Archive | February, 2012

Romance Before Take Off

28 Feb

There is something so romantic about airports.

Does anyone else agree with me? I mean, no, they’re not romantic when you’re thirty minutes behind schedule, and you’re rushing and agonizing about how long all the lines are. Not to mention security, that can be a real pain when you’re running late. This is why I like going to airports an hour early. I love giving myself that extra time so that there never is any rush. I love wandering through airports. I love poking around in all the shops. I love my ritual of always buying one book from an airport bookstore before I get on the plane. I love people watching; watching the people run to catch a flight or reunite with someone they haven’t seen in a long, long time. I love grabbing a cup of coffee from the airport cafe. I love photographing airports. And I love the sheer sense of adventure that overtakes you. You could take off and fly absolutely anywhere. The opportunities are so immense and limitless. That feeling twenty minutes before you have to board your plane and you’re walking to your gate? That is my favorite feeling on this earth.

Is it strange that I’m getting giddy just thinking about going to an airport in three weeks? Maybe not, seeing as that airport leads to an airplane which then leads to Italy… but still. I know I’ve been in airports dozens upon dozens of times, but I can’t help myself.

There is just something so romantic about airports.

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Drinking my last coffee of the winter school term.

27 Feb

No, this is not for Lent, and no, this is not because I’m addicted to coffee. I will admit that this term turned me into a full-fledged coffee drinker, but I know I’m still able to fully function without the effects of coffee. However, coffee’s definitely turned into my “I’ve got time between classes, might as well go get one” thing. Here are the two primary reasons I’m giving up coffee for the next three and a half:

  1. Diet
  2. Money

For diet, well, I said I wanted to lose five pounds before spring break. I fully believe this can still happen, but I realize coffee is not helping my effors. See, I don’t drink just any kind of coffee. I drink White Mocha’s, which are definitely one of the more unhealthy choices in a coffee shop. They are sweet and delicious and, oh goodness, one of the main reasons I’m having trouble losing weight. Now when I say “diet” I mean just eating right, not starving myself. This school year has turned into a horrible eater. I indulge in junk food daily, I snack between every meal, I overeat, and such. I’m very much hoping to end this, and this starts with cutting my delicious White Mochas from my daily routine. (Also: working out everyday. This shall happen!)

Now, money. I realize that I probably spend ten or more dollars on coffee a week (probably close to fifteen dollars), which is not okay when you’re A) a broke college student, and B) trying to save up so you have some spending money on your family trip to Italy. I’m also making it a personal goal to try to spend little to no money until I get to Italy. Some exceptions to this goal will be:

  • Buying myself a new purse (hopefully with my Macy’s gift card)
  • Getting a haircut before the trip
  • Buying groceries today that will last me through the next four weeks
  • Utilities (hoping dad will help me out on this one)

I realize this quickly digressed into a rant about how I’m unhappy with my appearance and my stress with finances, but I’ve been having a very bad day and this is only one thing of many that have been stressing me out beyond belief. It’s been one of those days where positively everything has been causing me grief. I really just need to make it through Spanish and then my group meeting for my YAF class presentation, then I can head home and spend the rest of my day working on  my Moby Dick paper, DWC essay, and begging a family friend to let me babysit her kid so I can make some extra money.

So, farewell coffee! The next time I will be drinking you will be at 7am as I wait in the PDX airport for a plane to transport me to Italia!

My Oscar Predictions for this year

26 Feb

So, I was going to do an entry on how I don’t understand how bowling ever became a professional sport and how much I hate it when construction workers think it’s a great idea to leave road signs in bike lines (as a biker, I am very annoyed by this), but then I realized what today is.

OSCAR DAY!

Shall I be watching? Yes. Granted, I’ll be doing homework at the same time, but I’ll try diligently to get as much done during commercials. I’m not watching the red carpet stuff right now, even though I know the Muppets are there, because, quite honestly, I have so much homework to do I feel like I’m going to die. Plus the red carpet stuff is pretty boring.

Anyway, I always make Oscar predictions, but I always forget to write them down so I sometimes forget who I’m rooting for when it comes to the big day.

———————————————————

Best Picture: While I did really love The Descendants and Midnight in Paris the most out of all the Best Picture contenders, I’m under the firm belief the award will go to The Artist.

