So for the record, I'm doing all right - I'm still drafting Part II of "Invincible". I know you're waiting with baited breath....
Thursday, September 30, 2010
So for the record, I'm doing all right - I'm still drafting Part II of "Invincible". I know you're waiting with baited breath....
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I think that there are a few moments in every life where you're shown of what you are and are not made. This is my accounting of one that I had last week.
Growing up a Long/Dees it's very easy to feel, well, a bit super human. School and anything cerebral comes fairly easy. On the Long side, we're rarely sick, and if we ever are we usually just power through it. Sports come fairly easy, anything physical actually. When I was playing water polo and regularly lifting weights I put muscle on so fast I couldn't keep up with how strong I was becoming and Lennyed more than one hole in a wall and broken door frame. For the most part, people believe what you say, laugh at your jokes, seek your advice and value your company. As much, you grow up not really being affraid of anything. You can either think around, charm, or power through whatever situation you find yourself. I'm not going to lie, it's pretty damn awesome, most of the time.
As such, I begin to think that nothing can really hurt me until I realize that because I see things differently, I feel things differently and typically more extensively and I realize EVERYTHING can hurt me and regularly does, but typically I'm strong enough to bear the blows. I remind myself that it's imperative to feel feelings, but to let them pass through. They do not control me and that I'm strong enough to take it.
That all being said, last week while shopping for drain-o at an all but empty Lowe's after a church activity as I'm wandering the overwhelming isles of wrenches, drill bits, lawn chairs, carpet rolls, and weed killer I start wishing there was a 3D Google contraption that could let me just find the bloody drain-o. This particular task does not high-cogniative levels of problem solving so my mind starts wandering into girly places, inventorying the recent pairings and/or interests of my friends and the local boy club and realize that, for about the umpteenth time, I'm sans partner/interest/pursuer.
Everyone (in my Looney Toons mind) is about to gallivant paired into the sunset and I, again, am left at home, broom in hand, by myself.
This idea starts to upset me and instead of the familiar sting of tears at my eyes the focus is lower, in my chest. It starts to tighten like an asthma attack and I can only manage short shallow breaths. My heart starts pumping like a captured field mouse but I don't get light headed, I don't feel compelled to sit down, I don't want to cry, I just can't breathe and I don't know why and my heart feels like it's being dribbled against my sternum.
Being the Long I am, having assigned myself to a task, I take the physical discomfort, shove it aside, and continue on my drain-o search. I try to keep a steady breath, yoga breathing fixes everything right? Oxygen, the fastest way to detox the body. I finally find the drain-o, properly compare potentices with price and container size, get through the self check out (yoga breath, yoga breath, yoga breath), and make it to my car.
Tasks being completed, I turn my cartoony brain to the most pressing matter at hand, my insane body. I don't really have time to play Dr to myself but my body was demanding attention and if I know one thing its don't poo-poo anything that has to do with the chest/heart/ lung region.
So I sit there in my car, I inventory my racing heart, mentally cross referenceing it with other accounts from remembered NPR articles and friends' stories and my slew of Medical School friends running medical dialog. I rewind and review conversations, picking out pieces of information that seem to apply, come to a conclusion that I don't like at all but one whose evidence I can't refute. I sit there for a few minutes longer, rerunning my experience, the evidence, my existing knowledge of possible explanations and I realize I need more data to be sure. I reluctantly text my friend who has mentioned similar experiences before:
What does a panic attack feel like?
Replies come confirming all this weirdness. I realize the trigger, feel helpless and silly but that I cannot dismiss these feelings. They're demanding time and attention. But I have no idea how to explore them. Talking about them with anyone of my afore-mentioned friends and/or family would just trigger the route "Don't be sillys" and "You know you're wonderful" and "He'll come around some day" that never seem to make me feel better. Ever. If anything, they spray gas on the fire. I think they never comfort because that's never been the issue. My raw and unaddressed fear isn't a life without love, it's a life alone. I know I'm loved. That has never been an issue, but being left behind, being left out - that's what closes the shutters on my rationale.
Flashes of being on the tree-line Provo street of my child hood and having my big brother purposefully get his friends together in front of me and then ride off on their bikes while yelling behind him that I can't come along, that I'm weird and a pest, that I'm not invited and I'll get beat up if I try to follow. Family reunions where my cousins flitted off to the mall without even considering me. Those come crashing in and for a tic I feel a shudder go through out my consciousness, destabilizing things for a moment and I'm not sure if its a layer of delusion being stripped away or a layer of foundation being ripped out.
I look over at the drain-o on my passenger seat, remember the pressing task of a clogged bath tub at home, wipe the tears away to see straight, take a few more yoga breaths, decide I need to air this out later, start my car, shove aside my weaknesses and just keep going. That is the only thing I know how to do.
I'm not sure what to make of this new info but it'll keep for another day when I'm feeling stronger and a little bit less alone or maybe when I've got my red boots and bullet proof bracelets back on. Nothing can harm me then.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
I think I've got to do some reprogramming when it comes to the menfolk.
