Saturday, December 6, 2008

Revenge of the Obssesion

So here's the truth. Lately I've been in a bit of a music rut. I blame my massive disgust with hipster culture (even now I can feel all of 2nd and 3rd in SLC waving their middle finger at me). These self-indulgent yuppies almost soured my passion for music, as I suffered an identity crisis that left me wondering whether I really liked certain songs or if I was just another poser.

I managed to take a step back and evaluate my life. What did I come away with? Some simple facts: I'm not wearing skinny jeans and an excess of eyeliner, I don't own a fixed gear bike, and waifish guys with ironic mustaches are not attractive to me. I think I'm safe from hipsterdom. While some aspects intrigue me (bangs, awesome scarves, and an affinity for acoustic jams), those are distinctly me, not some attempt to fit into the latest slacker wannabe fad. So suck it monkeys. The music I listen to exists because it appeals to me, not because it is super underground and gives me some questionable cred.

Anyway, let me get off of my rant and back to the point. After a semester of reliving Weezer and Radiohead obessesions, I've been desperate for at least one new track to wear smooth with repeats. This week I found a few (and rediscovered old favorites), so I introduce my playlist of the week, songs I've been jamming and shaking my groove thang to as I walk down the street to campus. I'm sure I've given random passers by quite a show.

1. The Sound, Human Highway
2. Penny Waiting on Change, Homemade Jamz Blues Band
3. I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance, Black Kids
4. Dancing Days, Led Zeppelin
5. Die Alone, Ingrid Michaelson
6. Bury Me With It, Modest Mouse
7. When the River Meets the Sea, John Denver & the Muppets
8. Lost in the Supermarket, The Clash
9. Hustle Beach, Baby Teeth
10. Accelerated Dickery, the Delicious

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ew

So I'm kind of grossed out because I found a hair on my toothbrush tonight. While it was in my mouth.
By "kind of" I mean "extremely", and by "grossed out", I mean "close to vomiting".

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Nobody wants to be here, and nobody wants to leave"


I love Dystopian novels.
Stories where citizens are living in a bleak landscape, struggling against a regime (or the lack of one). An existence where every moment is earned. Where nothing is taken for granted.
When I think of why I devour these books, I figure it's for the same reason other girls read romance novels. There is no overblown love in their life, so they create an imaginary romantic life around these books that they read, and that becomes their world. The sentiments expressed in those novels becomes part of what they are.
My life is so perfect that sometimes it's difficult to realize just how wonderful it is. I am safe. I am free. I can eat and do and be what I want when I want. I need a reminder, and that is why I read.
I enter Hell in writing, and through it I find joy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Takin' Care of Business

The job interview: is there anything more awkward, more stressful, and more uncomfortable? And no, I am not just talking about the outfits you wear to them. Sitting there, answering questions about your strengths and weaknesses. Why you are leaving your previous job and what you hope to gain from this one. It's just painful.


Question: So what interested you in this position? Interviewer #1 leans forward expectantly, one eyebrow raised in premature disbelief.

Answer: Well, I hate my current job, so I wanted a new one. I was looking for something where I could sit around most of the day, with higher pay. This seemed to fit, so here I am!

What I Told Them: Well, I've been looking for a position that would assist me in my major. As an English Teaching major, I thought it would be perfect to be behind the scenes and learn more about how the technical details of the program work. Helping others prepare to graduate, finding scholarships, etc., will better prepare me when I go through those processes myself. Also, I am hoping to work more hours winter, and this fits perfectly with my schedule. All said while looking interviewer straight in the eye, adding charming little smiles at appropriate times, and using my hands not excessively, but just to highlight certain points. Oh look how passionate I am. You should hire me right away.

Question:
I see. As an advisor, we would require you to interact with students. Is that something you are comfortable doing? Interviewer #2 blinks several times, squints eyes, and looks at a spot on the wall just over my shoulder. What is he doing?

Answer: Oh, I am really good at faking emotion. You can trust me when it comes to pretending I actually care about a problem, even if I don't.

What I Told Them: I consider myself a social person, and I think those that know me would agree. I believe that a job isn't fulfilling unless you are interacting with others, and I find that helping people is one of my strengths. Now the real big smile breaks out. My eyes sparkle, as if I am talking about something I am in total awe of. Man, my cheeks are beginning to hurt. Is it just me, or is this chair really low? Anyway.

Question: Multi-tasking is an enormous part of this particular job. Would you consider yourself able to complete several tasks in quick succession? Interviewer #3 looks down at the sheet she is holding, then stares at me. #1 looks encouraging, but #2 looks like he is slowly drowning. Um... what did they just say. #3 is glancing through some papers. Is that my resume she's holding? Is the font OK? Focus.

Answer: Well, if it gets too stressful, my head might explode. Or I could escape to a corner and assume the fetal position. But overall... I might be able to do more than one thing. I'll most likely end up neglecting one of the things.

What I Told Them: I can absolutely multitask. I think every student has to develop that ability. How would we get anything done otherwise? Crack an adorable half smile, pause and wait for laughter. I earn a couple smiles. #2 gives a panic filled expression. Moving on...

Question: We use specialized computer programs. Are you able to learn new programs, and if so, can you give us an example of a time, either in school or in a past job, where this has occurred?

Answer: Well, yeah, I can learn new programs. But if I don't use them regularly, I forget them. Like there was this time in sixth grade, where we made the switch from those old school Macintoshs to desktop computers. It was a little traumatizing to get used to having a mouse and clicking icons, but I caught on after a few months. I still miss those green screens sometimes. Oh, and the way the printer paper had those serrated edges you could make boondoggles with? Classic. Ah, school days. What was the question?

What I Told Them: I am a quick-learner, and generally find that it only takes one lesson for me to catch on to a concept. For instance, with my last job, I would sometimes cover the cashier. It only took a quick run through of the system before I was adept at it, and my supervisors acknowledged that and knew they could rely on me.

Question: Why did you leave your last job... at the Cannon Center?

Answer: Because I hated that job with every fiber of my being, and knew that if I stayed there any longer I would get sucked in forever and slowly lose my soul, along with my will to live, and become a mindless zombie, automatically wiping tables and filling napkin holders and syrup bottles with no intelligent thought.

What I Told Them: As I stated previously, I am hoping to take on more working hours next semester. Because I will be working more, I wanted to move on to a job that was more challenging, and once again, would help me with my educational goals.

Question: Well, that sounds good. We don't have anything else to ask. We'll be making a decision by Friday, so regardless of whether you've gotten the job or not, we'll notify you by then. Do you have any questions for us? All three of them look at me intently. With great expectations. Think! Think!