Best Director: Gonna guess Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist.

Best Actor: If it doesn’t go to George Clooney I will scream. I read an article yesterday saying it was going to go to Clooney because the Academy feels it’s his “time” to get one. Bullshit. Did you even see that movie? He is fantastic in it. He fully deserves that Oscar. I won’t be surprised if it goes to Dujardin, but I’m really rooting for Clooney on this one.

Best Actress: Viola Davis. I mean, The Help is the only one of these movies I’ve seen, but I thought she did a pretty great job in it and from what I’ve heard she’s a shoe in, so, this is just a safe bet.

Best Supporting Actor: Remember when I said if George Clooney doesn’t get the award for Best Actor I’ll scream? Well if Christopher Plummer doesn’t get Best Supporting Actor I will punch you in the face.

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer for The Help. Very well deserved.

Best Original Screenplay: Dear god I hope it’s Midnight in Paris. (It was just brought to my attention that Bridesmaids is nominated, so let me just say that I would be equally, if not more, happy if Bridesmaids took home the screenplay award!)

Best Adapted Screenplay: I’m tremendously hoping for The Descendants. The only other one of these I’ve seen is Ides of March, and that one definitely doesn’t deserve the win for screenplay. I’ve heard good things about Tinker and Hugo, but the screenplay for Descendants was so beautiful.

Best Animated Feature: I did not see any of these… so… Rango?

Best Foreign Film: I also did not see any of these… so… I’m just gonna randomly guess… A Separation.

Best Documentary: UH. WHY IS Being Elmo NOT NOMINATED? That’s stupid. I likewise didn’t see any of these films and know nothing about them, so my random guess: Hell and Back Again.

Best Short Documentary: See above comment. Random guess: God is the Bigger Elvis (cause I like the title).

Best Live Action Short Film: Ugh. Um. Raju?

Best Animated Short Film: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. It’s a BEAUTIFUL piece of work, and I recommend you go watch it right now! It’s all up on youtube!

Best Original Score: The Artist.

Best Original Song: Man or Muppet. If George Clooney is to screaming as Christopher Plummer is to me punching you in the face, then if The Muppets don’t win I will set your face on fire.

Best Sound Editing: War Horse

Best Sound Mixing: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Art Direction: Midnight in Paris

Best Cinematography: The Tree of Life

Best Makeup: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Best Costume Design: Jane Eyre

Best Film Editing: The Artist

Best Visual Effects: Planet of the Apes

———————————————————

And yup! Those are my guessimations! Now off to get a ton of homework done before the ceremony begins!

My Journey Through “The Fault in Our Stars”

26 Feb

(SPOILERS AHOY! PLENTY OF SPOILERS FOR “THE FAULT IN OUR STARS” BELOW! SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!)

I’m just going to say now that I don’t write reviews. I write love letters or I write long rambling monologues about how much I detest whatever it is I just watched/read. One or the other, nothing in between (unless specifically requested/required by some greater power, ie. school).

This, oh this though, this is going to be a love letter through and through.

I first heard of John Green (technically) two and a half years ago. A good friend told me I needed to start watching the vlogbrother videos because I was definitely Nerdfighter material. I remember watching one video, thoroughly enjoying it, and then not watching more. No clue why I didn’t continue. Maybe the amount of videos there were to go through intimidated me, or maybe I thought I had something better to do with my life than watch two older men geek out about things. I was silly and naive and did not know better (obviously).

Cut to last fall, I noticed a tumblr friend was posting all of these lovely, beautiful quotes from something called Looking for Alaska by someone by the name of John Green. I became intrigued and, after doing some much needed googling, discovered that he was one of the infamous vlogbrothers I had watched so long ago and that he was also a novelist. I ended up purchasing Looking for Alaska and this last January I read it in less than three days. I fell in love with John Green’s writing right then and there, and have very recently began going through the vlogbrother videos (over 900 to go…meep!).

But this isn’t about vlogbrother videos and this isn’t about Alaska. This is about The Fault in Our Stars.

I could go into a lengthy ramble about how this book is damn near perfect and pinpoint how every detail of the book made me feel. I could spend entire paragraphs devoted to the traits of every characters, how every theme and motif works brilliantly, and how I now have the desire to travel to Amsterdam quite badly. No, instead I’m going to tell you all five things that this book does right.

