"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

31 March 2011

Happy Lightsaber Day!

In honor of the 40th birthday of one of my first, and deepest, celebrity crushes (and a man who would have made the original PFH list were he not already married when he became even semi-famous), I give you:

Forty Reasons I Love Ewan McGregor
(some of these are purely physical – like anyone would make my list of Potential Future Husbands without being delectably attractive)

40. Save a horse, ride a biker – a biker who traverses the globe with his best friend. Repeatedly.

39. He makes this beard actually work

38. Taking up the family business – though warned against it, followed after his uncle Dennis in taking up acting for his career

37. Familial Star Wars ties FTW – Wedge Antilles, meet Obi-Wan Kenobi… oh, wait…

36. His lightsaber – anyone who wields one of these bad boys earns extra points in Hotness (yes, even Christopher Lee)

35. That smile – GUH. *faints*

34. Cool former roomies – When I get access to a TARDIS, I’m totally going back to the days when Ewan, Jude Law and Jonny Lee Miller used to bang around together.

33. He’s crawled into and out of a toilet – now that’s flexibility…

32. His feet.

31. He’s not afraid to wear eyeliner – and looks damn good in it.

30. His adorably flawed southern accent in Big Fish.

29. Big Fish – possibly Burton’s best film, and one sans Johnny Depp, and who does it star…

28. Scottish, without the unintelligible brogue = hot

27. Looks great in a kilt = hotter

26. Honey and glitter and leather, oh my!

25. Has one of the most heartrending and exciting episodes of ER to his credit.

24. Those eyes

23. Can be forgiven for The Island because (spoiler) there are scenes with two Ewans at once.

22. Has perfect pitch and ain’t afraid to break it out.

21. Devoted family man. Now that is hot.

20. When I get around to crafting the Gay Nudist Musical, he will be the first one I call.

19. Made time with Christian Bale and Jonathan Rhys Meyers… in the same movie.

18. Has played a gay/bi man so many times I lost count = secure in his sexuality AND non-judgmental about others’

17. Looks good even with a rattail.

16. Priest garb = forbidden hotness

15. He’s what makes Moulin Rouge believable, emotional, and painful. Without him it’s just a story about a singing slut who’s dying but will whore herself out one last time to save her theatre.

14. Did I mention the motorcycle?

13. Animated films: check. (Robots, Valiant, etc)

12. Tortured author: check. (James Joyce)

11. Rogue Austen Man: check (Emma)

10. Jedi: checkmate.

9. Stunning profile.

8. Protective of his family and insistent on his kids living outside the spotlight.

7. I love so much of his work (and him), I can usually forget I ever saw Eye of the Beholder. In the theatre.

6. Down With Love: innuendo can be just as hot as full-frontal.

5. His ‘lightsaber’ – you knew it was coming.

4. Humanitarian = hot

3. His laugh… especially his giggle.

2. Coolness under pressure – the man played guitar and sang surrounded by European maifa psychos with guns. That takes a healthy dose of…

1. Fearlessness. Whether it’s riding motorcycles around the world or baring all for the camera, the man knows his limits but is never afraid to test them.

28 March 2011

Falling on Swords While Falling for Wizards

One of the ‘joys’ of moving is potentially losing one’s DVR forever and thus all the awesome hours of television contained within (though if DirecTV can mount a dish on the side of our complex, we probably won’t lose it… still, one can never be too careful when it comes to precious television – teacher, mother, secret lover). While packing this weekend I watched a slew of movies* along with a couple hours of mindless television and five episodes of Merlin.
Out of all this stimulation, I found myself surprised (though I shouldn’t be) that what affected and stuck with me most was Merlin, particularly one of the scenes toward the end of "The Changeling." Seeing Merlin finally starting to take the reigns as more than Arthur’s servant, beginning to become his adviser, really exposes some of the depth and complexity added to the series throughout season three. It only gets deeper from this episode forward, but even this singular moment in an otherwise ‘creature of the week silliness’ episode points toward better and more in-depth stories as the series continues to progress.
It’s also pretty damned adorable to hear Colin Morgan’s tone of voice shift when Merlin’s allowed to be adviserly.

