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All That Beauty...Aren't We Lucky?

So I recently re-watched a movie that is very…nostalgic I suppose. I must’ve been twelve or so when I saw “Stealing Beauty” for the first time. I watched it in secret, as there was far too much cursing, pot smoking, sexuality, and nudity and the mother of twelve year old me would not have approved. I did not love this movie. I er… felt it, if that makes sense. When I think of movies I LOVE, I think of “Jurassic Park” or “The King’s Speech.” When I think of movies I “feel” I think of “Crash” or inevitably “Stealing Beauty.” I ain’t sayin’ it’s the best thing since sliced bread. No, no , no. In fact I didn’t enjoy it as much this time as I have in years past, and I wear some awful thick nostalgia goggles let me tell you.

The gist of the movie is that Lucy (Liv Tyler) goes to Tuscany to visit family friends of her deceased mother. While there, she wants to reunite with the boy she fell in love with 4 years earlier and unravel a mystery left to her by her mom. It sounds simple enough, but then things get kind of weird when everyone living on the property learns that Lucy is a nineteen year old virgin (le gasp!). Lucy’s virginity is a major theme of the movie, will she give it away? Won’t she? Whom should she lose it to?

*Anywho, when all is said and done I always felt like it was a story from the perspective of a serious nineteen year old girl concerning the topics of sex, love, family, and how other humans interact with one another.

I discussed this movie with a friend of mine and she immediately recommended a more recent film called “Unrelated.” She gushed and recommended it so passionately that I looked up the trailer. Lo’ she was right, it felt right. Like some strange sequel had been created withought anyone being aware of it (sequel only in a VERY loose sense, mind you). So, I watched it Sunday night. I know now why she was so enthusiastic ha-ha. Yes, there is a decidedly naked, pre-Loki, Tom Hiddleston in this movie. No wonder she was so quick to recommend it.

Ah but what the movie is really about, is a 40-ish year old woman named Anna, who visits her best friend and her friend’s family in wait for it…Tuscany. BUM BUM BUM! She’s having relationship issues and instead of confiding in her friend, she starts to find a strange camaraderie with the teenagers there. Her feelings become a bit more Cougar-ish towards Cousin Oakley (Hiddleston) *wink wink*. The story covers much of the same territory as Lucy’s but instead it’s sex, love, family, and how other humans interact with one another from the perspective of an older woman flinging aside her seriousness and dealing with age and wanting something more in her life.

Having watched the two movies almost back to back, I got to thinking that “Unrelated” is really the superior movie of the two. It depicts people differently, better, in a realistic kind of way. In a way that I think  "Stealing Beauty" tried to do, but got too hung up on virginal young women to really succeed (maybe I'm wrong). WHAT? How could this be? My nostalgia goggles were strapped on so tight, surely “Stealing Beauty” is the film that makes me…feel (I seriously don’t know what else to call it except ‘feel’) more.
It took me until today to realize the horrifying truth. Honestly, I identify with Anna more than I do Lucy. I am not 40-ish, or married, (or lusting after young boys) or any of those things that make Anna the person she is. However, I’m not the wide eyed, determined, poet that Lucy is either. Maybe I was when I was twelve, I don’t know. I gravitate towards Anna. My mother teases me that I was born old. I hope I don’t somehow regress into an Anna like state, find myself in a mid-life crisis behaving like the wild and reckless teenager I never was.



*I now, being older, recognize a lot of rather CREEPY middle aged man perspective as well ugh.

I Think My Music Playlist Just Got Loki’d

So, this is how it all started. I was perusing interviews of “The Avengers” cast (like you do), when I came across this: Thank you Tom Hiddleston.

My first thought was: Phew, I’m glad I’m not the only one…
My second thought was: Why haven’t I any Will Smith songs on my MP3 player?

Only the catchiest & most nostalgic Will Smith jams would do.

The “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme was an obvious choice, as was “Miami, but then I realized I could not travel down this road without acknowledging my deep and abiding love for the theme from Wild Wild West.

My theory about movies with promotional songs (and in Mr. Will Smith’s case in particular) is that the more one enjoys a movie tie-in song, the less likely they are to enjoy the movie itself, and vice versa.