1. I could not put it down. As I stated in yesterday’s entry, I never read books cover to cover. This is because, quite honestly, after reading a few chapters of a book I get bored (blame the internet). That was not the case for this book however. I think the quality of a book is really shown in the locations a reader indulges in the book. If it’s a book someone reads at their desk or in bed, meh, okay, but a book someone reads in random locations of their house? Obvious signs of a book people can not put down! I read this book in seventeen hours (would’ve been eight if I didn’t take an hour off for homework, an hour for Castle and dinner, and seven hours for sleep). Here are all the locations I read it in:

  • A grassy hill outside of my school’s gym
  • Work
  • The desk in my bedroom
  • My kitchen floor
  • My living room couch
  • My bathroom
  • My bed (under the covers)
  • My kitchen table
  • My bed (on the opposite end)

Yes, from five o’clock yesterday til ten o’clock this morning this book did not leave my side. Literally. I had it on me all seventeen of those hours, even when I was in bed. At one o’clock in the morning I was fighting with all my strength to stay awake, but I was so fatigued and exhausted from my previous night of drinking that I caved. I lay the book down on my bed and fell asleep. I then woke to my alarm blaring at 8:30am, but reset it for 9am. And there I was, my cat nuzzled up in a ball betwixt my chin and my chest, and Fault slightly pressing up against my back. And as I took that extra half hour to slowly urge myself to wake up, I fantasized. I fantasized a world in which Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters were not sick. I fantasized that they were well and that they went to an amusement park on a date and Hazel did not have to carry Philip and Augustus had both his legs. I fantasized all of this with a smile. Then, as nine o’clock came, I arose and my smile faded as I looked down at the book that had slept next to me all night, because I knew that there were no amusement parks that awaited in the last seventy pages of the book. There were no miraculous recoveries, no lack of Philip, no sudden grown-back leg. And yet I read, because I simply could not stop.

2. I gave a hoot about every single character. This is rare. Usually there are characters in books who I positively cannot stand, but just like in Looking for Alaska Green has managed to create a world where everyone is, on some level, likeable and relatable. The parents of Hazel and Gus were marvelously realistic and incredibly enduring. Isaac may have been my favorite character, since I found his view on life (no pun intended) pretty astounding. I, of course, adored Hazel and Gus, and their brilliant wit and charm. Even selfish Monica and grumpy Van Houten I couldn’t bring myself to dislike. I cared about all of them. I cared so much that when possibly the most beautiful part of the book happened I broke down in tears repeating to myself, “I don’t want her to die. Please don’t let her die.” (Oh how wrong I was.) Another great thing about Green’s characters was that I was able to visualize each and every one of them, which I’ve realized lately I can only do with books where I am seriously invested in the people. This book played out almost as a movie in my mind. I saw Hazel as Mae Whitman, Isaac as Eric Isenhower (yes, Orin from Parks and Rec), and I had my own complete image of Van Houten constructed. The only character I could not quite visualize was Augustus, and that’s only because he’s too perfect for my imagination to construct.

3. The writing is beautiful. John Green has a way of changing my outlook on certain words. With Alaska it was the words “after” and “great perhaps”. For this book, it was the words “okay” and “everywhere”. But that’s not even it. The way Green writes is just so beautiful and there are sentences that absolutely take your breath away. Here is an example:

There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten, and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.

Seriously. That is so beautiful. And the book is filled with deep, meaningful quotes so much like this one. I would love to go inside John Green’s head for five minutes, just to see what it’s like.

4. I cried. Me crying during movies? Not an uncommon occurrence. I cry at almost every movie I watch, including ones I’m not overtly fond of. I’m a very visual person, so just throw on a sad scene, or, hell, even just a slightly sad scene played with a really gorgeous score and you’ve got me in tears. I cried during Clerks II for crying out loud. I don’t, however, cry too often during books. Just the ones I’m attached to. Hunger Games, Green Mile, Looking for Alaska, Harry Potter, and The Lovely Bones are books that have made me cry before, because they offer up a story that is so much more than just a story. This is precisely what Fault did. Green created a world where these characters instantly became real to me within a page of their introduction. They were fleshed out, thought out, and well written, so I cared when something awful (or something wonderful) happened to them. When Gus delivers some not so pleasant news to Hazel I was in the bathroom doing well, erm, some business, and I quite literally threw the book on the ground and started sobbing. I’m pretty sure I haven’t reacted that way to a book since Catching Fire where I literally screamed while waiting at a bus stop.