Answer: No.

What I Told Them: Um, I can't think of anything right now. You've been very thorough, which I really appreciate. Thank you so much for meeting with me! They all lean back, a little deflated. What do they expect! Employers always ask that question, but when they've already told me when they will make their choice, and if I know starting salary, is there anything left? No! So what should I say? I really have no idea, and leave with an enormous sense of failure.

Flash forward to Friday. I've spent the past few days eating ice cream and pizza, mourning the interview that went awry. I'm going to work at the Cannon Center forever. Within a year, I'll be one of those people whose only joy in life is bossing people around and lecturing her staff about the correct way to place silverware in the carts. I actually scolded someone for not refilling the trays immediately the other day! It's too late! I'm doomed!!!

And then the call came.
To that lady who saw me dancing in the hallway of the JKB, waving my arms over my head and shaking my hips like Shakira, I should apologize. But I'm not going to, because I can kiss food service goodbye! SO LONG SUCKERS.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Tasty Trifecta

There are things in life that are worth any sacrifice. After eating a meal at my workplace, something I swore I would never, ever, EVER do, I realized that most of these things are dessert related. I would relinquish anything, including (and most often) my pride, for the Holy Trinity of Sweetness, all of which would immediately kill my lactose intolerant roommate.

Cheesecake
The Rundown
Smooth and creamy, with just the right amount of savory flavor to keep it interesting, cheesecake is a must for any meal. You can add fruits, caramels, chocolate, almost anything to the core base, adding a variety that keeps you coming and compliments any taste.The Lengths
I would eat at the Cannon Center to have this sassy, seductive dessert. If you've ever been there, this is a token of true love. But just one look at it's come-hither graham cracker crust and I'm sold.

Creme Brulee
The Rundown
Rich custard, crackling caramelization, and a chic-y chic serving dish bump this dessert to the max. The only thing that could possibly make this even better is the addition of fresh raspberries and blackberries for a burst of cool against the backdrop of silky richness.
The Lengths
I would walk twenty blocks, pay twenty dollars, and savor it for twenty minutes just to get a glimpse of this classy cuisine. At some restaurants, ordering this can indulge the inner pyro as they torch the top at the table. Regardless of serving styles, creme brulee always gives me the opportunity to feel like Amelie and indulge my whimsical side for a while.

Cannoli
The Rundown
This sweet crunchy pastry filled with mascarpone cheese will transport you to other worlds, preferably Italian ones. Served on a chocolate drizzled plate and sprinkled with powdered sugar is the ultimate way to partake of this dangerous dish, perhaps with a dollop of homemade whipped cream with sliced strawberries on top just to one side of it. A piece of heaven, or rather, una parte di cielo!
The Lengths
I would eat this despite being completely full of cannelone and lasagna. I would eat this even if it meant that fifteen minutes later I will be lying on the floor, clutching my stomach and groaning over the excess of cream based sauces and pasta in my system. Or, if I know beforehand of it's existence on the menu, I would refuse to finish my marsala chicken, opting instead to box the main meal and partake of my gangster heritage.
I would even leave the gun and take this. Any day.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh babe when I'm in love with you

I'm in love with this man:
Who is also this man:
This man:
And finally, this man:
So I realize I wrote about Weezer not too long ago, but the concert last night has pushed me headfirst into obsession once again. It was everything I needed. Even though I am paying for it today with all the unique pains that come only when you are dancing in an insane manner, it was totally worth it. This isn't meant to be bragging, just me saying Wow. I really do love Weezer. More specifically, Wow. I really do love Rivers Cuomo.

Highlights:
*"El Scorcho"
*White jumpsuits that were changed to red tracksuits.
*Rivers jumping on a trampoline onstage.
*"Say It Ain't So"
*Rivers asking us to say HECK YES if we were having a good time.
*Singing the intro to "Dope Nose"
*The verbal intro to"Troublemaker", where Rivers told a story about playing with his daughter at the Children's Museum the day before. Adorable without being cheesy. Also good: during the song when he went and sat on the speakers and kicked his legs. The speakers totally seemed like a giant chair, and he looked like a little rebel stuck in time-out.
*The floor roll Rivers did during a guitar solo. And basically everything he did.
*Hearing "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" live. It was pure gangsta, pure beauty, pure joy. Even though the vocal counterpoint was a little shaky, it still had me from the first siren. Plus, Rivers looks great in a cowboy hat. And even greater after he got rid of it.
*The Hootenanny that was the first encore. Picture 30-ish local kids with different instruments onstage jamming with the Weezer, and being interviewed by one awesome frontman. Oh yeah.
*Rivers kicking over the record player that was playing "Heart Songs" on the second encore.
*The hoarse voice while Rivers was saying goodbye and introducing "Buddy Holly", the final song. It proved that they were really giving their all, rocking it out of the park for some podunk Utahns. And man did we love it.
*Seeing Weezer live. One band down, ten...maybe fifteen... OK, lots more to go. But Weezer is checked off and gave a live performance that had me screaming like a teenage Beatles fan circa 1964. =w=

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lost & Found: In Memoriam

Last winter I went to this totally amazing Billy Collins lecture and came out from it with a burning desire to write poetry. I scribbled a couple poems on loose pieces of paper and random notebooks, taking inspiration from my daily surroundings and trying to see life as I thought Collins did. It didn't last long, maybe a week or so. I got lazy and soon moved on.

A few months later, I found myself in a creative writing class that completely fostered my once imaginative soul. When we came to the poetry section of the course, I remembered one of the poems I wrote during the Week of Poetry, and decided to submit that for my piece. The night before the assignment was due, I looked for the paper I'd written it on, only to find it had disappeared. I threw together a new version on the same theme, but was mostly disappointed with it.

Recently, I found the original poem! It wasn't as earth-shatteringly poignant as I thought it was, but that's hindsight. Anyway, here's both versions, in chronological order. Any suggestions?

The silence serves as a haven.
I take out my book and read,
until the silence, and the luxury
of an entire couch to myself
steal my thoughts away.
I start from feigning death
to a room surrounded by it.
I realize this quiet, morbid room,
is full of students studying,
glued to books, computers,
iPods, and sweet surrender of sleep,
oblivious to the tomb they sit in.
Display cases full of gilded names and plastic
roses on black velveteen,
a dark silhouette against a white orb,
red white and blue.
I cannot use this place so casually.
Haunted by the mothers, the wives, the siblings,
I walk into the warmth outside.
Glad to have my homework finished.


