Friday, November 30, 2012

Gang's All Here

I’m looking forward to seeing Rise of the Guardians (hopefully soon) for a number of reasons.

One, I like it when established characters cross over into each other worlds. It’s just interesting to see characters from one story interact with characters from another. (And who didn’t smile when Detective John Munch stepped in to help out in the investigation against the Bluths?)

And while it wouldn’t bother me if Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny weren’t the best friends ever, I would be a little surprised if their paths never crossed. My guess is that there are only so many people in the bringing-holiday-treats-without-anyone-seeing-them line of work. There’s got to at least be a contact list. You know, Santa finds out (the hard way) that one house has a new, rather unfriendly dog – he shoots out a quick email: 

Subject: Dog Alert
Date: 25 December 2011 1:06am
To:; fa!;

The Piedmont family in Galena, Illinois have a new pup. Not an easy-going sort. Seems particularly excitable when it comes to the color red. Plan your trips to that house accordingly. Might I suggest body armor? Or at least some Snausages?


            Subject: RE: Dog Alert
            Date 25 December 2011 2:10am
            To:;; fa!

I’m so sorry about that. I tried to get a message out earlier, but service out here is quite poor. I met up with the canine in question when I was trying to get the Piedmont children asleep. Point of interest, in addition to red, he really doesn’t care for dust.

~ San

Really, that they would run in the same circle seems only logical. So, to see a movie them about fighting evil? That’s pretty much all the things I love wrapped up into one bundle of animation.

And then, of course, there’s the fact that it reminds me of one of my favorite childhood holiday books, Christmas Always… by Peter Catalanotto. (A book that is currently sitting on my living room table.)

Catalanotto’s story does not have the gang fighting evil and the Easter Bunny makes no appearance. Rather the Sandman, Jack Frost and the Tooth Fairy are all working to get young Katie to go to sleep before Santa’s arrival.

This book was one of the first things to get me thinking about connections between the more magical figures in my life and is one I re-read every year. And every year it maintains it's awesome-ness.

Now, I get the sense that in Rise of the Guardians the problem at hand is going to be a tiny bit bigger than getting one little girl off to dreamland, but I’m sure the team is up to the challenge. And, I’d also like to point out that if any of these legends are ever looking for an intern to paint eggs, catalogue bicuspids, fill sandbags – whatever – I’m your girl. Hell, I’ll even make the list and check it thrice.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shoring Up the Plot Holes

I do this thing where my mind fills in holes in the stories I’m reading or watching. Not big gaping plot holes that have you wondering if anyone gave the work a second glance before moving forward. The smaller things that most stories have. Little moments that aren’t fully explained because the explanation is not necessary to the plot moving forward.

My mind creates the story that takes place during those moments. It’s not something that I think consciously about. It’s more of a, Well, of course that’s what happened.

At least for me.

My sister and I have watched many a TV show together. And as I tend to watch the show first and then get her into it, more than once she has asked me clarifying questions about specific plot lines. And I always have an answer.

Just sometimes it’s not one that was actually discussed at any point in the show.

After dealing with enough blank looks to her follow up question of “When did they say that?” my sister finally realized that the answers I was giving her were not always actually in the storyline.

Which prompted many a question about why I can’t just say “I don’t know,” when she asks me something. And while there is, of course, my pathological need to always have an answer for the little sis, in this case it’s not even a matter of wanting to have a good response to her questions. I don’t think about it. Someone asks a question about a story and if the answer isn’t immediately evident in what has been presented, my mind spews out the most likely scenario it can come up with based on the characters at hand.

It took a number of episodes and thrown couch pillows, but the sister eventually got that I wasn’t doing this just to drive her bananas. It was simply the way I watched stories.

Now after I answer one of her questions there is only one follow up, “Is that a show answer or a Kelly answer?”

Do any of you ever find your mind filling plot holes without you noticing?

