Friday, December 9, 2011

Failure, or something like it

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a failure.  I am many things, but this is not one of them.

HOWEVER... This does not preclude the fact that I, like so many others, fail. Frequently. Sometimes I fail at small things: keeping up with this blog, cooking eggs, walking (that's a big one, as a have a proclivity for clumsiness.) Other times, it is something much grander, like job interviews or an art project or an idea that could change the face of the world as we know it. Whatever the case may be, I am coming to terms with, accepting, embracing the fact that, hey... guess what? Little known fact: I can't do everything, and more importantly, I can't always win.

Phew... That takes a load off. I swear, sometimes just being honest with yourself is more difficult that getting a cat to maintain eye contact with you for more than a few seconds. I am not a failure, but I DO have a bad habit of letting things go, i.e. my genius ideas. I've heard it said that most people have 3 million dollar ideas in a lifetime.  I'm convinced I've had that many since I woke up this morning, and simply "failed" to recognize, acknowledge, and/or write them down for later reference.

That all being said, I hereby promise to make no more promises about how often I will update this blog. I further promise to make no promises that this blog will even EXIST in a few months. Seems like everyone and their brother is on the blog train. I mean, if Kim Kar-smash-her-face-in could read, I'm sure she'd blog! Or at the very least, hire someone to blog for her and then deny that she relies on a ghost-writer because her marriage was real and they loved each other but he was gay and abusive and I CAN'T GET MARRIED BUT YOU CAN YOU FUCKING JELLO-ASSED SILICON TIT SACK!

That was uncalled for... and only slightly off topic. I'm sure Kim "Sit on a dick" Kardashian is a perfectly lovely, all-natural, GMO free money machine for whatever crappy television company she works for.

My failure pales in comparison to her failure at life and having a soul. Do all dogs go to heaven? I'm not sure... I'll wait til she's dead then summon her on my Ouija board to ask.

See... I do fail at small things ALL the time, like staying on topic.

Check back, if you want. I'm not making any promises, but maybe something funny will come out of my most recent blogging endeavor.  That is all.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don't Misunderstand a Sucker Punch to the Nuts

Sometimes, on occasion, film critics get so stuck in their role of recommending, warning against, building up and tearing down everything to hit the big (and small) screen, they forget what movies are really for: escape. I mean, I'm all for a good drama, or documentary, something gritty, that'll make me reexamine my values and beliefs and look at the dark, seedy part of my soul, but ultimately, movies are there to entertain, to get away from the hum-drum of daily life, to show us how amazing another life an be, another world, another time or place or person or existence.

In that regard, it can be said that critics often overlook or under-rate movies that don't meet their "standards", and one such film, in my opinion, is Sucker Punch, my personal pick for sleeper hit of the decade. Its visceral, its driving and its so gritty and saturated with beauty that if Photoshop decided to make a movie, it would be this. Seriously, its practically the poster child for graphic art school. However, thanks to lack of vision by nearly every critic in America, this film was heralded as a box office blunder, the messy, awkward wet-dream of writer/director Zack Snyder, who brought such lauded works to the screen as the remake of Dawn of the Dead and Watchmen.

Left to Right: Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie
Cornish, Jamie Chung, Jena Malone.
The "missing story", as some critics put it, takes place over three different levels of reality.  In the real world,  a young girl is forcibly committed to an asylum by her lecherous step-father following the death of her mother and murder of her sister.  There, she is treated to a lobotomy, which sets in motion the second stage of this movie world: an sub-conscious realm where the girl, called Babydoll, is a new arrival at an upscale brothel.  There, through a series of events, she meets Sweet Pea, the resident bad girl, and Rocket, her younger sister, among others. Having been sold into slavery, it is eventual that Babydoll will take the stage, and her virginity sold to the highest bidder.  What's unexpected is that Babydoll's dancing transports her, and her audience, into a world where she and others are given the tools, skills, and courage to defeat any obstacle standing between them and their freedom.  There, they fight stone Samurai golems, mech robots, and even dragons, in a struggle to locate and use the things that will set them free.