From a personal standpoint, the destiny-laden, ceremonial sword stabbing doesn’t feel so far removed from situations I’ve experienced (and some I am currently experiencing), which makes the ancient ‘rules’ of chivalry, duty, and honor seem less removed from daily modern life than they typically feel. While we’re not all destined to rule kingdoms, or advise on how to do so, or charged with the protection of VIPs and/or entire nations, we all have aspects of our life for which we are (or feel) utterly culpable as individuals and sometimes it seems easier to throw ourselves on the ceremonial sword rather than face up to what we know is right, rather than give into something out of a sense of duty or tradition.

As a writer and English major I’ve often felt that one of the great benefits my degree has over my writing is that it taught me all the rules so I would know how and why I break them, when I do. Granted, I learned tons of nifty tidbits about life, society, history, industry, creativity, war, love, pain, beauty, theatre, poetry, music, politics and what makes the world worth living in for different folks at different points in our shared history. Still, much like Arthur following his instinct (and Merlin’s advice) to do what feels right and not just what is expected of him, I feel that with both writing and life we all need a reminder once in a while that traditions can and should be broken when there is reason compelling enough to alter them.

Love, in an unselfish and giving state, complicated as it can be, is a damn good reason to buck against tradition in favor of creating something better.

*Slew = Eight. Miranda, Pygmalion, Only Angels Have Wings, Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Bride & Prejudice, Pride & Prejudice, and Sneakers

Merlin: I've brought you your ceremonial sword.
Arthur: Is that for me to fall on?
Merlin: Hopefully not. What's wrong?
Arthur: You wouldn't understand, Merlin. You have no idea what it's like to have a destiny you can't escape.
Merlin: Destinies are troublesome things. You feel trapped. Like your whole life has been planned out for you and you've got no control over anything and sometimes you don't even know if what destiny has decided is really the best thing at all.
Arthur: How come you're so knowledgeable?
Merlin: I read a book.
Arthur: And what would this book tell you? Should I marry her?
Merlin: It's not really my place to say, sire.
Arthur: I'm asking you, it's your job to answer.
Merlin: If you really want to know what I think? I think you're mad. I think you're all mad. People should marry for love, not convenience. And if Uther thinks an unhappy king makes for a stronger kingdom, then he's wrong because you may be destined to rule Camelot but you have a choice... as to how you do it.

25 March 2011

Move all the things?

The week began with such possibilities in terms of creativity and life. While nothing has crashed or burned, spending most of the week awaiting a life-changing decision to be made sapped away almost all energy and creativity.
The hours spent editing felt fruitless as each hour that passed was an hour without a future. Then, after an epic adventure with corporate human resources, the word came; my roommate and I are officially approved to move to a new place. The stress which previously ate up all waking hours (and some sleeping ones) exploded into excitement over having secured a new residence. However, today that elation has once again slid back to Stressville and my ability to focus seems irreparably shot.
So here’s my query: When life keeps attacking you in various ways and attempting to quash your creativity – and when you have the bulk of your time eaten away by ‘necessary’ life activities like, oh say, moving – how to you maintain/regain a little time and energy to be creative?

For the record: I hate moving. I’m a homebody to the extreme and do not like having myself and all my possessions displaced. I love traveling, but I need a centralized base to return to every once in a while that I know and think of as ‘home.’ Having my living situation thrown into complete chaos and uncertainty for over a year has been one of the most mentally and emotionally taxing experiences thus far in my life. Despite all the insanity to come, I am extremely glad to have found a ‘new home.’