5.  It made me hate John Green. I hate him for his talent. I hate him for making me laugh one moment only to make me cry several seconds later. I hate him for being my personal Peter Van Hutton and making me want to know about all the characters after this story ended. I hate him for making me realize that, no matter how hard I try, my own writing will never be on the same level as his because he is so goddamn amazing. Of course, as you’ve most likely realized, I don’t hate John Green (though I am green with envy). This book has just ensured that I will be purchasing Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, and Will Grayson Will Grayson sometime in the not so distant future, because I simply cannot get enough of that man. John Green is pretty much everything I hope to one day be as a writer. The one thing I can take solace in is that I’m probably a better slam poet than him, but for all I know he could be an amazing slam poet and, honestly, I wouldn’t be all too surprised (I bet he could write a better Muppet poem than me, which slightly breaks my heart).

So. There is my love letter to The Fault in Our Stars.

And if you’ve read this whole thing but have not read the book (didn’t you see the spoilers warning?!) I strongly suggest you go out and purchase yourself a copy because, oh my goodness, you will not regret it.

Now back to watching vlogbrother videos and avoiding my Moby Dick homework.

“I take quite a lot of pride in not knowing what’s cool.”

25 Feb

I have never read one book in a single sitting before.

I suppose Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes closest. I read it over the course of two days and, with the exception of sleep, eating, showering, and my dad dragging me to go see Hairspray with him in a theater, I pretty much read the book cover to cover.

Now I’m reading a book that I positively want to read in a single sitting. The problem? I can’t. That book is The Fault in Our Stars by one John Green. Since I’ve gotten to work I’ve read 104 pages of this novel and I positively don’t want to stop, but alas, I must. A (tumblr) friend of mine warned me that the second half of the book was just going to make me cry and it would be very obvious when that turn would happen. Well, I found that turn, at the end of chapter six.  So I’m putting the book down. I’ve cried at work before, so I know that when the tears start falling is when people start coming in asking to rent a room (the best ‘crying-at-work’ experience by far was when a woman came into the office to find me in tears and I told her, “Sorry, I’m watching Toy Story 3” and her response was, “OH GOD, I UNDERSTAND.”).

So. Book is closed. It’s glaring at me from literally four inches away from my left hand, softly whispering, “Juuuulia. You want to read me, Juuuulia. Don’t you want to know what happens to Hazel and Augustus, Juuuuuulia?” But I must stay strong! I’ve got Moby Dick homework that demands my attention now.

Ugh. Moby Dick. How I loathe it.

Fault in Our Stars is also a really great reminder that, no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be as good of a writer as John Green. Dear god, this man deserves all the awards.

Five poems to summarize my day.

24 Feb

I. The Interview

April eighteenth.
It seems so far away,
but, from now until then, I will manage to stay mute
on this topic of irrefutable dispute.
Nothing will come from me talking on this subject
except getting hopes too high and feeling let down so low
in the end.
So.
I bite my tongue,
I grit my teeth,
I forever change the subject
until it’s the eighteenth.

 

II. The Mix Up

I swear I thought I was taking mine,
but instead I ended up taking yours.
Whoever you are, I am truly sorry
that you were deceived from such a treat.
However,
my order was delicious while yours was anything but,
so I saved you from having to drink
your nasty-ass coffee.
You’re welcome.

 

III. The Boy

Hey boy.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, boy, boy,
the things I wanna do to you,
the things I wanna mean to you,
the things I wanna speak to you.
How could I not realize
that you’ve been standing there
in front of my eyes for seven weeks now.
Oh boy,
how I wanna take you by that manly hand
of yours, gently, like a kiss,
and I will lean in close to softly whisper in your ear…
… Oh shit.
I’ve forgotten how to do this.

 

IV. The Audition

Blew
it
out
of
the
fucking
park.
Suck it.

 

V. The Friend

Three months
since I’ve heard your voice,
seen your face,
cause you’ve been so far away from me,
lost in outer space, which you dubbed California.
Tonight we drink
in the name of friendship.

