Friday, August 28, 2009

The Gaps And The Spaces


Of the many beautiful marvelous and of good report movies out there in the universe, one that particulary stuck with me was "High Fidelity" starring John Cusak. Oddly enough, the main struggle of the film wasn't a draw for me at all. It was all about Rob Gordon (John Cusak's character), and the fact that he was the closest any character has ever come to being me.

His obsessive analytical approach to everything resulted in scads of "top five" lists that he had scattered throughout all of his monologues. So in the spirit of Rob Gordon, I have a completely random list of "top threes," just categories that I've been making up throughout the day while I wait out the end of my extended Friday shift. I'm going to expound upon and explain some of my choices, and some I'll be deliberately enigmatic about.

So you'll just have to deal with my selective vagueness. Not that you'll mind, you'll probably do a dance for every time I actually just let my initial words speak for themselves without the over-explainer muscle coming in to my writing.

And don't worry, these lists will in no way resemble anything you could find on facebook in people's "notes."

Top 3 Songs I Want Used to Woo Me At Some Point In My Life:

-"My Funny Valentine" sung by Frank Sinatra
-"Something In the Way She Moves" by The Beatles
-"Talk Dirty To Me" by Poison

Top 3 Female Rockers Who Made Me Face The Fact That I Will Never Rock:

*Joan Jett
*Janis Joplin--she just makes me want to live off whisky and cigarrettes so that I can sound like her
*Pat Benatar

Top 3 Foods That I Indulge In When I'm About To Have A Nervous Breakdown:

+Sour Cream and Onion Chips
+Haagen Dazs Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
+EatMores

Top 3 Attributes That I Like Least About Myself (subject to today and not an all-encompassing scrutiny):

^My inability to admit I don’t know something.
^My callousness toward awkward boys who like me.
^My tendency to rationalize all of my actions into a moral-free zone.

Top 3 Songs I Listen To When I Want to Wallow In My Discontent

~"That I Would Be Good" by Alanis Morissette
~"Paper Bag" by Fiona Apple
~"That Day" by Poe

Top 3 Songs I Sing In The Shower

#"Guess I'll Hang by Tears Out To Dry" by Sammy Cahn
#"Summertime" by George Gershwin
#"O Mio Babbino Caro" by Giacomo Puccini

Top 3 Irish Songs I Sing In The Shower (yes, they earned their own category):

"O Danny Boy"
"When Irish Eyes Are Smiling"
"Molly Malone"

Top 3 Authors Whose Writing Style I Wish I Had

>J.M. Barrie
>Ralph Waldo Emerson
>Charlotte Bronte

Top 3 Women In History Who Kick Serious Ass And I Want To Emulate

=Eleanor of Aquitaine--ok so yeah she was a horrible person but her ambition, wilyness, dedication to education, and strategy just make me want to be her one child that she actually liked.
=Abigail Adams
=Elizabeth Cady Stanton--my home girl.

Top 3 Poets

-Edna St Vincent Millay
-Robert Burns--My overly romantic Scottish side.
-Edgar Allen Poe

Top 3 Paintings That Changed My Life And Perspective On What Art Is

*Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald
*Improvisation #28 by Vasily Kandinsky
*Saturn Devouring His Son by Francisco Goya

Top 3 Sculptures That Expanded My Belief In Man's Potential

+Bird in Space by Constantin Brancusi
+Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna
+Nike of Samothrace

Top 3 Kinds Of People That Make Me Want To Rip Them To Shreds Even If I Love Them

^People who can’t keep their lives in perspective and so inflict their moods on innocent bystanders
^People who instead of sympathizing always try to one-up the person who is venting and put the focus back on themselves.
^People who think that someone having a different opinion than their own makes them stupid.
^Honorary Mention: People who don't think I'm funny

Top 3 Things That I Believe Are Destroying This Society

~Reality TV--not because it's immoral. Because it makes us stupider.
~Digitality--the fleeting nature of objects freaks me out! Sure have a digital camera is awesome but it also means that everything you hold dear can be wiped out by a magnet. It keeps me up at night. Ish,
~Twilight. You laugh, but it's like five big steps backwards for women. She doesn't even know who she is seperate from this boy. Gross. Sure, yeah, let's not spend time developing our own talents and personalities, let's just become the perfect mate. Don't get me started, this could be an entire blog unto itself.