I know what your thinking... some girl dances and fights dragons? Yeah right.  But, the hard reality, that so many critics seem to have missed, is that it just works. The characters are solid, and built from the ground up. Snyder doesn't hide anything from the viewer. What you see is what you get.  Some of the more minor characters may not be given the depth of storytelling some others receive, but Snyder manages to find that subtle balance between sex, action, and story, developing the characters into both unrealistic parodies and sympathetic heroines.  The harsh reality behind the situation these women find themselves in, both in an asylum and as sex slaves, is made less stomach-churning by the flights of fancy where they take matters into their own hands and rise against their captors.

Emily Browning as Babydoll
With incredible action sequences straight out of a graphic novel (only not, as the movie is completely original in concept and design), any lag in plot and direction is remedied by beautifully rendered "other world" sequences where the girls don steampunk-esque attire, fighting off hordes of Nazi zombies, castle invaders and mechanical warriors.  Beyond the engrossing sound design, the movie has a sound track to die for, including covers of Sweet Dreams Are Made of This and Love Is The Drug, both sung by members of the cast, and worked into the story in such a way that you can tell Moulin Rouge was a huge inspiration to Snyder, who said that "In the story, the music is the thing that launches them into these fantasy worlds." It shows, as the orchestrations blend smoothly into each song used to punctuate the scenes. 

If you get a chance, run out and grab the DVD or BluRay copy of this film, particularly the latter, as it contains almost 20 minutes of additional footage that further enhances the story and viewing experience.  While not a perfect movie by any means, Sucker Punch delivers on all levels: Character, story, style and substance.  Its action is super actiony, its drama is super dramatic and its look is something most people would jump at the opportunity to experience in real life. If pretty girls kicking MAJOR ass in highly-stylized worlds of fantasy is your cup of tea, then skip settling for Worlds of Warcraft and grab a copy of this. Against what the critics might want you to think, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Somewhere Something Changed...

Greetings, oh interested bloggies of mine, my faithful followers and symbiotic souls. Today... oh, today, I revisit two very important times in my life in the Time Machine of Music. I take you back to the years 1994 and 1998, four years apart, but four years full of change. In those four years, I was in Tae Kwon Do, my Papaw died, and I entered High School and lost my virginity... so much can change in such a short period of time. That brings us to the first of the days I will visit in this blog in my next edition of the 30 Day Song Challenge.

DAY 06 - A Song That Reminds You of Someplace
Africa by Toto

This song, strange as it may seem, was almost a theme song for my life in High School... at least years 1-3. My then boyfriend and I used it as a song we shared, I would listen to it outside of the theatre at night while waiting for shows to finish... Toto, for some reason, became a huge part of my repertoire. I chose this song, since it reminds me so much of that certain place in my life, where I was mentally and emotionally, and of how much growing up I still had to do. Ahhh... the days when music was good and days were simple.

For further listening...

Brass Monkey by The Beastie Boys

This reminds me of being in my friend's Rachel and Jessica's basement. I miss High School. Lol

I'll Fly With You by Gigi D'Agostonio

This song... reminds me of being in my car, in the freezing cold, windows rolled down, smoking a cigarette, on my way to the club with my best friend Jessica. I miss 18... and ignore the angsty, homemade music video.

As I Lay Me Down by Sophie B. Hawkins (Whaler)

I really wish I could have added the real video for this song, but, alas, it is not available on YouTube in the US. So, this will have to do, because, ultimately, the song is more important.

I first heard this song while I was visiting my Grandparents house. I was watching VH1, something I never did at home because my father always hogged the television... don't get me started on that. ANYWAYS, I was watching VH1 on their old, faux-wood paneled tube set, and this song came on. I immediately knew I loved it, and, with a gift certificate I received from a fellow Tae Kwon Do buddy for my birthday, I had my mother drive me to Sam Goody's, where I purchased my first CD... technically the second, since the year prior I got my first CD from my cousin Larry, a remix album of Mortal Kombat tracks. Love it.

So this song reminds me of being ushered into a new era, where you didn't have to fast forward the tape to hear the next song. It was a beautiful thing.

I'm afraid this post is already long enough, so I shan't bore you with more stories of days past, so I leave you now, on a note not high, but also not too low.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sad and Missed...

