Saturday, February 25, 2012

Odd Socks and Even Ends

So, after that last post, I was going to move on to my plans to read Petrarch and Virgil, but then I realized that makes me sound like a preening windbag. So here's some "been rattling 'round in there for a while" random things and bits instead.

                     DRIVE: Why Didn't it Get More Nominations?

Seriously, why? It got, like, Best Sound Editing. It's not even going to win for that,  I bet. And it should have been nominated for at least Best Screenplay and Best Supporting (for Albert Brooks.)

This movie is the Bomb. It is the Shit. It is Ryan Gosling in a white satin jacket. (Really. It really is that last one. ) It's stuffed with fabulous actors giving the right kind of performances in a genuinely brilliant '80s brainless action film reworked and stripped down into a post-20th century tone poem.

Gosling gives less a performance than a portrait of a man who is living quietly in the wake of what was clearly a psychotic break, who only feels that he exists when he's driving, and having that carefully balanced pyschosis run head on into another human being, or beings; Carey Mulligan's tender and fragile young mother and her little boy, whose absent father is in prison--less for any crime he may have committed and more as the natural end result of spending his bewildered life being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Gosling's character (he's known only as "The Driver" in the credits) somehow becomes a whacked-out Knight Errant for Mulligan's and is dragged, blank-faced, into dealings with  middle aged mobsters who make up for their lowly positions with an excess of grandiosity/bloodthirstiness. Brooks in particular does a great turn as a less-a-kingpin-then-an-old-courtier mobster who marches through acts of astonishing violence with sagging shoulders, weary eyes, and unerring stabbing ability. Ron Perlman (yippee!) is the mobster whose reach exceeds his grasp and discovers that's what hell is for, and Christina Hendricks shows up as a bad guy's gal who missed all her gangster's moll lessons and ended up in cheap boots and cheaper motel room.

This movie is amazing. It takes all the elements of a typical action flick--damaged man, vulnerable woman, cute kid, fast cars, bad guys, guns, money, neon pink credits--and reworks them into a flow of images that move around the main character without touching him, until that woman looks at him with those big, big eyes... there's even a scene at a strip club with boobs all over the place, but believe me, two minutes into that scene and you will forget they exist.

Best Sound Editing, pah! But it frankly should win for that. Check it out:

                         Diet Pepsi: The Drink of the Apocalypse

What? I said this was random.

One thing I've noticed in my illustrious career of taking pizza orders: when some customer or other asks for something odd, bizarre, or just plain weird, this apparently a signal for a huge cluster of future random customers to call up with the exact same weird request.

To wit: Diet Pepsi. We sell Coke products, always have. Nothing against the fine folks at the Pepsi-Cola Corporation, but we sell Coke products. But that hasn't kept at least twelve people, in the last few days, from requesting not only Pepsi, but Diet Pepsi.

Diet Pepsi? What is this, 1975? Who the hell still drinks Diet Pepsi? The Pepsi Generation has to be in their sixties at the very least! Are you calling me from the boardwalk in your Farrah hair and tight white pants, taking a break from rollerskating down the promenade to request this fizzy beverage? Did you just pass the Doublemint twins? Are you about to try on your new mood ring and giant hoop earrings? Because that was the last time Diet Pepsi was relevant in the pop culture landscape, people! The last time anyone cared about it it was setting Michael Jackson's hair on fire! Join the 21st century and go to Starbucks! Leave me alone!

         The Oscars: I'm Never Actually Home to Watch

I don't think I've seen the first hour and a half of the Oscars for the past six years at least. And everyone knows that's the part really worth watching: critiquing hair, dresses, various guys' horrifyingly misguided attempts to be "eye catching" (Guys, stop it. You are men. You wear a tux. A regular, bow tie, well fitted tux. Do not wear a colored shirt. Do not wear creative footwear. Don't do a Robert De Neiro that one time he cut his hair to look like Marilyn Quayle's. When in doubt, pretend to be George Clooney. Nice smile, tux, cute date. See how easy?) Wondering if this is the year that Joan Rivers is finally going to crumble into a pile of dust and silicon. Guessing who's already drunk. Guessing who's meeting who in the ladies' for some cocaine to take the edge off not eating for a week to fit into the designer gowns. It's not like you haven't guessed most of the winners by this point anyway.

And The Artist totally deserves to win, it's amazing. But it would be SO FUCKING COOL for Bridesmaids to win! Best Picture, not just Best Screenplay or whatever Pat the Lady On the Head award they have set aside for Wiig. (Wait, is Bridesmaids nominated for Best Picture? I can't remember. It fucking should be is my point.)

But I'll be at work, as usual, taking orders, hearing muffled cheering in the background and demanding of some random person to tell me who just won Best Whatever. Ah, the glamour of everyday life.

Well, that's it for now--Husband is home and listening to his Queen album and I'm getting distracted. Until next time remember: Drive, Tux, NO DIET PEPSI.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Swerving Towards and Away

So I've been reading one of my "finish these before purchasing more" books from the FTBPM book drawer, Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve.

