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We are watching The Secret of Kells. It is absolutely spectacular. Pagan and Christian, mysterious and historical. It is visually rich, the music is beautiful. We only watched one hour of it (or so) before it was B's bedtime wind-down, and I'd gotten chills twice.
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Only mildly embarrassed to admit that I LOVED High School Musical 3. That's right. I loved it.

Why? Because I love a cheesy musical and this movie completely embraced the trope and form. There was more 'plot' but really it was about defining moments with strong characters, which is what a musical does. The adult characters were less stock and even the annoying glitter queen was toned down. The music was better, there was more dancing, and the singers had all matured and sounded so much better.

I didn't watch #2 and I have no desire to. It's set at a country club and I just couldn't care less. HSM 1 was a snooze fest, but HSM 3 was totally worth it and I will watch it again..... next time I'm ill. Or maybe even not.


Jul. 30th, 2010 08:02 pm
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Ok. Give it to me straight. Is High School Musical a cheesey, saccharine yet completely solid and enjoyable waste of an afternoon when you're ill? Or, like Twilight, will a part of my soul die if I watch it? I already think Zac Efron is hot (which is so so wrong) so it's got that going for it.
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Today Prince Charles and Camilla open the Welsh Quilt Centre here in Lampeter. Ten past one, to be exact. If you're interested. There are barricades and bobbies and many older couples that I am convinced are in town only for the Prince. I am already developing a sense for who lives here and who doesn't. I may be the youngest person who is obviously hanging around for a glimpse. My friend's mum owns the quilt centre and afterward Camilla is going to mum's house for a private shop of extra-special Welsh quilts. Amusing.

Also, for those of you new-ish to my LJ, I thought I'd post links to my rants on the whole Twilight thing from a couple of years ago: My first write up of the first film, More thoughts on why I feel so strongly, and after I'd read the book. The discussion in the comments ended up being great. But do enter at your own caution.

What else? It's delightfully grey here today. The Fourth of July is this weekend, so the annual homecoming to Juneau is beginning. I feel the usual homesickness and sadness that is typical of this time of year for me. I am beginning to miss a bit more excitement in my life. I think this indicates that I'm settled in, but also might be indicative of summer and a need for more energy, outings and excitement in general. I also wonder if I might have missed my calling and I'm in the wrong phd program. Maybe feminist media studies would have been better? Dunno.
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I hate Twilight with every fiber of my being. I know there are several of you out there that love it. I have already posted in depth about my loathing of Twilight, so I won't go into it again. But Facebook is riddled with "squee" over the latest film. I have completely restrained myself and I have not commented on other people's posts. No need to acid rain on their parades.


I am SO happy that there is no movie theatre here and no one is talking about. Except on Facebook.
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Day 02

What's not to love? Brilliant dancing and music. Moving plot. A love story. Funny. Downright gay. I adore this movie. I have auditioned with the songs. I was a Jet girl in 11th grade for the school musical.

I love Bernstein. Just love. And this song seems quite current in light of the immigration issues both in the States and in the UK.
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I'm still recovering from the trip to London - a week later. Adam is slammed with work (yay!) but juggling the child care is hectic right now. Putting B down at night has been a pain in the ass lately too. So come 8.30 I'm done in. Same old whinge, different day.

The smell of female sex is wafting through my living room. ?!?

While cooking dinner tonight (roast chicken, kale, chick pea patties and beet yoghurt) I had this idea about Kung Fu Panda being an alternative take on the Make Over Movie. Maybe I'll explain that tomorrow. Also, try the beet yoghurt - finely grate a raw beet, add plain thick yoghurt, one large crushed clove of garlic, eat. I found it delicious, refreshing, and very nutritious. Bennett wouldn't touch it.

[ profile] haloquin convinced me today to ask for all fees back from UWL since I have to transfer schools. We'll see what happens with that. But I am going to try. I'll just play the role of obnoxious American.

Once again I have too many books started. I finished The Spell of the Sensuous. I think I may buy my own copy. I noticed the used book store has one (that bookstore makes me want to cry. Sad little bookstore). It's perhaps the first book I've read where I think I'd like to read it in a book group.
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I am writing on the train, on my way home from London. I’m sitting in the first class quiet coach. Traveling by train is delightful. Better than car or plane, I think. Britain is an amazing, beautiful country. It is so green! Even London is green! I am sure there are parts that are as urban as any city, but there are so many parks and tree. The University of Roehampton is in greater southwest London. It’s the only uni in London with an actual campus. There are a few small lakes and while the uni is a mish-mash of architecture and planning, there are several spots that are green and secluded. Overall the uni feels like a real, honest-to-god uni, with students of every race and creed and a library that was actually being used. I had really nice accommodations, quiet, and with the best shower I’ve had since I left the US.