MEMORIAL

An enveloping quiet
highlights the silent cases
full of memory and sorrow.

Rows of enameled names gleam
golden against the burnished backdrop
held in oaken arms.

An eternal rose rests resplendent
on dark velveteen fields, behind
the garish glass.

Above, a circlet of white, holding
silhouettes of towers and figures
within the square of black.

This hall of death is shrinking,
crushing with the weight of lives
sacrificed for the "greater good".

I leave the tomb-like room, and step
into the warmth of outside day,
glad to have finished my homework.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Greet the brand new day

I just had an experience I really want to write about, and when I realized it's been way, WAY over a month since I've written anything on here, I thought what else could I do? So here I sit. Writing once again.

Yesterday, I went through surgery for the first time ever. It was just a minor procedure (or whatever you call it), but I have never been so terrified in my life. The morning before going into the doctor's office, I decided that you know what? Those medieval folks were right all along. Medical treatment really IS an abomination. I mean, going in and messing with someones insides just isn't right. Leonardo da Vinci deserved to be persecuted for all those cadavers he experimented on. Who really needs to know more about the human body? I don't. All this technology is just wrong, and goes against everything I believe in. Or at least that's what I told my mom. She still made me go.

Once we were there, the fear took over. The whole idea of surgery, the thought of "going under the knife" really shook me up. I don't like to be in situations I can't understand... no, understand isn't the right word... situations I can't control. That makes it sound like I'm a micromanaging freak, but that's not it. I'm just pretty independent, and used to being able to rely on myself and handle things. And the thought of being completely unconscious with my fate in the hands of others scared me. Even though I knew everything was going to be fine, even though I knew that my family was behind me, even though I knew I had the care I needed, I was still full of fear. Was it irrational? Maybe a little. But it was there, and I couldn't shake it. And so it was there, right after the nurse had left and I changed into the gown and the slippers and that baggy blue hairnet, that I lost it. Not in a big showy way, but I put my head in my hands and let a series of sobs escape. I felt vulnerable, and small, and alone. The tears were gone by the time the nurse came back, but the things that prompted them were still there.

Then they put the IV in and gave me a run down of things to expect when I woke up. They'd ask me to rate my pain, and if I felt any nausea. I just nodded and tried to smile. The doctor came in, and he must have seen the pure terror in my eyes, because he held my hand and did the whole 'it's going to be fine' bit. Next came the big event. They asked me to take my glasses off (a moment of panic, because not only was I going into this thing, but I was going into it blind) and started wheeling me to what I guess was the operating room. We stopped on the way so the anesthesiologist could squirt something into my IV tube, and I'm pretty sure I was out in less than a minute. Thirty seconds, tops.

The next thing I knew, I felt that warm comforting feeling when your are waking up from a particularly excellent nap. The feeling where you know you are going to get up soon, but sleep just felt so good, so you want to cling to that darkness and not open your eyes yet. The song "Dear Prudence" kept going through my mind, which was a little weird because I hadn't listened to the White Album for a while, but it's a great song and I was enjoying it. Looking back, I guess it was appropriate, with the whole "open up your eyes" lyric. Eventually, I did open my eyes, and after a moment of disorientation I realized where I was. An older blond nurse was standing over me, asking me the questions I had been prepped for in an exasperated tone and shoving a cup of water with a straw towards my face. At least I think it was a blond nurse with a cup of water. All I saw was a blob with a smaller whitish blob. I remember asking for my glasses, and she just said they were with my mom and was there any nausea? I evaluated myself for a moment and realized no, there was no nausea. Pain? Not really any of that either. And then it hit me. It was over! Maybe. I asked the nurse just to be sure. Yep, I was done. Let me repeat that. I WAS DONE! THE NIGHTMARE WAS OVER! AND I DIDN'T HURT! YES! I'm pretty sure the grin on my face didn't leave for quite a while.

The best thing about coming out of the anesthesia was how with it I thought I was. I expected to come out of it all trippy and loopy, but in my mind I felt completely normal, and told my nurse this fact. Except when I told her, I used words like cohesive, coherant, and maybe, but not positively, that I was performing at an optimum level of comprehension. Yeah. I think I was more druggy than I thought. Anyway, I rested in bed for a while and drank water, finally (finally!) got my glasses, and then was wheeled out to our car and went home. All in all, the ordeal wasn't as bad as I thought, and I went home in high spirits. Now I'm just resting, watching tons of movies, and reading loads of books. It's total down time. I love it.

If I were to sum up in one word what going through this taught me, I guess it would be faith. I learned that sometimes, you can't do everything, and that's when the trust comes in. I had to trust in my doctors to do what they were trained to perform in the best way they could. I had to trust that my family would be there after to take care of me. That ability to take a leap of faith (kind of like the one in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), not knowing where you'll end up or what will happen, but believing that things will be alright, is something I don't really have down yet, but I'm working on it. And that's what the purpose is. I mean, the phrase is "exercising faith". You won't wake up one day and have that part of life understood perfectly, but the more you work at it and exercise that faith, the easier and more natural it will become.

So I will try and have more faith and trust in the future. As for right now, I think I'll cuddle up in a blanket, have some soup, and stick in another movie.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Whoever came up with the phrase "Good Morning" should be shot

So today I posted earlier, but I took it down because it was all serious and angsty and included some of my real-life, actual FEELINGS about awkward issues, and who wants to read about that? Those who come to this Wonder of a blog (if there really are any of you) are here for my wry observations about things that don't matter, and that's the way I like it.


This morning I was woken up by my current roommate's cell-phone, and then her loud conversation with her boyfriend, and then her alarm clock going off. There was no chance of drifting off to sleep again after that. As consciousness slowly flooded my brain and my eyes squinted open, I realized I couldn't see OR breathe. Because sometime during the night, I had shoved my head completely under the pillow, where I nestled up to the mattress, making a lake of saliva that left the right side of my face drenched. I sat there, in the stifled darkness, slowly roasting as the layers of cottony pillow entrenched my head, and listened to my roommate move around the room getting ready for the day. Only one thought resonated through my skull: DON'T MOVE. If I moved, my roommate would say good morning. And then I'd have to acknowledge her presence and be nice and say good morning back to her, when before noon, all I want to do is eat breakfast and read and not see another person. If you get in my way in the morning, I will most likely either a) kill you with the evil death rays emanating from my glare, or b) take off your head in one bite, chew it up, and then spit it on you.