Upon reflection and regular conversations with my roommates on the subject, I've only found myself instantly attracted to a handful of men, like 5. Like, couldn't speak kind of attracted. Five. Over the course of my entire life.
I've become attracted to the guys I've dated over the years but very few of them have just punched me in the face with their pheromones and swagger.
I have a few explanations for this:
1) I really don't consider guys that aren't LDS. I've been taught to scan the room for possibilities and only Temple-bound fellas would qualify.
2) Most LDS men are not what I would consider attractive. They are many other wonderful things; kind, smart, funny, attentive, personable, convicted - but, sadly, at least in my immediate demographic are all a bit on the goofy side of cute.
3) I grew up in a very LAish part of LA. There are A LOT of good looking people here. It's a modeling/acting/singing hot spot. That demographic ran off into a lot of the coffee shops, comedy clubs, music halls, pool games and boutique shops in which I spent most of my high school weekends.
4) Growing up with and in my family.
I like to talk about my family a lot. They're fairly amazing to me. It's a constant source of wonder to me that I might be a part of the group that most of them occupy.
They are all excellent, bright, kind, hilarious, and extremely good looking people. They regularly blow me away with their levels of insight and their ability to stop foot traffic with an eyelash flick. This is male and female inclusive.
I say this as someone who has truly struggled to feel part of this group my whole life and thereby absent of any self aggrandizement. It's just fact. If you don't believe me, I'll make introductions and you can see for yourself.
Growing up thus, I think has spoiled me in a lot of ways. I'm used to lively and intelligent conversation on a regular basis with people who are fundamentally kind and the best looking person in the room. This is my norm. Sounds amazing but outside the walls of any given family reunion it's grounds for heaping portions of letdown. Especially in the dating world.
I dove in to the dating world at 18 and found some lovely prospects. One of the previously mentioned Big 5 was a Harvey Mudd student we'll call Adam. He was a 6' 4" black belt, rock climbing paragon from Las Vegas that blew me away, dated me for a while, but ended up having never broken up with his girlfriend who was attending BYU at the time (there are SO many reasons why I don't care for that place) and he bitterly broke my heart with his cheating self. But I was 18. That's what happens when you're 18 and you think nothing can hurt you.
The next one of the 5 was an Adonis from Morocco that I knocked across when I was serving my mission in Washington DC when I was 21. I had heard Elders tell stories of knocking across beautiful women and having to pick their jaws up off the floor but these were silly sexually repressed LDS boys. I had fairly low expectations of them. Until I met Sahim. I still remember every awkward foot shuffle and crack of paint on that doorway. We were knocking a few apartment buildings in the interior of Alexandria and a lot of the Latino community I was called to teach lived in tandem with the immigrant Muslim community. So, in turn, I spent a lot of time with them and REALLY learned to love and respect them along with my darling Latinos. That day, from the smell of curry in the hallways and not of maize, we gathered we wouldn't find many Latinos but we knocked up the apartment building anyway. Then, this one door was opened by another 6' 4" (that's a favorite height of mine) caramel skinned, emerald eyed, 25 year old Apollo in training with a jaw bone you could use for a straight edge and cheekbones that could cut paper. He. Was. Amazing. He smelled like fabric softener and baby lotion. He was beautiful but what was the most impressive was how soft his eyes were and how sincere his smile was. He reeked of sincerity and genuine kindness and I was a puddle with a name tag and clunky shoes.
I had only been in the field a few weeks but my eyes popped and I think I said "Hi. We're missionaries from the Church of Cheese and Rice and Rattle May Snakes" and then just dropped off. My companion was unaffected for some reason and very entertained by this awkward and potentially humiliating situation for me (She didn't like me too much.). Under normal circumstances a companion would scrape her companion off the floor and diplomatically take over the conversation until her companion could compose herself, but my companion just kind of let me writhe. He introduced himself as Muslim and likewise was kind, hospitable, and very grateful for our visit, like 99.99% of the Muslim community always was. He invited us in even though his father wasn't at home. He got us something cool to drink. I think that I can definitively say that the people who let us in and gave us something warm on cold days and cool on hot days were almost always Muslim. Did I mention I really loved those people? Because I do.
We chatted for a modest amount of time and I attempted to be cogent and on topic but am still not aware how successful I was. Then his dad came home. At that point I wasn't sure there was a more beautiful man on the planet but his dad looked like Sean Connery's better-looking younger brother. I wouldn't have thought that it was possible but you didn't get to meet this family. I do not know what they put in the water in Morocco but it WORKS. My companion started getting a little rosy-cheeked around his dad, which I found quite weird, so at that point we went home. But My. Word. Yay Morocco.
I didn't meet another one of the 5 until I had been home for a few years. I was 26 and a very good friend of mine had recently taken the post as head Pastry Chef at the Westwood "W" hotel. She met a good amount of the aforementioned Beautiful LA People there because they were holding down jobs as valets and servers etc in the hotel while they were working on their acting/modeling/music career. One of these blokes was a guy named Joe. Joe has a band called Lady Sinatra. He's that lead singer-type guy. He kind of looks like a rogue vampire from "Angel" but he's really this incredibly tender vegan that rescues kittens and has an Eagle Scout. Because Joe is about 6' 8" he also moonlights as a bouncer for the Viper Room, this slightly well known music club on the Sunset Strip. So, naturally Joe's band plays the Viper Room a lot. My friend and I ended up on the list for a lot of these shows pretty frequently and one time one of Joe and my friend's mutual friends decided to drop by the gig.
