Wednesday, June 30, 2010
On the poplars there we had hung up our harps.
For there our jailers had asked us to sing them a song, our captors to make merry, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion."
How could we sing a song of Yahweh on alien soil?
If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand wither!
May my tongue remain stuck to my palate if I do not keep you in mind, if I do not count Jerusalem the greatest of my joys.
Remember, Yahweh, to the Edomites' cost, the day of Jerusalem, how they said, 'Down with it! Rase it to the ground!'
Daughter of Babel, doomed to destruction, a blessing on anyone who treats you as you treated us, a blessing on anyone who seizes your babies and shatters them against a rock!
Monday, June 28, 2010
Betsy says she's not a pop culture junkie, but she feels like one around me. Understandable. We got the first season of 30ROCK at the library and I'm actually enjoying the show. The Ru..Ju..?
I found Hamlet at a garage sale for 50c and also bought his complete works for $1. I had to stop reading Lord of the Rings because [spoiler] and that hasn't really sunk in yet. I started reading Hamlet and some Flannery O'Conner short stories.
My poor basil plant might make it. We've only got a north window so none of our plants are getting much sunlight, and the basil plant has been losing leaves like a maple tree in late October, except it's a basil plant in late June. But it's got some new leaves at the top, which is a hopeful sign.
Cinnamon and nutmeg make vanilla ice cream a lot better.
Surprisingly, I haven't had any major existential crises yet this summer. I think it's in part because I always have people I need to respond to and I'm never really by myself, and in part because I just ignore the questions when they come up. I usually clear my head by writing, and most days I just can't handle using words anymore -- words is all I've been doing all day -- so I just forget the crisis and draw or something.
I want to paint.
I've been trying to figure out what to do with panhandlers and people who ask for money. It's absolutely wrong to brush by and ignore them (cf. Mt. 25:31 ff), but handing over $5 probably means enabling an addiction or bad habit, and that's also wrong. Some people say "take them out to lunch" but most times I honestly don't have time for that. (Plus it can't really help that much.) Some people tell me "you're in college and you don't really have extra money" but cf. Mark 12:41 ff.
Here's the thing, though. My time isn't really "my" time -- I've already pledged it to my employer. Maybe feeding the hungry is objectively more important than the particular task I've been assigned, but I owe to my employer that I obey him and that I give him the time I promised to give him. If he sends me on an assignment, I have to do that assignment (unless it's specifically immoral). So no, I really, actually don't have time to take someone out to lunch because the time isn't mine anymore.
Same with money. I owe it to my parents to finish college, and I actually do need to buy my textbooks. Maybe feeding the hungry is more important than memorizing declension patterns, but that isn't my decision to make. It isn't "my" time that I spend studying, and it isn't "my" money I'm spending on books. I owe it to my parents to buy my books, and therefore the money isn't mine to give away.
I think the best thing to do is to know where these people can get help, and smile and point it out to them. "Sorry, ma'am, I can't actually give you any money, but if you go to [street] and [street], the people there can help you" or "Sir, I can't give you any money, but here's the phone number of [whatever mission]. Give them a call; they should be able to help you."
A man holding his hat out is still a man and we ought to treat him as such. But we should also recognize (with humility) that we are human and limited in what we can do. I can't solve all the world's problems; I can't solve all this man's problems. But I can point him to people who can help.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
- Stella fetches. Yes, you read that right. She fetches. But, there are only two things she will fetch - a mutilated red fishy toy and a bendy stick that at one point had a feathery boa thing at the end of it. She loves to play in a very energetic fashion and it is enjoyable to join in.
- She has crazy moments. Her eyes will get big, as if she is looking as something supernatural. She will tense up into a lump of fur on end, twitch violently, and then run somewhere far away so the paranormal object of her attention will not attack her.
- This cat is WHINY. She yowls and meows A LOT, particularly when she wants you to pay attention to her or she wants you to do something for her. For me, that means getting out of the room at the appropriate time in the morning.
