Thursday, 31 March 2011

this thing I do

Jennie Heidi and I still lived together back when Wincing the Night Away came out, and it was around this time that she threatened to throw the CD out the window because I would play this song over and over.

When I fall in love with a song, I have this really bad habit of playing the hell out of it until everyone around me wishes I would fall off a cliff and take the song with me so they never, ever have to hear it again. But I can't help it. I've always been this way. When I was a kid, I played We Didn't Start the Fire over and over so I could learn the words, I played American Pie over and over because I was trying to figure out why the music died (I had no idea who Buddy Holly was at that time), and I played That Thing You Do over and over because I was in love with Skitch Patterson when I was 14 (...and 28).

I think it's safe to say that I will never grow out of this, because I have been listening to this song, on repeat, for months now. Also, I just watched the video for the first time and it's...different.

I play it before I go work out. I play it on the way to work, especially on Mondays. I play it on the way to interviews. I PLAY IT ALL THE TIME. And since I play it all the time, it's almost always stuck in my head. That's not the only song, though. I get these songs stuck in my head on an almost daily basis, and that's really OK with me.

This one.

and this one:

and this one, which I think has more to do with the video than the actual song:

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

But my words like silent raindrops fell.

I am so over music is what I said to Jamie first thing when he got back from paternity leave, because I was sitting in my office, in the dark, scrolling through the thousand-odd albums I have loaded onto Mitch's iPod, and scrolling, and scrolling, while he looked slightly worried that I had maybe lost my marbles sometime when he was gone, and also a little disappointed that if I had, he missed out on all the fun. So I told him that I am so over music, which explained the scrolling, but not so much the sitting in the dark. (I was sitting in the dark because the lights in my office are attached to a motion sensor, and apparently I sometimes slip into another spacetime dimension which makes them suddenly turn off. What with all the slipping into another spacetime dimension and all. As I do. And then they do. Anywho.)

I am so over music, and don't even get me started on food, and the making of said food, because I have, like, zero interest in the "What do you want for dinner?" conversation. And writing! Writing is so worst. But as writing is how I make my living, write I must. And what must I write about? What I've been listening to in the month of March (To what I've been listening in the month of March.) Which is... nothing new. Whatever pops up on my Shuffle when I'm out for a run (Girl Talk, Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, The Hold Steady). Whatever they play at Caps games (Ozzy, DJ Pauly D, The xx, Tom Green). Um, that's it I guess. Here's a picture of my cat:

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

will you still know me in a year?

AbsIs it me or do we write about music a lot on here? It feels like every month I'm scrambling to reveal something when in actuality the only music I listen is while I'm asleep and my radio alarm clock is whaling Florence and the Machine at me and then I quick turn it off. Not a lot of tunes in my life. (Podcasts in my car. Silence at work.) But every once in a while, I happen to notice the song playing on my TV and thanks to the beauty of the internet I can sometimes look up those songs. Fancy that.

Squealing Pigs by Admiral Fallows
in Chuck vs. the First Bank of Evil

Monday, 28 March 2011

Ah, music! A magic far beyond all we do here!


Of all the subjects in all the world, I am probably most ignorant about music. Well. Science and music. Which is funny, right? Because science and music are exact opposites. It’s actually kind of nice not knowing anything about music, because not knowing about music means I don’t have any art wanker opinions about music, and not having any art wanker opinions about music means I don’t have to write any art wanker opinions about music, and not writing about music means I can just enjoy it.

March was a rough month for me, a month that would have been completely devoid of magic if the Sorting Hat hadn’t sorted a Gryffindor into my life who loves music like Albus Dumbledore loves music. Mostly she’s been teaching me about Iceland. You know, the country with the actual elves. We’ve been listening to a lot of Sigur Ros, and so my most played albums of March were Ágætis byrjun, Rímur, ( ) and Takk...

Glósóli is my favorite song from any of the albums, ‘cause, well, see for yourself:

I’m like that little Neville Longbottom at the very end. Only he finally jumped and I’m still standing here.

Friday, 25 March 2011

This was actually going to be a much better post, but then I sort of forgot about it.

My favorite room in the apartment only has one wall (the other three being composed entirely of windows) and this is what that wall looks like:

Kinda best, right? Too bad I'm moving :(

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Easy like a Sunday morning

I just moved so sadly there isn't anything up in my new place. It's been raining non stop for like a month it feels like so I haven't been able to finish crafting some stuff for my walls (spray paint is the extent of my crafting). Plus I'm pretty sure my walls are made out of plaster which: I don't think nailing into that is a good plan.

