Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What the World Needs Now Is Love, Big Love....

I have a favorite polygamist family. Shocking, I know. But prior to Lost being switched to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, I spent that hour with Bill Henrikson and his wives on Big Love. Fascinating (if somewhat sugar-coated on the multiple-wives issue). Superbly written. Perfect cast. Perfect.

I heart...
Bill Paxton.
Ginnifer Goodwin.
Jeanne Tripplehorn.
Chloƫ Sevigny.

And Amanda Seyfried.

Head on over to MovieZen. Your favorite blogger predicts that Seyfried's the next It Girl. (Please tell me you've seen Mean Girls. "There's a 30% chance that it's already raining!" Brilliant.)

And she'll probably be brilliant as Sophie. So if anyone wants to catch Mamma Mia! this July, I'm up for some serious ABBA loving. Possibly multiple times (if it lives up to the Meryl Streep/Colin Firth/Pierce Brosnan casting genius).

P.S. I've been told I look like Chloƫ. In some photos, I can sort of see it. Loved her in Zodiac. So I'll take it as a compliment. Better her than Bill Paxton....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hagar Revisited

I know I wasn't supposed to like it, but I did. It's a general rule that books you read in school are not to be enjoyed. And for some reason, it tends to remain universally despised among my friends. But The Stone Angel is the probably the only novel I've ever read from which I can quote the last sentence. I usually remember books' concepts, stand-out characters, odd situations, but never endings. Ever. That's why I can reread books. But it's hard to deny an ending that actually ends with the end.

I think the book resonated with me for the same reason that the film The Notebook moves me every time: it tells a story from two ends. A rather unsympathetic, proud, petty woman in her nineties tries to run away from her own mortality only to have the regrets of her past collide with her uncomfortable present reality (and worse, her impending deterioration). And yet there's a glimmer of redemption, that sliver of hope that comes when pride is chiseled away. Maybe I see a little of Hagar in myself. Just as I'm sure the still-young Margaret Laurence poured much of her own life into her anti-heroine.

Side thought: Is it just me, or does Laurence look like the Hagar? The image in my head while reading the novel was always that of the author. To me, the two women were physically one and the same.

I read a lot of biographies. So whether I intend to or not, I end up reading first-person novels as accounts of a life once lived, despite being found in the fiction aisle. The Stone Angel is the kind of memoir I hope to write one day. Not necessarily a depressing tale of regret and desperation for approval (I certainly hope not, anyway), but one that's honest, passionate and sweeping, picking up the broken pieces and concluding without self-pity. I guess I want to be in the moment until the end. I want it to end mid-sentence too.

For those who weren't hanging out at the Toronto Film Festival last year, you may not know that The Stone Angel has been made into a movie (to be released May 9th). I know you're shocked. Or grimacing. But I think it has a pretty great chance of achieving cinematic decentness. Because it will finally remove the "What is the imagery in every single noun in this chapter?" English-class drudgery and leave us with pure story. Starring Christine Horne (from Aurora!) and the incomparable Ellen Burstyn as Hagar (the "then" and "now" Hagars, respectively), with a supporting performance by indie darling Ellen Page, I'm clinging to the hope that these performances are grounded enough to prevent the melodrama from creeping in. The book didn't allow for sap; I want to see the grittiness of Hagar's frustrating reality.

My only concern is for the ending. Part of me hopes for a sudden cut to black, a literal interpretation of the ending that I will quote until my own demise:
And then--

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Me & Indiana Jones

That summer blockbuster season is quickly approaching. Which means I'll be up for plenty of movie dates (Not necessarily "date" dates. Platonic is cool, people. So call me) and solo screenings. Naturally, The Dark Knight is at the top of my list. (Are you shocked? If you are, you don't know me. Nor have you read much of this blog.)

Actually, the list is pretty long. And only the above mentioned has Christian Bale. But one of the most intriguing has to be the return of Indiana Jones. Because they've been talking about it for, uh, two years short of forever. Unfortunately, they talked about a Simpsons movie for a good decade, and when it finally surfaced last year, it didn't really rock anyone's world. But at least with Indy, I can hope for B-movie fun, with Cate Blanchett throwing around a ridiculous-yet-still-perfect accent and Shia LeBeouf hoping to catch some of Harrison's coolness by osmosis.

I blogged about this long-awaited reunion here. So go read it. Because you love me. Hopefully slightly more than you love Mr. Jones (although it's understandable if it's a tie).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Toilet Humor

I'd love to be able to say "I plumb toilets" and have someone say "Now that is something I've always wanted to do".
~Kenny Smyth
It was crap-tastic.

