All About Richard

So you probably remember me saying that whilst in Kansas, I watched the movie “All About Eve”. It was a pretty cool movie, I have to say… Quite quotable, and I loved the (very creepy) ending. Well, today Mom and I went to see one of our Shakespeare plays: “Richard III”.

Dun. Dun. DUN!

OK, first of all, I need to read this play just so I can be a smarty pants and quote it (especially in front of people who say “Now is the winter of our discontent” and then leave off, because that is stupid seeing as that’s only half the sentence) (and the rest of the sentence is basically the opposite meaning… ugh, quote misuse! Like how the “six impossible things” quote is much abused…). I really would like to memorize part of Clarence’s description of his dream, his dream of drowning in the sea with heaps of pearls and skulls of dead men from the eye sockets of which wink gems, et cetera. Also the line, “Shine out, fair sun, til I have bought a glass, that I may see my shadow as I pass.”

Then, at intermission I suddenly thought: This is a lot like “All About Eve”.

Shakespeare’s tales of kings ascending the throne through deception and violence is oddly like that movie’s story of Eve ascending to stardom through less bloody but definitely twisted means. For one thing, the way that “All About Eve” ends insinuates that the weird cycle of the new girl pushing out the old will continue, turning over and over. Shakespeare tells a similar story, the usurper becoming the usurped.

There’s also a part where Richard says in the play: “What do I fear? myself? There’s none else by:  Richard loves Richard; that is, I am I.” Which makes me think of how both Eve and Richard were truly alone in the world. They lied to everyone, manipulated everyone, everyone was a pawn or a player in their games (or someone to be beheaded, whatever). Ew. Creeps, both of them.

And apparently I am in a mood for analyzing things. Sometimes I get flack for the way I tend to stare deep into things (literature, plays, movies, whatever) and try to discern the meaning, or to find connections (like how shadows are continually referenced throughout Richard III– I thought it was really interesting and have been pondering what it meant in terms of revealing his character, but that is a whole different discussion nothing to see here just move along now), but to me that’s what makes these things all the more enjoyable. So whatever, you dissidents, you discontents!

Now I am off to memorize quotes… Or possibly sleep.

…Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept
(as ‘t were in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems. …

Advertisements

This should really be two separate posts. But… it isn’t.

So, I worked nine to five yesterday (yeah, cue the cliches) and had an oddly fun time. Because I got to, first of all, feel very official. (I mean, for some reason I felt like I was supposed to be there, unlike usual when I feel like… an intruding elf who sorts the books? I dunno.) Secondly, I got to hunt down books like Easter eggs for the first half of the day, talked to a lot of patrons (the place was hopping), and best of all, I got to spend some quality time listening to the circulation desk ladies chitchatting.

It’s true; the “Circ” ladies are maybe my favorite part of working at the library. Since the library is so large and busy, there are a lot of these ladies working at once; a couple of them behind the checkout area, three or four processing materials in the sorting room, and another one or two milling around taking care of odds and ends.

It’s a writer’s gold mine. The distinct characters! The dialogue! Not to mention, it probably fills some internal, subconscious need within the old-fashioned me to be surrounded by chit-chattering ladies while we all do some mindless task like weaving, or picking berries (or in my case, picking gross, faded pink “new!” stickers off of not-new-anymore books).

So, anyway, seeing as I was working a full day, I got a real lunch break. And this is what I heard as I ate my potatoes.

Guy librarian: “The new branch– have you seen it?”
Circ Ladies: “Oh yes, we hear it’s very nice.”
Guy librarian: “Lots of wood… And the kid’s area– They even have a little train going around above it.”
Lady A: “Yeah, a noisy, squeaking train–”
Lady B: “Someone needs to oil that thing.”
Lady A: “Ugh.”
Lady C: “I hate trains.”
Guy librarian: “Why?”
Lady C: “It’s a childhood thing. Always hated them.”
Guy librarian: “Oh, but did you hear what else? They have a fireplace, too. It puts out a nice bit of heat.”
Circ Ladies: “Psh!!”
Lady B: “And what’s going to stop some kid from going up and sticking their hand right on it?”
Lady A: “Parents.”
Circ Ladies: BAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA
Lady B: “You wish.”
Lady C: “Yeah, that happens one time, and they won’t turn it on anymore.”
Lady A: “Right! Why would you even put a fireplace in a library, anyway?”
Me (finally piping up): “Because it’s old school.”
Guy Librarian: “Yeah, it’s old school. It makes a nice mix of old school and new school.”
Lady C: “Yeah, there’ll be a fireplace and no books. Just stare at the wall!”
Me: (internally) Hear, hear!
Lady A: “I heard that the break room is like two chairs and a table. And that it’s practically in the middle of a hallway.”
Lady B: “And what was that one door…?”
Guy Librarian: “That was the staff bathroom.”
Circ Ladies: “That was the staff bathroom?!?!”

