Friday, December 31, 2010

exquisite corpse--between four

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Cubes transparent in a transparent glass with lime squeezed, patience pulped, juice to sip in my dreams before morning, a.m. breakfast, black coffee and boiled eggs without the yolks for a lean machine. Beat yourself and the twinks will follow. Call the doctor, he'll give you a financial reach around so severe you'll feel it in the afternoon -- forget the morning. Live in the now, like a skunk who loves his own smell and frolics about town with confidence, with vigor and love, he can do this. I amazing, I am a rock, I am the eternal fly on the peach, I am licking the fuzz and getting pricked by the wily thorn poison-tipped and lapping me back to the chicken versus egg debate. The thing is, the chicken was cloned and so am I.

During happy hour, it is an injustice to your social realm to lock the bathroom door. There are two urinals and one very sad midget wondering if he is going to have to piss himself or go home because he just can't reach that pinnacle exploring the difference between latex and novocaine. The dentist always hated my guts. She gave me flavored fluoride in unspeakable fact-diet combinations of carob and bubble gum. The castle that stares back at you has welcoming eyes which cab be easily interpreted as evil and uninviting, but evil is inviting, it is up to you to deny its invitation. Are you strong enough?

Being here is beautiful. I have not done this in ages. A drink, a pen, a creative mind...we will see. A red room not unlike a David Lynch movie. Where is this lady from a dream or the voice screeching beside me with gin breath, hot like dragon spit which is why it's important to have a CVS card, to lick your elbow and count to ten and sniff. If it smells putrid, kick the person closest to you in the stomach and run to the corner store for a malt liquor. I am a big fan of malt liquor, but maybe it is not a big fan of me. I assume you are a big fan of me and my belly dancing smoke and mirrors dance, my human cannonball, my clown car charade, and All in the Family was the worst.

I was early for a date which I knew was a bad sign. Every time I've ever been early for anything, I've been punished. I've been depleted, a battle lost, a war waiting a hero. Next time I step to the bar I'll accept the challenge and deny mediocre nature. I am a god, I am a force of nature. I am the ruler of all space, time and dimension the goblin of infinity enjoyed the occasional game of solitaire, backgammon, and strip poker most of all. But the highest compliment I received was the praise of the free whale on its last legs. How will the whale dance now? Take it up the blowhole? 
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Penned by Camille Navarro, Dave Silberman, Sabra Embury & Ned Vizzini at Birds in 2010

the Fighter--a review

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Upon watching the Fighter, I expected from the start, an all out machismo fest embellished with a revisitation of Mark Wahlberg's ripped body from his days modeling Calvin Klein underwear. I was almost all wrong. 

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I should've anticipated as much, but the acting all around was spot-on; especially by Christian Bale, whose gaunt crackhead has-been brother boxer act was impenetrable. 

As far as I've seen this is his third reprise of an emaciated savior character that he's perfected, including his haunting portrayal as an insomniac factory worker losing his mind in the Machinist, and German-American, live snake-eating pilot Dieter Dengler in Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn. 

Amy Adams also shined in her role as the trashy, but classy college drop-out, bartender girlfriend of Mickey Ward, and out of nowhere Melissa Leo scores big points with her performance as the overbearing mother of the Ward brothers and their seven incredible sisters.

The entire movie in itself was not tense, but there were a few heart-palpatating moments that made me, and the audience around me, swoon with an all-out, muttering anxiousness. 

There were also parallel scenes that were not for the faint-hearted, easily grossed-out citizen. As well as a few cringing moments where a diversion of eyes was necessary to avoid watching the splatterings of pain being inflicted on the sweet protagonist. 

And how could the conflict surrounding a beloved family member's drug addiction tearing his loved ones apart, not make an impact on the psyche? The answer is: BOOM.

All of these factors are what make the Fighter a romantic and compelling film, about a boxer trying to make a name for himself, outside of his brother's shadow, and his mother's bad management.
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Samantha woke to the sounds of her husband, Alexander shuffling around at his desk by the window.

"Hey."
"Oh hi, you're awake."
"Mmhm..."
"I'm just looking over the hits I've gotten on my eating cereal video on youtube. It's up to a thousand. One comment here says, chocolate milk is gross with off-brand Captain Crunch, haha."
"I have a video that's been getting a lot of comments lately. It's called cute albino kitty."
"Oh cool, let's watch it! I wanna watch Maru again, too. I wanna watch him jump into a box!"

Watches Maru.

"Is he Japanese, Korean, Chinese? What's that writing say?"
"Are you stoned?"
"No."
"You got stoned while you were out this morning?"
"No."
"So now you're like one of those fat chick sugar junkies with a secret stash of chocolate doughnuts. Where'd you get the pot?"
"...from Brian, Lester's friend, when I was in Hollywood last week."
"You showered right away when you got home so I wouldn't smell it."
"Yes, I guess so."
"This is why you've been acting strange. I thought you said you'd quit pot for good."
"I've been smoking it consistently since I was fifteen."
"You're just another stupid junkie. You can't even act right on it. You act like a dope head."
"Do you want to talk about it."
"No, I want you to leave. I can't stand you. I don't want to be around junkies while I'm pregnant."
"For how long?"
"Go away."

Alexander walks outside onto the porch and sits in a fold-out chair with his laptop. He's too stoned to go anywhere or do anything. Samantha gets out of bed and walks outside.

"I want you to leave the house."
"No, why, where should I go?"
"Leave."

