Wednesday, August 24, 2005


In Kissing Jessica Stein, two women are discussing men and the term "ugly-sexy" comes up. One of them defines the quality by listing a number of actors who have it: Harvey Keitel, Jeff Goldblum, James Woods. Yeah (except for Keitel, who rather repulses me on every level), I can get behind that list. But I am more of a nerd-loving kind of girl. I just love really brainy guys with quirky looks who aren't dangerous or menacing (unlike Woods and Keitel, for example).

I have since compiled a list of nerdy-sexy guys to whom I've grown attached of late. Some of them are characters in much-loved movies and t.v. shows, some of them, the actors who play them.

Jefferson Smith (as portrayed by Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) - Jefferson Smith is one of my favorite nerds. Earnest, bright, but not very worldly, he finally catches wise and learns how to make the system work in his favor. His sincerity and integrity prevail over the twin evils of greed and injustice and he manages with one philibuster to clear his good name, foil the unholy, power-mongering politicians and get Jean Arthur by end titles. Where are the Jefferson Smiths when you need 'em?

Alan Rickman (British actor, director) -- I've had it bad for Alan Rickman for a very long time. Why he doesn't just leave his lifelong partner of 30 years, economist Rima Horton, and run away with me, I'll never understand. I think I completely fell in love with him for his portrayal of sniffly ghost Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply. Oh, sure, he's plenty menacing in a lot of his roles, but even as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and his uneasy, secretive Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films, there was a touch of abject nerdy awkwardness. He's quirky and a more than a little odd, and anyone who can pull down his trousers to reveal a sexless, Ken-doll-like pubic area (as Metatron in Dogma) with such dash and aplomb -- why, that's the nerd for me.

Dr. Carl Sagan -- Smart, sexy, a stylish little overbite and, man, oh, man, those turtlenecks. I was in college (the first time around) when Cosmos debuted on PBS in 1980. I never missed an episode. He was forthright about his belief in the Drake equation, which used mathematical calculation to prove that there must be life in the universe, because for Earth to be the only planet that bore life would simply be statistically improbable. Any guy who can make algebra sexy (while wearing a turtleneck, mind you) can whisk me away to his alternative universe any day. Sagan scoffed at all the then-popular "ancient astronauts" claptrap, because the claims couldn't withstand the scientific standards for putting theories to the test in his book "The Demon- Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark," (the title alone just makes you want to sleep with him, doesn't it?) which included such axioms as "Try not to get too attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours," and "If there are two hypotheses that explain the data equally well choose the simpler (Occam's razor)." If he had an enormous ego (he was a Scorpio, after all -- ahem), he managed to keep it well-hidden in favor of the science.

Adrien Brody (Academy-award winning actor who kissed Halle Berry like she's never been kissed before or since -- and who was kissed the following year by Charlize Theron). Let me tell you something. I got me five dollars here that says there were girls in Adrien Brody's high school who swore they'd die before they'd let him anywhere near them, who are now kicking their own ever-expanding Elmhurst housewife asses for being so stupid. If I were twenty years younger, I'd stalk this boy and marry him right quick. You go, boy. (Darn that Halle Berry anyway -- she gets to have all the fun!)

Frank Darabont (director, The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Majestic) -- the only one of my nerd crushes that I've actually met (I moderated this Q&A with him for Fox Searchlab). Frank happily embraces his nerdiness and flaunts it like a badge of honor, God love 'im. Frank seems to have settled nicely into the filmmaker nerd role, along with friends George Lucas (maxo-nerd) and Steven Spielberg (uber-nerd of the first order). We are less than two months apart in age and grew up less than three miles apart, and I'm stunned I never met him while we were growing up (I knew a bunch of kids at his school, Hollywood High). Now, I understand he's gotten married to Collateral producer Julie Richardson. I guess it was never meant to be between Frank and me. Which is a damn shame, since my daughter was already picking out the color Porsche she was going to buy if he ever became her stepfather. Sucks to be her, I guess, huh.

David Levinson (as portrayed by Jeff Goldlum in Independence Day) -- if Goldblum's Ian Macolm (Jurassic Park) was "ugly-sexy", his scientist-turned-superhero in ID4 was the height of nerdy-sexiness. Geeky, awkward, hopelessly in love with a wife who won't talk to him, and jealous of the man he thinks has stolen her affections (who also happens to be the hunky President of the United States) -- so much so that he actually punches him in the nose -- Levinson finds himself shunted into herodom with his cranky father (Judd Hirsch) and hotdog fighter pilot (Will Smith). Still, he's funny when he's frightened and charming when he's falling all over himself and how Margaret Collin manages to resist him for the first 120 minutes of the movie is an utter and complete mystery to me.

And, finally, Dann Florek (L.A. Law (as direct-marketing nerd-king Dave Meyer; Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU (as slightly less nerdy, but just-nerdy-enough-to-be-sexy Capt. Donald Cragen)) -- Dann Florek won my heart as the painfully socially challenged Dave Meyer, who managed to pursuade financially troubled legal secretary Roxanne Mehlman to marry him on NBC's L.A. Law. He went on to play badge-and-gun-toting-nerd-of-authority Capt. Don Cragen on the first three seasons of Law & Order and then to reprise the role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for the past six (going on seven) seasons. Aside from being a really good dramatic actor, he's got a way with comedy, and he can take a potentially obnoxious character like Meyer and embue in him such an underlying sweetness that he was watchable for a season or two (rather than what I'm sure would have been, with any other actor in the role, six episodes at most, then -- blam! -- hit by a bus). Florek also distinguishes himself in another way. Florek doesn't just play a nerd on t.v. -- he actually is one in real-life. According to his L&O:SVU bio, Florek started as a math and physics major at Eastern Michigan University, only to switch to theater because -- get this! -- he thought acting might be "more fun than synthetic projective geometry." Oh, my Jesus gay! Beat me, whip me, teach me differential calculus -- baby, I'm all yours.

