Friday, January 30, 2009

Blog squared

I read a bunch of other people blogging today about how they have funny IM conversations, and I got jealous, so I'm sharing this:

Hedgehog: and look at this crazy fucking shit

holy shit i would've given my future left boob for a dollhouse like that when i was a kid

you didn't has a boob then

i have one i made myself, and put in carpeting and wallpaper and lights and everything, but it was not as cool as this
that's why i said FUTURE left boob

Hedgehog: that's a hutch! made to look like a muthafuckin' dollhouse

i wondered why they didn't show the inside

oh! liquor cabinet

actually, it would be more awesome as a dollhouse, but liquor cabinet is pretty wikid

because you should keep your liquor in a mansion

yeah, you should

guess so
i buys it for you, k?

kay yes please

k, I hire moving company that no ever bring it to you, but I sweared that i buyed it

Antelope: brilliant

it happens sometimes


This is not the title

Here's what I think it would be like if people who wrote movie scripts came up with the title first, and then wrote the movie.

Scenario I: Clive Barker writes "Candyman."

Barker: Hmm.  Candyman.  A man of candy... A Candyman.  Candyman candyman candyman... I've got it!
/ Calls Tony Todd.

Scenario II: Michael McDowell writes "Beetle Juice"

McDowell:  Betelgeuse.  It's a star.  Or a planet or something.  Betelgeuse.  Betelgeuse betelgeuse beetle juice.  I've got it!
/ Calls Michael Keaton

Scenario III: David Hare writes "The Reader"

Hare: The Reader.  It's a guy who reads.  Or a girl.  A dude probably.  The reader.  Reader reader reader.  I've got it!
/ Writes a very different movie from the one that's out right now.
/ Calls Ralph Fiennes

Aaaand scene.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Plus, there are pictures!

Here it is, your book of the week, the MahaBHARata.  I have to admit that in the first few chapters of this I was feeling pretty damn proud of myself for my awesomeness in reading a legendary work of religious and cultural importance to a people that my only contact with so far is a friend I had in second grade.  I did also see Slum Dog Millionaire and Monsoon Wedding though, so I figured I was all caught up on the parts of Indian culture that didn't involve licking crushed Smarties off your notebook.  

I had to come down a little from my self-importance, though, when I finally read the introduction and publisher's note, which pointed out that this is an extremely abridged retelling of the Mahabarata, and the literal translation into English is eleven volumes and probably has less sex too.  This is the version I read:

Which was "retold" by an English dude named William Buck* who really really loved reading the 11 volumes of the original version, and who delivered this, plus his translation of the Ramayana, to his publisher and then promptly died at the age of 36.  That seems like a story worth knowing about too, but perfunctory googling didn't get me anything on that.

Anyway, all this means that I can't really comment on the full version, or on the beauty of the Sanskrit, because I'm still taking those Sanskrit for Travellers classes down at the Y and all I can say so far is "How much is that painted elephant?"

BUT, I can recommend the version I read as both swashbuckling and romantic, colorful and dark.  There are blue people and people with four or more arms and a magical bow that never runs out of arrows except that one time that it did, and there are women calling on the gods to impregnate them and gods chilling in the forest because they're having a totally pissy day and there's a lady married to five brothers and a guy who magically removes his junk to hide in a lady's retinue from a king who's trying to kill him.  There are approximately 1.5 billion characters, whose names all sound like other characters' names, not to mention the billions of others who die in the final epic battle but weren't important enough to have names.  One woman gives birth to 100 sons, all at the same time, in a big matzo ball of flesh that has to be divided and put in jars to finish cooking.  There are important life lessons, such as "A liar mistrusts everyone, thinking that they are all like himself" (p. 239), and gods who behave worse than people, and even funny parts, mostly from Krishna who is a bit of a cut-up when he's not killing people.

All in all it has everything that is awesome and only the Dostoyevsky-like naming conventions make it occasionally difficult to follow, so go read it.  GO.  Read it right now.  

* Not to be confused with William "Buck" Ewing, who played and coached baseball and probably knew less than me about India.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not another book review

I don't mean that in the "Not Another Teen Movie" kind of way, where I'm going to brilliantly lambast all other book reviews and also show gross old ladies making out.  I mean that I was going to write about The Mahabharata today, but I still have about 40 pages left, and even though that's less than 10% of the book, I thought I should maybe finish it first and make sure more important and exciting things don't happen in the end that I wind up not writing about because I haven't read them, etcetera.