- I do not let Stella sleep with me for a very good reason: she will not sleep on top of the bed covers. She climbs up the side of the covers like a mountain climber on Mt. Everest and plants base camp at your feet. If you happen to be the unfortunate sleeper who moves around a lot, this means a night of biting and scratching. So not happening. Good night Stella....hope you like the carpet outside my door.
- She thinks that I am her new master and sticks to me like glue, regardless of how many anti-cat vibes I radiate. She loves me despite my liberal use of a spray bottle. I am trying to establish a comfortable boundary between me and the cat. But, I have a theory: cats know what you want them to do, but they could give a damn. You exist to serve at their pleasure and are lucky to be graced by their presence. Now I understand where "hearding cats" is an impossible task.
- She LOVES strawberries and blueberries. She will beg like a dog.
- She likes to randomly flop on her back, splay her back legs out, grab her tail with her front paws, bring her tail between her back legs, hold it to her chest and chew on it. I have an awesome picture of this feat of flexibility:)
- The most interesting characteristic of this quirky cat is the fact that she will hang out at the window and chirp like a bird. She actually sounds like a deranged/disturbed morning dove. Stella truly has a knack for mimicry. I think she is trying to lure in a prey that she will never obtain...indulging in some ancient instinct that has not yet been bred out of her domesticated genetic code. How poetic....and funny to watch. If only I had a video camera.
In the end of the day, Stella is one exception to my anti-cat policy. Her quirky, friendly characteristics balance out the fact that she is of a species spawned by Satan.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
- Spanish Buzz - Me gusta Buzz Lightyear en espanol. At some point in the film, they accidently activate Buzz's Spanish mode, which produces a rather funny attempt at a sexy Antonio Banderes voice. His mannerisms also undergo a transformation - he develops a machismo attitude and amazing latin dance skills.
- Barbie and Ken - nothing like Barbie watching Ken do a 60s-90s fashion show. Very funny.
- The 3D technology shuts the kids up - always a plus in my book. I hate having my movies interrupted by whining, crying, loud, ill-disciplined, oboxious brats. For example, when I went to see Red Eye, some parents decided that it would be a good idea to save money on a babysitter by taking their 5 year old child to a PG-13 movie with VIOLENCE, BLOOD, and Cillian Murphy being STABBED IN THE THROAT with a cartoon pen. Guess who turn around and told them to shut their kid up?
- I sympathized with Andy in the movie. When I was getting older, I found it hard to part with some of my childhood toys. I have to admit, I started tearing up a little.
- Sequel Fever - apparently Hollywood is so scared of taking a creative risk during a recession that it feels compelled to continue to puke out the same, unoriginal garbage. There are too many other sequels/remakes scheduled. Star Trek 2009 was awesome - that needed and could handle an update. I have to admit that I am a tad bit excited about Tron: Legacy this Christmas. And, we'll see about Shamalamadingdong's film version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. But, SciFi and Fantasy tend to make better remakes/updates by virtue of their genre. Toy Story 3 felt like a stretch. Only Mouschwitz (I mean, Disney) would be willin' for the shillin' enough to cash in on such a wonderful Pixar creation.
- Disney acquired Pixar a couple of years ago. The deal called for sequals on Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and The Incredibles. Just stop - stop cashing in on and destroying Pixar's original creative genius. You make enough money, Disney. Miley Cyrus won't be fully depleted until she hits the "skank" period of her sad, short-lived starlet life...she's not quite there yet. Eventually, she will be replaced with another Disney test tube baby. Please see the Onion videos "Enterntainment Scientists Warn Miley Cyrus Will Be Depleted by 2013" and "Disney Lab Unveils Its Latest Line of Genetically Engineered Child Star" for more information. Check out http://www.theonion.com/, search for the videos and see what I mean. Walt is rolling is his grave right now...more like spinning, methinks.
