Friday, September 5, 2008

Freedom brings inspiration...

I wrote this...from the very depths of my heart. It felt amazing. I feel like I can breathe again, I feel like I am in a better place. Life is still complicated and I'm still easy to hurt, but I have things to fall back on again. I have inspiration welling out of my fingertips - literally sometimes. I wrote this in Renaissance lit when I was supposed to be paying attention to yet another lecture on Henry VIII and his wives. been there done that!

Everything was all ready to resist
But when it comes to ready
Does anyone ever expect it like this?
Who is the predator, who is the prey?
Still trying to justify my heart beating this way
The sum of your words equals heartbreak
Eyes like magnets, I can’t look away
Multiplied by the stares you don’t see
Divided by your ignorance of me
Split by indecision to start
The way I fall, I’ve got a dangerous heart
Wanting makes it worth the fight
We’ll sing a song that keeps us up all night
Making the music that life’s all about
How the song ends is what we’ll find out
I’ll write the words if you make the rhyme
Beats in between us, counting nothing but time
Give up, give in, there’s so much to do
Let me sing a piece of myself into you
Too quickly we’ve come to the end of our music
I find I’m just a piano to someone that knows how to use it
I’ll keep letting you play my heart with a string
Happy to be another feather in your wing
I’ll keep singing, hoping you’ll reply
Our duet was too perfect to let the last note die

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Playlist Analysis

Lately I've been involved in a lot of really in-depth discussions of music, all different genres and styles and a variety of artists - but I realized that I see all of these things in such different and strange ways. Songs become images to me - as if I make my own music videos in my mind that are sometimes completely fictitious and sometimes the sudden soundtrack to something that happened in my life. It's so hard to think of anything that is more powerful than music. It breaks your heart, it makes it beat faster, it can ruin your day or it can make it surprisingly good. There's always a song in my head, there's always a song for everything in my life that just appears as soon as I need it. I make soundtracks for everything - for road trips, for feelings. I mean...I look at my playlists on my iPod and it blows my mind.

"Dance Party with Scott and Todd" - which is rather self explanatory and rather short. It includes such loveable favorites as the "Wine Red" remix from Snakes on a Plane and "Baby Girl I'm A Blur" by Say Anything and of course, our most favorite bass pumping sing-along song "Sweat the Battle Before the Battle Sweats You" by Cute is What We Aim For.

"Breathing" - all the songs with something related to that very thing in the title - breathing, breathe, breath, oxygen, air, breathless. It's 27 songs long, which is kind of surprising. The hidden gem in compiling this list? "Breathe" by Melissa Etheridge. I'm alright, I'm alright, it only hurts when I breathe...

"Darkness" - all the music from late middle and early high school. Some of this stuff is just obnoxious: "Eye of the Storm" by Blindside, "Cadillac" by Mest, "Summer Wind Was Always Our Song" by the Ataris (which to this day always make me think of the exact some moments and relationship, and that's probably the reason I don't listen to it anymore, haha), "Cheer Up Emo Boy" by the dear departed LPC, "In My Eyes" by Rufio, "Best of Me" by the Starting Line, and of course, the all-time most remembered "San Dimas High School Football Rules!"

The absurdly named "Give It To Me" - which was mostly made full of songs that really pumped me up and got me doing homework or whatever. It goes from the heartbreaking vocals of A Fine Frenzy's "Almost Lover" to the showtune-style of "I Don't Dance" from HSM2, all the way to the crazy heart thumping "U + Ur Hand" by P!nk. That song just drives me wild. Of all my playlists, this is the one that makes the least amount of sense. There's a lot of The Used on here too..."Lunacy Fringe," "Blue and Yellow," and a ton more. Odd. I didn't make this that long ago and there's a lot of stuff I don't listen to that much on here.

"It Makes You Go" - I'll keep this one to myself, the reason for it, but it includes: "Come in Closer" by Blue October (which is such a random gorgeous song), "Lying is the Most Fun..." by Panic! at the Disco (is anything more alluring than his voice in this song?), "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades" by Brand New, and "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven. Yum. haha.