We'll call him Byron.
And he was perfect. It is very difficult for me to be interested in a guy without having a conversation first but Byron did not need any prerequisites. I noticed him when he first came in because one he was very tall. Most male LAites are in 6' to 6' 3" region. I'm pretty sure Byron stood somewhere in the 6' 6" realm, so naturally he stood out. He stood out in every way. The Viper Room is one of these places to be seen so the crowd can be a bit presumptuous and overdressed. Guys are typically in their starched collared finest Guess and Armani dress shirts and stupidly expensive 7 jeans, tanned and gelled up within an inch of respectability and a little bit over sometimes.
Byron kind of swayed in with a white tank top on, regular dark jeans, a black skull cap and a modest sliver belt buckle. He didn't look a thing like anyone else there but was the best dressed one. He was observant and contained and confident, like Rat Pack kind of presence. I couldn't stop looking at him. I'd rarely reacted like that to anyone in my life so my conscious kind of split for a second as I continued to be unable to look at anything else in the club except him and marveled at the first-time nature of this experience and the attraction without any familiarity. It was new and pretty delicious. And all this without an introduction or even knowing that he was part of the Lady Sinatra crowd.
When introductions were finally made and I'd established that he wasn't a figment of my very single imagination I became further dithered out when, in an effort to make conversation and simply be near him, I asked him about this odd tattoo he had on the inside of his arm. I don't like tattoos very much, if at all. Sometimes they're not horrible but if anything, they're conversation starters. Unlike most Angelinos built like him, he didn't have some obtuse and out of place trite tribal tattoo. Instead he had a written paragraph. He got a little embarassed and asked if I knew of a book called "The Stranger" "You mean the 1942 definitive Existential treatise on Human Nature by Albert Camus?" I said "Never heard of it". We laughed and I felt Kathrine Hepburn-awesome for a minute or two before he disclosed that it had changed his life and had tattooed one of his favorite quotes on his arm when he graduated from high school.
The kitchen time went off. I was officially done.
Music fan? Check.
We never really talked after that 3 min of seemingly obligatory conversation. I think I saw him at one more show but then my friend and I stopped going for one scheduling snafu or another.
We never connected on MySpace. (That was back when it wasn't the WhoreTown/Pediphileville it is now) He didn't pursue a phone number or anything. I'm pretty sure there is a line of models lined up outside his apartment door. I don't think he'd remember me but I definitely remember him and getting knocked off of my 4" heals.
So this Thursday my friend and I are heading to a Lady Sinatra gig for the first time in forever. It's at the same old venue they always were. It's Joe's birthday and I think, if he hasn't received his angels wings and flitted off or been hijacked by human traffickers there is a good chance he might be there. :)
That would be a lovely birthday present indeed and yeah, I'm a bit excited.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
After conversing with some besties on the subject, I think that it's time to give my poor dusty blog some love. I miss writing and, as narcissistic as a blog is in reality and theory, I do have a lot to say. Also, it's free and I find myself rather witty so I should make time.
I've had a number of ideas for posts:
Why I'm finally convinced that Disneyland is loosing it's soul
A nostalgic ode to the Huntington Library and why it defines awesome
My live music addiction
The new addition at work and my new glorious spot under the skylight and reason #4589 why my bosses rock
My new definition of "friends"
My opinion on LDS men and their frustrating discontents
My new-found terror at turning 32
My new abode
The utterly inadequate lighting in my new abode
My amazing new roommates in my new abode
Why life with a dog is different, better, and necessary
My new Life Hacks
My first Las Vegas wedding and my first night in the Paris Casino
My current obsession with Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Why Christopher Noland or Danny Boyle should direct every movie ever
... and a whole lot more.
But for now I think I'll just check in since it's been half of forever.
Firstly, to get that white-hot burning question of yours out of the way - no I am not dating anyone. No one is calling, no one has Facebooked, no one is texting, no one is asking about me and I don't have anyone in mind. I'm an involuntary Mormon Nun in training and there isn't much I can do about it. It makes me sad and I kind of hate talking about it.
Yes, both my visiting teachers are happily coupled girls, one of whom is engaged just in case I needed more reminders of my solo state I'm resigned to being pathetic in the matters of the heart and have healthfully turned my devotions to celebrities, personal hygiene, stray animals, dust bunny mitigation, CostCo deals, and Masterpiece Theater. You know, like every other forgotten 30+ single lady of substance.