- Bigger is not always better, just as 3 dimensions are not always better than 2! I felt like the 3D gimic is being used on every new film that comes out so that Hollywood has an excuse to charge more for tickets. A movie about toys - with no explosions, magic, lasers, etc. - does not belong in 3D. I feel like 3D is being used by Hollywood to cover up the fact that it is not producing anything orginal. Cameron's Avatar was just Pocahontas / Dances With Wolves with giant Smurfs. Cameron needed the 3D in order to force you to focus on the amazing graphics, thus diverting your attention away from the boring, unispired story with horrible dialogue and cliche Cameron characters. If it isn't compelling in 2D, it isn't a good story. THREE-DIMENSIONAL FAIL.
P.S. I still love you Pixar, even though my stock in you was converted to Disney stock when they bought you out. Continue to shine through the Disney darkness.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
When I got back home, I had to sit down and memorize the map. I would have rented a GPS if it didn't cost $25 a day to rent it. Snazzlefracken. Memorizing the map wasn't that bad. In fact, it helped me to get more familiar with the L.A. area and gave me the chance to soak in some scenery. (SIDENOTE: I think people rely too much on the GPS technology. Maps are great. It serves you better to be familiar with a paper map then to rely on a stupid computer that the government can hack into. I, Robot anyone? Thanks for allowing me a moment of paranoia.)
By the way, the scenery was absolutely gorgeous: rolling hills, small mountains, desert landscape, sprawling ranches....typical Southern California. Even though it was just 70F, the sun was beating down and airconditioning became a necessity.
I was rather nervous to drive on the L.A. highway system - people are crazy drivers around here. But, they are not nearly as bad a Massahussetters. Those people are nuckin' futs! Anywho, here are my Los Angeles traffic pet peeves:
- Curves - The highways and back roads are very curvy. Many go through canyons, hills, and moutains...hence the curviness. Instead of slowing down, SoCal drivers like to speed up and weave in and out of their lanes as a part of their mountain-worship ritual.
- Dust - We're in the desert. There is sand. There is also dust. Wind kicks up the dust. Dust lands on car. Someone writes "wash me" on the car.
- Traffic - I knew that the infamous L.A. traffic would be bad. But, I did not realize how horrid it really was. People react to it differently. Some get angry and honk their horns, looking as if they are nuclear reactor about to explode. Others fall asleep, causing the angry people to honk more. Others seem to have had too much coffee beforehand: they lurch the car forward at every opportunity to move up an inch. Still others get on their cell phones and refuse to get off them when traffic moves...which brings me to....
- Fake blondes - You know exactly who I'm talking about. Even if you haven't met one, you've at least seen one on TV. They usually have fake blonde hair, dark roots, big sunglasses, ugg boots, booty shorts, low-cut tank tops, and orange spray-on tan skin. They butcher the English language with the overuse of the word "like," a linguistic bastardization that can be traced back to the Valley. They tend to drive their BMWs while drinking Starbucks coffee and texting, often all at the same time. It is a wonder they have not succumed to natural selection. You have that image in your head now? They do in fact exist and are some of the worst CA drivers that I have encountered thus far. Stereotype win!
- Car signals - Apparently, turn signals are optional equipment in SoCal, just as speed limits and lane lines are mere suggestions.
3-day car rental = $100
3-day rental insurance = $45
Full tank of gas = $22
Passing a texting blonde driver on a mountain curve (and thus avoiding death by idiot driver) whilst listening to a crescendo in Aaron Copland's Rodeo. = PRICELESS.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Turns out Samuel Beckett (the playwright) wouldn't tell anyone what it meant, either.
My brain hurt during the play, trying to figure things out. What do the hats mean? What the heck is going on when Lucky starts talking? (It remains to be seen, but time will tell.) What does it mean when Pozzo is blind? Actually, what the heck does anything mean? What's the point of the tree? Who is Godot? Is Pozzo Godot? Why a shorter rope the second time? What's up with "nothing" in the boot and in the hats?
I love live theater. It asks you to think.
For the most part, though, I felt like any discussion of the play would ultimately prove fruitless. I felt like the play was a really complex version of "The Lady or the Tiger" -- you can argue as much as you like, but in the end it's going to be totally pointless because it doesn't matter.
