“He made the boxes because he was lonely. He didn’t have anyone to love, and he made the boxes so he could love them, and so people would know that he existed, and because birds are free and the boxes are hiding places for the birds so they will feel safe, and he wanted to be free and be safe. The boxes are for him so he can be a bird.”—on Joseph Cornell’s aviaries, from The Time Traveler’s Wife
I have just finished reading “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” It was sad and beautiful and I am struck so painfully by the inevitability of things. I consider the inescapable joys and sorrows that are waiting for me — people unmet, events still folded into the envelope of my future. I try to imagine all the times I will laugh in my life, but my mind draws me back again and again to thoughts of mortality — my parents’, my lover’s, my own. I am afraid of dying. I am afraid of living through the deaths of other people.
Sometimes, when I was younger, and very sad, I would imagine all the pain in my life like bullets in a gun — their number finite. I would tell myself that I was simply, efficiently, getting it all over with now. That when I grew up, I wouldn’t have to be sad ever, because I had already used all my pain up.
Now I see the sadness stretch before me, an endless circlet of heartache. And I know that the gun will always be full, no matter how many times life pulls the trigger.
I am afraid of the person I will be when a thousand bullets are lodged under my skin.
I thought my new English professor was kind of dreamy, in a PhD student kind of way. And then he opened his mouth and immediately morphed into some kind of stereotypical poindexter. I’m telling you, he sounded like he was rehearsing for his role as Geek #4 in Revenge of The Nerds. He also gets this self-consciously British accent every time he reads a poem to the class. Lots of over-enunciation. The class is all Romantic-era poetry, so I’ll be hearing this voice a lot. I’ve decided that if I concentrate on loving his Keebler Elf-like persona, I can just giggle at his eccentricities instead of letting them drive me crazy.
The above image is a photo of possible boyfriends in the 1950s board game Barbie: Queen of the Prom. I own this game.
Oh, stop it, Isla. Don’t pretend like you don’t see me. You know we need to talk about this. No, not about your wardrobe. Although, yes, maybe after. But first we need to talk about the movie. Confessions of a Shopaholic. I’m just going to say it, because I’m your friend and sometimes friends need to be honest with each other. It looks… bad. It looks really bad. Frankly, I didn’t like the book. But I had a slim hope that the movie might make it up by being really fashionable and having lots of awesome montages. It probably will have a lot of those. But the clothes look ridiculous. Not Pat Field awesomely crazy ridiculous. More like, “I put on every brightly colored item in my closet and called it an outfit” ridiculous. And on top of that, you added slapstick. You know how I feel about slapstick. It sucks and it’s never funny. And this is the extra-sucky people slipping on marbles, catfights at a sale kind of slapstick. It hurts me, Isla. It hurts.
But most importantly, this movie makes you look stupid. It makes us all look stupid. I think we both knew that Legally Blonde already kind of tapped out the market for movies about dumb girls trying to be professional but still being pretty dumb and then falling in love with some really bland guy. So I’m just going to ask you to remove Cruella DeVil coat and stop prancing around New York wearing seven different rainbow colored petticoats, and step away from the movie that wants to convince us that we are insipid, ridiculous excuses for human beings. Please Isla. Have a little self-respect.
Ok. First of all. I’m not defending Katy Perry’s stupid music. (Although, yeah, it’s catchy, and her Use Your Love cover is pretty fun. Shut up.) “I Kissed a Girl” is a ridiculous, gimmicky anthem for girls who kiss girls to get attention from guys. I know. But.
Is it wrong that I think her style is kind of kick-ass?
I’m totally aware that even her look is probably completely created by some marketing executive and that’s why she always looks the same (consistent branding and all that), but for what it’s worth, the 1940s pin-up, bathing beauty is a pretty awesome look.
And a lot of people have voiced their hatred of wearing what basically amounts to shiny, bedazzled one-piece bathing suit to a red carpet event, but I say more power to her. Maybe it’s my soft-spot for trapeze artists, but I totally love this sassy little circus-girl getup. And those shoes are awesome.
I realize this now means I have pictures of Tila Tequila and Katy Perry all over my blog and that no one will ever read it again.
Hey, you guys, look! I totally added comments to the blog! Anyway, I know nothing about html beyond like pimping my myspace, so if they aren’t working, let me know, k? And definitely use them if you want to.
It’s the first day of school. Maybe my last first day of school ever, but somehow I find that impossible to believe. Not because I have any real plans for grad school, but just because going back to school in September is as much a part of my life’s routine as having a birthday party with my family or getting sunburned in July. It’s just something that has to happen every year and I can’t conceive of a year going by without it.
