Sunday, February 6, 2011

The girl smelling of honey and death

I was talking with my best friend about the things we find important in relationships, both platonic and romantic, and it got me thinking about one of the criteria we had in common.

I love talking about movies and television and music and books. I love being able to share with people why I love the things that I love, and what about them that speaks to me. I love listening to people talk about the things they love, the movies they're passionate about, the stories that resonate with them, and why. Often we're drawn to things for deeply personal reasons, as much as we might not want to admit it. Everything we watch or read or listen to is viewed through our own experiences. What may seem silly and frivolous to someone may be achingly poignant to another.

If I were a creator, an artist, I would hope that at least some of the thought, feeling and passion that I put into my work would reflect in it and allow someone to connect to it. I would hope that what I put out into the world could help someone else to understand themselves or someone they know better, or make them happier.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Geez, get a blog.

A friend of mine posted a link to an article about Facebook and the Social Network and how Facebook frames our lives in Zuckerberg's terms and, well, I teal deered all over his Facebook wall. 

The article mentions Zuckerberg's profile in the New Yorker, which I remember reading and it explained a lot for me about Facebook and the, I don't know, the meaning behind the way it functions. Facebook, as opposed to other social media, has limited room for creativity. Even Twitter, which functions somewhat like status updates, leaves more room for creative uses than Facebook. As mentioned in the article, Facebook reduces complex human relationships into Zuckerberg terms - trivia, poking. The creative aspect of  Facebook lies in programming applications, because that's Mark Zuckerberg's creative output.

Every aspect of Facebook stems from Zuckerberg's view on the world, including privacy policies. Every new feature that Facebook introduces is opt-out, not opt-in. Facebook operates under the assumption that the notion of privacy is becoming outdated and there's no reason to keep any parts of your life to yourself any more, and Zuckerberg has said as much: "Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity." Every so often the privacy options for Facebook change, and the majority of Facebook users accept without question. The outcry against Beacon back in 2007 didn't come from a majority, but just a small circle of users concerned with privacy.

I agree with what the author said about the last defense of Facebook. Facebook is easy. It's easy to feel like you're keeping in touch with people if you see their Facebook posts. Asking people to post in a Facebook group to keep in touch isn't keeping in touch, it's a Christmas newsletter. It's changed the way people relate and the way they think about friendship. Today, saying you don't have Facebook is like saying you don't own a television. Facebook is obligatory.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I can't be objective about this.

I keep wanting to write something about Justified, one of my favorite new shows of the 09-10 season. It's a great show, the perfect mix of standalone and arc-centric episodes, compelling characters, strong women and Timothy Olyphant playing Seth Bullock in the 21st century confused as to why he can't just shoot people any more. Well, slightly more complicated than that, anyway.

I want to be articulate, and composed, and explain all the perfectly logical plot-related reasons why you would want to watch this show, and why I love this show. Really, take it from me, it's an incredible show. FX, you done good.

But I'm watching these episodes to catch up on the last half of the season before the premiere on Feb. 9th (watch iiiiiiit) and also trying to think of things I can say about it to convince you to watch, but everything I think of can pretty much be boiled down to this gif:

I'll have to try again sometime, I think. Because there's really more to this show than just Timothy Olyphant walking around setting panties aflame all across the country through the tv, though if you're on the fence about it, that's should be enough to push you over.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Don't look at me. We're talking about dragons.

I had a rough time a few years back. It sucked, as such things do. But one of the best things to come out of it was a new collection of covers of Creep! Oh yes, I felt that song deep in my soul. Thom Yorke understood me, guys. I want to be special! I do want a perfect soul! Fuck, how could I have heard this song for so many years but never really listened to it! Blah blah blah deep soul pain whatever. I even added it to my making out playlist, not that it got any use then.

Anyway. I'm awesome now. I'm totally fucking special. And I still love Creep.

So here, in order of how awesome they are, are my four favorite covers of Creep.