So rather than make contact with another human being, I sat very still under my layers of blankets and pillows, trying to make my breathing as regular as possible even though I was being smothered by my monstrous pillow. As soon as I heard her leave, clicking the bedroom door shut, I emerged from my pile of bedding and gasped ... I mean gasped ... for air, kicking off my extra blanket and throwing the offensive pillow across the room and into the laundry basket.

To top it all off, when I was making breakfast a couple hours later, I decided it was a good idea to test the stove burner with my fingers. Guess what? It wasn't.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Feeling Proud

Because if you google the phrase "Peter Frampton robot burp", this is the first site to appear. I can now die happy.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Imma do the things that I wanna do..."

Album Review: Weezer (The Red Album) by Weezer
4 out of 5 stars



So I realize it's been three weeks since the official release of the Red Album, and this review is not exactly timely. But that's what happens when an awesome CD comes out during finals week, and the next week your internet fails, rendering you cut off from the wonderful world of blogging. On the bright side, I have listened to it so much that this opinion is relatively solid, and not likely to change or have any nostalgic first time listen sympathy. Now on to the review!

The follow-up to mediocre Make Believe, the Red Album is a refreshing change of pace for Weezer. Here, they acknowledge their aging rock star status while trying to reconnect with what made them great in the first place. Rivers' solo project, Alone, a compilation of his personal recordings through the years, might be responsible for this shift in mood. By going back and looking at his past works, Rivers regained some musical perspective. Instead of wandering through the mire of pop acceptance, as Make Believe and Weezer (the Green Album) did, struggling to appeal the masses, the Red Album throws convention out the window and does what it wants. Screw the masses, Weezer is making music. Again. Finally.

That is not to say this is the perfect album. By trying to experiment, Weezer has made a few missteps. One of the most glaring and distracting is the decision to have the other members of Weezer sing. Let's get one thing straight here. Rivers Cuomo, and only Rivers Cuomo, is the singer for Weezer. There is a reason this is so. As much as I love Pat and Brian, please don't sing. And don't even get me started on Scott, whose vocal foray "Cold Dark World" is by far the worst song on the album. When Rivers does his faux rap style, we can accept it. Rivers does it recognizing how ludicrous, how white, he sounds, and this gives his tone a nice tongue-in-cheek sensation. When Scott gives rap a try in "Cold Dark World", he takes himself seriously, truly believing he pulls it off. He doesn't. Add a Peter Frampton-robot-burp effect as a bass beat, and you've got a boring and ridiculous song. Lose the attitude Scott. And lose the robotics (that goes for you too, "Automatic").

"Thought I Knew", sung by Brian Bell, is the best of the bandmate vocalist experiment. Even though he affects a drawl similar to Tom Petty, a sound I don't usually go for, the tune is pretty catchy and not too annoying when it gets stuck in your head. Despite this, once again, Rivers is the singer for a legitimate reason. He rocks. Plain and simple. Especially with this album.

I've heard a lot of complaints about the lyrical quality of the Red Album. True, the lyrics aren't great, but they aren't bad either. And what we need to realize is that lyrics are not the focus, the purpose of the Red Album. Here, Rivers delves into the complexity of pure sound, playing with the tone and melodics of the singing, pushing his voice to see what it can do. How he does this is simple, from the vocal slide in "Troublemaker" ("Marrying a beyyoootch/ Having seven keyyiiids) to the contrast of a single sustained sung note versus instrumental melody at the beginning of "The Angel and the One".

His vocal prowess is most obviously displayed on what is the single most impressive song on the album, "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived". With a musical ADD that makes the listener almost feel like they are flipping through radio stations, the building upon a theme with vastly different variations gives Rivers a chance to strut his stuff. Starting with a rap segment, "TGMTEL" soon evolves into power guitar, crooning, choral work (including an a capella counterpoint section that is mind-blowing) and a rock ballad featuring Rivers in falsetto that sends chills down my spine every time.

Practically anytime Rivers is singing, this album is pure gold. Some exceptions are the disappointing "Heart Songs", which had a promising premise but disintegrated into an easily forgettable and, quite frankly, cheesy melody. If it wasn't for Rivers voice, this would be laughable. And "Everybody Get Dangerous" has a ridiculous chorus and sounds like a bad ripoff of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But once again, when Rivers sings, you listen, regardless of content. His voice is magical.

If you're going to get this, you HAVE to get the Deluxe Edition. Within the bonus material are three of the best songs: "Pig", "Spider", and my favorite, "Ms. Sweeney". "Spider" is ethereal and heartbreaking, and "Pig" is a hilarious yet touching account of a pigs life, completely humanized. And "Ms. Sweeney" contains all of the repressed and frustrated longing that peppered Weezer's earlier works. Pure beauty.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Never been so glad to be alive

Have you ever been so overcome with beauty that you wanted to cry? That's what happened to me this afternoon. I was walking home from school and it was ... amazing. The sky was the deepest, purest blue I have ever seen in my life. The trees were a luminescent green, with light from the sun glancing off them and creating a shimmery sensation. Everything seemed brighter, fresher.

I read a story somewhere about someone from the East coast coming out to Utah and being awed by the scenery. They said everything looked like it was straight from a painting. The colors out here were unbelievably vivid. I guess I'd never noticed that before.

I don't know. Maybe it was the fact I was listening to Radiohead, which always tinges life with a touch of wistful melancholy. Maybe it was because I'm so close to being finished with this term, and about to go home for a whole week and relax. Or maybe it's because this winter's been so long, so cold, and so difficult. In winter, at least up here in Northern Utah, the world is gray. The sky is perpetually overcast, the ground is wet and slushy, and the cold invades every orifice. This year, winter lasted until halfway through May. And now it's over. The world is new again.

Anyway, here are some photos I took. Pictures never do things justice, especially since cameras just can't capture light in the way I see it. But at least I tried. So here's the view from my mailbox. Commune with nature, and enjoy.



I had to take that shot of the robin. He just looked so proud. Right after I took the picture, he turned his head to look at me with this "you happy? are we done now?" attitude, then just hopped off that sign and walked (well, once again, hopped) away nonchalantly. Totally happened. It was rockin'.

*SPOILER ALERT*
Watch out for my review of Weezer (the Red Album) coming soon!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top 5

Songs I would listen to if I were ever stoned.