My (totally scientific, thoroughly researched, and irrefutable) examples include:

"Black Suits Comin' (Nod Ya Head)" – from Men in Black II (A, in my opinion, it’s a substandard movie with and unbearably catchy song)

“Wild Wild West” From well…Wild Wild West (All of my hate movie, all of my hate…)

An opposite example, for me at least, is the theme to the first MIB (which by the way, I ADORE) “here come the men in black” isn’t particularly bad, but I find it boring and wouldn’t bother to buy it.

Wild Wild West is, for me, the most terrible example by far.

Everything about the song and indeed the music video itself is BETTER than the movie it promotes. The music video to a younger, more impressionable me, advertised that movie perfectly. I WANTED to see it. I HAD to see it. I even convinced my mother to take my sister and me to Burger King for the sole purpose of acquiring Jim West sunglasses included in the kid’s meal. Ignore the fact I was probably too old for that kind of thing, but my point is that it shows how much I wanted to be apart of the awesomeness advertised to me in a 7 minute music video. What I got instead, was lies and disappointment.

If you’ve ever felt inclined to watch WWW:

HERE:

I’ve spared you. You're welcome.

If you still feel you must know more about this childhood crushing movie, here watch this instead: http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/videolinks/team-nchick/nostalgia-chick/35328-wild-wild-west
The good news is despite WWW being my first memory of false advertising, 15 years later on a good day you can still hear me declaring: “You don’t wanna find my hand where my hip be at!” Much to the consternation and confusion of anyone unfortunate enough to be within earshot I’m afraid.

All is well that ends well though, and really my MP3 Player is so much more Jiggy now :)
Oh Batman.

My love for Batman over the years is as constant as the seasons. My only regret is that I am more or less unable to read the comics. That is not to say I’ve not read any of them, but my need for chronological order prevents me from picking up a long running series with lots of history I need to know. Comic book universes as long lived and huge as DC and Marvel make my brain ache. Can you imagine starting from the beginning? However, I am perfectly content with one shot or stand alone stories. I adore “The Killing Joke” and “The Dark Knight Returns”. Everything else I know of that pointy eared fella I’ve gleaned from the internet, and a good chunk of my childhood (ok, let’s face it, my adulthood) devoted to animated series and videogames. I must ask myself? WHY? What is it about the B-man that fascinates me? His world, his struggles, his wondrous villains, confound it all, I love it so. I’ve only been pondering this due to a recent conversation with an acquaintance. It went something along the lines of:

“What did you do this weekend?
My hesitant reply: “I played the Batman: Arkham City videogame.”
*genuine surprise* “Oh really? I you don’t seem like the type of person who likes videogames, or comics, or Batman.” (I’m not kidding, this isn’t a direct quote, but the spirit is the same).

I’m certain, I do not know what type of person that is, but I guess I do not represent on the street. The conversation got even better when this person declared: “I didn’t even know girls liked Batman, I mean I knew they liked Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, but I didn’t know they liked Batman.” Oy. I nodded politely, and refrained from answering.

I mean really, are we still living in a culture where the perception is still that “comics are for boys?” Something that I find fascinating about pop culture in general is how it can reach out and be accepted by so many different types of people with nearly nothing in common.

Take Twilight for example. (no judging) at the time I was reading the books, I learned that women and men I worked with, and in some cases had nothing in common with, were reading it at about the same time. We came from different places, different states, different lifestyles, and yet we had this thing in common.

Batman is a multi-generational, multi-lifestyle, BEAST of a fictional character/universe. There is a Batman out there for everyone, in every format and media. Children’s shows, comic books, campy 60’s goodness, philosophical films (a la Dark Knight) and videogames (the excellence that is Arkham Asylum/City).

It’s not that I’m upset, or angry or anything at the person who pulled a “Batman is for boys” on me. It’s just been awhile since that’s happened and it caught me off guard. Although, there was an almost palpable sense of judgment (She’s a comic book nerd! Oh irony, I’ve actually read sooo little of the comics).

There wasn’t really a point to typing any of this, I’ve just have been thinking about it a lot since that slightly awkward conversation. I have no feminist issues or cries of “don’t label me” to share. I don’t really care. Ok, maybe I did care a little when the same person indicated I have no taste when they pressed me for my favorite BM movie and I reluctantly divulged my love for “Batman Returns” (really, don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to). Maybe it’s nostalgia but Batman Returns is still my favorite movie, and Mark Hamill is still my favorite Joker (sorry Heath), and Eartha Kitt is my reigning favorite Cat Woman.

