Friday, September 11, 2009

Tag Team Sequel: Steve and Danielle on nannying, Basterds and The Informant

Although Danielle is a dear, dear friend,
she ain't got nothing on this dame.

To rip-off the disclaimer for Bill Simmons' BS Report, Tag Team is a free flowing discussion between two adults that sometimes touches on mature subjects. This is the sequel to an earlier Tag Team I did with Danielle, which was mostly about South Park and how awesome it is. This time, we speak a bit about our respective jobs, and some of the summer movies that I haven't seen.

Want to do your own Tag Team with me? Send me an e-mail at or leave a comment.


Steve said at 1:47 p.m. on August 23:

I'm trying to queue up a couple of these, punk. And since Bob got a sequel, I suppose it is your turn, since your Tag Team with me is the second most popular thing on the blog, in terms of hits. Hurrah for you!

Anyway, how did you like Inglorious Basterds? I told you it was supposed to be awesome! I mean, it had Brad Pitt and was directed by Quentin Tarantino, so I don't know how it possibly could have failed. The other key thing it has going for it - Killing Nazis. Nobody likes the Nazis, not even their moms, so seeing lotsa Nazi deaths would be awesome. It somehow feels like an OK thing to watch, as opposed to Transformers 2, in which random people would just get wiped out constantly.

How is life (just outside) Boston? By the way, I saw this little girl yesterday that I was a substitute teacher for this past year, and she was so cute! She was helping out at a free dental service day that I had to cover for the newspaper I work for, and she was dressed up in the same polo and outfit as her mom. It kind of reminded me of you and Isabel. Have you two visited any fun puppet shows lately? And also, do people ever think you're her mom? You two don't really look alike at all, but kids are kids, and don't always look like their parents.


Danielle Membrino said at 4:03 p.m. on August 25:

I promise I'm going to write you soon. Probably like Wednesday or Thursday. I just have some friends visiting right now, so I'm kinda busy. [what i'm saying is they're more important than you]. But I do have lots to say on these two subjects. I have this big patch of peeling skin on my wrist from a sunburn. It kind of itches. Maybe I'm just shedding.


Steve said at 12:51 a.m. on August 26:

That part is definitely going in the entry, so that everyone knows to avoid you and your zombie-like peeling skin sunburn. Ugh, gawd.


Danielle said at 11:05 p.m. on August 26:

I am so tired. But I'm going to answer this now because tomorrow night I need to work on editing photographs I took of one of my mom's friends kid. Ugh, I have lots of boogers in my nose.

Inglorious Basterds was pretty good. It was bizarre and entertaining. I felt Tarantino held back on the gore though this time! I've seen Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill (unfortunately) and comparatively, it's not as bloody. I mean, don't get me wrong, the scalping is pretty graphic (all the Jewish-Americans working under Brad Pitt owe him 100 Nazi scalps) and there's definitely lots of shooting and killing. But nothing made me go, “Holy shit!” or feel grossed out.

It was pretty long though - almost exactly three hours. I mean, the newest Harry Potter movie is almost 3 hours long, but a) It's Harry Potter and b) It didn't feel like 3 hours. Basterds felt long and kind of drawn out at times. There was a lot of dialog at times. It was funny and I liked it, but it still felt like it was dragging at these times. If anything, like you've said, it's definitely worth it just to see some Nazis get killed and Brad Pitt talk with that Southern accent trying to speak Italian in one scene.

Ok, so that wasn't a lot, but whatever. I'm not very good at reviewing movies. Either I like it or I don't. And if I do like it, then how much I like it is really based on... Would I buy it? I like buying movies. I don't really know why. I have more than 100 DVDs. But I don't think I will buy this. It was good and I enjoyed it, and I'm not saying I'll never watch it again, but I didn't love it enough to own it. That's just me though. Definitely worth seeing in theaters.

As for nannying and what not, it's going well. We, fortunately, do not wear matching outfits. Growing up (and even now) my mom was always very anti-matching clothes with children or husband. If she comes downstairs in the morning and my stepdad is wearing a shirt that's the same color as hers, she'll go back upstairs and change. Or if he would come downstairs after she was already dressed and ready, she'd make him go and change. She refused to match me or my sister either. Thankfully this means she never tried to make us wear matching outfits (and considering we're 7 years apart, that probably would've been weird).

Point is, I'm very anti-matching. It's vomit-inducing or hilarious. And yes, occasionally people have referred to me as "mom" and I'm like, “Uh... Definitely not. Just the nanny. I get to give her back!” (I'm so witty, I know!)

But Isabel's generally a well-behaved kid, so I'm not like ashamed to be around her. Yesterday we went to story time at the Harvard Coop bookstore, and I told her I was glad she was one of the good kids. She certainly can throw fits, but in public she's well-behaved. I cannot stand parents that won't take care or control their kids in situations like storytimes and puppet shows.