If you've ever wanted to see an Australian mockumentary about a portable-toilet installer (called a "glorified turd-burglar" by his eloquent father), go see Kenny. You will not be disappointed.

All thumbs up. Just be sure to wash your hands afterwards....

For those of you who don't speak Aussie, there are subtitles. Seriously.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Jesus and Superbad

Church was awesome today. Seriously awesome. Not that it's usually sub-awesome or anything. But today, everything just made sense. In a fresh way. And for a sermon series called "Superbad," sin wasn't made scary, nor was it sugar-coated. I've never really thought of sin as a response to a God-given need before....

People sin because they want something, and they are afraid goodness won't get it for them.
~Barbara Brown Taylor

You can check out Joel's sermon (Bruxy's off for a bit) here.

This is what he opened with. I laughed. Out loud. Many times.

I also appreciated the idea of letting each other off the hook. It's not a negative thing. Because, really, if your friend's hanging from a hook, you should help him down.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dance Like It's 1987

Me? I'm scared of everything. I'm scared of what I saw, I'm scared of what I did, of who I am, and most of all I'm scared of walking out of this room and never feeling the rest of my whole life the way I feel when I'm with you.
~Frances "Baby" Houseman

I don't know if my parents know this. But since my dad reads this blog, I suppose it's now public knowledge. And I'm probably too old to be grounded.

On the last day of the fifth grade, one of my friends had a party. The giggly group of 11-year-olds gathered around her basement television and watched Dirty Dancing. I didn't ask my parents' permission because I was pretty sure I wouldn't get it. And I've always played by the rules. (Even at 11, I was wrestling with the ethics of "Don't ask permission, ask forgiveness.") So, Mom and Dad, I'm sorry. I should have known better. While we're on the topic, my Sunday School teacher showed me Pretty Woman the following year....

Dirty Dancing was on TV today. I spent my afternoon writing, with a little '80s inspiration playing in the background. I find I write quite well with the TV as my soundtrack. Silence isn't inspiring to me. (First, though, Can't Buy Me Love was playing on A&E. I prefer Patrick Dempsey the nerd to his made-over cool dude. Just as I will always prefer Peter Parker over Spider-Man. But I digress). And, honestly, the film isn't bad. I think I lumped it in with cheesy fluff over the years (or scandalous viewing for preteens), but in terms of writing, it's decently quotable ("I carried a watermelon.") and even quasi-profound at times. And since it was choreographed by my favorite choreographer ever, Kenny Ortega*, I really can't pan the dancing. Because even though I may shake my head at the first few semi-scandalous dance scenes, by the end, my cynical heart is softened. And I can't say I'd object to being the pre-rhinoplasty Jennifer Grey, dolled up in one of the prettiest dresses of that decade, jumping into a pre-face-lift Patrick Swayze's arms.

I really should look into dance classes. And find myself a dance partner.

And don't do plastic surgery, kids. I believe Grey was engaged to Mr. Depp before she chopped her nose off. And she had a career. No nose = made-for-TV movies.

*Kenny Ortega choreographed and/or directed Dirty Dancing, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Newsies (major heart), High School Musical (1-3). And was trained by Gene Kelly. Love him.

That iconic dance:

And have you seen this YouTube phenomenon? Best first dance at a wedding ever. Completely non-boring.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Love Is in the Air?

When I was in junior high, spring weather meant puppy love. The moment recess was blessed with mild sunshine, all the boys got cuter. It was a pretty hilarious phenomenon. Naturally, I stood on the outside of the happenings, amused by the budding romances around me. One year, a boy I played touch football with during lunch (yes, I played football daily -- for a very brief period of time) told a friend of mine that I made his blood boil. That was the end of my athletic career.

I'm still that awkward girl, completely unsure of how to deal with unwanted affection. (Or, frankly, how to capture wanted attention.)

I was at the library today, browsing through the stacks, when I heard someone say, "Hi, how are you?" I naturally assumed the man behind me was on the phone. Because strangers don't actually talk to me. Not in libraries. That's too romantic-comedy world. Not reality. So he said it again. I smiled. We exchanged perhaps two sentences, and I walked away. Because I don't flirt. It's not my area of gifting. And I don't typically give off that "approachable" vibe. Maybe it's insecurity masked as aloofness, I don't know.

On the bus ride home, a Frenchman said hello. And then began a full-on pursuit. Not just friendly chitchat, but he wanted to know my name, what I did for a living, what my nationality was. In less than two minutes. Everyone around us was listening. My first reaction was, "I am not a visa bride." Maybe it's unjustified paranoia, but the last French gentleman who followed me out of an elevator ("When will I see you again?") was looking for a way to stay in the country. I reserve the marriage-for-immigration-purposes strictly for Prince William or young, single Bono-types. Not bus strangers.