Tonight’s Christmas Viewing:

  • “Gus’s Dad May Have Killed An Old Guy” (Psych)
  • “Christmas Party” (The Office)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Keeping Balanced

I subscribe to the StoryPeople “Story of the Day.” If you don’t know who StoryPeople are, you should really check them out. ‘Cause they’re awesome.

Sometimes I like to go back through and pick random stories to look at. On December 12th of last year, the day’s story was called “Balancing Act.” It read:

“I have a friend who used to ride bareback in a circus. In one picture I’ve seen she is wearing blue sequins with her smile spread wide as her arms. One time I asked her was it hard to balance? No, she said, you always balance. Only sometimes, she added, you balance on your butt.”

This attitude is one that I look for in story characters. I like the ones who understand that sometimes they just can’t avoid the fall. No matter what’s done, they’re going to end up on the ground. They more than expect the hit, they accept it. And they realize that hitting the ground does not actually signify failure. Even if they can’t immediately get up.

They are down, but never out.

They’re Mikey from Goonies or The Lord of the Rings’ Samwise Gamgee or any number of characters played by Sean Astin. They never say die.

They are the ones who don’t stop moving forward, not because they’re that cocky about their winning, but because they know that soldiering on is the only tolerable option.

And these are the characters who generally step up during the darkest moments of the story and give the hero the motivation needed to complete the quest at hand.

One such character who always stands out in my mind is Hermione Granger. Even when everything seemed at it’s absolutely worst – elusive, indestructible horcruxes/the boy she loved deserting the quest/her best friend fighting depression/the reputation of a man she looked up to called into question/total isolation from her family – she didn’t just sit down and say, “You know what? Fine. You win. I’m just going to lay on this rock for a little while.” She was clearly impacted by every negative thing thrown at her, but she took the hit and continued to balance. And by doing so, kept Harry moving forward.

How about you? Any characters that you love that could always keep their balance?

Tonight’s Christmas Viewing:

  • “Depth Takes a Holiday” (Daria)
  • Michael
  • “Season’s Greedings” (Lois & Clark

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Idea Overload

I love writing.

But occasionally I get a little carried away.

You see, I’ll start off with the best of intentions. As I drift off into the Neverland of dreams, suddenly the greatest idea in the world will come to me. And I will think, Yes! This is the story I must write!

And sometimes it is (though not necessarily the story that I must write right now). Other times it’s just the overtired brain vomit of someone all hopped up on candy canes and gingerbread men – A steampunk mystery romance picture book about a turnip and a dragon who needs a root canal. Best. Idea. Ever.

Not quite.

But if in the light of day it still seems to have merit, I’ll buckle down and start writing random snippets of information. Character names. Background info – like what he did for his eighth birthday or how she got that tiny scar between her thumb and index finger – stuff that will never actually be in the main story, but is good for me to know. Then I’ll start writing actual sentences. Now, they’re probably not very good sentences this first time around, but they are indeed a string of words that make sense together. Which is the first big hurdle. Sentences can be tweaked later into something that’s actually good, but only if they are already there for the tweaking. If I try to craft the most perfect, glorious, divine sentence in round one, I’m never getting to round two.

Anyway, I’ll get all hunkered down, writing cap securely on (for which I favor the fedora, by the way). And suddenly, the proverbial bolt of lightning will strike once again. Another idea! Awesome! Now I have something I know I can work on when I finish this one. But what if idea two is better? Maybe I should focus on that one, come back to idea one later. But I like idea one. Still, idea two sounds great. Maybe I should try to write both.

And then, as though I’ve set up metal rods in my brain, the lightning strikes come down full force. So many ideas! I love them all! Yeah, turnips and dragons with dental problems! That one wasn’t so bad! I should write them all! I should write all the things!


Ten minutes later the Roomie finds me curled up under the dining room table, shaking and muttering nonsensically to myself about how I think I should be the snow-time wizard and won’t give the marshmallows back until I am. And other equally disturbing assertions.