Totally worth the sore feet at the end of the day, that.

Well, I have been very negligent of you, blog readers. Sorry. I was going to blog about how Super Awesome my vacation in Kentucky was, but then I… didn’t. I really have no excuse.

This is the part where there’s a long silence and somebody coughs way in the back of the room.
And then you feel like you have to cough, but you can’t, because it would seem so loud–
But then–
Your throat itches–
And you decide, okay, I’m going to cough, but then you can’t cough so you do that awkward not-cough thing and…
Yeah.

Anyway, what else has been going on around here? Oh. Right.

WAAAAA-a-a-AAAAAA (Wua, wua, waaaaaaaaa). Aka the theme music from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Or, as my dad calls it, “The most epic cowboy movie of all time”.
I would have to agree.

I don’t normally like cowboy movies, especially not long ones, especially not long ones where at least one person dies every five minutes. All of which apply to “GoodBadn’Ugly” (which is another name my dad calls it. As in, “Let’s watch a movie.”
Everyone: “What movie.”
Dad, in one excited breath: “GoodBadn’Ugly!” …. “What, we have to watch it at least once a week.”).

But I do like movies that weave multiple stories together, which this does. And when something is historical, my FAVORITE way for them to be that way is to have a personal story with the historical stuff as the background– for the main action to be about the main characters and their peculiar struggle, and then WHAM, history leaps up out of the dull background like an Asian carp out of Lake Erie and smacks you upside the head. But it never overshadows the main story– it only makes the whole thing more epic, adds depth and whatever.
Actually, I think what it really does is bend your mind. You start out with the main story, which, since it’s the main story,  has a great importance to the watcher. It IS the story. But then the history stuff comes out, and what’s happening in the history can be so huge– yet it seems small because it’s the background here. It’s a reminder of reality, that whatever you’re in the middle of, whatever you’re looking at very closely, is what seems huge and epic. The lives of ants and sparrows are epic if you could follow them closely.
Which is to say, if the story of three guys trying to beat each other to 2,000 dollars in gold isn’t enough to hold your interest, imagine that it also takes place during a (surprisingly accurate, considering this was an Italian film) Civil War.

So that’s partly what makes that movie the most epic cowboy movie of all time. I also think it’s due to the cinematography– the move is so long because they will spend AGES on certain shots, which builds tension (and is also artsy). Plus, it was all shot in real places rather than on a fake set, so all the landscapes and long faraway shots and such are really cool. It also helps that there are some scenes where I wanted them to take forever on the shot, like when the ghostly carriage is racing toward them across the open desert…

The movie is highly quotable, too, I must mention.

And another major factor in making the movie EPIC is the EPIC MUSIC. I mean, the main theme is pretty cool by itself (it’s what I like to call “adventure music”), but when there’s also songs like this, how can it not be epic? I’m sitting here listening to it while typing, and the sky was all gray and brooding, and then right as the song hit the crescendo a sunbeam came out and shone on me. Like I said.
Epic.

Also. There is a scene where Clint Eastwood pets a kitten.
That seals the deal.

Well, this has kind of been like two posts in one… As usual, a perfect example of how my strange mind works.

Yours,
Pen

a miscellany

Six.
Days.

That ticking sound you hear? (Or are now pretending to hear?) That’s the sound of me mentally counting down the days until I will be leaving for Kentucky. (Hopefully with Dodge in tow… I mean, no pressure, bro. But PLEASE COME PLEASE PLEASE -pleeeee-heeeease. ) I can’t wait! It’s so, so, fun and cool and awesomesauce, as Poncho would say.