23 March 2011

Writing Buddy

Different than a diving buddy (who stands by with oxygen) or a porn buddy (who pledges, in the even of your untimely death, to remove all the pornography in your place before your parents can find it), a writing buddy can be many things to a writer.
Sometimes I have used it as a term for a co-author when I don’t want to sound too prissy and formal about it. I’ve known others to use it as a code word for a glorified intellectual fuckbuddy (“This is Jason, my ‘writing buddy.’ We get together on Wednesday evenings and alternate weekends to discuss Pynchon and Hemingway, work on our novels, drink wine… and screw each other senseless.” You know, like you do… or other people do, at least…). Still others utilize it as a casual term for someone you see on occasion – a friend, colleague, or someone you met in a writing group – with whom you share a need to be culpable for your progress.
This last usage I find myself identifying with at the moment, and I have to say, the relationship is anything but casual. If not for an appointment with a writing buddy last night (who is also a friend/colleague/actress/theatre-maker/all-around amazing woman), my writer’s block may have gone on for weeks, perhaps even months (it has been known…). I won’t wax on about how devastating a continued block is, or what tactics I may have been forced to employ should the block have continued much longer (though some ill-advised adventures in debauchery were on the list), because my block might have broken on its own in a few days… though I doubt it.
What I do want to impart is that a ‘writing buddy’ who is there to be a fellow soldier in the war against writer’s block, even if it’s only to set a time and place to write your separate projects concurrently, is just as important as a diving or porn buddy. A good writing buddy stands by with the oxygen of support and understanding, and even a breath of conversation when you’re beating your head against the wall looking for the right words. Just by sitting near you and participating in the battle they clear out many of the distracting thoughts, fears, and hidden guilt hiding in the closets of your mind (or under your bed, or slipped in behind other thoughts you know no one else will ever explore, so it’s safe there…).
Praise in the form of blog lauding and internet hugs go out to my writing buddy*, the marvelous Nina.

*She even gets paid to write -- something I sorely miss, thus I am not only grateful for her, I'm jealous of her ;)

Sense & Sensuality

After having not really paid attention to it when it initially aired, I again caught the ‘recent’ mini-series of Sense & Sensibility on PBS.*
I admit to not giving it the attention it deserved before, mostly due to time constraints during my initial viewing. Also, much as I loved David Morrissey even then, this has never been my favorite Austen tale. However, I decided to give it a worthy go again and found I enjoyed it more -- not only more than I anticipated, but actually more than I wanted to, and for this I blame the excellent cast.
It still ranks as not my favorite work (Pride & Prejudice is the apex and I hold a soft spot for Mansfield Park), but I understand it better than I did previously in terms of how Jane uses her parlour drama skills to expose issues of the human heart in a manner I don’t think ever really comes across as well in some of her other works. Of course in this particular instance I attribute the BBC and its solid reputation in adaptation, along with a stellar cast, in breathing life into this story in a manner that makes it seem less Romantic than Ang Lee’s film.
Plus, any film that puts David Morrissey on a horse with beautiful riding clothes AND has him sword fighting pretty much makes my day.

*BTW, US Government, WTF is wrong with you? Cutting funding for education and the arts… because what we want is a society that can’t read or think for themselves and just listens to what the overlords in charge tell them to thi—oh, hey…

22 March 2011

Moving Along

In a moment of personal sharing: moving blows.

Some people don’t mind aspects of it, but generally speaking, I loathe it. I come from Team Homebody and I don’t like changing teams. When I settle into a place, unless it becomes unbearable for some reason or I find something massively better, I don’t want to leave. However, sometimes we are not given a choice in the matter and we must vacate our homes (note the crazy third person speak emerging again – a sure sign of impending insanity). We currently sit in just this position and it crushes our mental, emotional, physical selves constantly. Thus, we are currently rendered incapable of maintaining states which usually come naturally to us: patience, understanding, sympathy, coherent thought and a mind that lives to write.
Of these, next to the writing, the one that I find most aggravating is a lack of patience. Every bit of other people’s minor issues right now make me want to go all Carole Kane in Scrooged on them and start wielding a toaster as a deadly weapon.
However, as we always must, we carry on – in the hope that soon the horrors of home abandonment will give way to the joys of a new life and some minor equilibrium will be restored to our person before, “Look, Frank, it’s a toaster!” becomes our feared catchphrase.

Detailed Minutiae

Do you count thirty minutes spent trying to find the answer to an historically relevant, yet minor, detail as editing time?