Over time, my brain does eventually unfry itself (for the most part. There’s always a residual singe). And I cautiously return to writing. Ideas still keep coming, but now the most attention I will give them is to write them down on a napkin, or my hand, or the Roomie’s face – whatever’s closest. After that, if they keep nagging me, I punch those ideas right in the face. Not now, ideas! We can be friends later! (See, residual singeing.)

So, in conclusion, I haven’t completely mastered the discipline of focus yet. But, worst comes to absolute worst, you can probably expect something from me in the draco/root vegetable genre at some point.

Now I must buckle down and focus on my one (hear that brain? ONE.) current work in progress.

Tonight’s Christmas Viewing:

  • Batman Returns
  • “Chuck Versus the Santa” (Chuck)
  • “Afternoon Delight” (Arrested Development)

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Festive Warning

So, I’m a fan of the holidays.

If you listen really closely, somewhere in the distance, you can hear the Roomie guffawing at that understatement. But despite my stating it in a slightly saner way here than I might to her, the point stands.

I enjoy the festivities. Getting together with the family. Lights and decorations. Breaking out my old picture books. Watching holiday movies, be they classic, cheesy or both. Dancing around the apartment to old standards whilst wearing a comically tiny red top hat and sipping hot chocolate with both marshmallows and whipped cream. 'Cause that's just how I roll. And because tiny top hats are always funny.

From Thanksgiving through the first of the New Year, I’m excited. My mother has said that she can tell when Christmas is getting closer because I talk more and breathe a little less.

And then, of course, there’s the joy of finding the perfect present for someone you love. After I passed out on my sister’s couch this weekend, belly bloated with turkey and pie, I started thinking about what the most perfect gift I ever gave was. It took me about two seconds to come up with it.

I still remember the feeling. I was probably about nine years old and I knew it – in my gut – that I had gotten my sister the gift to put all other gifts to shame. I don’t remember what I got anyone else that year, but this token of perfection can be recalled immediately. I was over the moon about this and spent quite a while painstakingly wrapping it – the entirety of A Charlie Brown Christmas, if I remember correctly (though this is probably more a reflection on my poor wrapping skills than on my dedication). I wanted to tell her right then what it was, because I had never been that good at keeping secrets. But I held strong. And when she opened it on Christmas morning, I knew I had gotten it right.

Of course, who wouldn’t want a set of stationary with pictures of cupcakes all over it and envelopes to match?

The reason I’m telling you any of this nonsense, is that I wanted to warn you that my mildly manic cheer may occasionally spill over into the blog during the next month or so. It seemed only fair to give you a heads up.

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

And now I must go check the Christmas list I made. Probably twice. Though I don’t think anything will ever top that cupcake paper.

Tonight’s Christmas Viewing:

  • Die Hard
  • “Chuck Versus the Crown Vic” (Chuck)
  • “Gemini” (Smallville)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lots to Be Thankful For

So, tomorrow’s the big day. I’m getting ready to head north and hunker down with the fam for the weekend, so I probably won’t be back around here until Monday.

Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. I mean, the food alone makes it worth a couple minutes of happy dance. But the one tradition that really makes the day feel right is watching the parade.

When I was a little kid, my parents would wake us all up to ensure that we were in front of the TV at nine. I would keep track of all the Broadway plays I wanted to put on my list of things to see as I danced along to the chosen songs of that year. My brother, sister and I would talk about how cool it would be to help hold one of the balloons. (And how it would be even cooler to let one go.)

Then, of course, there were the Rockettes. I was absolutely convinced that I was going to join that kick line one day (that was before I stopped growing in the seventh grade). I would watch them closely, try to mimic the moves. And then it occurred to me one year…maybe I wasn’t the only one with such dreams. Perhaps my dolls had been waiting for the opportunity as well.

I decided to let Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) go first. She did great, keeping time with the ladies on the screen. So, I thought, You know what? I bet you can kick even higher than them.