Oh, and speaking of things Poncho would say, this is how my conversations have been going with him lately:

Me: “Hey, Ponch, where are your glasses?”
Poncho: “IDK.”
Me: “Well, Mom called and said she’s on her way home with groceries, so get upstairs to help me unload them.”
Poncho: “BRB.”
Me: “Hurry up, will you? I hate unloading.”
Poncho: “IKR.”
Me: “All right, that’s it. Get AFK now, kid.”For the blissfully unaware, those abbreviations mean, in order of appearance: I don’t know, Be right back, I know right?!, and Away from keyboard. The only reason I know some of these is because either Dodge or Poncho explained them to me. Because I’ve had texting for maybe a year and have only been using the interwebs (Poncho has also started saying “interwebs”; I have created a monster) for things other than school projects since… I don’t know. Back then it was a happy time of sending “ship log” emails to Eliza. (Do you remember those, Eliza?)

In other news… I’m sick with a cold today. Hence the blogging. I’m resting, trying to get better before we leave for Kentucky, but resting is boring. Of course, yesterday– when the cold was worse– was even more boring. All I did was sit in my room under a pile of blankets/shawls/tissues/crumbs from my nth slice of nutella-coated toast, slowly sipping orange juice (every sip goes like this: Ick! But vitamins. It’s icky! But vita– Eurgh! Take it away! But vitamins…) and wasting away between doses of medicine. I tried to distract myself by checking email (I had none), texting everyone I know (OK, actually it was just Bug and Eliza, but same thing), starting to knit a cuff and then unraveling it, drooling over an Irish-pub-food cookbook, and making up a personality quiz. It’s a good thing I don’t have the face-books, is all I can say. Luckily, since then I have done some creative things… I practiced watercolors, which I haven’t done in a while and am kind of terrible at. I’m great at making different colors– I made five different shades of turquoise last night– but it’s the actual painting that needs work.
Like, a lot.

And I don’t really know why I care about my painting skills, seeing as my life is not a Jane Austen (or even Elizabeth Gaskell) novel,  but oh well, I don’t care to contemplate the meaning of life/art/human experience when my sore throat makes the air feel like dust and sand.

Speaking of Elizabeth Gaskell (yeah, okay, sometimes I mention things on purpose just to lead into what I’m going to say next, so sue me), I finally got Mom to watch North and South. North and South: Movie that I thought, after she was so into Little Dorrit, that Mom would love.

Yeah, well, she hated it.
Her comments were:
(imitating the girl) “Oh, no, please do not continue… Because we still have two more episodes before we’ll finally get together!”
“I mean, what is her problem?”
“I can’t read her facial expressions. Or expression. Does she have any others?”
Which was kind of how Dodge reacted to Mr. Thornton:
“Grr. Angry face.”
“Nope, nope, don’t smile… Uh-oh… Good job. Same face. All the time.”
“I bet if he smiled, he would die instantly.”
Me: “You know that’s Thorin Oakenshield, right?”
Dodge: “It IS?” (squints at the screen) “…I liked him better as a dwarf.”
I kind of did, too. You see, until that point, I had only seen the movie once, during which I spent more time trying to understand what the heck people were saying and how that related to the plot, rather than evaluating their facial expressions. The second time around, I couldn’t stand them.

Also, the first time I saw North and South, I had not yet seen Little Dorrit.
Little Dorrit changes everything, you guys.
You can never look at BBC movies, potential suitors, top hats, chicken, French people, prunes (or prisms), watches– your life! the same way again. If your feet are cold inside your shoes, your heart melts into little pieces (at least mine does; maybe I should get that looked at).

Then again, I have not yet seen Little Dorrit for a second time.
Maybe I shouldn’t, much as I want to.
I don’t think I will ever recover if I un-like that one. It’s already too ingrained in my psyche…! If you strung together all the times I’ve talked about it, you could build a raft out of them and sail to Timbuktu. You could also become famous for stringing together invisible things such as time, and then build a time machine, and then–

Oh-kay! That train of thought got a little out of hand… Anyway. I suppose I should go now, and get ready to go to the local public high school on some GED business.

Oh dear.