He was about to get off the bus when he asked me out. At least, I think he asked me out. It was loud on the bus and I couldn't hear him very well. I heard him say something about how it's a beautiful day and that I'm very pretty. I was instantly flattered and uncomfortable. He asked if I have a boyfriend. I didn't know what to say.

I have never, ever not known what to say to that question before. It's a pretty black-and-white question. With a black-and-white answer. But I couldn't tell him I was single. I don't know why. I knew I was going to have to reject his advances. And I froze. I just looked at him. He asked again. "Are you seeing someone?" I lied. "Sort of."

Sort of. What does that mean? "Yes, sometimes, when my eyes aren't closed, I see people. Fifty percent of the people I see are male."

He smiled and got off the bus.

This, my friends, is why I'm single. Because I'm sort of seeing someone who doesn't exist.

image source

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Last Lecture

I stayed home sick on Thursday and Friday. Hence the midday blog postings. And while it was a little boring (daytime television sucks the life out of you), it was also restful and productive (in the health-rejuvenation department). Oh, and I discovered I really like soup. I should eat it more often. Or drink it. Hmm. I'll stick with "consume."

I also discovered that I let my guard down a little more when I'm feeling under the weather. I cry when watching House. Seriously. I'm moved by story differently. And I think it's healthy to be a little more vulnerable.

Wednesday night, as I was contemplating calling in sick the next morning, I caught the last few minutes of Primetime with Diane Sawyer. And I cried. So Thursday, while congested and bored, I looked up "The Last Lecture" on YouTube and cried some more.

"The Last Lecture" is typically a lecture series in which profs give a hypothetical deathbed lecture. They give the lecture they would give if it were their last. In the case of Randy Pausch, however, it really was his last. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at 47 and given three to six months of good health left, the computer-science prof gave a brilliantly inspiring final lecture to a packed lecture hall at Carnegie Mellon. This was in September. The videotaped lecture quickly became an Internet sensation (thanks to a short article in The Wall Street Journal), his simple talk about childhood dreams sparking something in viewers worldwide.

He's still alive, upbeat, and intent on capturing his life and creating memories for his kids. He knows he's leaving a legacy through his work. I'd argue that his lecture is now probably contributing to that legacy. A book version of his lecture is coming out shortly.

I'm a little envious of his passion. I'm not even a virtual-reality kind of girl, but I'd do my MET (Masters of Entertainment Technology) with him in an instant. Actually, were it not for financial concern, I'd be tempted to pursue higher education at the Entertainment Technology Center he co-founded. Because I love the idea of retaining childlike wonder. I think empowering others to pursue their childhood dreams is an incredible dream of its own. Because valuing individual skills and combining different artistic disciplines in new media sounds like a healthy way of learning to exist in a world where everyone brings something different to the table.

I know it's long, but if you have the time, check out Randy's last lecture. You'll probably cry by the end. And that's perfectly okay. It won't be a depressing cry.

P.S. Diane Sawyer made sure his NFL dream came true.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A New Blog. And Keanu Reeves.

Last weekend, I saw a play. I love live theater. It inspires and energizes me. But the thing I walked away with most wasn't from the show itself; rather, I was completely amused by a poster on display in the theater's lobby. My comment on it even made it to a friend's Facebook wall:
"I guess you don't age if you never move your face."
-- Nadine Bells on Keanu Reeves
So I blogged about it. But not here.

I now contribute to MovieZen's blog.
Head on over to read my musings on Keanu's Secret.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

American Idol Hearts Darlene Zschech

Random mid-90s Hillsong moment:

American Idol Gives Back. The final song. "Shout to the Lord." Strategically swapping out "Jesus" for "Shepherd," of course. At least they kept in "Savior"....

P.S. I heart David Cook. See 1:51 and beyond. He's totally that guy, the one who girls in youth group would swoon over. You know, the rocker worship guy. Bad boy meets Jesus freak. For the above three minutes, anyway.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, on her toes!

Today marks the second anniversary of my very first blog entry. And it's time to go a little more public* with on her toes. Not "public" in a "I'm the next Stuff White People Like and am hoping to get a $300,000 advance for the book version" kind of way (not that I would complain....), just in a "I'm not going to be strategic about who reads it anymore" kind of way.

*Cue The Newsboys' "Going Public." Because I'm addicted to mid-90s-Christian-Kiwi-Aussie-rock nostalgia.

I'm tired of trying to gauge when a relationship is ready for the blog introduction. Besides, as a freelancer/blogger-for-hire, I'm sending out this link for writing samples all the time. So whether I like it or not, I'm going to be read. By new eyes. By people who don't me. And I'm okay with that.

