Monday, October 31, 2011

The 700 Club

This is my 700th post on my blog. That's weird. It just seems like I've said so many things on here, most of them said over and over again probably.
It's also Halloween, which is a crazy night to be in New York. So many people everywhere dressed up as all sorts of things. That means I watched The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and Garfield's Halloween special, as is my tradition. It's important to relive childhood memories as an adult because it keeps us grounded in the reality that it actually is the little things that matter.
It's also the night we release the new issue of BLEEP Magazine, which isn't a little thing at all. It's our sixth issue and it's hard to believe that we have been at this for a year, but we have been. It's been a year of BLEEPing and it just seems to continue to get bigger. That's amazing to me.
I'm at a loss for words. I always feel this way when I'm releasing a new issue. It's my version of stage-fright. I get the pre-release-jitters. It's terrifying, putting yourself out there like that. It's terrifying putting yourself out there in any way isn't it? I mean, is there anything more un-nerving and scary than putting yourself out there? I don't think so. The magazine is like that. I am just putting myself out there for the whole world to see and judge.
So tomorrow starts November and a new issue of myself put out there. It's scary and important and intense and terrifying. But the reward is more than worth the risk. Because what is life-well-lived if not a series of risks-fully-taken?
So here, my 700th blog entry over the past however many years I've been doing this. It's been quite a ride and today has been quite a day.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My favorite book

In one of the more amazing pop culture finds in recent memory, perhaps of all time, I saw someone post something on Twitter about this being the most amazing thing they've ever seen. I have to agree with them.

The Great Gatsby is a classic novel that's been made into a film (did you know that Mia Farrow starring in The Great Gatsby was the very first People Magazine cover ever? It was.) and it's currently being made into a film again. But did you also know that it's a video game?

So I started playing this video game and I have to say, it works just like Mario, except you throw a fedora at butlers and flapper-girls. For real. So yes, that's what I spent my night doing tonight. Playing the video game version of my favorite book. I don't know that many people can say that. I mean, Harry Potter and comic books don't count here. This is about classic novels being turned into video games.
So yes, this is my new obsession. It's a pop culture parallel that you never saw coming. It's something that doesn't make any sense at all but feels so right. I just love the fact that this can exist in the world. I love that we live in a country where there can be a video game version of a tragic American novel.

I mean, if this was possible, what else is possible? The sky is no longer the limit. We are really capable of anything now. This fills me with hope. Hope for tomorrow. Hope for creativity. Hope for the video game versions of Pride and Prejudice, War and Peace and if we're lucky, The Boxcar Children.

You really need to check out this game. You can play it on this website and I encourage you to do so. Just think, it'll be like reading except with more technology and extra lives involved. The Kindle version of the book has nothing on this game. Nothing!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Today

I talk a lot about the television I watch and how this show is superior to that show or that "celebrity" should be voted off the metaphorical pop culture island. Today, it's been snowing in Manhattan and as lovely as it is to look at, it's not the most fun to be out in. So, I spent some time clearing out my DVR and watching random shows I found on my hard drive. 

 Has Britney ever looked so beautiful as she does in her new Criminal video? I don't think so. Not only that, but she seems like she's got it together. Yes, it's just a music video but if you watch one of her videos from her...uh...lost years...this is a night and day difference. I believe that our pop stars should be beautiful. There are more talented singers on Broadway, but they don't ever seem to become pop stars anymore (no matter how hard Kristin Chenoweth tries to), so since our pop stars can't really sing like that, they need to look pretty.

 You know I don't care for Southpark. It doesn't do it for me. Sure, there are funny elements to it, but so often, I think it's just crass for the sake of being crass and not creative. Having said that, I've seen a handful of episodes recently and again, while I didn't hate them, I'm not becoming a fan or something. Having said THAT, this week's episode was spoofing Broadway shows, so I decided to watch it. The first bit was funny when they spoofed the shows, but after that, I was pretty much done with it. That's when I realized that the parts I thought were funny were the parts that reminded me the most of bits Family Guy would do...

...Enter Family Guy. I'm watching a random episode and what happens but the doo-wap singers from Little Shop of Horrors enter with Rick Moranis. You know I love a full-circle moment, even if I'm the only one the moment matters to. (I'm usually the only one that moments like that matter to honestly, and I'm okay with that.)

