Friday, October 12, 2007

Howdy, Ya’ll!

New at Since Last Week:
We Own the Night
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Michael Clayton
The Heartbreak Kid

Word has it that the weather back home is cold and nasty—but here in The Big D, it couldn’t be more beautiful. The sun is shining off the hotel pool, and it’s warm enough for shorts. If it weren’t for the giant mutant grasshoppers around here (and the fact that if I stayed too long, I’d become morbidly obese from all the great food), I may never leave.

So we’ve been in Dallas since Wednesday night—when my husband had to fly in for a couple of days of meetings. That means that there wasn’t a lot of time for screenings (though I’ve been scheduling regular screenings in my hotel room, complete with muffins and coffee). In fact, the only screening that I was able to make it to this week was on Tuesday night, when I went to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age. Despite all the nasty things that have been said about the movie, I didn’t hate it—though I did almost hate Clive Owen (by way of his two-timing jerk of a character) by the time it was over, and that’s no good. But Cate Blanchett is brilliant, so that makes up for it.

Since I don’t have a lot to report in the critic world, though, how about I tell you about my experience in Dallas?

We got here on Wednesday night—in time to get ourselves into our rental car, check into our not-as-nice-as-the-pictures hotel, and head out for dinner. We went to a place called Pappa’s Bar-B-Q, where I was served what appeared to be a flock of chickens drenched in sauce, served with two sides (I chose macaroni salad and pea salad) and bread. I also got an approximately half-gallon glass of lemonade, and we ordered a slice of carrot cake the size of my head. I felt like I was six again—or like I’d somehow shrunk on the flight. They’re not kidding when they say that everything in Texas is big. And that goes double for the insects. The giant mutant grasshopper managed to find its way onto my lap while I was eating, and it scared the living crap out of me.

Yesterday, I dropped my husband off at his office before fighting my way through rush-hour traffic and finding my way back to the hotel. I will say one thing for the hotel—they do a good breakfast. That, and they have free wireless, which makes my life easier. After I got back, I decided to head down to the breakfast room to do some work while allowing the housekeeping staff some time to clean my room. I was there for about two hours and went back to find that my room hadn’t been cleaned yet. So I hung out in the room for a bit, called my mom, and decided that I’d allow the cleaning staff more time by going out to the pool. There, I was ogled by the grounds keeping staff, who apparently had never seen a female at the pool before. I sat there feeling awkward for as long as I possibly could without completely frying, and then I figured it was safe to return to my room. The cleaning staff had still not been to my room, though they were hovering in the general vicinity. So I quickly took a shower, got a few things done, and headed down to the breakfast room again—to scribble out some reviews while watching CNN. There, I found myself in the middle of a very uncomfortable employee disciplinary meeting with some member of the staff who apparently wasn’t up to par.

After the meeting was over, and I felt I could safely return to my room (after about an hour and a half or so), I stopped by the vending machines for a Coke and some Bugles to go with the yogurt I’d snagged from the breakfast room. Great lunch, no?

The problem, however, was that I got up to my room, and it was still not clean. The maid was across the hall, though, so I figured I’d give her a little while longer—so I went back to the lobby, where I read for a while and ate my Bugles. Then I crossed my fingers and returned to my room.

When I got out of the elevator, there was no sign of a maid’s cart in the hallway, so I took that as a good sign. My room would be clean, right? Wrong. No maid in sight, and my room was still not clean. By this time, it was nearly 3, and I’d been wandering around the halls, exploring the laundry rooms and scoping out vending machines. I’d hung out by the pool, been ogled by the staff, gotten a little more burnt than I should have, and spent so much time in front of the TV in the breakfast room that I’d seen every single news story on CNN at least 12 times. I was tempted to give up and forget about getting my room cleaned, but the place was horrible. The shower leaked, so there was water all over the bathroom floor, and if nothing else, the place just needed a good airing out. For some reason, the air was on, but it just felt cold and humid in the room.

So I went down to the front desk. “Excuse me…would you happen to know when my room will be cleaned?” I asked, trying to keep from ripping the head off the poor girl behind the counter, since it clearly wasn’t her fault. She replied with a totally shocked look.

“Your room hasn’t been cleaned?” she asked.


So she promised to get someone right up—and I returned to the breakfast room. Once again, I wasn’t alone. This time, there was an excitable guy with a laptop and a cell phone. Though I tried to give him space, I couldn’t avoid hearing some of his conversations—because he was very excitable. Apparently, he was trying to hire someone to start working full-time in Dallas on Monday on the show, Prison Break. Neat, huh? I don’t think he was hiring talent, though, so I figured I’d refrain from offering my services as a professionally trained actress (right, Clay?).

Finally, though, I got my room cleaned. It was then nearly 4—and I had a lot of work to catch up on. And my room was still as comfortable as a bog in August.

I had about two hours to work until I went to pick my husband up. We then went out to another Pappa’s restaurant—this time, Pappasito’s Cantina, where we had guacamole made right at our table (which reminded me of our honeymoon—and this amazing restaurant in Puerto Vallarta called Pipis). And I ate the best chicken enchiladas I have ever had, in my entire life. They were amazing. If you ever go there, you must have the salsa verde. It’s incredible.

When we waddled back in from dinner, I finally managed to get into the room (since our key-cards only occasionally work), and we found that one whole side of our room was power-less. That meant both bedside lights and the alarm clock. We called the front desk (twice) and were told that they’d get the maintenance guy to come out and fix it. By 10:30, we were exhausted, and we’d heard nothing from the maintenance guy (and we still had no power), so we gave up and went to bed.

So when we got up this morning (awakened by the alarm clock, which we’d had to move to the far side of the room), we still had no power in half our room, and we soon discovered that it was Cold Shower Day. And our room is getting more and more humid and bog-like by the hour. So right now, I’ve got the door ajar, and I’ve decided not to worry about the cleaning staff for a while. I’ve got stuff to do.

This afternoon, I’m planning to hold another screening. Last night, we had an evening screening, consisting of Bacardi Breezers and Planet Terror. Today, I’m thinking Whataburger takeout and Poltergeist. Feel free to join me. The screening starts at 2 pm Central time. Press sign-in will be required.

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