I had a Wily E. Coyote moment today when I was cleaning up the dishes from dinner, being home alone. Both of my rommies are currently out of state on their respective summery galavants and I have been sans domestic company. About 3 nights ago when I was warming up some healthful taquitos I heard some shirty meeeowing at my screen door and I almost jumped out of my skin because there, on my porch, in the dusky sunlight was a yellow eyed, grey Persian mixed cat that looked EXACTLY like the cat I had growing up who had passed away a one-eyed, weathered, battle ax of a cat a few years ago. Yet here was her bright and brisky reincarnate at my door saying hello. Well, she was asking for food but I took it as a “hello”. I promptly gave her some of my taquito and we sat on the porch together for a tic. I just finished a book about Egyptian gods and looked at her yellow eyes and decided that The Universe (read: God) recognized that I was sans domestic company (my roommate even took the dog on her galavants. I mean, I know he is hers and all but seriously, leaving me with only fish for company… There was much sadness in the land.) I decided the cat was trying to be my friend and protect me till my people got back home. Cats were pretty badass per the Egyptians and the Egyptians knew their stuff.
Fast forward to my Wile E Coyote moment today… I was doing dishes and had put out some food for Temporary Kitty Friend and I noticed some more furry type activity out of the corner of my eye. Apparently she has a litter of 4 adorable kittens that she had brought for dinner as well. It was sweet for a moment. They’re kittens after all and then *boing* It hit me… the kitties, the conspicuous lack of partner or company, the catching up on NPR while drying my dishes in an overly tiled kitchen – I’d become the Cat Lady. I immediately turned on some obnoxious Lady Gaga or something and raced to my friend’s house but… um… yeah.
Moral of the Story: Don’t be too nice to memories from your Childhood. They could only be there to strap you to the wall of your Worst Fears. Fight the Power and fix your pets.
In other news: Work is going well. We've had a bit of a drop off in traffic on the website but we've learned that it's an industry trend and not just us thankfully. We're still holding strong in the black and the new website www.DesignShuffle.com is taking off well. A bit slower than we hoped but strong things are built bit by bit right?
I recently went shopping with my boss and a few coworkers at the LA Mart and California Gift Show for new vendors for our home goods website www.ArcadianHome.com. We have a bunch of home goods vendors right now but we were shopping for some more textiles and larger dollar items that could bring in more revenue for the same amount of footwork. Throughout the twelve stories of the LA Mart and 3.5 acres of vendors at the LA Convention Center I caught myself drooling over more than one rug or two but saw more pieces of pottery, glass, pot holders, stationary, stuffed whattuzits, curly potpourried whirlydoos and stamped and scrap booked cutsieflangles to do me for a lifetime. I’m convinced now, more than ever, that Americans have entirely too many THINGS, love THINGS, need THINGS, and pay a lot for THINGS and as such the market for THINGS is huge and silly. But it’s what gives me a paycheck every two weeks so I can buy my own set of things that I somehow don’t think apply to the rest of the things that are contemptible. Life is fair like that.
My hair is till red. I still love it. I finally found a girl I trust to do my red that isn’t my cousin that lives a rather inconvenient 800 miles away. She is the best I’ve ever come across but my new girl is also quite good, local, part of a family I adore, and moderately priced. Again, The Universe cares about the details of my life and knows I feel much better about it in red hair so he gave me someone who can do red. Because, frankly, red is not easy. And neither am I so we’re a perfect match.
There is a lot more going on but I’m sleepy I need to save some of my modestly entertaining life to blog about later.
But for the time being, think on this…
Who was the first Cat Lady? How did the idea first get it’s stigma? I’m at a loss.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
So I've decided that a Good Life is really just a cumulation of good habits.
After listening to my initial reaction I hear my AP Physics teacher, Mr. Davis, say in is most somber voice "Nature hates a vacuum. Whatever is closest get's the job".
Thursday, May 13, 2010
and I've started making changes where I could. Principally in new bedding.
My decorating philosophy is find some art you love and make everything work around that. You've all seen the Flora half of Mucha's La Primavera that I love. Here is my framed print
And I've put together this for my sleeping abode
I looked and looked for a duvet cover that would work with Flora and I finally found this one at TARGET! Here's a close up
I could not for the life of me find a bedding set that didn't nauseate me or make me shake my head for the lost aesthetics that is the American Market Place so I knew I was going to have to piece things together on my own and hope the colors worked. I found the sheets and small red pillow cases at Bed Bath & Beyond on a clearance (670 thread count too!) and the Euro shams were another Target find. I had to get them there because they matched the underside of the duvet. :)
I'm pretty happy. I realize I'm turning into my mother, aesthetic-wise. But I think there are worse things. She's pretty classy.
This is only the 5th set of bedding I've ever had. isn't that ridiculous? I remember getting a rainbow comforter when i was about 6. Then when i was 10ish I got a similar one but instead of rainbows it was white with a multi-colored heart pattern grid on it. Then, when I was 16 or so, to thank me for helping her on one of her books, my mother's friend Lael Littke took me shopping for my next set of bedding. I used that till I inherited a California king bed from a wealthy aunt and uncle that were moving and I needed new bedding for that and found this lovely purple and sage green bed set at TJ Maxx by luck and spite. I just finished packing up the last of that set and am ready to move on to my first bed as a real adult. A Lady that is having to carve her way out of the doldrums and through the rest of the world one day at a time.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I've been absent of late. I realize it and I'm not apologizing. The truth of it all is, I haven't been doing well. I've had a cold and a sinus infection and all that but that's not what I mean.