My first class is not even a real class — it’s the class I’m TAing. But I’ll probably be taking more notes in that one than in any other because I’m so nervous that I’m not going to know what I’m talking about.
I’m going to wear this cute new, vaguely hipster dress I bought at H&M, unless I put it on today and decide I look stupid.
I used to plan my first day of school outfit weeks in advance in middle school and high school. Every year I was so sure that THIS was the year I was going to come back to school completely different and everyone would be so shocked and whisper about how cool I was behind my back and then some amazing guy would ask me out and I’d smile and tell him I’d think about it. (I’m not even kidding — this was the response I came up with in 5th grade that I planned to use for years.) Anyway, it never played out like I planned, and I remained, if not perpetually dorky, then at least perennially inconspicuous. I was always one of the girls that sort of blended in, even though by high school I kept trying to wear weird outfits to stand out, but then I’d change out of half of them because my mom would give me this pitying look when I came downstairs and tell me my teachers weren’t going to like me if I dressed like that.
It never seemed to matter that every year was the same disappointment when I realized that the same people still didn’t talk to me in class and everyone else had spent their summers partying in Cancun or whatever. I still got the same thrill of possibility each September that it was finally my year.
It makes me sad that this might be the last time I get that feeling of half excitement, half dread of what’s to come this year. So this is just a reminder to myself to not take school for granted for once. It’s a reminder to enjoy it. It’s a reminder to not fuck it up.
I Feel Like Falling Asleep But The Party's Just Begun
So we finally had our extremely belated housewarming party last night.
— strawberries, pineapple, and sour cream and onion chips dipped in the chocolate fountain
— my swishy princess skirt
— seeing Kay
— dancing with the girls early on in the evening (especially the Get Low dance that never fails to make me embarrassed and jubilant at the same time)
— my boyfriend wore a tie
— playing DJ with my ipod, even though I didn’t play a lot of stuff that I ideally would like to because a lot of people only like to hear things they play every night at the Ale House, and I aim to please the people (stuff I wish I played — more Ting Tings, Nouvelle Vague, Sondre Lerche…)
Stuff That Sucked
— some people didn’t get in because we didn’t hear the phone ring when they dialed up from outside, because it was really loud in the apartment
— someone dropping my new camera
— some stupid girls I don’t even know taking my ipod from me and constantly putting on rap songs that were already boring last year (I don’t think they had any idea it was my ipod and I live here and I was dying to tell them, but again, I have this unfortunate need to keep everyone happy)
— when a bunch of the housemates left to shoot off fireworks, taking most of the party with them — the party dwindled and became kind of boring and awkward for an hour, but at least I got to put on some Weezer and not worry about some drunk girl I don’t know grabbing it and changing it to Twista
— getting really stressed out at the end because I felt like I needed to make everyone have a good time and I was afraid someone was gonna knock a cup of beer on my ipod and I didn’t really know most of the people in my living room
— someone walking out with my bottle of tequila (there was about a quarter of it left and it is completely MIA today)
— how dirty the floor got: when I got up to go to the bathroom this morning, still half asleep, I was like “hmm, there’s some paper stuck to my foot or something” and then I looked down and realized, no, that’s just a giant layer of filth. my feet were black and so dirty I felt like I was walking on something else. that’s insane.
So, ok, I guess there were more things that sucked than highlights, but it was still an ok time. I think I’ve had a nicer time today, though, lying on my new pink sheets with white polka dots and messing with my itunes playlists and reading blogs.
Sometimes I reread things I’ve written in here and I start second-guessing like a madwoman. For example, I was just rereading my previous post and I sound really annoying. But worse than annoying, I sounded boring. I mean “on the whole I really enjoyed reading a book that challenged my knowledge of vocabulary.” Really, Caroline? I guess it’s hard to try to write about things like books in a way that’s thrilling to read, but sometimes I get concerned about how goddamn tedious I am.
So I finished The Emperor’s Children a few days ago. Generally, I was pleased with it, although maybe not particularly moved. The ending bothered me a little — a slight tweaking would have made a big difference, but I can’t really explain without giving important plot points away. On the whole, though, I really enjoyed reading a book that challenged my knowledge of vocabulary, as I rarely do that (with the exception of books in English classes). I was also continually struck by the sophistication of the novel’s themes and the way Messud wove them into the plot. If I had arrogantly thought myself past the time that a modern novel could challenge me, I was certainly proven wrong. And while this initially bothered me, (I started to feel somewhat stupid around the 5th word I didn’t know) it ended up being what I liked best about the book.