Anyway, instead I will tell you about my cats, because everyone loves a good cat story.  So, I have the Fat Cat:

Look how huge he is.  He knows he's fat and he's proud of it.  And I have the Neurotic Cat:

Here he is chewing on his paw because he's upset that Houseboy is not cuddling with him.

Anyway, these two psychos kept Houseboy and I up most of the night on Monday night, particularly Neurotic Cat, who likes to jump up on the bed, run around the edge of it and scream at us.  This is all fine and good because every once in awhile it's good for you to not sleep because it keeps you on your toes and makes you more acutely aware of how much everything sucks.

But then last night, after I fell asleep at 8pm with my face down in a cheese sandwich, they started up again.  Apparently they had all day to rest up for insanity and they were not going to waste good night time on sleeping.  The Neurotic Cat ran around and around making a barking noise until Houseboy put him in the cat carrier, whereupon he sat quietly for 10 minutes and then started yelling again.  Houseboy started spraying him with water and shaking the carrier, at which point I decided maybe it was time for me to step in.  

I sent Houseboy to sleep in the tv room and locked Neurotic Cat in the study with his litter box.  But then of course Fat Cat had to weigh in, and spent the next 20 minutes scratching wildly at the outside of the study door.  I figured he missed his big brother, so I finally shut them in there together.  This was not good enough of course.  Fat Cat then scratched wildly at the door from the inside, 10 minutes on, 10 minutes off, for about an hour.  Every time he scratched I got up and sprayed him with water under the door, which just made him realize that someone was really out there, so he started smacking the doorknob with all his considerable weight and Neurotic Cat started yelling.  At this point the noises were something like one of those asylums for children in the early 20th century, where they soaked kids in water and then locked them alone in rooms for days and days.  There was weeping and gnashing of teeth, in other words.

Around 1 am I got the inspired idea to take the fleece blanket that my sister made for me and drape it on the inside of the study door, making it impossible for Fat Cat to scratch it.  This bought a good 4 hours of sleep, until he finally figured out how to get behind the blanket and started up again.  

So, here I am at work, going on about 8 hours of sleep over the last two days, unable to drink coffee and so weeping just a little at the delicious taste of my Assam black tea.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why don't you BLOG about it, geek?

So, I took Houseboy out for Part II of his birthweek celebration last night, and we went to see My Bloody Valentine: 3D, or as it said on the marquee, our tickets and outside the theater: "My Bloody D," which just sounds wrong.  Afterwards we went to dinner and spent way too much time talking about the role of horror movies in our society and what they teach us about what we value and who is "in" and who is "out" in our culture, given that the other thing we had to discuss was whether the writers actually put any thought into who was going to be the killer, or if they just decided to pick a name out of a hat after they'd written the whole thing.  

More or less, I choose to give the writers the benefit of the doubt or at least accept the assumption that horror movies will have a moral whether they like to or not, because they're part of a genre that doesn't need to work too hard at being original, they just have to help us have a cathartic experience and allow us to fortify the boundaries of our society so that we're more comfortable in having banished the unknowable.  That said, I had enough time to think during the movie in this case that I came up with my theory on what this one was "about" before it was actually over, but I think it still hangs together.  

The basic story is about the son of a mine-owner who works in that mine.  He makes a deadly mistake and there is an explosion and a cave-in and a bunch of miners are trapped.  To save himself, one of the miners takes his pickaxe to all the others and is eventually dragged out of the mine in a coma.  For some reason, when he wakes up from the coma a year later, he kills the shit out of absolutely everyone in the hospital and then heads back to the mine, where the mine-owner's son and his friends are partying in the closed mine shaft.  Coma guy of course finds his mining equipment somewhere, puts on a gas mask and overalls and kills all the teenagers he can with his pickaxe.  Mine-owner's son, his girlfriend, and his friend and the other girlfriend are the only ones to escape, as the cops shoot coma guy and a bunch of rocks collapse on him.  This is all in the first 10 minutes of the movie, so don't freak out that I forgot to say "spoiler alert" or whatever.  

Anyway, cut to 10 years later: mine-owner's son disappeared soon after this happened but is coming back in town because his dad died and he's selling the mine.  His girlfriend is now married to his friend and has a kid, and the other girlfriend is having lots of naked screen time right before she gets ripped to pieces in the same hotel in which the mine-owner's son is staying.  There's a lot more killing by a guy in overalls and a gas mask, who may or may not be the original coma dude, but either way it's pretty well targeted at the people who were there the first time around.  