*blows raspberry* There is plenty of Batman to go around, enough Batman for everyone! With the enormity and rich detail of Batman and his world, there is truly room in this fandom for everyone lol. Don’t judge, accept the awesomeness of pop culture phenomenon like Batman, or Vampires, Star Trek/Wars or whatever it is that brings people together and don’t shut folks down for liking different aspects of something you enjoy, let’s enjoy this stuff together. This fills gaps and gives people stuff to talk about other than celebrities and politics. No strike that, talk about them too, if that brings you joy. I won’t judge you for watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians” if you won’t judge me for liking Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, (He has his moments!) :P

Hrm, I got a bit preachy at the end didn’t I? I’m not sure what happened there…

Don't Touch My Mustache

I've been listening to the same ole music this past week so I thought: meh, how 'bout I list my favorite mustaches instead? (Admittedly, it sounds like a better idea in my head) Countdown to my favorite Mustache Style!!!

5) The Horseshoe – Totally nostalgic, it strangely has been become associated with southern rednecks or bikers, but I always think of Hulk Hogan http://i189.photobucket.com/albums/z239/anarchyphantom/Hogan.jpg

4) The Walrus – Once my favorite mustache of all time, this style still amuses me to no end and is also incredibly nostalgic (Commercials about diabetes anyone?). Wilford Brimley is my first memory of the Walrus http://i735.photobucket.com/albums/ww358/IsaacBrown24/brimley.jpg and let’s face it, Mythbusters wouldn’t be nearly so popular without the hypnotic powers of Jamie Hyneman’s ‘stache http://i368.photobucket.com/albums/oo130/Bitoluck/Grizz/jamie_bio.jpg

3) The handlebar – favorite of villains and well other folks, but more fun to see on villains, twirling their evil twirly mustaches MUWHAHAHA! *ahem* Snidely Whiplash is historically remembered for the look, http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y113/GGA1759/snidely-whiplash.jpg but I also adore Bowler Hat Guy from “Meet the Robinsons” http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d2/crys413/MeetTheRobinsons_BowlerHatGuy.png I can only imagine how much ‘stache wax these dastardly dudes apply daily…

2) The Pencil Mustache – Honestly, I used to not like this style at all, I found it far more creepy than suave. I’ve learned to appreciate it more in recent years though and tend to think of it as a gentleman’s ‘stache of choice. Gentleman-Creepy portrayed here by Vincent Price: http://i251.photobucket.com/albums/gg303/chokotto/Vincent-Price-7036451x11.jpg and Gentleman-Suave as seen on Rufino the Catalan Casanova (suave, though a touch caddish): http://www.photobat.net/batblog/2008/06/16/australaian-awards-2008/

And my favorite mustache of all time?

1) The Groucho Marx! – Ok, it’s not technically a style of mustache. It wasn’t even for many years a real mustache, but theatrical greasepaint! Still, there’s no denying that the Groucho ‘stache is one of the most universally recognized mustaches. I myself have no less than three different styles of Groucho Marx glasses (pathetic confession time what?), but can you really blame me? It IS glorious http://i478.photobucket.com/albums/rr142/CWarlord87/groucho_marx.jpg

OK, Three, Two, One, Let's Jam!

I’ve been in a very Bebop mood of late, so my fav songs this week are really my top 5 favorite songs from the Cowboy Bebop OST 1,2, and 3 (only the series):

1) Chicken Bone - OST: Cowboy Bebop OST 3 Blue http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz5ofs3xbdc My favorite (or at least most listened to) song on any of the 3 discs over the years. For giggles I must learn these moves: http://www.youtube.com/watch...?v=jFsuffgByNI

2) Blue - OST: Cowboy Bebop OST 3 Blue (1998) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03qBqP2I4p8 this song often directly competes with Chicken Bone as my #1 fav. There’s just so much nostalgia and a series worth of emotion wrapped into a single song.

3) Don't Bother None - OST: Cowboy Bebop OST 2 No Disc (1998) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSYZmTguXP8 While I do not condone stealing anything from the old guy next to you ;P, I DO love so very many things about this song.

4) Rain - OST: Cowboy Bebop OST 1 (1998) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vcrb6365GsQ While both are arguably from my favorite (and I’m sure many other people’s favorite) episode, it was a hard call choosing Rain or Greenbird. In the end it was the atmospheric organ that won the contest.