I got to go out on Tues night. I took the bus into neighboring Putney. I stood on the edge of the Thames!! I sound like a total tourist, but wow –the Thames is an inspiring river. There is something that feels quite alive about it. So beautiful. That night I went to a movie: I saw Iron Man 2. Such fun! It was sheer brilliant ridiculousness. The plot was quite weak in parts, the science laugh out loud absurd, but who cares? Scarlett Johanson is sex on a stick. And I am not ashamed to say that if Robert Downey Jr/Tony Stark asked me to run away with him, I’d go in a heartbeat. SO HOT. The one thing that annoyed me about the movie was seeing Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johanson walk around in 4 inch Laboutins. They could barely walk. They minced. It gave them sway backs. So very awkward and actually quite disturbing (they are actually rendered mildly disabled by these shoes). Oh and Mickey Rourke, who is HUGE by the way, was excellent as the baddie, but whoa does he have some wierd fingernails. After the movie I took myself to Wagamama, a Japanese chain, and had noodles and a glass of wine. Then went back to my room and crashed for 10 hours.

As soon as I get home I must nurse. MUST. NURSE. I am in a goodly deal of pain – sharp pinpoints and what feels like internal bruising, as if I’m being pummeled from the inside-out. My breasts are hard as rocks, lumpy, and hot. I am quite surprised that my brief journey away from Bennett –who is nearly 2- has caused me so much discomfort.

And I’m home. Wow, Lampeter is out back of the beyond. So beautiful and wonderful to come to.
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Couple's Retreat is an AWFUL movie. Do not watch, even if you're looking for something light and funny. It's not funny. Just bad. Not even bad funny.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is good fun.

Pizza, wine, and brownies cannot be beat for a lazy weekend meal.

I'm finally reading Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon and it is blowing my mind.

I can't get enough of Sarah Haskins. And I watched this 18 minute Jamie Oliver talk that was great. Jamie Oliver is hot, as well as a bit of a twat, and also right on about food.

My son is so fantastic I can hardly stand it.

Spring is just around the corner.
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It was annoying and fabulous, but mostly it was GORGEOUS. As Adam said half way through the film, "I can't believe we only get to spend 2.5 hours here." It was also very typical James Cameron - simplistic, stock characters, visually impressive, and also emotionally engrossing. Anyone remember Titanic? It came out when I was in college and I saw it three times in the theatre. I was engrossed, despite its cheese, and I sobbed my eyes out at the end every time. Sheesh.

Cut for spoilers )
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I just watched Whip It, Drew Barrymore's movie about roller derby, starring Ellen Page (Juno). It was an okay film. But, wow, do I miss Oakland now. It featured much of what I rolled my eyes at and what I loved about living in Oakland/Bay Area. I loved the DIY sass of the East Bay. I went to the Bay Area roller derby not too long after they started up. It was fab! I loved it. ....and then I got married and then pregnant.

Or burlesque. I would have loved to do that too.

The movie made me wish I was 5 years younger and starting over again in the Bay Area. I would totally join roller derby. I think it'd be a good outlet for my bitchiness and my love of hitting people. I want to be a badass. I want to be the sort of girl who wears lots of eyeliner and has tats and doesn't give a fuck. Ya know, Alternative. Except I don't want to live in shitty apartment in West Oakland (hipster but sketchy), working at Mama's Royal (or other waitressing gigs at dingy cafes), dating skinny emo guys in bands, drinking PBR, and being poor.

Instead I'm poor, drinking crap wine, living in a cold concrete bungalow, married to an awesome guy who sings along to the Number and Play cd with our son, in rural Wales.

*Mary Contrary?
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*One of the reasons I love Adam so much is that he makes me a better person. Often I hate this about him, but sometimes he knows my intentions better than I do. Tonight we were discussing the Twilight phenomenon. On Sunday, two people in the church choir I sing with, both students, were discussing the books and movies, and tried to engage me in conversation. I told them I needed to avoid talking about it, because I was sure to offend them with my loathing. Off the cuff I come across like I think everyone who loves the books and movies are stupid. And I suppose there is something in that gut reaction. I don't put much faith in the mass market.

But do you want to know why I really hate Twilight? What really makes me so upset? It's that millions of American women are swooning over a semi-abusive relationship and want to be Bella, who has no agency. Millions of American women think that this is as good as it gets. Millions of American women are selling themselves short. And it kills me.

*Entirely unrelated, Adam, Bennett and I watched Julie and Julia tonight. I am completely sucked into the charm of Julia Child. I want to cook! Fancy French dishes! I want to try meringues! Boning a duck! I want to eat delicious food and drink excellent wine.