So, somewhere between the naked screen time and the part where mine-owner's ex-girlfriend gives him a talking-to that more or less reinforces my upcoming points, I came up with my thesis.  This particular story is about how one small mistake can follow you for the rest of your life, and if you don't address it and find a way to deal with it, it will come back to destroy not only you, but all the people you love through you.  

Now, fitting this in with the overall "interstitial nature of horror" theory I've got going here, this makes this a very post-80's movie.  We're not banishing the powerful outsider ("Carrie") or fearing the societies that formed from those we banished ("Freaks," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre"), and we're not worried that our own steps over the boundaries we created will bring our civilization crashing down ("The Thing," "Alien," "28 Days Later").  Instead, we fear our own ability to control our emotions and our inner life.  

We believe we have harnessed our own inner power and controlled the things that attack us from within using therapy and medications and, of course, institutionalization.  No one is really "crazy" anymore, they have schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder or bipolar disorder, and it can be managed.  But this movie proves that we don't really believe that; we still see our own minds as an enemy, our own experiences and feelings as dangerous and uncontrollable, and we really, really want to take a pickaxe to their faces.


Monday, January 26, 2009

My Horror Movie Idea

Ok, you know how there are these movies about zombies?   And how they're almost never scary, unless you're watching them in your friend's basement at night and then have to walk home alone and all of a sudden running just seems like a better idea?  Or unless it's 28 Days Later, which may or may not be a zombie movie anyway?

Well, I had this idea when I was trying to get to sleep last night, and I shared it with Houseboy and he agreed that we would both be having nightmares because I have deep emotional problems.  Usually in zombie movies you'll never see zombie animals, unless it's like a puppy dog and that's scary for the same reason the little zombie girl is scary, because it's sad to get eaten by puppies and children.  BUT, what if there were a movie where all the animals could turn into zombies?  Particularly BIRDS.  

So, you're waiting for the train and one of these comes flying down off the roof and starts pecking away at your flesh, particularly the eye and face area:

Right?  Right?  And then, what if you flee to the country, and you're just walking down a rural dirt road, and a big flock of zombie starlings or sparrows comes swooping down and surrounds you and eats you all up?  It would be like The Birds crossed with Night of the Living Dead.

Horror movie makers:  you are welcome to this idea.  Make this movie and all I ask is for a free ticket to the premiere, where I'll wear a big fancy dress and pretty hair to watch people get zombie-fied by birds.

Thank you.


Friday, January 23, 2009

No Movies; Drugs

So, I had a lot of tv watching to do this week and didn't get around to seeing any movies, although Houseboy promised to take me to see "My Bloody Valentine" for his birthday because it's in 3-D and my favorite dimension is the third dimension.  If you're lucky, that might be your movie of next week.

For this week I would just like to share an awesome bathroom experience, because I know you all like poop humor.  Except this story doesn't actually involve poop.  But you can imagine people "reading a magazine"* while you hear this story if you like.  Anyway, yesterday I was at work (I know, right?  You're already fascinated), and I started to get a migraine.  (Oh horrors!  The drama!)  Since my little pink and red pills, I get these less than I used to, and they're not as bad or long-lasting, but I still don't like to try to think about racial gaps in standardized testing while there are moles eating my brain.  So, I went to the bathroom to take my old-new abortive medication (that sounds political, but it's not), which is being called Imitrex Nasal Spray (TM).  What I like about this drug is that it gets into your blood really fast and then makes its way to your brain really fast because that's near to where your nose is, and within minutes you don't feel like you'll probably die.  My only complaint (before yesterday) was that sometimes it runs down the back of your throat and tastes like dead monkey sweat, but compared to the brainplosion, it's totally worth it.  

The other downside I discovered yesterday is that if you go into a bathroom stall and make a loud and long snorting sound, and then come out sniffling and rubbing your nose, your coworkers will look at you askance and will definitely not at all think you're a cokehead from now on.  

* This is the only episode of "How I Met Your Mother" that I've ever seen, but I will admit that I laughed.  NPH, what a mensch.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Urban Outfitters, Woolite, Jelly Beans

So, my good friend Hedgehog wrote a blog yesterday that was about how she doesn't have internet or cable in her new house and is trying to decide between AT&T and Comcast and the associated hair-pulling and whatnot.  All of a sudden, she's of interest to people working in the tv industry and even a young whippersnapper named ComcastCares1, who offers the sage advice that there are probably special offers for new customers in her area.  