Yours till the teacups,
Pen

It’s a Wonderful Wife

On Christmas Eve, I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life”. My second-favorite Christmas movie (the animated Grinch comes first, especially if watched palindromically on VHS) and the movie that everyone loves, except Mom who can’t watch black-and-white movies because “the people shout at each other”.
Well, I kind of have a problem with that movie now…

When I watched it this time, I realized: it’s not about George Bailey. It’s about his wife.

Yeah, sure, it follows his life, and he’s the viewpoint character– but have you ever noticed how, basically, his wife does everything? I mean, when they first meet, George is kind of a dweeb, but she likes him anyway. When they’re newly married and the Building and Loan is going under, it’s her idea to use their honeymoon money to save it. She wants to live in that weird leaky house because I think she was the first hipster ever, and then while George goes off every day to his boo-hoo terrible job at the Building and Loan, she manages to pop out four kids and wallpaper the whole house. (Where an actual roof came from, we never see.) Oh, and when George decides to go jump off a bridge, his wife is running around town in the snow trying to find him and simulataneously dig him out of all the trouble he’s gotten into. (And she pulls it off, too.)

Yet somehow, in the alternate universe where he doesn’t exist, she’s not just an old maid. She’s an old maid librarian with dorky glasses. Being an old maid, totally understandable. Being suddenly bespectacled? How does that even work? “You see George, if you were never born, even Mary’s eyesight would suffer. Because then she wouldn’t exercise it looking for reasons not to thwack you upside the head with a spatula.”

I would have thwacked him.

Also, why is the emphasis merely on how horrible her life would be without him– I’m not denying it would be, seeing as her true love was never even born– when it’s also his life that would be horrible without her? Why is it just like, “Holy cow, so freaky, my wife doesn’t know me!” instead of… Well, I don’t know. I just think he should have had some realization at some point that she was always the one doing all the work. Not just the housework, either; she’s the glue that holds EVERYTHING together. She’s the only one who put any real effort into their relationship and the current state of their lives.

I also think they should have changed the name to “It’s a Wonderful Wife”. Because you might never realize it, George, but she is one.

Whew. Rant over. 

Oh, but I have one more question:
Why is there a random tame crow, and how does that not make working at the Building and Loan like one million times more awesome?

These are things I ponder…

the snow’s coming down, I’m watching it fall

It’s snowing!!!!! YAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!

I was so excited when I woke up this morning and saw the flakes sliding past my window. I stood up on my bed and announced “It’s snowing!” to the world. Or, um, myself. Whatever.

Well, I’ve been sick with a cold for the past few days. (But poor Mom had the flu…) Of course that didn’t stop me from my volunteering job! This time I worked with a med student named Erin who was very nice, and also formed an… interesting… view of me.
Her: “So, are you a med student too?”
Me: “No. Well, I’m not really any kind of student.”
Her: “So what do you do when you’re not volunteering?”
Me: “I work at the library and I write.”
Her: “Oh, that’s really cool. So, did you go to school for English?”
Me: (stifled laughter) “Erm. No.”
Her: “You just started writing out of high school, then?”
Me: (thinking: holy cow, she thinks I’m in college or out of college…) “It’s kind of something I’ve always done, so yeah, even before high school. Yep.”
Later I overheard her telling someone I was a librarian(!) and, well, it was kind of a nice fairyland that I was experiencing there, where everyone pretty much assumed I was an adult. I didn’t confirm or deny. As Mom would say, “That would be true, and also, not a lie!”
It was also very fun giving her book-present suggestions. (Mom said, “Now look what you’ve done, she’ll give that to someone and say it was recommended by a librarian!” To which I replied, “It’s a classic, okay!?!”) (Because yeah, you guessed it: I recommended Alice.)

Hey, I know, let’s jump around in chronological order so that I can tell you about all the fun things that happened recently!