5. The Beatles "Because"

4. Iron and Wine "Carousel"

3. Radiohead "Paranoid Android"

2. Modest Mouse "Dramamine"

1. Led Zeppelin "Dazed and Confused"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Delicious

I was recently talking with my mom about how I usually end up with a course load that is WAY too full. For some reason she got a kick out of how I described it. You see, at the educational buffet, my eyes are bigger than my stomach. I'll start looking at courses online, and they all look so good that I think 'Oh, I have to take this lit class. Art history? Film? Sign me up!'. Before I know it, I'm left with the maximum amount of credit hours and a stomach ache. I need to work on that.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Wednesday Dig List

I've been knock out, drop dead sick for the past week, and it's tough. To survive, I have had to focus on the little things that make me happy so that the intense misery of the torso and throat don't take over and drown me. Yesterday, these things hit me left and right, so I felt inspired to make a list of what is bringing me sunshine right now. I owe these things my sanity.

1. Clean Sheets. Even though doing laundry at my apartment is a pain, I suffered through expensive and mostly faulty machines and did it today. And oh were the payoffs sweet. There is nothing better then clean sheets, unless that is clean, germ-free sheets. Along with being smooth and fresh smelling, my current sheets have the bonus of NOT being a hive of infestation. I already feel about ten times healthier, and slept better last night than I have for a week. Viva Tide! And, in keeping with the current topic,

2. Dry Jeans. The dryers at my complex are the most hit and miss things in the world. I've tried to memorize which ones work well, but their pattern is one of complete randomness. I always put my darks in with a little prayer that this time will be magical, this time they will come out appropriately dry and that I won't have to hang shirts and pants over the backs of chairs. I need the comfort that only a pair of washer-dried pants can give! Plus, that feeling when you bury your face in a steaming batch of laundry straight from the dryer is pure heaven.

3. Favorites From the Past. Because I've been too exhausted and ill to do anything energetic (or productive), I've been entertaining myself with lots and lots of movies. In selecting my films, I revisited several that I loved when they came out, but that I haven't seen in years. Watching Finding Forrester reminded me of how much Sean Connery rocks (and how creepy Anna Paquin is) and that writing is a sacred art, The Emperor's Club showed me that I view Kevin Kline in a very different, more comedic light than when I first saw it, and Peter Jackson's King Kong was still too long but lots of fun, even if Naomi Watts sad, soulful gazes do get tiring after a while.

4. Rogue Wave. Maybe I'm just missing Heroes, but I haven't been able to stop listening to their song "Eyes". With the right blend of lyric and music, nothing else has really been able to capture my mood and calm me like this. Even though it's not really what the song is about, the tone is perfectly bittersweet, and a great soundtrack to my longing for good health and a return to the norm.

5. Radiohead's In Rainbows. I have actually been addicted to this one for a while. Radiohead is almost always a top quality band, and their latest album is no exception. Thom Yorke's vocals are eerily compelling, and it's hard not to get lost in them. I'd highly, HIGHLY recommend getting the bonus disc version and then checking out "4 Minute Warning" and "Last Flowers", while my absolute favorite from the original disc is "House of Cards".

6. Essays and Poems by Emerson. R. W. Emerson has always been an inspiration to me, and going back and reading some of my favorite essays by him has been incredible. I don't know how he does it, but each and every line is packed with profound truth. His treatise on Self-Reliance is the most uplifting piece of writing on this earth, and after reading it you will never feel so confident in your life.

7. Freaks and Geeks. The internet in my apartment is even more haywire and tricky than the machines in the laundry room, but whenever I can get a signal I've been watching this sadly short-lived TV series. Set in the early eighties, this classic comedy focuses on two groups. First we have the "freaks", with ex-brainiac Lindsay Weir ingratiating herself into the presence of seasoned rock-loving stoners (none other than James Franco, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segal before they made it big). Next are the "geeks", with a trio of delightful socially awkward, Caddyshack quoting misfits who have seen Star Wars at least 27 times. I cannot even begin to describe the brilliance of this show. It has the best soundtrack ever (the theme song is "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett! Come on), and is full of moments that ARE your family, or your high school experience, but in ways where you can laugh at it. See it. You won't be sorry.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A warning about stepping outside your comfort zone

I'd like to apologize for not posting lately. Even though that's not too strange, considering that my blogging is pretty erratic, I'd like to offer an explanation. This spring I'm taking a Creative Writing class. You 'regulars' on this site know that I've struggled with reclaiming my creative spirit, and so I thought a class that forces me to write things that AREN'T analytic essays almost every day would help me in my endeavor. For the class I am required to keep a separate blog that I must post on three ... yep, a whole three... times a week. Because of that arduous task, my blogs on here will be getting less frequent, even though I will try and keep up on both. Trust me, in eight weeks that mockery of a blog will be gone and it will be Angst Muffins all the way. And as for the "other" blog, even though most of them are boring assignments, if you just can't get enough of my amazingly gifted word smithing, you can check me out at mandatorymusings.blogspot.com.

I guess my Creative Writing class is why I wanted to write. I just suffered through my first workshop today, where my classmates read and criticized a creative non-fiction essay I wrote. For my essay I went out on a limb and tried something new: writing something very personal and important to me. I wrote about the relationship between me and my mother, how we are so alike and yet different, and about the influence she has had in making me the person I am today. I found almost poetic language pouring out of me. I used sentences with more metaphor and imagery in an attempt to convey the weight I gave this subject. When I finished, pride (the good kind, not the sinful one) filled my heart as I looked upon something I had written that I truly considered beautiful.

In workshop, people were kind, praising those three sentences I too thought were the most worthy examples of excellent writing, commenting on how much I must love my mother, and commending me for writing about something so intimate. I was full of gratitude, because I had exposed myself in this piece, done something completely new to me, and I was nervous about seeing how it would be received. Things were going well, and then tragedy struck.

As I was rifling through the essays, I came upon one with this written at the bottom.


I was crushed. Even though I had read comment after comment praising my work, of course this is the phrase that stuck with me. How could someone grade my emotions as boring? They went on to say that as a writer, I had some "fictional leeway" that I wasn't taking advantage of. Well, I'm sorry anonymous idiot, but the assignment was a creative NON-fiction essay. Next time, I'll throw in some car-crashes and maybe a subplot about a diamond thief who falls in love with his arch-enemy. And I'll use really simple words so you can understand. Nothing over four letters. So just words like this one. JERK.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm a KRAKEN from the SEA!

Last Saturday was super chill.
My apartment had a little double birthday party for me and another roommate. My birthday is this week; hers is in May, but finals week is almost over and then everyone will be off to wherever they call home, not to return until fall, except for me of course, who will probably be going to school forever.

Anyway, lots of fun was had, including a German Chocolate cake (even though I am really the only one who likes coconut), presents, movie watching, pizza, and did I mention PRESENTS!?! I know they say it's better to give than receive, but I'm incredibly selfish and greedy. Deal with it.