So then I felt like I needed to watch Little Shop to self-perpetuate the full-circle moment I was currently experiencing. I do realize that all of this must sound like a lot of inflated boredom, but there's something alright with spending a day watching television and fading in and out of consciousness as the snow falls outside the window. That's pop culture poetry my friends.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There's a T-rex in my heart

If you could stop a car crash, would you? I mean, if you had the power to stop a head-on collision, would you do it? Of course you would.
I've tried, metaphorically speaking of course, and it didn't work.
I have this problem. When I see something that MUST change and it doesn't, I feel like as a defense against being taken down with it, I have to detach. That's a scary thought, detaching. Once you've detached, it's really hard to attach again, yes? I mean, once I'm done with something, I'm really done with it. That's a quality about myself, whether or not it's a good or bad thing is up in the air.
I'm that way about what I write too. I detach really easily. In college, when I was writing my Masters thesis, I had to work on it/read it every day because if I put it away for long enough, I would detach from it and when I'd come back to it, it'd be this strange thing that I'd have to remind myself I wrote. True story.
So, I'm currently in the middle of watching a car wreck take place and there's nothing I can do about it....starting to detach...and I can hear it. Like an emotional velcro ripping apart...

And then just when I feel like I'm going to tear completely apart and disengage forever, I have to read an interview with Stephen Spielberg. Yes, the abba of film-making has struck a chord, this time not with movie goers, but with my heart. In talking about the fourth Indiana Jones film and the inherent problems it had, Spielberg says of writer/producer George Lucas: “I am loyal to my best friend,” he says. “When he writes a story he believes in — even if I don’t believe in it — I’m going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it.”
So the velcro stays attached for now. If Spielberg can make sense of Jurassic Park then he can also make sense of my heart. By but benevolence, much like the dinosaur violence in the film, can only linger for so long until it snaps and destroys everything in sight. What can I say? I'm a blurter (which is a 'spitter' in dinosaur terminology). 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Introspective film watching

Between The Tree of Life and Melancholia, I am seriously having to re-evaluate the seemingly mundane things of my life. Through the lens of these two films, the mundane becomes deeply profound and perhaps, the purest form of insight on the human experience.
There's something interesting about the fact that both of these films rely on more than the humans to populate the context of the human experience. In The Tree of Life, the story of life is juxtaposed with the creation of the universe and the evolution of Earth and it's inhabitants. In Melancholia, it's the opposite. It's a post-apocalyptic setting on which the human experience is plotted.
I sorta feel like these films should be watched in tandem. I also feel like the people who understand one will also understand the other. They aren't mass-market films by any means, they require a level of concentrated thinking that most films don't allow space for. Theaters are full of people wanting to see Hugh Jackman fight with robots or a vampire fall in love with a beige girl. So few theaters are filled with films that exist to contribute something to, or even define, the artistic zeitgeist.
Of the two films, The Tree of Life is the most approachable honestly and if you can grasp what's going on in it, then the ending is rather hopeful. I don't know if that can be said about Melancholia really, but then again, it's rather open to interpretation, as it should be.
I just think it's interesting that in the same season, we have a film that chronicles the birthing of life and one that chronicles the extinguishing of life, yet both are chronicling the human experience. I recommend seeing them if you're in the mood to think. BUT - I will say this. If you like the Twilight movies, these aren't gonna be for you. I feel rather confident in that blanket statement actually. If you think the Twilight movies are good movies, then you should skip these because they are going to go right over your head. No judgement, but this is a fact based on movie preference. But if you're into movies that make you think, then I recommend thinking your way through these, then giving it a day to mull over before making a judgment call. After all, all good art should make you feel something initially and then allow that feeling to morph and shift as it lingers with you. I love good lingering art.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Life lessons from television

On Happy Endings tonight, one of the characters decided she needed a "vision board" in order to visualize what she wanted in her life. Sorta this metaphysical approach to mind-over-matter. A silly plot line perhaps, but I think I do the same thing, I've just never done a board to explain what I want out of life. I'm a goal setter, but yet I never really put things on a board to look at them. Cue my night's project.


In counter-clockwise order from the top are the things on my personal digital vision board. Happiness, a new look, hope for a new day, making my dreams come true, the friends I love, seeing things I've never seen before and the promise of love.

Hokey perhaps, but exactly what I want in life. Doing this, it made me really have to think about what I want out of life. It was a really interesting exercise in having to analyze myself and be as truthful as I can be about it, I actually encourage people to do it more often.
So there. I have a "vision board" now and I have Happy Endings to thank for this seemingly pointless evening that really made me think about the things I want out of life. And the board may seem silly but as Penny said, if it's good enough for Oprah, it's good enough for me.

I don't like...

