Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oscars, Zombies, and Being a Badass

A word on the Oscars before it gets too late to bear mentioning:

Once upon a time, I was obsessed with who was nominated for what, and made a point of seeing every movie that was nominated in as many categories as I could. This once resulted in a girls’-night-out with Mom consisting of a trip to see Saving Private Ryan in a theater with some PTSD-addled WWII vets, for which I think she still hasn’t forgiven me. This was back when my life’s dream was to write for Entertainment Weekly, back when I once made the statement “I just wanna have fun in my job! I don’t want to save the world or anything!” That one really gets a laugh at do-gooder NGO happy hours on the Hill, I can tell you. But then, we’re an easily amused bunch.

Anyway, this particular year I saw exactly one Oscar-nominated movie. Just one. And I’m not just talking about Best Picture. I hadn’t seen any other nominated movie, not even Norbit (best makeup). And the one that I did see, There Will Be Blood, I had seen just the evening before, and I came damn close to seeing yet another zombie movie. I think I’ve seen every zombie movie that’s come out in the past 18 months. You might wonder just how many zombie movies there could possibly be in a year and a half. Plenty. I’ve seen slow zombies, fast zombies, truly-undead-zombies, zombies-that-are-really-just-sick-people-zombies, zombies in London, zombies in New York, zombies in Las Vegas and a surprising number of dog zombies. I even recently had a dream that Mark and I were prepping for a New Year’s Eve pool party in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. At this point, zombies have become such a common fixture in my life that I was fairly unconcerned in the dream about the zombies, any more than I would be a traffic jam on the Beltway slowing us down. I was more concerned with which bathing suit I was going to wear, which of my friends were going to be at the party, whether or not I had shaved adequately, and the fact that New Year’s is a stupid time to have a pool party. Even the fact that my cats seemed to have become little kitty zombies was more of an annoyance than anything, because I had to keep them in the bathroom.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to see less zombie movies, and more quality films. And that doesn’t mean Rambo (which I have seen, and it was very, very loud). Although the last time I rented an Oscar-y movie, Babel, I thought it sucked big time. At least with zombie movies you know what you’re gonna get.

And a quick word on work:

I’ll not pretend I have the most glamorous job in the world. Okay, so there’s the odd photo-op with Bono and Bill Clinton, but really, that’s two days out of five years of being gainfully employed. I think the thrilling-to-ho-hum ratio is still a bit skewed. But today, we rocked the house, if I do say so. We helped the World Health Organization launch a major, major report on tuberculosis, and it’s all over the New York Times, BBC, Reuters, AP, etc. Watch for it. That was totally us. Is it okay that that makes me feel a little bit badass? Sure, it’s a scary, scary report on the resurgence of tuberculosis around the world, but it’s okay for me to be a little proud of myself, right?

Hey, at least it’s not a resurgence of zombies. Though I think I’d be something of an expert on that point as well.