Sigh. I'm having a Netflix Roadshow crisis. I had originally planned to throw financial caution to the wind to head out to see The Shining in Colorado. However, I have discovered that although they are showing the Kubrick version of The Shining, the screening location (the Stanley Hotel) was not Kubrick's shooting location. Instead it was the shooting location for the spectacrapular made-for-tv remake. I considered re-reading the book and going anyway, as its said that The Stanley was the hotel that inspired the novel...but I've just gotten word back that the hotel is entirely booked for the weekend. My second choice - a visit to San Fran to see Escape for Alcatraz at Alcatraz (and to possibly
But what of my impromptu vacation plans, based almost solely around a chance to watch films I can rent from virtually any video store? Harrumph. Well, I've never seen The Warriors..and I'm told I should. Maybe I should take this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and see The Warriors and visit Coney Island. Ah..what to do, what to do? (Yeah, I know. Boo-hoo. My life is so hard.)
There's an extra long list of links today. Not because I like you (even though I do), but because it's a holiday weekend and I'm taking Monday off. And I'm trying to kid myself that I won't spend the whole day wasting time on the Internet.
- It's Thematic, See? Kubrick's first film. - [gab]
- Morrissey Says, "We're All Going Mad." Earlier this week I posted a link to Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street. Well, here are The Smiths on what appears to be a British kids's show. I can only marvel at (a) the song they chose to play in the background and (b) the song Sandie Shaw sings at the end of the show.
- Thank Heaves for YouTube, Or I'd Be Stuck Watching Regular Trashy TV: 100 Awesome Music Videos from Pitchfork-[D] and the YouTube Cartoon Index-[BM]
- And Speaking of YouTube: Thank Heavens for Umm..Yeah...which aggregates YouTube and such into channels. *Swoon*. -[SH]
- Stuff I'm Posting Just Because I Think It's Cool, But Don't Really Have Much To Say About:
- Harry Jr. Accessory Holder: I kind of afraid of it, and I sort of want one. -[G] (Also wanted: Ninha vs. Pirate bandages , Rejuvenile [EA] Not Wanted: Rapebear -[MF] and Tampon Doll -[C] )
- Beware your pants
- Worms say "Hi!" - [N]
- Wisdom from Cat and Girl
- Harryhausen Skeletons! | No. Just No. Badass Vamps Do Not Wear Hawaain Shirts . (Sorry, Blankbaby, but it's true.)- [CT]
- Magritte Mac -[K]
My feet, like most feet, are rounded at the toes. So why do shoe
manufacturers insist on making work-appropriate shoes narrow and pointed
at the front? Whose feet are shaped that way?
...I'm just more highly evolved than you are. -[F&J]
And in other news: Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah Nyah.
So...it turns out there's worse thing than discovering you're sharing your living space with a squirreled; like, for example, discovering you're sharing your living space with a bear. Yeek.
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here.
- Superstition May Not Be The Way: But it was pretty awesome when Stevie Wonder performed it on Sesame Street (do musicians still do that? Perform on Sesame Street?) My favorite part is the kid rocking out on the fire escape.
- “Alack, good Sir Dave; I fear I cannot!” The Top 10 Classic SF Lines As Written by Shakespeare. - [SFS]
- This (Viral Advertisement) Video Is In No Way Safe For Work: But it does rather explain why construction projects seem to go on forever. If this is the way things really go on construction sites, I'm quite surprised things get built at all. Scruffs, Hardcore. - [F&J]
- Ew. Ew. Ew!: Just looking at photos of this Beer Battered Deep Fried Bacon Double Quarter Pounder is making my arteries cry out in pain. - [N]
A few music related items before we get to the goods:
- Is there, in existence, a pair of noise-reducing headphones that aren't the size of a small loaf of bread? I dig the chunky retro style of most versions, but as I'd be using these headphones on my commute and in the office, I'd prefer something more portable and less conspicuous. (Besides which, I have a nano, and it seems ludicrous to attach great big giant headphones to a teeny-tiny music player). Don't bother mentioning the in-the-ear style ones, my ears won't abide them Currently I'm using ear clips, which are quite comfortable, and a style I like, but they don't fare well in areas with lots of ambient noise (like, say, on the bus or in my office). Today, I had my music player turned out so loudly just to hear that Maria Callas' voice left my ears buzzing after I took the headphones off. And whereas there are worse ways to develop tinnitus than listening to Maria Callas, I'd rather not develop at all. So any suggestions would be most welcomed.
- People who talk about the past as "a simpler time" and "full of innocence" should really listen to some of those bygone era's tunes. Mack the Knife (1928 & 1954) is about a murder (Which makes that old McDonald's commercial sort of creepy.) Bobby Darin's Clementine is a callous comedy about a fat girl's run in with at rickety bridge (1960); Harry the Hipster (mid 1940's) sings about drink, drugs and sex. I know this, because these are the kinds of things I'm ruining my ears trying to listen to on my nano.
