5 for 5

1. The very first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is listen to Garrison Keillor's daily Writer's Almanac podcast. He lists birthdays of famous people and notable events in history that occurred on said day (this a.m. was devoted almost entirely to the surrender of General Cornwallis to George Washington in 1781) and follows that up with an unrelated yet seasonally appropriate poem. I'm not gonna lie, this can be a lot to absorb at six o'clock in the morning, but Garrison Keillor always manages to sound like he's speaking from the bottom of a well or the back of a cave, which is soothing and terrifying in equal measure, so at the end you're pretty grateful just to be able to get out of bed and get the hell on with your day.

2. This morning I also dialed up a Taylor Swift song on Rdio. I can't remember why. Since I started listening to more music on my phone during the day, I've been drawn to many uncool artists from the past, like Sting and Matchbox Twenty and the Dave Matthews Band, but since I'm employing “tech” as the gateway to this lite FM mediocrity, I'm still able to feel “hip” and “with it," which seems to be what life in your forties is all about.

3. The best thing I listened to all week was this Nerdist podcast with Dax Shepard (who I could not possibly love more) and the best thing I watched was the first episode of Foo Fighters Sonic Highways on HBO, where they recorded a song in Chicago at the studio of legendary producer Steve Albini. I coincidentally visited Chicago just last weekend, and saw some friends and an opera and had an amazing dinner at Blackbird, and looking forward to moving back to Chicago is now my favorite hobby.

4. I also watched Grosse Pointe Blank last night, which more and more I'm convinced is a perfect movie. There are maybe a couple of false notes with the two G-men played by Hank Azaria and K. Todd Freeman, but tone-, character-, setting- and dialogue-wise, it's just a completely realized, self-contained world. It's also very human without being at all sentimental, which would make it a good twofer with Young Adult in a Maladjusted Midwestern Malaise film festival.

5. Yesterday I volunteered to work a water station during a 10-mile training run for the marathoners in my group. We were situated at Engineer's Gate, at East 90th and Fifth Avenue, which is where they'll enter Central Park during the marathon. It was bright and cool and breezy and I was there with another woman from my group, and as the runners came through in sweaty, beaming waves, a severely handicapped man with a walker stumbled past us, moving at a glacial pace. After we watched him go by, this woman, Carol, looked over at me and shook her head and said, “What did you complain about today?”

& cf. Elaine Stritch quoting her late husband in the documentary Shoot Me: “Everybody's got a sack of rocks.”