March 2010

One Can Dream...

"'Dear old world,' she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Random Musing
I hope to soon be able to actually relate to the above quote. Right now, it is impossible. I'm semi-sick - annoying cough and general fatigue from sorta having a cold - and I have way too much work to do.

Here's what I have to do just off the top of my head:
1. Rewrite three essays so I can maybe get As in some of my classes.
I seem to be in a permanent writing slump though. I'm firmly planted in the B grade region of papers right now because I apparently cannot come up with actual arguments. I can compose my thoughts well enough, those thoughts just aren't particularly stimulating is the condensed explanation of it all. Considering that I once had some confidence in my academic writing ability, having almost every single one of your professors tell you this is a bit disheartening - not to mention annoying. Sigh. Rewrites are not going to go well.

2. Write another three new essays.
That number would be four except I just polished off one for my American Cultures class. Oddly enough, it was on Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye even though it was not for an English class. Maybe that's not so odd actually since the class is on racism. Anyways, I have three more essays to get through. One for each of my English classes. I already know for a fact that I'm going to get a B on one of them because hardly anyone can really make Peter Bauland happy. I fear Bs on the other papers as well given my past track record in these classes though. I suppose we'll just have to see what happens. I do not remain optimistic though.

3. Deal with my hundreds of pages of reading per week
I love reading, but sometimes having hundreds of pages to read every week can be a bit too much. Especially when you have papers due every week as well. I should probably just be glad that I generally am interested in what I'm reading, but I'm in (as usual) a pessimistic mood and I'm refusing to see that small bright side.

4. Finals
I don't think this requires much explanation.

5. BSA Onushthan
I don't like formal events. I hate getting dressed up and mingling with large numbers of people. So helping pull off an elaborate fancy event including catered dinner and entertainment and a speech by a learned academic is not exactly my cup of tea. I'm on the BSA board though so I do have to pull my weight and support the club event. I just wish that the club event was more up my alley. I'm not in charge of it or anything, so I can't complain too much, but I still do have to attend. And I really do hate getting dressed up. Like, really, really, really, really, etc hate getting dressed up. I think this calls for another sigh: Sigh.

In case any of you reading out there don't hate formal events though and actually enjoy them, here's where you can find a link to RSVP to the Onushthan and pay for your tickets. I already sorta gave you a brief description of what the evening'll be like, but let me know if you want more details. And in case I need to further sell you, all proceeds from the event go to charity. CHARITY. How do you say no to charity? Especially if you don't hate formal events.


So yeah, life is difficult. Anne is as usual optimistic - she's the one spewing all that stuff about the lovely world and so on earlier in this post - and I am, as usual, not. It is nice that some things stay constant in the ever-changing world.

Movie Trailers!

Random Musing
I adore movie trailers. I actually love them. Well, the good ones. When they're good they are addicting. To me anyways. I watch them over and over again in eager anticipation of the actual movie's release date. It's a rather ridiculous habit, but I've become fairly fond of it.

Two movies in particular over the years have had amazing trailers. "Years" in this case refers to the time since I've become aware of movie trailers as something to look forward to in the first place - let's say some three years now. So I'm sharing those trailers with my faithful readers (all two of you) - with the aid of YouTube of course.

The Painted Veil is the first of these movies. This is probably the best trailer I have seen to date. I saw it while watching the previews on The Departed DVD and was instantly hooked. Yes, I remember exactly where I saw it for the first time. It had that strong an impact.

I became obsessed with the movie. I read the book it was based on - though the two are very different from one another in plot actually -, was incredibly depressed when it didn't come to a local theater due to its limited release, and was ecstatic when I finally got to see it. The trailer had built up all this anticipation regarding the movie. And, in defiance of everything I have ever known, the movie actually fulfilled all my expectations. It is so good. Shockingly good. I highly recommend it if you've been so unfortunate as to not have seen it. If you don't have the time, just watch the trailer over and over again. I recommend doing that as well.

Nine is the second movie. I will readily admit that the movie itself is subpar. The soundtrack is great, the actors are all amazing, the cinematography is out of this world, and yet the movie overall is not very good. I was thoroughly disappointed by it, which was not fun after waiting for it to come out for about six months. Yes, you read that right: six months. Don't judge.