Here is some of my free stuff. My roommates really do rock. Out loud. And by the way, the shirt says "Music is my boyfriend". I dig it.

The evening wasn't without it's awkward moments. After all, I did end up watching Juno, a hilarious movie about a pregnant teen, with three very Mormon girls. While they did laugh (try NOT laughing during Juno. She's quirky! It's great), there were a few parts where I knew they thought I was the vilest of sinners for watching and loving this film. My personal favorite happened when Juno is about to go into labor, and she says "Ow, ow, F***ity Ow!". It's quick, and the only F-bomb in the show, but I felt my room roommate stiffen on the other couch. I looked at her and she said what may or may not have been "Wow, I've never heard the F- word before". The look on my face must have been priceless, because she followed up with a snappy "But if you're OK with owning it...".

I don't think I've ever felt so guilty in my life. Mainly because I totally am OK with owning it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

No you're not hardcore

I hate writing about myself.

Yeah, I know, I'm dangerously flirting with that line I swore I'd never cross, the line where a blog becomes nothing but a giant dumping ground for all the things in life that suck out loud. But sometimes you just have to complain, have to discuss certain topics in a cosmic attempt to figure out what is going on in life.

I need to write a 6-page minimum "memoir" for my lit class. It's due Wednesday at 8 (which is why I can't go to the Ben Folds concert. I already begged my professor to let me hand in the stupid paper early and skip the required party at her house. She said no dice, and ignored me for the rest of the class). And even though it should be the EASIEST FINAL EVER, I cannot write a single word.

First, there is the obvious question of what to write about. For the rough draft we had to turn in a month ago, this was a slight problem. Since I really, REALLY hate writing about myself, I decided to highlight the time I met Cleveland, the documentary filmmaker/ jazz musician on the bus. That way, I could make it all about him with next to no information about my feelings, personality, or own experience. Sadly, my oh-so-clever professor saw through that ruse, and here I am at square one.

So what should I write about? My love for Halloween, the classic costumes of my past, and that strange recurring dream I had every October 30th until I was eight? Or the time I went skiing and one of my best friends got a head injury, leading to the scariest moment of my life? And what about when I went to Segofest and saw Castle Park for the first time, and I knew...just knew... that one day I would film a killer awesome scene from Shakespeare there. But each time I start elaborating on either of these topics, the cliches start flowing from my fingers, spewing forth a mess of stilted, unrealistic words that I look back on, wincing and trying unsuccessfully to keep from gagging at the kitschy garbage that is my writing.

There are several things I could blame for my aversion to autobiographies. It could be because I've simply gotten out of the practice. It might shock some of you, but I used to be a great creative writer. Short stories were my niche. But I am lazy, and after five or six years of schooling that has not required any creativity on my part, but rather the ability to write a cohesive and enthralling essay (which I do quite well. Have I ever told you about my Dracula paper? Great stuff), my whimsical story writing soul has disappeared. It could also be because I don't consider my life hardly ... lived yet. I'm still young, and the majority of my life is ahead of me, so why would I want to look back on the paltry bit that is behind me? But I think the real reason I hate writing about myself is because of my incredible vanity. It's true. I'm the most vain, self-centered person I know. And I really don't want any written proof of that in the world. No, seriously. I write things about myself, read them, and then think "Wow, that person is pretty lame. Let's never do the whole journaling thing again".

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

News Flash!


I really don't like people who say "SH!".

Sunday, April 6, 2008

WAR IS OVER! (if you want it)

A brief look at three experiences/thoughts as to why pacifism rocks.



1. First, let's examine the title song. I love the Beatles, and when people ask me to choose a favorite, I am often at a loss for words. Ringo is the adorable underdog, George is the quiet, tortured genius, and Paul is the cute one who did the most consistently good work post- breakup. And then we have John. John, the edgy rebel with the razor sharp wit and the high ideals. Sometimes I hate him (mainly when he's under the influence of Yoko), but for the most part he fascinates me. His songs with the Beatles were usually my favorite, for their wry, clever lyrics and pure rockin' out-ness. After they split, his songs were hit and miss, but there were a few gems. When he stuck to real music with real messages, and wasn't just trying to be all avant-garde with primal screaming and loops, he could write. And his anti-war sentiment rang true.



2. If there is one thing I hate, it's admitting I'm wrong. But in this case, I have to. In my first post, I declared Dada as the worst, most nonsensical art form ever. I now go on the record to say that just isn't true. I simply didn't understand the reasoning behind it. Now that I do, it blows my mind. First off, Dadaists were not the self-indulgent, lazy, pretentious free-loaders I always thought they were. For one, they were completely pessimistic (something I can relate to ). Stuck in the midst of the worst wars humanity had ever seen, purveyors of Dada were looking back throughout history and weeping, seeing that despite thousands of years of experience civilization had learned absolutely nothing. All the academics in the world, with all their elaborate thought processes and theories, had been unable to stop the slaughter occurring on a worldwide scale. The only conclusion: if reason couldn't solve anything, perhaps chaos could. Thus, Dada embraced the random, the mundane, the chaotic. Their works were 'anti-art', anti-establishment at its first and finest hour. With their oddities, Dadaists were giving the nonsensical world around them the finger, and trying to find peace and harmony from the things that were overlooked, thinking the ignored items and ideas could possibly hold the key to perfection.



3. I am taking the most kick AWESOME class in the entire world this semester: Shakespeare and Film. My professor is amazing (and my idol. I want to be her), the topic is fascinating, and the people in the class itself are hilarious and freaking geniuses. Anyway, before my love letter gets more verbose, back to the point of the story. For class this week, I had to watch the Kenneth Branagh version of Henry V. The one problem with that was I usually hate Kenneth Branagh with the passion of a thousand burning suns. I find him pompous, overrated, and quite frankly, a worthless specimen. But that all changed upon viewing Henry V. An amazing quintessential war flick, everyone MUST SEE this movie. That is not a request. That is an order. With a talented cast featuring a young Christian Bale, Ian Holm, Dame Judi Dench, Derek Jacobi in a scene stealing role as Chorus, and the superb Emma Thompson who, in my opinion, can do no wrong, it would be a sin to skip seeing this. Branagh actually plays a very sympathetic King Henry, with you hating his actions one second and then irrevocably loving him the next. The monologues are played perfectly, and will have you on the edge of your seat, rapt with British patriotism, regardless of your nationality. But what is easily the best part of the film is the battle itself, and the immediate aftermath thereof. It's rousing, heart-breaking, and tear inducing all at once, plus it has the capability to make anyone an instant pacifist. It is cinematic beauty. I walked into this movie skeptical and walked out a firm believer. If that isn't a sign of a fantastic film, I don't know what is.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's all in the details.