Top 3 Aspects In Life That Upset Me To The Point That I Usually Cry Because I Don't Know What Else To Do

#Anything that has to do with the elderly losing their ability to access their memories and think clearly.
#Women in an abusive, subjugated situation. I can never watch "Revolutionary Road" again because of it. It makes me physically ill.
#Veterans who have lost limbs.

That's all. It's a rough draft but I bet it stays more true if I don't polish it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hyphenated Altuisms



I’m surreptitiously blogging at work. Go ahead and judge me, but I really put myself under the pressure cooker to look busy at all times, and sometimes there really isn’t anything to do! This is a pretty unfortunate occurrence less than half an hour into my work day. So in a desperate move to keep my nimble fingers going I pulled up a “compose new message” tab in my Outlook to disguise my hopefully much more consistent blogging habit as a legitimate business venture. That’s right, I deal in smoke and mirrors, I’m a dangerous element to society, and I am so very very tricksy.

Alas and alack, I am no longer cool-hipster-sleep-all-day-late-night-waitress-in-funky-fun-diner-bohemian-spunky-babyface-crummy-jeans-old-skater-shoes-with-completely-eroded-bottoms-that-I-still-stubbornly-wore-awesomeness. I am now slacks-skirts-solid-colors-jewel-toned-tops-minimal-makeup-no-big-jewelry-up-and-at-the-bus-at-half-past-Satan’s-hour-sensible-flats-office-paper-pusher-slug.

It’s a little unnerving, and it’s been quite a switch. But I’m at heart a grasping, money-grubbing, soulless capitalist, so I content myself with rolling my eyes at all the frumpy women in my office and dyeing my hair as bright a red as I think they’ll allow. Plus, being in front of a computer all day can only do good things for my pristinely alabaster (some people would just call it freakishly sallowly pale) skin.

Most of the systems that we use in my office require that all data be entered in on a Caps lock, which is all very fine until someone sends me a friendly little inter-office e-mail and they forget to take the Caps off. So about four or five times a day I shrink into my chair a little further, feeling thoroughly shrieked at and persecuted by questions such as SEND ME THE GL FOR THAT OUTGOING WIRE. SO HOW ARE YOU DOING SO FAR, HUH? DO YOU LIKE WHERE YOU ARE? ARE YOU FIGURING THINGS OUT? I’M GOING TO USE THIS STAPLE REMOVER TO GENTLY EXTRACT YOUR EYEBALLS FROM YOUR HEAD COMPLETELY INTACT AND MOUNT THEM AS A TROPHY IN THE BREAK ROOM NEXT TO THE LEAN CUISINE. Ok maybe that last one hasn’t been sent (yet), but it’s certainly implied. In order to soothe my rampant paranoia in these cases I’m starting to develop the capability of squinting my eyes and tilting my head a little to the right (akin to how you look at those ISpy 3-D images), to try to pull the harmlessness into the forefront of the image.

People don’t like facts that don’t fit. This is going to sound like a teenage rant against the system, but I’ll try to avoid the clich├ęs like “you don’t know me!” “I’m not just a cog in the machine!” “I’m under no obligation to work for the system!” and “people don’t fit in boxes!” and try to actually address the real issue that bugs many more people than just self-centered teenagers searching for a cause.

Because truth be told, people really don’t like facts that don’t fit, and they despise outliers of uniqueness that interfere in the way that they view a person. They don’t like it, they try to reject it when they can, and when those stray marks inbetween their columns stubbornly won’t be erased away, that is when words like “weird” get thrown about in great earnest.

In fact, I would almost argue, with absolutely nothing to back up this supposition except that it appeals to my poetic nature, that words like weird were invented solely to give a quantifiable position to attributes in people and the universe that are otherwise unattached to any line of reasoning.