Samantha, who was wide awake before, is too depressed to function. She shuts down and goes back to sleep. When she wakes up Alexander is in the kitchen on his laptop. It's New Year's eve, and they've been married for five months. Samantha's four months pregnant. And now she's contemplating divorce.

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Not that she didn't have her fair share of smoking pot when she was experimenting with various psychedelic substances in high school. Samantha used to hang with a bad crowd, until she got serious for college. They'd take hits of acid before concerts, try powders and pills, and smoke pot every chance they got, sometimes ten times a day.

Then Samantha had to move on. The drugs and pot were paving the way for harder drugs, namely Oxycontin, and her friends were either dying off, going to jail, becoming dealers, losing their jobs, stealing from their friends and families, and collectively becoming ghosts of their former selves. They only had one priority and that was getting high. Samantha decided then to leave druggie lifestyle alone and move on; she found friends in a straight edge crowd, who imbibed the occasional beer at the bar during social gatherings.

As she watched from afar, her old friends, emaciated in their pale blue skin, disappeared one by one, some legends, the coolest kids around; others anonymous, falling--they all fell, and now Samantha had a warranted hatred for people with any semblance of a substance abuse problem. Addicts, junkies, they would never change, through their apologies, excuses, lies; it was a condition they wouldn't avoid, until it was too late, and they'd lost everything and had no choice but to start all over again, broken and pathetic, nostalgic for the golden years of naive immortality in youth.

They listened to the same songs, wore the same clothes, though they looked older now, weathered, puffy, talking about the good old days. These were the well-dressed rock stars in deluxe thrift store couture. And now they were stocking groceries at Kroger, selling cell phones, raising children without mothers or fathers.

Samantha had explained this a number of times to Alexander. How the events related to drugs had broken her heart over and over, how it relentlessly haunted her memories and hurt her. How she'd left a serious boyfriend in Austin because he'd gotten into pot too hard with his filmmaker friends, that he threw his career away as an acclaimed an oil painter, to pursue making sci fi videos for youtube with Legos.

Before the pot became a regular thing, it had only been occasional, it was a part of the editing process they said, it was to relax. But then it was there all the time, five times a night, and editing was replaced by reruns of Seinfeld.

This happened for a straight year before Samantha decided it was time to leave. After a young stoned girl named Tabatha asked her one night, "So why don't you like getting stoned like the rest of us? You're reeeally missing out." On top of everything else: peer pressure from a teen with no intention of going to college and a boyfriend trying to establish himself as a dealer in Austin, Texas?

Samantha moved to New York a month later with money she'd saved from looking after a brain injured man in Round Rock. It was in New York on Friday the 13th that she met Alexander, a seemingly nice guy who wrote books about video games for depressed teenagers. They met at a party in November and a month later he was driving her to Louisiana to meet her family for Christmas.

In February she moved out of her apartment in Williamburg. Two weeks later they were in LA, renting a house. He wanted to pursue his dream of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter. She came along because he asked her to. They knew a long distance relationship would be hard to manage, and after their first kiss in New York, they didn't have the willpower to be apart.

In August they were married in Vegas. An Elvis impersonator walked her down the aisle. One month later on their honeymoon in Montreal, on September 11th, they conceived a child. Since they were both the oldest children of their broods, their parents were thrilled.

This helped them fight the feeling of being terrified, though it was natural, inevitable being that they were both still young, they hadn't even been together a year, and now they were expecting a baby in June, a lifetime connection, and who knew if they barely got along aside from the initial chemistry that brought them together in the first place. It was too soon to know for sure. It was all too soon.
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Thursday, December 30, 2010

oysters, apes & palm fronds in 2010

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I had a nice brunch, then watched the Fighter with Lauren Kate Stanley today. This is a big deal because I met Lauren about six years ago, on the internet; she's lived in Melbourne all her life, and right before Thanksgiving she showed up in LA to explore the US, meet me, spend some money and find adventures.

Six years on the internet, that's a lot of time to build a relationship with another person, if you stay head-to-head on networking sites, keep up with random updates, blogs, hotmail IMs, gmail IMs, letters, letters, letters, video chats, gifts for holidays, you get the picture.

Lauren and I have been through more than a few phases together, and a gauntlet of boyfriends. If the crazy snow allows it, she's off tomorrow to New York, just in time for the new year.

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With a dirty santa at the Glendale Galleria 2010

Coincidentally, the place where's she'll be staying only be a block away from the Williamsburg apartment I lived in for all of 2009. Or maybe it's not that much of a coincidence; she's stylish, young, well-read, has great taste in music; in other words: Williamsburg is an oyster calling for its pearl, and if Lauren's not an exquisite gem of a human, I don't know who is. I can't explain what the hell I was doing there.

And now I'm in Silverlake with my long-legged husband and cat, Barnabas, writing this blog after a fun day starting with a "Six Shooter Breakfast" at the Astro Diner, followed by NY winter coat shopping at Nordstrom, to the movie in Glendale and ultimately the Loz Feliz hotel where Lauren and her new boyfriend from San Francisco will spend their last night in LA for a while.

Currently, I'm in bed, trying to keep from freezing to death, a space heater's beside me, Ned's reading Congo, complaining about the fact that he'll never get to meet Michael Crichton because he's dead, and we're discussing the probabilities of apes stealing babies and eating them versus cats smothering them to death in their sleep.