This Christmas, one of my favorite gifts was a Close Up art card game from my mom. Yeah, we like to shop at museum stores. How did you know? The game takes famous works of art and puts them in sets of two, one being the full work and the other a magnified "close up" from it. With several activities possible, ranging from Old Maid to Memory, countless hours of fun can be had with this simple, genius card game.

After playing this so much, and even just staring at the cards, it made sense that the perspective used in the game would spread to how I looked at art in my everyday life. This became particularly apparent in my art history class. Now when I study certain pieces, my attention is drawn to small details no one else notices (much like Audrey Tautou's movie watching in Amelie). Since I am such a loving, caring person, I thought I'd share with everyone this joy of details and give a small glimpse into my brain with a new series I am introducing: Close Up with Cat, Vol. I. Lets begin, shall we?

Our first piece we'll be examining is Francisco Goya's The Third of May, 1808


It's a strong piece, offering overt Christ-symbolism, the horror of war, and shock at the tyranny that sometimes occurred in Napoleonic France. We look in pity at the helpless Spaniards being slaughtered. But a whole new meaning comes into the mix when we look at this:


A little fuzzy, but you get the general idea. These two prisoners seem very far away from willing surrender. Instead, intense hatred and subtle plotting are written all over the left figures face. The right man leans in, as if confirming some uprise that will occur at any moment. Definitely not what the viewer sees on first observation.

Next is Theodore Gericault's Raft of the Medusa


Such drama. With broiling seas and figures writhing in Death's grip, it's hard to really know where to look first.

I really liked this guy. He kind of sums up the attitude I would have if I was in the same shipwrecked, starving situation he was. "Who cares, we are all going to die anyway, just give up now. You'll waste way less energy that way. You think that boat's going to see your pathetic little shirt-flag? Yeah. Right. We're doomed. Call me when the fat one dies."

This one was actually kind of cool. I present a landscape for you, and an American work (USA! All the way!), Thomas Cole's The Oxbow


Beautiful. Can't beat that Hudson River School. They do landscapes right. But wait, what is that at the bottom of the picture?

OK. You might have to grab a microscope for that one. But if you look really carefully, you can see a little top hat. and underneath that, a person. Who could it be, in the midst of that untamed wilderness? None other than the artist himself, Thomas Cole, arm outstretched, presenting in all its glory NATURE.

Finally, Jacques- Louis David's The Oath of the Horatii


Ah, Neoclassicism. Look at how honorable and patriotic they are. Giving their all for the glory that is Rome. True heroes. Hold on just a second. What are they doing!?!


Sorry, I couldn't resist.

So I hoped you enjoyed this little visual adventure, and join us next time for a foray into Revivalist Architecture!

Friday, March 7, 2008

NERD ALERT

This post has taken a ridiculously long amount of time to be posted. To my few, loyal followers I apologize (sorry Kelsey and Ashley!). What with ridiculous amounts of school, and maybe even the deeply personal nature of this entry, it's been written in small intervals every now and then. Anyway, here goes.

For those of you who honestly don't know me and randomly stumbled across this blog looking for one that outlines moodily attractive movie characters, I have to say something: I am addicted to Batman. This is common knowledge to those near to me. And for the last time, no, I do not just love Batman because the incredibly talented and attractive Christian Bale (Call me! Anytime! I LOVE YOU CHRISTIAN!!!) took on the role of the Caped Crusader in the 2005 blockbuster "Batman Begins". My love began from a younger age, when I would watch the futuristic "Batman Beyond" and think it was insane that someone with absolutely no real superpowers would take on sadistic badguys who possessed supernatural abilities born of acid accidents or exposure to radiation. Yet the more I watched, the more heroic Terry McGinnis and his aging mentor, Bruce Wayne, became to me. True, they had no "special" gifts, just athletic bodies and loads of cash, but they dedicated what they had to making the world, or at least Gotham, a better place. Batman appealed to my idealistic side, the part of me that wants to believe that we are capable as mere human beings of being a force for good in the world, of helping others.

So I embraced Batman, to a certain extent. I watched the cartoons on Saturday mornings, staying through the transition from "Batman Beyond" to more routine revival "The Batman". I watched Michael Keaton's film versions by Tim Burton, and even the later ones starring Val Kilmer and George Clooney (a viewing experience I can't block, no matter how hard I try). I had a Batman blanket, and envied and sometimes stole my nephews action figures. But I drew a line. No matter how much I loved Batman, I would not fall into the comic book abyss. That was going too far. There were exceptions to this rule, however. My friend Jon, a comic book nerd in his own right, made a habit of giving me a Batman comic book, or graphic novel, whatever you want to call them, for my birthdays and Christmas. Thus began my fall down the slippery slope.

I enjoyed the books, as can only be expected. As an English major, I found myself drawn to the intricate plot lines and the massive symbolism that is involved in the average Batman tale. The common themes of the tortured soul, whether revenge can be a tool for good or if it always breeds evil, and the seeds of corruption enthralled me as much as any Orwellian tome. And as an Art History minor, the picture panels were no less intriguing. The dramatic lights and darks, the sometimes brusque pen lines and at other times smooth brush marks, all conveying a proper mood and setting, these laid claim to the lofty title of art as much as the next post-modernist phenomenon. Reading them was a delight. However, I still resisted. I could not bring myself to purchase these of my own accord. So, for about one to two years, my semi-annual supply from Jon had to suffice. But all that changed. One day, after reading the latest installment in my meager collection, April could not come fast enough. I had time, desire, and a Barnes and Noble gift card. I was going to buy a comic book, and nobody could stop me.

When my roommates, a.k.a. the ones with cars, announced an excursion to Barnes and Noble one weekend, I knew the time had come. My quest was commencing. I walked into the bookstore bursting with confidence and excitement. Unfortunately, I had no clue where the comic books would be. After a quick walk through the entire store, I knew this was serious. Wandering around the massive cookbook section (only in Utah) and glancing through the Mediterranean guide books, I finally had a breakthrough. "If I was a nerd, where would I be?..." I thought to myself. Then, without further ado, I starting making my way to the science fiction area.

It wasn't difficult to find, tucked in a shadowy corner behind the in-store Starbucks. Once I passed the rows of manga and Robert Jordan novels, I found them. Books upon books dedicated to the glory that is the Dark Knight. The few I was considering were near the bottom, so I knelt to investigate which one was worthy of my purchase. That's when I stepped into ... the Twilight Zone.