The most recent - "Life Sucks" - is ironically full of songs that make me feel the opposite. Lots that I have started listening to again, or that have been recently recommended to me. The super soft lullaby tones of "Umbrellas" and "All That is Beautiful" by Sleeping At Last, the catchy bounce-on-your-toes beats of "I'm a Pirate, You're a Princess" by PlayRadioPlay!, "The Last Night" by Skillet - which at this point in time is speaking to me more than almost any song ever. I listen to it so much and somehow always catch the line that I need to: the night is so long when everything's wrong, if you give me your hand I will help you hold on. My new favorite soul-searchers: "Together" by the Kin and "All We Are" by OneRepublic, and my old favorite soul-searcher "Save Us" by Cartel.

And that's just a tiny sample. Random combinations of these playlists went in to my ultimate Summer 2008 mix...I'm almost thinking I need to make a Fall 2008 playlist already. There's been so much added in the last couple of days. It's like for awhile this had disappeared from me, and now I've got it back again. It feels so good, just to be able to disappear inside the music like I've been doing the last couple of days. I've gotten so much good advice and reassurance from the people around me that I'm starting to feel a lot stronger about some things than I used to.

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." -Psalms 34:18

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Proust Questionnaire (Vanity Fair)

If I were ever to be interviewed by Vanity Fair, which I hope someday I might, I would want it to be with the little questionnaire they do at the very end of the magazine with someone who is usually...aged, I shall say it. My favorite was Bette Midler's (What is your motto: "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke"...gotta love her), my least favorite being Mia Farrow's (If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?: "I would be a man." terribly mysogynistic). So I decided to answer the questions just for my own amusement.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?: A damn good book and a thunderstorm. Possibly with candles.

What's your current state of mind?: angry, anxious

What or who is the greatest love of your life?: Literature. It's so nerdy, but there isn't a single answer I can't find in the written word, in the pages of books and magazines.

Which living person do you most admire?: Barack Obama. I really believe he wants to make things better. I hope so.

What is the quality you most like in a man?: Confident, laidback, intelligence is the biggest by far.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?: Laughter. Sarcasm. Maybe even the ability to be a tad bit cruel.

What is your greatest extravagance?: Ugh. Buying movies because I watch them over and over again. Or shoes.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?: Ignorance, a penchant for being overly controlling when you deserve no such power.

What is your greatest fear?: Drowning. Open water. Empty space.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?: Chastity? just kidding. Humility. Sometimes you need to shout your own praises for people to hear you.

Which living person do you most despise?: Kim Jong-Il. And celebrities that make the rest of the world look at America and feel disgust, which in turn makes so many of us feel shame.

When and where were you the happiest?: The summer I was 16. Pretty much the entire year I was 16. I went to Germany, I spent so much time with my best friends, I kissed cute boys, and I felt and acted my age.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?: 'bamf' and 'ridiculous' and 'crazy' and I probably swear too much.

Which talent would you most like to have?: The prolific writing ability of Nora Roberts. The singing ability of Idena Menzel. Or the ability to write music!

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?: I would be less indecisive. I would stand my ground on things and just...DO them. Not think about them and process them for far too long.

If you were to die and came back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?: A book. Or a movie star.

What is your most treasured possession: My 9/11 bear from Jill - all the Red Cross volunteer nurses who helped at Ground Zero were given it, and for some reason I still don't understand, she gave hers to me. It's how I remember her, and remember who I want to be.

What do you regard as the lowest depths of misery?: Cruelty, repression, ignorance.

What do you most value in your friends?: Their ability to be honest with me, to tell me the ways I'm lying to myself. The fact that they can be so different from me and it doesn't matter in a bad way.

Who are your favorite writers?: Scott Westerfeld, Kurt Vonnegut, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Meg Cabot, Terry Brooks, Frank Herbert (the man changed my life!)

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?: Will Parry from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Will is selfless and sacrificing and absolutely loyal. I love Will.

Who are your heroes in real life?: Intelligent celebrities, Christiane Amanpour, Justine Larbalestier

Which historical figure do you most identify with?: Marie Antoinette. Thrust into a situation she couldn't understand, and just wandering through life trying not to get my head cut off.

How would you like to die?: Quickly.

What is your greatest regret?: Holding on. I know what I mean.

What is your motto?: It depends on the situation. Sometimes it's "bitch, please," other times its "allow people to change your mind," and sometimes its "stand your ground."