An example from yesterday: Isabel and I were sitting on the floor listening to the books and we were next to the snack table. This little boy who had to be around 2 1/2 walked over to the table and promptly knocked over a cup of water on the table. Now accidents happened, but no parent came over to take him away or to clean it up. The water started running off the table onto the carpet next to me and on/in my purse! And on top of that, he started splashing the water spilled on the table with his hands, therefore also splashing me!

Finally, I just got up and grabbed some paper towels and pushed his hands away and cleaned it all up. I kind of looked around; no one still seemed to be claiming him or noticing ME cleaning after HIM. I go to throw away the paper towels and when I turn around, the little boy is sitting in the lap of some woman was A FOOT AWAY FROM ME. She was sitting there the ENTIRE TIME and did NOTHING.

I am only a nanny. I don't have a child. I should not be a better parent than you! Don't think you can just ignore your kids now that you're in a group setting. RUDE!

Sorry, that was more of a rant than I intended. And this is getting long, so I'll stop for now! (Plus, your and Amanda's Tag Team was wayyy long so I didn't finish it. I read like half of it and then just skimmed the rest.)


Steve said at 1:45 p.m. on August 31:

It figures that you were worried about replying late, since it took me even longer to reply than you did. Go figure, even! But alas, here I am, four days later, to your three days. You are still beating my friend Chloe in terms of response time, though.

Anyway. Okay, I still haven't found someone to go see Inglorious Basterds with, which is mildly upsetting to me. What gives??? At this point, I might just download a screener or cam copy, because I'm not sure if I can wait until it comes out on DVD. Pretty much everyone thinks it is awesome, and it even hit #1 at the box office for a couple weekends, which is rare for a Tarantino film. For all of the acclaim that Pulp Fiction got, I think it only made around $50 million in theaters. By the way, have you seen that? It is a little gross in parts, but so stylish and neat in others, that I think you might like it.

See, I definitely think you should wear matching outfits now, because almost nobody else matches. You're conforming to your mom's expectations by not conforming, Danielle! God, you conformist. And you're making your young daughter conform too! Sickening, really. Next thing you know, you'll give her YOUR cooties as well!

For some reason, this reminds me - Remember when we saw Transformers 2 with your sister, and we went to the Dollar Tree or whatever it's called before? And when we were in line, I was wondering who would get a pregnancy test from that store, and then you and your sister started talking about it... And the lady in front of you both reached back and bought one, right in front of you. Since I was only tangentially involved, the whole thing was really, really funny to me.

And finally, one, how DARE you criticize the length of Tag Team I did with Amanda Meyer! I thought it was the perfect length, although, I do love the sound of my own voice. And second, wow, that sounds like an annoying situation with that kid. I had to deal with a little bit of that when I would substitute for elementary school teachers, but luckily, I never had to do lunch duty, just a bit of recess. The harder part for me would be seeing kids struggle who obviously came from bad home lives. Not surprisingly, there was an overlap between inattention to detail on the kid (i.e. his shoes were untied, messy clothing, absolutely no school supplies) and his ability to do any sort of school work.


Danielle said at 10:36 p.m. on September 2:

Noooooo, you should go see Basterds in theaters. Go by yourself. Or are you one of those people who won't do that? I actually don't really mind going on my own sometimes. I saw Up by myself and I was kind of glad because it definitely made me cry a bit. and crying is for weenies.

As for matching outfits - I hate it too, not just my mom. It looks SILLY. Especially when parents make siblings who are a few years apart wear the same clothes. I'm sure they REALLY appreciate that. Because they're exactly the same. Obviously.

I will definitely buy the awesomest clothes for my child, but then I'll let them dress themselves. It sometimes produces very interesting results. I let Isabel do it most of the time. I really only give my input to let her know how warm or cold it is outside so she knows what clothes to pick from or if it's something that just looks... Not good. Although a few times I've tried that and she wears it anyway. But I'm just like, fine, wear what you want. I'm not the one who has to walk around in it. (I don't actually say that to her. Just in my head.)

You asked me to answer in the e-mail how one becomes a nanny. So for me, it started with babysitting. When I was 11, I took the Red Cross babysitting course and after I completed that, I started babysitting occasionally for my next door neighbor. I babysat for her until I graduated high school and then a few times after that during my freshmen year of college.

Then I did odd jobs around Newport babysitting, took a break from it during my sophomore year of college. Then when I got back from studying abroad my junior year, I REALLY didn't want to work at Ritz Camera again so I started looking for babysiting jobs and ended up as a part-time babysitter in Maryland. And I continued doing that throughout my senior year too.

I was a little apprehensive because I found them on CraigsList and not long ago there had been a couple incidents down in Maryland where babysitters who got jobs off of CraigsList went to the house and got murdered. So yeah.