I used to be concerned that people would either, A, read far too much into certain entries and jump to awkward conclusions (about what, I don't want to know), B, settle for lopsided friendships (where more is known about me than is ever revealed about them), possibly opting for blog-skimming over conversation, or, C, be turned off by any non-sequitur ramblings that don't coincide with their linear thinking or their personal belief systems. Because, let's face it, there aren't a whole lot of Jesus-loving, pop-culture-breathing, Martha Stewart-in-training twenty-somethings with umbrella issues who take being called "more Mary Tyler Moore than Sex and the City" as a huge compliment.

Oh, and apparently I'm a little neurotic too. See above paragraph.

This blog isn't my journal. It's more of a half journal. It's missing the pieces that involve others. The darkest moments rarely show up here. Nor do those of intense felicity (not to be confused with moments of intense Felicity viewing, of which I have no problem sharing with you. I heart Keri Russell). I've skimmed over emotional roller coasters by posting videos about nothing, and I've kept girlie notions and giddiness strategically subdued on days when my head is in the clouds.

The other night, All About Eve was on. It's one of those perfect Golden Age films, filled with elegant banter, fabulous costumes, and carefully crafted characters. And in a film full of quotable dialogue, one line stood out to me, essentially capturing how I feel about blogging and drawing lines:
As it happens, there are particular aspects of my life to which I would like to maintain sole and exclusive rights and privileges.
Bruxy talked about the differences between honesty and openness last week. It's still something I'm trying to figure out in my own life. I want to be an open book. But sometimes words spill out that haven't been processed yet. Or that aren't falling on the right ears. I've looked for a shoulder to cry on, only to be met with an ill-prepared lecture or an inaccurate judgment call. But I've also guarded my heart, eventually thankful for my restraint as I watched relationships dissolve and my heart escape unscathed. So while I try to walk that fine line, please know that this isn't all there is. But it's still me.

If you're looking for a way to celebrate on her toes, read my first blog entry ever. About Paris Hilton. Because a pop-culture junkie can't be easily cured.

Or eat cake.
My second birthday.

Here's to another two years. Or more.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Totally Hair Barbie

She was my favorite.

A beautiful teenage girl came to live with my family when I was quite young. I thought she looked like Totally Hair Barbie. Probably because she was a brunette in a short skirt. And I wanted to look just like her.

Sometimes I miss that little girl who looks at a pregnant runaway and sees the most beautiful doll in the world.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Right Stuff

It's no longer just a rumor. The Kids are back. I just might have to embrace a quarter-life crisis and show up at a concert in overalls with crimped hair. Maybe.

Astonishingly, they are significantly better-looking now, 20 years after the release of their debut album. Perhaps the ugly left with the rattails.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

How to Lose a Camera in Two Days

No wonder my camera didn't want to leave.

I bought a digital camera before heading west. I had quite the delusions of photography grandeur. On the second day of my adventure, my cousin Sarah and I headed to Banff. It was gorgeous. The day was perfect. And my camera loved it. So much so that it decided to stay there.

When we arrived back in Calgary that night, I couldn't find my camera. Anywhere. I searched my purse three times (yes, praying that God would make it appear somehow). I checked the car twice. Nowhere. I don't really recommend ending your day with a piece of expensive technology deserted in the vast unknown of Western Canada. But there was nothing I could do. Instead of panicking, I took a deep breath and went to bed, promising to retrace my photographic steps in the morning.

Both Sarah and I thought the same thing: the camera store. My camera had been draining batteries quite impressively, so we checked out other battery options at a little shop on Banff Ave. At one point, I took out my camera to look at camera bags. When I went to the counter to look at chargers, I must have put it down. Of all places to lose a camera....

So I called them. And, as suspected, the Canon was there, comfortably at home with its "people." After a bit of phone/text tag, I was able to give them the address I was going to be at in Vancouver and told them to bill my MasterCard. So my only real expense in Banff was to have my camera shipped to me. (Because of their incredible service, that camera shop is now my favorite camera store ever. I highly recommend leaving your valuables there).

Camera math: I tracked down my camera on the Tuesday, it was sent out on the Wednesday, it was shipped to the Calgary depot on the Thursday, Purolator didn't ship on Good Friday or the weekend....

It arrived in Vancouver on Easter Monday, an entire week after neglecting it in the mountains. So while it was so exciting to see it again, I only have photos from the first and last days of my adventure. Fortunately, I have friends who have cameras and who took rather excellent pictures. And who didn't mind uploading/emailing their shots for me.

Moral of the story: Befriend photographers. Make sure your camera case has a strap. When all else fails, draw pictures.