Archive for the 'NaBloPoMo' Category

Watch me make up my mind instead of my face*

Oh man, I’m so glad nablopomo’s over as of today. I’m getting into crazy deadline month, so it’ll be good to not have to come up with something to say every day. But I want to quote a post Mrs. Kennedy (the inventor of nablopomo) wrote last week, because it was definitely the experience I had:

Alice recently pointed me toward the book Art and Fear, which I bought but haven’t read yet, so I’m going to paraphrase a section Alice told me about where the authors talked about a pottery class, I believe, that broke into two groups: one group would produce a piece every day, and the other group would produce a piece when they felt inspired to. At the end of the experiment it turned out that the group who had to turn out something every day, despite having made a fair amount of crap, also produced more good work than the group who only produced when they felt ready to. The point being that when you have to do something whether you feel like it or not, you may be more open to taking more risks and to easing your perfectionist tendencies, allowing more happy accidents to crop up.

She then concedes that blogging is definitely not captial-A Art, especially when you’re like me and are more critical than creative, but that it’s still better to do something every day than to not. It’s really pulled me out of the perfectionism that’s been slowing me down the last couple of months. So while I don’t plan on writing on my blog every day in December, I’m definitely taking the “just write something every day” work ethic and applying it to all the other work I have to do. And maybe I will actually get my thesis done.

So I guess what I’m saying is: thanks, nablopomo. Even though I did this last year and didn’t have any epiphanies, this has been surprisingly good for me.

*Sleater-Kinney – #1 Must Have

Daddy Issues, Pt 2

So remember when I wrote that post about how Heroes is all about daddy issues? Let’s check in on them this year, shall we? Since I wrote that post we basically found out that all the heroes’ fathers (and one of their moms, because their dad is dead and it’s all Oedipal) founded a Shady Organization that might cause the end of the world.

So that’s pretty persuasive.

In other news (spoilers up to this week’s episode, if you’re behind): Continue Reading »

Mea culpa

Today I really didn’t do much; I read my chapters and did my prep for class tomorrow, I watched two thesis movies, and I ate a chicken sandwich. I guess I am kind of pleading hungover, because I’m not giving up on nablopomo two days before the finish line.

Grrr

I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast

So I went out for beers with my department like we do, but then it turned out it’s this one guy’s birthday tomorrow, which no one realized until 11 PM, which is late for academics in Vancouver. So then we had to do shots. I love shots, but then I got drunk enough I decided to walk home after midnight. On a weeknight. In Vancouver. From Kits. I naturally abandoned that plan as soon as there was a bus that actually passed me because no one goes out at night in Vancouver.

Then I got a quote from my “Famous Drunkards” shotglasses, but I decided against having more bourbon, because; drunk.

Fustercluck

Short list of things which into which I currently am:

  • Psychoanalytic film theory — I try to leave, but it keeps calling me back
  • That joke where you call the hero of an action movie by the title of the movie instead of by the character’s name. I’m pretty sure it’s a Homer Simpson joke: ie. “Did Die Hard give up when he had to blow up that helicopter with his car?” Most hilarious (to me): “It was so suspenseful when Cliffhanger was hanging off that cliff!”
  • White tea
  • Headbands as a hairstyling aid; they really complete my “whimsical librarian” look
  • Kristen Bell being on Heroes