I do have a vision and eventually, you know, maybe I'll even have a bed. Who's to say.

But for now, I'll convince myself that this is calming and pitter patter into my transformed, formerly-sterile bathroom each morning.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Je m'appelle Claude! Je de coup Clow!

Have you guys noticed the sporadic posting and mismatched days and general dropped-ball shenanigans of late here on The Collective? Yeah, I'm just going to go ahead and claim full responsibility for that. I haven't been a very good Monday Girl for a while now. Like, right this second it is 11:41 p.m. on Tuesday and I am only just now posting. Don't get mad at my Collective mates, is what I am saying. I'm working, working, working on getting my ducks in a row. Do any of you guys know a professional duck organizer?

Anyhoodle, this week's topic is: What's on your favorite wall in your favorite room in your house, and my answer is:

It's a good thing I love my office on account of I spend ALL MY WHOLE LIFE in here.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Hey, Uncle Scar*, when I'm king, what'll that make you?

For someone who is as clumsy as I am, I only have, like, two scars. One is from when my sister dug her nails into my arm and made me bleed. She used to do that all the time, so I'm not sure why I don't have more scars from that. The other is on my forehead, from when I was three and fell down and hit my head on the corner of the coffee table. Ow. To my credit, I'd only been walking for a couple of years so I wasn't very good at it yet. I got some stitches and a scar that I tell people I got when I fought off a lion on a train with a whip.

When I was a senior in high school, we went putt-putting and, on the last hole of the course, I decided I was going to hit my ball as hard as I could. Most people would know right away that this is a terrible, terrible idea, but I am not one of those people. So I whacked that ball as hard as possible (heh) and, wouldn't you know it? It hit a rock, ricocheted, and hit me right in the forehead, IN THE EXACT SAME PLACE AS MY FOREHEAD SCAR. At the time I thought it MEANT SOMETHING. It didn't, though. I did not get a scar that time, just a nasty bump. Here are some other times I should have gotten scars but didn't, thanks to my hard-working guardian angel.

Times I probably should have gotten scars, in chronological order:

1. I got stuck in a pool hole. I was five or six and had been EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN from playing around in the backyard of my babysitter's house, because they were putting in a pool and there was a giant hole in the ground and, I don't know, they didn't want me to get stuck down there and get buried in cement because then there'd always be this 6-year-old poltergeist hanging around their pool singing the Fraggle Rock theme song and throwing rocks into the pool water and HOW ANNOYING would that be if all you wanted to do was get a tan or whatever? Anyway, I wasn't allowed back there and had been told numerous times NOT to play around back there, so of course I played there as much as I could. Until the day I was climbing out of the pool hole and my shorts got caught on a (rusty) nail. I think I had to scream for someone to come get me and then immediately start crying once I was free so I wouldn't get in trouble.

2. I fell off of the parallel bars on the school playground and landed in the gravel on my face. ON MY FACE. No scars, though, maybe because my glasses protected me? My mom had to come to school and take me to get new glasses because the gravel I FELL FACE FIRST INTO had scratched them all to hell.

3. I fell backwards off of a Fisher-Price teeter totter (remember those orange and yellow ones?) because I stood on one end and made my friend push down really hard on the other end. My theory was that if my friend pushed down with enough force, I would go flying through the air like my childhood idol (Peter Pan), but instead I fell and hit my head on the concrete.

4. I slipped on a Slip-n-Slide and not in a good way. Here was my idea: I would run toward the Slip-n-Slide, gracefully jump onto the edge of it, and the momentum would carry me across the Slip-n-Slide like I was surfing. Here is what happened: I ran toward the Slip-n-Slide, cowabungaed onto the edge of it, slipped ass over tea kettle (I love that saying and am pretty sure I've never gotten a chance to use it before), and landed on my back, smacking my head on the ground in the process.

5. I fell backwards off of a swing. I'm still not sure how this happened but I landed on my head. Hmm, I'm sensing a theme here...