Bon Iver's on Pandora radio. There's a new Entertainment Weekly at my feet with James Franco on the cover, grinning at his chances for an Oscar worthy performance for his role in 127 Hours.

The tomato bisque and cheese puff pastries from Trader Joe's were great, fronds are scattered in the lawn after a few violent gusts of Santa Ana breezes. I need to brush my teeth, crawl a mile on the stationary bike in less than seven minutes, check the room for earwigs, seduce my husband, and finally...go to bed, and prepare for the new year.

I can honestly say I'm ready for 2011. Milan in January, a new home in February(hopefully), a baby in June...it's going to be an adventure.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Murakami & his gratuitous love sauce landscaping

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I'm plowing through Murakami's 467 page Kafka on the Shore, a book I received for my birthday, January of 2010, by a great friend, who's trustworthy for his good taste...aside for his unyielding love of jam bands. The fact is: I feel as though I didn't read enough this year.

The first 70 pages I got through in three sitting at various times of the day at home between things and things, but today I made a mad sprint from 70-300, on my sunny doorstep, at a Silverlake coffee shop, and now in bed, I take this breather before a final sprint, 167 pages towards the finish line before midnight.

I'm not reading particularly fast or slow, but it's a pace that's honest enough to catch all the details without memorizing. I could ace a test on this book anytime within two weeks of tomorrow, but after two weeks the memories: names, events, will atrophy and recede to make room for new information, especially if it's practical or rehashed repeatedly.

The book itself is good enough for the effort, though a bit more verbose with dialog and details than necessary. The dialogue's pretty candid with vivid descriptions of male genitalia being washed and such, too, but I see now it's to emphasize the deficiencies of a vagina-bearing hermaphrodite, who plays an important role in the story later.

This is my second Murakami after Norwegian Wood, which was also a gift, housewarming, from almost exactly a year before in New York. What I remember most about Norwegian Wood was that it had a lot of sex in it, and longing, or more specifically--flowery prose about sex and longing, and going the distance.

Kafka on the Shore has a few gratuitous sex scenes in it, too, though the prose is much less flowery for the most part. This makes me wonder about Murakami as a person. Does he get laid? Is he impotent? Does he think these explicit sex scenes are necessary for the viscosity of the story? Is it a gimmick to make the story more interesting?

For such straightforward and ethically driven characters with hearts of gold, it's surprising how Murakami's sex scenes have a left-field sense of embellishment. But maybe that's the point.

It's 10:40, I'd better get back to it if I'm going to finish by midnight. So far the 15-year-old protagonist thinks he might've murdered his father in a subconscious, ghostlike state, indignant for a curse which makes it impossible to resist seducing his could-be 50+year-old mother/boss in a foreign city. And the hermaphrodite? Probably his long-lost sister.
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Monday, December 27, 2010

The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms--a review

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb received a $4 million advance to write this book of aphorisms as a follow-up to the Black Swan.

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Some of my favorites:

Academia is to knowledge what prostitution is to love; close enough on the surface but, to the nonsucker, not exactly the same thing.


I suspect that they put Socrates to death because there is something terribly unattractive, alienating and nonhuman in thinking with too much clarity.


Education makes the wise slightly wiser, but it makes the fool vastly more dangerous.


If you know in the morning, what your day looks like with any precision, you are a little bit dead--the more precision, the more dead you are.


There is no intermediate state between ice and water but there is one between life and death: employment.


Procrastination is the soul rebelling against entrapment.


They will envy you for your success, for your wealth, for your intelligence, for your looks, for your status--but rarely for your wisdom.

Many of these aphorisms are interesting. A lot of them are specific and esoteric; a retaliation against critics in Academia, economics, the working class and anyone who might think they're smart for getting good grades or scoring high on an IQ test. Taleb's aphorisms are anti-technology, anti-nerd and anti-making a living with a job that draws a salary. The dependence is what he's against, the repetition, an unstimulated life filled with monotonous patterns, notions of false humility, false models, and sports.
 

Under a section titled ETHICS, Taleb says: Avoid calling heroes those who had no other choice. Some will call him "harsh" for a statement like that; especially firemen, moms who save children from burning buildings, guys who fix flats on the sides of roads for a smile and thank you, and especially Bruce Willis because he's terrible in romantic comedies. Others will say: maybe he's talking about himself and is trying to be humble without seeming humble because he thinks he's saving the world with his intelligence. Those people have too much time, and empathy, on their hands. 

Whatever Taleb is trying to say, and whoever he's trying to say it to, we might never officially know. What we do know is that he has the last laugh receiving $4 million to have a few hundred twitter posts published into a hardcover book of philosophical and political aphorisms. It's a best seller, too. A best seller which I bought, read, and am now writing a review about. Call me a sucker, or call me curious, just please don't call me a hero.
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Monday, December 20, 2010

Black Swan--a review

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Black Swan is tense, gripping, macabre and precious. It's about what happens to a stressed-out, perfectionist ballerina, Nina (Portman), when she receives the opportunity of a lifetime to dance as the lead Swan in a highly anticipated New York production of Swan Lake.

Nina's coddled by her mother, a former ballerina: think the tragedy of the wannabe beauty queen mom/career beauty pageant daughter. Nina is perfect for the role as the white swan, but lacks the darkness an passion needed for the role of the black swan. The artistic director (Cassel) is relentless with his criticism, imposing and retracting his sexuality onto the frigid Nina, who wants nothing more than to please him.