- Other inappropriate things on my music player lately: The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. Disappointingly, they have no songs available on iTunes, which is a pity, as I've just had an impulse to increase my Doo Dah Band collection.
- There's no Beatles stuff on iTunes either - and yet whenever I tell iTunes to populate my player with a random selection from my personal music library, several Beatles tracks always turn up. I think iTunes wishes Apple Computers and Apple Records could be friends.
- Tonight, I'm going to see Def Leppard and Journey live in concert. Go ahead. Be jealous. You know you want to. I think I might have to stop off and buy a lighter between work and the show. Monster Power Ballads and unintentional whiplash, here I come. Expect me to have no voice left tomorrow - even though I'll be trying to keep up with some vocalist I've never heard of instead of Steve Perry (feel free to be slightly less jealous).
- Real Life Merit Badges: At last, a reason from Worth 1000 to dust off my stupid sewing Merit Badge and put those skills to good use. I'm pretty certain I qualify for these. -[BB]
- Dork Out with Your Desktop: Decorate your desktop with scenes from your favorite games. -[C]
- Beeping Sleauty: And other spoonerifc Fairy Tales. - [MF]
- Write With Me: I'm still sticking to my desire to have my organs donated and my remains cremated when I finally meet my unfortunate end (hopefully many, many years from now) - but now I have a quandary. I previously wanted my remains scattered throughout the world (a little post mortem travel, if you will), but now I also kind of want my cremains made into a lifetime supply of writing implements. Perhaps instead of having my remains scattered, I can bequeath the pencils to travellers, to be used in their travel journals. That would be kinda groovy. I just wish it were something less delible. -[pa]
- And Speaking of Writing: May nothing I write ever end-up on..well...anyone's end. - [thanks, Deb!]
- I Should Have Put This First, To Carry on the Music Theme, But If I Had You Might Not Have Made it Through the Other Links: Loads and loads of 80s music videos. Yeah. See? Say goodbye to your productivity for the next few hours. (Oh Cutting Crew, how I've missed you.) - [#/u/b/g]
You know, I intended to use last week's vacation as a chance to buckle down and get ahead on my mountain of personal projects. However, without the restritctions and rigors of a day job to work around, I found myself listless, rudderless; without focus. Aside from the odd social engagement, I had no particular place to be at any given time - so why rush to get work done on Monday, when Tuesday, Wednesday, and the ever distant Friday would do just as well. So instead of facing upcoming deadlines with a leisurely pace, I instead lived last week like a shiftless gadabout1, a wastrel, a sluggardly slugabed.
And my, was it heaven. Why did it have to end?
Alas - back to work - and to the links!
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here.
- This is Why You Should Always Carry a Swiss Army Knife, A Chocolate Bar, and Some Sodium Pentothal...Just in Case: List of problems solved by MacGyver. - [D]
- It's Cute. It Has Robots. It's Making Me Crazy: It's the latest version of Grow: Grow ver 2. Why can't these robots get along?!? (Speaking of robots..check out this tattoo, which I find simultaneouldy compelling and repusive) -[WW]
- Benefit from the Mistakes of Others: People share what they've learned from life. -[LH]
- Movie Tapestries: I don't necessarily recognize all the films represented here, but surely this is The Matrix, The Hobbit, Spiderman Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker all re-imagined as classic Russian(?) tapestries. (Also, I have no idea who the gentleman in the be-feathered hat and pink frock coat stealing data with his pocket USB key is meant to be, but I rather like him. He's Olde Tyme pimpin'). -[SH]
1 Albeit a gadabout with an inexplicable proclivity for historical sites and museums
- If This Were Real Life, I'd Need Coffee to Function ALL the Time (More Than I Do Now) Because If I Saw Those Golden People, I'd Never Sleep Again: Folgers has a new commercial. It frightens me. - [F&J]
- Speaking of Coffee: Obey the warning, fear me when I haven't had it. Make your own warning sign here. - [GB]
- I Just Had A Minor Geek Gasm: George Harrison sings a song about pirates, and is introduced by Eric Idle.
- You Know I Can Resist a Corruption of Beloved Children's Characters from My Youth: Care Bear Ethnic Cleansing. If only someone would do something similar to Scrappy Doo.
- And Speaking of Corruption: Apparently the Power Puff Girls have grownup, and not only have they gone to high school, but they've gone anime. (I wonder how long before we get PowerPuff Girls Z here.)- [FG]
One quick lunch and coffee later, my camera and I were in Eastern State Penitentiary - the first prison of it's kind. Al Capone had a stay there. And even Dickens visited.1 If ever there was a place in existence to appeal to someone with a fascination for patina, decay, corridors and doors - Eastern State Penn is it. I have no idea why I'd not visited before.2.
