Tuesday’s Goal – Appreciation

I like many things. For me, life is terrific. Still, sometimes I get so caught up in monotony, negativity, cramps, anxiety, insomnia, self-loathing, gloom, grading papers, or bad TV (Oh Sixteen and Pregnant! Why are you so compelling?), that I fail to appreciate the many wonderful things, places and people that add quality to my every day. Today, I will think about what pleases me, so here, in no particular order, are some things that I am currently very happy about or grateful for:

1. The fact that grammar is evolving and it is becoming more and more accepted to end sentences with prepositions. This makes much more sense and does not compromise the flow of ideas with the convoluted acrobatics which one must undertake in order to make one’s point fit the rule. I am, however, against the aggressive campaign to do away with the adverb,  but this post is not about what I am opposed to. Let’s just say, I am for grammar, but in moderation, and as I see fit.

I am grateful for structure and rules, and for adaptation and progress.

2. I like this:


I am grateful for innovation and those who try new things.

2. Austin, why you so cool? In honor of you, here is a cool picture of a cool chick keeping cool in the Austin heat:

I am grateful for Austin, my friends in Austin who take me to cool places, and those who accessorize so well that their popsicles match their hair. That beats the carpet and the drapes any day.

4. I like these two topical covers from old New Yorker magazines:

The first is called “Dark Spring”, by Christoph Niemann. You can check out some of  his other work here: http://www.christophniemann.com/index.php/portfolio

The second is “Rubbed Out”, by Gurbuz Dogan Eksioglu. His name is spelled with umlauts and other accent marks I don’t know how to type or speak. He’s Turkish. You can see some of his work here:


I am thankful for art, designs, things that make me think, and those who create things that are beautiful, haunting, compelling or meaningful.

I’m also grateful that my parents subscribe to magazines and then give them to me when they are finished… even the Martha Stewart magazine. There. I admitted it. I’m grateful for the New Yorker, The Sun, and the A.V. Club section of The Onion.

4. Louis C.K.’s show, “Louie” is back! Yayyyyy! Catch it on Thursdays on FX. Here is a review of the season premiere: http://www.hitfix.com/blogs/whats-alan-watching/posts/review-fxs-louie-returns-for-season-2-darker-and-smarter-than-ever

5. I’m grateful for good music. If there was no good music, I might love that Todd Rundgren song, “We Gotta Get You a  Woman.” Or “Muskrat Love”, by the Captain and Tenille.

Right now I like this guy my friend KB turned me on to, Graham Reynolds. Not only is he a creative composer*, but a balls -to -wall banging piano player, AND a cool, give-back-to-the community-type person. Here is a video of him and this bad-ass teenage violinist, Ruby Jane Smith

Ruby Jane sings and writes songs, too. She’s so bad-ass!

* In an interesting and serendipitous coincidence, Graham Reynolds composed the score to the movie Through A Scanner Darkly, that my friend Kari did the costumes for!

I also like this:

So, I am thankful for great music and the many people who turn me on to it. You know who you are. Thanks!

5. I am hearting pistachio ice cream these days. So sweet and creamy, but wait! Is that a crunch and a hint of salt on my tongue? Yumbiliyah!

6. I am reading a new book and I love it so much! It’s called Super Sad True Love Story, and it’s by Gary Shteyngart. I first read a short story that featured the main characters of the novel in the New Yorker‘s 20 Under 40 fiction series (again, thanks for being you, wordy, sometimes way-over-my-head-magazine!) and was immediately intrigued, but the book has just blown me away. It’s funny and sad and scary. Shteyngart is a master of dialogue and a true wordsmith, and the story is an amazing commentary on so many topics: mortality, consumerism, media, marketing, love, loneliness, politics, the immigrant experience, government, youth, religion, priorities, class, consciousness, social worth …I could go on. It’s also dystopian, and you know I eat that shit up! Here is a trailer for the book, which was released last year and is now in paperback. By the way, Shteyngart was James Franco’s teacher.

I didn’t even know they had trailers for books.

I am so grateful I can read!

7. I am truly, eternally, unfailingly grateful for my family, those who I am related to by blood, and those by bond. I love you so much, and my relationships are my very best thing. Thank you for caring, coming back, forgiving, tolerating, appreciating, coaxing, encouraging, sympathizing, taking care, picking up the bill, petting my dog, emailing, laughing, not laughing, listening, hoping for the best, not giving up, pretending you didn’t smell that, sending cards and letters, looking forward to my arrival, picking me up, dropping me off, making me dinner and telling me goodnight. All of you… I’m just so lucky. Thank you!

This appreciation thing could go on for days, but I type really slowly, and so I have been sitting on a wicker chair in my shorty-shorts for about 300 hours now, and I can no longer feel my tush. I am exhausted with gratitude, worn out with the felicities of fortune that have graced me, and wrapped in a feeling of goodness and deep appreciation. Really. This goal shit worked!

I am really grateful that my biggest problem today is that I have so many things that I appreciate that it put my ass to sleep. If you have read this far, I really appreciate you, too! Your stamina and fortitude are admirable, and you should be rewarded…so I’ll stop now. You’re welcome. And thank you.

