Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Some Thoughts on LOST...

Before we have our collective mind-grapes blown next Tuesday. LOST has been with me - and reshaping daily my perceptions of the extant universe, creative storytelling, symbolism, time travel, effective characterization, and, of course, the need in our lives for mystery - since my sophomore year of high school, which was, like, a long time ago.

Consider: My cousin Eilean freshly married. It's a chilly night in early-to-mid November, 2004, and she's being a good sport about babysitting Sean and I while my parents are someplace vaguely exotic (Mexico? Las Vegas? Florida? Any which way, they came back with Kahlua). I don't really appreciate The West Wing, which is her favorite show, so I'm hesitant to try this new "mystery-drama thing that's really intriguing." Yeah, right, Eilean. But she turns it on anyway, probably out of a desire to keep me shut up between commercial breaks - I was a gabber then. Turns out what we were watching was the broadcast debut of episode 1.11 (this is how episodes are numbered, as I would come to discover), "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues." Well, Charlie was hung by a madman who hadn't been on the plane. And then at the end Boone and Locke unearthed a piece of metal... and began digging. If I had known how much longer I'd have to keep watching for that piece of metal to make any sense, I probably would have stopped. But I didn't, so I kept going. Even after Eilean gave up somewhere around Season 2...

Consider: Me trying to hook Curtis on the show. We camped out in Wal-Mart's (yeah, it still had a hyphen back then) DVD section until midnight, when an annoyingly skinny girl with dyed red hair wheeled in a dolly of new-release boxes. "Waiting for something?" she asked. I nodded, then said "LOST." I was very, very embarrassed to not only be at Wal-Mart, but camped out in its DVD section at midnight on a school night. We watched episode after episode until neither of us could keep our eyes open. "I should get some sleep," I said. "I've got to orient Freshmen EARLY tomorrow morning." Literally five minutes later, before I'd even put my head on a makeshift pillow, Sean entered the room. "AJ. Get up. We have to go to school." True story.

Consider: Losing faith during my freshman year in college under the false belief that season 3 was going nowhere. I stand before you now fully willing to admit that I was dead wrong, and I find solace only in the fact that Jack Shepherd is also a symbol for lost faith. Plus, now he lives in Bend.

Consider: How the hell this thing's going to end! I don't predict any outcome in which I'm even the slightest bit disappointed. I mean, I'm now a straight-up believer in the brilliance of LOST. It's shown me time and again that the crazier shit gets, the more it knows what it's doing. Already I feel a little hole in my heart where LOST belongs, because although I'm SO STOKED for a brand new season I'm also sad that this is, in fact, the beginning of the end. It's like Harry Potter 7 all over again, and I can't decide which has been a more formative experience.

Is it a sign of extreme nerdiness that my friends and I actually debate that very topic? And that some of them instead opt for Lord of the Rings?

This Might be the Post...

... That jumps the shark for a lot (read: like, two) of you, but I'm prepared.

I admire Moby's ambient music almost as much as David Lynch's directing capabilities, so even if this Moby song has no words and is kinda creepy - and even if David Lynch's accompanying cartoon illustrations make it only that much more disconcerting - I'm down to watch it a few times. It's like that one time Gucci paid Lynch millions of dollars to create a minute-long ad for their perfume... and then I sat on youtube clicking "repeat" all night.

At any rate, here you go:

Oh, wait, the video's embedding has been removed... by request. Fuck you, Moby! (I don't believe David Lynch would ever sabotage his work like this... the guy just wants it seen so bad.) Anyway, the video in question is "Shot in the Back of the Head." Youtube it yourself.

As a consolation prize, here's Lynch's Gucci ad, instead.

But wait! There's a catch (I really should look these things up ahead of time before beginning to post): Seems the audio has been removed from all online versions due to a copyright infringement, so if you want the full effect you're gonna have to blast Blondie's "Heart of Glass" from another source while watching it. If you've got the time and the ninety-nine cents for iTunes, it's worth it...

Aaand as it turns out the song doesn't match the video... must've been edited to fit. What a total waste on my part. Sorry...

Monday, January 18, 2010

And the Powerhouse Needs His Sleep

... Is what I've decided to title one of my books if I ever write more than one, which is the laughably unrealistic scenario that the phrase "one of my books" implies. 2010, it seems, is also known as the Year For Embracing Brutal Honesties. Anyway, the above hypothetical title applies just as aptly to this past week of my life as it does to the book I'll never write, so who wants to hear about the last seven days, instead?

All: we all do, AJ!
Me: Yay!

First of all, I took the miserable state of my existence last week [see: previous blog post] a little too seriously and ended up not only finding a single-room apartment for rent, but then touring it, signing a lease, convincing Chris to take over my room in this pit, reserving a U-Haul, stealing cutlery from my parents house during the Bend trip this weekend, and raiding the kitchen here for appropriate pots, pans, and plates while no one else was home. I'm moving out tomorrow afternoon: it's 17th and High for me! From what I could tell during the walk-through, my new home is a sweet little place that, when I'm done with it, will be alternately labeled as "Swanky" and/or "Classy" by those of my friends who see fit to argue over appropriately charming adjectives used for describing the lesser components of my existence.

Second-of-ly, I finally successfully saw Avatar for a second time. Thoughts: I was a lot more okay with the story line this time around. Certain elements also made more sense [SPOILER ALERT!], such as Jake traveling for nearly six years in a cryogenically frozen state to reach Pandora (as evidenced in the opening scene where everyone is too busy ogling over the 3D to pay any attention to what's happening story-wise) and him NOT, in fact, dying at film's end (I'm blaming these scenes' original 3 am screening time for my rather extreme misinterpretation of Jake's fate).