I've been fighting the reds and the blues and the doldrums and the shakes and everything else more than the norm. I don't know if it's that in my weight loss and 2010 goal to Simplify and SLOW DOWN that I've just been getting more honest and I'm seeing myself and the world around me more clearly and it's pretty rough.
I'll be even more honest, I'm weary to talk about it here or anywhere frankly because, well, my blog readers are people I see and talk to rather frequently. I don't have the comfort of knowing my thoughts only exist for nameless people to whom I'm only marginally accountable. And frankly, those that I consider close don't really have an ear for me when I'm not doing well. They either don't know what to do with me or only know a fairly congenial Lizzie and are angsty at a change of scene more than the fact that I'm in pain or they think it's another hyperbolic rant and poo-poo whatever I've had to say in some polite-make-a-joke-quote-something-to-forget-it way.
There are a choice shimming few (you know who you are) who I can openly weep in front of and say that sometimes I'm so lonely it presses on me like a humid night or that I'm terrified I'm stuck where I am for the rest of my life and feel pretty powerless to change either. I can talk about that in front of you.
So for the most part I could just post quirky videos on here or jokes of pictures of my adorable nephew that makes me happy but also reminds me of how much I don't have and most likely, at this point, won't and now I have to hide those tears too.
But they run close to the surface, poking through at inopportune moments. Crying at kung fu cartoons about flying air bison or recounting a film about gorgeous clothes, poetry and love to someone just isn't normal.
Life has still gone on for me though.
I've paid off my car.
I've found some adorable dresses for my Year of Feminine Divine as seen:
I've turned a corner and have actually fallen in love with a few designer purses; namely Gucci.
You know - having good taste can be very inconvenient. Especially when, for some reason, all of the purses you've every really loved or bought have all come together and coagulated into the glory that is Gucci's Classic Joy Handbag.
I know I'll never spend that kind of money on a purse but I'm really comforted to know that it's out there and that there is a bit of a reason for the Designer Handbags maelstrom of silliness.
I will be moving out at the beginning of June to live with a few friends for a few months. Both of them will be heading out to the wind come December but we'll be able to share this cute yellow house on a hill in Pomona for a season or two. I'm excited and have had fun preparing to have my own space again. I'm leaving a lot of things here so I've picked out a few new furniture pieces and some new bedding. It's been super fun. Jaqueloeen has made a few appearances. I've finally found the vanity of my dreams in my price range
and I've found a duvet comforter that makes me happy every time I look at it, which is it's job, and goes perfectly with my favorite Mucha I plan on putting up.
I'll take pics once I've got the whole thing laid out etc. I've even inherited some paint from all the construction at work to beautify things if we're allowed to paint.
I decided not to go to Coachella this year. My singular Coachella compadre (the rest of my friends list have utterly let me down in this regard) got called away on a business trip to Australia and the idea of camping and attending on my own sat well for a few weeks but got scarier as the time approached. I've admitted that my life is going to be one land mine after another so I Craigslisted my ticket and am trying to walk away graciously. I don't think I'll do a very good job of it. In fact, there is a good chance I'll be crying all weekend.
I've recently become obsessed with purse accessories too. Strange, I know but useful too. I've carried handkerchiefs around since I was 18 and have had an engraved cigarette case be my first aid kit since then too but I wanted a real mirrored compact and lipstick case and pill box and perfume atomizer and all that stuff you'd find in a Lady's purse from the 20's -50's. I've come across a LARGE number of accommodating sites with many engravable and adorable possibilities.
So far I've only scored this lovely black with clear crystal flower compact mirror, lipstick case, key chain set. Nothing too extravagant or silly. Not yet at least.
My hair is cute. My friend Mari and cousin Amber did me up well. Put in an adorable angled bob and colored me red again. It's a source of smiles for me.
But for the most part - that's it. I remain a pretty lonely, mediocre, non-grad schooled and undistinguished Lizzie that can't even bring herself to watch Lost or finish a book.
All the best for you,
Saturday, February 20, 2010
So upon reflection of a recent obtusely late night conversation with a friend I've gone back to my mental meanderings about the nature of Masculinity and Femininity in our 3 Wave Feminist world.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
So by the glory that is "Recommended Sources" from the "Explore" tab in my Google Reader I stumbled upon this brilliant blog - AKA The Oatmeal.
Along with forming a instant, firm, and well substantiated crush on such this blogger and his literate snarkdom, I pretty much laughed for an hour straight. This little quip is the tip of the iceberg.
I hope he doesn't mind my posting* this comic or linking to him but this was too good not to share.
