Pop Culture, How I Love Thee

I’ve been sick the past several days.  I think I came down with a weird stomach bug that totally kicked my arse and I’m still recovering.  While I’m no longer “sick,” I’m still having issues eating and you know, having energy to move around.

I really hate being sick.  The only upside is that I get to catch up with many hours of Netflix, but to be honest, I could just take time off and do the same thing.  It’s just harder to convince Zach to lay around with me and be lazy.  The downside is massive – my dogs don’t get walked, so they are horrible monsters, and the house becomes something that resembles a post-apocalyptic state, with considerably more dog hair.  Being sick is also highly inconvenient right now, since, you know, we have a massive home improvement project going on at the moment.

Last night was pretty good though, and I actually had enough energy to interact with the world.  So naturally, we watched The Voice.  I would say it’s my guilty pleasure, but I don’t feel that guilty about it.  What I DO feel guilty about though, is probably how many times I’ve cried during the show.  It’s weird, I cry easily, but only at some things.  But crying at Joshua Davis’s soothing voice is NOTHING to be ashamed of!  I think The Voice is to me, what The Bachelor is to a lot of people.  I don’t understand/like dating, so I don’t get that show.  But watching The Voice is like going to an awesome karaoke show with celebrities and not as much booze, so the talent is much better.  I’m kidding, a little.  I genuinely think most of the talent on the show are actually talented, and I love listening to people sing, so it’s the best thing ever for me.

However, Zach makes fun of me at least once during the show (aside from crying) because I tend to never know the songs they are singing, if it’s from an artist in the last 10 years.  He calls me an old lady.  And yes, while it’s true that I don’t listen to the radio and therefore have “lost touch,” I’m still pretty in tune with things if it’s on the internet/has a viral video.  Seriously, the ONLY reason I even know who Sia is, is because of that Jim Carrey skit on SNL and I looked it up because I had no idea what was going on.  Actually, if it wasn’t for SNL, I’d probably be totes out of touch.  FYI, I did enjoy “Chandelier” and watched it several times.

In all honesty, I actually love pop culture.  I feel like I’m equally aware of world news in the same way that I am with pop culture.  I’m getting a little behind on texting shorthand, but that was never my forte anyway.

And while I actually have no opinion whatsoever on any of the Kardashians, I really get a kick out of how people view them.  It’s weird, I KNOW there are people out there that like them, but I haven’t met any of them (at least, anyone that’ll admit to it).  And yesterday, I was on my phone and Zach asked me what I was doing, and I replied, “Oh, I’m following Miley Cyrus on Instagram because she has really fucked up photoshop pictures with pot everywhere.”  (I also follow a weiner dog collage artist, so, these are my “interests”).

I’m not just into current pop culture though.  I really like the whole timeline of pop culture.  I find it interesting.  And what’s even more interesting, I think it’s hilarious when people say, “oh things were SO much better back in my day!”  No they weren’t.  I don’t even need to know what decade you’re talking about.  Every decade was steeped in crappy music, crappy movies, and crappy people.  We just have happy memories of the few good things from those times.  And this is coming from someone that buys new (and old) albums on vinyl and wishes people shot movies on film instead of digital.  And let’s be honest, there are fun things in the pop culture of every decade.  That’s why they made it into pop culture.  They were interesting.

Anyway, I’m going to continue my recovery process.  There’s a garden riding on me getting well.  I really want to do a film review this Friday, I have a movie in mind, so hopefully I can make that happen.

Until next time.

Mourning an Icon (Goodbye, Spock)

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I remember the exact moment I decided to watch Star Trek.  It actually wasn’t that long ago.  I asked Zach, “Do you think I’ll like Star Trek?  Should I watch it?”

“Sure,”  he replies.  “The Next Generation is really good.”

“No, I mean the original.  I have to start from the beginning!”

Because I’m really obsessive like that.  Sure, I would have been perfectly fine if I had started with TNG (it’s literally the most amazing thing ever).  But I needed to start from the original.

Oh was the pilot horrendous!  It was long and boring, but I knew it wasn’t the cast we all know and love, so I pushed through it.

Except Spock.  I loved Spock, even in that awful pilot.  It only got better and better and I was a Spock addict.  There was a humanity about him that no other character on the show had.  Even though he was the one “without emotion” he had the most depth, and the one who could empathize the best.  After all, he was someone who could mind meld with others, something so ridiculously intimate that the idea of emotional expression was put into question.

I have my criticisms of the films, but Spock stayed true to character.  It’s not surprising, because Nimoy himself took the character seriously, and developed a connection and understanding of Spock that went above and beyond what is required of an actor.

