Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"I'm Dreaming of a Green Summer"

My uncle John and his granddaughter Clare mowing the lawn on his riding mower. What a happy moment captured! 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The soul is the weariest part of the body

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many times will you remember a certain afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

-The Narrator (Paul Bowles), from the film, The Sheltering Sky

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ten Things I was Really Into as a Kid

In keeping with the nostalgia theme, I present to you "Ten Things I was Really Into as a Kid". I apologize for how boring this post is. But it was a nice trip down memory lane. What were some of the things you were into? Let me know!

1. All the "Fairy" books. The Blue Fairy Book, The Red Fairy Book, The White Fairy Book," etc. They were sort of messed up fairy tales, too. The illustrations were amazing. Look for them in your library some time! 2. The Beatles movie, HELP! My brother and I still quote this movie. We used to watch it alll the time.

3. Kaleidoscopes. I used to collect them. I have no idea why.

4. Carousel Horses-OBSESSED. I used to collect them, too. I would make lists of all the ones I wanted to buy and show my mom frequently.

5. The Disney movie Alice & Wonderland. I liked to hang upside down from the couch and look through the mirror and pretend I was in a backwards, inverted world resembling the rabbit hole.

6. MTV VJ Martha Quinn. She rocked and will always rock. 

7. The show, Rhoda. I used to race home from the pool to watch this show. Again, I have no idea why. 

8. Spy vs. Spy. I used to draw them all the time. They intrigued and scared me.
9. The OZ books. So awesome! I love them still.

10. Goonies II for NES-It is actually killing me that I can't play this game right this very second. I used to wake up in the middle of the night thinking of how to advance to the next screen ("oh yeah, I can use the jumping shoes!") Looooved this game.

Ha ha?

I have this like/hate relationship with mumblecore movies. Mumblecore refers to a form of cinema verite characterized by cheap/low production and lots of talking and improvisation. The “plots” (term used loosely) generally focus on malaised, artistic twenty-somethings who, depending on who you ask, you can relate to or you want to punch in the face. The films don’t really have plots like traditional cinematic storytelling; they’re full of lots of squirmy interactions strung together with socially awkward, yet realistic individuals. Some of my friends absolutely hate these films and though I kind of understand their frustration and boredom, I’m often drawn in by the realism. My biggest complaint of these films is that the characters take themselves sooo seriously. Real life can also involve much humor!

I guess you could argue Richard Linklater sort of popularized this genre with his early films, like Slacker, but today Andrew Bujalski and the Duplass brothers (Mark & Jay) are probably the strongest examples of the movement. I couldn’t really get into the Duplass brothers’ films, but I’ve seen a couple of Bujalski’s--Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation. The latter stars Justin Rice (lead singer of the band Bishop Allen) as a broke musician who’s moved back to NY and as much as the film sort of irritates me, I find Rice charismatic and likable so I got caught up in his story despite myself (see above photos 1&2). And Funny Ha Ha (see above, last two photos) was like peering into a window of my life as an awkward twenty-something—the actress reminds me of my younger self so much (way more than Laura Dern!). I even dressed like her through college and after (her uniform-an ironic t-shirt paired with corduroys and some cool kicks.) I could totally relate to her shuffling aimlessly through temp jobs and romantic encounters all the while obsessing over her ambiguous relationship with her close, platonic guy friend love interest (yeah, had a few of those). What do you think, does she look like me? Look at that chin! :)

But what really initiated this post today was listening to Terry Gross’ interview with Lena Dunham, auteur of the new “mumblecore” film Tiny Furniture. I was on the fence about seeing this film, but this interview really cemented my desire to see it after hearing how thoughtful and insightful Dunham is. Stay tuned--next post will be about Dunham and this interview!

(Also, below I’ve posted the trailer to another Justin Rice film called Harmony and Me which verges on mumblecore, but I think is way funnier and more accessible. Also it stars Kevin Corrigan who is awesome.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tis the season for fuzzy...uh...what?

In the spirit of the holidays, I decided to review some of my most beloved presents through my years...growing up during the wonderful eighties! First up we have the Easy Bake Oven! Hey Mom and Dad, want this plate full of mush that's been sitting next to a 100-watt lightbulb for an hour? Mmmm! I loved "cooking" with this thing despite the fact everything turned out pretty gross. Look at it, though! It's a marvel. It looks like something that should be in Tron. It looks fairly terrifying actually.

Next up we have the fantastic Snoopy Snowcone Machine! Look at that funny little guy from the band Devo on the left there. Actually Snoopy has the same hat on, too. Hm, which came first Devo's song Whip It or the Snoopy Snow Cone Machine?

I always crack up Gabe while retelling the story of this toy. I would try to turn the ice crank but as I was a tiny toothpick I was never strong enough of course, so I'd make my dad turn the thing who all the while would be swearing JEEZUS! trying to get the crank moving. Good times!