Days Four and Five of the 30 Day Song Challenge on Facebook were truly a challenge for me. Both made me think of parts of my life that were less than savory and people in my life that I love dearly and miss terribly. Its only appropriate that I place these two topics together, not so I can get them out of the way, but so they can be cyclical in their energies... or some shit.

Full of Grace by Sarah McLachlan

At some point, I think everyone and their brother/sister/cousin/parakeet/diary has listened to a Sarah McLachlan song. Few artists can express the breadth of pain and anguish and soul-wrenching sadness that we as humans can experience as Sarah. For years, she pulled me through breakups and deaths and taunts from peers. The late 90s just wouldn't have been the same without her there to help us mire through the sadness.

Of course, now that I'm more versed in music, I have a wide array of artists and songs that I run to for support in a world that tends to twist me up inside. Here are two of my recent additions to the I Want The World To Stop Mix.

Snow from the Noir OST
No one ever said sad songs had to have lyrics...

When You Were Young by The Killers
And no one said it had to be a slow song...

Missile by IAMX
And the video for this just tears me the fuck up!

Moving on...

So many songs, so little time. I have a song for all of my friends, something that specifically embodies the very spirit of our relationship. Some of these songs are good, some are bad, as are the people I relate them to. But if one thing is certain, this challenge needed a positive, uplifting note, and didn't need to dwell on the negativity surrounding some of my past... friendships. That's why, for this challenge, I chose...

Come What May by Ewan McGreggor and Nicole Kidman (from Moulin Rouge)

My best friend Jessica was a huge part of the shaping of my being. If I had never met her, I'm sure my life would have turned out completely different. She is my friend, my rock, at one point a (ridiculous) bitter enemy, but through all our trials and tribulations, we succeeded in building and maintaining a friendship that few people ever get the chance to experience.

While we were in high school, Moulin Rouge came out and we jumped on that like two baboons fighting over a banana. We memorized the lines, learned the lyrics and eventually performed the shit out of it every time we came within spitting distance of each other... which was basically every day. So this song goes out to her, for helping me become the person I am today, the artist, the friend.

Some of my other choice (or less than choice) selections are...

Am I The One by Beth Hart
Reminds me of The Lady Geneva... miss you.

I Turn To You by Melanie C.
Reminds me of Wendi... I don't miss you.

What songs make you sad, dear reader? Or make you think of that special someone in your life? Do tell!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hate and Happy

I love almost all music, and if I don't particularly care for a specific genre, then I can usually find something that appeals to my sensibilities. I have lumped two days into one with this post, as I can't allow my hate song to overshadow an entire blog and turn it into a stinky pile of hate poo.

For day number two of the 30 Day Song Challenge, I was tasked to find a song that I hate, and boy... that was easy. I don't care for the rap genre, or hip/hop. I do have a few songs that I enjoy, but they are few and far between, and are generally just covers or reworkings. So, with that in mind, here is my LEAST favorite song, not only because its just plain awful, but because it embodies so much of what I think is wrong with the music industry.

Hot in Here by Nelly

Excuse me... I have to go scour my ear drums with a Brillo pad.

AND back. My ears stopped bleeding about half an hour ago, but I had to clean up the floor. I was scouring and I slipped and fell. ANYWHO, onto happier subjects.

Day number three was all about a song that makes you happy. This couldn't have been an easier day. Of course, the hardest part was narrowing it down to only ONE song, but seeing as how this is MY blog, I'll post a few extras. But first, the song I chose was...

Fireflies by Owl City

Few things make me happier, calmer, more satisfied than all things whimsical. Owl City, one of the great synth-pop artists of the past 5 years, including, but not limited to La Roux, Little Boots, and Lights(notice how many of them start with "L"?) Everything about their music drips saccharin-sweet goodness and light, and it puts me into a smiley, elated place, as opposed to the dark, sinister reality from which I hail. :) It makes me think of dresses made from moss, sleeping under the bright moonlight in a forest surrounded by fairy dust and... and... I'M GOING TO EXPLODE WITH CUTENESS!!!

Below are a few of the other songs that make me happy. What songs make you happy and put you into a good place? Comment below and tell me about it!