*All of this hilarity was totally and completely brought to pass by Mr. The Oatmeal it all belongs to him *leagalmumbojumobbuttcoveringsemantics* and I'm not gaining any thing by posting except for maybe some cool points and from the look of the blog I'm fairly sure he can afford to spread those around and only 7 people read this anyway. Ka-POW
Saturday, January 16, 2010
These are what gave me some of the best laughs this (and previous weeks)
This picture -
This video clip
This ad on Craigslist
This Orbitz Commercial
and this Kristin Chenoweth promo for the Critic's Choice Awards that shes hosting this year
Friday, January 1, 2010
So I'll admit it. I'm a learned English major type but do you know how many books I read on my "reading level" this year?
The big bagel - 0
I have found that when under duress reading is an escape to me. 2009, for the most part, = duress. Hence I have not been too interested in most grown up books.
I've got my daily blogs I read and stuff. I keep up with my Economist etc so I'm still reading grown up stuff per say - I'm staying informed. But in terms of the time I've taken to cuddle up with some glue, binding and black print I've been picky and I'll be honest... most of my reading has involved multicolored covered books that are found in the Adolescent Reading section of my B&N. They're simply the best kind of books. They're fantastic story telling, amazing characters, and pertinent plots but without all the angst and bawdiness that is so prevalent in most (grown up) fiction.
So I'm not sure how valuable a 2009 favorites list of mine would be to my faithful 7 readers but I think the books merit recognition anyway.
They're both series and they're both wonderful.
One is The Old Kingdom Books (ie Abhorsen Chronicles) by Garth Nix.
I've mentioned these previously on here when I was in the midst of them. They're just beautiful. Until my friend E recommended them to me, it had been a long time since I had come across a book that was original and written so gently and so brilliantly. Its a fantasy-genre book about a few magical girls named Sabriel and another named Lirael. Sabriel has grown up "across the wall" in a non-magical world but is a part of an intricate and beautiful magical civilization on the other side of the wall and its a story of their brilliant journeys. Its everything I love in books; strong but feminine female characters, humble Christian undertones, a good dose of fantasy and the impossible, music, a clear Good vs Evil story, and a beautiful love story.
The other series are The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Books by Rick Riordan.
I'm not sure if there is something else that has given me more giggles and absolute pleasure than these books this year, with the exception of my friends. Rick is another amazing writer that I kicked myself repeatedly for not discovering earlier. I love Greek Mythology and I love smart, character driven writing and I have a huge soft spot for scruffy, frustrated, brilliant kid types. I worked in a day care center my freshman year of college and I was routinely given the 4 year old A.D.D. kids (mostly boys) that always had dirt on their faces and ripped clothes and were constantly bored, and therefor rambunctious because they were so smart. Pipe-cleaners and circles didn't interest them, taking things apart to see how they worked and bugs did. They were my specialty. I somehow got them to focus and cooperate, or wash their faces and not destroy things for a prolonged period of time. I think its because I just loved them and in turn I LOVE Percy. He is one of those kids, my kids, and now I know why my kids were so squirrely and obstinate. I won't ruin the charm of these books by summarizing but I will say this; the Greek gods are still alive, they're still in charge, they're still moody, they're still having kids, they live in New York (Olympus is on the 800th floor of the Empire State Building), they're still fighting with each other and mortals are still in the middle of it all. There's a movie coming out soon but there's nothing better than those books. My children will have them and love them and be the heroes of their own lives.
So yeah - that's about it for my literary pursuits this year. I'll try harder next year. I promise.
Its official. My family is completely made up of movie people. We like stories and we like art and we like music and movies are the perfect cross section of all of those.
I may or may not have a list in my blackberry of release dates of movies that I want to see, another list of movies that I have seen that year, and another list of movies recommended by other people that I should queue up on Netflix.
There also may or may not be versions of those lists for books, CDs restaurants, beauty products and comedians.
I like lists Okay! Don't judge. I also don't trust my memory and don't like forgetting things. I write things down. Its what I do.
The Brothers Bloom - I love love love smart movies and smart storytelling. I love caper flicks and I've had a massive crush on Adrien Brody since I saw him eating chicken fingers at the Johnny Rockets on Melrose once. All of these lovely things make up this movie. I also love movies that make you feel something without assaulting you, again deilvered with class and wit. Real wit. That's a rarity you know. It was directed by Rian Johnson (a relative new comer) but hes brilliant. It takes amazing acting/direction/editing to make the best character in the movie a completely silent one but they did it. Viva la Bang-bang
Bright Star - I was excited for this one for a while. Keats is one of my favorite poets on the planet. My senior quote was a line of "Ode on a Grecian Urn". I'm a raging geek. I know. I was an angsty profound adolescent at the time. Now I'm a silly over educated eccentric and I like it that way. I love Empire fashion and poets and chaste love stories. It was a perfect storm. Go buy it an love it today.
(500) Days of Summer - There is not a more perfect relationship movie out there than this one. It deserves every ounce of praise it got. I love Zoe Dechanel too. Not just because I've been told we look alike (which I find amazingly complimentary) but because she has the gift of coming off as genuine like the movie. Its a sweet, honest film and it was shot here in my beloved Los Angeles. My fair city isn't romanticized very often in film but it really is an enchanting city. The music was flawless, the characters are amazing, there is dancing in the park and animated birds and real tears or horror and its just an amazing bite of life.