This time around my expectations about the movie were not fulfilled. That doesn't make the trailer any less spectacular though. Actually, I should say trailers since there's a second trailer for Nine which is also very good. You can find it here. So check the trailers out for sure. You could also go ahead and watch the movie, but keep your expectations low. You don't want to end up too disappointed.

Summing up: movie trailers are fun. Dangerous fun really since they promote ridiculous expectations about the movies themselves. This is the point of course - they are just marketing tools when it comes down to it - but it can lead to disappointed hopes in some/many cases. Only rarely does a movie as good as The Painted Veil come out with an equally amazing trailer. More often than not, the trailer will build you up and the movie will take you down a few pegs. So be careful out there while browsing YouTube and running across movie trailers. The odds are not with you.

There Is a Mosquito In My Apartment. Somewhere.

"'I am well in body although considerably rumpled up in spirit, thank you, ma'am,' said Anne gravely. Then aside to Marilla in an audible whisper, 'There wasn't anything startling in that, was there, Marilla?'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"…ear, eye, and mind were alike strained by dread: such dread as children only can feel." -Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Random Musing
The above quotations quite perfectly sum up how I am feeling in the very moment in time. The title of this post should easily explain why that is. Yes, somewhere in my apartment there is a mosquito wandering about. I can't see it right now, - and believe me, I have looked - it seems to have disappeared. This isn't some magical mosquito with the ability to apparate or something (wow, there's a terrifying thought), it's just a regular-sized mosquito and my apartment is a fairly large place for something so small. So it is gone. Except not really.

Nope, that mosquito is just hiding in some dimly-lit corner biding its time. When I'm least expecting it or have finally forgotten about its existence, it will reemerge and freak me out. I am not looking forward to that moment. So I am considerably rumpled in spirit right now and not afraid to admit it. Particularly as I live on the 19th floor of my apartment building and am unable to fathom how this mosquito managed to make it up so many stories in late March - it's not exactly prime mosquito season. The entire situation is just so improbable. And annoying. And unpleasant. It's like this incredible metaphor for life: What can possibly - and impossibly - go wrong will go wrong.


A Comic Interlude

"'Mrs. Spencer said that my tongue must be hung in the middle. But it isn't – it's firmly fastened at one end.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"'It's about Diana,' sobbed Anne luxuriously. 'I love Diana so, Marilla. I cannot ever live without her. But I know very well when we grow up that Diana will get married and go away and leave me. And oh, what shall I do? I hate her husband – I just hate him furiously. I've been imagining it all out – the wedding and everything – Diana dressed in snowy white garments, and a veil, and looking as beautiful and regal as a queen; and me the bridesmaid, with a lovely dress, too, and puffed sleeves, but with a breaking heart hid beneath my smiling face. And then bidding Diana good-bye-e-e–' Here Anne broke down entirely and wept with increasing bitterness.
Marilla turned quickly away to hide her twitching face, but it was no use; she collapsed on the nearest chair and burst into such a hearty and unusual peal of laughter…" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"'Oh, we're very careful, Marilla. And it's so interesting. Two flashes means, "Are you there?" Three means "yes" and four "no." Five means, "Come over as soon as possible, because I have something important to reveal." Diana has just signalled five flashes, and I'm really suffering to know what it is.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"'Anne, are you killed?' shrieked Diana, throwing herself on her knees beside her friend. 'Oh, Anne, dear Anne, speak just one word to me and tell me if you're killed.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"'Don't be very frightened, Marilla. I was walking the ridgepole and I fell off. I expect I have sprained my ankle. But, Marilla, I might have broken my neck. Let us look on the bright side of things.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Random Musing
After a series of rather macabre posts I thought I would follow up with something that is entirely funny and cheerful. Just for a change of mood. I do not guarantee that this change will be in any way permanent. In fact, it probably won't be. I just figured that reading this blog shouldn't always be a depressing experience. Hence the (temporary) shift in tone. You, dear reader (it is nice to suppose that someone does take time to read these little missives) have probably noted that there is no poem or bit of prose accompanying the quotations (which are all from L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables - as the observant probably already noticed). This is because I really don't write funny poetry. Maybe I write unintentionally funny poetry sometimes, but that's not really worth lauding. So just enjoy the quotations. I hope they inspire you to reread the Anne books. I am going to insist on "reread" because I don't like to think that anyone hasn't read them. I acknowledge this is incredibly flawed thinking on my part, but one of my personal castles in the air is that everyone in the world has read and appreciates those books like I do. So I'm going to stay loyal to this little happy thought.

