Wednesday, August 27, 2008

it's back

I'm finally posting on a Wednesday again. Enjoy!

The Oracle of Starbucks: What's your personality?

Behold the Oracle's wisdom:

Personality type: Pseudo-intellectual

You're liberal and consider yourself to be laid back and open minded. Everyone else just thinks you're clueless. Your friends hate you because you always email them virus warnings and chain letters "just in case it's true." All people who drink tall chai tea lattes are potheads.

Also drinks: Sparkling water
Can also be found at: Designer grocery stores

Monday, August 25, 2008

a million times a day

I know that when I write I tend to fall back on bad metaphors or cliched idioms. It's really annoying. Yet today I was reading Pastoralia by George Saunders, which is a satire of the modern work place, and there he goes turning a bad metaphor into something really good. I can't tell you how often I've read something that I wish I came up with.

Think of you and Janet as branches on a tree. While it's true that a branch sometimes needs to be hacked off and come floating down, so what, that is only one branch, it does not kill the tree, and sometimes one branch must die so that the others may live. And anyway, it only looks like death, because you are falsely looking at this through the lens of an individual limb or branch, when in fact you should be thinking in terms of the lens of what is the maximum good for the overall organism, or tree. When we chop one branch, we all become stronger! And that branch on the ground, looking up, has the pleasure of knowing that he or she made the tree better, which I hope Janet will do. Although knowing her? With her crappy attitude? Probably she will lie on the ground wailing and gnashing her leaves while saying swear words up at us. But who cares! She is gone. She is a goner. And we have you to thank. So thanks!

Very good. And funny. A well-used bad metaphor. I'll have to keep this trick in mind.

google, you fiend

[photo taken by "me"]

So I Googled myself today. I haven’t done that in a while (contrary to what you might think). Anyway, the results were interesting. I was once Miss Midlander, or I am an “eternally single” 27 year old living in Dallas with quite the photography skills, or a Research Data Associate at NYU Cancer Institute. I’m kind of impressive, no?

Actually, what this little exercise mostly did was make me feel worse about the few meager things I’ve accomplished in my life. It’s like I looked at myself on a comparison chart and saw that I wasn’t up to par with the rest of those with my namesake. I’m not living up to my potential.

But in other ways, it’s interesting how I almost kind of feel a connection to these random girls that happen to have the same name as me. I read their bios (or whatever’s posted online), and I think, “Hey, that’s just like me!” and it’s oddly reassuring that somewhere there’s someone out there kind of like me. Like an evil twin thing. It’s kind of funny.

Suddenly I have the urge to take some artsy photographs.

Friday, August 22, 2008

oh no

I’m really really really tired of superhero movies. Before The Dark Knight came out, I thought anyone who said that was just full of himself, but now… I just don’t care about them anymore too. “Just don’t watch them!” you say? Well, yes, that would be a good solution, but despite the fact that I’m beginning to develop a gag reflex to their posters and trailers and internet rumors, I still can’t stay away. And somehow it still hurts my heart when I hear news like this:

Group President Jeff Robinov confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that they plan on rebooting the franchise, a'la The Incredible Hulk. "Superman [Returns] didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to," says Robinov. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned. Had Superman worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009. But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all."

The plan is to release four comic book movies in the next three years -- including a third Batman (no word on whether Nolan is returning), a new Superman, and two other unnamed DC characters. Robinov also confirmed that Warner Bros plans to adopt the Marvel route of a single film for each character, and then building on those origin films to create crossover stories, rather than just jumping into the deep end of the Justice League pool. The only worrying part about Warner Bros new plan is that they are still drunk on The Dark Knight, and want their superhero films to follow that mold. Robinov feels that "exploring the evil side to characters" is the way to approach all the DC characters. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it." Including Superman.

Guess what, guys! After they suck the well dry of individual superhero stories, we’re going to get crossover movies! See, Batman’s awesome. Superman’s awesome. Make a few movies “developing” those characters… put them together… shake well… and BAM. A summer blockbuster to blow your mind hole.

