Friday, July 31, 2009

Art Vandelay, Inc.

It's official.

Architecture is now the sexiest profession.

It was bound to happen. So I'm sorry all you poets, journalists, rock stars, carpenters, rebels-without-causes and doctors out there. But there was a reason the estimable George Costanza proclaimed "architect" as his non-existent employment. It's just super hot.

We had to know this was coming with Ted Mosby. His optimistic view of love and desire to "settle down" combined with humor and sensitivity (but not total wussiness) made him a heartthrob to all, even hardened cynics like certain characters named Robin. And the only job capable of handling so much attractiveness? Architect.

But what guaranteed the win? Tom Hansen. The dreamy romantic from 500 Days of Summer will have every girl swoon as they fervently wish to console his wounded heart. And of course, architect is the only work that could show Tom as an observant, creative, but with a possibility to be succesful in a career, artist. That's what it comes down to. The perfect marriage of tortured artist with successful business sense. Whimsy and the ability to provide a level of comfort in the future. What more could we want, ladies?

So students of architecture, prepare. You are about to get so much action. You won't know what to do with yourselves as waifish hipsters cast seductive looks in your direction. Just throw on a cardigan and go with the flow, and don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Those Awful Normals

Tonight, I watched this movie:

It was ... ... interesting. I don't know if I'd recommend it to everybody. Actually, I'm not even sure I liked it. At least, not the traditional definition of "like". It would be more accurate to say it fascinated/terrified/intrigued me. It was one of those movies that enters your brain slowly, wriggling in through your ear and through layers of conscious thought until it hits the innermost psyche, until it feeds on every fear and doubt and insecurity and philosophy you hold.

That sounded dramatic.

The thing is, every character resonated with me. Near the beginning I saw myself as a child, identified with the imaginative worlds and fantasies. Then came the drama teacher, and she encapsulated everything I hope to be as an adult and an educator (one of the shortcomings of the film is how grossly underused she was). But even as I watched, I convinced myself that I could never be that way, that I have too much doubt brought on by social and self pressure. Can I ever really accept myself, can I ever "see myself for who I am"?

And Phoebe's mother. Ugh. Even as I hoped to imitate one person, I saw my future, far less pleasant, in another. There is one part where the mom breaks down and lists the angers and concerns she has. I want so badly to not be like that when I've reached that point, but I feel like I will, that I'll age into a haunted shell.

So I sat there through the movie, these agonizingly egotistical worries crushing me, compounded by the onscreen drama. Then came the end, which I found strangely comforting.


Part of the climax deals with an absence of hope. Hope is such an odd, elusive thing. With most definitions, it goes hand in hand with faith. While I was hiking with some family/friends last week, we discussed the commonly held belief that you can't have fear when you have faith (slash hope). We all agreed that principle was baloney. Hogwash. Utter false doctrine. If there is an opposition in all things, then fear is not only going to be a part of our lives, but it is a necessity.

Right now I'm reading Mormon Scientist, the biography of Henry Eyring (not to be confused with son Henry B.) (also, this is a great book, especially for Mormon intellectuals). One section deals with the fear that accompanied and aided Henry's life. Henry managed by not having "fearfulness, but rather respect for powerful forces and inevitable consequences." When used that way, fear quite naturally runs to a confidence in ones self, an assurance that we will be able to handle what comes our way, regardless.

Bringing this back to the movie, Pheobe in Wonderland finishes in the most glorious way I could imagine. Using quotations from the book, it ends with a hanging question, leaving it open for the audience. It asks, quite literally, "who are you"? We all have misgivings about ourselves. There will be times when we aren't satisfied with what we have to offer the world, and that could tempt us to never try and to hide away in mediocrity. But if negativity is faced straight on, victory is possible. We can overcome challenges. We can more than accept the person we are, we can gain self-reliance through the process of unwavering trust in our own self.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Set You Free

OK, so seeing the Black Keys live is going down in history as one of the greatest concerts ever.

It's such a relief after last week's disappointment with Jenny Lewis (she was fantastic, the crowd and my view was not) to go to the Gallivan Center and enjoy the experience. Yes, the audience was still full of self-important hipsters, but this time with some rowdy rock fans. And yes, everything still smelt like beer, smoke, and B.O., but when you're in the FRONT ROW, who cares?

That's right. Through some miracle, my friend Paige and I ended up in the front against the barrier, just to the right of center. Which was the best luck ever, as we probably would have died where we stood for the opening act. Let's just say personal space was non-existent, and that is no exaggeration. But never before have I been so happy, even while I was incapable of moving my arms. As I shook my hips and banged my head in time with the music, it was pure joy.

Blues rock is my ultimate. It's so full of emotion, so full of passion, and these two men wailed. Patrick on drums was a wonder; he just goes into this zone and creates this glorious cacophony that fills the air with clashing and pounding and rhythm. But when Dan touched the strings of his guitar, my face melted. I was a puddle, liquefied by his outstanding riffs. Being close enough to see his hands move up and down the neck, bending and twisting notes and banging out chords is a highlight of my life. As are the many moments where he came right in front of us and we shared brief eye contact as he blasted through a solo, leaning so close I could almost touch his guitar.