It came upon me quite unexpectedly. There I sat, casually marking up my manuscript with what has become the Demon Red Pen* with few cares beyond the composition in front of me. Then, at the beginning of my smutfest scene** I read a sentence I've read dozens of times. Yet for the first time, a little detail struck me as possibly historically inaccurate. It's a minor detail, but one that bothered me as I did not know the answer. A thorough scouring of the interwebs proved fruitless, and a query among my co-workers brought a 90% assurance to the correct answer. Yet that 10% nags at me. I have a message in to my historian father who, I am confident, will either know the answer definitively or be able to find it for me with ease.
Still, that one miniscule detail haunts me in some aspects more than the glaring plot gaps and awkward paragraphs scattered throughout the book. While I know editing to be full of these little gaffes, it amazes me how fixated I become on them when I find them and cannot proceed until I have the answer. I have found for myself a new personal 'tick' in my editing style which I previously ignored. We shall have to reconcile ourselves to these little errors when they arise, for if the internet and my merry band of pop culture and history fanatics are nowhere around when the next minute detail flaw arises, we may go mad from sheer want of a solution -- and start taking on bizarre attributes such as talking of ourselves in the third person.

*It's not a demon because it deletes unnecessary content or corrects grammar and spelling errors, it's a demon because it exposes flaws with no ideas on how to fix them. Fixing the flaws requires more writing, which delays the editing, even though they go together. It's damn aggravating.

** It's not really that smutty. It's risque to a point, but I am writing 'young adult' literature so I tried to stay a little vague... at least in book one. Book two, well... we'll get to that one later.

21 March 2011

Days of Green and Red

No, I’m not talking about the Christmas holidays. I’m talking about two major dates for an Irish Anglophile: St. Patrick’s Day and Red Nose Day.
Since I had the migraine from hell most of the week (it’s my body’s way of reminding me who’s in charge and why I should take care of it, the fucker), I wasn’t quite in the full Go Green spirit for St. Patrick’s Day. However, it was going to take more than crushing pain with a side of nausea to keep me from having a good time. I spent the evening with some of the most awesome co-worker/friend/theatre peeps in the world. After a little pre-gaming at my place (complete with my iPod playing a goodly amount of my traditional [read: beautiful yet depressing] Irish tunes, we all jammed ourselves into a tiny Toyota and drove a mere six blocks to a local Irish pub. Though they’d added a tent out back to make up for the teensy-ness of the place, the holiday + lack of cover charge = actual line outside the bar. A five minute wait time became fifteen with only two of the five people in front of us being let in, so we skipped our way down another two blocks to a favored watering hole where the $5 cover which previously hindered our desire to go there quickly turned into a blessing as we were able to obtain a table, down some car bombs, get some grub, watch some great Irish dancers and cut a few jigs ourselves. All in all a very good night, with everyone satisfactorily tipsy and on the way home by 10pm.
Red Nose Day is reason #7,862 on the list of Why I Live in the Wrong Country. It’s also very high on the list of programming I wish BBCAmerica would offer in the states. It may be a Brit-run fundraiser, but who says giving money to Africa through England is in any way less needed than giving it through the US? The Brits actually care enough to have a marathon (plus weeks of pre-shows) of original programming built solely around the purpose of raising funds for charity. Remember how the US had Comic Relief? Only available on premium channels and mostly live sketches by comics for one evening? Yeah, the Brits do it so much better (as per usual). There’s dance and song competitions leading to the big day, there’s fundraising via web, TV, twitter, etc. There’s a long telethon hosted by great celebs, and a slew of original skits produced just for the event – including new Doctor Who and a brilliant parody of Downton Abbey (it's hard not to crack up at Simon Callow as Julian Fellows). Sure, you can download some of these gems on iTunes or look them up on YouTube, but it's not the same.
I’m not sure how to go about it, but I really want to put a bug up someone’s butt in the upper management world of BBCA to get them to broadcast Red Nose Day, and Pudsey Day, in the US. I’d be happy to cough up a few quid to aid Africa if it means I get to see wacky Who and Merlin skits and seen Davina McCall, with her enigmatic bottom, macking on gay AND straight blokes…

16 March 2011

This is Britney, Bitch?