Xanadu by Oliva Newton-John and ELO
This is pretty self-explanatory. Xanadu is the best, worst musical-movie ever made, and nothing beats its over-the-top, roller-disco style... or ONJ's amazing 80s fashion choices.

Super Trouper by ABBA
Its ABBA. At a circus. With sweaters... turtle neck sweaters. What more need be said?

Call Your Girlfriend by Robyn
A new favorite happy song. I've kinda fallen in love with Robyn lately. There's just something simple and enjoyable about her music, and most of it is completely drag-ready!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge... FIGHT!

I'm not that much of a Facebook junkie that I can't go a few hours or days without posting something, but I finally bought into the 30 Day Song Challenge. Most of the days are pretty basic... what songs make you happy, sad, do you listen to when you are angry, or remind you of something special. And since you don't get that much space on FB to go through all the reasons why you chose each song, I figured, what the hell?! I have a blog. I'll use it and for the next thirty days (well, give or take a few, as I may not be able to post everything on time... par for the course) I'll post my songs as well as more detailed reasons why I chose them! I'll be sure to link here via my FB every time I post a new song, that way we can keep the loop going.

Cosmic Love by Florence + The Machine

I should explain. I have MANY favorite songs, and narrowing it down to one song over the course of my entire life would take far too much time than this challenge should require. So, I paired it down to the song that A. I have a major obsession with at the moment, and B. appears most often in playlists (sometimes two or three times, so when I shuffle, I get a double song surprise!) and is listed as my most played song on iTunes.

That being said, this song pretty much speaks for itself. Its heavy tribal beats coupled with her almost haunting A-tonal voice is enough to make my brain turn to happy cheese. I can listen to this song, sitting on the subway, laying in bed or walking down the street at four in the morning and transport my mind to a completely different place. It tears at me and I feel like if I can't emote then my body will rip in two and spill my emotion all over the sidewalk. Seriously... its that intense a reaction. Like putting salt on a slug. Needless to say, I listen to it often. So rare it is to find a song that completely fills you to overflowing with feeling that it made the perfect (at the current moment) choice for my favorite song.

I'll be back to this in a year and see where I stand.

There you have it! Day 01 down! Only 29 more to go until Rupaul's Drag Race.. has a WIN-NAH! Ok, not THAT dramatic but still. Check back often as I'll post my current and past day choices as soon as possible. Until then, what's your favorite song? Post a comment here or on my Facebook!


Sunday, July 3, 2011

A new direction...

Blogging. To so many this word has so many different meanings. For most, it is an interactive diary of sorts, a way to share thoughts, feelings, stories, etc. with the rest of the internet community. For others, its a cash-cow. Seriously. Places like Towleroad and The Awesomer, among MANY others, are not only fun, interactive, and informative, but they also boast advertising and sponsors which, without a doubt, create at least a moderate cash flow to the owners.

Then there are blogs like mine. Blank. Empty. Barren. A mish-mash of indecipherable nonsense ranging from quirky dreams to, well, darker dreams. It seems that my blog has become nothing more than a sporadic dream journal, where none of my true thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes, or crazy stories come through. I get so downtrodden and lost in my own mire of emotion that my blog reads like a suicide note... and if I want to entertain people, that ain't good.

Now, this isn't to say that my dreams aren't interesting, as I think they shed a bit of light on the disturbing filing cabinet that is my subconscious, but lets face it... they ain't happy and they ain't pretty. They make for good inspiration, but standing alone, are no better a read than a Family Circus cartoon. How many different ways can I tell the same story? That I'm imaginative and incredibly fucked up?

So, from here on, I make a pledge, to, at least once a week, bring you the best of what I scrounge up on the internet, be it photos, videos, articles or just random musings about the world around me. It should make for a fun time. I might throw in a dream or two, but if I'm going to stay optimistic about my new life, then why not start with some optimism in my creativity?

For now, off to work, but I leave you with this. My favorite commercial of the day. This PSA puts humor and intelligence to work in opening the minds of kids to what the arts are all about. GUTEN TAAAAAAAG!!! I would have killed for Raisin Brahms when I was a kid, but I had to settle for Cracklin' Oat Bran. Grrrrr....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

HEY! I've been to Saturn!