Eastern State Pen is a ruin; one they're working to make into a "stabilized ruin" so that it can be preserved and toured without losing its history. This means it's crumbling, leaky, full of debris and broken glass, and several areas are off-limits to help stave off the possibility that parts of the ceiling will cave-in and crush a visitor. As an added precaution, all guests are required to sign a waiver saying that if such a cave-in occurs, the Pen is in no way responsible, because it's the guest's own damn fault for wandering around a crumbling, leaky, glass and debris riddled structure in the first place.
We Interrupt This Blog Post for A Public Service Announcement: If you're planning a day in which you will be wandering in a crumbling, leaky, glass and debris riddled structure, may we suggest that you plan your footwear according. Do not, for example, wear flip-flops - which are in no way protective, and which are barely shoes at all. Trust me on this one - even though somehow my feet survived. Thank you for your patience. We now return you to your regularly scheduled nonsense.
Above and beyond that, the prison is sad, atmospheric, eerie, haunting and heart-wrenchingly disturbing and beautiful. Along with the chilly, cavernous corridors, crumbling paint and overall damage, the prison has that wonderful smell I sometimes associate with very old books:-a smell that is simultaneously of dryness and damp; like leaves after a rain in late Autumn just before winter comes; a scent swollen with age and imprinted with time.
Ok, maybe not everyone considers that wonderful. But I like it.
I was more than a little put out that I had to share the experience with other people touring the facility. I jealously wanted this delicious, abandoned, emptiness to myself for a while, as though if I could be in there alone, the prison would reveal some strange secrets to me. I wondered, very briefly, how difficult it would be, to slip into one of the "off-limit" cells with partially opened doors and hide there until after closing so I could have solitary run o the place for the night - be both Prisoner and Warden. It would be difficult, certainly, as staff is stationed regularly throughout, but timed right, I don't think impossible.
Then I thought, "You want to spend a night, alone, in a two hundred year-old building that's collapsing from disuse - one that gives you goose shivers while you're walking through it in the daytime, while it is full of life? Are you mad? And more succinctly, do you want to be? Because I don't think you and sanity would be close friends come the next morning." So I avoided the other tourists as best I could, and didn't try to surreptitiously stay3.
I did, however, take about a zillion pictures. And I will not lie to you - I'm overwhelmingly pleased with how the photos turned out. They don't quite capture the essence or beauty inherent in the space, but I do think they give a general idea. There are a few instances where I applied filters to the photos (I figured people who were not me might get bored looking at countless photos of doors and doorways), and I've indicated those photos as such. However, some of my favorites in the set are untouched. Although some of them look like they were shot in black and white or are in other ways special-effecty (but which are not so marked)- it is really just a happy happenstance of the prison layout, the hazy sky, and my inability to correctly operate my camera.4
Incorporated into the prison space are a number of art exhibits that focus on and/or center around the prison and its history. My favorite is the Ghost Cats installation (pics), which "represent the colony of cats that took up residence in the prison grounds after the closing of the penitentiary in 1971." The most affecting, however, was the Pandemonium sound installation in this corridor5. Essentially, cells in both the upper and lower levels were rigged to make a noise as though someone inside was banging something metallic inside them. The noises being randomly and spaced apart - and then eventually become a call and answer, finally crescendoing into a riotous cacophony of chaos. Even knowing it's an exhibit (even being able to see the wires), the effect is more than a little unnerving.
And if the fact that an a sudden noise bursts from the darkness of the long-abandoned, decrepit cell which you happen to be photographing doesn't make you jump 3 feet out of your skin, well, then, you're a stronger woman than I.6
As I didn't make it to the Pen until nearly after 3PM, I didn't have all the time I wanted to explore. ESP is definitely on my re-visit list.
Although I'll be sticking to the offical, daylight hours. For the time being.
1 Although I find it funny they mention this, as he didn't have very kind things to say. Still, Dickens signed the guest books, ergo so did I, because I am a big book nerd.
2 I was there once before, for their annual haunted house - but that's very cartoony and doesn't give one a good feel for the space. Walking around the prison in broad daylight was considerably creepier than screeching and giggling at people in rubber masks.
3 It would be rather funny though, if I had, and then got busted for trespassing. Then I could tell people I had to go to prison for going to prison. And then I would laugh and laugh and laugh at the irony. (Because, as we already discussed, staying alone at night there would surely drive me mad and cause me to laugh riotously at ridiculous things.)