Yes, I still listen to Britney Spears. The girl usually has some great producers and good tunes (especially to workout/dance to), if you ignore the fact that she can’t sing (anymore – she could when she was a little tike on MMC). Thus I couldn’t resist getting the Euro release of Femme Fatale in advance of the US date. And, well… let’s just say that it doesn’t surprise me this album is out in Europe before the US. It’s an album comprised of derivative Euro club pop, which is fine for grooving to, but is in no way an attempt at evolution for the lady B.
Even though I’ve been amused at what the ‘critics’ have seen as an evolution with her last couple albums (Circus and Blackout to be precise) which were also little more than Euro club pop, they at least explored some new territory for Britney and some of the tunes had decent lyrics -- and weren't overproduced to the point where you wonder who's actually singing. Femme Fatale already has two singles released, and where a third might be found on this album confounds me. (I might choose “Trouble For Me,” because not even Will.i.Am can save “Big Fat Bass.”)
I’m already a little concerned that GaGa is hitting the sophomore slump, and now it looks as though whatever creative team helped Britney power back through countless meltdowns and craziness finally just stopped caring. The beats are decent, the vocals are autotuned with a Cher mic to a scary degree, and the lyrics are even more ridiculous than some of the cheesiest tunes on …Baby One More Time.
There’s a nostalgic part of me that hopes someone will take pity on Britney and slap her back into being a good performer who has decent, obsessively catchy tunes, and maybe even a ballad or two on her next album. Then there’s a realist in me that thinks those people are now backing GaGa, Katy Perry, “Key Dollar-sign Ha,” and some new young thing we haven’t even heard of yet… and I’m actually going to miss Britney when she fades away. I just wish she could fade with a decent album first…

EDIT: As craptastic as this album is, I can't. stop. listening. This, ladies and gents, is the true Crackpower of Ms. Spears.

Edit Me!

This cry echoes through the upper cabinet of my desk, amplified by its metal casing. One of my novels sits there in manuscript form, impatiently awaiting my (semi)daily edit session. Braintrust that I am, I decided to participate in National Novel Editing Month about a week into the month. We're now at the halfway mark and I'm not even at 25% dedication. I participated just because I though it would get me back on the novel horse, exposing some of the major flaws in this series and hopefully present remedies to some of them…
OK, honestly, I hoped it might inspire my writing brain again, and as of yet my imagination is barren as Frodo’s lips in Mordor.
So yes, I’m writing a blog entry about the difficulty of editing and writing, which eats up time I could be using to do either of these things. Trouble is my brain can’t seem to reconcile itself to achieving the necessary concentration for editing or writing creatively. Thus, I plug away at this little blog so I at least feel as though my productivity isn’t ranking entirely in negative numbers.

15 March 2011

Spring Into Eclecticism

Mid-march always seems a bizarre period to me. Ignoring the “March is Hell” mantra which I’ve carried for over a decade, when I lived back in the frozen tundra of Michigan, March represented a time when you knew spring approached, but winter still gripped you in its icy clutches. It just taunted you by releasing its grasp a little from time to time, only to yank you back into the below-freezing, ice-laden hell you’d lived in since November-ish. Now I live in a much more temperate climate with basically three seasons: cool(ish), rainy, and HOT… and rainy and cool don’t last long. Yesterday morning the classical station DJ commented that we’re now in the period where we likely won’t see below seventy degrees during the day until November or December. Yet I find that emotionally this time of year still holds some residual effects of near-Springs past, especially in regards to my musical leanings. I find it difficult to give into peppy pop tunes without balancing them with the more morose, slow dirge-like tunes of the winter. Just as the flowers, even here, aren’t all ready to bloom, I’m not ready to emerge from my emotional cocoon and embrace the warmer weather with happier music… and yet I can’t quite resist the siren call of approaching spring.
Thus I give you a sampling of the tunes which have thus far occupied my March:

Jason Walker – Down
Sara Bareilles – Breathe Again
Tony Lucca – Always
Loreena McKennitt – Brian Boru’s March
Michael BublĂ© – Hollywood
Tony Lucca – Like Love
Darren Criss & Lea Michele – Don’t You Want Me (yes, Darren… yes I do…)
Eliza Doolittle – Missing (kitschy name aside, any spunky little Brit who samples “Come Softly to Me” gets major bonus points)
Plumb – Cut
Imelda May – Love Tattoo
Sky Ferreira – Obsession
Hanson - Give a Little
Digital Daggers – Head Over Heels
Ernie Halter – Black Coffee in Bed

Adjust Me?