But seriously, how many times can we retread the origins of Superman?! And why must it always be DARKER! I’m so over this “Yes, I may be super strong, fast, intelligent, and heroic, but man, I got issues. I’m hurtin’.” Is Superman really a dark character? The difference between Batman and Supes is that “Superman” is just a persona. The guy deep down is really just Clark Kent. But for Batman, Bruce Wayne is the cover story. Batman is… Batman.

I’m not too crazy about a Superman reboot. I think Returns sucks, but I also can’t really imagine Superman working in any other context because he’s so iconic. His all-American red and blue costume reflects an earlier time that doesn’t really lend itself to the dark and mature audience the movie will go for. If you’re going to do Superman, embrace the fact he’s the all-around hero of our childhood. We don’t love him for his flaws. We love him because he’s a fucking superhero.

ETA: You know, looking at the picture I posted, they both just look so ridiculous. It kind of puts things into perspective, I think. Get over yourselves, movies.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

depressingly disillusioned

I must be an old grandma because I’m really tired of watching movies these days. Comedies are brash and vulgar. Romances are trite and annoying. Action films are loud, full of CGI, and lack substance. Dramas are depressing without presenting anything new or insightful.

I feel like this summer I forgot to watch more of the movies that made me love the medium in the first place: the films from the ‘50s and ‘60s that are innocent in their storylines and sincere in their executions. Watching these movies makes me feel nostalgic for simpler times, and casts a magic over me more potent than any Hollywood blockbuster made today could ever do. Perhaps they make me wish for a world that only exists in film, but I don’t mind—I’ll take what I can get, even if I can only experience it for a couple of hours at a time.

My favorite movies are the ones that everyone else seems to forget. Like Come September or Arabesque. They’re good movies with a good cast, but they’re not the overrated classics. You’d only watch them because they happen to be on TCM on a boring Saturday afternoon. (Or I guess that’s just what I do.) They’re hidden gems of outdated cinematography and stagier styles of acting. Girls wear evening dresses or go-go boots. The action and love isn’t showy or purposefully ironic. They are silly and serious at the same time.

Perhaps in 50 years that’s how today’s movies will seem.

And in that case, I think I’ll just wait to watch them then.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

responsibly irresponsible

I finally saw Adventures in Babysitting the other day, and I do believe it has become my newest guilty pleasure. Sometimes I wish they still made movies like this. Sweet and completely over-the-top. Complete with 80’s fashion. Naturally, I also thought of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, which came a little later, but has the same charm, and coincidentally even has the same actor (Keith Coogan). I highly recommend either of these for a cozy rainy afternoon in, but since it’s sunny Southern California, you might only have time for one of them. Solution? Sudden death!

Adventures in Babysitting vs. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead


AiB: (1987) staring Elisabeth Shue (of Karate Kid fame) as reluctant babysitter 17 year old Chris. Her d-baggy boyfriend stands her up so she takes a babysitting gig taking care of annoying 8ish year old Sara and Sara’s 15 year old brother, Brad (Coogan), who has a crush on her. Brad’s best friend also decides to hang out with the gang. Chris’s best friend runs away from home, then freaks out, so Chris has to go to the city to get her friend back home to the suburbs. She’s forced to take the kids along with her, hilarious hijinks ensue, and it turns into one crazy night!

DTMtBD: (1991) staring Christina Applegate as reluctant 18 year old babysitter/mother, Sue Ellen, to her 3 younger siblings. Coogan plays the oldest sib, Kenny, who’s a pothead loser. Mom is off for a few weeks, and the babysitter she hired for her four kids dies. The kids then decide they’ll keep the dead babysitter thing under wraps because they don’t want Mom to come home, and lazy, irresponsible Sue Ellen is forced to get a job to support the brats for a few weeks (since all the food money is buried with dead babysitter). She fakes a resume and eventually gets hired at a big company that makes uniforms, and she surprises everyone, including herself, by growing up.