Soon, Nina begins to experience psychosomatic fantasies, which blur with reality. She is haunted by a doppelganger who glances hateful stares back from mirrors. Her fingernails crack and bleed, her rash quickens, seeping blood through patches on her shoulder. And as an inconsummate foible, Nina's wary attempts to taper her sexual desires with orgasms, are forbidden, a mockery in her life, along with anything else which might lessen the strain of Black Swan's delusion-laced train wreck narrative.

Though tendencies are ubiquitous to judge Portman's acting as trite or shallow, as the charming, pretty pixie muse or whatnot, her performance as frigid, driven Nina is spot-on in Black Swan, as if driven by an seamless fury or provocation. Hershey is also wonderful as a nurturing mother with he soul of a scorn succubus. Cassel is also very believable in his role as the ball-busting artistic director working to make a perfect ballet production.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Enter the Void--a review

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I watched this movie in at the new Beverly Theater, at an almost sold out show. This means strangers, film LA buffs more specifically, were squirming arm and arm even as the film began with the credits.

Then the neon lights of Tokyo shone and maintained the glowing consistency throughout the perspective of Oscar, an early twentyish drug dealer obsessed with death and a drug (DMT) that simulates it with hallucinogenic side-effects.

Soon Oscar gets in over his head with the Tokyo police and gets shot through a bathroom door during a drug raid set-up. It's at this moment that his spirit exits his body and floats in a trippy-voyeur perspective, following his stripper sister, through her trysts with her nightclub manager boyfriend, flashing back to childhood before the children became estranged from their parents after a brutal car accident, right back to the shallow past when the two became reacquainted in Tokyo, into the present again. Oscar's essence is now in an emotionless limbo, reflecting, retracing, trying to find his way to solidify the pact he made to his sister: to protect her always, even through death.

Though the narrative presents itself as being justified, the film has a life of its own without it. The narrative is trivial. More importantly, the film is a showcase of mind-blowing camera angles, jolts of violence surrounded by detonating implants of TNT for the psyche. Light tunnels shrink pupils of the viewer sporadically in scenes demonstrating the lure of "the light" and a spirit's attempted resistance to it to carry on in the physical realm.

Gratuitous sex scenes are dispersed generously, and especially at the end before a graphic coital scene illustrating procreation from within, the detailed process of creating life, where the climax, is an actual climax. 

In one respect, when the film was over, I couldn't help but overhear frazzled movie-goers complain about Noe's arrogance as a filmmaker. This made me sympathize with the director. Sure, the film was incredibly masturbatory, employing such visceral techniques must obviously have a way of of stimulating the artist, more than it's meant to cater to any of many subjective viewers, but that doesn't necessitate the regard of Noe showing off, as much as his exercising his right to make high art, as his will intends, edited with the precise outcome with which he intended.

Noe has exercised tedious techniques involving psychological explosions of detail, and creative manipulation into a one-of-a-kind vessel, which can be compared to any hyper-visual, hyper-sexual, druggie themed, neo-realistic, human hatefest which has ever existed, true. But he's also made his mark as a filmmaker with Enter the Void, and if infamy is what what he's after, then he's one step closer with this film, to make infamy anything but moot.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

fictional fish cracker bags

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I have two recurring dreams that work as a combo, a one-two punch. Why these dreams often coincide a collection of hard prints from various stressed-out times in my life is beyond me. But I often remember vividly the thrill, of being in and realizing a few things while I'm there.

The first dream (give or take a few details of the overturn of specifics): I'm in college, in class, it's time for a test, I didn't study. What an awful feeling. I take the test, and in this dream, I actually happen to know most of the answers. On the right side of the paper are google ads trying to sell me merchandise. Class is over and it's time to go to my next class, but I realize I've skipped that class all year, and probably won't pass it. It's my senior year, and I need that class to graduate. Why did I skip it? Everything's fucked! 

Dream two: I'm in the cafeteria to get a snack from a vending machine. I find the perfect machine, with loose snacks hanging off the hooks. I look around to make sure no one can see me, and I shake the vending machine, hard, until snacks avalanche into the retrieval slot below. The snacks are fictional fish cracker bags, green twizzler type bites, ginger chips, all from Japan, I assume at the time. I stuff the snacks in my bag, and kill time by exploring the architecture before my next class. I don't know how I'm going to make up for the class I never attended. I'm doing fine in all my other classes. I think about summer school.   

The being-back-in-school-unprepared-for-a-test dream has become the most annoying, though it's the best to wake up from, knowing I finished a long time ago, passed all my classes, earned my degrees, and all that's over with. Or is it?

Knowing dreams don't just come from nothing, this might be my subconscious telling me I need to go back to school, that I wasn't finished, that I'm wasting precious time being careless and too happy-go-lucky to think about a Masters.

Plus, I skipped a lot of classes in high school. Had my driver's license revoked for missing over 60+ days of school my senior year. How I even graduated is a mystery. I smoked a lot of pot and thought the cool people were other potheads who attended to live concerts and music festivals back then. It was all about being cool and rebellious and invincible.

My grades were bad, my ambitions were worse, and one-by-one my comrades were dying, dealers, or becoming junkies. I was the only person going to college out of everyone who meant anything to me. And by the time I graduated, I did in fact have to go to summer school to retake an Algebra class I'd failed for the second time. I finally passed with a D for an Associates degree in Art. All of these factors must have a combined effect, of some surreal experience I'm going to have to live with, or at least get used to.

