Saturday, February 28, 2009

Netflix musings

Well, I've had some good luck on my Netflix queue this week. First up was "Son of Rambow" which is about a boy from an english mennonite(?) family who falls in with the class ne'er do well and begins an unlikely and hilarious friendship which is heavily influenced by their shared love for the movie "First Blood". There were some overly cheesy parts but I really enjoyed watching it. The humor made the cheese way more tolerable. I was surprised to see that the dude who plays the smarmy Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl plays the equally spoiled, equally rich, equally disaffected older brother in this movie, but I shouldn't have been. He was much more likeable and comfortable in his native England without his put-on American accent.

Last night I got home and really wanted to watch a particular movie. I searched for it on the instant watch list and amidst the 40 other flm versions of the story, there it was: The Adventure of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn (1938). The reason I wanted to watch this particular one is because I just last night remembered watching it on TV once and my parents recording it and then my and my little brother watching it allllllll the time after that. I remembered so many of the lines from the movie and I remember Errol Flynn's quintessential portrayal of the noble turned altruistic woodsman. No one ever did "swashbuckler" better than Errol Flynn. I also remember the costumes that Maid Marian (played by Olivia de Havilland) wore in the move and being completely obsessed with them as a young girl. I just wanted to see it all again as an adult and see if it was the same. It was, if not better. It was so silly and over the top, but I love it for that.

Now I'm in the middle of "I'm Not There" and I'm kind of lost. I've read two biographies of Bob Dylan, and "Chronicles, Vol. 1". They don't really match up with this at all, but I think that may be the point? (Sidenote: Christian Bale is way too attractive to play Bob Dylan and is overdoing the impression of Bob's voice.) I do think it's right on in how the folk generation looked to him to define them, he rightfully chided them for it, and in return they put him on an even higher pedestal...after they stopped hating him for "turning his back on them". No one has every really been able to understand Bob Dylan. He is a fascinating enigma. And we're obsessed with trying to figure him out. Cate Blanchett totally deserved her oscar nod for this. She makes every other portrayal in this movie look real bad. A distant second to her performance is the boy who plays the Woody Guthrie persona. This reminds me I need to listen to my Dylan albums all the way through more.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I've always believed, this just proves it.

I know I've spoken before, even in this blog about how I have a firm belief in Divine control over my iPod and the songs I hear on the radio sometimes. I saw a new non-threatening chain e-mail thing on facebook about the soundtrack to your life as defined by the shuffle feature on your music player, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to test my beliefs. Now, I know that we're not supposed to test God like the Israelites in the desert did (see the book of Exodus) but I was hoping this is more like Gideon with the fleeces (Judges 6:36-39).

Here's how it works: Open your music library, put it on shuffle, press play. For every question, type the song that's playing, and when you go to a new question, press the next button. No cheating and skipping songs, obviously. Each question corresponds to a scene in a movie about your life broken down into major events.

In order to be scientifically sound (um, kind of...) I ran the test twice. I will include the results of both experiments as well as an analysis because I'm a huge fan of the scientific method.

-----Trial #1-----

Opening Credits: "Groove Me" by King Floyd

Waking Up:"Derelict" by Beck

First Day Of School:"Twist and Shout" by the Beatles

Falling in Love:"Stickshifts and Safetybelts" by Cake

First Song:"With or Without You" by U2

Fight Song:"Lost!" by Coldplay

Breaking Up:"Shelter from the Storm" by Bob Dylan

Prom:"April Come She Will" by Simon and Garfunkle

Life Theme:"At My Most Beautiful" by R.E.M.

Mental Breakdown:"Song for a Train Ride" by Gadjo Playboys

Driving:"Holes to Heaven" by Jack Johnson

Flashback:"Tell Him" by The Exciters

Getting Back Together:"Very Superstitious" by Stevie Wonder

Wedding:"Dreams" by The Allman Brothers

Birth of Child:"Serious Times" by Gyptian

Final Battle:""Weight of the World" by Chantal Kreviazuk

Death Scene:"Killing Me" by Graham Colton

Funeral Song:"Silver and Gold" by U2

End Credits:"Hey Brother" by Beulah

Analysis: It's not a bad list. A lot of the songs are really appropriate. "Serious Times" at the birth of my first child. Two of my favorite artists are represented in excellent placements. "Silver and Gold" at my funeral would be a good tribute if I somehow become an inflammatory political activist before I die, but I don't think that's very likely. "Weight of the World" is more a song about overcoming battles or being free from them than actually being in one, so I don't think that's a very good "final battle" song. "Killing Me" as my death scene soundtrack is appropriate in title alone. It's actually about love, not death. but it's still pretty great that that came up. I really don't want the Allman Brothers played at my wedding. Also, the getting back together song of "Very Superstitious" is nice and ironic. And "Lost!" is a very wussy fight song if you ask me, but I've always fought with my words, never my fists.