4. Creep (live at Coachella) - Prince

Prince's cover is badass, but man is it long. Wow. I love how he turns it around and makes it an insult. ("You wish you were special, well, so do I." "What the hell are you doing here?") I think it's so fucking bitchy and I love it. I also like to think that Prince feels so fabulous that he can't actually sing about how he wishes he were special because HE'S FUCKING PRINCE! ARE YOU KIDDING ME, OF COURSE HE'S SO FUCKING SPECIAL. Michael Jackson used to lie awake at night believing he couldn't go to sleep because if God saw he was asleep he would give his amazing ideas to FUCKING PRINCE instead! Prince played Purple Rain at the Super Bowl and HE DAMN WELL MADE IT RAIN. There's nothing about Prince that ISN'T so fucking special. Prince is always wishing everyone else was so fucking special so he could talk to them about how awesome it is being so fucking special.

3. Creep - Scala and Kolacny Brothers

If you have ever spent any amount of time discussing music with me, and especially cover songs, you will have been forced to listen to something from the Scala choir. They're a Belgian girls' choir that sings covers of popular songs. They are amazing. Their cover of With or Without You is just fantastic.

This is not the song that was used in the Social Network trailer, but it's damn fucking close. The Scala choir has a larger back catalog of covers to check out, too. If your only exposure to choral arrangements of pop songs has been Glee, give Scala and Kolacny Brothers a chance to win you over. That's not a slight on Glee, either, but this has an entirely different feel. It's haunting and earnest and sincere.

Well, then. If I love Scala and Kolacny Brothers so much, why is this in third place? It's just not my favorite Scala cover. It's great, but it doesn't beat out the other two. I think after this, I'll have to go through and write something about my favorite Scala covers, because they deserve a major spotlight.

2. The Blower's Daughter/Creep - Damien Rice

Oh man, remember a few years back when Closer came out? You know, that movie where Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman gave each other cunt necklaces and a bunch of dudes modified their Lost in Translation pink wig fantasies to include Natalie Portman in a thong? And everyone all over the internet became OBSESSED with that song in the trailer that goes "I can't take my eyes off you"?

I love that song, and I love Damien Rice. I have such a girl boner for that gorgeous sometimes-beardy ginger and his fucking fantastic acoustic songs about sex and kissing. And the Blower's Daughter is really just as stalkery as Creep is, but it sounds pretty because it's got sweet acoustic guitar and Damien Rice sweetly pining for you as you stand on a seaside cliff with the wind in your hair. The beauty of this cover is that it integrates Creep so seamlessly that it feels like an extension of the song, like it was always meant to have that screaming, raw refrain under the surface. And if you're the girl he's singing to, you suddenly go oh, hey, please do take your mind off me, thanks.

1. Creep (live) - Brandi Carlile

I don't even know. I'm ashamed to say I had kind of written Brandi Carlile off because I thought she was just another, I don't even know how to classify this, Jewel-wannabe? Not disposable razor schilling Jewel, but living-in-your-car poetry Jewel.

Is it a coincidence that my favorite cover of Creep is by a woman? I don't think so. From what I've discovered, there are few female vocalists covering this song. (I'm ignoring Amanda Palmer because I don't like her.) I could get into how Creep might be perceived differently from the perspective of the different genders, but I don't feel like I could do the idea justice. I love that it makes it feel a little different, though.

Her voice is incredible. It's raw and full of anguish, almost making the song sound like a wail of pain at times. I think I would have felt a whole lot better if I could scream out this song like she does. It's almost uncomfortable listening to it again, for me, because of that scream. She makes you feel it.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Princess Slayer, what's actually in your handbag right now?

This past week the ladies at the Hairpin emptied out their purses for the world to see, and since I love that shit and the last time I did it was in 2008 (love how I always need bandaids), I figured I was due. I considered throwing my dice bag in there to get some cred but it felt disingenuous, seeing as I haven't played since our DM moved away.

Here we go, clockwise starting with the wallet!


1. Fossil/Relic wallet, full of discount cards for Borders and ABC Liquor and I think five bucks.

2. A measuring tape, which, you have no idea how useful this is sometimes. No idea. I was planning to empty this out and use it as a pill case, but it doesn't close properly. The mints were disgusting so I ended up dumping them out. I'm still hopeful.