And then the new films!  The only reason I watched the new films was because of his cameos.  I figured, if it’s good enough for Spock, it’s good enough for me.

I know I’m talking a lot about Spock, but that’s the character I know him best as, and love the most.  Nimoy was passionate and kind.  When he talked art, he talked substance.  Spock wasn’t a curse to him, it was something he embraced and made his own.  The character of Spock will never belong to the franchise, it’ll always be his.  There aren’t a lot of fictional characters that are so deeply connected to a real person.

When I was trying to think about others that reminded me of such a character, I immediately thought of Bob Ross, Jim Henson, and Julia Child.  All of these people made a difference, and all of these people are ingrained in our brains and culture, for all the good reasons.  They are timeless.  I’m glad too, because sometimes I lose so much faith in what we have on this Earth, and then The Joy of Painting comes on, or I see a great Spock quote, and it gives me a lot of hope.  Happy trees, muppets, good food, and going boldly are my religion.

Even though Leonard Nimoy is no longer with us, he’ll live long and prosper in our lives and memories.

Until next time, LLAP.

Party Planning and Getting Stir Crazy

I’ve been doing this weird thing lately.  It’s still the beginning of February, and I’m planning our 4th of July party.  I know, I’m totally insane, but I really, REALLY need the warm weather to stay and continue.  I know that Massachusetts is getting pummeled with snow, and I know we have snow in our forecast – but it’s just been SO NICE in Colorado lately.  Sunny.  Like it’s supposed to be.  And warm (most of the time) like it’s supposed to be!  We went through months of dreary, overcast weather and I can’t go back.  I won’t go back!

I’m clearly really dependant on the weather.

Because of the sun and warmth, I’ve been more productive lately than I’ve been in months and my mood is better.  So naturally I’m trying to keep it going by planning our 4th of July party.

I only do one or two parties a year, because I really go all out.  I don’t like people to be bored.  I don’t want people to feel left out.  It’s an experience.  I spend a lot of time and money on parties.  I’m not sure why, but it’s just something that I really love doing, and doing one in the summer is the best.  Our back yard will be [mostly] done by May, so we want to get the most out of it.  We’ve already earmarked lawn games to purchase, and right now we’re debating what kind of hammock to get, or whether or not we should wait until the back patio is done.  We even have a babysitter for one of our dogs that doesn’t like parties.  Yeah, we’ve got all the problems, as you can see.

To be fair (to me), planning a party several months in advance isn’t the worst thing.  Usually, I never give myself enough time.  That’s why our Halloween party never happened last year.  I go big or go home, and I had to go home for Halloween.

I definitely need to spend more time outdoors.

Until next time.

New Years Plans and a Stick of Truth

So, for Christmas, I got the South Park: Stick of Truth game and I must say, I’m in love with it.  I haven’t played all the way through yet because I haven’t had too many opportunities to play, but I’m making good progress.  Despite the fact that the South Park world is poorly drawn, I’m totally blown away at the detail of this game.  Trey Parker and Matt Stone really don’t half-ass anything (except drawing people).  They put so much into whatever they do, and it comes across.  I don’t care how much they like to pretend they are lazy and don’t do work; LIES.  It doesn’t feel like other games.  It truly feels like I’m playing a character in the show.  It feels like I’m in the show.  And, as a fan of the show, I geek out at all the throwbacks, references, and shock moments (which overfloweth).  It’s my new favorite game, and the only thing that makes me sad about it, is that it’s just another game getting in the way of me finishing others.  So many nerd problems.

Today, I’m trying to throw my plans for New Years together, and yes, that includes all my resolutions, and an actual, physical outline of my plans for my goals.  I’ll post my resolutions here, for fun, and also to be held accountable/so I have something to reference in a year to make sure I completed everything.  I won’t post the outline, because that’ll ruin surprises and that’s no fun.  I will say, I’ll continue this blog, but I’m going to change up the look of it, and maybe mess around with the format a bit.  I hope to have more creative writing posts as well.  I’ll probably keep the frequency of posting the same, which, to remind you, can be anywhere from 0-5 posts a week (I zinged myself).

I’m also going to launch a new website at some point in 2015, but it won’t be related to this blog.  I’ll link to it when it’s up and running, and post about any relevant updates, but otherwise it’ll be in its own little world.  The short novel will still be published in February, and it’ll be free to download.  I’ll post about that too.