It was an understandable assumption. I had great faith in that Dorothy doll. But maybe a little bit misplaced.

I ripped her leg right off.

Believe me, no one was more shocked and horrified by this unfortunate accident than I. Well, I doubt poor Dorothy was thrilled.

I ran to my parents, doll and leg in hand. They did everything they could, but sadly the injury was just too great. She was a real trooper about it, though. Spending the following years awkwardly leaning against the Scarecrow on my dresser, basket and Toto still in hand. And she’s still around, resting comfortably in storage. Next to her leg. Which I saved in case there were ever any advances in doll leg reattachment.

The moral of this ridiculous story is not: Don’t play Rockettes with your dolls.

Of course that’s not it. That would be a horrible moral. You should totally play Rockettes with your dolls. Maybe you shouldn’t try to outdo the Rockettes with your dolls. Hubris is always a problem.

No, this is about what I’m thankful for. It’s been over fifteen years since that fateful Thanksgiving of Dorothy’s tragic Rockette amputation and not surprisingly my life is a little different now than it was then (not in terms of wanting to be a Rockette. That never fades). But, regardless of everything else that's different, tomorrow morning at nine I will be sitting in front of the TV with siblings who would still absolutely get on board with releasing balloons into the great unknown, parents who I can still turn to when I accidently rip the legs off of other areas of my life, and the knowledge that despite what happened, Dorothy never stopped smiling.

What are you thankful for this year?

Also, if you’re trying to decide on what to wish for over the wishbone this year, my sister and I always favored this one.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey Time Out

Thanksgiving is almost here! As my father would say, one and a wake up! This probably means that people are scurrying about picking up groceries and doing a final sweep of the house before guests arrived. Maybe you’re staring into your oven, trying to remember how you Tetris-ed all the food in there last year so that everything was ready at the same time (it’s an art form). Or maybe you’re really focused on creating the perfect Christmas movie schedule to begin next Monday.

Oh, that’s just me?

Well….this is awkward.

But anyway, we’re all busy with something or other. And our productivity is laudable. And necessary. (We’re making dinner for how many people?) Sometimes, though, you just need to take a break. Just a small recharge to get you ready for all that potato peeling. If you’re someone who can take an appropriately timed nap, you have my admiration. I’ve tried. There’s absolutely no problem falling asleep, but when that alarm goes off a half hour later?

*Cue sound of cell phone smashing into wall, followed by light snoring.*

And a short reading break certainly doesn’t work. No amount of turkey stuffing responsibilities is going to distract me from seeing what happens in the next chapter. So, my breaks come in the form of television shows. Whether or not I go with an hour or half hour choice is largely dependent on how severely I cut myself while chopping celery (every damn year).

So, if you need a break or just want something on in the background while you craft that perfect apple pie, here are a few options:

  1. “Pangs” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

  1. “Chuck Versus the Nemesis” (Chuck)
 (Blogger is not cooperating with this video. But the clip is great!)

  1. “Blitzgiving” (How I Met Your Mother)

  1. “The One With Chandler in a Box” (Friends)

  1.  “A Deep-Fried Korean Thanksgiving” (Gilmore Girls)

Oh, and don’t forget to break out the construction paper and scissors! You can never have enough hand turkeys.


Monday, November 19, 2012

It's a Real Malady...You Know...Sort Of

You know what I’ve noticed? Occasionally, fictional stories make me mildly irrational.

For instance, if a coworker came to me and said, “Did you hear? Nancy, from the diner, got a call in the middle of the night. Her teenage daughter and her boyfriend got arrested for holding up a convenience store. Can you believe it? And it’s not the first time this guy has shown himself to be trouble. Super mysterious. His parents are a very nice couple, but not even they seem to know what’s going on with him. Keeps a lot of secrets. Anyway, Nancy and her husband have told their daughter that under no circumstances is she to see him again, but apparently her daughter is saying that they can’t stop her. It’s a real mess. And honestly, I don’t know if they have the money to keep making bail.”