3. Dinosaur print makeup bag containing a tampon, Clinique black honey lipstick, chapstick, a ponytail holder, two nail files (?!) and white citrus perfume.

4. Sad utilitarian keys. I no longer have a key fob because I lost my keys somewhere across America when I was roadtripping this summer and didn't realize it until I was home. They could be anywhere from Los Angeles to Pensacola, and I have no fucking idea where. That was a problem when I tried to get back in my own car, let me tell you.

5. Lucky Brand purse (that I may have stolen from my mom).

6. Moleskine planner, Staedler pens. The hipster standard. I'm more likely to be organized if I have pretty shit that I feel guilty about not using. And my six year old ipod which still works like a champ and has every embarrassing song I've ever downloaded since I was 16.

7. Freefloating "Yes to Carrots" lip balm and lotion. Excellent shit, and you feel all responsible and organic.

8. Pocketknife and unholy rats nest of a jump drive on a string and old handsfree for a phone I haven't had since October that I discovered when I opened the zip pocket on the inside of my purse. Bonus: busted silica packet!

9. Iphone with Jonathan Adler case and naked lady matches from a tapas restaurant with one burnt match put back in the box.

10. Bandaids, which are a necessity if you're me, honey-scented solid perfume (I change my perfume according to season, okay) and my ACTUAL pill case.

Monday, January 24, 2011

So who here has a lady problem they'd like to talk about?

I'd like to see more representations of women in movies. I think little girls would like that too, and little boys, and men, and women. I think it might be better for everyone to see a wider range of perspectives represented in the films we see. It might make people think more about how other people see the world, and open themselves to more experiences and viewpoints.

Just by googling "female characters pixar" I found four separate articles, easily, on the lack of lead female characters in Pixar Films. I found something written on the subject before Cars came out here, a Cinematical article sparked by the first post linked, and another blog post giving examples of how easy it would have been to turn several characters into females. I've loved every Pixar film I've seen. They're good films with great stories. But once you notice, or have it pointed out to you, that they have no lead females, it's impossible not to see it.

The first article I found on the subject said it best:

Pixar's continued failure to posit female characters as the central protagonists in their stories contributes to the idea that male is neutral and female is particular. This is not to say that Pixar does not write female characters. What I am taking issue with is the ad-nauseam repetition of female characters as helpers, love interests, and moral compasses to the male characters whose problems, feelings, and desires drive the narratives.

When I say Pixar has no "lead females," I am referring to the main character being female. In all of Pixar's films (that I have seen - the exception being Cars, but that's not really going to discredit my point one bit), it has been the male's thoughts, ideas and actions that drive the story. The female's role is to help him along.

Now, there is a movie in the future with a main female character, written and directed by a woman. I look forward to it. I'll see it, as I've seen almost every Pixar film. But as of now, every movie in Pixar's catalog is male-driven. Brave, formerly titled The Bear and the Bow, will be one movie out of the then twelve released or set to be released. And it will have taken them sixteen years - beginning from the release of Toy Story to make a film written by or directed by or starring a woman. And, it's interesting to note that it's slated to be Pixar's first fairy tale. I'm disappointed that it takes a fairy tale, a typically female-oriented type of animated film, for Pixar to have the main character be a woman.

Noticing something and being unhappy with the status quo isn't looking for something to get irritated about. I'm sorry if you feel personally hurt by the fact that I'm noticing some sexism in a movie studio. I certainly hope my feelings don't injure you, and I hope you can continue to enjoy Pixar films without boiling over with the need to make sure that I feel satisfied with the female characters that Pixar has so generously given us.

Of course there's writing what you know, but part of being a writer is writing things you don't know. If Pixar's male-dominated staff can only write about their own male perspective, those are some shitty writers. And if the reason Pixar is making mostly male-oriented features is because it's all their writers know, they need to either get better writers or hire more women.