Round 1: DTMtBD: it has a mouthful for a name, but you must admit it's catchy. And you know, I'm a sucker for coming of age stories, like this one essentially is.

The Badies:

AiB: A tire blows out on their way into the city, and eventually they stumble across mobsters running a car ring. They escape, but the mobsters keep chasing them relentlessly. Yikes! The city is also full of men with hooked hands, gangsters from Michael Jackson’s music video, and frat boys.

DTMtBD: A receptionist where Sue Ellen works hates Sue Ellen because she wanted the position SE got. She tries to uncover SE as a fraud with the help of a co-worker, who's also her boyfriend (?). Also, Sue Ellen’s bratty sibs don’t make it easier for her.

Round 2: AiB: Even though the other one has David Ducovony as the villain (he looks hilarious), I seriously LOVED the gangsters they meet on the train, and even the mobsters who write their notes in their Playboy magazines.

The Boy:

AiB: Chris is hot, so naturally when they all run into a house with a frat party going on at the U of Chicago, she attracts some male attention. A guy takes a liking to her in a very sincere way and even gets Chris the $50 bucks she needs to fix their flat-tired car by snapping his fingers. It’s ridiculous and it’s awesome. And he doesn’t even ruin it by asking for her number or making a move. But of course (spoiler alert!), at the end of the movie, he arrives at her house all charming and perfect-like.

DTMtBD: Sue Ellen likes a guy that works at a fast food hot dog place. They go on a cute date. Turns out, though, that his sister is the mean receptionist, so SE has to keep her job a secret, making hot dog guy suspicious. Oh no! But after a totally AWESOME fashion show Sue Ellen puts on, the air is cleared, and SE gets to make out with Mr. Hot Dog.

Round 3: DTMtBD: Mr. Hot Dog, a.k.a. Bryan seemed more like a type of guy you could actually date, even with his dorky costume. I mean, what kind of college guy gives a girl $50, leaves a party to help her out, and then shows up at her doorstep later that night to return a roller skate? Maybe I'm just cynical, but his chivalry was... odd.

Best Quotes:

AiB: Daryl is Brad’s best friend—the tag-along. He's also a bit infatuated with Chris.

Chris: Now boys, if either of you give me any grief, I swear to God I’ll kill you. Dead... murdered... stabbed.

Daryl: Raped?

Chris: …I’m too old for this crap.

And another favorite:

Gang Leader: Don’t fuck with the Lords of Hell!

Chris: Don’t FUCK with the BABYSITTER!!

DTMtBD: I haven’t seen this one in a while, so none really come up off the top of my head, although SE arguing with Kenny was a definite highlight. Um… this was a good line:

[Sue Ellen’s boss] Rose Lindsey: Sue Ellen, have you ever had a 48 hour orgasm?

Sue Ellen: [awkwardly] No… I’ve never been to Santa Barbara!!

Round 4: AiB: I don't know, that rape joke totally took me off guard and I kind of loved it. I'm odd.

The Winner:

I don’t really think you can top a movie that has mobsters, gangs, stab wounds, blues clubs, blind friends who think rats are cats, and an opening scene featuring the song “And Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals. But then again, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead had the story arc of all the kids becoming better people, a kick-ass fashion show, and the cuter guy.

Oh who can decide, honestly! Watch 'em both!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

sexually frustrated

Angelina Jolie wants to save the world country by country, child by child. And now, she’s decided to become the first Hollywood female action star. Per Variety: Angelina Jolie replaces Tom Cruise (seriously) in “Edwin A. Salt,” thriller about a spy falsely accused of defecting. The main character will undergo sex change to accommodate (obviously). “After Universal beefed up Jolie's role in Wanted and then marketed the action film squarely on Jolie's shoulders and watched it gross $132 million domestically, Jolie reestablished, in the wake of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," that she is the rare female who is viable in the action genre.”