Since I already get DirecTV in my building and have no choice about the matter, I figured this would be a good time to mention that I like to shop online at Anthropologie and ModCloth and that I'm thinking of buying all my tools at Sears.  Plus, Target is a great place to shop, and a Minnesota company.  Also, I like chocolate.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wicki Wicki What?

This week I read "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West": 

Now, I've been putting off reading this for about 4 or 5 years, not because it didn't look good, or because I didn't like the other Gregory Maguire novel that I read (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister), because it did and I did.  But because the M's are about halfway through the alphabet, you might notice, and I've been going through all my unread fiction in order of author name.  Because I'm a sane and normal person who does not have an obsessive need for order.  

Anyway, I was also putting off going to see the play until after I read the book, because I thought it would be like when you see the movie first and then the whole time you're imagining the main characters as Angie Harmon and Lane Smith.  But then about a year ago, my mom came to visit me for her birthday, and all she wanted was to go see Wicked on Broadway in Chicago, and so I had to suck it up and go see it.  Turns out, if you work for the city, you sit in the way up high back of the balcony and can't even see the actor's faces anyway, so there's not that much danger of them sitting in your unconscious waiting to act out the parts of whatever book you're reading.  

Not to mention that now that I've gotten around to actually reading the book, it turns out it's pretty different from the play.  I tried really hard to imagine Glinda (the good witch) as the bubbly spastic insane person I'd seen on stage, but it really didn't work out that well.  

To double back, "Wicked" is what wickedpedia calls a "parallel novel": it retells the story of "The Wizard of Oz"* from the perspective of the Wicked Witch of the West.  In this version, she's a genetic freak and a bit of a smartass, but not exactly born wicked.  We follow her birth in Munchkinland, her education at Shiz, youthful political demonstrations in the Emerald City and eventual self-imposed exile at the castle of Kiamo Ko.  All before Dorothy arrives.  Dorothy's part in the story would be minor to the point of footnote if it weren't for her talent of being in the wrong place and doing the wrong thing at just the wrong time, namely at the end.  

In a way, seeing the Chicago production of the play first did sort of affect my enjoyment of reading the novel: the play essentially re-imagines a well-known story such that the supposed Big Bad turns out to be the heroine, and conflicts that are disastrous turn out to be misunderstandings on a rather grand scale.  This makes for entertaining song and dance numbers, very amusing little character quirks and, of course, a happy(ish) ending.

On the other hand, Gregory Maguire's style (in his adult works, anyway) is fairly serious and contemplates larger order issues, such as the nature of evil, the role of government and the existence of the soul.  It gives us the question of where the Big Bad comes from and how she came to be who she is and make the decisions she makes.  It doesn't tell us it was all a big farce; it deeply examines what it means to be wicked.  

Once I settled into the difference, I definitely enjoyed the book, but I spent at least half of it waiting for the funny misunderstandings and was even a little surprised at the ending.  That said, it's definitely worth the read, and the play is worth seeing.  Just don't associate them too closely in your brain.  


* I'm guessing the original inspiration is the novel, rather than the movie, but for all you illiterates out there it's not important.  You can pretty much follow along if you've ever seen a picture of Judy Garland.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The best, most awesomest great and fantastic birthday present ever

Here is how it started.  Houseboy and I walk in, there's a little back and forth about which section is ours and which row we should walk down so as not to have to crawl over people, and suddenly I'm distracted, because there's this really loud thwacking noise, and I turn around and there are giant men hitting frozen cow dung at us: 

So, I hyperventilate a little bit, but get myself settled in:

[Holy sh*t we're close]  And watch the warmups while dancing to the wickid music.  And then there's Mikko Koivu and my new favorite player, Clusterf*ck Clutterbuck and there's a lot of hip checks and cross checks and smashing into the boards, and my personal favorite, where they do that thing where they slap the puck all the way across the ice and it rattles around the plexiglass behind the goal, which makes this thwackpingthwackpingthwackping noise when you're right behind it and makes me giggle.  

I even got on the jumbotron, which has never ever happened before, and I saw it and was like "That girl has the same color scarf as me!" [Double take] "That's me!"  And won the award for most spazzy reaction to being on a big video screen ever.  

