Und, a bit more, jah?

Hello! It’s me again! When was the last time we got together like this, and just took the time to hunker down and really get to know ME? I know! It’s been too long! I’ve missed you, too! Looks like 2012 has been great to you so far; have you done something with your hair? No? I guess that was ME then! I Love Lucy Orange, remember? Well, I know, right? Who knew I’d be this cute as a ginger? I took a risk, right! Thanks! 

So, I wanted to get back to my New Year’s Lists, which may turn out to be just the one list, on account of I’m losing interest. I do have a few for more things in my “Things I liked in 2011” list, and I know you are probably eager to get back to it, so….tally ho, hos! (Oh no I di’n’t!)

OK! So here’s another thing I’m into: TV! This is nothing new; I’ve always been cool with the tube. But, as I’ve mentioned before, I used to be ashamed of this inclination. Smart people read (which is true), but dum-dums watch the boob tube (as if there was any scientific evidence that breasts are unintelligent! Sexist and ridiculous, I tell you!). Anyhoo,  my Nice-A-Ronies (the San Francisco treat!) and I are now confident in our superior intellects (AVR, Professor Nipples and Dr. Tah-Tah  think way deep, y’all!), and want to talk about what we like to watch when we are chillaxin’. 

Subsection A: Crap. Oh, who doesn’t love a  little of the absolute worst that popular media has to offer! Admit it! You wallow like a beached whale on the disgusting Jersey Shore, or save up eps of Hoarders to watch all at once (and then you feel guilty but don’t delete them), or strap on your gold, jewel-encrusted high heels (I’m talkin’ to you Big John!*) to watch Toddlers in Tiaras, or you tune in to every one of the Republican Debates because you think Mitt Romney is kinda hot. We all have our dirty little secrets. I, (unlike Mitt Romney), am one of you. I love me some doo-doo vision. Of course I have better taste in the shows that  I watch than most; I’m discriminating about what shit I stuff into my brainholes. I spent at least two years crying a little at every episode of The Biggest Loser. I watch Project Runway with friends, and sometimes I dress up in an innovative frock made out of Ramen noodles , fishing lures and taffetta. I record Teen Mom 2. This comes after I recorded Teen Mom 1, which of course was simply called Teen Mom. I consider it research related to teaching in high school, so it’s not really trash; it’s educational. Lately I’ve been sucked into Celebrity Wife Swap. Really there’s no excuse for that. All I know is that when I’m sitting alone in a Snuggie on my couch with a box of wine I bought at Target, I thank my lucky stars I’m not married to Flava Flav or Gary Busey.

TV, Subsection B: Hello, Joe Viewer: I watch some things everybody watches. That’s because these shows are the Peter Framptons of television: they make you feel like I do. In other words, they are things to which we can all relate. They have little lessons and make us cry, or maybe chuckle while softly shaking our heads – we know how that goes! I love my shows that make me feel like I have something in common with the people I work with and we can all speak of in loving terms at lunch in the teachers’ lounge! Here’s to you, Modern Family! Hats off to you Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, The Office, even, kinda, Community! Glee, you’re not really so great, but I will watch you, I will, especially when I’m busy grading and so I don’t notice so much how crappy you make songs from my childhood sound! And you, Parenthood – you are in a class all your own! Ya make me misty roundabouts the eyeholes every single time! I love the family Braverman! I love you all and I can’t quit you!

Cathode Ray Image Delivery System, Subsection trois- Documentaries and Classy Stuff. I adore documentaries. Not all of them, of course; some of them are downright BO-RING. But I have seen some really fantastic, inspiring, enlightening slice o’ life telestories. lately I’ve been all in to docs about photographers. I saw one on this paparazzo, Ron Gallela, who was obsessed with Jackie Onassis. Google Images him. Some of his photos are amazing.  He is kind of obnoxious, but his eye is so sharp and the photos, both posed and candid, speak for themselves.

I also saw a documentary on the great Annie Leibovitz, who is the opposite of Langella, in that she is all about the big set up. Her pictures are so crisp, so iconic; I am still completely captivated when I see that picture of a white, naked John Lennon curled like an egg in the armpit of Yoko Ono, her hair shooting up out of the frame like smoke from a smoldering volcano. Again, you just have to Google her. Some of her shots are just incredible. I chose this one to post,   because it is such a good example of how a highly stylized picture can still be so evocative, thought provoking and full of personality and voice. 

Not to beat a dead horse, but I also saw a great documentary on Francesca Woodman on PBS. Her stuff is so fresh, innovative, current and electrical, like a rogue spark that can incite a firework or a holocaust, and it’s all thirty years old. The documentary itself was masterful; there was something her father said that I thought was brilliant, but I forgot what it was. Gotta go to Google, or check her out here: http://photoarts.com/journal/romano/woodman/.   

If you want any information about these documentaries, all of which I really enjoyed, email me.

This is what a guy named Cedric Canard said: “Photography is not about the sense of sight, it’s beyond sight, it’s about what we are, it’s about being, it’s about awareness… It’s about being awareness itself.”  http://www.seeingbeyondsight.org/home

I get that.

Anyway, now I’ve gone on for so long that I don’t have time to talk about all the other classy programs that I watch. Trust me though; I’m super classy.

The NYT Magazine – Death Issue: Every year, right before the new year, the New York Times does a special issue of the Sunday magazine devoted to memorials of people who died during that year, called “The Lives They Lived.” It tells the “untold tales” of the famous and the not-so-famous, and it is written by people who see that fame is not what makes a life extraordinary. I think that what I look for in a story is the slice-of-life factor; there doesn’t have to be a big point or lesson, or a roller coaster plot line full of surprises and adventure. I like stories that are like little windows in the doors of a house at night; in a dark night, you can see through the backlit window just a sliver of the life within. That’s what these stories are; slivers of enlightenment. I look forward to the issue all year. If you missed it, you can read the whole thing online. I have thought about this story again and again since I read it: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/12/22/magazine/the-lives-they-lived.html#view=uneasy_rider

Finally, after much debate, I have come to a verdict, and I am pleased to announce to you all that in 2011, I learned to love my dog. For awhile I didn’t think I would ever be able to say this, but Atticus is a delight. Sometimes when we are in the car, I put my hand through the seats to where he is in the back, and he puts his paw in my palm and licks me. We go for long walks, and when I let him off the leash to run free, he is sooooooo happy I have to laugh. When he is tired, he gets puffy bags under his eyes and puts himself to bed. When there is a fight at the dog park, he cocks his head and assesses the situation, then backs away slowly, even though when he plays, he’s all teeth, like a shark. He runs like a gazelle, and I like to watch his muscles under his fur. I love him!

So, like all of my years, all in all, 2011 has been great. I am planning some adventures in 2012, and I will take you with me wherever I go. I know this blog can be difficult to follow; I write so sporadically, and sometimes the posts are all long and rambly, and also, it is conceivable that may range of interests, vast as it is, may not coincide with yours, especially on epic posts about a specific book or painting or, oh, I don’t know, let’s say a lecture on my television viewing preferences. Still, despite my egocentric nature, some of you tune in loyally, and have for years. It makes me feel that you care and want to know what’s up with me. To paraphrase the great Billy Joel, “[you] don’t want clever conversation” – and, by golly, I guarantee that in 2012 I will continue to not give it to you.

Peace out, homies.

* But not really. Unless you’re into that. Which, of course, is fine. I don’t judge.