It's about an ancient Roman poet, Lucretius, and his masterwork, On The Nature of Things. It's very fascinating, incredibly so, but the author's tone--well, it's rubbing me the wrong way.

He's an atheist, and like many atheists, he hurts my feelings.

Not in a deliberate way, or a taunting schoolyard bully kind of thing, but in his (apparent) relief that there is no God and therefore nothing to dread after death, this tone of moral superiority comes out. It's probably the same tone he hears in believers when they speak of being "saved". And I don't blame him a bit. I loathe that whole bumper sticker "In Case Of Rapture This Vehicle Will Be Suddenly Unoccupied" crap blend of pride and vainglory masquerading as faith or devotion. It's so gross, and shallow, and ultimately demeaning to the Jesus Christ these people are loudly proclaiming to revere. It makes me feel really, really unchristian and punchy. And stabby. And then all prideful because I am not that way at all! Oh, no I am not! See? I am wonderful and loving and humble and so much better than you Jesus loves you but He loves me more nyah nyah nyah!

It really does bring out my ugly side.

But anyway, I'm not to far in yet and the story he's telling is fascinating, but he seems, as I said, a bit "Well, I've seen the light in that there's nothing after we die, maybe you will too, someday", and frankly, it's every bit as irritating as anything Mars Hill Church has come up with about gay marriage or what have you. Any time someone goes This Far and No Further in their beliefs, no matter what they are, I start to itch, because watching people deny uncomfortable thoughts is like a rash. And that makes me think about all the thoughts I don't examine because I am, to use the theological term, fucking terrified of going that far. Of what I would find if I did. I get all twitchy and tense and anxious, and tend to distract myself online or watching The Creeping Terror for the uppity-umpth time instead.

So I'm alternating reading The Swerve with Acedia and Me by Kathleen Norris, and it's the perfect blend. Her book is about the "demon" of acedia, or "lack of care", and is unabashedly Christian in its viewpoint, but it's the opposite of rash inducing because it's hard and clearly thought through, and tries to frame humility as the basis, underneath it all, of all security within God.

So I occasionally get a little miffed at her too, all "Have you been following the recent shannanigans of the Church, lady? The Magdalene laundries? The sexual abuse? The attempted takeover of health care? These people are a menace!" And they are. But that's not God's fault, really, is it? That's our fault.

One conclusion I've come to recently is that once humans get involved, things get complicated. We  can't help ourselves, it's our nature, the one (if you are framing it using Genesis) that we selected for ourselves. But the thing is, no matter how often or profoundly or completely humans get it wrong, that doesn't make God wrong. Even if every single religion ever concieved in the mind of man is completely off track and fucked up and wrong, God still isn't wrong.

And we're allowed to get it wrong. Over and over for years, decades, centuries, forever. We can live and die enthralled to incorrect ideas, religious, atheist, or otherwise. We're allowed to screw up after fifteen or fifty years of trying to get it right, to convert to a new viewpoint in college or on our deathbeds or sitting in a sports bar. And if someone comes up with something really twisted and vicious and hurtful, we're allowed to say so, to wave our arms and petition our government and rant on the internet even if we keep getting it wrong.  We're allowed to change our minds even when it's really, really, REALLY embarrassing and all our freinds would stare in disbelief and change the subject and hope you get over this soon, that you aren't going to show up at their door in a white shirt and tie and invite them to join a study group and refuse to leave.

So that's what irritates me about this particular atheist stance, the idea that a world/life view has some kind of peak or stopping point, and there's no reason to go any further. And no, not all nonbelievers are like this, I'm sure you're not. I'm sure you are kind and polite and understanding and never snidely refer to believers as having "an invisible freind in the sky" on the internet, even when they are doing something deeply enraging in Congress. And if you are a believer I'm sure you're not the kind who get all show-pious and post "I'll pray for you" on someone's blog when you know damn good and well that is really insulting to them.

This was quite a wandering post, and if I had any sense I'd save it and rework it. But I don't and I'm going to throw it up there because frankly it's pretty reflective of my thought process.  It's not meant to be insulting or any kind of instruction guide, just a section of the endless blathering essay that is my brain at times.

No matter what you think, don't stop here. There's always more to go.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Fine Molasses Candy

So the other day the Husband and I were going out for lunch in an act of defiance against realizing we will never be able to afford a better apartment.

We went to Six Arms, had some delicious stew, then trotted across the street so H could buy more markers (he wears them out by the truckload for his comic at; appreciate what he does for you!) I wasn't overly fascinated by his selection process, so I wandered over to a demonstration table.

They had a (very well worn) set of watercolors and brushes out so you could feel all arty, along with some little squares of paper. I set to and in a few minutes painted this:

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Song Sung Blues

So, I was messing around on the computer the other day and got a lesson in YouTube Videos NOT To Click On Before Work.