Usually, if I am going to devote an entire blog to a dream, or series of dreams, I can remember almost every tiny, insignificant detail. Except for songs... I have an incredible amount of trouble remembering tunes and lyrics to songs that I have written or sang within my dreams, but mostly, I think this is because they are not very good and would probably cause hemorrhaging and gingivitis to anyone within earshot were I to sing them in real life. So, it is the series of dreams that I had last night, not their level of detail or accuracy, that warranted my blog.

That being said, none of my dreams last night contained singing, though there were a few hymns struck out upon xylophones and timpani, as well as an AV car chase, two different versions of the same film, and a planetary explosion... plus the successful resurrection of Buffy (the Vampire Slayer).

Firstly, I believe that at some point I successfully realized that I was dreaming. After yet ANOTHER Zombie Apocalypse, I and a group of my closest friends, none of whom were real people, stood on the outskirts of a major city, discussing our next plan of action. In my infinite wisdom, and apparently finding this scenario to be so unbelievable, I decided to shift my dream in a different direction... which, of course, meant transporting the planet Saturn into orbit around Earth. And just for your information, Saturn is purple, not orange, like NASA wants you to believe. Anyways, as this wasn't enough, I felt it necessary to rotate the planet so as to get a better look a the rings, and in doing so, with such inexperience in my new God-like abilities, I inadvertently dragged a chunk of rock several miles wide through Earth's atmosphere, where it impacted the planet. We could all see the explosion, and in impending wave of hot, nuclear death that rushed across the face of the planet. My last words... "Well, at least now we don't have to worry about the Zombies."

What happened next is a bit fuzzy, and I can't remember getting from one place to another, but I ended up watching a movie with my mother, an English remake of an Italian film, the names of which I simply can't remember. A boy, about ten years old, saw something he couldn't explain, a creature that shouldn't exist and spent the entire movie trying to find it. I think that the creature was some metaphor for his happiness, seeing as how his mother was divorced and they were fairly poor, living in a small apartment in a less than pleasant part of town. Their neighbors were an assortment of societal rejects and the elderly, all of whom seemed to accept their positions, as well as the positions of those around them. No one was cruel, but all were unusual, and everything seemed a little less colorful than life should be. Eventually, the boy, who's one interest and activity for escape was rock climbing, eventually follows the "creature" to a small quarry near a set of abandoned apartments. The small quarry opens into a large chasm, the bottom of which couldn't be seen. The boy climbs across a rock wall to the alcove where he thinks he found the creature, but realizes, a bit too late, that it is not real. Working his way back to solid ground, the boy stops, slips, and as he falls, the screen goes black, leaving my mother and I to fill in the blanks. It was Easter in the dream. I just remembered.

So, having seen the English version, we popped in the Italian version, which was similar, except the main character was a young woman living on her own, using climbing as an escape from her dire reality. She finds herself in the quarry, which in this version takes a more structured appearance; instead of appearing next to abandoned buildings, the quarry and chasm were opposite raised concrete aqueducts. After climbing on the rock face, she worked over to the aqueduct, where it crumbled under foot and she fell, breaking her legs, several ribs and an arm. She landed in a bank of plants, screaming for help and leaving the audience knowing that none would ever come. The end...

Quite uplifting, eh?

After all this, I found myself in my old high school theater, playing xylophone during church, a small fat man, not unlike the Reverend in Porky's 2, gave his sermon, which we, the band, would punctuate with hymns, or timpani rolls, or random bouts of musical genius! This, of course, all took place after watching a video I had made in high school where I was the driver of a green-screened car, as my passengers and I acted through several environments, much like the opening of the Naked Gun films.

Now, one last piece to my dream puzzle, the piece of which aren't quite as pleasant.

As I lay waking this morning, I was delivered one last bit. I was in that delicate state of being both awake and asleep, aware of my surroundings, knowing that I was in my room, but narrating my dream to myself as it unfolded within my mind. I was telling myself a story. I was a student still in high school, and I had made a visit to a teacher's house. As I turned to leave, he was on me, and in my narration (which I shall omit for the graphic nature), I told myself how he began, and how at first, it was nice, but then I learned that I was not the first student he had approached. Suddenly, my yeses became nos, and the more I said no the more he thought yes... I leave the rest to you.