The problem I find with Pixar is there's reason after reason why certain movies don't have more females. But there's no reason why the studio overall can't have more female characters.

Ask Pixar to make a movie about a girl? Why, that's just PC BS!

Cinematical wrote a response to the open letter to Pixar on I swear, either they must have been reading this forum too, or the responses to women's queries have been the same all across the board. This article addresses not the argument itself, but the response from people all across the board. I was incredibly saddened reading the comments that the article detailed.

"I suppose all the Disney Princess and Tinkerbell movies don't count for anything? You have to try to force your P.C. B.S. on Pixar now?," writes one of the earliest commenters. "Come on! I'm sure when an interesting story with a female protagonist develops organically at Pixar, they will make that movie. Until that time, stop trying to ruin the fun for the rest of us."

This commenter, bless his heart, went on to immediately amend his statement after reading the article, and conceded that the writer had some really good points and he now agreed. Why can't more people listen to the other side and realize that agreeing wouldn't hurt them, wouldn't take away the movies they already had, and that a film, a Pixar film in particular, could still be good and you could still love it if it was about a woman?

"Let Pixar make the movies for boys and leave the chick flicks/teenybopper movies to Disney itself," writes another (male) reader, while yet another fellow says, "Everybody has an agenda. I'm sorry if this delightful movie didn't service yours."

I honestly couldn't say it better than the writer herself:

Why is it that when women -- who make up over half of the species, by the way -- respectfully point out that they're underrepresented in movies, it's seen as some sort of angry feminist screed?

I've seen this point made so many places, so many times, and it's upsetting to hear it every time. Yes, why is that? Why have we come so far and yet every single inch farther towards equality even in movies is seen like some irrational shriek from some firebreathing feminist who doesn't shave her armpits? Noticing something and being unhappy with the status quo isn't looking for something to get irritated about.

And then, there's the other side of the coin, the point of view I've seen even here.

Some readers respond not with anger, but with puzzlement that we womenfolk aren't satisfied with the secondary roles that we continually play in films. Regarding Holmes' Pixar piece, one commenter wrote, "What about Jessie from Toy Story 2?? She is not the main character of the film, but her story is an integral part of the movie and I hope she will be back for Toy Story 3?. Eve also has an integral role in Wall-E."

Well, yes. But in each case, the movie isn't about them. It's not their adventure, just as Finding Nemo isn't Dory's adventure, and A Bug's Life isn't about Dot.

Even in the comments it's almost like no one read the article at all. So many people try to just form a rebuttal to every point in the article.

Last I checked, eventhough Sully and Mike were main characters of Monsters Inc., BOO (a female) was the story. If it weren't for her, there would be no real story progression for one of the better Pixar films. Sure she may have been a 'baby', but she was the integeral part to moving the story along.

I've heard the same argument with regards to Up. Ellie was a fantastic female character whose actions in the first ten minutes sparked the plot of the movie, but it's still not her story.

Pixar hasn't made a movie about a girl yet because they haven't had a good idea for a movie about a girl. They aren't going to just make a movie about a girl to please feminist rants, they make *good movies* precisely because they don't pander to what they think people want. I don't know why this is so hard for people to understand. Not everything is some sexist conspiracy.

I'm terrible with conclusions, so let me just say this. Unfortunately, wanting equal representation in media is viewed by many as a fringe opinion. I have always valued strong female characters in the media I consume, but that doesn't mean that's all I want to see or read or hear about. Wanting more movies with female characters in them doesn't mean that I want to see Sex and the City 3. (Please. Please no.) It just means I'd like to see more female characters doing all kinds of things in all kinds of genres.

For now, Boo can hold down the fort.

(gif: fuckyeahpixarmovies)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle. Well, fuck me, that'll teach me to write a giant entry based on a rumor for something I really wanted to be true. SO MUCH FOR TALIA.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Top Nine Slutwave Songs

So the term "slutwave" is bouncing around the blogosphere, and while I'm not a fan of the implications behind it, I've decided to go full third-wave and embrace the hell out of it. Because I actually already have a playlist that could basically be titled Slutwave. So, in order of my personal preference at this single moment in time, here are my top nine favorite slutwave songs. (Don't look at me like that, I couldn't think of a tenth and I left my ipod in the car so I can't go check my playlists.)