4 Several times, I would take a picture with the flash, then realize that the flash added a dimension of light and intensity to the color of the area that didn't actually exist - so I switched my camera to the ISO setting, which seemed to give truer results. (The difference is very noticeable.) Which is also why so many pics look like they were shot in the dark. They were.
5 Incidentally, the corridor numbering system I use in my photos is in no way related to the numbering system actually used by the prison. Their numbers have to do with organizational location, whereas mine is more "This is the 4th photo I took of a cell." So don't use my pictures as a roadmap. Not that you would, but I wanted to make sure you knew just in case. After all, I didn't have the foresight to get you to sign a waiver.
6 And I wanted to spend the night? Man, if that thing continued after closing, I wouldn't have made it an entire hour before I was a sobbing pile of goo in the circular center room.
This was meant to be a short post about my day. As it happens, I'm not so good with the short. So I'm taking one day and giving it two posts. It's my blog. I can blog what I wanna.
I have an odd exercise cycle. Essentially, I sit on my ass in front of the computer and/or other passive entertainment for 20 odd hours a day for 50 odd weeks a year. Then - every once in a while I take a vacation - and for those vacation days I walk and walk and walk as though I've never walked before. I will walk from one end of town to the other. Across bridges. Along an underpass. I'll walk from dawn till dusk, have some supper and then walk some more.
And I almost always do it in the least sensible shoes possible. Which is why it usually takes me 48 weeks to recover before I do it again.
I had intended to do yesterday's walking in NYC, but once I discovered waiting in line for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park was a half-day commitment in and of itself, I decided to do some local sight-seeing instead. Because my family is ridiculously generous, I got a new camera for my birthday, and there are two local spots where I was itching to take it: Laurel HiIl Cemetery and Eastern State Penitentiary. So I set out with the idea of doing one or the other - and if I had the energy maybe both.
I didn't have the energy. But I'm stubborn, so I did both anyway.
Laurel Hill is a historic Philadelphia cemetery, and one to which I have been before. It is full of names locals will recognize (Wharton, Rittenhouse, etc), stretches along rolling hills and overlooks the river. It was specifically designed to be a beautiful and welcoming place - one people would enjoy, rather than dread, visiting. People used to picnic there apparently - a practice they no longer allow because people leave messes behind. It's a shame really - because being built into the side of a hill, the terrain is uneven, and unpredictable. Making one's way through the grounds is not unlike hiking, except that most of the flowers you see are made of stone. It's a great exercise, walking through Laurel Hill.
We Interrupt This Blog Post for A Public Service Announcement: If you're planning a day in which several hours of walking over hilly, unpaved terrain, and climbing up and down the occasional crumbling stone staircases, may we suggest that you plan your footwear according. Do not, for example, wear flip-flops - which are in no way supportive, and which are barely shoes at all. Trust me on this one - even though somehow my feet survived. Thank you for your patience. We now return you to your regularly scheduled mad woman's ramblings.
It's strange, although I find a certain beauty and peace to cemeteries, I've never gone to one with the express purpose of visiting the grave of someone I have known. It never occurs to me to commune with the dead in that way. I understand the appeal of it; having a physical touchstone for a memory. I suppose I dislike the idea that one has to go to one's grave to confer with their memory - as though their conciousnesses somehow keeps with their remains for all eternity, and their grave marker works like a direct line. Which is not to suggest people who go to visit the graves of loved ones think of the markers as some sort of Star Trek communicator badge to the Netherworld; it is simply how it plays out in my head. It's one of the reasons I want to be cremated and scattered when my time comes. I can't abide the idea of being tied to one place for all eternity.
Regardless, I do enjoy graveyards. Laurel Hill was specifically welcoming today - the weather was hazy and humid although not hot; the grounds were green and full of wildlife, the air was heavy with what I believe was honeysuckle, and. aside from some squirrels and birds (and the occasional groundskeeper), I was on my own for several hours. It was near to heaven
I am always amazed at what people put on grave markers - a sword if they were a solider, a caduceus if they were a doctor, a religious symbol if they were religious1, an upside down torch if..well...apparently, if they were dead. 2 Several tombs also had religious sayings, several of which were lovely, but I really can't help but wonder why, if this is the last thing you have to say to mankind. This is your absolute last and lasting word - why wouldn't you say something more about yourself - not what you did but who you were? Over and over again I felt myself wishing I could learn more of these people and their stories, that each marker came complete with a small brass plaque explaining something about them, like one might find at a museum.3
Mind you, there were a few that were descriptive. This man was an art lover who died too young, this man apparently fought for prisoner's rights,4 and this grave told a sad story without ever saying much at all. Of all the graves I visited, however, this simple one made me the saddest - even though I think it said more about the wife of the departed than the departed himself.