Not sure if my mind exists in a different habitat than the majority of the movie going public, but I found myself just kind of whelmed by The Adjustment Bureau. I likes me some Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt doesn’t usually annoy me, and both were good in the film. The writing was strong, though I feel that the performances carried it well and in the hands of a lesser cast and director it might not have been as engaging. The story I found intriguing and didn’t feel too let down by the explanation of the whole system, but overall I’m not feeling too positive about the experience.
I will say that as an English major and history buff, I did have a bit of an issue with a section of the reasoning behind the Bureau and how they decide when to fully allow free will (anyone who’s studied Imperialism and the so-called Dark Ages should take issue with blanket statements about those periods, positive or negative). And while I did feel connected to David and Elise, both as characters and with regard to their relationship, I did desire a little more development in the way they connected so quickly. As my gal pal Tishy stated at their first encounter, “It never happens like that,” and she’s right. Generally speaking, none of that obsession-masked-as-love ish happens like that in real life. And if it does, especially to that extent, most rational people would sick the cops on Matt Damon. I’d love to believe in the dippy romantic aspects of life, but we just aren’t tuned like that anymore.
Still, it was a fun ride, with an almost bullshit free explanation of the reasoning behind and function of the Bureau, and some pretty awesome doors I’d like to be able to run through.

14 March 2011

Jane Snare

Yes, Charlotte Brontë, even dead and unable to collect royalties you still get my money. Even though I have a hate-appreciate relationship with your critical blockbuster of a novel, I still cannot resist the siren call of another adaptation when it comes creeping into theatres (or onto my telly). Thus I gave in this weekend and ventured out, armed with a trusty band of ladies, to see what this new film adaptation held in store.
To start, I must say that the cinematography, lighting, and overall mood of the film better matched the tone of the story than just about any other adaptation. Also, though he doesn’t exactly qualify as a member of the Less Than Handsome Club (understatement), Michael Fassbender made a better-than-normal Rochester. Miss Mia also portrayed Jane’s different states of vulnerability and self reliance quite well. However, the chemistry between them left something to be desired, a fault I attribute more to the structure of the film and the absence of some vital moments from the book than to either actor’s performance. Let’s face it, carrying off believable chemistry between a man of forty-ish and a woman of seventeen presents a difficult challenge. However, as proved a few years ago by Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens, it’s entirely possible to do without being at all creeptastic.
Now for the, erm, issues. I’m going to try to steer away from the issues that relate directly to the source material (i.e. Rochester’s a douchebag), and just stick with the problems inherent in condensing and style. The concept of crafting a darker, more gothic adaptation worked well as a whole, however within the confines of a two and a half hour movie, some of the extended dark sequences in the end took up time that could (and should) have been given to some of the even darker and more important moments in the story. This, coupled with extended sequences of Jane moping around Thornfield grounds and a highly repetitive ‘escape’ sequence from the hall not only slowed the pace of the film, but took up time which could have been dedicated to more important moments… like the gypsy sequence, or the veil tearing, or Jane’s nightmares, or ALL of Grace Poole’s scenes. You know, the REALLY dark, gothic, scary and important sequences. These sequences not only showcase the best of the story’s gothic side, they develop and deepen Rochester and Jane’s relationship… so when she gets all mopey that he’s gone, you understand it better.
The flashback method worked well to a point. It helped speed along the childhood moments which, to be frank, aren’t why we watch the adaptations. We want to get right to the juicy stuff at Thornfield. Jane’s aunt and cousins are assholes; Lowood School is full of douches except for one friendly girl who dies, the end. Also, it was a nice change to see Jane start out with St. John and his sisters to see their kindness extended and give a basis for Jane’s affinity for them from pretty much the start (also, Jamie Bell, Holliday Granger, and Tamzin Merchant are all made of awesome -- I hope they continue to get more and more work). However, as the film progresses, there aren’t enough returns to the Rivers family to make their relationships with Jane strong enough to sustain her caring for them when they reach the climactic scenes. Also, um, cousins anyone? Did we just feel making that connection would get to creepy or something?
In any case, conceptually this adaptation works in bringing the darker (figurative and literal) aspects of the story out. However, too many sequences of empty moping and unnecessary eye flirting and candle lighting didn’t leave room to cover some of the most important emotional (and darkest) moments in the film, thereby not allowing for the real chemistry between Jane and Rochester to come through, thus leaving me more emotionally empty than I have been while watching other interpretations.
Sorry, Fassbender, Bell, and BabyDickens, you’re still trumped by Toby Stephens.