9. rude boy - rihanna

come here rude boy / boy can you get it up? / come here rude boy / boy is you big enough? / take it, take it / baby, baby / take it, take it / love me, love me

8. push it - salt n pepa

yeah, you come here, gimme a kiss / better make it fast or else I'm gonna get pissed / can you feel the music pumping hard like I wish you would?

7. lovegame - lady gaga

let's enjoy ourselves / this rhythm is ill / I want to sit on your penis

6. fuck the pain away - peaches

suckin' on my titties like you wanted me / callin' me all the time like blondie / check out my chrissy behind / it's fine all the time

5. like a prayer - madonna (it's a metaphor! for blowjobs!)

when you call my name / it's like a little prayer / I'm down on my knees / I wanna take you there / in the midnight hour / I can feel your power / just like a prayer / you know I'll take you there

4.I touch myself - divinyls

I close my eyes / and see you before me / think I would die / if you were to ignore me / a fool could see / just how much I adore you / I get down on my knees / I'd do anything for you

3. the sex song - martha wainwright

'cause it's all we really need sometimes / love is tiresome and blind / to fornicate is much more safe / it leaves you stoned, deaf, dumb blind / always a little more high

2. flower - liz phair

you act like you're fourteen years old / everything you say is so / obnoxious, funny, true and mean / I want to be your blowjob queen

1. do you wanna touch me - joan jett

every girl and boy / needs a little joy / all you do is sit and stare / beggin' on my knees / baby, won't you please / run your fingers through my hair

Honorable mention:

1. woman like a man - damien rice

you wanna get burned / you wanna get turned / you wanna get fucked inside out / you wanna be ruled / you wanna be fooled / you wanna be a woman like a man like a woman like a man

Friday, January 14, 2011

Like you're a little Ann hog, okay? Don't be such an Ann hog.

Sometimes I play a game where I watch students leave a classroom and I see how many guys I find cute. The results are usually dismal. There are way more cute girls than cute guys on this campus. Unfair! When I see cute girls I usually just study their adornments and try to determine if I can reproduce their messy updos or purchase my own stylish Anthropologie belts. I think this inequality may lead to some sex-role reversal scenarios where female intrasexual competition will occur, and we will use our newly developed antlers to fight over appealing males.

However I have also noticed that my personal preference for a male goes up by about two points if I discover that he's a funny nerd, so my new strategy is to stand outside classrooms making Arrested Development jokes and see who laughs. And then I will offer him a shiny pebble or feather and see if he responds.

I will never get tired of this gif.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Johnny Depp as Joseph Gordon Levitt as the Riddler taking over for Heath Ledger as the Joker!

Okay, I'm going to try to start this bitch up again. I always feel more motivated to work on my internet projects when I have things I should be doing instead. And this time, I'm not posting a YouTube video! Haha! Victory! Blog content on a blog, what a novel idea. Unfortunately I'll be writing about the same thing that a million other bloggers are going to be writing about: BATMAN. (He can breathe in space!) Before I start, I'm prefacing this by saying I have only a rudimentary knowledge of comics canon, and I'm not purporting to be an expert on anything Batman-related. I'm just sharing FEELINGS, and these FEELINGS are based solely on the movies.

Previously on The Dark Knight Rises (not Dark Knight 2, dummies, there are three movies):
We'll have the Riddler! No, Joseph Gordon Levitt will take over as the Joker! No, Joseph Gordon Levitt will play the RIDDLER! Johnny Depp will play the Riddler! Johnny Depp will play Catwoman! Johnny Depp will play Talia al Ghul! Joseph Gordon Levitt will play Catwoman! Harvey Dent will be only MOSTLY dead! Joseph Gordon Levitt was really attractive in Inception, you guys, don't you think we should put him in suits more? Maybe he could wear suits in BATMAN! Catwoman Catwoman Catwoman Catwoman! No Catwoman. No Riddler. The Dark Knight Rises. Instead of Joseph Gordon Levitt, let's cast Tom Hardy. AS THE RIDDLER! No, as possibly Bane. No, Hugo Strange! THE ANSWER LIES IN TOM HARDY'S FACIAL HAIR.