I’m pretty sure I would be solidly on poor Nancy’s side. Daughter being led down a felonious path by a boyfriend into who knows what? Can’t really blame a parent for being concerned. In fact, I think most would blame a parent if her or she wasn’t worried in this situation. And the natural response certainly seems to be “get daughter away from hoodlum.”

Of course, I put in Season Three of Roswell and all I think is: For goodness sake, will the Parkers just chill out? So her grades dropped and she’s been incarcerated. Whatever. They need to find out about the other aliens! No, you don’t know that, but can’t you just assume it’s important and stop getting in the way? Where were you a couple seasons ago when your daughter got kidnapped by that shapeshifting alien? She didn’t come back for like a day and a half. Didn’t notice you getting all worried then. And don’t even get me started on Mr. and Mrs. Evans. Expecting their children to talk to them about any of the weird and potentially dangerous stunts they pull. They should all just follow Michael’s lead. Emancipations all around!

Then I turn the DVD off, the teenage drama stupor slowly fades, and I’m left wondering what the hell I was thinking.

Just one of the many examples of my battle with SIUR (Story-Induced-Unreasonable-Reactiveness). Let’s hear one of yours.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Final Moods...At least for now.

Last day of Book Moods!

This has been a really interesting exercise. When I first looked over the list, I thought some of them would be difficult, but books actually came to mind fairly quickly. It’s amazing the emotional residue that stories leave.

And now for the final batch:

·         Lonely: The Undomestic Goddess (Sophie Kinsella)
o       Studied in Ireland for a semester and would occasionally feel really homesick. Kinsella’s book was the first of the few books I could afford when I was over there. Sitting there in my room with a book made me feel much closer to home. Now every time I re-read, I remember being lonely and then feeling better.
·         Lovestruck: The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
o       To quote Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there.” A lot.
·         Jealous: Enchanted, Inc. (Shanna Swendson)
o       I want to work at MSI, Inc. so (SO) badly. Getting paid to fight evil wizards and hang out with THE Merlin?? Yes, please.
·         Bored: Winesburg, Ohio (Sherwood Anderson)
o       Required reading for AP English, junior year of high school. Not my cup of tea.
·         Surprised: Map of Bones (James Rollins)
o       Something happened at the end of this book that I couldn’t quite get over, prompting a very long conversation with my father who had also just read it. The people sitting next to us on the train probably loved us. Or wanted to push us into the gap. One of the two.
·         Anxious: The Return of the Indian (Lynne Reid Banks)
o       I was not at all pleased when my mother read to me that Little Bear had been wounded. And then later when those guys are trying to break into Omri’s house? Nervous wreck.
·         Shocked: Sleeping Murder (Agatha Christie)
o       Miss Marple’s last case was the first one I ever read. I did not figure out the murderer ahead of time. Not only did I not see it coming, but it scared the crap out me.
·         Shy: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Bill Martin, Jr./Eric Carle)
o       Bill Martin, Jr. came to my school when I was seven. I stood in line to get my book signed. Was all sorts of starstruck – me, not Bill Martin, Jr. Well, maybe Bill Martin, Jr. too. I can’t really speak for him. But I definitely was.

How about you guys? Any of the books that popped into your head surprise you?

Have a great weekend, full of all the books and moods you want!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Negative Doesn't Always Equal Bad

Welcome to Day 3 of Book Moods!

I’ve noticed that there are a lot more negative-ish moods on this chart than positive. What’s that about? Someone needs to make a happier chart.

Luckily a negative mood does not translate to a negative reaction to a book. Some books aren’t meant to leave you with the warm and fuzzies. Many of today’s authors did their job really well, leaving me a wee bit very edgy.