A Touch of Blue

"'Besides, I've been feeling a little blue – just a pale, elusive azure. It isn't serious enough for anything darker.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"You are brief and frail and blue–
Little sisters, I am, too.
You are heaven's masterpieces–
Little loves, the likeness ceases." -Dorothy Parker, "Sweet Violets"


Minus Original Writing

"All the heat and fear purged itself. I felt surprisingly at peace. The bell jar hung, suspended, a few feet above my head. I was open to the circulating air." -Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

"'Nobody lives for himself alone…'" -Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Random Musing
If you have been so unfortunate as to not have seen the short film I wrote and directed for m-agination last year, then this is your chance to witness three minutes of wondrous student film production. And yes, I am joking about all that. I swear I'm not that full of myself. Anyways, check it out if you want: Defects of Doubt


Only Two Quotations

"I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.
From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.
I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one they plopped to the ground at my feet." -Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

"The reason I hadn't washed my clothes or my hair was because it seemed so silly.
I saw the days of the year stretching ahead like a series of bright, white boxes, and separating one box from another was sleep, like a black shade.  Only for me, the long perspective of shades that set off one box from the next day had suddenly snapped up, and I could see day after day after day glaring ahead of me like a white, broad, infinitely desolate avenue.
It seemed silly to wash one day when I would only have to wash again the next.
It made me tired just to think of it.
I just wanted to do everything once and for all and be through with it." -Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Only a Short Story

"Pharmacy Tuxedo"
I met you in the pharmacy once. That small, hidden place on Bell Street. Don’t you remember? Well, I do. I always will. It was that same morning that I found the tuxedo in my closet, tucked back behind my suits like it belonged there. I still don’t know why it was never returned after my senior prom. Or how it managed to make the move from my parents’ house to my apartment undetected. Or, even more curiously, how it still fit perfectly seven years after it was last wanted. Because it did. It was a perfect fit, cummerbund and all, and the minute I put it on – no darling, I don’t know what force possessed me to do so – I knew that the day was going to be special. I felt that deep inside me, just as you must have this morning when you slipped your wedding dress on. I was right of course, the day was brilliant. It brought me you.
You walked into the shop around noon – positively sauntered really – and passed me by with not a single look. And I knew in that moment that you’d noticed me. A man wearing a full tuxedo, standing in the middle of a pharmacy, completely enchanted by you could not be so caustically ignored. Not unless it was done on purpose of course, which it must have been. After fifteen minutes in that pharmacy, and as many stares, I knew that it must have been on purpose.
Do you remember now? Still no? Well, you continued to ignore me, and went looking at inane products, wandering through different aisles until you stumbled upon the chocolate. You stood in front of it all, the boxes and bars and truffles and did nothing but stare for a full three minutes. I know because I counted the seconds as I watched you, counted the seconds as I stared at you with obvious longing in my eyes, grateful that you were willing to grace me with your presence. And in that wonderful moment of studying your face and figure, your entire being really, I fell in love with you. Yes, I did fall in love with you right then and there. Hopelessly in love and you hadn’t even looked at me. If I hadn’t known that you had meant not to look at me, I do think I would have died of grief right in the middle of that pharmacy. But I knew you sensed my presence, knew you realized I was there. Even if chocolate did hold higher importance.
I think I was living off the knowledge that someday it wouldn’t. That someday it couldn’t. Someday you would love me more than anything else. You didn’t then. You knew I was alive and breathing and wishing with all my might that I could kiss you, but you didn’t love me at all. You thought I was just an idiot who was making a mockery of all things worldly by dressing up in a tux for a visit to the pharmacy. And so you ignored how your heartbeat quickened with the sight of me, how a faint pink blush rose in your cheeks, how you had to work so wretchedly hard to keep from peering right back at me. You ignored Fate’s pull, and you did win that day. You stared at chocolate and magazines and chewing gum and gave me no peace of mind. And because I was a fool dressed in a tuxedo I could do nothing but stare at you and hope you’d be kind enough to give me your heart.
I knew that in the future you would relinquish it quite gladly. In the future we would be madly in love. I knew that like I knew the moment I saw the tuxedo in my closet that I would have to put it on. It was Fate. It had to happen. It was impossible to ignore. I just didn’t want to wait for the day that you would love me back. I had to though. You were so stubborn then, just as you are now I suppose – you know that’s true love, why deny it? – and you weren’t about to let me love you like that. Not yet, not when I looked like such a moron.
So you walked out of that pharmacy with two bars of dark chocolate and absolutely nothing else, not even my love – you refused to claim it. And the man in the tux remained behind to know that for once he had been handed happiness. Even if it had walked away from him. I would have been devastated if I hadn’t known on some indefinable level that one day we would be together again. I could feel it in my bones, in the very air which was now constantly perfumed. I knew that you could not thwart Fate again.
I see now that you won’t ever remember that day in the pharmacy. Fate’s scorn and pride has led to that – she does not like to be ignored. And I’d like to think that maybe that’s for the best. Maybe it’s for the best that my idiocy is only a story to you, only a lover’s romantic flight of fancy. But now you know why it is that the day you walked up and introduced yourself to me and smiled, I could only grin like an imbecile and ask you to marry me.
This part of the story you should remember. You do? That’s right. You said yes.