Terriers on the Mind

23 Feb

I’ve always been a dog person. Always, always, always. In fact, until I was five years old my dream was to grow up and become a dog (thanks, mom and dad, for destroying that dream before my tiny* eyes). I know that growing up the breed of dog that owned my heart was the Beagle, thanks to the Shiloh books and movies. Now that I’m considerably older, it’s hard to pinpoint what breed of dog is my favorite. I love Pugs, Huskies, Yorkies, Corgis, Beagles, Saint Bernards, Collies, Australian Cattle Dogs, Dachshunds, Pekingeses, Dalmatians, you name it. I don’t think there’s any breed of dog that I don’t like.

But there’s been one breed, in recent months, that has caught my eye time and time again, and that breed is the Terrier. Terrier’s are just so small and so cute and – ack! – how can you resist their tiny little faces? I’ve read up quite a bit about them, so I know that they’re quite a handful and need plenty of attention. Nonetheless, I thought it’d be nice to pay tribute to my four favorite (famous) terriers.

1. Eddie | Frasier. I don’t know about you all, but I grew up watching Frasier as a small child. I was allowed to watch this adult sitcom most likely because my parents knew the jokes would go completely over my head, and that they did. Now that I’m older I still adore (and understand!) Frasier and definitely consider it in my top five favorite TV sitcoms of all time, but as a child trying to grasp the concept of the show there were only two things I truly knew for certain: 1) Daphne and Niles were always meant to be together, and 2) Eddie was a damn cute dog. Played by Moose, and later his son Enzo, Eddie was a central character on the show for all eleven seasons. There were episodes directly tied into this dog and some of the biggest laughs included him. He was an adorable addition to the sitcom, and his relationship with Martin Crane, Frasier’s father, was arguably one of the greatest to come from the show.

2. Snowy | The Adventures of Tintin. This might throw people off. Just a bit. For starters, yes, Snowy is a Terrier. A white Fox Terrier, to be exact. And yes, I know that he’s only an illustration/CG character, but be still my heart, I adore this dog. I really enjoyed viewing the new Tintin film last December and I extremely liked the movie as a whole, but without a doubt I can say that this dog was my favorite part of the whole damn film. I’m so smitten with him that I bought my own Snowy stuffed animal, who sits on my bed and watches over me at night. He’s just such a faithful companion to Tintin, and not to mention pretty kickassity and can hold his own pretty well, y’know, for a dog.

3. Jack | The ArtistConsidering how my entry yesterday contained a brief review of The Artist, it really should come as no surprise as this was the dog that inspired me to do a Terrier theme for today’s update. Uggie the dog really did steal the movie. His trick’s were adorable, and his chemistry with Jean Dujardin was impeccable. As I was doing research on this little guy, I saw that he was also in the film adaptation of Water for Elephants, which I saw for the first time just last week. Impressive! He is getting a bit old and I heard that he was officially retiring, which is a shame. He’s a very talented little guy, and so damn adorable it makes you want to scream.

4. Arthur | Beginners. This dog. This dog. Oh man, THIS dog is wonderful. Of course, the added dialogue really helped to personify his character, but the dog in this movie (real name Cosmo) was definitely a scene stealer. Adorable as all get out and just wonderful to watch with Ewan McGregor. Truthfully, I haven’t seen Beginners since last summer, so I’m having a bit of difficulty remembering this movie in great detail, but I do remember that I walked out of that movie theater proclaiming how I wanted to kidnap this dog. Plus the Beginners movie poster is plastered right next to my bedroom door, so I pretty much get a reminder of him every time I exit/enter my room.

So will I someday get a Terrier? Very likely. I’d like to own many dogs in my lifetime. However, I know I want to be out of college before I ever consider getting myself a dog. Dogs need attention. They need to be played with by owners who have the time to give them all the attention in the world. I, unfortunately, do not have the time (or the funds) for a dog at this point in my life, not to mention I already have a cat who I’m fairly certain would hate me even more if I ever brought home a pup. I already feel guilty enough leaving her at home for sometimes up to twelve hours a day all by her lonesome. So yes, a dog will have to wait. But maybe someday I’ll have a Terrier of my own.

* That was a lie. My eyes have never been tiny.