The vending machine dream? It mostly happens when I'm bored of life being too predictable. It represents variety and reward, vandalism and excitement. I've always been fascinated by the contents in vending machines.
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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Buckwheat pasta & cinema

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At this very moment I am doing a few things:

1) letting my mascara dry 2) simmering pasta sauce 3) procrastinating laundry 4) sipping reheated coffee 5) writing a review for the movie Julie and Julia.

The mascara I layered on extra thick because my wonderful husband and I attending an event tonight at the Getty, where Peter Greenaway will talk about his dialogue with the masters, his use of reproductions, and his ideas for the future.

I haven't seen any of his films: The Draughtsman's Contract (1982), a reputation consolidated by The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (1989), Prospero's Books (1991), The Pillow Book (1996), etc., but I trust this will be an  interesting event.

I'm simmering pasta sauce because I haven't cooked anything significant in the last two days, aside from eggs for breakfast and breaded talapia and fries in the toaster oven. Living on take-out, fast food and decadent sushi is great, but guilt takes its toll accordingly, when one's gently striving to be an ideal wife.

Watching Julie and Julia this morning inspired me to make something from scratch, so I chopped a red onion, minced a few garlic cloves, sauteed them with salt and pepper until caramelized, then added Italian sausage, tomatoes, an ample amount of fresh basil from my plant outside, and two medium-sized anchovies.

Now all I have to do is simmer the concoction for a few hours, stirring it, so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan, and let the ingredients melt together for sweetness and depth.

The pasta I will boil when it's time to eat. It's buckwheat fettuccini tonight. Like the guy from Little Rascals.

Regarding the previously mentioned chickflick about Julia Child, writing movie (and sometimes book) reviews has become an addiction, or maybe it's a habit. I've always been a collector, since I was a child, everything from pencils and stickers, to coins I collected and stashed away like treasures. It's fun to diversify.

If obsessions are impossible to dissipate, only to be replaced by other obsessions, perhaps in my adulthood I've learned to collect more practical things, such as skills, friends, or even bits and pieces of culture represented by books and cinema, by trying new foods and drink, travel, or by keeping journals--interesting experiences in general are a great motivational factor for living. That, and love.

A review for Julie and Julia will bring me one step closer at 298, to 300, a solid number. I'm not sure what will happen to my momentum when it's time to write 301. Will I write reviews until I die? Will I have thousands under my belt one day? Imagine having thousands of movies in the brain. It's a nice thought, actually. Or perhaps I will only practice the religion of cinema as long as I reside in Los Angeles. But who knows how long that will be.
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Solaris--a review

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Solaris, yes, I watched it at the New Beverly last night; it's long, and yes, it feels long too, especially when your date is snoozing beside you as soon as it starts, and a septuagenarian's slumped over peacefully catching Zzz's diagonally in the row in front. 

That aside, I enjoyed the opening scene of water rushing over flora immensely. It was calm. The movie kept that calm movement throughout with sporadic moments of higher drama. 

A psychologist is sent to a space station on an untamed planet bubbling with a mysterious Being of ooze. The ooze surrounds the cosmonauts, studying their minds and habits reciprocating the fact that it's being studied by them. The ooze materializes vibrant memories of lost love as clones to study the cosmonauts closer, to make them vulnerable, so the clones won't be harmed. 

The psychologist's wife who committed suicide a decade ago comes back to life, dependent on the psychologist's companionship to exist as more than mere manifest. As time elapses, the wife clone adapts as a progressive, regenerative Being and takes on deeper characteristics of the woman for whom she was made as a likeness: quarreling with her husband over petty matters, doubting his love, and suicidal all over again as the film descends into some semblance of conclusion. 

Out of the context of 1976, when the movie was released, I can't even begin to fathom the depth of its effect on people with its premise being so oblique. Scrutinizing every moment in scenes, it was a challenging to stay on track without effort--as if trying to connect a puzzle coming together of an image unfamiliar. Though, there are enough moments, which stick to a mind invested in the premise, to make Solaris a memorable film. 
 
Cons & pros: the directing had some style, the sounds worked well for thrill, the editing needed a lot of work, and the lead had no charisma. I also want a few caged birds now, to place by a window. I don't know if that's good or bad. And upon waking from vivid dreams of people I once loved, I now check the room for specters in the flesh...
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Monday, December 13, 2010

cricket in a swim park

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Last night I dreamed I'd given birth. I held a tiny, sexless baby in my arms in a long white room, where others held their newborn babies. There was a bed beside me with white sheets and pillowcases, the floor was white, the walls white. The baby, a tiny soundless water bottle doll with limbs barely moving as I held it, it began to shrink, until it lay motionless in the palm of my hand. I decided this would make my baby easier for transport. I cupped the baby and exited the building into a water park. Walking past docks, I was weary about slipping on splashed water or being pushed by playing children, the baby was getting smaller, unsteady in my palm. I found a sidewalk path, facing a door which marked my final destination, the baby shrank once more and leaped from my hand onto the ground. I knelt and patted the ground for my baby. it was dark outside, but not quite night. I found my baby on the ground, but my baby was now a cricket. I picked it up and held it in my hand. It leaped off. After a few moments, grabbing at the ground, I realized a cricket couldn't be caught. It belonged in nature. I stood and mourned my loss.

the piece-of-shit gene

Not having signed into m*space in a while, I signed in and saw I had a moldy message in my inbox from my late step-dad's oldest son. His message read: I can't believe you deleted me.