I’m also in the really early stages of another creative project, but I’m meeting with my creative partner this weekend to see exactly how viable it’ll be to launch it this year.  I have high hopes, but I also have a lot on my plate.  Since it’s a purely for-fun project, it’s hard to justify putting a ton of work into it when other projects need attention.  That being said, I’m rather excited about it, and really just want to do it so it can be shared.

So tomorrow, to end the year, I’ll post my last creative writing piece of the year.  Then on to new things!  Good luck to everyone, and enjoy this Zooey Deschanel thing I found on my Tumblr.  And doesn’t Joe have a delightful voice?

Until next time.

Goodbye is Not Forever & My Thoughts On Celebrity Culture

OK, I know it’s Tuesday and I usually have a creative writing piece to share – but, this is going to be my last post for a couple weeks while I hole myself up to finish my book.  I seriously will be doing that and doing a quick workout every day so my muscles don’t die.

So, sorry for the long title, I couldn’t come up with anything more creative or shorter, unfortunately.  But, yay!  I’m going to finish my book!  Just a little later than planned, but pretty close to my original goal.  Before I step out for a couple weeks, I’d like to leave you with some final thoughts.  Because I know you wanted to know them.

Now, for my thoughts on celebrity culture.

Celebrity culture is an interesting thing to me.  You have people that are (usually) rich and powerful, perhaps even influential.  They have access to everything.  This in itself is enough to change the atmosphere of human interaction.  Despite what anyone says, wealth changes you.  Even if you came from the most humble of beginnings.  You feel entitled to things.  You worked for what you have.  You deserve this.

It changes who you are.

The difference between regular rich people and celebrities is little, but important.  Everyone wants to watch them.  They appear to become property of the public.  Why?

*shrug*

I was thinking about celebrity culture last night when we were watching The Grand Budapest Hotel.  It features an all-star cast.  Power house cast, really.  Then I realized I had all these thoughts and ideas of the actors flowing over me before the title credits even finished.  I was excited to see Adrien Brody.  Because I love him.  Then I thought about all of his bad film choices and wondered if it was because he wants to be a rapper.  Harvey Keitel – glad he isn’t only doing Scorcese anymore and shooting things.  Willem Dafoe – god, why is he always so scary?  Ralph Fiennes – what else was he in?  Jason Schwartzman – porn stache.

The thoughts were endless.

But then, I had this moment of revelation.  The reason why these actors are famous, is because they got their big break doing what they love.

You hear me?  This means that what they loved doing was acting, not being a celebrity.

Let me repeat.  This also means that VIEWERS create celebrity culture, not the actors.  They are punished for doing what they love by being turned into celebrities.

So when a celebrity wants privacy and your argument is, “well, then they shouldn’t be famous!  What did they expect?!” then you are, in fact, an incredible asshole.  They actually have no control over whether or not they are famous.  Conservative estimate: 95% are famous because they are discovered being/looking/sounding/writing something awesome (my source: me).  Sure, there are the few that are famous to be famous.  But for the love of Christ, we can name them all, because they are so few.  They are not the rule.

I’m not trying to say all celebs are saints and deserve our undying love.  Quite the opposite.  They are just regular people, and we’re creating a monster culture.  That being said, they are human beings, and need to be treated as such.  This means they deserve rights and privacy because, you know, they actually are NOT your public property.  You don’t own anyone, and you definitely don’t have any say what they do in the privacy of their own homes.  Something tells me all of the people most likely to judge would be the MOST upset about having their lives laid bare to the public.

Despite all of my opinions though, I love Schwartzman’s porn stache.

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Please leave the stache alone.

Until next time.

 

 

Friday Film Review: Heathers

Photo source: The Atlantic
Photo source: The Atlantic

As always, no spoilers.

OK first off, if you haven’t seen this movie, just go ahead and add it to your weekend movie night plans.  This is a fun, hilarious, yet incredibly inappropriate film.

How lucky we are that Heathers was made in the 80s, because this film could never have been made today.  You know, because it has themes of school shootings, school bombings, and knocking off your popular classmates one by one.  It really hits close to home in this violent world of ours, especially in the tensions of gun control and what that means for our schools.

Actually, I first thought this film was a surrealist black comedy, because I did not know that JD had blanks in his gun during the cafeteria scene when he shoots the two jocks (beginning of film).  Like in the film If…, where school shootings and bombings are part of the surrealist counter culture (oooh, maybe I should add that one to the review list).  I wondered why everyone was super nonchalant about it.  He used a real gun, but no one was hurt.  Wow, times were different in the 80s!

