Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mixed media

I have a theory about Netflix: It's very important to organize your queue so that at any given time, you have two very different sorts of movies in hand. The worst thing you can do is end up with, say, two very depressing dramas or two collections of similar TV episodes. If you do that, you'll inevitably find that you are not in the mood to watch what you've got--but of course, you can't get anything new until you return them. It's what I call a Netflix Blockade.

(Yes, I know one could simply return the offending movies without watching them, but I can't make myself do it. It seems wasteful.)

For several weeks I have been locked in a particularly bad Netflix Blockade: Two serious, potentially rage-inducing documentaries. One, The Future of Food, I still haven't forced myself to watch. J recommended it to me, and I know I very much need to see it, but I can't quite commit to it just yet because I have a pretty good idea how it will make me feel.

The other, though, I finally watched this morning: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It was recommended to me a long, long time ago by someone I interviewed for a business article, and over time it filtered to the top of my queue. It was fantastic and infuriating. I guess before I watched it, I never fully understood the shell game Enron played with the California utilities during the power-grid crunch...or, for that matter, what exactly was wrong with the way the company did its accounting. Now I know, and I'm pissed. Better late than never! Everyone should watch this movie.

And now I can watch The Devil Wears Prada!

Meanwhile, I've been reading. I've just finished Bill Buford's Heat, which I absofreakinglutely loved. For those who haven't heard of it (I hadn't, before I miraculously discovered it on the New Arrivals shelf of our tiny local library), it's a memoir about a writer who apprentices in Mario Batali's restaurant Babbo, then goes on to apprentice with all the people Batali apprenticed with. It reconfirmed for me that I would hate working in a restaurant kitchen (that's not cooking!!!), but it also hit all the right notes about the importance of small, local, artisanal food production.

Now I am embroiled in Beryl Bainbridge's The Bottle Factory Outing, a novel with (I'm guessing) all the potential for hilarious trainwreckiness.

For me, reading and movie-watching are like all my other leisure pursuits. I'm either full-speed ahead, staying up late and immersing myself in them; or I can't go anywhere near them for weeks at a time. Knitting's that way, too. Right now I can feel a rush of knitting coming on, but I haven't quite gotten there because I'm way too busy.

And, on that note, I'd better go plant some more vegetables, if the rain will hold off. Not that I have anything bad to say about rain--we need it!