I don't like the way I eat popcorn. I don't. I'm a shoveler and no matter how hard I try to stop, when I eat popcorn, I am shoveling fistfuls into my mouth, opening wide like I'm some sort of deranged fish and it's wildly unsettling. I know I'm doing it too and I can't help myself.
It's kinda like my facial expressions. As much as I would like to think I am in control of expressing how I feel about something, I'm all-too-often reminded I'm not. My face is a dead giveaway. You can read exactly how I feel about something with just looking at me which is sad to me. I don't have the ability to be stealth with my emotions. If we were playing a game though, I don't really have a tell, I have a good game face, but in real life, there it is. Just look at my face. I guess that's a good and a bad thing though.
It's bad because I can't hide when I think what you're doing is foolish. It's bad when I can't hide that I disapprove or that I'm uninterested. Then again, it's very Miranda Priestly of me huh? Being able to tell people with just a look what I think? That's kinda a fun way to look at it.
But ultimately, yielding that kind of power is more a curse than a blessing and I wish I had a better poker face when it came to real life. I also wish I had the ability to not lose my mind and develop stress-eczema over my inability to gracefully eat popcorn. But I can't. So I will stick to eating popcorn in the dark of the movie theater where no one can see me and the calories don't count.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The weekend that was

 The weekend started with a much-belated and much-tear-inducing package from my Lisa. 10 things that everyone needs...or maybe just me.

 Part of the promotional push for the new season of The Walking Dead was to have zombies hand out free cupcakes in Madison Square Park. Cue Ryan wandering the streets looking for zombies.

 Found them.

 Complete with zombie gummy fingers.

 A great thing about Halloween being such a big deal in the city...life size superheros outside of all the costume shops.

 Don't act like this isn't hysterical. It's not that the skeletons at the Museum of Sex are having sex, it's that they are having throw-your-head-back-and-scream-sex. And in the window no less.

 A gift from a coworker - caffeine shots for our coffee.

 The window display at Dylan's Candy Bar - gravestones made of gummy...eggs.

 For my mother and my sister. If I could justify spending TWENTY DOLLARS on a small plush Angry Bird, I'd send them to you.

 We sure did get those cupcakes and even one for the dog.

 Pumpkin cupcake that tasted like my mom's pumpkin bread.

 Random apple sculpture I found in the city. Wouldn't be the last apple I would find this weekend actually.

 Fall.

 Of course my best friend's parents are in the Baylor Homecoming magazine. Of course they are.

 The second apple - this time in a life size elephant sculpture.

 Steve Jobs memorials on the tops of cabs.

 The single most terrifying thing on the subway - this pink-backpack-happy-pikmin-demon.

I'm not sure why there are sheep in the park in my neighborhood...but there are. And they must be important because they're up on pedestals.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Pure joy

Today has been such a strange day but kinda incredible.
See, as busy as I've been, I have had these small bursts of pure joy. That's the only way I know to describe it. And it wasn't like they were the bi-product of some sort of life-changing moments. But they were moments.
Like, a text message auto-correct incident that left me crying from laughing so hard. Or a package of moose poop from Alaska (not making this up folks - context is irrelevant). Or a song that made me have that Julia-Roberts-in-the-back-of-the-taxi-at-the-end-of-Mona-Lisa-Smile-moment. I've had a handful of those moments this afternoon. How about an email from a friend in Europe? Or a random conversation with a random new friend? Or the thought of an evening out? Or a cupcake with a finger in it (again, context is irrelevant but it did happen). Or the image of two people trying to pull my boots off during Homecoming a year ago. Joy.

So I don't know what tomorrow brings but I do know that today has been full of little pockets of pure joy and perfect metaphorical trumpet bursts of elation. The weather is gross outside but it doesn't seem to matter. It's been a beautiful day. 

This blog about joy is dedicated to Lisa and Ryan, two people that today, I miss so much I can't breathe.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

GNH

Gross National Happiness.
That's a thing. Did you know that? How did I miss this?
The nation of Bhutan, under the reign of King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, keeps tabs on the happiness of the people of Bhutan. I just love that. I also love that I will never be able to pronounce his name. Not now, not ever. Except his last last name. I've got Wangchuck on lock. Sounds like it should be on the back of a Canadian hockey jersey.

I learned about this because the King just got married this morning and while I was watching the news coverage about it, I was struck with something. These people are fascinating. They went to college in London, he's the youngest reigning monarch on the planet and he kinda looks like an Asian Elvis. Then there's his new queen - she's stunning and they spent the day of their wedding out and about meeting all the people who came to witness it. Now that's just cool.