So the technical stuff:
I mean, I personally think this film is a work of art.  Sure, the writing isn’t exactly great, but what it lacks in realistic dialogue, it more than makes up for in the most memorable catchphrases I’ve ever heard in my entire life.  And I love a good story about counter culture and rebellion and satire.  The acting is great (helloooo Christian Slater!) but Winona Ryder is the one that shines as a strong and sassy leading lady.  The use of ominous 80s music is great.  With the exception of clothing, there is little reference to pop culture, so the movie actually stands the test of time pretty well.

Deeper Reading:
I know a lot of people like to say this movie paved the way for movies like Clueless and Mean Girls, and that might be true, but I really think it should be more aligned with If….  You know what?  I’m not going to review If…, just watch that gorgeous piece of work and make your own conclusions!  Sure, Heathers is incredibly satirical about high school and the whole “click” or “group think” mentality, but it extends beyond high school.  It celebrates youthful thinking and rebellion while at the same time, pointing out how problematic it is.  It never talks down to the youth though, in fact, the adults are always represented in an idiotic fashion.  The adults can’t connect to reality.  The reality adults create is an illusion, hyped up (this is done through media and frenzy/sensationalism over death) and the teenagers either try and control it, or bring it down.

JD is the “rebel without a cause.”  He’s ridiculous.  His grounds of creating violence are shaky, sound more like terrorism and have nothing to do with creating change.  Here’s his best line: “People will look at the ashes of Westerburg and say, ‘Now there’s a school that self-destructed, not because society didn’t care, but because the school was society.’ Now that’s deep.”  As Veronica points out, when you take down the leader, another will take their place.  Veronica wants change, but she understands that JD’s way may seem effective, however, it is short-lived.  And really, from this quote alone, JD knows it too.  He wants a living, breathing (jokes, man) example of how dumb society is.  He’s a rebel that actually wants NO change.

Like I’ve said before, if you haven’t seen this movie and are sensitive to school violence, this may not be the best for you, because it makes light of it all.  It’s a black comedy.  That’s what they do.  For everyone else, I’d highly recommend this.  It’s a cult classic.  If you have a dark sense of humor, like me, you will be laughing most of the time.

All in all, this movie was so very.

Favorite Line: “Dear Diary: Heather told me she teaches people ‘real life.’ She said, real life sucks losers dry. You want to fuck with the eagles, you have to learn to fly. I said, so, you teach people how to spread their wings and fly? She said, yes. I said, you’re beautiful.” – Veronica
Favorite Scene: All the funeral scenes.  I mean, seriously, they were the best.

Movie Stats, Courtesy of IMDB:
Director: Michael Lehmann
Writer: Daniel Waters
Date: 1988
Runtime: 103 mins
Rating: R

Currently streaming on Netflix.

For more MOVIE NIGHT recommendations.

Panic Now

So, I’m back from almost a week-long vacation, and now I feel totally overwhelmed with things to do.  I’m way behind in my classwork, writing, and basically everything else.  I also have this problem where I just want to nap when I get too stressed.

I just need to focus on one thing at a time.

At least I got the grocery shopping done, so now we have things to eat.

The rest of today I’ll be programming all day to catch up with my class.  I’ll think about the rest of the week later.

So this is just a quick update blog.  I’ll have a lot more, with variety this week.  Some gardening, maybe a recipe, and tomorrow a short story.

But I really need to go program things now.  I will be able to think better tomorrow.

Should I post another picture of Benedict Cumberbatch?  Ha!  That’s such a silly question.

Cumberbatch tired of Ôposh-bashing'

 

“Remember the Time”

I still remember what I was doing 5 years ago when Michael Jackson died.  I was in my room, playing on the computer and watching Netflix (boy, how times have changed, right?).  My friend Alex called and asked me if I knew that MJ had died.  I laughed, thinking he was just making a morbid joke.  When he finally convinced me that he was telling me the truth, I panicked, started to choke up and told him I needed to go.  I checked Twitter.  Yup.  It was trending.

I cried.  I called my mom at work, and I cried.

There have only been 2 celebrities I’ve cried over their deaths.  Princess Diana and Michael.

I’m not a huge celebrity watcher.  At least, not by choice.  But MJ was different.  He inspired me when I was little, and not in ways you might think.  Sure, I learned all his dance moves.  I loved his music.  I thought his writing was fantastic.  But he introduced me to a lot of things that I still carry with me now.

I actually became interested in filmmaking through MJ.  His videos were unlike others (he called them films, not music videos) – he worked with some of the best directors.  Thriller made me fall in love with costume makeup, to the point I would check out books on how to create body parts and change your face from the library.  And boy did I love thrift shopping after that – stores filled with things from which to create!  He helped me take my imagination out of my head and bring it into reality.  He was special that way.  Probably because he lived so much in an imagined world that he created, because the rest of the world was hard to deal with.