So now I’ve started The Time Traveler’s Wife, which so far I love and don’t want to put down. I’ve discovered that there’s a movie of this coming out starring Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana, which fills me with dread. So far, the book seems genuinely romantic (I pose the word “Genuine” in direct opposition to the words “Nicholas Sparks”) and I will kill someone if they turn this into “The Notebook: 2.”
My Stripper Friends Don't Know How To Dance To Rock'n'Roll
Right now my subconscious has created the most terrible music mashup ever conceived — a remix of Sam Roberts’ “Them Kids” (which I just saw live tonight !) and Tila Tequila’s “Stripper Friends” (which I am terribly ashamed to admit I listened to today). I don’t like living in a brain where this pairing can exist. Please make it stop.
PS: It’s really unfortunate that this photo is probably the largest one on my blog so far. It in no way reflects my feelings toward Tila Tequila, it’s just the new way I’m uploading pictures.
When People Run In Circles It's a Very Very Mad World
After watching the first episode last year in my Television class and, more recently, being constantly bombarded by references on Jezebel, I finally buckled down and started watching Mad Men. Not that I had many reservations. I had enjoyed what I’d seen of it, but I recognize that I often have a problem getting interested in television dramas and I really wanted to like this one. I’ve seen the first 3 or 4 episodes now and I’m definitely still intrigued. (I admit that the amazing clothes — which, apparently, have strongly influenced this season’s trends — don’t hurt.) The fact that it takes place in another, although not so distant, era adds to its appeal for me, I think. So far, it seems extremely well-written, with a social critique that’s simultaneously serious and winking at the audience. I’m especially grateful for Mad Men’s balance of male and female characters (filmmakers? take note, please), but I feel like I’m still waiting for it to really start grinding into an intelligible plot. Maybe I shouldn’t be? Maybe I’m just not used to drama in an episodic structure.
One other song has been guiding me through this valley of shadow that is the absence of newly downloaded music — That’s Not My Name by The Ting Tings. If you need something to pump you up as you walk to class as school starts up again, definitely download this. I’ve been listening to it on repeat and it puts me in an amazing mood.
My Mind Has Fucked Me Over More Times Than Any Man Could Ever Know
I have to talk some more about how amazing Laura Marling is. Specifically, the song New Romantic has been my favorite song for quite a few weeks now which is a feat considering how quickly I tend to change my mind. The lyrics are perfect, and so is this lovely, understated video. Since I’ve been using Sean’s computer for a while, I haven’t been downloading any music which is pretty painful, but I’ve been listening to hers via youtube. I’d encourage anyone who likes this sort of singer-songwriter lyrics-driven stuff to also check out her songs Cross Your Fingers, Ghosts, and Night Terror, and to watch the videos because they’re quite worthwhile.
“Today is made of yesterday, each time I steal
toward rites I do not know, waiting for the lost
ingredient, as if salt or money or even lust
would keep us calm and prove us whole at last.”—Anne Sexton, The Lost Ingredient
Our Aspirations Are Wrapped Up In Books, Our Inclinations Are Hidden In Looks
At the end of this summer, whose brevity has so taken me by surprise, I only now return to my original goal of doing some reading of the printed page, rather than the digital. I had been reading Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children in March or April, but the stress of final exams and papers diminished my reading time more and and more until so much time lapsed between readings that I couldn’t follow the plot anymore. So I put it aside and assumed I’d pick it up again when school ended, just as I assumed I’d rent movies every week from the list I dutifully drew up in my quest to be a good film student. But nothing ever pans out as you plan it and this summer has flown by with more fun, and less education than I intended for myself. But I still crave books as I have since I learned to read - thus entangling the notion of education and fun as inherently antithetical - and it is with great relief and gratification that I’ve picked up The Emperor’s Children again and started from the beginning.
I have a lot of books that I asked for for Christmas that I haven’t had a chance to get to. I’ve also collected quite a few books from the used bookstore beside my apartment that closes tomorrow and has been selling books for 1 and 2 dollars for the past couple of weeks. Hopefully, schoolwork, work work, and friendly obligations won’t keep me from reading at least a little each week on my own time, because lately it seems to me that it’s when I feel the most at peace.
Speaking of work work, I finally got my tutorial schedule, as well as a schedule for TA orientation. The apprehension is becoming more acute. But I’m excited, too, about all of my classes. Not that I wouldn’t prefer summer to go on endlessly…
Anyway, I want to use this space to keep track of what I read, for posterity and also to encourage myself to read more.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what I sound like when I’ve been reading too much, and talking too little. My language gets all pseudo-intellectual and I throw in words I never use in real life. So my apologies for the above. I take full responsibility for its lameness.