In Regards to Walt Whitman

Random Musing
I have recently become enamored with Walt Whitman. This is not "enamored" in the same sense as I am with Sylvia Plath or Edgar Allan Poe or Dorothy Parker, but the word still seems relevant. Previous to the past few days, the only poem of his I really liked was "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." That is no longer the case. I plan on buying a copy of Leaves of Grass as soon as I can find one I like - this will no doubt mean visiting some of the used bookstores around town. I have essentially had to comb over much of Leaves of Grass for a class I'm taking (19th Century American Poetry) and after initially finding his poems a bit tedious, I've come to actually really like some of them. Admittedly, I am no huge fan of "There was a Child went Forth," or "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking," but "Song of Myself" and "Hours Continuing Long" are really great. I admit that I initially found "Song of Myself" kind of bland - it seemed repetitious and generally pointless - but after giving it some time I've come to love it. It is far from being pointless. The later sections especially appealed to me - for those not aware, "Song of Myself" is divided into 52 sections of varying length. I highly recommend giving it, and Walt Whitman overall, a chance. Just a suggestion in case anyone felt like devoting some time to new poetry in the future.


Inauguration Post

"Thoughts Interjected"

firelight, twilight, light bulbs, illumination
false freedom, thoughts interjected
feelings of loss, naked ascent down


fear and loathing
of self
for self
who else?

wishing more
not for self
of self

reasons to see
believe, hope, lost in thoughts of damnation
not of the next world, but of this

not hope, not light – both unalienable

reasons unknown
hope goes

"Should Be Shocking"
"It should be shocking," she whispered as she peered out the open glass doors, her face lacking any real expression. She did not dare venture out onto the balcony. He was right when he said that it was better not to risk anyone seeing her. She thought about this logic and decided it was best if the doors were closed.
"What should be?" he murmured back to her from across the room. He flipped the light switch and the room was suddenly dark. She saw nothing and then the city lights were suddenly brighter than they'd ever been before. She blinked, trying to evade them, but they insisted on remaining. She closed the large doors, and drew the curtains shut. It was finally dark. His arms slipped around her shoulders and gently began pulling off her coat. She pulled away from him, turning to face him. She took one step backwards and he was no longer quite able to touch her.
"This world," she said in an even softer voice, barely audible though he stood so near her. He did not bother hiding his confusion, which was the only sign she needed. His brow furrowed slightly and his dark eyes questioned her. He did not stop there though. In another second his natural response to all things she did or said made itself known. He smiled kindly at her, his white teeth too bright in the muted room. He tried to put his arms around her waist, but she had already drawn the gun from her coat pocket. She shot him.

"There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost part again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland." -L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl


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