Flocking to films


So, check these videos out: I especially like “The Door”, but they are all good. I can’t embed them because I can’t figure out how to, but the website’s cool and you can peruse it at your leisure now. Edie’s one of those people who looks around and really notices things. Then, once they are in her head, she feels them, and the feelings mix with thoughts, and the thoughts gel into ideas, and, after they’ve baked awhile, the ideas rise up like rich deserts, creative quiches that dance on the tip of your tongue and fill you with whatever they are made of: joy, wonder, amusement, astonishment, sorrow or hope. I guess that’s what artists do, right? I really admire those who feel the need to create, and I appreciate the ways the outcomes of this passion to express make me feel. After all, in the end, it’s all about me and how I feel, right? You betcha, it is! At least on this blog…all me, all the time! Perfect!*
Anyway, so this blog is about movies.
Here is a movie I am looking forward to:

The man who is shown at the beginning of the movie, Geoffrey Canada, is a hero of mine. I think he’s so fantastic; he sees everything all widescreen, and he looks for all the ways to say ‘can’ in situations that scream ‘can’t’.

For more information about the Harlem Children’s Zone, go to hcz.org
Something else I look forward to is any opportunity to namedrop, and upcoming films afford me just that: My friend Kari has recently worked on two movies that are coming up in 2011, Puncture and Mighty Fine. I don’t know if the flicks are going to be any good, but I guarantee the costumes will be perfect! Yay, Kari, who is my friend and who knows me!
(By the way, you know all that stuff I said about Edie Brickell that sounded like I knew her well enough to talk about her? It’s cuz I do! Yup! Another one of my celebrity friends! Oh, how cool I am, and all my famous friends will tell you that just the same!)
This is a movie I think about a lot. I saw it a long time ago, and it has stayed with me. It’s hard to watch; it’s about the Columbine shootings, and it’s…odd, to say the least, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it…

Man, I LOVE embedding! It’s like magic!
I guess it’s become apparent that I’m not so into the comedies. Or anything even remotely feel-good or happy. While this is not exactly true – I loved Spinal Tap and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and I’m pretty sure I’ve at least chuckled at something in the 21st century- mostly I like a flick that disturbs me or makes me sad. Perhaps this accounts for whenever I choose the movie on a first date, there is never a second date. I do have a sense of humor; it’s just that it’s not a good one.
Another movie that is coming out soon that I want to see is Howl, which is based on the obscenity trial of Allen Ginsburg. Fun, huh?! I read that poem; I have even listened to Ginsburg reading it, and now, voila! Here, through the miracle of embedding, you can, too!

Beautiful rhythms, staccato and lyric, amazing imagery, and fantastic juxtaposition, but then again, what the hell is he talking about, right? Anyway, the parts that I did understand made an impression on me, as did a poem he wrote for his mother, Kaddish. So, I think Gimsburg himself, the time that he lived and flourished, The Beat Generation, and all the political activism and expression that was him and then, are interesting. I have a soft spot for the Sixties. And, as if that’s not enough, get a load of the cast in this flick! First of all, there’s Jon Hamm. OOH, how I love me some Hamm! But he’s not even the lead! The star is James Franco, one of my TV friends from the fantastic Freaks and Geeks! What a great show! He plays Ginsburg. Mary Louise Parker is in it, but not as the stupid bitch she plays in Weeds. Maybe she’ll be more like the lovable lesbian she played in Fried Green Tomatoes, which, I gotta admit, I liked a lot. Jeff Daniels, one of the most lovable, stand-up fellas in Hollywood is in it. I like him, and I even liked that part in Dumb and Dumber where he licked the icy pole. I’ve done that. Really, who hasn’t?David Strathairn adds gravity and legitimacy, and Treat Williams – remember him from Hair? I do so love a musical, especially one that features a transsexual, not that Hair was one of those, but just saying – rounds the whole thing out as an unexpected, but ever so pleasant bonus. Here’s that trailer:

Ach. Embedding has exhausted me. What I really wanted to say in this post is that I love the movies. I love the sticky floors and the “Down in front!” and the hushed anticipation as the film crackles to life. I get excited at the previews and want to see all of them when they come out. I love being lost in time, in a story, in the dark, in a suspension of reality that is so sharp, clear and present that it makes you laugh out loud or cry unashamedly. I love holding hands in flickering light. I enjoy being led or balking, being patient, or uncontrollably leaping ahead. My grandfather took my mother to the movies and my mother still takes me, and each time we go, I feel like we’ve shared something special and important, even if we don’t like the film. I love being alone with a room full of strangers, listening to their breath, smiling at their laughter. I love shifting in my seat, being uncomfortable, being still. I love feeling pure emotion, even if it is manipulated.
One day we won’t have movies as we know them. Maybe people will only want to watch short snippetts by themselves on their phones, tweeting what they are seeing as the moving screen reflects in their scanning eyes, able only to pay attention for a few minutes at a time, bursts of information exploding, and then fading like firecrackers on a holiday with a forgotten meaning. Already kids don’t watch the late show on tv like I did, black and white Hitchcocks showing them of another generations fears, to be dreamed about later when the picture is obscured by heavy lids, or Manchurian Candidates to baffle and thrill preadolescent minds that latch on to whatever they find vaguely dirty or forbidding. Those movies made me think and shaped my sense of glamor and decorum, of pacing and suspense, of language and eras. I’ll be sad when I can’t go to the movies anymore. I’ll miss them like a lost friend.
Fortunately, I’m free Saturday night. Anybody up for a flick?
Jeff Daniels was also in Pleasantville, which featured this John Lennon song, as performed by Fiona Apple. I love the original, and I love the cover. The first time I heard it, I listened to it over and over, back to back to back.

P.S. Thank you, Edie. I tip my hat to you!
P.P.S. Thank you, Kari. I’m looking forward to hanging out with you!