Adam and I are also contemplating working our way through Meryl Streep's oeuvre. Adam looked at me tonight and said "I'm totally gay for Meryl." I think I might be too.

*It is cold here. The heat is on and we're still chilly. It's been clear the last two days and nights. I hope it lasts for the next few days. The moon is nearly full and it's so beautiful. I can actually see stars here.

*Even though the doctor's have told me twice that my ears and throat look perfectly healthy, my left ear still hurts when I swallow. And it waxes and wanes through the day. I don't understand. I really hope it's not psychosomatic.
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Ok. So I'm entering week #3 of being ill and I'm on virus #2. This week I begin going back to work, illness or no. I went to the doctor on Friday, just to make sure I didn't have something unusual or requiring medication, and she was only concerned that I was so pale. Everything just needs rest. Or a good cold snap to kill of the crud that's been making the rounds. What sucks is that while your immune system is low fighting off one bug, you're vulnerable for the next. Bah, I say.

I have been spending my time watching a lot of 'tv' - by that I mean tv on the internet. Adam and I have started watching Freaks and Geeks, which is pretty good. The new show that gets my vote, and frankly kicks Glee's confused, sorry ass (even though I so want it to work) is Community. Really funny, quite smart, and that main dude is hot. That always helps. I also discovered Sesame Street online, which has been very helpful with the downpours that Wales has been getting lately. Bennett and I watch clips, which we can arrange in themes - like, numbers, feelings, letters, etc. We make it interactive and it's fun.

I've also recently discovered Lady Gaga. She's a good singer, with brainless, forgettable, but ok music. But what a freaking FABULOUS performance artist. She's like a mainstream Bjork, without the amazing music. I am more than a little in love her Bad Romance video. The zombie dancing just slays me. I think I am going to have to watch every single video she's made.

ETA: I also wanted to add these bits but forgot. I also watched Away We Go which is sweet, but enh. However, the best bits are the Maggie Gyllenhall-Ultra AP satire. I've been recognizing a lot of my hypocrisy and other attractive traits lately, and I recognized more than I'd like to admit in this section. You can see bits here and here.

I read it

Apr. 11th, 2009 09:52 pm
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On Thursday, I had the morning to myself. I went for a walk to a nearby cafe - just to get out of the house like I used to. When the used book store across the street opened, I decided I would read Twilight only if they had a copy, right then, used. Two gentlemen were working at the store. The one shelving books said they were entirely out of all the Twilight books used. "But," said the man behind the counter, "we just got all these in, let me check the stacks." At the bottom of stack number two was a copy of Twilight. I handed over my $6 and, voila.

Two days later, done. Below are my thoughts.
Read more... )


Apr. 8th, 2009 05:45 pm
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My sister has in essence challenged me to read the book if I am going to be so outspoken against Twilight. She claims that the movie is worse than the book, and the book isn't as heinous as the movie in all the ways I loathe it.

Do I do it? Is it worth my time? It's some pretty awful writing. Will my brain melt? Those of you who have read the book and seen the movie, are they sufficiently different that my analysis might be tempered or in any way altered if I read the book?
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I wish I had never seen Twilight. It makes me angry and I'm angry that so many women don't see why I'm upset. Not being upset themselves, that I can understand. Loving the books or the movie, that I can see too. That women don't see why this story is damaging to women JUST KILLS ME. I would almost rather let my daughters (theoretical ones at this point) watch Disney princess cartoons than this heinous stuff.

I'm not singling this story out because the author is a Mormon, although I admit that I have deep (and somewhat irrational) issues with this religion, nor am I against abstinence. Not at all on that last point. I am very very much for women making informed and conscious choices about their bodies and sexuality, and if that means choosing to abstain until marriage - or for whatever time or reasoning - more power to them, because it is certainly not the easiest choice in our sex drenched society.

I'm not against protecting the ones you love, cheesy fantasy stories, power play in relationships, or being domestic. But Twilight takes all of those things and twists them, adding slightly modern touches of independence, but really it just rehashes all the messages of gender and relationships that main stream conservative religion wants us to believe.

This story disempowers women and I am deeply saddened that millions of young girls and women are now day dreaming of a relationship like Bella and Edward's. A relationship in which the woman's whole world is the man, where she can lose herself, and in effect not be responsible for the consequences. If the man is stronger willed, then she doesn't have to worry about stating her wants or boundaries or even worry about losing control sexually. Because the man will be the boundary keeper. If the man is the woman's whole world then she doesn't have to worry about making difficult choices beyond what will keep them together. If she's a 17 year old, with hormones surging through her body, then the first person she is (IRREVOCABLY) drawn to is the person she should marry. Because being married at 18 is a good idea* and the legal contract of marriage validates the sexual act. Millions of girls are watching men be the gatekeepers for Bella's sexuality and all other avenues of personal agency. Plus, she is 17. She does not even have legal agency yet. Millions of women are longing to be kept women.

