Jan 18, 2011

strike against capitals

once upon a time...

paradise lived in peace. it was beautiful.
blue water. blue skies. balmy beaches. you know. paradise. it was beautiful and limitless. and insect-less.

but that golden age passed. now we have cockroaches. and centipedes. centipedes are long, striped, ugly things. however, they probably didn't deserve that time i chopped one up (they still live after you do that, you know) and then boiled it, because my friend told me that if you just flushed it down the toilet they would crawl back up.

were you lying, bria?

centipedes turn blue when you boil them. thought you might want to know.

anyway. lots of nasty things came with the fall of paradise's golden age (which may have coincided with the fall of the titan's or eve and adam's expulsion from eden), but perhaps among them most evil were mosquitoes.

my mom told me they probably came in a water barrel. some demented ship brought evil on wings to paradise. demented. it is a good and accurate word, only because sadistic sounds a bit harsh. after all, it didn't know the awful, evil disease it was carrying. so demented will do.

last night mosquito(es) woke me up. three times. three times! there is no evil like that which deprives sleep. I am not a nice person when i'm tired. i get these craters under my eyes that make me look like i'm a druggy (i'm not, i promise), i can't be bothered to make my clothes match or straighten up my hair. i suddenly dislike things for no reason.

like today. today i have a sudden and fierce dislike of capitals and opera music. thought you might want to know.


Jan 13, 2011

Evil in Various Forms

A while back my dad came up with this brilliant idea. He needed his students to read... they weren't reading... he would make them get online and record videos of themselves teaching the reading! And he would make it a fourth of their grade! Brilliant!


I told him at the time it was an evil idea. People shouldn't have to video tape themselves. They shouldn't have to summarize and analyze a complex reading a few minutes. It's just... wrong. Somehow. I told him so and told myself that I had done my duty as a student.

He didn't listen to me and continued with his evil plan (though, in all fairness, not quite as evil as Starbuck and Google's plot to take over the world). And that's alright. I'd washed my hands of it. Except now I'm in Brother McArthur's Cultural Theory class and guess what is a fourth of my grade? Gee, how did you know?

So I find myself trying to summarize Hegel's theories on divine self-alienation, history, thought and reality, and the two parts of his dialect. In two and a half minutes... Head meet desk. I sound like an idiot. And I have to record myself. I stutter and say "um" every few words. I try to stare vaguely over my computer screen so that I don't have to see... um, well, me. I hate pictures of myself. Videos are even more disconcerting. And no matter how many times I do it, they don't come off right.

The Starbucks/Google plot to take over the world is sounding less and less  evil.

Other than that, though, I really love cultural theory. Thinking about thinking is mind-warping, but in a good way. Mostly.


Jan 2, 2011

Bright Star

You might, at one point, get an urge to watch something off Netflix. Something good. And Austin-y (because you're an Jane Austin junky and you know how all Austin films end). And you catch a glimpse of Bright Star and remember that your mom said it got a great review from the New York Times. So you look it up and, truth, it was a really great review. Though, really you should have taken a clue from the line that said it's intensity saves it "from the tidy prison of [a] period drama," since a tidy period drama (read: a happy period drama, with a bow tied around happily ever after) is exactly what you're looking for.

So you download it from Netflix and call your whole family in to watch it.

So you watch it.

And it's an exceptionally well done movie. Beautiful, really. Their are some glorious shots. Like this one:

The actors are exceptional. Everything feels quite real (though I do find it odd when they quote poems to each other), but that real feeling makes it that much more annoying when the entire movie is spent in the dramatic, often depressing, throes of love.
So, when you're dad asks, "How long does this last?"

You find yourself saying, "Until he dies?" And hoping that's pretty soon.

Your prediction turns out to be pretty accurate. Most of the movie they're together and happy, though their happiness is always tinged with foreboding, or apart and dissolving into tears. Like when our main character's little sister (Topsy?) runs down and tells her mother, "Fanny wants a knife." When her mother asks why, Topsy replies, "To kill herself." It turns out Mr. Keats has written only a very short letter, after a long while of not writing any letter at all.

So when you get the urge to watch something good and Austin-y on Netflix, don't watch Bright Star.

As beautiful as it is, it's not worth the tears I--erm, you will, rather--shed when Keats dies and poor Fanny goes into convulsive sobs. Just stick with Austin. You might know all the endings... but the main guy doesn't die. And when the main girl breaks down in convulsive sobs at the end, it's because Edward isn't married after all. (Name that movie?)

Of course, I'm directly clashing with the New York Times in writing this, which feels a bit daring. It's the New York Times. Mark Bittman writes for them. And they're the only newspaper I read.

But I'm really against sad endings even when they're based on true stories and I'm against love that always has despair hanging over it... pretty much always. Anyway, I'm pretty sure no one from the New York Times reads this blog. So... Thought I'd give you a heads up. If you like this movie, I still love you. I just probably won't watch movie with you.


I have now had an hour, a few games of Clue and a chapter of Hornblower to think this over and can view Bright Star with some complacency. While the plot was a bit circular and the characters a bit hard for me to relate to, I still think it was a good movie. I might even have liked it, had I had not been hoping for something a little more cheerful, at least in the beginning and middling parts. So, if you like this movie, I'll still watch a movie with you. But I get to choose the movie.