Saturday, November 22, 2014

On Serial

I started listening to the podcast Serial last weekend - I listened to the first 8 on a road trip to Indiana and got hooked, just like everyone else, on the way Sarah Koenig is telling the story of this decade old murder.  It's so compelling and, yes, entertaining that about every 30 minutes I get really depressed about how entertained I am by the murder of a 16-year-old girl.  A child.  About whom, aside from being murdered, we learn very little.  So, there's that.  It's gross how so much of our popular culture surrounds the violent death of women.

Also I'm getting more and more disturbed, as I listen, whether Koenig is practicing responsible journalism.  I mean, seriously, IS she?  Because she clearly believes Adnan, right?  And she wants to believe in Adnan, and therefore, who doesn't she trust?  Jay.  So, she paints Jay as a liar and a possible murderer and now half of America thinks Jay's a murderer.  Which I guess wouldn't be so bad if Jay weren't a real person, trying to live his life.  Like, Hae's dead, nothing worse can happen to her, unless post-life-mortification is a thing from having your diary read out loud to strangers, the defense attorney is dead, Adnan's in jail, but Jay, who we learned, works long hours at a menial job only to be surprised on his doorstep by two reporters who are most likely ruining his life.  But, I don't know... say Jay was the murderer, then... it's all ok?

I'll admit that I couldn't stop listening to 1-8, but I think I'm done now.  And, since 8 and 9 pretty much went no-where, it feels like the story might be finished too.  I suspect there won't be a satisfying ending to this story where we learn why a 16-year-old girl was murdered and half-buried in the dirt.  There couldn't be a satisfying answer for that.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow

Over the weekend we saw The Edge of Tomorrow, starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.  It was So. Good.  I highly recommend it.  It's one of those movies that's kind of better if you don't know that much about it, so I will not summarize.  It turns out it's based on a Japanese novella called All You Need is Kill.  What a title.  M doesn't like Tom Cruise but my love for him is eternal and everlasting.  I got so excited about Tom Cruise I watched Mission Impossible III on Sunday, pausing half-way through to browse the internet for pictures of Tom Cruise and Suri.  Then for a bizarre 20 minutes or so I fantasized I was Suri and Tom Cruise was my dad and he held me in his strong, powerful arms and protected me from the glare of the paparazzi.   I'm not proud of that.  Then I put Far and Away in my netflix queue - another fact of which I am not proud.

On Sunday night M and I watched Her, which I also thought was wonderful.  It really got me to thinking about consciousness and the body and I suppose I need to read some Alan Watts to follow up on all of that.

Right now I'm in Utah at a conference and I can't quite seem to get over the exhaustion of travel.  I am So. Tired.  Also it's really cold here.  But, it's awfully pretty.

Monday, June 02, 2014


This past weekend we went to Indiana to visit our families, particularly M's Gran, who isn't doing very well.  I find a good solution for high anxiety is the alluring, mind-numbing power of tv and movies, so my moms and I went to see Maleficent.

I'm not a big Angelina Jolie fan, but, I have to tell you, this is one of the greatest movies I've ever seen her in and certainly one of the top movies I've seen this year.  I thought it was super-fun to watch, I loved the visuals and the story and everything!  It really does for Sleeping Beauty what Wicked did for The Wizard of Oz (OMG, will there be a musical in a few years?  I wouldn't be surprised...).  It makes you think about the story in a completely new light, considering the entire tale from the point of view of the soi-disant "evil queen".

Without giving too much of the story, I'll say that the story begins in a magical land (near a norm-core land) where all types of fairies and magical beings live, and Maleficent is a young, winged girl who's inquisitive and kind and helpful and strong, etc.  And she meets this human guy from nearby who eventually fucks with her.  If there's one person in the entire world you shouldn't fuck with, it's Angelina Jolie, right?

If there's one thing I didn't like about the movie, it was the lipstick on Maleficent - it was kind of like Barbara Streisand's fingernails in The Prince of Tides... (yeah, I just made an uber-cool reference to a 13 year old movie nobody's seen) too distracting.  The whole time you're thinking, like, Does she have a tube of lipstick in her cape?  Where does she go to get more lipstick?  Sephora on the Glen?  But, otherwise I thought her look was totally amazing and a nod to the glamour of the queen in the 1959 Disney movie.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I love this poem

I Remember

By the first of August
the invisible beetles began
to snore and the grass was
as tough as hemp and was
no color—no more than
the sand was a color and
we had worn our bare feet
bare since the twentieth
of June and there were times
we forgot to wind up your
alarm clock and some nights
we took our gin warm and neat
from old jelly glasses while
the sun blew out of sight
like a red picture hat and
one day I tied my hair back
with a ribbon and you said
that I looked almost like
a puritan lady and what
I remember best is that
the door to your room was
the door to mine. 

Anne Sexton

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grand Budapest Hotel

M & I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel after it came out - I thought it was perfectly marvelous and would like to watch it again and again. I thought practically every scene was a visual treat and I loved loved loved watching Ralph Fiennes in his role as Monsieur Gustave. I haven't enjoyed Fiennes so much since The English Patient, which I have seen precisely 274 times. I particularly liked the scenes that took place in small settings, like the elevator or the train car or a jail cell (spoiler?). Those reminded me of sets from The Darjeeling Limited, one of my favorite Wes Anderson movies.