And there are three Wild goals in the first period and one Blackhawks goal in the second, all at our end, and the Wild kill two penalties and the Blackhawks goalie Khabibibibibulin catches like twelve shots in his glove and then in the last minutes of the third, they pull their goalie and the Wild get their fourth goal in one of those long, sad open goal shots that no one can stop, and absolutely everyone gets up to leave, except me and Houseboy, who do the dance of The Best, Most Awesomest Great and Fantastic Birthday Present Ever. 


Friday, January 16, 2009

Unmovie of the Week

I was going to tell you all about Slumdog Millionaire for the following reasons:

1) I watched it with my parents over the holidays, and my dad liked it so much, when he called me for my birthday he said "Go see 'Bolt!'  Oh, and this other movie we saw which was really great, and it's about India... Carolyn, Carolyn, what was the India movie?  Slumwhat?  Slumdog Millionaire, she says."  And I had to tell him I'd seen it with him and then remind him which daughter I am and where I live and all that stuff you have to do after your parents turn 50. 

2) Ever since watching it, Houseboy and I yell "Chaiwallah!!" and "Computerji!" at each other and try to do the cool dancing at the end, but end up looking like Mr F. 

3) It's the "Independent Movie" of the year, where everyone who considers themselves smart and cultured go see it, so if you don't you'll look stupid and uncultured.  Like butter.  

But instead, I'm going to tell you all about how none of you dumb gits* had better go see that piece of ass fuzz movie "Bride Wars."  Every time I see an ad for that movie I about have an aneurism and have to lecture Houseboy on the way society demeans women and encourages women to demean each other through the obsession with material possessions, while perpetuating the stereotype that we're all backstabbing canibalistic she-beasts and that that is cute and funny somehow.  

If you're in the mood for something a little wrong in a gratifying, "I'm better than them" kind of way, check out "Sex, Lies and Obsession," starring Mr. and Mrs. Echolls, aka Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna.  If you watch only the middle part, you get to see a lot of [implied] masturbation and [implied] sex with prostitutes and [actual] peep show action.  And then you can turn it off before the wife inevitably takes back her cheating std-having husband because, as Hedgehog and I nailed down while I watched this on my sick day on Monday, the moral of all Lifetime movies is that addictions and psychological abuse are forgiveable, physical abuse is not.  Take that reasoning to the bank and watch them stare at you funny and then ask if you have a deposit or if you need some other kind of help.  


*I had to go look up "git" in the urban dictionary to make sure I wasn't saying something unintentionally racist or xenophobic, because you know how the English can be.  Word of the day from = sideboob.  Awesome.  


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How to look hot when it's zero degrees outside

Step One--Get your Houseboy to help you make a pizza:

Step Two--Put toppings on your pizza and bake it up good:

Step Three--Get your Houseboy to make you mac and cheese:

Step Four--Don't forget a big pile of cookies:

Step Five--Collapse under the weight of cheese and chocolate and get your Houseboy to cover you with a blanket.

[Photo Not Available]

P.S. This was written yesterday, but then I got "busy" at "work" and forgot to post it.  While on that note, it has been brought to my attention that the post about writing short stories in staff meetings might look bad to coworkers who stumble across it.  Consider this a late disclaimer: I am joking.  Of course I always focus on work while at work.  Work IS my life, okay?  I love every single meeting in this place.  It's not just a bunch of stuff that people do, it's ME.  I'd like to thank the Academy.  


Boredom is making me stupid

So, I've developed this problem lately where I'm required to go to a lot of meetings that I have no interest or stake in.  These are hours in which I'm supposed to be learning about the projects my coworkers are involved in, or how to use a simple computer program, but instead my mind has started drifting into another world and more or less blacking out on whatever's going on around me.  Now, this isn't really a problem per se... at least four out of five of these meetings I sit and stare into the distance thinking about what a fish crossed with a horse would look like and get shaken out of my reverie by people wrapping up their notebooks and coffee and leaving the room.  It's the fifth out of those five meetings in which my boss turns to me and goes, "Well, what do you think?" and I go "Uhhhhh.  Seventeen would probably do it?" and hope that has anything to do with the conversation.  This has started to make me look bad.  And drawn attention to my vacant looks in the rest of the meetings.  

Since I can't guarantee any way of actually focusing and becoming a better employee at this point, I've decided to just use that time for a little personal business.  Today I started a short story in our staff meeting.  Maybe next week I'll get to work on some sketches or do some knitting.  


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It's Afghanistanimation, boss!