And now I am off to watch a bunch of movies that I borrowed from a very good friend of mine. Thanks for listening!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Left and Christianity

This is something I really do not understand.
There are some liberals I know that think having religion and being a liberal don't mesh. Usually I just roll my eyes and don't dignify that ignorance with a response. In my eyes, how can you be liberal and not have some sort of faith? How can you try and save humanity if you think nothing happens when you die?
The left is no Godless. Some of us have found Him, and it only makes me more sure that being a liberal is where I'm supposed to be.

Granted, I consider myself Christian - I have faith and follow the message, I'm just not so sure that churches do.

The whole point of Christianity is to live a life like Christ - to be "christ-like."

What does this mean? In my estimation it means forgiveness, love, charity, just plain helping other people. Liberals are called bleeding hearts - the ones who want to help everyone, help the people who can't help themselves, and give and give even when there isn't anything left. How do the ideas of liberalism and Christianity not mesh? They are magnets that should stick together unstoppably.

I know that not everyone thinks this, but I've heard it enough that it bored into my head and bothered me. I can completely understand how someone wouldn't find faith or God in the world we live in today - I'm not going to preach or push, I just wanted to say that there are some people who are lefties and Christ-ies. It guides what I do, and its guided me left. I would never want a liberal in the White House because I believe there must always be balance and moderation, but that's another long rant. There's only one issue where my politics trumps my morals - abortion. I'm pro-choice. The idea of the government telling me what I can do with my body literally gives me chills. Though I myself would never do it, I feel like others of a different mind should be able to make that decision for themselves. If they don't feel forced, they won't feel desperate. But that is a ramble for another time.

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith;
be courageous; be strong;
do everything in love."
-1 Corinthians 16:13-14

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Nature of Grief

A little while ago I went to a funeral. The person who died hadn't been a major part of my life for a long time, although his ex-wife and children were, and he had recently gotten close to my mom again - a friendship that both of them had to give up for the usual ridiculous reasons. It was hard. It was hard because of my memories, it was hard because he was someone so completely loved by the community and by his family - everyone knew him and had their own memories, and he remembered everyone. It's what made him such a phenomenal car salesman. It was hard because he isn't that much older than my own parents and I had to fight to contemplate the reality that someday they will leave me.

As I'm sitting there, I watched his daughters standing in the reception line. The oldest is out on her own, living in London of all places. This was not the occasion I next expected to see her. She was the picture of grace and poise - she never cried, she never lost it, she smiled at ever person, listened to every explanation of how they knew her dad, how great he was and what he had done for them. She listened to their grieving and she gave them comfort.

The youngest was another story. It was easy to see how hard it was for her - even though there were extenuating circumstances involving a healing broken leg, that was not the reason for her distress. Her tears came at regular intervals, and most of the time she could only shake someone's hand because words failed her. In that case, much of the time people were comforting her. They were watching a heartbroken daughter grieve, mostly unable to help her because they were so lost in their own.

I started to feel guilty.

I've been through plenty of loss and been intimately involved in funerals before in my life, and in all that time there was something that I never really realized. Funerals are not really for those who have truly lost - they are not for the sons and daughters or brothers and sisters or spouses and partners. Funerals are where everyone else has the chance to grieve, where everyone else says "hey, look at me, I'm sad because this person is gone" and they expect the people with the most burden, the most sadness, and the most loss to make them feel better. We are truly a self-centered type of being that we want the people who probably mattered most to tell us that we mattered. It is after this torturous ideal that they get their chance to truly grieve. That they are alone or with the few others that made up that person's world, and they get to really let go and experience the grief they have been holding back just so they could be a rock for everyone else.

After that, I did my best not to cry. I did my best not to feel sad for myself. It didn't work as well as I had hoped, but I made sure I didn't cry when I talked to his daughters again, and when I talked to his girlfriend. They had already had enough of other people's tears and it just wasn't fair of me to burden them with that.

The next time someone in my life passes, and they surely will because that is just the nature of existence, I wonder if I will see it differently because of this. I wonder if I could go back, if I would be able to help the people who needed it in a way I couldn't then. I will never know, and maybe I don't want to. I can only hope to be stronger for others in the future.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Veronica Mars Guide to Relationships

The critically acclaimed cult hit Veronica Mars has more to offer than just a witty PI with fantastic sarcastic banter; it might actually be able to help females define their relationships. Every relationship Veronica experienced in the course of three romance-splashed seasons were with common archetypal males; all relationships can be put into the four Veronica Mars dating categories. Every female with a dating history sees her ex's in these boys, and maybe that's why they are drawn to a certain one of these delicious male characters. However, I digress.