But the family was super nice. For my birthday, they bought me the entire Harry Potter bookset in hardback! So it all worked out for the best! And then last summer I worked as a camp counselor at a sleep away camp in Connecticut.

Once I moved to Boston in the fall I needed to find a job; great timing with the recession and all. No jobs in the art field were really coming out, so I started looking at babysitting jobs again. The family I nannyed for down in Maryland told me about this website, It's a legitimate website and more secure because you have to register to use it and the website can perform background checks on people.

So anyway, toward Christmas time I responded to this one family's posting and they responded and we met up and it seemed to really click. They did the background check, called my references and voila, I became an official full-time nanny. Umbrella and carpet bag not included.


Steve said at 10:35 pm. on September 8:

Wow, you went to a theatre by yourself AND you were crying? C'mon Membrino, get your life together! And yeah, I normally refuse to see a movie in a movie theater unless I have a friend to go with. It just feels weird going by yourself, or, I imagine it would. My friend Shaun would do it from time to time, and even he said it was weird, and he's normally a pretty mellow kid.

Kids mostly seem to wear what they want to anyway, judging from elementary school classes I subbed for. The difference is mostly in quality level - The girls from better families will have like leggings and Abercrombie clothes in angry, non-matching colors, whereas the poor kids have like ratty T-shirts and jogging pants in angry, non-matching colors. For that reason, I like matching clothes; it is a sort of conformity that suggests you are at least in your right mind a little bit. Speaking as a kid who never-ever really learned how to dress because of his family background, it's somewhat cringe-worthy when I see kids who remind me of me at that age.

I like your tale about becoming a nanny! While this is nowhere near the same level of complexity or coolness, I have been a house sitter twice for a pair of URI professors. However, all I had to do with them was to feed their fish and watch the dog, which required sleeping over at their huge house and feeding her twice a day. As you can imagine, this wasn't much of a chore, AND they paid me AND left me a bunch of food in the fridge! The whole experience was very, very sweet, and I secretly hope to get the chance to housesit again soon. After all, I don't really have a permanent residence, but I do have a college degree and a reputable job and references, so I'm still super qualified for it.


Danielle said at 10:36 p.m. on September 10:

I really have no problems going to the movies by myself. The only time I felt like a creeper was when I went to go see Meet the Robinson's by myself. It was pretty full in the theater, so I had to sit next to this little kid who was there with his parents. I felt like a creeper for sitting right next to this little kid all by myself! But then they had some commercial about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (not a preview, one of those commercial things for the people who get there before the previews even start) and he said something to me about the Ninja Turtles. So of course I had to talk to him about them! But I also made sure to talk to his mom so I didn't seem so weird. And actually had a pretty interesting conversation with them, haha!

Anyway, I an early screening of The Informant tonight. And I'm going to tell you about it, cause I don't know what else to write about!

I'm not going to give too much away though, because it was really the unexpected in this movie that made it great. Being able to react to this movie was the best part. Matt Damon was great! His character, Mark Whitacker, is very much a go-getter, happy, bizarre person, and he plays the part perfectly.

For anyone who doesn't know, the movie is about Mark Whitacker trying to help take down the company he works at for illegal, worldwide price-setting. He becomes an informant for the FBI and it goes from there.

His seemingly innocent naivety of how he sees things is partly what makes the movie so funny. He seems himself as the good guy and the rest of the head honchos in the company as the bad guys. And that's that.

The other part that really makes this movie is the overhead voice. Throughout the entire movie you get to hear Whitacker's thoughts as he's talking to people or something is going on. Most of the time it has absolutely nothing to do with what is going on. In one scene he's going into this big meeting wearing a wire for the FBI and he starts thinking about polar bears and how their fur makes them blend them, except for their noses. Because they're black. But they know to hide their noses. But how do they know their noses are black? Do they look at other polar bears and say, "Am I not invisible?" That seems like a lot of thinking for bears.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie. You really get attached to the character Mark Whitacker because he just seems so endearingly naive and Matt Damon plays him so convincingly. I mean, I felt REALLY embarrassed for him at times. The only downside to this movie is there is a lot of bureaucracy behind it and it is sometimes rather hard to follow with all the terminology about what's going on. They don't really give explanations of some of the things going on and it can get confusing and you just have to guess at some things if you don't understand it. It was still very amusing and I would recommend going to see it.

(I hope that was a good review. I don't think I'm very good at them!)

Want to do your own Tag Team? Feel free to e-mail me at


  1. no one is going to read all of that! it's so long! Interesting choice of random pictures though.

  2. "It's so long!"

    That's what she said!

    And thanks. I pride myself on my ability to put obscure phrases into Google Images in order to procure the most random, odd images ever.


Try not to be too much of an ass, unless completely necessary. You are subject to tyrannical moderation.


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