And who can blame them? It would be easier in this day and age to just acquiesce and succumb to these messages. It's really fucking hard work to be a strong, loving, independent, smart woman. Finding balance between interdependence (notice the prefix there, please) and independence, freely giving of oneself and submission, work and family, self and others is exhausting even on the best of days. And let's not get into the more shallow, but in some ways more tricky and damaging, struggles between too thin and too fat, too prudish and too slutty, etc. For me, these struggles are most keenly felt in my spiritual journey and motherhood. Some days I really wish there was a clear formula that would make my spirit automatically connected up with God. If I just prayed X prayers Y many times, or if I did or was X, Y, Z then I would have the deep spiritual epiphany I long for. But that's not how it works. I don't believe there is a formula for touching God, so I put in the work. Just like I put in the work to find balance between my self, my wants, my needs and those of my husband's and my son's. Motherhood. I don't have the energy today to open that can of feminist confusion.

Suffice it to say, I am not surprised that women are sucked in by the "comforting" messages in Twilight. But it makes me sad. In that world, in this world, men/patriarchy** have the upper hand at the expense of the woman's interior world. Part of why Bella is so bland is that she has no interior world. No thoughts, just Edward.

These things make me sad. They make me angry. When I see women going along with the status quo, not questioning the images of identity and relationship that our culture holds up, I get upset. I really, truly, deeply care about the lives and identities of girls and women.

*To my younger friends here, I recognize that some people find a good match at an early age and I think that is wonderful. But having a healthy, lasting relationship with a teenage sweetheart is the exception, not the norm. Encouraging people to marry young is, in my opinion (which is never very humble), an antiquated, anti-feminist agenda.

**I fear that I need to say that individual men are not necessarily tools of the patriarchy. I think there are plenty of women (Stephanie Meyer!) who are more patriarchal than some men. I am a radical feminist, but not a separatist (although some days....) nor do I hate men. God, it makes me sad that I even feel it necessary to type this sort of disclaimer in my own freaking journal.
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I am putting this behind a cut, because I am about to let fall some motherfucking rain on this Twilight parade.

Commence building your ark )
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Adam and I watched this Swedish vampire film last night. But you could also describe the film as a story of two lonely 12 year olds. That's what sets this film apart from other vampire flicks. It's not campy or flashy. It's about relationship. The pacing, story telling and photography all added to the lonely feeling. I really loved not knowing what was going to happen from the opening scene. As much as I enjoy Hollywood films, they are formulaic. This was not.

After finishing the film last night I thought is was very good, but I think it's even better today, because it's a film that I've continued to think about and mull over. Images linger in my head. Bits of dialogue come up and make me rethink some of the assumptions I made as the movie played out.

I have one particular point I want to discuss, but would hate to spoil the movie for anyone.

If you want a film to sink into, to be engaged in, I highly recommend this movie.
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Today was a hard day. Some days I'm so tired of the endless to-do list and the constant demands on my attention. I always feel like I should be working harder, more efficiently, better. Stop slacking at the laptop. Give Bennett more attention. Even my spiritual practices lately have felt like yet more things to tick off a list.

But tonight. Lent is on hold. I've had a small glass of really good scotch (on the rocks, to dilute it a bit). Bennett has chilled and he and I have had a wonderful night in together. We watched Penelope, a sweet film. Too bad about James McAvoy's fingers.

Adam is coming back from a work event, bringing dinner and then we're going to watch Let the Right One In. Yay for Swedish vampire movies!

Yay for not trying so damn hard.
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Going to the Japanese baths in San Francisco is like going to church and making massive kala. I am infinitely grateful that I was given a gift certificate to this place years ago. It's the most luxury I've found for the least amount of money. Today's trip was especially powerful. After meditating in the sauna, scrubbing myself clean in the steam room, drinking copious amounts of cucumber and lemon water and ginger tea, I had some pretty profound realizations about a big, painful, awkward issue in my life. I feel rejuvinated.

Continuing with the spring purging feelings, Adam and I got rid of 7 boxes of books this afternoon, as well as three bags of clothes. I have a skirt and top that I think I'm going to put up for sale on here soon, because they are just too nice to throw in a charity dumpster. One is a silk peach blouse and one is a blue and brown skirt, both by Alannah Hill, an Aussie designer.

Bennet has been a fuss pot today. Adam took him for a long walk around the lake in Oakland and the little guy got sunburned. Eep!

Tomorrow Adam and I have babysitting lined up and we're going on a date. I think we might see "I love you, man." Anyone seen it?


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October 2010



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