Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Patty's Edition! (Several Days Late)

I had a dream last night that my blog finally achieved a loyal following of 8 - count 'em, EIGHT! - readers. Obviously, when I rushed into the living room this morning (an hour late, no less, because of daylight savings time... what?) to see if my dream had impacted reality (or vice versa) I was massively disappointed. This is the latest in a trend of dreams I've experienced in which it's become increasingly difficult to distinguish fact from fiction.

Case in point #1: During my Beanie Baby craze, circa 1999, when I dreamt a man in Drake Park was tossing free, valuable Beanies out of a little red cart. I, rushing behind him, managed to secure my collection's missing bears. Oh joy! Then: Ohhh... no! That was a rough morning.

Case in point #2: This one involves lava, the parking lot of the Old Mill's Regal Cinema, a strange sunset-like dimness, and Ben Affleck as my black half-brother. We hugged and cried a lot.

Regardless, the term's over. And this one nearly killed me. I finished a complete rough draft of my creative thesis, which currently clocks in at just over 84 pages. I still need to crank out the 30-page research portion and perform some major surgery on the creative segment's rough draft, but the end, my friends, is in sight! The project is due May 1, and then I have to defend in front of my thesis committee May 13. If any of you were planning on driving to Eugene so as to heckle from the sidelines, I'm revealing neither the exact time nor the room number of the proceedings.

As for now, though, it's Mazatlan in about two hours! I've been wearing shorts and sandals all week so as not to look too prunish when I first head to the pool, and I'm happy to report my feet are sufficiently ripe-smelling (a curious side effect of me wearing sandals... and also case in point #743 of why my life is so difficult). Sean and I are spending tonight near the Seattle airport before the long flight down tomorrow. I only hope we don't kill each other... the last week or so has been touch-and-go in that regard. I'll update when I get back regarding general thoughts on the trip/whatever I feel is pertinent, but for now I'm signing off so as to enjoy the final "official" Spring Break of my life.

(FYI, you guys, I chose to end this way out of an unfounded hope the universe's divine fates will read the "final" [and non-parenthetical] sentence of this post, then determine to prove me wrong no matter the costs... hey, why not, right?)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Brief History of the Bulge

Kids today: eating their vegetables out of a concern for health and navigating computers before they can walk, but still woefully deficient when it comes to a working knowledge of bulges. This post will play out short and to the point - a case study of sorts. When I was little, I boasted an unhealthy obsession with the 1986 movie Labyrinth. I didn't know who David Bowie was, and I had no idea I'd later see Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) getting downright explicit in Requiem for a Dream a mere 14 years later; rather, what got me hooked were the maze and Jim Hensen's creatures.

What disturbed my parents was the bulge.

It's safe to assume that I, along with countless other children of the early nineties, spent a good three hours a day staring at this thing. What was going on? How did anyone think it a good idea for Bowie not to wear any kind of... well, anything?! Once again:

That package Magic-Danced its way across our television and across my childhood, and, though I'm grateful for the young adult I am today, I have to wonder what slight neurological rewiring an AJ sans Bowie Bulge might look like. Then again, maybe today's youth are in for even worse damage:

At what point did Hollywood decide the bulge wasn't suitable for twenty-first century "PG" movies? They've fixed a problem (man in tights) by creating a monster. Run for your lives!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Something Spectacular

Incredible. I REALLY wanted to post the actual video, but that would mean sacrificing part of its frame (Youtube videos don't fit evenly onto blogger pages... it's officially the most annoying thing since Nikki and Paolo), and I was unwilling to compromise. Instead, click here: Video!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Those Darned Bradys

So the cast of The Brady Bunch was supposed to put on a reunion of sorts during yesterday's taping of The Today Show, but the effort was cancelled at the last minute. Some news moguls are claiming a scheduling conflict, to which I'm replying: a scheduling conflict that pops up two days beforehand? Yeah, right. Further fueling these flames of flippant facetiousness are several other news reports claiming the real cause behind the canceling to be one cast member who refused to show up.