·         Frightened: Firestarter (Stephen King)
o       One of the first horror novels I ever read. As soon as I got to the mom getting her fingernails pulled out, all the lights were on.
·         Enraged: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling)
o       Never have I ever had such a visceral reaction to a character as I did to Delores Umbridge. I’m angry just thinking about her.
·         Ashamed: Dead Witch Walking (Kim Harrison)
o       I just read this book a few months ago. How did it take me eight years to start this series?? It’s just wrong.
·         Cautious: Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
o       Kept looking around at my classmates, wondering, Would you kill me if we were stuck on a deserted island?
·         Smug: Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen)
o       Not my favorite Austen book, but it’s one of the first books I ever took out from the adult section of the library. I felt so grown up. Put this bad boy in my Keroppi backpack and walked out with my head held high.
·         Depressed: The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
o       Cried like a tiny baby child.
·         Overwhelmed: Unraveling (Elizabeth Norris)
o       Every time I thought the book might settle into a quiet moment, something else huge would happen. Nothing ever felt safe. Definitely overwhelming, but awesomely so.
·         Hopeful: The Kitchen Daughter (Jael McHenry)
o       An absolutely lovely book. When I finished the final page I felt a little sad, but also very optimistic.

Check in tomorrow for the final mood grouping!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Laugh, I Cry, I Do Things To Embarrass Myself....

I’m a very emotive person when I read. I laugh, I cry, I yell and throw things (generally not in anyone’s directions, but I’d be lying if I said that there had never been any slip-ups). Many books have left me feeling happy or angry or just plain confused, but this week is about the first book that pops into my head when I think of a particular emotion.

Continuing this theme, here is the next batch of book moods:

  • Hysterical: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) (Jenny Lawson)
    • I should have been more prepared given the regularity with which I follow the Bloggess, but, not thinking things through, I started reading this book when I was in public. Had to put it down after awhile because the people around me seemed nervous about my manic laughter.
  • Frustrated: A Sliver of Shadow (Allison Pang)
    • When I finished this book, I just stared at it for a few seconds, thinking, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!?!?
  • Sad: First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Loung Ung)
    • There really are no words.
  • Confident: Animorphs #12: The Reaction (K. A. Applegate)
    • Sixth grade. My parents wanted me to go to the school roller skating party. I wanted to stay home and read. As a compromise, I went with my book hidden in my jacket, found an empty table and spent the night reading. Was not at all worried about kids making fun of me. Why? Because no one looks cooler than a kid reading Animorphs. No. One.
  • Embarrassed: Midnight Sun (Stephanie Meyer)
    • I’m not embarrassed that I read the Twilight series. That I went on Stephanie Meyer’s website and read the unfinished version of the story from Edward’s point of view? A little uncomfortable. That when I was asked by someone else how long it was, I didn’t say “around 250 pages,” but instead the unfortunately specific, “you know, just like 264 pages”? Horrifying.
  • Happy: The Autobiography of Santa Claus (Jeff Guinn)
    • I’ve read this book every year since I first got it in 2007. The first sentence of the Foreword was more than enough to suck me in: “You’re right to believe in me.” I always think, Damn straight, and happily settle in with my hot chocolate and the promise of magic.
·         Mischievous: The Wraith Squadron (Aaron Allston)
o       The number of pranks that these characters pull on each other always makes me want to play a trick on the Roomie. Or really, whoever I happen to be reading around. But mostly the Roomie.
·         Disgusted: The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietname (Jerry Lembcke)
o       I had to read this book for a history class in college. The author starts off by condemning all those who traffic in rampant generalizations and then continued to do just that throughout the rest of his book. I might have been able to accept that if he said he was writing an opinion piece, but more than once he discussed the objectivity of his study. Roomie had to listen to a lot of yelling while I was reading this one.

Now, let’s hear what you’ve got.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Moods

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." -Maya Angelou

I’ve heard that quote before, but I recently read it and got to thinking that the same can be said about stories. For the most part, we probably won’t remember everything that was said and done in a book, but we will remember the emotion it left us with.