However this one, although also sad, was my favorite of the day. It was set off alone on a bluff and its statuary faced the river rather than the cemetery; entirely solitary. Here is what the side says:
WE LIVE IN DEEDS NOT YEARS
IN THOUGHTS NOT BREATHS
IN FEELINGS NO IN FIGURES ON A DIAL
WE SHOULD COUNT TIME HEART BY HEART THROBS
HE MOST LIVES
WHO THINKS MOST
FEELS THE NOBLEST
ACTS THE BEST
This is apparently a quote from Aristolte - but if you're going to let someone else have your last word - that's sure an amazing one to choose (or have chosen for you, I suppose). I'm quite enamoured with it.
Other than seeking out stories, myself focusing on the graves that were damaged or crumbling - either by acts of nature or simply time. I don't know what it says about me that I am especially drawn to things that have been damaged or worn away by time; what it means that I find beauty in the natural order of decay. I have a fondness for fallen tombstones, those titled by the shifting ground and/or worn away near to dust by sun and wind. I think it may be because it's a reminder that time moves infinitely on. And when time goes on, life goes on, and there's something hopeful in that.
You musn't think that although I took pictures of lots of broken things that Laurel Hill is negligent in it's upkeep. It's just massive, and time will have it's way. I saw several people working on the grounds while I was there (all very welcoming and friendly),5 and quite frankly if I ever change my mind about the burial business (although I doubt I shall), I hope I can be buried here, so people will feel comfortable and happy and restful if they come to talk to me at my grave. In fact, I hope that even if I don't change my mind, that I can have a marker here; preferably one that faces the river. Put an icon of an ink well and quill pen, or my blog banner or just a picture of me sticking my tongue out on the top. And hey - if I can't have a marker there, come visit me there when I'm dead anyway. I'm sure if you talk to any of those who are resting there, they'd be more than pleased to pass on the message.
1 I once had the unhappy occasion to be in a cemetery planning office. While there, I overheard one half of a telephone conversation in which someone was ordering a tombstone. Apparently the individuall in questionhad originally requested Cross iconography - but also wanted to indicate to all who came after them that they loved their dog. Apparently, there was no way to include both God and Dog on the grave marker, so they "86ed the Cross." It may not sound funny now, but it was hysterical at the time. Or maybe I was just hysterical. Trust me. It was funny.
2 I can't help but wonder what the grave marker symbology of our generation will be. Will we feel inclined to include images of cell phones on our graves to show we were important; laptops to show we were connected, or Tivos to show we never missed our favorite programs no matter how busy our lives became?
3 Because what is a cemetery, if not a people museum?
4 And is it me, or is his monument somehow suggesting he is in some way related to the Christ being absent from his tomb on Easter Sunday?
5 Although I gave the one carrying a rifle (presumably to frighten off unwanted animals?) a wide berth. I like Laurel Hill quite a bit, but I'm in no hurry to take up permanent residence.
My karma must be extra good this week; my inbox is virtually overflowing with Winner Notifications from international lotteries the world over. Who knew you could win millions of dollars in games of chance without even entering. It's crazy! I must have the luckiest email address ever.
You can bet I'll be eschewing work in light of this windfall. 1 Here's a list of links to keep you occupied while I fax my bank account, social security, and other life controlling numeric sequences to
perfect strangers the international prize awarding communities for what I am certain are completely benevolent, non-nefarious reasons. When the cash starts rolling in, you can help me decide how to spend it. (I was thinking of purchasing my own small country to rule...sort of a practice dictatorship until I achieve world dominion.):
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here
- How Are You Feeling (The Internet Knows): We Feel Fine is an fun little web app that identifies blog posts about feelings, collates them, and makes them searchable with an adorable graphic interface. The best part is the search function, which lets you (among other things)find feelers in your area. (thanks, Debbie!)
- Do You Dream of Flying?: Jon Von Holleben's Dreams of Flying photo project is whimsical and wonderful. - [AT]
- Is This What Happens When You Eat Too Many Mushrooms (MUSHROOMS!?: Zombies^3. (Why does the virus have a goatee?) -[SFS]
- Speaking of Zombies: I despised House of 1,000 Corpses, but was pleasantly surprised by The Devil's Rejects. I feel as though Rob Zombie is continually growing as a director, and that he has a good movie in him. I'm just not sure that movie is part of the Halloween franchise. (Will I see it? Naturally.)
1And because, as it happens, I'm on vacation this week.
making the out to
Colorado for the screening on the 16th
Naturally, I would stay at the hotel.
Dear Universe: I don't know what I did to deserve the positive karma, but thanks for a week full of pleasant surprises. (I complain a lot, so I just want to make sure I return the good vibes too.)