Like the…. JARS OF CLAY Christmas concert! They played Christmas music! They played “Closer”!!!! Aaaaaand we were the only ones dancing? (By we I mean: the DHFs, me, and Poncho the Awesomesauce, of course.)
DHFs: “I mean, how could you not dance to that?”
Me: “I think they drank the poison cool-aid, you guys. They were dead as doornails. Bumps on a log.”
Francis: “I don’t think the band could see us dancing way back there.”
Me: “Of course they could see us. We were the only things moving in the whole place!”
Oh, and did I mention that we all had to sing “The Twelve Days of Minecraft” (thank you, Youtube parodies, for killing my sanity) on the way there to cheer Poncho up? (“Fiiiiive gol-den blocks!”) It took PoorBill half the song to figure out that it was a Minecraft thing… Yeeeeeah.
The next morning (we slept over), we all discussed how apparently no one understands “The Long Fall Back to Earth” album even though it perfectly sums up a CHUNK OF MY SOUL.

And… The Hobbit! (I said this in a singsongy voice.) (In my head.) I had a more detailed critique,  but my main thoughts were:
Hi, Mr. Thornton.
The singing is lovely.
I want some dwarf friends.
Bilbo is awesome.
The end.
Oh, and Dodge came. :)

Speaking of movies, I finally watched “A Hard Day’s Night” yesterday while resting from my sickness. I had meant to watch Captain America, but my DVD was damaged (it looked all burned and weird. I blame HYDRA). So I found A Hard Day’s Night online and watched it, and wow, it was weird. It kind of reminded me of Alice in Wonderland (possibly the movie versions more than the actual book, due to disjointed-ness) because it was so nonsensical.

I also went last-minute Christmas shopping (mostly for craft supplies, as I made most of the presents this year, but also for some hard-to-find items) with Eliza and Bug. (I just realized that I do basically everything with Eliza and Bug.) (And they’re going to comment like, “What do you mean you just realized? This has been going on for years!”) Now I am almost done with all of my Christmas presents, even though I’m now going at a somewhat breakneck pace and will probably be finishing some on Christmas Eve. (Bug knitted through The Hobbit in order to finish a present! Now that is some dedication!) Or The Second Day of Christmas. Ironically, the ones I started the earliest are going to be the last done. My life in a nutshell, people. But oh well, they’re fun to make.

Then I shall commence with wrapping. Well, I have already commenced somewhat. I am really excited to wrap everyone’s differently and with much more creativity than in previous years. And we also have to finish decorating and tidying the house… Excitement! Anticipation!

(O come, O come, Emma-a-anuel…)

Yours from beautiful snow-land,
Pen

PS: As I wrote this, Mom and Poncho were wrapping presents at the table where I am working… Poncho said in a creepy robot voice, “I want to be the wrap-inator.”

Thoughts on the Hunger Games movie. Because I can’t think of any non-obvious titles.

Well, I should post a blog. But it’s kind of like when people ask what you’ve been up to and you can’t think of anything to say until like two hours later when a million things pop into your head. Like on Wednesday, a bunch of people who hadn’t seen me in a month asked what I’d been up to. And I was like, “meh. Writing. Saw Hunger Games. Being alive. Same old.” But then later I thought, Wait– a month? Saint Patrick’s Day! Duh!

So that’s where my March went.

Anyway. Speaking of Hunger Games. It was… interesting. It wasn’t bad (expect for the faces Peeta kept making– I kept wanting to laugh at all kinds of serious moments due to his overeager facial expressions) and it wasn’t brilliant (except for a few scenes which I’m getting to) and I don’t know what I think of it in general. I guess I can say I’m disappointed because I expected to be on the edge of my seat in a sobbing mess while my brain silently applauded. What actually happened was I felt-like-everyone-was-trying-so-hard-but-it-was-not-working. Like, I kept looking at the actors and thinking “That is supposed to be a shocked face, but he looks about to drool” “That is supposed to be really sad/scary/etc” but the emotions just couldn’t break out of the screen.

Part of it may have been that the style of filming, all first-person and shaky and dizzying. I felt like I couldn’t see a thing.

Not that I wanted to see a lot of gore. I went in thinking I would have to close my eyes at parts, but I didn’t. And maybe that was the other thing that dulled the emotions– the fact that they softened the violence so that you saw nothing, or if you did see something it didn’t give you that sick feeling. Again, I didn’t want to see gore, but… I think there are various ways to not-show it, and they didn’t necessarily choose the best one. I didn’t get that sickening someone-just-died-horribly feeling that I got from the books. And I should have. When that kind of violence happens, people should feel at least a little sick.