Okay third we have the fantastic...wait for it... Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop. Huh? It was really called that?? It sounds like a brothel or something.
This thing was so fun! Even though I don't think this barbershop ran as smoothly as the above photo depicted. So the way this worked--you put your little guy in the chair, turned the crank (an obvious theme in my childhood toys) and Play-Doh would come out of the holes in their heads. You could coif their hair using a plastic perm mold or trim it. I'm not making this up! Fuzzy pumpers. Yep.
Last, but certainly not least I give you...Fashion Plates! The inspiration for this blog post, really. I had a dream about this toy; a toy I had long since forgotten but was obviously imprinted in my brain forever. It was my absolute favorite. Sort of like making paper dolls. You chose which plates you wanted to combine to create a swanky lady and outfit. The backs of the plates had patterns on them so you could get your outfit together and then color the clothes plaid, polka dotted or starry.
Obviously I am not the only thirty-something lady dreaming about this toy because they sell on ebay for like fifty bucks! Ah the expensive price of nostalgia!

Monday, December 6, 2010


I've in the past blogged of one of my favorite girls, Sibel (my friends Tim and Sita's adorable daughter) and I'm thinking now that I'm overdue in posting a more recent photo. Isn't she a doll!?

And she's now living in Germany so she will potentially be trilingual (since Mom speaks Danish to her and Dad speaks English). Actually she signs, too, so will that make her... quadrilingual?

And if I broke your heart last night, it’s cause I love ya mo-ost of all.

Oh Ryan Gosling. You sure do know how to pull my heart strings with those sad eyes of yours. (Yeah, I’m not talking about that Notebook movie.) Half Nelson slayed me--it was so damn sad. And Lars and the Real Girl was sweet; sure maybe a little contrived, but I still loved it and got choked up watching that, too.

But this new film Blue Valentine with Michelle Williams might be his most heart-wrenching yet. I think Williams is a really amazing actress, too. I suspect it’s going to be a little like an “Eternal Sunshine” storyline—a nonlinear tale of a couple’s deteriorating relationship made all the more tragic with the juxtaposed images of a simpler time when they were delighted by each other.

God, all you’re really watching in the trailer is a bleary-eyed, sad couple, yet I feel like slumping over my desk just watching it. And I just can’t get the song out of my head...

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's a Girl To Do?

I’m lucky to have many talented, artistic friends whom I should blog about more often. So with that, I wanted to give big props to my friend Ben, whose latest comic, The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd, is blowing up all over the place (Gawker, The New Yorker, The Atlantic... even Fox News!). I can’t wait to read it!

Here’s a great review/plot description from Robot6:
Told in Marra’s inimitable, po-faced ’80s-trash throwback style, TIFAoMD’s preview pages exhibit Dowd — winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and recently named the eighth-largest hack in journalism by Salon’s Alex Pareene — lounging in lingerie, battling burglars, flirting with fellow Times columnist Tom Friedman, and trying to blow the lid off the Valerie Plame scandal before her huge date with George Clooney. And for a political junkie like me, it’s basically heaven.
Ben’s an amazing illustrator (his other comics include the awesome Night Business and Gangsta Rap Posse) and you’ll see I posted some examples of his art below. I think his work has a heartbeat, albeit an irregular, pounding one. His style jumps out at you immediately—colorful, shellacked, hyper-muscular figures that pulse and breathe with life. His subject matter includes Sci-Fi, Blaxploitation, Sexploitation, Epic Hero tales and Fantasy (and now apparently the D.C. political scene). But he’s not just talented. He’s warm and totally hilarious and charming. You can’t help but want to be around him. So I’m so glad he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves! Check out more of his work at his website

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Intermission: Where is YOU?

Well, here I am. I’m going to try to include more of myself in my blog (which admittedly has the potential to end up boring and disastrous, but oh well here goes?). Last night, the rain was so loud on my skylight that I couldn’t sleep at all. As I lay in bed, I tried to think of topics to blog about. And I guess lying in bed lent itself to thinking about dreaming and how strange and interesting dreams are. It’s obvious how much of our dreams are remnants from our day. We weave together unresolved arguments and worries, fragments of images we saw on TV, people we passed on the street. But what struck me as interesting is how our waking lives sometimes mimic our dream states.

DC was a strange period of my life. Moving to a new city is always a challenge, particularly when you’re an adult settled in your life with your friends. I was comfortable in Pennsylvania, but too comfortable, and going back to school was a needed change (or at least I thought so at the time). I tend to have a lot of dreams where I’m exploring, so living in a new place and exploring new surroundings tends to automatically remind me of my dreams. Anyways, I was thinking last night of this odd freelance job I took while I was in DC with a mapping company based in San Francisco. My job was to literally “ride the rails”: each week I visited a list of metro stations and took notes mapping the exits, the number of elevators, accessibility for the disabled, etc. I found the task surreal and dreamlike because I rode up and down different lines without a real destination. Never mind the fact that the DC metro is one of the craziest, most awesomely dreamy and futuristic-looking transit systems around! I’d get out at the stations and maybe poke my head outside occasionally, but in general I spent most of my time riding the train or waiting at the station for the next one to arrive. Sometimes I’d be stuck waiting for a half an hour at a station. So I would read articles for school when I was feeling industrious, but often I just caught myself people watching and thinking.

Maybe these waiting periods were also what seemed so dream-like to me. In some ways, really, our dreams are our waiting rooms until we wake. Our lives are our waiting rooms before we die. And then maybe we hit another waiting room after we die ...?