Personally, I don't care any which way, because I wasn't planning on watching (having access to approximately zero television channels played no small part in my decision making). I, like anyone else under 40, grew up in a world where The Brady Bunch had already been filtered through the satiric lens of 1995's The Brady Bunch Movie and 1996's A Very Brady Sequel. I learned that Jan hated Marcia only through obtuse references to the original series, I thought that Alice the maid actually did have a thing for sadomasochism, and I never imagined that the original show actually tried to impart wholesome messages on living rooms full of hand-holding families when it aired a good 41 years ago - at least not until an ill-fated encounter with The Legit Brady's one evening on Nick at Nite.

But this isn't the first time the world seems to expect me to care about something or someone that possesses an entirely different slew of connotations for those born prior to 1975. Take, for example, Michael Jackson. I look at him and I see a monster, plain and tall, because how the hell am I not supposed to? Was I around during his golden days? No. Did I see him warp into a plastic nightmare who seduced young boys with a fantasty playground in order to sleep with them? Yes. Captain EO aside, the guy's creeped me out from day one. Same goes for OJ. And Pee Wee (admittedly more modern, but still never given a fair chance in my household).

Anyway, because I feel kinda crummy for this slightly excessive post (those carefully placed "kinda"s and "slightly"s should have cued you into something), how about I treat you to a Strangers With Candy clip? The only way you wouldn't like this is if you didn't want to witness Principal Blackman soliloquizing about melons. And then we wouldn't be friends.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mostly Related to Shutter Island

So Saturday night saw me venturing into Springfield for a late showing of Shutter Island, that new Scorsese film with Leo D - the trailers for which, by the way, mercifully reveal very little plot - and I've got to say the experience has only become more impressive in retrospect. I don't want give anything away, but I would like to comment on both the film's score and cinematography. Exciting post, huh?

First off, I'm not sure whether I'm a huge Scorsese fan, because I've only seen, like, three of his movies, so I'm definitely not an SOA or anything (that being a handy acronym for Scorsese Ouvre Authority [thank you]). However, this one had me hooked from frame one. The score alone is worth the price of admission. Much like The Shining, this bad boy's got music imported from all reaches of history, but mostly employs somber, ominous, creepy-as-hell horn compositions to further enhance its sense of all-out dread. I actually found myself counting numerous nods to The Shining throughout, because aside from the music, Scorsese's roving cinematography, meditations on the nature of sanity, and visual motifs (read: axed children) all harken back to Kubrick's own dread-soaked opus. And that's not a bad thing, because I loves me my Shining.

Lots of people are probably going to discourage friends from seeing this movie because of its ending. "The ending, man," I can imagine them saying, "it's totally a cop-out. Man." Do not listen to these people. They are idiots. Even if the ending has been done before (which it has[-ish]... many times), it's the masterful crafting of Shutter Island as a whole that makes it soar where others crash and burn. Pay close attention to the film's first half hour and then return to it immediately after viewing. Do you see? Do you?! Dammit, why not?

Just kidding, I'm sure you're all bright enough. But seriously, the first fifteen minutes aren't going to be hard to recall in that they're unforgettable (I was gleefully bouncing in my seat throughout) and VERY effectively establish a pace, a tone, and a level of 'holy crap' that the rest of the movie never shies away from attempting to live up to. I'd be lying if I said reels 2-9 were as mind-grape-blowingly awesome as reel 1, but that should by no means be a discouragement. If anything, it should encourage you to get to the theater early so you don't miss out.

Anyway, this is running a bit long. Final thoughts? Leo D is da man. And Patricia Clarkson (though she'll always be Six Feet Under's crazy Aunt Sarah to me) rules in her brief role as - oh, but even that would be revealing too much. Also, Ben Kingsley is starting to get on my nerves. I know he's like acting putty, but he needs to take on a role that doesn't rely on charisma alone to get the job done. Plus, with him involved I kept being all, "scary... creepy... exciting... oh, Ben Kingsley smoking a corncob pipe. Meh." But this is a small potato in an otherwise very beefy stew. Go! Watch! Then get back to me.