10 March 2011

Quite right, too…

Some evenings you have to let go of the internal push to write or edit or create. Sometimes you just need to emote. Sometimes that emoting equates to crying yourself into a pool of tears on your sofa. It’s cleansing and oddly fulfilling to release whatever tensions block you from progress.
We each have our own way of inviting these waves of emotion, and I’m not going to out anyone I know who has divulged theirs. However I am going to say that for me, the quickest route to an emotional purging is usually an emotionally affecting piece of TV, or a film. Music can work wonders as well, but it takes a while (usually) to build up to the release. Certain video works, when the conditions are right, can take all of two minutes… sometimes less.
Last night was one of those nights. From the depths of whatever internal oceans inside me, I felt a sudden need for release. Still, I’m a busy gal with things to accomplish, so the slow burn approach was not going to cut it. I went right for the tear-duct jugular: Doctor Who.
Over the past couple years it has become increasingly clear that should I ever be fortunate enough to find someone who wants to spend the rest of his life with me (and I desire the same), he’ll have to be someone I feel comfortable being this emotional blob around. I don’t intend to be, or even to intentionally expose this aspect of myself unless necessary, but I need to know he can handle it when it arises. And really, if we’re going to be together he’ll need to be a New Whovian which means sooner or later he’ll have to see this side of me unless I ban him from watching certain episodes in my presence.
It may not be everyone’s kind of litmus test for security, but anyone (friend or significant other or whatevs) who can handle the puddle of emotion I become while watching, say, “Doomsday,” rates pretty high on my scale of Personal Comfort With Another Human.
And anyone who breaks down with equaled emotion may just be my emotional soul mate.

The residual effects of this are making me a bit shaky today. I’ve gone to some pretty deep and vulnerable places this week when on my own, only to require the Mask of OK to be firmly replaced very quickly and sustained around others. Still, in order to access my productive and creative side I need a little exploration of self, which tends to get pretty messy.

It’s either that or find me some opium and trip out until I compose a sequel to Kubla Kahn.

On Gallifrey did the Lonely God
A stately citadel inhabit...

09 March 2011

Trust Your King, Baby

Two very geektastic things have occurred thus far today. It’s Ash Wednesday (no meat so far for me, but that’s not the Ash I’m talking about) aaaaaaannnnnnd the airdate for the start of the new Doctor Who season was announced. I may have actually jumped up and down like a five-year-old about that for a few seconds. Mostly because it seems that the BBC and its American subsidiary have finally come to realize that making us Yanks wait weeks, and even days, for new episodes of Doctor Who in this ever-increasingly connected world that we live in is actually a form of extreme mental and emotional torture. We can avoid the interwebs for a few hours while the time zones align properly, but keeping ourselves from (even accidentally) spoilers after just twenty four hours have passed is nearly impossible. So thank you, Gods of the BBC, for your benevolent understanding and for succumbing to the will of the people.
Also, the new tagline: Trust Your Doctor = love.

While I feel like a horrible Campbell-ite for forgetting the importance (and if I’m honest, the existence) of Ash Wednesday, my office has been chatting about it enough to make up a little ground. I find myself pondering why there are no pubs/bars/etc that celebrate this day. It would certainly be a hit among horror geeks and filmmaking hipsters in Michigan (especially in Grand Rapids and around The D), and there are plenty of LA people who I’m sure would love any excuse to drink and watch cheesy horror movies… come to think of it, I think all decent-sized cities have enough horror-loving lushes to warrant at least one bar holding an event that screens at least one Evil Dead movie while offering Ash-inspired cocktails.
When I open the comfort food pub (plus food truck) with my friends, we are so doing this every year.

Hail to the King, baby!