UP! - I saw this with my Ace Gang and as the bunch of hyper intelligent and verbal girls that we are we ADORED this movie, cried through the last 20 minutes, and then proceeded to have an intense 40 min discussion about the concept of true love and relationships in the movie theater directly after the credits and shared stories about our families and lives. All of which was conjured up this movie. Its a cartoon but its that good. I'm convinced they mixed love, hummingbirds, babies laughter, daisies, saltine crackers and red balloons together one day and out popped this script and cast. I've never wanted to hug a cartoon character more than Russel. Except for maybe Appa
Star Trek - So not only have I been a Trekkie since I was a zygote, I love JJ Abrams. I think hes one of the best storytellers to come along since Lucas and when I heard the two were joining forces (Star Trek and JJ Abrams) I almost lost my hat. I was excited but scared because I knew this was either going to be mind blowingly amazing or a train wreck. There was no mediocrity option when working with a concept on the scale of Star Trek. Like, Godzilla doesn't just trip and scrape his knees up. A city gets destroyed in the process. I'm happy to report there was no city crushing. Godzilla danced Swan Lake and then made dinner. It was that good. I adore confident movies and this one was just that. It wasn't a remake. It was its own entity and it was brilliant. I've been a Chris Pine fan since Princess Diaries 2 and he was just amazing as Kirk. Kevin Smith said it right that only he could have played Kirk without doing a Shatner impression.
Theater releases that I think you should stay away from:
Year One - total Jack Black letdown. It just goes to show if you have horrible writing no amount of direction or acting can make up for it. Or bathroom comedy and heracy in this case.
I Love You Beth Cooper - I'm really glad I didn't pay for this movie or I'd be writing the studio.
Wolverine - It should have said under the title "starring Hugh Jackman's jeans" because they were the most interesting part of the whole movie. Once again - webbernet - hear me! If the writing stinks no amount of special effects or muscly arms can make a movie gel. Put the money in the writing and you'll be good.
John Adams tops this list. I adore Laura Linney and John Adams is my favorite founding father. Mostly because he was always faithful to his wife. Abagail Adams is one of my heroes. As in capital "H" heroes. As in I want to name my future daughter "Abagail". I highly recommend the series and the book David McCullough wrote that inspired it.
I finally saw Wall-E and loved it. Yay for environmental treatises and yay for the Hello Dolly soundtrack.
I apparently have a lot of movie catching up to do because I hadn't seen American Beauty till this year as well. Like I've said before and I LOVE confident movies and this one defines that genre. I was speechless for about 5 min after I finished it. It was one of those moments when you get the feeling that you're in the presence of greatness. It deserved every single Oscar it walked away with. I could write blogs and blogs about how great this movie was but I'll spare you.
I'm so glad that TV has finally gotten its act together and hired some real writers and decent actors. Also, I think that DVDs have made TVs shows a bit relative. Like - I've discovered TV shows and bought the DVDs after they were canceled but they're still "my shows" that I regularly watch (re: Firefly, Arrested Development, West Wing). So considering that, along with Hulu it's a rarity that I actually view something on the day and time it airs or is even still *on* the air. I'm just not all with the TV in real time. However, there area few shows that I've discovered/been turned on to this year that I wasn't aware of before. I felt like my had my TV viewing time full with my regular LOST and 30 Rock exploits but now, thanks to the good taste of my amazing friends I've been turned on to
Glee - as a former band and choir nerd I feel an alarming connection to this show. It makes me happy and I am SO glad that music and dancing and art and expression are starting to come back into the public eye as SOMETHING IMPORTANT that needs to be funded in our schools and is essential for healthy development as an individual. Go dust off your clarinets and dancing shoes people. It's time to be ourselves again.
How I Met Your Mother - NPH is back in the saddle and that makes me happy.
Bones - I just kind of want to be her.
I don't have enough time to be this entertained but they're such good shows!
Alas - I must peel my face off of whatever relative screen it's been looking at for the last few hours and go smell a flower or something.
May 2010 be as full of wonder and bonding type media as 2009 was.
My musical 2009 reads thus:
Joe Pug - thank you NVIII
viva gmail statuses and their informative power
Phoenix - thank you Lauren W
You're my guru.
Elizabeth and the Catapult - thank you Greg for choosing them to tour with you
Regina Spektor - thank you Hannah
Best. Road. Trip. Sing-along. Buddy. EVER.
Missy Higgins - thank you Nickie
You are made up of good taste and tenacity.
The Rescues - thank you Hotel Cafe.
You never stop giving.
Christopher Lawrence - thank you Coachella
VIVA the Sahara tent!
Groove Armada - thank you (again) Coachella and Lauren W (again)
You are King and Queen of Concerts.
In Rainbows - Radiohead
I took a break from it for a while but when I went back to it this year it was exponentially more amazing. Radiohead is truly on my Top 5 Favorite Bands of All Time list.
Nation of Heat - Joe Pug
This music has made me a changed woman. I feel my consciousness elevate every time I listen.
On a Clear Night - Missy Higgins
Her voice and songwriting is just addictive. I love love love her.