I must say Jolie grows on me each passing year. Despite her… oddities… I can’t help but admire she’s somehow able to have it all. Beauty and sophistication, a charitable heart, a minivan (ha—could you imagine her in one?) full of kids, Brad freakin’ Pitt as a partner, (relative) talent…. If she weren’t such a superstar already, I’d probably admit to being a fan.

I always liked the type of girl who could rough it with the guys. Betty over Veronica. Mary Ann over Ginger. Katherine Hepburn over Audrey. Those type of girls just seemed to have their priorities straight. They won guys over with their athleticism, charm, or wit. They didn’t wait around for anyone to take care of them.

Admittedly, I do have a soft spot for Marilyn Monroe, but people who look up to her as an idol honestly make me a little sick. I’m thinking of you, Miss Lohan. I mean, seriously? She was a deeply troubled woman. Hollywood shaped her into this beautiful, confused empty vessel. A sex symbol who got so lost in her own image, I think she quite forgot who she was. Such a waste for a talented, intelligent woman. I mean, not that I knew her or anything, but whenever I think of Marilyn Monroe, I think of something Lauren Bacall [pictured above] once said. Talking to MM on set one day, MM tells her that she would like nothing more in the world than to be eating pizza in New York with Joe DiMaggio. And Lauren Bacall’s internal reaction is, you silly girl, how sad. There’s just not much going on with her, you know?

And this pretty much summarizes what’s wrong with how Hollywood treats its women:

There’s a comic strip from the series Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel. The strip was called "The Rule" and it was about a character who explained that she only went to movies that met three criteria:

1. Two of the characters had to be women --
2. Who talked with each other --
3. About something other than a man.

How many movies can you think of that fit The Rule?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

woefully uninspired

Hello August! The above is a picture of Forks, WA in celebration of a certain book that comes out today. So... I'll be working on finishing that today.

Anyway, I'm feeling completely uninspired to write lately. I was looking over my, uh, past writings, for possible topics to write about and here's something I wrote on July 12th:

God, tonight-- this whole day, actually-- I just feel like shit. I feel useless and directionless, and panicky about the future. I made that oath that I would start to "live for the moment," but that kind of thinking doesn't work when you actually want to be successful. Success takes planning. More importantly, it takes good execution; so while I'm stressing myself out constantly thinking about the future, making contingency plans, building myself up to succeed… what if in the end I'm just not meant to? The worst possible thing has happened to me: I’ve become ambitious. This is a problem as I am still devastatingly directionless.

I'm worried that my personality will hold me back. And your personality is the hardest thing to change about yourself. I’m too lazy, too introverted, lack conviction. I feel like I don’t instill a sense of trust in people. I tend to lose my “fire” over time, where, after fighting for something for so long, I begin to doubt if what I’m fighting for is worth it. I'm worried that I can just become complacent and stop wanting things out of life, and therefore never get... anything. I’ll never get anywhere. When none of your dreams have ever come true, maybe it's best just to stop dreaming.

And looking back on it, I'm glad to say I now feel completely disconnected from all those feelings I put into that past entry. Or maybe it just means I'm not a very good writer since I can't manage to convey the amount of anxiety i was feeling at the time. But anyway, my point is, that I actually woke up yesterday and thought, "I really love life." That was literally the first thought in my head. Strange, because nothing that great is even happening to me, and there are still some quite suck-tastic aspects of it, but overall, I'm staying pretty... cheerful.


Of course, I haven't lost my cynicism completely since I now see why so many writers chose to be of the tortured-soul variety. Being cheerful all the time makes writing seem like somewhat of a chore.

The Aura of:

My photo
I tend to get obsessive about things for a while, then get over it, and start to wonder what was wrong with me in the first place. Also, having no section for "Favorite TV Shows" makes absolutely no sense to me. That should tell you a lot right there.