5) Tank! - OST: Cowboy Bebop OST 1 (1998)/The Seatbelts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-TAxm00jOg Again I had a hard choice: Tank! Or Real Folk Blues. Opening and closing themes usually get on my nerves, but these are so good! I found this video of The Seatbelts performing Tank! Though, and it took the cake, and rocked my socks off to boot!

It was really hard just picking a handful of songs from this show (I love them all so much), I think anyone reading should go listen to all three soundtracks, right now.

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My favorite songs this week are quite varied. That's just how I like 'em!

1) Bananza (Belly Dancer) - Akon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9FmjmBFYUM
Currently ranks #1 on my list of cooking/cleaning songs

2) Cow Cow Boogie - Ella Fitzgerald http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLGu2ArpzeA
Get Get Get Along little doggie better be on your way

3) Family Tradition - Hank Williams, Jr. http://www.youtube.c...om/watch?v=vc4MafP-3Z8&feature=related
My lunchtime jam. No, I don't know why

4) Ain't Misbehavin' (I'm Savin' My Love For You) - Leon Redbone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtlFxwcq3PE&feature=related
There are DOZENS of versions of this song out there, but this one is nostalgic. I 1st heard it on a VHS recording of "Saturday Night Live"

5) Buttons - The Pussycat Dolls http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDxIOQ3JqN4&feature=related
I'm not a big pcd fan, but I find this song super catchy

6) Theme From The Dukes Of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys) - Waylon Jennings http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRX4mlFi06A
I've "probably" never tried to slide accross the hood of car like Bo Duke, and I "probably" wouldn't still love to learn how to do it without hurting myself...

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I Wanted

I wanted to write about something that’s been on my mind a lot recently. I wanted to write about race. I wanted to convey sentiments that I’m newly discovering. I wanted, I want, I want. I want so much lately, and get so little. I am a sponge. I want to absorb, absorb, absorb. I could very well explode with the knowledge that I’ll never read all the books, watch all the movies, look at all the paintings, see all the plays, and hear every piece of music I want to. I am overwhelmed with the largeness of life sometimes. But life’s largeness is not what’s been on my mind tonight.

I’ve been having very strong emotions about history. I cannot express them. I seem to live in constant surprise and confusion, because in the realm of race issues, I am generally ignorant. Not ignorant of history, not ignorant of fact, and not wholly ignorant of experiences. Just ignorant of human nature, I guess in a way. I forget how differently other people think, because (and I know it sounds a bit naïve) it just wasn’t ever an issue in our home while we were growing up. We were, to be fair, rather isolated. Not from other races, but racist people, I guess. Anyone we didn't want to be around, we lived far enough from people, we could just avoid anyone who treated people in ways we didn't agree with. I mean, I’m not saying my family is/was perfect. We have/had plenty of problems, but racism was never something we dealt with at home.

Even today, I don’t think of race issues unless someone else brings it up. Culture, I would argue has a bigger presence in my life than race does.

I do not agree with everything I see in front of me, but I’ve never let it keep me up nights either.

Is that even worse somehow? Or is that the ideal? Not to consider a person’s race, just consider people?

It’s like the more you know historically, the more you don’t want to know, but you need to know and to remember or else there’s the risk of history repeating itself.

I was watching a documentary recently, called “Freedom Riders” (Which I HIGHLY recommend by the way http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8CAKAXR-AM). I think about how hatred and the Civil Rights Movement blows my mind, then I think: if it blows my mind what must kids younger than I am think? Are they even able to take in that kind of history? When it comes down to it, am I?

Embarrassingly, I tend to cry (A lot) when I ingest certain bits of history. Mostly, anything related to The Civil Rights and The Holocaust. It’s not that I’m so sad, and I do get sad, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the unfamiliar shock of well, hatred I guess can be so intense for me. I can’t really do anything but cry. Essentially, it’s cry, or explode. Not much of an in-between.

That’s the second time I’ve mentioned exploding, but I don’t know how to explain the feeling in any other way.

There is a place in our heads I am sure of it, where we file away the most disgusting aspects of humanity and intentionally forget about it. The Holocaust for example, if we thought of it with any kind of regularity and were able to process what happened, we wouldn’t even be able to function. Or we shouldn’t be able to function…or something.

*sigh* I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.