Exterior shots of the hotel were very charming - like this one of the hotel sitting at the top of this craggy mountain.  The movie also brings the opportunity to use, in common parlance, the word "funicular", which one otherwise has rare occasion to do.  I had similar feelings about the movie Noah, which brought about a wave (GET IT?) of reviewers utilizing the wonderful word "antediluvian."  

So, I read that Anderson "more or less" plagiarized Austrian writer Stefan Zweig.  I'd never heard of Zweig - apparently he's quite popular in Europe - so I checked out a couple of books from the library. I checked them out with great happiness because the books were small and charming and I thought I was on the verge of a great discovery.  Zweig is a bit of a tragic character - he managed to get out of Austria in 1934 but near the end of WWII he and his wife committed double-suicide in Brazil.  Anyway, I start reading what I think it going to be a charming set of short stories, but, the three that I read ended in suicide and were depressing as hell, as you might imagine.  

He does do this thing which is sort of old-fashioned in literature now which is to tell the story through a third party, like, I met this person on a boat and they told me this story about this other guy they knew that went like this... I could probably write more intelligently about this if I had gotten a worthless literature degree instead of a worthless art history degree. In any event, Anderson certainly captures that quality in the movie by framing it in several layers.  It gives it a very fairy tale quality.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


I can't believe there's a movie about Noah with Russell Crowe and Hermione in it.  Part of me wants to see it, even though I think it will be really stupid.  To me, one of the most interesting parts of the whole Noah story happens after the flood's over and isn't generally covered in Bible School.  What happens is, Noah builds a vineyard, and one day he gets really drunk and gets naked for some reason.  Then, one of his sons, Ham, comes in and laughs at him.  This painting is by Giovanni Bellini, I think it's pretty funny because you can see Ham (in the middle) laughing like a little bitch.  

Ham goes and gets his two brothers to show them, but they do this weird business where they back into the room and cover him, and then back out again.
James Tissot "lalala we don't see anything"

Then Noah wakes up, gets mad, and curses Ham's son, for some reason.

Gustave Dore - Overreact much?
I learned this whole story when I studied art history - The Drunkenness of Noah has been a popular subject for artists.  Some scholars (and artists) assumed that some improprieties took place while Noah was passed out drunk, which seems fairly likely, as drunkenness and nakedness goes.

What I find interesting is that, while this appendix to the story of Noah is mostly unknown today, it was a very popular subject through the ages.  Here's a scene on a panel from the famous bronze doors of the Florence Baptistry, by Ghiberti:

And here it is by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel: 

This last one is not famous, but I love the look on everyone's faces.  Ham's like, "Isn't this great?  Dad's drunk and naked!" and the brothers are all, "Oh, for Chrissake, pull yourself together."

Luini Bernadino

 I wonder if all this will be in the movie?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Grey

Since I've been sick all winter, practically all superfluity has come to a stop, including coloring my hair, which, yes, I usually do.  A few weeks ago I noticed that I was developing a Cruella de Vil grey streak in my hairline.  However fabulous de Vill might be, that grey streak is not for me.  A friend reminded me that Susan Sontag has a similar, equally fabulous streak.  But, honestly, I think I'm too young.  Aren't I?

Anyway, I stumbled into some exceptional overhead lighting the other day (the horror!) and realized that not only did I have a grey streak, that basically ALL my hair was coming out of my head just straight up silvery grey.  I should mention that I think grey hair is actually very beautiful on other people.  I myself am not YET forty years old, however.  "Not Yet Forty" is too young to have grey hair blasting out of your hair follicles like fireworks from a cannon.

I immediately made an appointment with my colorist but she just had a baby and is harder to schedule now so I have to wait a few weeks.

Meanwhile, I'm watching the Winter Olympics.  Everyone is so young, particularly my favorite, the lady snowboarders.  I don't know their names but the American girls seem mostly to be from South Lake Tahoe and they all wear their hair in two carefree side-braids and they're as cute as can be (aside from being kick-ass snowboarders).  Snowboarding is for young people, ie, people in their 20s and below.  M tried it in his thirties and spent the whole time on his ass and with a sore tailbone for months. There's a statute of limitations on being physical adventurousness, just like there is on moving yourself.  At a certain point, you hire movers, and you can't take up new sports.  You just can't.

Anyway, M & I are watching the figure skaters and, you know, every once in a while they fall down.  Sometimes from great heights, like however many feet it is for a dude to hold you on the crotch by the flat of his palm stretched above his head.  And when they fall, we go "Oooo!"  And then the announcers go, "Oh NO!  ALL their HOPES and DREAMS were just SHATTERED!"  And for a second, you get carried away, and think, "Gee, I think maybe all their hopes and dreams of winning a gold medal just might be shattered." And maybe they get the yips and fall some more.  Ooo!  and OH NO from the announcers ALL THEIR DREAMS ARE DESTROYED!  And then it's over, and you see two young people smile ruefully and shrug their shoulders.  I mean, these are people who don't have a single grey hair in their heads; it doesn't seem like their hopes and dreams are destroyed.  You can learn a lot from those damn kids about falling down and getting back up again.