08 March 2011

Confession Time

Not like ‘this is a guilty pleasure I’m admitting to’ confession. We’re talking full on ‘I was born a lapsed Catholic’ confession. Anyone who’s been through the Catholic ringer knows that even when you don’t know what (if any) form of religion or higher power you believe in anymore, there’s ritualistic aspects of the Catholic Church that never leave you. For many of us, Lent is one of those.
Every year for the past, erm, decade-ish I have succumbed to that residual guilt which accompanies the period known as Lent and have sacrificed my deep love of fried foods for forty days. Some years it goes well. Others it does not. Still, I keep the tradition going because regardless of any religious reasons, or even residual guilt that only exists as a childhood remnant of having said guilt ingrained in me like an emotional tattoo, giving up fatty, deep fried food for six weeks isn’t exactly bad for my body. Some swanky health nuts cut it out all together, and I applaud them. I am no such paragon of healthy eats and will likely never be, so for this brief period, though around week three I typically turn into a raging bitch due to French fry withdrawal, I will endeavor to be a little more virtuous in terms of what I put into my body, even if I only do it out of misplaced residual guilt. Any reason to get healthy without harming yourself is a good idea in my book…

07 March 2011

Got a little Lycan in you? Would you like some?

While doing some cleaning and organizing this weekend (both mental and physical), I happened to spend a ridiculous amount of time with the telly on in the background, flipping between Indiana Jones trilogy (There are only three. Just three. Do you hear me? Only three movies exist!), and the Underworld trilogy.
Now, much as people might react with surprise and dismay, I am not really on the Underworld fan-wagon. Why not? Well, a) not a fan of Kate Beckinsale. She just does nothing for me. B) For being movies crammed with cool action sequences filled with almost as much gore-splatter as a Tarantino flick, they move at a snail’s pace. Every time I watch one I feel like six hours of my life have gone by; I don’t know what it is but the pacing on those films is so awkward. C) Vampires vs. werewolves stories need to have something really compelling for me to engage in them (like Taylor Lautner with his shirt off, or Ian Somerhalder being the NewSpike, or Seth Green as a tiny-man-by-day-wolf-badass-every-full-moon kind of guy, or Ian Somerhalder with his shirt off… you know, deeply compelling stuff). Actually Underworld has a rather compelling take on the whole vampires vs. werewolves mythos, it’s just buried under horrid pacing, electric blue contacts, and Kate Beckinsale’s dripping wet latex suit. So why did I spend a not-insignificant portion of my weekend with this train wreck of a series in the background of my life? Simple: Michael Sheen.
Don’t get me wrong, the Brit actors in these movies kick a ton of ass: Tony Curran, Derek Jacobi, and Bill “I’d watch him read the phonebook” Nighy, but they all behave pretty much as one might expect them to behave in this kind of genre. Waltz on, Michael Sheen, and it’s goodbye Tony Blair, hello tortured badass Lucian. The first Underworld features Suave Badass, except for the brief scene where he tells Michael about the start of the war and his forbidden love affair with Viktor’s daughter. I just spoilered you for the whole series -- Whoops :P That one sequence earns him the cred to have his own movie where he gets to Maximus Decimus Meridius his way through the whole movie, except Michael Sheen’s such a badass that he lives through it all, damaged though he may be, to carry on another seven hundred years (just spoiled Gladiator, too. Don’t think I missed that). Also, unlike many of his lycan comrades (and nowadays seemingly EVERY vampire), Lucian never gets whiny about his situation. His life blows massive food-poisoning-from-KFC sized chunks, but he deals with it. He takes one look at his lover’s dumbfuck daddy and says, “All right, old man, you want to have at me for centuries for loving your daughter? Bring it. ‘Cause Im’ma throwdown with a vengeance you think only you possess… and then I’m going to even the score and blend the races like I did with your babygirl, just to piss you off.”
Now, I admit to my affinity for tall, lanky, (generally) pale English blokes, but I don’t typically go in for Michael Sheen. Yet you lather that man up in movie sweat, give him some longer-and-dirtier-than-Strider hair, tan & buff him up a bit and turn him into a badass Lycanthrope and I will watch the slow-moving hours tick by content with my British werewolf hunk keeping me company.

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