After seeing this video of The Rock-Afire Explosion playing The Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #1”, I felt an strange desire to learn more about this creepy robotic beast-band. In short, it’s an animatronic band that used to play at Pizza places around the US (and I think could be booked for shows elsewhere? Still sort of unsure how this worked…) and now there’s voting going on for what songs you’d like to hear them play. Anyway, that’s a really bad job of explaining, but after perusing the Wikipedia page, I found the trailer for a documentary about it. The doc looks pretty amateur and yet I think I’m going to have to watch it. Animatronics are so oddly compelling, and I kind of love this redneck guy who owns them. Also, the guy who says that The Rock-Afire Explosion was “all he had” as a kid. I also enjoy how it gets all rocked out around 2 minutes in. Trailer below.
Yesterday was my last day at work. I put in my notice a couple weeks ago so I could have the last 2 weeks of August to spend some time at home and relax before orientation starts up for Film TAing. I feel pretty relieved that it’s over. The only things I’ll miss are the money, and petting the dogs that walk by. Speaking of which, I finally understood the appeal of the pug yesterday when a 9-week old pug puppy waddled up to me and licked my hand. I wanted to steal it.
I really want to see this movie when it comes out. I read Kat Dennings blog sometimes which makes me feel oddly protective and supportive of her (this is called over-identification with a celebrity, kids) and who doesn’t love Michael Cera?(The world loves Michael Cera so much that I can only assume there’s going to be some eventual major Michael Cera backlash, as inevitably happens with everything that is too good.) Plus, the title leads me to believe that there’s some sort of awesome mixed-tape music theme? Ticket for one, please.
So last Wednesday Sean and I took a bus to Toronto to spend a day at Canada’s Wonderland — the largest, and most popular theme park in Canada. (I like how the above photo makes it look like the creepy theme park from one of those Goosebumps books. It doesn’t look like that in real life, I swear.) Although it poured rain the whole bus ride there, it was only sprinkling by the time we stepped through the magical gates of Wonderland, where an attendant immediately confiscated my two cans of lemonade. Bastards! There were some sprinkles off and on throughout the day, but mostly is was just cloudy, and even sunny at times, and not even the sweater weather could keep me away from the water rides.
We chickened out on riding The Behemoth — the biggest ride in the park by far, because it looked like a deathtrap, but we went on pretty intense roller coasters pretty much all day, with a few breaks for candy and (fucking 9 dollar) fried dough. The best ride was The Great Canadian Minebuster which made me scream so loudly I hurt my throat and couldn’t swallow after. Yeah, I’m hardcore on the screaming. Although I ended the day with a major headache, falling asleep on a cold bus while Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (also known as That Hideously Obnoxious Movie That Makes Me Weep For Steve Martin’s Career Part 2) played on tiny TV screens, it was definitely worth it. Hey, I was just thankful I didn’t end up passed out on a park bench, as I am wont to do.
“Oh, how I regret not having worn a bikini for the entire year I was twenty-six. If anyone young is reading this, go, right this minute, put on a bikini, and don’t take it off until you’re thirty-four.”—Nora Ephron
Karma’s on my side today, but for some reason I still feel guilty. I guess I’m uncomfortable with payback, even when I’m the one doing the paying back. If I wasn’t way too cool for emoticons, I’d be posting a slanty-face right now. Good thing I’m so cool.
So I was just reading this Rolling Stone interview with Seth Rogan and James Franco, and it’s really forcing me to rethink my longstanding crush on Seth. Some choice quotes from the article:
"Franco has since graduated from UCLA with a degree in English. His senior thesis was an episodic novel set in his hometown of Palo Alto, CA. Rogan, by contrast, accidentally broke the nose of a stuntman on his next film. His summer project was writing a script exploring the touching relationship between a superhero and his valet."
"Today… they revert to their respective types. Rogan is the say-anything stoner with a heart of gold. Franco is cautious by comparison. Franco has recently found his inner self-deprecator and he good-naturedly talks about problems down at quality control with his films."
And then there’s this whole thing where James doesn’t want to say what he’s going to do this summer because he’s afraid Seth will make fun of him:
Franco: “I’m going to Paris to learn French. I eventually want to get a PH.D. in literature, and a lot of the programs want you to be able to read in two languages. Then I’m going to be collaborating with an artist named Carter. It’s on an installation he’s doing at an art gallery.”
And then Rogan laughs at him and tells him that it’s cool, but “a little gay.”
Color me more than impressed by James. But SETH! WHY???? I was so willing to love you and your curly-headed, screenplay-writing, unconventionally attractive adorableness. And then you have to go and act like every other emotionally stunted college stoner I know.
Oh well, at least I still know this other curly-headed, screenplay-writing, adorable guy…