I can, I'd only met that guy about five times in 15 years. When the step-dad died of a botched gastric bypass operation, everyone showed up either being his sister or parents, or his children with their grubby hands out itching for an inheritance. Especially his children from his first marriage, the children who hadn't called or been called by their dad for years.

Apparently, the favorite sport of assholes is the grudge match/silent treatment, versus all the out bitching match about who's the bigger asshole. But if you ask me, both those games are for ten year-old girls. The future asshole queens of America.

Anyway, my step-dad left no one a cent, aside from his youngest son from his second marriage, and a little to my mom. So guess what his grubby, itchy-handed first children did? They showed up at my mom's house and looted all the stuff that belonged to the guy. Antique furniture, stereo equipment, neckties, they tried to take everything they could, things that belonged to my mother, things that my mother wanted to keep. They called her mom, tried to take his car, his motorcycle, but he still owed money on those things: fat guy died with a lot of debt.

The bank eventually repo'd all the toys he'd made small high-interest payments on. He was shitty with money. It's no wonder why my mom insisted on separate bank accounts. In the end, it was all bad anyway. He was too morbidly obese to fly or sit in movie seats, eating gallons of ice cream dumped into giant mixing bowls, and she was sleeping on the couch every night, working herself to death just to avoid him. I never went there. I'd hated him long before she did, for polluting my life with a perv, wanna-be dad, who wasn't even good to his own kids.

I understand when kids don't want to talk to their father, but a father shouldn't try to win that grudge match. If a father makes a child with good intentions, that father has a responsibility to be the better man in any situation. In this case, "If they don't wanna talk to me, then I don't wanna talk to them either," was a pussy bullshit cop-out. My dad did the same thing to me, so it hits something raw; he stopped calling me when I was 12. But I can't blame his wife for wanting to erase the past.

When I found out from an estranged relative's email that he'd died of cancer, I was pissed-off. I had to tell my mom, too, who yelled at me for not making amends before it happened. All I could say to calm her down was: he didn't want me, mom. He never called. She didn't want to listen because he was her first love. But you didn't see me with my hands out for a used car, or entertainment system or his collection of Green Bay Packers memorabilia. I figured all that stuff was his wife's. Poor lady.

Neither, him or my step-dad left me with a cent or sentiment. And I have nothing to remember either one of them by. Except this problem with trusting men, and a fear of abandonment that fills me with instant rage when someone walks too far ahead of me, the incessant need to be loved to feel self-worth, this co-dependence I try to deny every time I'm alone...

I can't believe you deleted me is what he said, but I'm sure it runs in my blood. I can't believe you looted my mother's house right after she just lost her husband is how I felt. It's funny, the piece-of-shit gene. And its heightened sense of entitlement through extremes of poverty and wealth. It's all very funny.         

Monday, December 6, 2010

My Name is Mud: Issue #1 will blow your mind


One of my poems is in the first print issue of My Name Is Mud is out and available to order here.

It features short fiction & poetry from very talented assortment of people including: Kendra Grant Malone, Daniel Bailey , Adam J Maynard, Maurice Burford, TR Deeks, Brandon Scott Gorell, Prathna Lor, Todd Colby, Paige Taggart, Joseph Goosey, & K. Silem Mohammad

Also available is Green, a book of poems by Adam J Maynard

In his first collection of poetry Green, Adam J Maynard is the Grand Marshall of a beautiful parade, swinging the baton as he takes us through a kaleidoscopic realm that is our cultural memory, our obsessions, our emotional uncertainties, our love. This book is dripping with poems that are as lucid as they are baffling. I couldn't help but follow Maynard through the streets of Green, beating my drum in tune to the band, wondering where I was, excited about where I would go.

- Daniel Bailey, author of East Central Indiana and The Drunk Sonnets

Buy them both today!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

LA as home, for now

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I haven't posted anything here for a while, so I'm going to ramble a little about ll the things I've been doing lately, as if I were talking to a friend I haven't spoken to since January.

First off, I'm living in Los Angeles, in Los Feliz, with my husband, Ned and cat, Barnabas. We got Barnabas from a shelter on Valentine's Day, without exchanging chocolates or cards. His name came from a pirate book Ned was reading when he was researching Black Beard. A ship was named "the Barnabas," for the barnacles, which would plague the scene--that name stuck, and a few months later a frisky cat, among many lethargic cats in a shelter, chose us...basically, and we've been a family ever since.
Is it a strange coincidence that there's a Great Dane named Barnabas, who lives across the street? At this point, without coincidences, I'd think I was doing something completely wrong. But who knows if this just ties in with my lust for the unusual.
Right now Ned's in Toronto, as a guest lecturer for a school. He left this morning and will be back tomorrow night; just in time for a midnight showing of "It's Kind of A Funny Story" which is based on his third book by the same name. I've already seen the movie three times, at various screenings, but it seems to get better every time I watch it. People are talking about it; the previews are everywhere. Even before a Cyndi Lauper video I youtube'd the other night. People at work are seeing it before films, between shows, on billboards. I hope it does really well.
Speaking of work, I've been at the Oaks Gourmet since March, and it's still pretty interesting. I initially got the job thinking I would only be in LA for two months, but now it's been nine months, and we've officially decided to lay roots here. The place isn't bad; it's independently owned, in a great neighborhood, the work isn't hard, and it keeps me busy. I'm learning about wine, food, coffee, beer, and people from tv and movies come in and out all the time.
So far I've met: Thom Yorke, Robert Redford, Orlando Bloom, Diane Kruger, Eva Mendes, Rose McGowan, Thurston Moore, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Farrel, Kathleen Turner, Michael Cera, Colin Hanks, Justin Long, Danny Huston, Katherine Heigl, Ron Livingston, Ron Perlman, Shirley Manson, Jessica Alba, Alexander Skarsgard, Kate Bosworth, Rufus Sewell, and countless others from tv who I don't recognize. What a way to say hello to LA, nestled in the heart of it; people-watching has never been more interesting, and "the industry" has never felt so small.