This week's book comes courtesy of Houseboy's brother, who bought it for me for Christmas.  It's this one: 

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" AKA: "A Novel by the Author of The Kite Runner," which I haven't read because it was recommended to me by too many people.  You know how when the first person recommends a book, you go "Oh, that sounds like my kind of book, I'll find that and read it."  And the second person who recommends it, you say "What a coincidence!  First Person just recommended that to me recently, but I have not read it yet, I will look into this for sure!"  And then a THIRD person recommends it, and you go "What are you trying to pull, Mister?  I already heard about this book and it is on my list!"  And by the time a fourth and fifth person recommend it, you're all "I am NOT reading the next Da Vinci Code you blathering rabble!  Fool me once, shame on you and all that."  And then you vow to never crack that book because it's obviously a conspiracy.  

Well, that kind of happened with "The Kite Runner."  So, when I got this book for Christmas I was secretly happy because it gave me a good reason to read something by the author without actually reading the apparently MONDO popular one everyone recommended* to me.  And, as it turns out, this was really good!  It is possible that The Kite Runner will be good too, so it goes back on my list.

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" follows two women through the course of Afghani history from the early 60's through about 2003.  It's one of those novels that actually teaches you a little something about history if you pay some attention, which can be a good thing.  I liked learning about the Congo in The Poisonwood Bible and about India in Midnight's Children, and this book takes a similar approach.  It reveals the complexities of change and conflict in Afghanistan through the daily events in characters' lives.  Mariam and Laila are fascinating characters with great dramatic potential in their lives, even without a series of destructive wars landing in their backyards.  It is these wars, however, that escalate their own personal struggles and eventually bring them together.  

It's a terribly wonderfully upsetting novel, with grand lanscapes of tragedy and humanity and joy and pain and all that.  If I can give just one *spoiler alert* moment, however.  I spent probably the last forty to fifty pages (and particularly the last ten or so) convinced that absolutely every character was going to die, suddenly and unexpectedly.  Or, worse, that every character but one would die, leaving one of our heroines to wander the war-torn Afghani lanscape, brittle and alone.  Let me just assure you that that does not happen.  Some people do live, as it turns out.  

So, go buy it or check it out of your library on that recommendation: not everyone dies.

* Not sure if you noticed, but that makes seven times I have used a version of the word "recommend."

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Precious

So, I know Christmas and my birthday have already passed, but there was something I forgot to ask for, and I really really need.  It's these:

Don't you think the Fat Cat and the Neurotic Cat would get along well with them?  I'd need several, because I think I might squeeze the first couple to death due to their extreme adorableness.  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Redemption, Destruction, Redemption, Destruction

A little late this week, but your assignment is another C.S. Lewis, this time in fiction!  Still no lions or wardrobes to be seen, but there IS mythology, and maybe even a little allegory. 

It's called "Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold", and it's based on the classical myth of Cupid and Psyche.  For those of you who, like me, have no idea what that means, read the "Note" at the end first.  It tells you the original story in just two short pages, and then you won't spend the whole time going "When's it going to be Valentine's Day, and when is Cupid going to shoot lovers with his bow and arrow?"  Turns out, Cupid of the Latin myth has very little to do with this guy: 

and maybe a little more to do with this guy: 

Not that we really see much of Christianity in this book, per se, but C.S. Lewis being a capital-C Christian author and all, I figure there's at least a little something to be said for the idea that this is a story about someone coming to faith by the back way.  Maybe I'm unduly influenced by having just read his autobiography, though.

Anyway, here he takes the myth of Psyche and Cupid (look it up, already), and adds a little twist.  We hear the story from one of the supposedly jealous and destructive sisters who, it turns out, truly loved Psyche and made terrible mistakes as a result of that love.  These mistakes lead to her own and Psyche's downfall, but that's only about the middle of the story.  From there Orual (the sister) becomes a just and well-beloved queen, but is still a miserable and ugly woman, and so cannot be happy.  She writes the whole book as a condemnation of the gods, but is obliged to add a coda (that lasts 50 pages) when she discovers that she is not who she thought she was and very little was as it seemed.  She finds redemption and forgiveness exactly as soon as she knows to look for them, and then she dies.

So, now that you know how everything turns out, go read it blog bytches!  And I promise not to bring up C.S. Lewis again for awhile.  