People don’t like to see friendships with odd and indefinable dynamics, they don’t like to see a pretty girl that has never been kissed, they don’t like the kid with pink hair to be politically conservative, and they hate to have in-depth conversations about jazz and early rock and have one of the enthusiastic contributors to concluded with a shout-out to Justin Timberlake. I usually use this weakness in people for my little home-job laboratory experiments—I’m like a little kid with matches, and usually nothing is more entertaining than watching someone else’s brain explode from a lack of comprehension of complex personalities—but there are moments when I get so thoroughly exasperated with the awkward look of shock in the other person’s eyes that I want to shake them until all of their supposedly perfectly fitting pieces break loose and get jumbled up somewhere around their knees so that they can be just as confused and confusing as the rest of us without throwing out label lassoes into the primordial soup of contradiction and trying to snare others to pull them out and stick them into their “weird” categories.

Because how arrogant, I almost want to use the word ignorant, is it to suppose that in a universe of infinite possibilities and combinations of events there is any measurably predictive way of how an individual will develop? Of course there are trends, you can pluck patterns out of sheer chaos, but doesn’t the law of large numbers, or some other equation that I’m completely ignorant of but like to reference anyways because it makes me sound smart, provide for the possibility—even the requirement—that every person is going to collect stray bits of likes and dislikes that are uniquely their own?

Whew. There. Was that angsty enough for you? I almost deleted it, it was far too dramatic for my usual blogging fare, but I figured you readers were up to something a little more substantial after such a long fast. And besides, now I can segway into my next rant because I just used the word angst.

My generation is more than a little messed up. Not that there is any generation that doesn’t have their own baggage, but I don’t know if we are fully aware of ours yet. Ex: Luke and I were watching Reality Bites (one of my favorite movies ever) and when Ethan Hawke with no real prompting announced to a table of strangers that his dad was dying of prostate cancer, Luke laughed, because he assumed it was a joke. Because who would randomly volunteer that information? And who wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to proclaim something epically terrible in order to get a gut reaction from their audience, only to retract it moments later as just a ruse?

Don’t get me wrong, the movie also demonstrates that the early 90’s had an overdose of angst and a tendency to take themselves far too seriously, I’m not so far gone to be yearning for that dramatic of a setting. But I don’t know that we really take anything seriously. I know that I personally feel like I need to have a long preamble declaring my sincere intent any time I want to actually discuss something serious, that if I just dived right in I would make the person I was talking to very uncertain and uncomfortable.

And nine times out of ten I revert back to sarcasm or hyperbole moments after an emotional moment, just to escape the consequences of actually settling into a highly charged environment, full of messy things like earnestness and conviction and . . . feelings. Shudder. You see? I just did it again. It’s quite distressing once you put it on your radar. Maybe we do this as a society in reaction to the “emo” minority. We want to be so far removed from that subculture that we have resorted to the gameplan of “nothing is sacred.” We are becoming victims of our own flippancy, not even exercising the contra posting muscles.

People should be aware that when I walk down a hallway or through a room, even if I am ambling along at a regular innocuous pace (well, regular for me, I always do walk crooked), I am actually mapping out all the different ninja moves I could be doing at any given moment with the furniture around me as my obstacles/assisters. This is mostly harmless, or it was harmless until I told all you people about it, but the reason I’m confessing is that for the last week straight every time I’ve walked from my cubicle to the printer I’ve had the almost uncontrollable urge to do a cartwheel.

I’m pretty sure this would be ill-advised. There are many many readily apparent issues with executing such a whim, namely I’m often wearing a skirt, and sometimes heels, and I haven’t tried to do a cartwheel in roughly six years, and I’m supposed to be working on dispelling any uncertainties that my coworkers have about me and my work ethic/sanity. But the impulse isn’t going away!

If you’re calling me “weird” in your head right now, read the above paragraphs and be ashamed of yourself. And then listen to “Li’l Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs. Just because it’s a first-rate song.