Pic 1: Barnabas in ramen box
Pic 2: Barnabas the Great Dane
Pic 3: Ned and the giant pine cone
Pic 4: Donte at the Oaks

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Being There

Before the Daily Show ever existed, before comedy-for-the-sake-of-being-subversive-without-penalties, within the safety net of "just kiddings," mixed into mainstream tv, Being There came to the party bringing with it an Autistic Gardener with a television addiction--to serve along side an American President's top Advisor, to become the newest, sexiest pop sensation, since soda.

An idiot garner with a heart of gold and the top people in politics will take him for a genius. Does this ring an ominous foreshadowing somehow, or amplify a political past where people were even more afraid than they are now to question authority? Both. Both seems right. And it's unfortunate.

On the other hand, what was with that walking on water bit? That was just wild. A Jesus reference? An invisible pier? I think Peter Sellers' shoes were carved out of pool noodles. They must've had little propellers in them, too, or perhaps it was just a mirage.

everyone is a creep

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a Mexican kitchen worker at my job walked in on me hovering above the toilet peeing today and then just stared, down there, without leaving immediately.

It felt like I was in a terrible nightmare.

He just stared down there. I don't know what he saw, exactly.

I could swear I locked the door. I think he followed me back there.

12:45am'Skaidris
everything

hahahahaha

stared

what do ya say in that situation

12:46amSabra
this chat made my tabs crash

12:46am'Skaidris
im a killah

facebook chat always crasheds mine

12:47amSabra
I said, oh excuse me.

And then he stared, at, it.

12:47am'Skaidris
hahhaa

it

12:47amSabra
He stared at _____.

12:47am'Skaidris
ur wang

12:48amSabra
I feel violated is the thing.

Tell me it's just a place; that he's not masturbating to that for months

12:49am'Skaidris
yeah but everyone is a creep your lucky that doesnt happen more often

hahahaha no

im sure he was just in shock

brb
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter egging


The shock waves of an earthquake hit LA today, but I didn't feel a thing. This makes my life tonight feel extra dull, somehow. But I guess I still sat through an earthquake, whether I felt it or not.

Ned called to ask if I was okay. I told him the ground had opened up beneath me, the house was covered in dirt, and to mail me a shovel; he laughed. It was his birthday today and also Easter.

We spoke on the phone about fertility and the desire expressed by our mothers for me to get pregnant. I said: You know for nine months I won't be able to smoke or drink and I'll get fat, right? Ned said: Oh, I didn't think about that.

But these are all hypotheticals we're dealing with here, and pressure, wrapped up with everyone's quest to own the perfect living doll. I told him I'm going back to school for a Master's. You won't mind being pregnant in Graduate School?

What am I here, some sort of incubation tank? Within six months he says he plans to knock me up. And no, we're not married, and have only been dating since November 09.

My mom won't let up either. A child will be your companion, and if the marriage doesn't work out, there's always child support.

Thanks mom. Thanks for the lesson in relationship protocol. Your eggs are drying out, she says, and sometimes women experience early menopause...even though you're pretty healthy.

So on Easter Sunday, while kids comb through grass for strategically placed hard-boiled eggs, my mother's giving me a lecture on optimum egg moisture age-ranges. Is this nature? Is this obsession healthy? Selfish? What's everybody's problem? Babies are a big responsibility!

I wonder how of this is conditioning, and how much is nature. There's probably a healthy dose of boredom on top of that, too.

There should be a word coined for these factors contributing to the overall urge to plant seeds of progeny. The word should be something like "gravity" or "love" but not gravity or love. The word should be about bullying and badgering with good intent. A concept, much like death, but the opposite.
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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Sunday

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My mother called today, as I thought
about her, in the kitchen making ham
sandwiches, on white with Swiss and
mayonnaise and chips. The phone rang
to a stop. She didn't leave a message.

Later in the day, I thought about
calling my mother back, she called
again; and this used to be strange,
but, slowly, I've gotten used to it.


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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

high-proof percentages

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Last night was dramatic. With the idea that I "really needed to get out of my head" I sipped what was left of the ten dollar box wine from 7-11, while watching Synecdoche, NY.

Talk about a mindfuck. By the time I got to bed at three, I felt morbidly alone.

I roused Ned to smack me around a bit and then cried in his arms babbling about my lack of family until I fell asleep...blacked out, who knows.

Yesterday was a pretty overwhelming day to put my system into an overload like that.

Waking up the first thing I saw in my inbox was a notification that Jereme had written something on my facebook wall about being a failure AND a bad friend. He'd posted it twice too, so everyone would be sure to see.

All this because of a borrowed copy of Ohle's Motorman, supposedly, but nothing is ever that simple.

I figured Jereme felt as though I'd been avoiding him for some dumb shit reason, so he publicly attacked me without a phone call disclaimer, warning, anything.