I wanted to be so much more clear and expressive when I decided to write today. I wanted to be fluent and feel satisfied at the end. I wanted, I wanted, I wanted. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished any of those things, but at least I don’t feel quite like exploding or crying (not right now anyway).

Who Uses A Machete To Cut Through Red Tape

Songs that made yet another work week possible (regardless of how short this week was):
1) Short Skirt/Long Jacket - Cake http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6j_0NGWT9Y oh the Nostalgia!
2) Limousine - Brand New http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRmXXIH7PWg sobering and emotional for me
3) Magic Dance - David Bowie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjoYzLBp34o Aaand we're back to being rediculous
4) Yeah Yeah Yeah - New Politics http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II0uqBUewD0&ob=av2e about as angry as my music tends to get
5) True Believer - Aimee Mann http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkJUt2lMNCQ A strangely excellent house cleaning song... O_O

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Momma OooOooOooh

It feels like I’ve prepared for a whirlwind adventure, but really I just finished packing for a weekend trip to my mother’s house. If I am honest, the scene of my preparations is far more reminiscent of The Beverly Hillbillies trip to California (with the exception of an elderly lady in a rocking chair perched atop my belongings). My mother and I don’t often do too much when I visit, but I have a good feeling about this trip. There’s something important or special about it I’m sure. The way her days off fall on the calendar, and the way my schedule is looking, It is unlikely we will spend a weekend together again until the end of October (and then, only if the weather stays nice). There’s something strangely final about this weekend. As such, I have compiled a suitably appropriate list of things I would like to do:

1. Hug Mom – (No, explanation ‘nuff said)

2. Play “Just Dance 2” with Mom – I bought her a Wii as a gift years ago, and while she has used it to her advantage in regards to helping her stay fit, she rarely has time for “fun games.” I long for the mother-daughter bonding that can only be brought about by complete embarrassment.

3. Draw/Paint – My mother is secretly a gifted artist. She rarely has time to indulge in painting, but she’s still pretty good. Hopefully, I can coerce her into some creative expression.

4. TAKE PICTURES! – I don’t know what of, but I feel the weekend must be documented.

5. Go Shopping (?) – Only if we go to Albuquerque. My mother is a delightful (read hilarious) and courteous shopping partner.

6. Walk the dogs – I do not know why the women in my immediate family, thought that we NEEDED herding dogs. We lead busy lives. OK, our three mutts DO have those herding breed brains that make training a delight, BUT they also have energy to burn! That said, my mom lives in a remote area with places that a person (and dog) could easily and happily let themselves get lost in the woods. I really hope we manage this; it’s good for all our souls.

7. Eat at Outback Steakhouse – No reason other than I have a gift card.

8. EARLY morning coffee and Bailey’s – We’ve had our best conversations, the most wonderful sunrises, and the best days when we manage to start the day out early together.

9. Embrace Groucho Marx Day – I don’t know why I remember this date, but Oct. 2nd is Groucho Marx’s Birthday. Oh but it gets cheesier. I have three variations of Groucho Marx glasses packed and in the car. The question is, will Mom and I be able to choose who gets to wear the ones that have the light up nose…

Finally,

10. If we do go into town, I hope I can convince Mom to get cheesy photo booth pictures with me. I don’t know why, but I feel this must be done. Commemorative photos, for uh… posterity or something.
I'm very pleased to have finally have gotten some projects off of my kitchen table.
The most recent being my flower box holders. I used to have flower boxes (filled with fake flowers) at my previous address that had gotten rusty and poorly looking.

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So, I covered them with twine and hot glue.
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Finally finished, I planted some cacti.
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I know the cacti look pretty pitiful. It's possible that I left them in the floorboard of my car for a few days prior to being planted *ashamed*

But look! there are tiny dino friends amongst the vegetation!
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If the plants survive, I think the boxes will look quite nice.
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Finally, here's a jewelry display that I made a while ago using scrap fabric, silk pins, duct tape, a picture frame, and foam board.
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I don't have any construction pics for this, but here are the links where I got the inspiration.
http://blog.modcloth.com/2009/01/07/mod-diy-jewelry-organizers-part-i/#more-387 AND http://blog.modcloth.com/2009/01/21/mod-diy-jewelry-organizers-part-ii/#more-425

If anyone is curious, I mostly managed not to cover myself in hot glue gun burns \O/