Category 1: the Duncan Kane

The nice, well-dressed boy involved in school activities, seemingly amibitious, adorable, stable and dilligent. The kind of guy you think will take care of you and adore you until the end of time, even if things are a little repetitive. He's the guy that holds your hand in the hall while he meets you after every class and walks you to the next one. The guy that never lets you drive and rarely lets you pay. He's a gentleman. This is the guy who will say I love you first, and in some cheesy romantic way. Underneath, he's got some issues - particularly with his family, but he tries not to let their mistakes affect who he is. This is the guy that wants to make his own way in the world. The downside - he might be hiding depression, things will get a little boring, and you have to dress accordingly in pastels.

Category 2: the Logan

While LoVe is definitely the fan favorite of the series, Logan is a force unto himself. The Logan is all about adventure, whether he knows it or not. This is the guy that was raised from an early age being told he was a certain kind of person; in other words, a guy that was raised to rebel in a high profile sort of way. He'll form a fierce attachment to you, realize you are probably a better person than him, but that doesn't mean for a second he'll change his wily ways - causing trouble and getting revenge where and when he can. This is the kind of guy that comes to you for help right before its too late, but you help him anyways because he can give you puppy eyes good enough to make you melt. Even if his friends are jerks, he has no problem telling them so, especially where you are concerned. Not only does he challenge you and turn you on, but he's loyal to boot. Don't break his heart, he won't take it well.

Category 3: the Leos and Troys
While these boys should really be two categories, they are one for this reason: they aren't serious. Veronica never saw Troy as a relationship she was ready to delve into deeply, nor did she really want to. Troys are troublemakers - absolutely adorable and amazing liars. You date them because they make you feel pretty, and then end up seriously pissing you off in the end. Leos are dated for the simple fact that they are good looking and almost too nice to be intelligent. Both of these are boys liked mostly for the physical attraction, and/or the idea of pissing off another said boy. (In Troy's case, Duncan, in Leo's case, her dad).

Category 4: the Piz
Ah, the Piz. Perhaps my favorite of all the Veronica archetypes. Piz is the friend; the guy that is madly in love with you and you don't even see it. He'll adore you, respect you, and feel privileged just to be in your presence. This is the guy mature enough to realize that even if you never want him back, he's still going to be there for you - even if it's just as a friend. Piz's of the world are always cute in an almost little boy sort of way, have certain fixations in a nerdy area (i.e. Piz and music), and are at times easily taken advantage of. Once you actually date them, Pizs turn into adoring and lust-filled boyfriends who want nothing more than to please you (and you can take that however you want.) Pizs also have the bad luck of getting a bit on the boring side, as they will almost always give in to what you want, and we all know how irritating that can be.

So there you have it. What are you dating?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Here Comes the Easy Part

Or is it? Let's start with the books.

The last book I finished was Count Karlstein by Philip Pullman. At first, and judging from the cover design, it would seem like a book for much younger readers - but do not be fooled. The book is full of betrayal, murder, innuendo, and demons. It starts with the main narrator - Hildi - inside her mother's inn. She is a maid up at Castle Karlstein, where the dastardly count lives with his two orphaned neices and his dribbling assistant. It is then found out that in order to become Count Karlstein, a pact was made with a wild god - the God of the Hunt, and that if the Count does not sacrifice his neices, the demon god will come for him instead. After a lot of amusing side plots involving amusing and very lovable characters (especially the con artist), everything is eventually set to rights. Still, the book got a bit slow, and you really hate Count Karlstein. It can be predictable at points, but for the most part I enjoyed it. Pullman has a style that draws you in even when it doesn't really make sense; he has the ability to twist the mundane into something close to magical. All of his hero/heroine characters are endowed with a firm sense of right and wrong, and fight to make the right thing happen. While the neices can get annoying, Hildi makes it all worthwhile. She is strong and fierce, but unashamed to admit when she is afraid, as she often is for good reason. It's a story that would be creepy on a dark night, but otherwise is short enough to fill a few hours, and even make you laugh.