It was good, though; I'm glad I saw it.
In other news, Betsy and I got into an almost-heated argument today over pinto beans. We laughed about it later and realized we were both being kind of stupid, but I think our argument over pinto beans -- pinto beans -- demonstrates the lack of known 18-to-25-year-olds in the Toledo area.
And, I am almost out of stamps.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
some cool stuff happened, though. I spoke with a couple married 79 years -- both are 100 years old. I interviewed a harp builder for 45 minutes.
There's a new intern in our office, started Monday, and he seems pretty cool.
Past two weekends I was gone (graduation, then open house/party) and most weeknights we spend working, cooking, chilling, etc. I went for a walk this evening, stayed out for about an hour, found some black raspberries. A few are ripe; the rest will be ready within the week, I think.
Right now my big project is figuring out how to get pencil marks off a piece of unfinished wood. I bought a 5x7 oval at Michael's and I'm drawing on it, but I made some mistakes. It feels good on my brain to do something other than words.
We made tomato sauce the other day; it was really super good.
Monday, June 14, 2010
OPENING REMARKS: Why, Hollywood? In your infinite wisdom, you failed to notice that people actually don't want to watch cheap, poorly-filmed, star-studded "re-tellings" of the orginal, impecable film/story. It was not worth the 2 hours of my life and the exorbitant Californian movie theater admission price of $11.75 to see this clap trap. I want at least $10.50 back, damn it. If I want to see the Robin Hood, I will watch The Adventures of Robin Hood made in 1938 with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland - they got it right. Let it be.
Point 1: Russell Crowe, to this you have sunk. After Master and Commander, Gladiator, and 3:10 to Yuma, I thought he could do know wrong, or at least very little wrong...and then he let Ridley Scott talk him into this. Although more stylized and flamboyant, Errol Flynn's Robin Hood seems more masculine and likable, EVEN IN TIGHTS. Crowe looks like he is trying to immitate every other gritty, realistic character that he has done. LAME. ERROL FLYNN FOR THE WIN! (That rhymed!)
Point 2: Ridley Scott - I liked Blade Runner, Alien, and Gladiator. Again, why did he have to ruin his image by trying to "update" a classic. Not all classics are meant to be updated. Some of them are done so well, they can't be touched. The author of the NR article had a particularly good rebuke: "Apparently, Ridley Scott thought that he could do better than the bards and legend-makers. Instead--and I can't believe I'm saying this--he's produced a Robin Hood that makes Kevin Costner's Prince of Thieves look like a classic by comparison." OH SNAP! KEVIN COSTNER FOR THE WIN.
Point 3: I took High & Late Middle Ages as a history class. I at least have a basic undestanding of Medieval mindsets, society, and religion. This "new" Robin sounded more like a modern democratic git than a medieval marauder. Crowe's Robin is painted as a freedom fighter who does more than "steal from the rich and give to the poor." Ross Douthat stated "It turns out that our Robin isn't just a common archer at all: He's really the son of some democratic reformer from way back in the day...So next thing you know, "Magna Carta!" (NR 50). I applaud your research skills, Scott. Bravo. There are more historical and mythological mistakes, but they are so readily apparent that they are not worth mentioning. RESEARCH FAIL.
Point 4: Cate Blanchett's Maid Marion is a frickin' feminist. She even rides into battle at the end in full armor on horseback wielding a sword and leading a group of boys. Needless to say, she is still absolutely useless. Olivia de Havilland, you are still the best. FEMINIST FAIL.
Point 5: The Battle Scenes. Apparently, we are still in this horrid cinematic era in which the shaky camera is used in battle scenes to depict fighting "realistically." Well, I can't tell if it is realistic or not BECAUSE THE DAMN FRAME MOVES AROUND TOO FRICKIN MUCH! Can you tell that I loathe this style? If you put the effort into choreographing it, why not portray it well so we can see the fancy fighting? The ending sequence reminded me of a bad rendition of The Patriot and From Here to Eternity, with overly-dramatic slowmo fighting and Crowe-Blanchett cuddling. SHAKY CAMERA FAIL.