Weekly Movies, November 19-25

  1. High Noon (Fred Zinneman, 1952): I’ve seen this movie a few times before, and I remain kidn of ambivalent about it. So I will do a pro-con list. In the “pro” column: the amazingly catchy theme song; the greatness of Helen Ramirez who may well be my favourite female character from a Western ever (not hard to do, granted); the really stunning cinematography — it looks really modern and there’s even what appears to be hand-held camera work. Con: despite its fame for being an anti-blacklist movie, it’s beloved by many US presidents both (D) and (R) which I think is a good indicator of its ideological ambiguity; the fact that it lionizes a hero who basically saves a community from itself with his iron moral will hasn’t aged well and comes off almost Randian (Gary Cooper was also the lead in The Fountainhead); and the whole “education” of the Grace Kelly character was pretty condescending and the treatment of her giving up her pacifist ideals to save her husband and live in his world is more harsh than it needs to be to tell the story.
  2. The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1972): I genuinely liked this movie, especially the way Petra seems to try on different personalities as they please her and Fassbinder’s overly self-conscious compositions.Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant But I feel like I can’t totally pin it down; I get the camp and the costumes and the strategic use of pop music (which is what I was watching it for) which are all great, but I feel like there’s something slippery about the whole thing. I’d read a bit about it before seeing it, but I found myself kind of saying “so that’s it?” at the end. I think I expected it to be more over the top and less claustrophobic and silent than it was.
  3. Kika (Pedro Almodóvar, 1993): So. Apparently at the time this movie was really controversial because of its “comic” rape scene, so I was kind of trepidatious about seeing it. I think that’s why all the people actually writing books on Almodóvar are so defensive about it–because Almodóvar understands women, he’s making rape funny because it’s uncomfortable–as are most of the imdb commenters who liked it. I kind of see what some of his defenders are getting at: if you want to be shocking, one way to do it is to try to make people laugh at something that really really isn’t funny and tada! Discomfort! I think that’s really what Almodóvar intended, but…it still seems kind of exploitative and I just don’t think you can ever de-fang a rape played as comic. It’s kind of a shame, because there’s some interesting play with the whole tired film-as-voyeurism trope, particularly how much more upset Kika is about seeing her rape on TV than about her actual rape, which sounds like it’s played horribly, but it kind of rings true. It’s just kind of impossible to talk about that movie without talking about “the scene.”
  4. Bad Education (Pedro Almodóvar, 2004): This is one of my favourite Almodóvars. I love the way that the whole actual story is revealed through other people’s stories, and that voiceover of Enrique (the film director) partway through the film that sort of hints that the “real” parts are actually just as much a story. That and how much the hotness of Gael García Bernal is emphasized; it’s weird, because his sexiness is actually cinematically important, because of how he is this male femme fatale and there’s so much emphasis on the queered male gaze throughout the movie. We see him semi-naked a lot, but he’s always being watched.
  5. Dune (David Lynch, 1984): Man, I was prepared for how confusing this movie was plot-wise, for how utterly strange and ’80s sci-fi it was going to look, and for the constant, often redundant voiceovers (which I actually thought were pretty awesome), but I was completely not prepared for how sexist it was. The women have all this spiritual power, but it’s nothing compared to “Paul the chosen one,” who takes all these secret womanly skills farther than the women ever can. Or something? That is basically the story: this order of women have all this ancient wisdom, but then Kyle McLachlan comes along and outwisdoms them with his manliness and his riding the giant phalluses that inhabit the spice-world.Giant Phallus Alien
  6. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966): One of the things that’s always struck me about this movie is that despite all its famous Brechtianicity (new word!), it’s actually pretty tense and suspenseful and involving. I don’t really have much else to say about Persona because come on, whole books have been written, blah blah. But you know? I watched the trailer on the DVD, and how much was that movie being promoted as 1) a prestigious artsy way to feel good about yourself and superior to the rest of pop culture (“the critics of Europe“) and 2) a titillating vaguely sapphic* encounter between two blonde Swedish ladies (that line about “bare skin” while Bibi Andersson is walking over to Liv Ullmann’s bed)? Just saying.

“The spice! The worms! There must be a connection…”

An incredibly revealing fact about my relationship is that we spent our Saturday night drinking chocolate stout and watching Dune.

“Although you’re grievin, I cain’t be leavin’”

This song has been in my head for days. Now it’s in yours! (Also, please note that if you click through to YouTube it says that the music is by Ennio Morricone. This is totally not true — Dimitri Tiomkin did the music for the film.)

Frost-bitten

Today it got cold. Well, cold for Vancouver means we had frost overnight, and that there was still frost in shadow. Tonight when Alex and I were coming home from the pub, we could see our breath and it was kind of nice to feel really cold, not just that in between cold where you get bundled up and then are really hot and usually it’s also damp. It was like winter cold, that you feel in your eyeballs.

My plans for the rest of the night involve hot chocolate (homemade, with a bit of cinnamon) and reading the rest of “Promise Breaker” by Chris Adrian.

I have a ton of writing to do, but tomorrow.

Except for this: You have got to to be kidding me, Peter McKay. What a douche.

Wanna be on top?

Man, I have nothing to say today. Some days, I sit down and get a bunch of work done, and some days…not so much.

Today was a not so much day.

The thing is I’m not really a morning person, but I actually work way better in the morning. So I’m trying to train myself to be a morning person so that I actually finish my thesis. I’m doing okay with it, but today I got a late start and wound up drinking coffee and reading TWOP a bunch. Apparently Saleshia has appeared on The Tyra Banks show as a model, which makes her involvement on ANTM even more suspect than when we just knew she went to Tyra’s camp. If she wins, I call shenanigans.

I’m trying not to beat myself up if I have one bad day in an otherwise productive week, mainly because then I get discouraged and work even less, which is kind of the opposite of the point of this whole “be self-directed” endeavour.

Sorry I’m so boring: go read this article about female magicians instead.

Referring to the vast range of tricks that involve cutting up or “disappearing” women, she suggests that “violent magic also has a relationship with horror movies such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is about disembodying women or violence against their bodies. Horror – death, amputation, decapitation, mortality – fascinates people and often that fascination in our culture is explored through women’s bodies. There is an aspect of magic that plays with that and fetishises it.”

The magician PT Selbit is acknowledged as the first person to “saw” a person in half. It was 1921, the height of the suffragatte protests, and he provocatively – and deliberately, given the climate of the time – chose a woman as his “victim”. In fact, he tried his best to secure the services of Christabel Pankhurst, daughter of the founder of the suffragette movement, Emmeline, but Christabel wisely turned him down. All the same, the event was a big hit. While audiences queued in the streets for tickets, stage hands threw buckets of fake blood into the gutters, and ambulances cranked up the gory anticipation by rushing to and fro. When the woman was finally sawn in half, the audience went wild.

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