James Cameron also revealed in a recent interview that during the editing process left specific scenes and sections of dialogue intact just so the eventual sequel would make sense, which had me searching for material worthy of extrapolation. What I've got is this: 1) Some serious shit had to go down on Earth for aliens to not only be accepted as real, but for us to then build spaceships capable of traveling millions of light years to the nearest (?) inhabited planet. 2) Pandora is a big place... and there are other tribes. Civil War? 3) Suppose another alien race also decides they need Pandora's precious metals? 4) Avatar 2: Na'vi on Earth. Just saying.

Also, is it okay to be attracted to these creatures? I'm not saying I am... I just want the opinion of someone who's a little less enamored with these Blue Gods-of-War than the Average Joe with a predilection for alien erotica might be. (And who, by the way, has every right. Every right.) James Cameron knows what sells. Sex sells, my friends... and $500 million domestic doesn't lie.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

SwankFest '10

Since I've been attempting homework for the past several hours and have still only composed two more sentences for my assigned analysis of Roger Ebert's writing style, I figured I'd post on here instead of keep trying. Man, what a decade it's been. All ten days of it. I mean, what began among a mass of drunken Portlanders all screaming at the top of their lungs in the basement of the super-savvy Doug Fir (see picture below) has since devolved into a life-or-death scenario in which I must must must escape the filth-laden, driven-less cesspool that is my roommates' and I's big yellow house on 19th and Harris in Eugene, Oregon... Colonel Mustard, for short.

^^ NOT Colonel Mustard^^

I feel my attempts to escape won't pan out, mostly because both Chris and Josh are literally too worthless to clean the house - which I refuse to do again - and therefore any responders to my Craigslist ad - who, themselves, would have to be really, really stupid to reply to a posting for a single bedroom that now costs $525 monthly - definitely aren't going to be okay with the moldy dishes in the kitchen, the matted hair on the bathroom counter, the blanket of pine needles that crunch beneath one's feet when walking across the living room.

And so I'll sit here, angry for another six months. Yelling doesn't work. Neither does silent pacifism. It's more or less a no-win situation, this one.

My current glimmers of hope: LOST still premiering on February 2nd (despite a close-call rescheduling by that pesky Obama Administration), a trip to Bend next weekend during my FOUR days off school, and Simone visiting at the end of the month! Yeehaw!

Previous glimmers of hope that didn't pan out: Seeing Avatar this past Saturday. We arrived over an hour early (which puts us somewhere in the 1, 1:15 vicinity) and every showtime was sold out until 10:30 pm... except for at the multiplex in Springfield, where - as the box office guy told us over the phone - 12 tickets remained for an afternoon showing. Well, we raced across the city (along with, like, seven similar-minded minivans in tow) only to be foiled again: by the time we ran inside, sweaty and breathless, one ticket remained.

Such is life in this, the newest of decades.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010! Just a Hop and a Skip Away from the Apocalypse!

I figured beginning this, the first blog post of a new year, with a direct reference to the End of Days was fitting. Because let's face it: I can get away with acting a lot less concerned about my future if I hold out in the belief that we're all going up in flames roughly 720 days from now... which isn't very many.

Except for first I have to make it through yet another term, packed with 20 credits and a whole shit-ton of thesis writing. Class starts tomorrow. I need to be in my desk chair at 8:30 am. Egads. Good news, though, is that the class in question is titled "Writing About the Arts," which should promise a few tips on how to make these newer posts I've got going on a little more glamorous. Or at least that's the idea. That and I want clips for a resume to land me an internship... at Entertainment Weekly... tell your friends...

Anyway, I just realized - while laying here in bed, in my underwear, trying to decide which movie to write a few feeble paragraphs about - that I watched entirely too much media this break, and for me to choose one (aside from the two I already featured... again, tell your friends!) would be much more agreeable all around. So, here goes a brief mention about all of them:

- Strangers With Candy: Season one of Jerri Blank's return to High School as a 44-year-old ex con is side-splitting at best, moderately chuckle-worthy at worst. A few of my friends refuse to watch because of Amy Sedaris' spot-on portrayal of this former user, loser, and abuser. I say: she makes the show, so deal with the obtuse facial expressions. Stephen Colbert is also stellar.

- Big Love: The Polygamists are coming! And they're totally fucked up! This show's writing may, at times, be a little forgetful of at least one or two of its many varied plotlines, but it's still indescribably intriguing. Fundamentalists may not like to drink or curse, but they do like to have sex... a lot. And keep secrets from the neighbors. And from each other. What's not to get excited about?

- In The Loop: Quick, bitingly satirical, and very British. Government will never look so disorganized again. Watch this one for the pitch-perfect, endlessly inventive dialogue it uses to bounce the story around behind closed doors.

- Fantastic Mr. Fox: Perfect. Love the color palette, the score, the soundrack, the humor, the story, the animation style, the talking animals. Not embarrassed to admit I've been three times, if only to make up for all those who, for some absurd reason, refuse to go watch this one.

- Coraline: Creepy? Check. Set in Oregon? Check. 3D? Check.

- Star Trek: First full-length Blu-Ray experience. I don't really appreciate the show, but this movie kicked some serious ass. I probably owe my good time to director JJ Abrams, whose brain seems to house the factory for all things I love these days. Keep it up, buddy.