* This image was originally in a blog called Illiterate Electorate, which has the terrible form to put every damn post on the front page, so I had to scroll through and wait for my computer to download about 20,000 election-related photos before I found the post it appeared in, and damned if I still have no idea what the flip the picture actually is.  I cropped it and re-posted it here because when I tried to just link it, it turned out huge and I didn't feel like dealing with html today.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Things to Do Before I'm 30: The Impossible List

I never actually made one of these lists before I turned 30, and in fact I never thought 30 was such a bad thing to turn, so I haven't been on the ball with getting nervous and angsty and upset about my birthday.  Now that it happened, though, I figure I should act my age and have some kind of crisis over the things I meant to accomplish.  So here's a list I came up with after the fact, of things I will now feel bad about not having done already.

1.  Swim with the dolphins.  I wanted to do this when I was a kid, but my mom said it was too expensive, and besides, don't you think the dolphins deserve to be left alone?  Before I was 30 I could have ignored her, but now I'm too old anyway because it's a well-known fact that dolphins attack old people.

2.  Become a gymnast.  Somewhere around puberty I discovered that I have no hand-eye coordination and terrible balance.  I should have worked on that more.

3.  Commit the perfect murder.  I have it all planned out.  Maybe I can still do this one.

4.  Wear rubber leggings to a club and start one of those dances where everyone circles around you because you're so awesome and you teach them a new move and everyone buys you things because you're so cool.

5.  Seven hotdogs and seven beers in seven innings.  You heard me.

6.  Get on the Late Show with David Letterman.  Because that man is sexy with a capital SEX.

7.  Be the first woman to... whatever.  First, I wanted to be president until I found out that presidents are boring.  Then I wanted to be the first female Major Leaguer.  See #2.

8.  Learn to make a souffle.  Have it comically deflate.  Sit on the floor of my kitchen and cry.

9.  Beat Houseboy in Trivial Pursuit.  The synapses are only getting less firey with age, not more. 

10.  Raise a pig for the slaughter, but at the last minute change my mind and go on a long road trip with it that ends in tragedy when he dies of pig old age.  


Friday, January 2, 2009

Like Kurasawa I make mad films

Ok, I don't make films.  But if I did, they'd have a samurai.  And Brad Pitt.  And ideally a culminating scene with some sort of water dance by amphibious bunny rabbits set to Led Zeppelin music.  This might be why my screenplays never get picked up.

So, anyway, your Movie of the Week was going to be Rashomon, but then I didn't watch Rashomon, but accidentally sealed it up in its Netflix envelope anyway and had to carefully retrieve it without tearing the envelope because I don't have another one because I'm sending back Scratch and also the Pianist, even though I haven't watched it yet because I've decided I get the whole Holocaust thing.  Have you noticed that there are FOUR World War II movies out right now?  That seems excessive.

Anyway, instead you get to hear about a NEW movie, which is being called "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."  This is one of those movie theater type movies, which I got to see because it was my birthday yesterday, and Houseboy felt bad that I was thirty years old and still not best friends with Brad Pitt, even though that was on my "To Do Before I'm 30" list.  More on that list another time.

For now, you get a slightly obscure and subtle-ified review of Benjamin Button, because I don't want to have to do the "Spoiler Alert" nonsense.  So, it's a movie about how Brad Pitt is aging backwards and is star-crossed with Cate Blanchett, which I imagine Angelina Jolie is rather upset about.  As was revealed to me ahead of time, the old people makeup is really quite good, and I didn't spend very much time at all going "Wow that old people makeup looks good," because I just got used to it and paid attention to the actual movie.  What distracted me more actually, was the very young Brad Pitt, because dude is like 45 now, so other than the poor lighting I really have no idea how they made him look about 17 at one point.  I was also occasionally distracted when he rode his motorcycle or went sailing, and I blacked out because he's a hottie-cake.  

As to the actual plot and whathows of the movie, I give it about an 8 1/2 out of ten.  There was a particular part where I particularly disliked the way things went, and was pulled out of the suspension of disbelief that is obviously very important to a movie such as this.  But, other than that, I enjoyed it immensely.  I would agree with the director (where ever I saw that) that the actual premise of aging backwards isn't really the most interesting part of it, though that made it more than just another sweeping romantic epic like "The English Patient" or some other movie I haven't seen.  It gives it a little bit of a twist and an unusual edge, though not quite as much as, say "Lars and the Real Girl," which I have seen.  

Also, it's not giving TOO much away to say that I want to be buried with a jelly jar full of buttons.