- Where Was This Video When I Was Taking American History? My Reports Would Have Rocked: George Washington. If this rock video is to be believed, our antecedent prez was one bad ass. (if you're watching at work, keep the volume low or put your headphones on. History is full of cartoon violence and naughty language.) - [sb]
- The Monkey Chow Diaries: One man's week-long quest to discover if man can live on Monkey Chow alone. Ah - the lengths some people will go to to avoid cooking and cleaning. (If he suffers no ill effects, how soon do you think before they start marketing People Chow for the rest of us lazy primate evolvees?) Also check out the blog and the daily vlog.) -[SF]
- For Those of You Who Can't Wait for Snakes on a Plane (You Know Who You Are): Tide yourself over with this video: Someone tell Sam Jackson he's my Bro. (audio NSFW)
- Ahh! Eek! Aiee! Creepy! (And I Sort of Want One): Genpets: pre-packaged, bio-engineered pets, available with a 1 or 3 year life span. Allergen free or not, pets should not come with "fresh strips." - [MF]
- Things You Know In Ways You Might Not Expect:
- Avenue Q's The Internet is for Porn using footage from X-Men III. (audio NSFW) Having not yet seen X-Men III, I don't know that I will be able to watch it with anything resembling a straight face. - [TSA STOTI]
- The Hoff does Secret Agent Man. - [av]
- Bugs Bunny 8 Mile spoof. (probably NSFW)
- Othello (abridged), as performed in the World of Warcraft.-[MF]
- Bollywood's take on the Bealtes I Wanna Hold Your Hand. -[SH]
Last year, Grant from Discombobulating Grant recommended that I declare June The Month of Sarcasmo, in recognition of both the anniversary of my birth and, no doubt, my inevitable future as your Most Exalted, Supreme, Almighty, Beloved Ruler of All Things. However, as June happens to be a popular month for birthdays among those I love and respect1, I certainly am not about to claim it all for myself.2
However, as the end of my 33rd year is nearly upon me, I thought it would be prudent to wrap up what I started with this post last December. Although I have to tell you, the first have of my 33rd year was far more action packed than the past six months. Which isn't to say I haven't been having a good time...it's just been in a distinctly quieter way.
I hope this isn't a sign that I'm slowing down in my dotage. I'd like to think that it just means I'm storing up energy for more wacky adventures. I'm simply not ready to start wearing purple and red. (They're not my best colors.)
Jan: The bulk of my January focused on my trip to London, which I naturally blogged about in excruciating (for you) detail. As you might have guessed from the ridiculous amount of time I devoted to recounting the trip, I had a fantabulous time. Also, all the theater I saw while there has inspired me to plan a trip to NYC to see Shakespeare in the Park.3
Feb: The most exciting part of my February, the month where Western culture celebrates romance? I got new glasses. If that's not the perfect indicator of the state of my love life, I don't know what is. (Also in February, I discovered that people who know me refuses to believe I'm shy. As I spend a fair amount of time at social occasions standing awkwardly quiet, I can only imagine this means that assume that rather than shy, I am snobby and aloof. Which, in retrospect, may have something to do with the love life issues.)
March: Went to a casting call to audition for a small role in a zombie movie; where "went to casting call" is defined by "went to a dark house in a strange neighborhood alone one night in response to an email without telling anyone exactly where I was going4" and "audition" is defined as "screaming, flailing, and falling down at the hands of an unseen assailant5." Luckily for me, they decided to let me be in the movie despite my amateur theatrics. Don't go wriitng my IMBD entry just yet; If I have more than 5 minutes of screen time total, I'll be very surprised. Still, I have had a handful of shooting days, play a character who has a name (a step-up for me, as in my last cinematic adventure6 I was an unnamed victim in a film full of victims), had opportunity to participate in some special effects shots, and got to ask the question, "Hey, is it ok if I poke around my intestines a bit?" without it being inappropriate or creepy7 and have been having ridculously good time. In the course of film, I've discovered a heretofore hidden talent: apparently I am capable of screaming bloody murder on command. I have absolutely no idea when this particular skill will prove useful again, but it has been gratifying to learn that all those years of watching scary movies wasn't for naught.
The best part of the experience so far has been the chance to meet and interact with some amazingly talented and creative people8. Ok -that's an exaggeration. The best part is I get to be in a zombie movie9. But the 2nd best has been meeting the people. Definitely.
(For the record, I have no idea about if and when you'll be able to see it, if ever. Filming is still, in fact, underway. If I hear anything definitive about the final product, I will let you know. For the time being, it is my ongoing giddy thrill.)
April: Cursed April - the month I fought my nemesis, that blasted squirrel. And nearly lost. I'm still not entirely sure it's not somewhere biding it's time.
May: Started my newbie life at Playing with Monsters, because I didn't have nearly enough hobbies that involved me sitting down and staring at a small, rectangular screen, and wasn't doing enough to encourage the development of carpal tunnel syndrome in my life. And, naturally, the Internet can't get enough of my uninformed opinions.