This week, I’m going to take my inspiration from Maya Angelou and the “How Are You Feeling Today?” chart. While each of the books I list, no doubt, prompted many conflicting emotions, I’m going with gut reactions here. Here are the first six:

  • Exhausted: London: The Novel (Edward Rutherford)
    • London’s been around for awhile. Almost as long as it took me to read this book.
  • Confused: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (J.K. Rowling)
    • Good or bad, Snape? GOOD OR BAD??
  • Ecstatic: The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine)
    • Sisters, magic, adventure….awesome.
  • Guilty: The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
    • In the preface Wilde makes the point of noting, “It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.” Always made me wonder about the sins for which I judged Dorian Gray.
  • Suspicious: Cinderella / Snow White (Disney Classics)
    • Disney was my first exposure to these stories. The picture books were read to me before I saw the movies. From the start, I was convinced the two Princes were actually the same guy.
  • Angry: Romeo & Juliet (William Shakespeare)
    • Read this for the first time in seventh grade. When I finished the only character I could stand was Benvolio. To this day, the rest of them still make me angry.

The next bunch will be up tomorrow, but for now, let's here your books for these emotions.

Friday, November 9, 2012

You like that movie? I like that movie! Let's be friends forever!

I had one of those awesome moments last night at rehearsal where I found out someone else loved the same dumb movie I do.

You know what I’m talking about? You have a movie that you absolutely love, but no one else ever seems to know anything about it. So, you don’t bring it up with people because why would you reference something that has just earned you blank stares in the past?

But you and your closest friends hold it tightly to your bosom always. You wonder, whenever you watch it, how more people don’t know about this funny little gem. You quote lines from it to your friends that no one else will ever get.

And sometimes, when you’re out in the world something happens that is so reminiscent of the story that you just have to turn to the person next to you and say, “Have you ever seen <insert movie title here>?” even though you know the answer is going to be no. You’re fully prepared to just smile and go back to what you’re doing, keeping the moment in the back of your head so you can tell your friends about it later. They’ll get it.

But then the person next to you says, “Yes! I love that movie.” And references the exact moment you were thinking of.

*Cue ethereal music and the two of us running through a field of flowers certain of eternal friendship*

There are two movies that I get particularly disproportionally excited if I find out someone else likes them too. Both of them are totally ridiculous and contain a lot of over the top humor. Neither are ever going to be winning any awards, but they will keep me laughing each time I see them.

Get Over It

I particularly recommend this one if you ever did any theater in high school.

Fired Up

I support any movie, no matter how ridiculous, that contains the line, “Chumbawumba. Soundtrack to my life.”

If you’ve never seen either of these movies before and are looking for something silly to do this weekend, check them out. Also, leave the movies that make you so-excited-it’s-a-little-embarrassing below. I’m always looking for recommendations.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Patience may be a virtue, but I'd place Listening Carefully higher on the list...

Patience is a virtue. Keep it if you can. Seldom in a woman, never in a man.

I don’t know where I heard that when I was kid, but someone must have said it around me because it not only was something I liked to say, but it was something I liked to say wrong. You see, the first time I heard it, what I heard was this:

Patience is a virtue. Keep it if you can. Sell them in a woman, never in a man.

So, I knew patience was a virtue, but I was also pretty sure it was a commodity. Couldn’t entirely figure out how to profit off of this, but I was determined that I would get to the bottom of it. I also wanted to find someone who could tell me why it was a bad idea to trade with men.

At the same time, I was listening to lots of oldies. My parents were big fans, so it was the go-to radio station in the car. I learned at a young age to croon along with the classics. Whenever Lulu came on, I’d belt out my promise “to serve, with love”* and with The Delfonics, I would proclaim “your best friend Robin told me” with great emotion.** And the list went on and on.

And, you know what’s always awesome? That moment when you realize your mistake. Because, much like mispronounced words, you never just figure it out on your own. No such luck.