But the most important thing I got from Michael was the idea that one should always fight for others.  I wanted to be a champion for those that couldn’t fight for themselves.  Not a lot of people remember him as an activist, but oh he was.  The Earth Song stabbed my heart like a dagger and made me care.  I remember I got a C on a class assignment because we were supposed to do a project on something America did that was a great impact on its people, and I did mine on how America policing the world (my example was Croatia) created a ripple effect back to the States.  I was 13, my teachers were pissed and I ended up have to do extra credit.

But to be serious – Michael was tortured.  We all know that.  He had so many demons.  I’m sad for him, but I’m mostly sad for his kids.  He was one of those people who created a lot and gave to the world, but have a hard time connecting to all of it.

So here’s to all those inspired by Michael Jackson: create, love the world, make it better and inspire others.

Long Time Comin’

Boy have I been busy lately.  In a good way, I’d like to hope, since I haven’t posted in quite some time.  The middle of February was our road trip to Arizona.  The weather was beautiful and it made me long for summer.  Our only regret during the trip was that we didn’t get to do more outdoor activities.  But alas, that’s what happens when you visit family.  You are forced to cram in a ton of “togetherness” in a short time.  We did get to go on a hike with my lovely sister and my niece.

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Needless to say, we are not used to the cactus terrain, and my husband especially was so excited about the saguaro cactus.  He was a little sad to be away from them.

The rest of our trip focused on a wedding, and then driving home because we missed our dogs so terribly.  We drove through Flagstaff, a gorgeous area in AZ that, if you ever get a chance, so visit.  We also got to drive through Monument Valley.  That place is insane.  The landscape is so… desolate to the point it’s cathartic.

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And yes, that’s trash in the last picture.  Kind of sad, really.  It was definitely a major problem along the whole drive on the side of the road.  But you know, who will take care of it?

But this was all in February!  What else have I been up to?  Well, I decided to jump feet first into acting, and I’ve gotten a lot of short film gigs.  In fact, I’m enjoying it so much… I think I may continue.  I am also considering classes for more training (and for fun!).  Not to mention, still got my writing!

Another major event that has taken up a lot of my time is that my parents decided to move back to CO from AZ (great timing!).  They are living with us until my dad can find a job and they are able to buy a house.  It’s been a transition, but we’re getting there.

Until next time!

 

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…

Well, I live-tweeted the Super Bowl as promised, but it was an embarrassing game.  I don’t even want to talk about it…  But you should read Josh Groban’s tweets.  He’s super snarky.  I’m not that snarky.  I worry too much what people will think, and I’m too polite.  Nevertheless, his tweets are awesome.

I mentioned in a previous blog about trying new things.  Right now, I’m trying acting.  I’ve sent my name, resume, head shot and interest out to student filmmakers, hoping to get experience.  Right now, they are all making final films and will need actors, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to be in one of them.  I plan on enrolling in classes soon as well.  To be honest, I’m having a lot of fun with it.  I don’t have pressure that a lot of actors have.  Nothing is riding on me getting any parts.  Thus, I’m able to fully enjoy the experience.  Those that do it for a living because it’s their life, I truly admire.  It’s a hard business.  I remember doing casting calls, and even mock casting calls where we were taught how to “make them sweat” during an audition.  Film people are so intense!  I also remember doing an open casting call for one of my films, and a young actress came in to audition for the lead role.  She did really well, but she was so young and wasn’t how I imagined my lead actress (older, mature, cynical).  My lead also had to do nudity, and I was very upfront with that information while writing up the call.  When I asked her if she was comfortable with nudity, she almost broke down crying and eventually told me she was fine with it.  I felt terrible.  She clearly wasn’t OK with it, but felt obligated to do so.  (I ended up offering her a supporting role with no nudity, but she politely declined.  She got a lead in another film and she did great – so she made a great choice!)

What does all this have to do with mirrors?  Well, even though I’m fairly confident I can vocally deliver and memorize lines, my body is a totally different story.  I have no idea what it’s doing most of the time, or what it should be doing.  So, we ended up getting a full-length mirror so I could practice my monologues while watching myself move.  It’s weird though.  We’re taught so much that we’re vain for looking in the mirror and taking pictures of ourselves.  Bah.  Society is silly like that, putting so much weight on everything.  You basically feel bad for doing anything.  You’re always going to offend someone.  But I digress…