----Trial #2----

Opening Credits:
“Carolina” by Josh Rouse

Waking Up:
“Do You Like the Way” by Santana featuring Lauryn Hill & Cee-lo

First Day Of School:
“Rascals Out” by Gadjo Playboys

Falling in Love:
“Far From Saved” by Granian

First Song:
“Trouble” by Ray Lamontagne

Fight Song:
“Hope on Board” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Breaking Up:
“Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac

“Only the Good Die Young” by Billy Joel

Life Theme:
“Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” by Bob Dylan

Mental Breakdown:
"Down the Road Tonight” by Hayes Carll

"World Spins Madly On” by The Weepies

"Annie Waits” by Ben Folds

Getting Back Together:
"Candy’s Room” by Bruce Springsteen

"Piano Sonata #14 in C Sharp Minor, ‘Moonlight’ 3. Presto Agitato” by Ludwig von Beethoven

Birth of Child:
"Jack and Diane” by John Mellancamp

Final Battle:
"BaguĂ©e” by Paris Combo

Death Scene:
"Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” as sung by Ray Charles & Betty Carter

Funeral Song:
"Southern State of Mind” by Steven Kellogg and the Sixers

End Credits:
"Cocoon” by Jack Johnson

Analysis: A really fantastic list. Some of my favorite songs ever are on it. For my wake up song, I don't think that "Do You Like the Way" is all that representative of my life when I first wake up, but it's a cool song to wake up to anyway. "Rascals Out" is a great first day of school song. "Far From Saved" is a little too troubled of a song for me to be completely comfortable with that as my falling in love choice. I would like it to be something happier than that. It's kind of funny because the next song is about being saved by a woman but scorned at the same time. My love life will obviously be tumultuous. "Hope on Board", a song I like very much, is a terrible fight song. I have some music in my library that would be GREAT fight music. In fact, I downloaded most of it because of Tarantino-movie fight scenes. I LOVE that "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" is my life theme. My wedding song is frenetic and C sharp minor is a very unhappy key. Boo. My death scene song is heartbreakingly appropriate. Almost as good as "As time Goes By" in Casablanca. That's a score. My funeral song is one of my favorite songs ever, but it would be better for my driving song. The Weepies are a good driving band though. They give you a lot to think about.

So all in all, I think while there were exceptions, the lists were very well stocked with the "random" selections from my library. I have always been, and will remain forever, a believer.

Monday, February 09, 2009

T-Pain, I love you, but that hat's gotta go.

I was watching the Grammy's red carpet with my small group girls last night. We enjoyed both the beautiful dresses and making fun of the really not beautiful dresses. And while they almost made me go deaf with their screams when the Jonas Brothers appeared, we had fun trading observations. In general, we tended to agree. My biggest gripes were the lack of rock and the overabundance of glam.

It's so frustrating that Paris Hilton uses her piles of unearned money to wear crap like this. Doesn't she purport to have a sense of style? Lord knows she's never proven that, or that she's got anything else besides money.

Kate Beckinsale went a little too far. This is definitely an Oscars dress.

Katy Perry's Red Carpet dress was a sharp contrast from her costume on stage. She went from vamp to the Chiquita banana lady in less than an hour. Didn't really like either look.

I wish Paula would stop going out in public. She so clearly doesn't have it together in any respect and doesn't know anyone who does either, or they would stop her from wearing stuff like this: Paula Abdul

Cyndi Lauper's eccentric rock and roll style for once wasn't hideous but perfectly fitted to her and super cool.

just got it wrong. She had one of the hottest songs of the year and comes out looking all Jetsons. And her shoes were like hole-filled socks with heels attached to them.

Now for the gents.

Kings of Leon were the best dressed group of the night. The right balance of "we don't care" dressed down with " however, we still wanna look awesome" dressed up. Rock star hair to match.