I should add them to my fantasy dinner party and sit them across the table from Prince William and Kate Middleton. But not too close to Oprah because she'll just talk to them the entire time and won't have witty conversation with me and Jennifer Lopez. See, when planning your fantasy dinner party, you have to think things through. If Jennifer Lopez sits next to Post and Becks, then they're going to talk the entire time and completely leave me out. And if you sit Britney next to Prince William, they're going to talk the entire time because he's a fan. But I suppose all of this is moo since no one will be paying attention to anyone once Celine comes in to sing an "impromptu" song.

Anyway - this new king. I'm loving them and their happiness index. Perhaps other countries should also have one...except maybe not in America. Most folks aren't too happy right now. Maybe we don't need an index because we're all so interconnected through TV and the internet. Bhutan JUST got television twelve years ago. Twelve. So they're on the up and up. Here's hoping for a long marriage and much happiness, which I'm sure we will be able to gauge in their Gross National Happiness report.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What happened...

 The aftermath of the fire from a week ago. They are having to repair the ceiling in the entry of our building from all the water that seeped down.

 The location of yet another BLEEP photoshoot. Love that I get to do this.

 Filming something across the street from my apartment. I wasn't interested enough to find out what, but it was something.

 The Apple store in Chelsea. Lots of tributes to Mr. Jobs.

 A 'super' shoot with Ms. Kimberly Marable for the upcoming BLEEP.

Don't usually post self-pics but the hair is different now...change is good.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Life goals addendum

I have many life goals. I want to cause a scene, I want to hear Toni Braxton sing "Unbreak My Heart" live, I want see the pyramids, etc. But I didn't realize until today that I need to add something to that list. Yes, I am adding "Have a statue of myself commissioned and put in a public space."
Arnold has inspired me. Perhaps you've seen this in the news, but the Arnold commissioned a statue of himself to be placed in front of the house he grew up in. See, now that house is a shrine to Arnold, a museum of sorts that people can go through and take photos with life-sized figures of him and bask in the glory that is Arnold.
I think I should add that to my list of things I want in my life. Maybe not the shrine though. I don't think there is anything people would find terribly interesting about my childhood. I mean, you'll be able to read about it in my memoir one day and when you do, it will sound wildly fascinating. But there aren't necessarily artifacts from that time period that would warrant a museum.
But the statue thing I can totally get behind. I've already started brainstorming what my statue would look like, what I'd be wearing, would it be bronze or stone? Perhaps it would be shiny silver like the Andy Warhol statue. And where would I want it? Probably in New York somewhere but I'm not sure where. My favorite place in the park doesn't have a statue there but that's kinda why it's my favorite place. The human traffic isn't as high as in places that have monuments.
But then again, if I have a statue of myself, chances are, I'm too famous at that point to have time to walk around the park all that much, so maybe I should put it at the top of the waterfall in my place in the park. Then, it would have the added metaphor of bringing life through the constant water fall. Either that or it would be like I was continuously peeing on New York. Not quite sure what to think.
I have time, that's the good thing. But I'll start with some sketches and hopefully they will be just as ridiculous as this man who commissioned statues of himself as a part of his mid-life-crisis-cheated-on-my-wife-separated-from-her-wish-I-wasn't-an-ass moment.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thank you for my AZ

Bookends, while they may be a great gift and have the potential to be eerily poetic, didn't make for much fun this weekend. I wrote about the fire drill that took place at my office on Friday that made me feel like a child, but had I known that my weekend would have ended with an actual fire, I don't think I would have been so nonchalant about it.
Sunday night, while I'm watching The Good Wife, I hear this commotion in the hallway. If it had been closer to Christmas, I might have thought it to be a clatter, but as it was freshly October, I went with drunken brawl. Then my door is being banged on and I'm able to make out the word "fuego." Now, my relationship with the Spanish language has been testy at best, but I know what that word means. Fire. Cut to me and the rest of my building being allowed down the stairs in shifts as the firemen raced up them to the sixth floor where there was a fire.
A big one. When I got outside, I could see the flames coming out of the windows.
So I spent the better part of the evening sitting outside, in the cold (which usually you know I love the fall weather but when it's cold and you're alone and your building is on fire and more firetrucks just keep showing up, then it's not a great feeling).
So the weekend was bookended with having to evacuate the building I was in. One was a drill, one cost someone their apartment (and water damaged every apartment under that one). I don't know what caused it and the only thing I remember is this very pretty woman firefighter standing at the entrance of the building as we were leaving and she said to someone next to her "How is the super not here?" That brought me momentary joy knowing that he, the bane of my existence, will hear from them about it.
But the moment ended quickly.
So that's what happened and while bookends are a great gift, it wasn't how I saw my weekend unfolding. Sometimes that happens I guess.