There were some scenes, though, that did ring with me. When Haymitch sees the Capitol kids chasing each other with toy swords. Cato’s final speech. Seneca looking at the bowl of berries. District Twelve saluting instead of applauding.

Notice how almost none of these are in the book.
Notice how almost none of these have words in them.
Movies are so lucky. They can have little five-second-no-words scenes that rock you. Like in A Man For All Seasons, when he walks past the ballroom and the colors and the one guy watching… Like, books can’t do stuff like that. That’s right, movies, put it to good use! If I was making a movie I’d put in tons of those fleeting-yet-impactful glimpses.    

People have suggested that the film is made as though the viewer is, well, a viewer– one of the people watching the Games on television. Which makes me want to watch the movie again with that mindset. I wanted so badly to feel something! Even if it was “this sucks”.

But maybe, if you look at it as being the viewers in the story, feeling nothing at all might be sort of significant, too. Because I’m sure people in the Capitol, and in the Districts, also watched and felt nothing at all.

And that might be more sinister than anything Snow could cook up…

PS: Or. The answer is that Books are Always Better.
But you knew that already. ;)

LOTR moviegoing adventures

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was being shown in theaters, each of the movies on a Tuesday for the past three weeks. One night only! Well, the DHFs called me up and asked if I would like to go to see The Fellowship of the Ring (the first movie) with them a few weeks ago. I went, and we all dressed up– I in my Lady of Shalott dress and green cape and borrowed leaf necklace (thanks Bug) as a “random elf”. It was a lot of fun, and the movie was… awesome. The sound was really what made it so cool. Every time the ring-wraiths or whatnot (seriously, why do those things have like ten names? Nazguls, ring-wraiths, black riders… really? Pick one, people!) shrieked, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
[Side note: Sort of. I mean I don’t really think that I’ve ever had the hairs actually stand up, which according to Dad is what happens before you get hit by lightning. He tells me this as we stand out in a storm at camp… “Yeah, if that happens, crouch down real fast, OK?” Me: “Uhuhyeah. Let’s find cover somewhere.”]
Oh, and we sat a row in front of a bunch of teenage boys, who were talking rather loudly. When the movie came on, one of them clapped, and then everyone in the whole theater clapped (sheeple, as Dad would say), and the guy was like, “I started that clapping.” Apparently he was very proud of himself.

Sooo… I HAD to see the second movie, the Two Towers. (Mom thought it was called the Twin Towers, and I was like, umm no.) However by this time the DHFs were going to a conference in Florida (not to mention, they went to the beach, cough cough). Thus, I called my friend Cory and he went with me. It was my first time going to the movies without adult supervision. I was warned vehemently about creepers, of which I saw none, luckily. Actually, it was pretty uneventful overall. We came, saw the movie, left. So that was good. It was weird, though; during the movie, it rains a lot, expeically at the Battle of Helm’s Deep, and when we came out of the theater it was raining outside in just the same manner.

Then I went to see the last movie, Return of the King, with Steph on Tuesday night, but this time we went to the theater at Fakeworld. OK, seriously, the sidewalk at Fakeworld sparkles. Yes, it SPARKLES. How fake can you get, man? They also have brick streets, a bus stop, a roundabout, and… well, I’ll get to that next. So, the movie was also really, really good. And again, just like at the Fellowship, we sat a row in front of a bunch of teenage guys who were also talking really loudly, and being generally annoying. But when it came to the part of the movie that brings tears to my eyes, and made Steph cry, we heard the boys behind us sniffling like they were crying too! Then the credits came up at the end of the movie, and one of the boys started the clapping. “I started that,” he announced to his friends. Is that a new thing now, or what?
Back to the Fakeworld stuff for a sec… When we got out of the movie, we had to walk to the parking garage. All the streets were empty and silent, and sort of shadowy… It was really creepy how suddenly dead the whole place was. And the outdoor chairs, tables, benches, etc were now covered in cloth… It was spooky! Like walking through an abandoned movie set!

But anyway. Those were my movie experiences the past few weeks… The DHFs and I plan on going with a whole possie to see The Hobbit when it comes out… dressed as hobbits of course!

The main thing is, I think I’m becoming a real LOTR fan. Honestly. Be afraid.

Love,
Pen