It always starts out innocently. You say/sing something wrong and the person you’re with asks you to repeat it. But not in a, I’m sorry I couldn’t quite hear you sort of way. It’s more of a I’ll be mocking you in a moment vibe. And you feel it in your gut. What you just said – what you’ve said a bunch of times before – isn’t right. But what part of it? You don’t want to repeat it, but at this point this person’s already going to laugh at you, so you might as well figure out what’s wrong so you can avoid it the next time around.

So, you repeat.

And they laugh.

A lot.

Until you finally threaten them with a serious shin-kicking (of course, this could just be me) and they tell you what the words really are. On the plus side, they’re now burned into your brain, so you’ll never say them wrong again. Of course, the person currently laughing at you will probably tell everyone you know, so your ability to now quote it correctly will not be nearly as useful.

My best advice is to get a whole new set of friends and start over. Or just learn to laugh about your mistake.

One of the two.

*Correct lyrics: “To sir, with love”
**Correct lyrics: “Your best friend wrote and told me”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cheese and Character Arcs

I’m a believer that people can change. If they really want to and are willing to put in the necessary work.

We all have bad habits. Last night, as the Roomie and I were eating a dinner of nachos for the *ahem* second night in a row, she looked at me and said, “I’ll probably regret all this cheese when I die of heart congestion, but right now I’m feeling pretty good.” I thought about this for a moment and then nodded and told her that when I’m in the middle of my future cardiac arrest, I’m pretty sure that my only thought will be, “I’d do it all again.”

Why? Because nachos are delicious and there is no such thing as eating too much cheese.

Still, I know it’s not good for me and from time to time I go on sudden kicks of healthiness. Generally they are set off while I’m standing in the middle of The Container Store. Something about that place makes me think dangerous thoughts, like:

This is it. This is when I get my life completely organized. Starting with this box/drawer thingie. What is this for? Oh, it doesn’t matter. It’s for my more organized life. Everything will be in its place. Ooooh, and I’m going to eat better too! I should pick up some kitchen organization tools. And those clips to keep my socks together in the washer.

I set off with the greatest of intentions, completely confident in my ability to get my life in tip-top shape. And two days later I’m eating macaroni and cheese with a grilled cheese chaser and wondering why in all of hell none of my socks match.

You see, for the rest of my life I am likely going to be eating more cheese than I should. For one, cheese is delicious. And for two, I don’t really care enough about stopping to put in the necessary work to break the habit. Who knows, maybe someday I will. And I’ll deal with my cheese withdrawal on that darkest of dark days, but for now, I’ll keep eating cheese and exert my energy on changing things that I do care about. Like the fact that when I watch old episodes of Who’s Afraid of the Dark? I have to sheepishly raise my hand.

And this is what I look for in character arcs when I read. I want the character to be in a different place than they were, emotionally and mentally, when the story began. Otherwise things are just boring. I want them to have faced their biggest weaknesses and found a way to triumph over them. These victories should not come easily or they’re not really all that impressive. I want to see the work.

Despite the victories they win, I don’t want to read about characters who transcend all to become a perfect being by the time I turn the last page. There should still be flaws because that’s more true to life. Because while I may have faith that I will eventually get past my fear of the dark, I would place good odds that at the end of my story I’m still going to be eating too much cheese and listening to the TV too loudly and whining like a ninny every time I see a bug. 

You can't win 'em all.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

It’s a political sort of day on this side of the pond. People are coming out in droves to exercise their right to vote. News stations will discussing little else and there is no doubt that by the end of the night everyone will have heard the phrase “too close to call” more than they can stand.

So, if you need a slight break from watching the news at the polls, here are five movies that will give you a little time away, while keeping with the general patriotic spirit of the day.

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

2. Dave

3. Speechless

4. 1776

5. Napoleon Dynamite

And, you know, you can always keep your computer nearby if you want to sneak a quick peek at the news.

Happy voting!