Point 6: Too many "Meanwhiles." I was sick of subtitles telling me the next location. Sherwood -France -London -random forest...blah blah blah. Too confusing. Is this about Robin or the ten bajillion other minor characters? And, how did everyone in England not notice the hundreds of French troops raiding the North? I give the plot an "F"...FOR FAIL!
P.S. I laughed at historical inaccuracies and bad dialogue through most of the film and got dirty looks from the other members of the audience the whole time. MADDIE WIN!
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
However, I did notice today that the daffodil painting in the hallway is off kilter by about a half-inch. I specifically remember straightening it that weekend. Ha! Mwahaha! You did not just quietly quake in the night under my radar, earth! I have caught you red-handed:P Ha!
P.S. Earth, I am not trying to provoke you to quake at a higher magnitude. Please remain rather quiet during my time in SoCal. Thanks.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Other internship duties include the usual: bringing people coffee, keeping the office clean, running errands on the fly, etc. I've been learning a lot about film production and enjoying it thoroughly. The office atmosphere is great and the people are wonderful. There is a little area where all of the interns gather in the back and frantically attempt to finish coverages while running missions for various higher-ups. I'm still meeting new interns because each of them is on a different schedule. Although I have no official number, it seems like # interns > # fulltimers.
I love independent film studios:)
Monday, June 7, 2010
So far, we haven't had any major fights. In fact, we haven't really had any minor fights. We had something like this once:
Betsy: Do you like guacamole?
Betsy: Have you tried guacamole?
Betsy: You haven't even tried guacamole! How can you say you don't like it?
Mary: Um...maybe I have tried it. Is it green? Do people put it on crackers? I think I did, and I think I remember not liking it.
[next day, Betsy orders guacamole at a restaurant.]
Betsy: Mary, try this.
Mary: (dips tortilla chip in guacamole and eats) I guess it tastes okay, but it feels really slimy.
Betsy: Well, you have to not think about snot while you're eating it.
And another one like this:
Betsy: Do you like hummus?
Betsy: (gives Mary a knowing look) Have you tried hummus?
Betsy: And you're sure you don't like it?
But overall, we're getting along really well, especially considering we're rarely more than 20 feet away from each other. So when I found out I was going home for a family event this weekend, I automatically asked Betsy if she'd like to come along. It hadn't really occurred to me that we could be in separate places.
Betsy suggested that a friend pick her up and take her to Hillsdale for the weekend, and that's what she ended up doing. So I drove home alone.
It was up to my sister and me to make dinner Saturday night. Armed with the confidence I'd gained spending three weeks cooking with Betsy, I scanned the shelves of the refrigerator, looking for food I knew how to cook.
My confidence went kerplunk when I realized we had no broccoli. And we were out of carrots. And basically nothing to make a main course out of except meat, and I didn't learn anything from Betsy about cooking meat.
Our sandwiches that night (lunch meat, sliced cheese and raw tomato) were a testament to Betsy's cooking skillz.
Saturday, June 5, 2010
By the way, he was heading toward the Cultural Center. I would have to say that he covered a lot of cultures ... only in L.A. ...
I'm sure I will see stranger things. I will keep you aprised.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
"Friendship?" asked Betsy, "or produce?"
Fortunately, Betsy's father rescued us by taking Betsy to the grocery store Monday night. She came back with tomatoes and carrots. Things were going to be fine.
But on Wednesday afternoon, I discovered that we could get free tickets to see Karate Kid II. I politely declined. "Sorry, we've already got plans for tonight," I said, then blinked and scrunched up my eyebrows a little bit. I couldn't believe I'd said that. We'd just spent Saturday afternoon bumming around downtown and Saturday night bumming around the apartment. We had plans? Weird.
So the 18-to-25-year-old came over, and we all ate dinner, brownies, and sprouts. Now I can't focus on my work because my cheeks hurt from laughing so much.
I guess I didn't realize those muscles were out of shape.