wanted to tell the people at the dog pound last Saturday that they should have an automated call system to indicate the status of your wait for dogs (Queue Analytics); if their goal is to efficiently adopt pets out, they certainly need to operate better. And they need to train their front desk people not to be bitchy (Human Resources). I also felt that they could do much more with their internet presence and pet descriptions. IT, people!

*I wanted to scream at some publishers recently for not immediately issuing my clients' contracts and checks. (Business Law, Accounting, Information Systems)

*I finally understood the value of the bonds my parents had tucked in my baby book (Finance). (note to self: find them!)

*I was watching ESPN with friends, and the show was interrupted for a commercial by the sell-your-gold people. You know, where you send your gold and they respond with $ for the weight in gold. (Acceptance by performance is a unilateral contract, by the way, thank you Business Law). We discussed why they would possibly advertise something meant for old ladies on ESPN.

Then my friends pointed out that it was probably for old men to become inspired to go snatch their woman's jewelry and hock it. Thank you Marketing!

And so on. I find myself astounded that anyone would want to run a small store by the way. The pain of ordering inventory and managing it can not be underestimated (Operations Management). I find myself torn between supporting my local Cortez Mart and not wanting to give them the trouble of having to replace that one candybar!

The economy frankly scares me these days. I work for four different organizations and still think twice before ordering my latte. It's just not right.

Revenge of the ATM

"We're in a recession, people!" is a quote one of my dearest friends says often these days. She has found the self-restraint to buy only 4 dresses when she wants 6 "because we're in a recession people!" and so on. These days, no matter who you are, chances are you're clinging to your wallet and thinking twice about whether you want that as a "tall" or a "venti".

The other day I actually found myself saying "a penny saved, a penny earned!" in my head. Who have I become?

These are troubling times. But what may be even more troubling is how we react to it. This evening I was talking with a woman who is like a grandma to me. She was telling me (disapprovingly) how she knew someone who couldn't afford a house because their credit card debt was too high. The debtor whined "Well, we wanted to eat, what were we supposed to do?" To which Paula sagely replied "back in my day, if you didn't have enough money to eat, you certainly didn't go OUT to eat, you stayed home and cooked."


Somehow, no matter how much I am given this responsible adult advice, it never sinks in. I have come up with a variety of theories to explain why I am unable to comply with basic financial laws such as this. My #1 favorite rebuttal is that it's cheaper to go out than it is to cook for one person. My mom's counter-rebuttal is that if I cooked more often, I'd have all the ingredients. But I don't, I have to buy one onion, one thing of fresh basil, one apple, etc etc each time. To which I retort: Ok, I'm lazy.

I'm curious how other people are feeling the recession, and if they feel as much bitter jealousy of the Hills girls as I do. There is just no apparent reason why Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt needed to buy a $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom. What did she do right in a past life, I ask you?

In general I have a sick fascination with the Hills lately. Dan caught me watching it the other day. I hid it the way children hide cigarettes from their parents. I"m not proud of how much I love to watch them eat yogurt, gossip, and effectively continue doing nothing for $70,000 an episode. I daydream about it. That camera crews will fall over themselves to document my daily treks and my chatter with friends. And that they will pay me handsomely to simply be me, plus stylists.

I know we all roll our eyes about reality television, but I think it's because in most shows people trade something for the glory, and the money is never a given. You're going to be locked in a house with a gang of people with personality diarrhea (or the real thing, you never know). Or you're going to be on an island fending for food, minus Sawyer and Jack. Or you're going to get weighed on national television (THE HORROR!). And so on. But in The Hills, the rewards and incentives line up juuuust right.

But back to the recession and my current reality. Maybe someone wants to film a show about ME, "just a girl, making her way in the world today, takes everything you've got..." Oh, is that theme song taken? Producers, lean in. I promise you scenes money just can't buy.

Scene One: Drama ensues when lilly discovers that her Ralph's card has been crediting a Jane Artin the whole time instead of her.
Scene Two: Lilly makes a vow to take colder showers than her usual scalding twice-daily ritual as a nod to the environment.
Scene Three: Thoughtful montage while I consider my election ballot, resisting the urge to just vote for President. I flip through the voter information guide, make notes, and smile at democracy.
Scene Four: Lilly sneaks away from her desk to catch a glimpse of The Hills.

And CUT!

Come on, a girl can dream. The Lilly Show. It's gonna be a thing.

In the meantime, as reality continues to sink in, I have to admit that I'm more than a little nervous for my business law exam on Wednesday night. The class itself is fine, but ooh, the flashbacks...

Just One More Reason I Won't Vote for Him

The other night I was talking to my mom about McCain and told her about the famed 1992 story in which McCain flipped out on his wife in front of reporters and called her the c word. Ick. I can't even type the words "The C Word" without wanting to wash my hands with soap.


When I told my mom this, she looked at me blankly.

"What's the C word?"

I wouldn't tell her, so she asked my dad. And HE didn't know (bless my parents and their clean mouths). So they looked it up.

And there you have it folks. Innocence lost. Make no mistake, McCain is ruining our country. I'm so busy washing my hands that I can't even comment on how inappropriate it is for anyone to use that word, much less someone who wants to represent me and my country to the rest of the world. You call the mother of your children this, John? Yikes. Through his behavior he's causing good, responsible citizens to have to learn The C Word just to understand what he's about. He likes to say "I've never been Miss Congeniality..." No kidding mister.

Sadly, this episode may actually be more horrifying than his lower teeth, which are all kinda smooshed together and yellow. I didn't think he could top that.

Vote for whoever you want, but if you know what The C Word is, I know who you WON'T be voting for!