As a blog that started off so light and funny, it inadvertently became dark and series. Ah, well, such are my dreams.

Monday, February 14, 2011

VD... Make of it What You Will

Valentine's Day... either a horribly obscure horror movie or a day created simply to remind the lonely that they are just that... alone. Take your pick. It is on this day that I usually celebrate by wearing black, squirreling myself away and drinking myself into a stupor. However, it was this Valentine's that I felt the need to branch out, do something festive, remind myself of the friendships I do have and how one is never truly "alone"

A few weeks ago (and yes, I have been saving them for a couple weeks) I found myself at Target, picking through Valentines Day cards and a sundry of other items, when I stumbled across what I thought would be an amazing chance to give myself some extra "love karma" in the form individually packaged Play-Doh containers made specifically for distribution at Valentines. I couldn't resist... the spirit of Saint Valentine overcame me and I reached out, my hand trembling and excited to grasp the vestige of my long-lost childhood, that I might give the gift of youth and joy to my coworkers...

To put it shortly, I bought the Play-Doh valentines, and of course, as expected, my coworkers were quite impressed at my savvy for Tines of the Valentin... They loved them. As everyone knows, the best part of Play-Doh is the smell. It brings up memories long forgotten and most treasured.

So, I sit here, spending the last moments of The Day of Lovers drinking from a self-purchased bottle of Patron Silver and watching Harry Potter... I'm glad for making the day brighter for others, but I certainly was hoping to find the day brighter for myself... Ahhh, tequila... why do I love thee?

P.S. This was a short post...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Skin is Not My Own

The new year is upon us. Strangely, I can't tell the difference between this year and last, as if there were much of a difference, other than a number: an hour, a minute, a day. One more year of life, counting down and counting up to whatever end or beginning my life has in store. One more year living in a world that at one moment seems both harshly real and maddeningly false. I find this notion sad and mysterious, and the thought of what my life should be but is not haunts and terrifies me and fills me with dread and missed moments of comprehension.

For as long as my recent memory allows, I have felt at home and out of place in whatever world I move through, like I'm skating on the icy surface of a lake, my present life above and the life I seek below. Every now and then, a break in the ice reveals the answer. I see someone staring back at me from the depths, both me and someone else, someone I long to be, and know I am, but lies just out of reach. Needless to say, I keep skating and the ice refreezes, the hole closed, my escape route shut off, my other-self retreating into his own existence, me stuck in mine.

This is not to say my way out is through some dark, cold rip in the fabric of space or time, or that to seek the future I so desire I must end this life to begin the next. That is not the point. That is not the answer. That is not the way...

My skin is not my own. This line comes from the novel Dune by Frank Herbert, and in many ways it perfectly describes the feeling I get from time to time. It comes when I don't expect it, triggered by a moment in a film, or notes in a song, or a passage in a book. It comes and goes and leaves me feeling a bit like a cup that has been filled to over-flowing. The rest of the water has to go somewhere, so it spills out, taking with it both the new and the old and leaving behind a mixture of two different worlds, mingling together but constantly at odds, swirling and crashing against the walls of the vessel that is my soul.

My skin is not my own. But if not mine, then who's? Who's face do I see when I look into the mirror? Who's voice speaks to friends and family and tells jokes and laughs and cries? Who's hands type this passage? If I do exist in two worlds, how do I decide between the two? All these questions, and so few answers...

So, I begin a new year. Time, the ultimate invention of man, marches on, its boots tracking across the people of the world, breaking bones, twisting bodies, bringing blood and pain. Time, our most cruel and vengeful lover. We are at its mercy as it holds the knife to our throat, ready slit. My time is far from over, but I only wish it to be better spent than wasted on thoughts of what could be and what comes after. This is the year to make the most of what I have, the first moments of the rest of this life to prepare myself for the next, and the next, and the next, if you follow Eastern philosophies.

A Happy New Year to all. As I draw closer to finding that which I seek, I intend to keep anyone interested informed... The moments of clarity are few, but astounding, and I long to experience the next.