I'm pretty sure I just killed my body, what with the trials of standing that long and enduring the massive crunch of the crowd (major shout out to the guys behind us who protected Paige and me from the worst of it), but it was ABSOLUTELY worth it.

Now please excuse me while I pass out from exhaustion.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why Do We Love? Because We Can.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

When it comes to people, I definitely, definitely do not. Call me cynical and jaded, but that magical moment where time slows and lights dim, and you stare at each other across a crowded dance floor does NOT exist.

But when we're talking about other things, such as, oh I don't know, TV shows, I say "love at first sight? Affirmative!"

The miracle of getting hooked on a program from the first episode has only occurred a handful of times in my life. Most shows take two or three weeks to hit a groove, or an entire season to figure out just who the characters are and why we as an audience should care about what is going on. My first memory of watching a pilot and falling head over heels was with Psych. Shawn's hi-jinks and fast-talking ways, the rapport between him and Gus, everything combined perfectly to pull me in. It was comedy, it was mystery, it was intrigue with a healthy dose of obsolete pop culture references. Who wouldn't love it?

Some time after that I discovered the genius that is Bryan Fuller. This man has yet to create a
show I won't watch. Each of his sadly short-lived series is a gem of quirkiness, of philosophy and smart dialogue, with ideal amounts of sweet and sass. While my love for him extends to TV long ago canceled, his latest (and possibly greatest. I haven't decided yet.) accomplishment recently aired it's finale. The loss of Pushing Daisies still smarts, and ABC must fry for the heinous mishandling of this pinnacle of entertainment. Daisies was intelligent, whimsical, and surprisingly fun for a show involving death. It was truly inventive, a rare original in the wasteland of cop shows and reality TV. The creativity of the team behind it never lagged, but they stayed true to the viewer, boldly working to create a story so heart-breaking and strange, unbelievable and enchanting that I couldn't help but fall in love. Totally, committedly in love. And then the Network Powers That Be decided a spinoff of Grey's Anatomy was more important, and axed the highlight of my television week. I just watched the last show, and it was painful to see something so good try and wrap things up quite clearly before it was supposed to. The hastily tacked on final ending almost made me cry. Pushing Daisies, I miss you.

But moving on is an important step in any heartbreak, and while nothing will replace Daisies, I will love again. And have already. I'd like to introduce you to a little show called Glee.

The commercials for this new show, airing on Fox come fall, piqued my interest. And after watching the premiere, I can say with confidence that Glee has gained a new fan. It's good for: people who have participated in show choirs, Utah residents (sorry, that was redundant), people with a good sense of humor, anyone who has lived through the awkwardness of high school, future teachers, and you.

Check it out on Hulu. Click that link. If you regret it, I'm sorry. And we are no longer friends.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Apparently I'm a "hot-tempered hussy".

Yeah. Thanks Mom.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Following those Country Roads

Well, it's official. I am home... whatever that means. By that, I mean I am back in Utah. It's odd. Yesterday, as I sat on the airplane, curled up in some absurd position to avoid the steady stream of cold air rushing in from the emergency exit door that was my seat mate, I looked through the window at the Rockies for the first time in over two months.

Europe was such a big part of my life, but as I cruised around SLC today I felt as if no time had passed. The trip was a dream, and the last thing I remembered was standing outside of that teppanyaki restaurant in the rain, wondering what was in store for me. That sounded lame. This is why tired posts should never be allowed. Which I almost spelt "aloud". I thought you might like to know that. I think I'll give up on the retrospective now.

Summer has officially started, my first real summer since 2006, and I am out of my mind excited. Freedom! No school! No required papers! I can write anything I want and read any book I choose when I choose! Is this Heaven? Quite possibly.

Like the organized dreamer I am, I have already written a list of things I want to do this summer, a list that I will now share with you, my lovely blog audience. I am doing this for two reasons. A: I have nothing else to write about, and creativity is so last week, and B: so that if I run into one of you, dear cyber friends, we will have something to talk about. As in, you will ask me about these and I will feel pride if I have done it and shame if I have not. The basic principle.

Things To Do, This Summer, Part 1A:

-Practice the guitar and become a blues goddess.
-Cook often, with emphasis on artisan breads and pastries.
-Finish all those books I've started, including the rest of the Border Trilogy, Executioner's Song, and House of Seven Gables, along with just reading a lot in general.
-Get a bike at DI. Use it.
-Go to every concert at the Gallivan Center.
-See 500 Days of Summer, along with many Broadway film offerings.
-Flesh out all of those essays I've outlined in my notebook, and to write more creative pieces.
-Get efficient at playing the organ.
-Watch that documentary on the Vietnam War, try to talk to father about it.
-Clean my closet.
-Get a JOB.