June: Well, it's early yet. So far, the biggest accomplishment has been making the the papers without having to bear Brad Pitt's or drop Britney's Spears' babies. So that's something.
I'd be pleased if it were something involving pirates.
Or Bruce Campbell as a pirate. That'd be a way to usher in 33.
1 October may be a very slow month for some people.
2 The complete and utter world domination thing is still all me though. Sorry guys.
3 And in case any hometown folks are worried, I've been to a handful of local theatrical productions between then and now. I haven't forgotten Philadelphia's own theater scene, so please don't come beat me with your copy of Playbill.
4 If my life were an actual horror movie, I would never make it to the credits. Hence my new tagline. There was a point at which I began to wonder if actual serial killers advertised for their victims on Craigs List, but I found myself ringing the doorbell anyway.
5 Oh yeah? What would you have down with the stage direction "Act like you're being killed," I ask you.
6 The final product of which, I believe, was lost forever due to technical difficulties.
7 Well, ok, not too in appropriate or creepy.
8 If you ever want to feel like a complete and utter creative slacker, try spending a few hours in a room full of artist/musician/painter/dancers. And I mean people who actually perform and have showings and, well, make movies...and not just talking (or blogging) about the possibility of maybe doing it someday.
9 At least in theory. I try to remember that not all characters make the final cut. I'm all for enjoying the process now - and should I make the final cut, then I'll enjoy actually being in the picture.
- Monday Morning Quiz: Here
- When Books and Bands Collide: Booking Bands is a list of book/band mash-ups. I would love to read: The Who Moved My Cheese and Of Mice and Men Without Hats. And I would absolutely pay to see Abba Karenina & the Slaughterhouse Jackson Five live. -[K]
- Umm...O-Kaaayyy: Back to the Vampire. It's Back ot the Future fan fic - but all the usual BTTF suspects are now vampires. - [CT]
- Sometimes One Letter Makes All the Difference: Mispelled Movie Titles. (Is it terribly wrong that I'd like to see this movie?)
- And While We're On Movies - Here's News of More Remakes To Raise My Ire:
- The Weinsteins to remake Seven Samurai. First of all, it was already remade as The Magnificent Seven. Secondly - there's no good reason to remake a Kurasowa picture. Just re-release them. -
- Live action remake of Rank-Bass's The Year WIthout a Santa Claus. That piteous wailing you hear is my childhood weeping.
I've been playing Guitar Hero all weekend, and I assure you, I'm totally rocking. Such are my video-game based rock-n-roll skills that today I got the following spam in my inbox:
I'm the webmaster of [redacted].com which is a website for our print magazine. We have a featured story on Bleed The Sky which is on our web site and potentially in a print edition. Your site was suggested as an addition to our very popular collection which will be useful for our visitors/readers. You can find the link to your web site here:
[redacted so as to not give free advertising]
Choose the category of Heavy Metal Band under the sub-category of Bleed The Sky
That's right. I'm so hardcore I'm Heavy Metal. Feanor - bring on the arockalypse. I'm ready.
In a completely unrelated aside, many, many apologies to Eric Clapton. I swear my Crossroads always sounded awesome when I played it on the good, old-fashioned air-guitar.
Welcome to everyone whose visiting for the first time via Sarcasmo's Corner's write up in the Image section of Sunday's Inquirer.1 And a very special welcome to those of you who read the print version rather than the on-line version, then put the paper down, walked over to your PC and actually typed the URL in by hand. Let me be the first to congratulate you for your dedication to information retrieval. (Personally, I can barely be bothered to visit a webpage that I can't click a hyperlink to get to. The Internet has made me that lazy. I cannot wait for the day we can surf the web with our minds.) And to those of you who are visiting because you recognized my name from a zillion years ago and thought, "I wonder whatever became of that quiet, weird girl." - now you know. I grew up to become one of those people who is Willfully Snarky on the Internet.
Hardly a surprise, really.
What was a surprise was being included in this list. Philly's got an active blogging "scene," and many local bloggers write about interesting, thoughtful things - things that can help raise awareness and help humanity. I, on the other hand write about swear words, my battles with furniture and electronics, that most insidious of yuppy luxuries, ennui, and, naturally, my ongoing quest for complete and total world domination. (And, of course, I do a good, old-fashioned link dump now and again. Which is the only reason I can see that people come here anyway.) So, being asked to be interviewed was humbling, surprising, and a bit weird for me. Thankfully, Dan Rubin (a blogger himself) was delightful to talk to. And he's got good taste in music to boot.
""Where is a good place to do it, a place pertinent to you and your blog?"