So, there's more about me than you ever wanted to know, I'm sure. I suppose I like nerds because I know that I need a guy with a brain, who can hold up his end of the conversation. I need someone who is more interested in what's going on with the world than what's going on with his crow's feet. I just sense that I'd work with a nerd, perhaps because I'm kind of one myself (or so my kid tells me). Not a math nerd -- more of a natural sciences nerd, who as young child pointed out to her mother that paisley was kind of creepy because the pattern looked like amoebae swimming around under a microscope. I figure there must be a nerd out there with my name on him. It's only a matter of time before he finds me.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Sometimes, the Blog Posts Just Write Themselves

The Toronto Sex Crimes Unit has uncovered an alarming connection between pedophiles and Star Trek. Seems that, in Toronto anyway, the vast majority of child sexual predators also claimed to be devout fans of the sci-fi series. Ellen Ladowsky describes it all quite neatly and succinctly, along with some dissenting opinions, posted yesterday at Huffington Post. It's a fascinating piece, and, honestly, I have nothing to add, except to say that it doesn't say anything about whether people who wrote Star Trek, so I think my family's* in the clear so far.

For the latecomers who were seated at the first available break of this Blog in Three Acts, my father wrote the screenplay for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Of course, my father isn't really a fan that much. He's watched the show, he likes the show, but he's far from seeing it as a blueprint for how we should live our lives. It might be because he was a struggling actor at around the same time Shatner and Nimoy were trying to break in to the biz. They used to hang around at the same delis, with all the other unemployed actors. It's hard to suspend your disbelief when you've witnessed a guy weaving an audition yarn, while simultaneously eating potato salad.

I guess we should have been a little suspicious about those Trekkies (or Trekkers, as some prefer). After all, ST2:TWoK was released over 24 years ago, yet when my father attended his last Trek convention, it was something out of that Bill Shatner sketch from Saturday Night Live -- people asking the most in-depth questions about utter minutae. You gotta wonder about people who would concern themselves with that stuff for a quarter century.

But I would rather die than bites the hand that feeds me, so I'll leave it all to you guys to sort out.

Have a good weekend.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Other Amanda Sowards

I have to submit a performance bio -- you know, those little blurbs they put in the programs of plays that say, "Ms. Sowards has enjoyed success in a number of local Los Angeles productions, including..." and then a list of all the things the performer has been in -- for the musical I'm doing in October. Because I'm inordinately lazy and am loathe to do anything more than once, I was doing a global search to find the old website that had my bio for the production of Godspell I did last year. A little "block and copy"... a little "cut and paste"... you get the picture.

So I googled "Amanda Sowards." I was pleased my main blog, Catharine Chronicles, popped up. And all of my fractal artword, which I display at a site called, came up, too. I even found somebody had written something so sweet, which was quoted in the Google description -- somebody had written, "Amanda Sowards is really beautiful." When I clicked into the site, however, I was shocked to find that I was not the Amanda Sowards to whom the compliment was directed.

There is (insert scary suspense music here) another Amanda Sowards. She's in high school. She's from North Caroline. She just won the Miss Carolina Cover Girl Photo Contest. You know what this means, don't you?

It means that my alterego is a teenage Southern beauty queen.

Like the song says, "I don't want to start any blasphemous rumours, but I think that God has a sick sense of humour, and when I die, I expect to see him laughing."*


*from Depeche Mode's Blasphemous Rumours

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Music News

Sad news from the Music Industry today....

Hootie and the Blowfish announced today that they haven't broken up.

(I could just cry.)


Monday, August 01, 2005


I'm discovering as time goes by that sitting at my desk, doing… uhmmm… well… "deskly" things, for lack of a better word, is becoming more and more difficult. Instead, I'm all caught up in reading online newspapers or TIME magazine or I have to fight with all my energy to get anything done that's on my desk.

I have a bunch of agreements to distribute. I have a bunch of filing that needs purging and sending away. But I can't seem to bring myself to get to it. Why is that? I have managed to get my reading and writing for school done. I have managed to post to my blogs and make comments on the blogs of others. So why can't I bring myself to get excited about distributing Maria Bello's signed agreement on FLICKA?

It's a rhetorical question, of course. I already know the answer. It's quite simple, really. You want to know what it is?

See… I want to do this thing. This writing thing. But before I can do this thing, I have to that other thing. That contract thing. Because it's the other thing that subsidizes the big thing I want to do. Barring a big win in the lotto (I'm on my way -- I won $12 on Saturday), I'll have to do the other thing a while longer. And I really must start getting better at it again.

I used to be great at the other thing. I used to be the Queen of the Other Thing. People still think I am. They ask me questions. They come to me for answers. I want to scream at them.

"Don't bother me, damn you! Can't you see I've got this thing now?"

But they can't see. They don't know. And it's just as well, since I need to keep doing the other thing to support the writing thing. This thing.

It's six o'clock. I have to get ready to go home now. I have to go home and write.

See… I've got this thing….