He finally came into the wine shop where I work yesterday to buy a cigar and pick up the book. I'm never borrowing, or lending, anything ever again. I've decided.

After that episode, I was asked to stay three hours longer at work, unexpectedly, which led me into a nine-hour shift. But that was fine. I need the money to get out of debt, and Ned shouldn't have to take care of me like some disturbed feline-infant toy.

(I trimmed his hair and beard in the yard today, tossing his course half-Italian hair all over the place. It was all over his back when I was finished, on my face, on the porch.

What's incredibly charming about grooming a shirtless man standing barefoot in the grass checking his Blackberry, is the way he stands perfectly still when scissors are around his ears and lips. I'll have to remember that when he's being incorrigible.)

So I had to think about the family thing I got bugged out about last night--my absentee, estranged and deceased father, my very Korean mother and our gaps in communication.

Half my blood relatives live in Korea and I'd barely recognize them on the street if I saw them.

The other half, my dad's side of the family, well, to them I've been a taboo subject for years after my father remarried the woman he was seeing while he was still married to my mother. The new lady told him to forget about me through many crying fits of jealousy and rage, so he did, for the sake of love and sanity, I figure.

All of this and I find out he's dead of cancer and cremated before I can make amends. I try not to think about these things...

Movies, if they are very good, have a great way of sending a person's mind through a whirl of emotional distress. Synecdoche did that, with the protagonist's family and love life falling in and out of drama, in a world within a world, within a world.

Mix that with high-proof percent box wine, the stress of a nine-hour work day (resulting in a net gross of about seventy bucks sans taxes), add a touch of derogatory "failure", a nice word to throw at someone in their early adulthood who still doesn't know what the hell to do with herself, and we've got a cocktail of undeniable self-hatred.

And trying to rationalize all that into being a good thing...Maybe ten years ago. But now it seems sillier than ever to romanticize suffering.

Talk about fires under asses. I've been nothing than a sponge for literary and film input lately.

Hopefully, the mix will be useful, eventually, aside from just making an imprint and then fading away into answers for Jeopardy.

I really like this song from the film



***NOTE: As an afterthought, my Aunt Meg got in touch with me today on facebook, my dad's oldest sister. We're not even friends there. She found me and now we're communicating. Good timing on her part. I'll take this as a sign that it's time for old wounds to heal. And to let bygones be bygones...we'll see.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

pentagonal trapezohe-huh?


What's the deal with uber nerds and decahedrons? Ten-sided dice in roll-playing games? I looked up (googled) decahedron and it led me to this. (I admit--I still don't get it.)

Ned's most recently gotten into playing Magic again, after about a ten-year hiatus, with Ken Baumann.

Ken, a drop of golden sunshine, just started his own non profit press called Sator.

The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney--described as a "multi-sensual audiobook" is it's exciting debut release by Christopher Higgs, who I've heard to be from a hearty handful of sources to be one of the coolest Academic geniuses of the world, as is, now.

He's also into art.

Here's his blog Bright Stupid Confetti.

If he's into decahedrons too, I'm going buy my first patent and call it Christopher Higgs. And since we're both happily smitten with our love-lives, and owning humans was abolished by the sixteenth president Mr Five Bills like a million years ago...

the document is all I want.

I'll place it next to my certificate of my adopted star, Melvis, and sell them on ebay as a set when I'm eighty. By then both will be sustained with artificial cores anyway. Attached to one-dimensional screens by projectors and subtitles. This will mostly be for the Japanese.

Friday, February 19, 2010

book review -- White Noise


"I know how you feel. But the tough part is yet to come. You've said good-bye to everyone but yourself. How does a person say good-bye to himself? It's a juicy existential dilemma."

"It certainly is."

We walked past the administration building.
(Excerpt--Chapter 37)
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Pondering a juicy existential dilemma past the admin building? Is that what some subset of Academic intellectuals massage their pool cue to, while pondering despair and meaningless for recreation? I have to admit--I felt dumb with most of my attempts at trying to read and finish White Noise.

Escalating from the first few, seemingly harmless, chapters, it became increasingly difficult to comprehend what was going on in a narrative sense within each well-manicured sentence, within every well-stacked paragraph--perhaps telling an actual "story" was beside the point.

My discombobulation was comparable to how a child might feel staring out a window, watching dense and flaky snow fall, waiting for it to stick during a surprise storm in February, hoping for a snow day; all while denying the intuition that the snow was actually couscous; the child itself being a ghost--trapped, inescapable, in a torrential and toxic pale food hurricane.

By the time I got to chapter 19, the story made just as much sense reading it completely backwards. I began reading chapters 20-24 backwards as well, until I decided against patronizing DeLillo's art, and resumed putting the contents of White Noise in my head, in a more organized and respectable manner.

There were glimpses of the narrator's pillowy wife, a tawdry Mr Gray affair, a no-fear-of-death Dylar pill, novelty lists of collected this & thats, a cute trickle of brand name name-drop time-lining, and a black funnel mass of déjà vu inducing hysteria.

If talent is determined by how complicated it would be to duplicate an artist's style in a piece, then I can see why DeLillo's White Noise is placed on a pedestal as a must-read, 1985 National Book award winning, work of post-modern fiction.

It reeks the kind of complicatedness that could be perceived a modern cousin of Ulysses--as far as tone is concerned, but with much less rhythm, which explains it's inability to be more cohesive in it's overall structure.
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