I am currently forcing my way through Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. It's just not holding me at all. I keep reading because I'm the kind of person that just cannot stop until I know what happens, but I'm even having trouble with that. The story should be interesting, but it just isn't. Maybe something was lost in translation and I am not picking up on it like millions of other readers did. I find Meggie selfish and irritating, not the typical heroine, but that that is why she loses appeal for me. Mo would be better if more of his feelings were made clear. Capricorn and Basta are made out to be these horrible creatures with pasts, but they seem to fall flat before me. I find nothing frightening or even unsettling about Capricorn, and I find all of his men, including Basta, as easy to manipulate. Dustfinger is the only character I see anything in. His emotional perspective provides insight, and his actions are more desperate, more plot advancing than anyone else's. Dustfinger is working out of sadness and desperation. He does not even care if he dies back in his world he just wants to get there. Is that so hard for all of them to understand? I am just over halfway through the book, and I was hoping it would get better by now. Sadly, I am afraid that it is likely I am going to be disappointed.

I Am Legend. Based on a book by one of my favorite authors (Richard Matheson) of the same title, it is clear from the very beginning that other than a very general premise, both are different. The movie, however, was almost as frightening as the book in a different way. What the book had was hopelessness; what the movie has is a very clear picture of loss and a lot of hope. Wil Smith was amazing as Robert Neville - you could see how hard he was trying to hang on to his sanity, seen particularly poignantly in the scenes with the mannequins, and the reliance on his relationship with his dog. While the plot development is slow, it is by no means boring. The viewer is taken through the average day for Neville since everyone was turned by the Krippen Virus. Then you see those days go bad. Neville is working on a cure for the virus - but to test it he has to capture a live infected vampire. This turns the rest of the horde crazy, and they attack him. What makes the whole story so gripping and tense is that it has more elements of reality than might be expected, and a feeling of premonition. I was on the edge of my seat with my hood up in fear. My complaints: the vampires and vamp dogs were all CGI - it would have been much more effective if at least some of the vamps had been people in costume and make-up - particularly the two he comes in the most contact with. Something is lost in the disreality of a fake human face. No matter how good computers get, there's nothing like a real person to make a moment stronger.

National Treasure 2. First, not as good as the first one. Still good though, and it left the audience wide open for a third movie. It starts with the accusation that one of the Gates family ancestors was the architect of the Lincoln Assasination. Of course, this gets Ben on the hunt to prove his great great grandfather was innocent. Theere are terrific break-ins all around the world, and a very amusing kidnapping of the President (Bruce good in this part). It all leads to Cibola, the rumored Olmec City of Gold. While it is located in a nonsensical part of the country, the finding of the clues is all based in historical truth and famous myth. The action gets a bit slow at times, and I wish there had not been the relationship issues between Ben and Abigail - it felt fake and boring, even if it did tie into the relationship between Ben's parents (Helen Mirren was highly amusing). At first, I really did not like Ed Harris as the villain - something was too condescending about him. However, it came around in the end. My biggest complaint - while the Book of Secrets is very cool, it is not the right title for the film. City of Gold would've done just fine, thank you very much.

Gossip Girl - Roman Holiday. What can I say? I loved it. Although I did miss Chuck. Ed Westwick is like delicious dark chocolate with caramel filling as Chuck Bass. Serena and Dan finally took a necessary step - go Dan. It was good to see the childish side of Blair again, rather than the raging bitch one that has a tendency to appear. It was also good to be reminded, yet again, that she has a very small and tarnished, but definitely there, heart of gold. And seriously, will Rufus and Lilly just get back together already? Also, go Mrs. Waldorf!

Supernatural - A Very Supernatural Christmas. I squirmed in my comfortable chair watching this episode. The pagan lore was interesting, and also based in fact, offering up the darker side of winter, and also some of the more controversial history of Christianity. I loved the way that the gods were portrayed like the Cleavers - it made their evil all the creepier, especially during the pre-sacrifice scene. My fingernails ached for days. The flashbacks into Sam and Dean's past Christmas celebrations spoke volumes about Dean, and it was hard not to get choked up when reminded that this might be Dean's last Christmas. Overall, amusing, low on the action end, but heartwarming and seasonal all the same. And they're just so CUTE, aren't they?