Only by the Night - Kings of Leon
Just when you thought Nashville would stop surprising you...
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
Its about time someone wrote a song about Franz Liszt. Thank you Frenchies for hearing the call.
Tall Children - Elizabeth and the Catapult
I'm really glad I saw them live before I bought the album because though this album is very good they're amazing live and I got to relive that lovely set every time I listened.
COACHELLA - Indio Polo Fields, CA
I have a very long list of favorite things but a very short one of perfect things. I think perfection is possible but in moments and I've been able to be privy to a few.
Family hugs in the Celestial Room of the Temple
The rose garden at the Huntington Library in Spring
George Washington Parkway in Fall
Disneyland at Christmas
and the 3 spring days of the Coachella Music Festival
This was my first year going and it gave new definitions to "amazing" and "awesome". It truly was, as in inducing the state of awe. I went a few concerts this year but nothing, I think, will ever compare with those 3 days. Nothing. Except for Coachella 2010. Hopefully.
Phoenix - Greek Theater, CA
Ever have a platinum kind of friend having a birthday and despite your unemployed and impoverished state insists that you come and are therefore dragged to an outdoor amphitheater during a California September at night with about 15,000 hipsters and a crazy fun, smart and happy French band and end up forgetting your rather heavy mind for a tic and end up dancing your butt off after a euphoric tapas dinner? I do/have.
Greg Laswell - Murray Theater, UT
Ever been in a really strange place, staying on a loved one's air mattress during a really stressful time without your wallet and you just needed a little bit of home and to not feel like a bump on the stump of humanity, just for an hour even, so you see, via twitter (it does have its uses people), that (one of) your favorite musicians is playing a local theater that night so you call one of the best concert buddies ever that's local and it turns out to be a set of your fav artist (even though you've been to about a squillion of them) that is EXACTLY what you needed and openly wept at more than one song and still have parts of it videoed on your camera and still cry every time you watch it? I have/did/do.
Gas Light Anthem - The Music Box, CA
Ever randomly win tickets from a radio station via text messaging to a concert of a band that you're still pretty new to but know people that really like them and you like those people so it must be worthwhile and you take your friend who managed to make it into her late 20s without ever going to any kind of concert ever and that just wouldn't do? I have.
India Calling! - Hollywood Bowl, CA
Every get a random phone call from a musician friend that had tickets for a World Festival concert a the Hollywood Bowl and she "couldn't think of anyone else that could appreciate World Music like you" and you've often said that you would go see The Wiggles if they were playing the Hollywood Bowl because you love that venue so much (and you're kind of afraid someone might call you out on that someday) so you pack a picnic dinner, hike up to your seats essentially having NO idea what to expect but are ready for an adventure and the Bowl keeps filling up with EVERY kind of fun person imaginable and you end up having a multicultural music and dance-in-the-isle good time with the slew of anglo 14 year old girls in front of you and the insanely large Indian family that managed to sit in the rest of the area around you and you realize that this is the best party you've been to in a while and music really can bring anyone and everyone together without pretense and you're already in love with Indian food and literature and fabrics and art and now their music and people just found a permanent place in your heart? It is seriously good times. And they give you grab bags and incense when you leave. :)
Joe Pug - The Mint, CA
Ever rapidly and utterly fallen in love with an artist and hes still pretty unknown and isn't from your area so the only thing you pray for to the music gods is for him to play a set in your area soon and you get wind that he is but only remember about an hour before the show that it was that night. So sans wingwoman you jam out to a tiny venue that doesn't use tickets or a list even to see this mesmerizing man that can still a room with a glance and one harmonica cord but are a bit self-conscious about being there by yourself so you randomly start talking to a table of people and end up sitting with them for half the show and the other half you take your black notebook and pretend to take notes like you're a writer for Spin or something but truly believe you are witnessing greatness happening in front of you? Yeah - that would be me.
Wow - looking back this was a really great year for concerts. I'm amping up for another one and soon. Joe is going to be back at The Echo in LA in Feb. and I might or might not already have tickets.
There were a few shows that I had to pass on because, well - tickets are expensive and I wasn't working for 7 months out of the year...
Jason Mraz and a slew of others. I really wonder if I can make a living out of just going to concerts... I do it so well.
If you were wondering, and only IF, here is my complete concert breakdown from 2009
The Crystal Method
TV on the Radio
Band of Horses
The Chemical Brothers
The Gaslight Anthem
Anthony and the Johnstons
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
* The Rescues - The Hotel Cafe
* Laura Jansen - The Hotel Cafe
* Greg Laswell, Elizabeth and the Catapult, Jordan Booth - Murray Theater
* Refueled (Fuel) - Mesa Crossing
* Phoenix - The Greek
* Gaslight Anthem & Murder by Death - The Music Box
* Friendly Fires, XX & Holly Miranda - The Music Box
* Snow Patrol & The Plain White T's - SDSU
* Justin Nozuka, Elizabeth and the Catapult, and Sam Bradly - The Glass House
* Every touring Indian musician ever @ INDIA CALLING! - The Hollywood Bowl
* Joe Pug - The Mint