T-Pain was a perfect example of the Hat-wearing trend (so hot for guys right now) gone astray. But hip hop artists do what they want. Another good example of not-good-hat-wearing is Futureman. Maybe worse than T-Pain. ARrrrr!

And it's not that all rappers choose to be ridiculous either. Kanye and T.I. both arrived looking fly and so did Young Jeezy, which, probably unfairly, I wasn't expecting. And one of my faves was the always gangsta Snoop Dogg.

But Jason Mraz was prob my pick for best dressed male of the night. Chucks, paired with a nice suit, funky tie, and a good example of how a hat should be worn. Perfect mix of cool and flare, but still dressed up.

The most mismatched pair of the night was definitely Allison Krauss and Robert Plant. He's a rock god. He doesn't answer to earthly fashion rules. It's just unfortunate that half of the reason for all his awards this year happens to be stunning and polished. Not that he cared, but there was a sharp contrast between him and his lovely female counterpart.

I love the Grammys because musicians from all genres mix with film and TV stars and the red carpet is "like a box of choc-o-lates". Less risks were taken this year though. Is it wierd to think that the girls looked too pretty? I guess I just wanted more diverse styling choices than the very pretty, fluffy pinks and classic lines I expect from Oscar night.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Now Sweeping the Nation

I read this article in the New York Times and literally 5 minutes later I got tagged. I took it as a sign that I needed to participate.

Here's the article:

and I will also post my 25 things. If you are not on facebook and would like to participate, feel free to send me your 25 things. It might be fun!

1) My least favorite word in the english language is "skort". Consequently, I think this is the worst idea for an article of clothing ever. Pick one, skirt or shorts.

2) I have a weird thing about needing to own my favorite movies but never watching them.

3) When I hear a song in a grocery store that I like, I sometimes will sing. out loud. also, if the song calls for it, I dance. I find Farm Fresh and Trader Joe's to be the places where this happens the most.

4) I respond to stress by baking or running.

5) My dream car is Cameron's dad's car from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California. I would also accept an early 60's Corvette or Cobra.

6) I am a huge fan of delayed gratification. I love waiting for Christmas presents and would never open any of them before the appointed time. I like planning fun things in advance so I can get excited for them to happen.

7) The first album I ever bought for myself was C&C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat" on tape in 4th grade.

8) My favorite big city in America is Chicago. But not in the winter.

9) Among my top travel goals are New Zealand (particularly hiking the Milford Trail) and South Africa's 2010 World Cup.

10) I don't like chick flicks because I contend they take cheap shots at emotional soft spots and often the acting is crappy. Titanic, the Notebook, and A Walk To Remember are all chick flicks to me (sorry if that offends). I do however enjoy great romance movies, i.e. Casablanca, Sabrina, The Princess Bride, A Very Long Engagement. I appreciate movies that can combine humor, plot and real emotion.

11) The Super Bowl is my favorite eating day of the year because I love dips of all kinds, especially hummus and guacamole.

12) I cherish my Netflix account and have recently taken to watching every Ken Burns documentary I can get my hands on. (not one disappointment in the bunch, let me tell you.)
13) My favorite smell is campfire.

14) I think spring in Williamsburg, VA is a little slice of heaven.

15) The best bar I've ever been too was The Flying Saucer in Nashville, TN.

16) I don't have DVR or TiVo so I am always in front of a television between 9 and 10pm on Thursday nights for the Office and 30 Rock. "I want to go to there."

17) Robert Redford and Brett Favre are in my older man file.

18) For a while when I was in pre-school I lived in Utah. We had the coolest backyard ever, complete with mountain views, tire swing and awesome sledding hill.

19) I would like to visit every National Park in the United States. Of the ones that I’ve been to, Yosemite and Zion are probably my favorites. I went to a lot when I was really young but don't have a lot of memories from them.

20) My favorite run in Colonial Williamsburg is around W&M’s campus, down the Colonial Parkway and to Jamestown Beach.

21) I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy annually. I also watch the movies every Christmas, usually in rapid succession.

22) Great accomplishments in sports make me emotional.

23) When I was younger I used to sort my M&M’s by color and eat them in the following order: tan (this was before the blue ones replaced them in 1995), dark brown, yellow, orange, red, then green.

24) I can rap every word to Dr. Dre's "Nuthin' but a G Thang". It was the first rap song I ever heard.

25) I’m really finicky about grammar and diction.

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