To which I responded:
"I think the best way to sum it up would be a photo of me surrounded by a pile of books, and posing with a zombie, a pirate, a robot and a monkey."
You know. Because monkeys are funny.
It is a credit to his professionalism that he showed up to take my picture anyway. In the end (pirates and monkeys being sadly unattainable), we went with me posing near the Charles Dickens statue in Clark Park. I chose this for two reasons: (1) I blog about books quite a bit, and Dickens in one of my all-time favorite authors; and it is after one of his characters that my pet robot is named) and (2) like me, the statue is quietly and surprisingly inappropriate. (Dickens specified that he never wanted a statue of his likeness made, and England sent it back when we tried to gift them with it. Oops). It's a further credit to Mr. Mencher that I look like a vaguely normal human being in the photo. Believe me, I'm a photographer's worst nightmare...posed photos of which I am the sole subject make me extremely nervous. I fear the camera's giant, all-seeing, cyclopean eye.
So many thanks to both Eric and Dan for making me seem
like a normal person considerably less spazz-tastic than I am in real life. Now that you're here, you can see that my normalcy is merely a myth perpetrated by the mainstream media. Hopefully, you're not too disappointed.
If you're disappointed because you came looking for the "Linky Bits," you'll have to hold on until Monday. My blog, my arbitrarily enforced rules.
This Post Has Been Updated, Because My Vanity Knows Few Bounds:
I just realized that it's possible to get the Sunday paper on Saturday (well, except for the actual news bits, since they keep happening whether it's the weekend or not) and it turns out there are actually two photos accompanying the blurb. Here's a scan of the second.
Also, Amen's quick comment on the article is going to make it impossible for me to every watch Star Trek, TOS without bursting into hysterical giggles ever again. Thanks alot.
Further Updated for Ren: The Squirrel from Hell post.
1 And if you're a regular reader - thanks! Also, check out the other blogs in the article. It's some cool stuff.
Today I noticed a woman walking down the street and thought to myself, "Damn, she's really working that skirt." She seemed entirely unaware of it - unaware of the world actually - but the whole world was aware of her. I rather image one could see her hips undulating from space. I looked down and scowled at my own ample hips. "What can't you do that?" I silently recriminated them. I can't work a skirt. I can't even really wear them successfully. Even during my wedding, my most girliest of days, I loped down the aisle so casually that I might as well have been wearing jeans and flip-flops.
Actually, I wouldn't have minded jeans and flip-flops. The dress was his idea.
In any case, I sometimes feel that I'm missing that gene other women seems to have that allows them to sexy and feminine. Briefly, very briefly I considered that finishing school might be the answer. Fear not...I quickly came to my senses. I expect after five minutes of my saying "...but that's uncomfortable," "...Patriarchal tools of repression...," ..."but I enjoy horror movies...," "...I refuse to pay $200 for a pair of shoes that are so impractical to walk in that I would have to spend $40 a day on cabs just to get around," and "nylons? In summer?" and "...when you start expecting men to enhance their looks with makeup every day just to look 'put together' you can start expecting it of me..." and "...what's wrong with a heated debate?" ...before they daintily tossed me out of my
ass posterior. (I'd pass the part of the course where you eat and drink with a raised pinky though - I'm surprisingly aces at that.)
And really, that's not the kind of finishing I want. Where's the finishing school for femme fatales? How does one learn to look like a pulp noir heroine; the girl the bad boys want to take advantage of, the good guys want to protect, and the one everyone's mothers warned them about? How does one develop those heavy-lidded eyes, that sense of survival, that walk? (So long as I can accomplish it in flip-flops or sneakers. There isn't a good-looking, double-crossing, fast-talking cad or cop with a heart of gold alive that's worth the blisters one gets trying to tromp around the city in heels.) Forget manners - where do I get the moxy?
Right. Enough of my rambling. On with the links.
- Grrr...Stupid Vikings: Tower Blaster may seem like a simple enough game. And it is a simple enough game. And if I could ever make it past level three, I'd feel as though I could move on and do something else with my life other than competitively rearrange numbered bricks. Just one more round; for now it is a point of honor. (Sigh. Oh well. At least the sound of my tower top point person plummeting to his doom is kinda cute.) - [!/u/b/g]
- When Superheroes Meet The Renaissance (by way of Worth1000): Beautiful and amazing things happen. From the Superhero ModRen 2 competition. - [bb]
- More Picture Mash-Ups: This time from Something Awful: Video Games According to Grandma.
- When Star Movies Collide: William Shatner sings to George Lucas. Isn't there a rule against these two franchises crossing the streams? Is the world going to implode now? (I think perhaps it should.)- [DB]
- Not as Cool as Snakes on A Plane, but Pretty Damn Close: Squirrels With Cameras. - [J-WB]