And that's not even mentioning the parade of actresses rumored to play opposite Bale as either a love interest or villain. Current information indicates there will be two female roles: love interest and villain. According to io9's article today, the following actresses are frontrunners for either of the two roles, and one of the roles is possibly....(spoilers ahead, you guys)

(I'm not kidding)

(Avert your eyes if you want to wait until someone ruins it for you on twitter)

Talia al Ghul.

I'm not shocked. Lots of people have theorized that we'll get Talia. We've had that set up from the beginning. No one's obligated to give us Catwoman. I think Talia was the most likely choice, given the canon Nolan has presented to us. It's pretty cool.

And here are our actresses!

First we have Keira Knightley. I love Keira. I know a lot of people hate her, they hate her skinny ass, they hate her open mouth, they hate her acting, and those people can fuck right off. I think she's fantastic. BUT totally wrong for this movie. For one, Christian Bale is 36 and Keira Knightley is 25. I think she would suffer from the same problems Katie Holmes had in Batman Begins, even though Holmes is only four years younger than Bale. (I had to look this up. Really? She's 32? Damn. Joey Potter does not age.) She just looked so fresh-faced and youthful (First Daughter, in which she played an 18 year old, was released the year before) that she was completely unconvincing as Bale's equal. Mind you, I'm not sure Maggie Gyllenhaal was a good substitute in that particular role, but that's beside the point. Keira, as an actress, could play strong conviction a bit better, but I still think ultimately she's too young for the role and I think she would be a little out of place in the cast.

Oh how very tempted I was to use a photo from Havoc, but I decided to afford Anne a little more dignity, so instead we see her I-am-a-danger-to-my-corneas bangs. Honestly, I could see Anne going either way for this part. If we are, in fact, going to see Vicki Vale, as some people theorize, I could see Anne as plucky girl reporter. Although we could skip the giant glasses this time. She could also be up for Talia. She could pull it off. I have faith in Princess Mia's abilities.

It was actually difficult to find a photo of Jessica Biel that did not involve fleshy parts. I have no opinion on Jessica Biel and I actually had to look at her IMDb page to see if I'd even seen her in anything. Right! The Illusionist! Elizabethtown! Both those things were five years ago! I remember her as not being bad in the Illusionist, but since then she seems stuck in the Valentine's Day/Isn't It Funny That Guys Who Are Pretending To Be Gay Keep Staring At My Ass loop. Since she's made it to supposed frontrunner status, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt because she must have impressed someone behind the scenes, but I really can't make any calls myself.

And now for the lesser-knowns: Charlotte Riley and Kate Mara. This may just be me, but I'm actually sad that io9 had to describe Kate Mara as "Rooney Mara's sister Kate." I swear Kate started out ahead. She's pretty, she's not quite age appropriate but is still a few years older than Keira. She still looks really young though. I don't know, that may have changed since Shooter.

So. We come to Charlotte Riley. In the interest of fairness, I will say right up front that she is engaged to Tom Hardy, who has already been cast in the movie. I have no idea if this helped her chances or not. She played Catherine Earnshaw in the 2009 adaptation of Wuthering Heights. Please, put that down in your mind as a positive. This isn't like the Olivier/Oberon flick. I promise. The whole thing is on YouTube if you'd like to check, although I would advise against clicking a video labeled "Tender Montage Tribute."

She's good, okay? She's intense. And I'm not going to lie and pretend that it wouldn't be amazing if she and Tom Hardy working on the movie together meant we got a bunch of on-set photos like this:

So those are my feelings. These might not be tossed out in just a week like all the rest, though. Shooting begins in May, and details about the production are getting more and more firm as we get closer.