As I was searching the bottom shelves, I felt a presence to my right. Looking up, there was the quintessential teen geek. Tall, thin, and pimply, he stared at me briefly, as if wondering what sort of alien had encroached upon his territory, before resuming his perusal of Alan Moore comics. Then, behind me came the boys future. He was easily in his mid thirties, a chubby, glasses-wearing man in a commemorative Star Wars tee. You could tell he too had no clue what I was doing there, and eyed me warily as he drifted to the Marvel section.

I sat between these two uber-nerds, in the middle of a living stereotype, before the situation got a little uncomfortable. I grabbed The Dark Knight Returns and briskly walked away. I was too embarrassed to have that as my lone purchase, so on my way to the cash register I picked up Silence by Shusaku Endo. The girl at check-out didn't comment on either selection.

On the ride home, all I could think of was how all the rumors and myths about comics were true. I had witnessed it with my own two eyes. And yet, I survived. I got through that experience unscathed. Maybe these social misfits were just as human as the average person...

By the way, The Dark Knight Returns rocked. I can't wait to buy the next book on my list.

Friday, February 29, 2008

"Poets aren't quite like other people..."


Today BYU managed to get former Poet Laureate (and one of my favorite modern day poets. The other top one is Taylor Mali, but he is not the topic of this post, now is he?) Billy Collins to come and read poetry. I can die happy.

It was spectacular to sit in an auditorium, not too far back, and listen to a man whose works have been on AP tests. Think about that for a while. What was wonderful was the atmosphere in the room. As he spoke, I could feel myself (along with the hundred or so other people there) falling for his laid-back charm, being mesmerized by this unassuming man in a blue sweater.

When he stood up, he got straight to the point: poetry. He read and explained things he wrote in a soft voice. Thanks to a cold he apologized for, it was a little nasally but no less enthralling. True, at times it reminded me of Ben Stein's monotone, but the closer I listened the more I began to appreciate the subtleties of his recital. This droll little man with the droopy eyes was a mass of gentle humor. As he got further along the program, I saw his spirit. Here was a man who lived his life in a constant state of bored amusement. That sounds like a paradox, but that's what it was. You could tell he spent his life looking outwards, looking out his window as his poem "Monday" implies, but not judging what he saw. He liked the world, he wrote about it, and it brought him joy.

What was really beautiful was observing what happened when his "poem" voice, the voice that added a gentle emphasis and halting rhythm to his words, extended to his everyday voice, the one he used to talk about where the inspiration for such and such came from. When that happened, the most idle of comments became poetry, and so beautiful that you would have given anything at that moment to see life as he saw it.

After he had closed with the recitation of "On Turning Ten", preceded by the statement "If you are majoring in English, you are majoring in Death. So death is our thing" (poking fun of the abundance of mortality poems in the literary canon), I ran to get him to sign his newest book for me. I waited in a line that was more like a crowded corral, but it was worth it just to have something I can hold to remember the way I felt, sitting in an uncomfortable seat and wanting to be able to write like that when I grow up.

Anyway, here is a sample of his poetry, and one of my favorites, though it is really too hard to choose. It's the title poem from his latest book, The Trouble With Poetry.

The Trouble With Poetry

The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along the beach one night-
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky-

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti-
to be perfectly honest for a moment-

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
i carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.




Thursday, February 21, 2008

I have no response to that.

Joe vs. the Volcano: A Timeless Classic, Which, Much Like Transformers, Has More Than Meets the Eye


I watched this amazing Hanks-Ryan vehicle last week, and it blows me away every time. If you haven't seen it ... go now. Fast. Run to watch this highly underrated cinematic masterpiece. Yes I went there. Masterpiece.

Here's the thing. Not only is it wickedly funny, (Tom Hanks playing a depressed hypochondriac on a fatal mission. Meg Ryan playing three equally hilarious and diverse roles. Can you get any better? Come on.) but it really is thought-provoking.

A main theme of this work is the state of the soul, and in conjunction, the course your life takes due to the well-being of your soul. Wow, that sounded intelligent. Go me. But moving on.

The references to the soul start from the beginning, veiled as they might be. Joe, miserable and stuck in a dead end job, breaks his shoe walking in the oppressive building that houses his cave-like workspace. When asked what happened, he replies "I'm losing my sole". Sole!! Soul!! Get it? Genius. Later on, in a rant to his boss, he is "too afraid to live my life, so I sold it to you for THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS A WEEK!". Meg Ryan's third character, Patricia, has been bought out by her father and is soul sick. The chief of Waponi-Wu (Little Island with Big Volcano), carries around what is not a teddy bear, but his soul, and Joe tells him he "better not lose it".

That should give you just a taste of the deeper meaning one can find in this movie. I could go on, but then I'd get all preachy and make lists and give away the plot and no one wants any of those things to happen, am I right? But it just made me think about what I am doing with my life and what condition my soul is in. I love movies like that. Things that entertain and enrich at the same time. That kind of stuff is golden, baby. Pure gold.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A Change We Can Believe In

2008. Election year. The excitement in the air is palpable. A victory for Obama is the hope in everyone's heart. Well, every sane person's. And here I sit, watching CNN (a first for me), listening to Obama's dulcet tones and believing in change, when I realize how much life really does change. Ready? Here comes the philosophical retrospective.

I was raised to love art, more than most people do (should?). But when I was little, I couldn't STAND modern art. It was trash. Filth. Rubbish. I could draw that stuff, and trust me, that's saying something. I thought art had to have a sense of realism to be considered classic. Grace. Beauty. What can I say, I was a romantic. Don't get me wrong. I still dig that stuff. It's great. But then I discovered the Wonder that is Andy Warhol.

Here he is. In all his disheveled, crazy, genius glory.


Warhol used to be the lowest of the low for me. But then, one day, it just clicked. Maybe I became more cynical. Maybe I became more crazy, and was thus able to understand his art. I think I just grew up. Warhol offers such wry observances on the state of America. It's very disillusioned. I connect with that, but just had to wait until I had experiences that made the art clear. Warhol's stuff is FULL of social commentary, the kind you only get in late twentieth century America. And you know what? It rocks. Now Dada-ism is the scum of the earth to me. Don't know about Dada? Look up Duchamp's Fountain. You'll get what I am saying.
So basically, things change. You know, there is always a chance that in twelve years I won't like Warhol (may that day never come). Or that Obama won't be president (I'll move. Run away to Mexico or something). But like the saying goes, it's the journey, right?