Sometimes, I forget just how funny our performance was. LOL! The other memory that had me in stitches recently - post-wedding, post-bbq lunch, all the parents and grandparents had gone to the hotel or gone shopping, and it was goosetang and Team Geneseo and my brothers left. We had all paired up to play bocce, and we made the "punishment" for losing a face dip in the galvanized barrel of ice water we had for the beer. She lost and we all started playing another round and then I hear Bwong laughing, going, "Dr. Rei, no!" because she's kneeling in front of the bin, in her post-wedding-still-garden-party finery, about to dip her nose in the icy water. It makes me laugh, still. What a lovely day that was.
The Queen of Versailles was an amazing doc. So nuanced and rich, it was fascinating and sad and enlightening all at once. It follows David and Jackie Siegel. David is the owner of the largest privately owned timeshare company in the world. He's amassed a fortune, married a former Mrs. Florida, Jackie, has 8 kids with her, and together they were building the single largest private family residence in America, modeled on Versailles, natch. They're in the middle of building it when the mortgage crisis happens in the US in 2008 and then all their money goes away (that's simplistic, but you get the idea). The documentarian just caught them at the best time - she started filming when they were at their height (I think the doc was originally supposed to be about the house itself) and then caught the Siegels as they struggled through the lack of liquidity caused by the collapse of their business. It's a stunning documentary. For one, it makes you feel strangely sympathetic to the Siegels, and especially Jackie. Yes, she's a blond Amazonian with ginormous fake boobs, but she also loves her kids, is generous, and came up poor and just got used to this life. One of their kids is Jackie's niece, Jonquil, who grew up poor and her parents couldn't take care of her so Jackie adopts her. Jonquil sagely notes in the documentary something along the lines of how even though she's been poor and now has everything she could want, servants, any material possession, you somehow get used to it. Like, she can't remember any other way. It sounds awful when you write that and the documentarian cleverly problematizes the ignorant, careless greed and conspicuous consumption of the Siegels, by interviewing their chauffeur (who lost his house to foreclosure) and 1 of their 3 nannies (who hasn't seen her biological son in 19 years). And yet, the film does a clever job of showing how that aspirational greed that is so uniquely an American product is expressed at all levels. The banks refuse to continue to lend David Siegel money to keep his business afloat because they want him to foreclose so they can get the asset (his buildings), so he has to lay off 7000 people. David Siegel's entire fortune was built on selling average, middle-income Americans a timeshare dream they couldn't afford (he was essentially selling subprime). It's fantastic. I'm sure it'll get distribution so I would highly recommend you catch it.
We've been doing pretty well for Hot Docs so far!
Tonight is Academic Book Club. I've read everything, though it damned near killed me. The worst reading was Tamara Faith Berger's Maidenhead. She's the former sex columnist for Vice Magazine and her erotic fiction centres on the sexual awakening of a teenage girl that delves into race and politics through the employment of Hegel's master-slave dialectic (I know.) I wasn't super into the voice of the book, which had the fuzzied, clinical detachment of a Margaret Atwood novel. Not for me. I also didn't really have much time to think through the connotations about Hegel, self-consciousness, race (the protagonist's sexual awakening comes at the hands of an older Tanzanian man and his girlfriend), and power (there's a fair amount of what could be construed as traditionally "degrading" acts like being urinated on and slapped). I just wasn't in the mood for it and didn't care enough, to be honest. This was meh. I guess I don't want a lecture about sexual politics. I'm kinda past that, ya know?
Speaking of erotica, you might have heard everyone going buck for Fifty Shades of Grey which is this new erotic series that is taking the world (and by "world," I mean "desperate housewives and Twilight fanboy mothers") by storm. So I checked it out. It's AWFUL. It's started out as Twilight fan fiction and it shows. It's painfully bad with awful, clunky writing (on par with Twilight, actually!) I can't even describe how bad what little I read is. Standard story - mawkish, awkward yet stunningly beautiful girl comes under the thrall of a super debonair (but vapid), vaguely menacing businessman who ravishes her and becomes to the dom to her sub. SHE CAN'T RESIST HIM. Barf x 1000000000. There, you know what's going on. Now you can talk about it knowledgeably with the biddies at work without having to suffer through it yourself.
Seriously, just pick up a John Green book already, aight?
So I won't be home again tonight. Kind of sadface about it. Last night, the Dotytron and the Big Yam planted his bean together in the garden. Bummed I missed it, but I did have a nice time with my ladies. So I'm glad I went.
Looking forward to my day off tomorrow!! I'm starting a new policy of keeping the Big Yam home with me during the day and then dropping him off (like a sack of cocaine at the Tijuana border) with J at the drop-in centre so I get the afternoons to myself. It's a good compromise, methinks. The roomie has pretty much started her maternity leave so we're going to hang with her during the day and then I'm treating myself to a massage (and doing some house cleaning - boo).