6. I was at my friend's house once and we (my friend, her brother, my sister, me) were throwing rocks at one of those electric poles. I don't know why. I'm sure we had a reason. Anyway, her brother threw a rock and it somehow whipped around (seriously, I was standing BEHIND HIM, I think he broke the laws of physics) and hit me in the forehead, right between the eyes. It didn't draw blood or anything but do you realize how close I came to losing an eye? I just measured and I came, like, A CENTIMETER CLOSE.

7. I climbed and then jumped off of a billboard. Not a very tall billboard. But, like, it was really hard to climb up? So I thought it would be really hard to climb down? And so obviously it was a much better idea to just jump. Sure.

9. I climbed a fence to go nightswimming on two different occasions. I did almost drown the one time, but escaped without any near death experiences the second time, and without scars both times, even though I have a vague recollection of Mary and I racing around the edge of the pool.

10. I slipped and fell on Lake That's What She Said. Granted, it wasn't very hard (THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID) but I did scrape my hand pretty badly.

All of my other scars are emotional but even they are (mostly) my own fault.

*Get it...GET IT?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Where's the proof in you?

Grand Canyon
I am mostly untouched. Save a few dings here and there--stories my mom likes to tell--I am a globe of frosted glass. Asthma kept me out of trouble most of my youth and work has kept me unscathed as an adult. I live a sheltered life and wear my seat belt every day.

But on the inside, under the layers of clothes and under the snow-white skin are plenty of scars you can’t see. Sand bags of scar tissue line boundaries across my heart, a treacherous path for the most advanced traveler. The formations in the rock are carved by waterways: sleepless nights and empty tissue boxes. I have a road map for the last 27 years. At least we know how beautiful it can be in just another 2 million.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.


It seems weird to say it now because of my manic evangelism, but I was thoroughly uninterested in Harry Potter for the longest time. I don’t even remember why, really; all I know is if someone had told me the entire series revolved around a lightning bolt-shaped scar, I would have been at the bookstore faster than you can say sneezewort. I love scars. I love them. Scars make people fifty-eleven billion times more attractive to me. I don’t care if it’s from chicken pox or a bear attack.

You could probably unpack it a dozen different ways, from The Odyssey to Lord of the Flies, but probably I am drawn to visible imperfection because I am so deeply flawed. Also, I just think scars are sexy. Yvonne Strahovski has a scar on her forehead that you can only see in HD and it drives me to distraction. Eve Myles has a scar on her chin, and same thing. There’s a scene in the fourth series of Skins where Freddie traces a scar on Effy’s forehead in the fading sunlight and it’s all silhouetted and ethereal, and I don’t even care how heavy handed it is, it steals my breath every time. Every single time.

If I catalogued all my scars, it would take a whole entire year. Bike wrecks, softball accidents, RUNNING WITH HEDGE CLIPPERS, but my very most favorite scar is on my right shin. It’s two inches long and an inch wide and it’s really deep too. I mean, this is really gross and you probably shouldn’t read it, but you could actually see my the white bone part of my shin when it happened. And this is how it happened:

When I was in high school, I had a chip on my shoulder the size of Gibraltar, and a vicious, insecure little demon lived inside that rock and I exercised him and fed him and kept him growing and gnawing by playing basketball. It was very much an anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better situation, and it extended to weight training and plyometrics and practice with the boys. One humid summer afternoon, we were cross-training with the guys when the boys’ coach brought out these plywood boxes. The girls were meant to jump on the ones that were one tiny foot tall, and the boys were meant to jump on the ones that were two or three feet tall. Also, there was a four foot tall box, but it was only intended for a dude named Andy who could jump to the rafters like Spider-Man. But I was me, and me was horrible, and so I was like, “Uh, I can jump on the high one too.”

Everyone had a laugh like they didn’t even know me, and when Andy cleared the box with a running start, I cleared the box, too. When Andy cleared the box with two layup steps, I cleared the box, too. When Andy cleared the box with a stutter jump, I cleared the box, too. When Andy cleared the box flat-footed, I did not. I missed by exactly one foot, and I know it was exactly one foot because I measured it just now; it’s the distance from my shin-scar to my heal.

It was kind of horrible. It kind of swelled up to the size of a softball. I kind of couldn’t even walk. Jenn was like, “What in the hell were you thinking?” when she patched me up that night, and even now when I have my legs draped across her lap, she’ll run her finger over that thing and shake her head like she did when we were kids.

People like to talk about scars as symbols of survival. Or bravery. I like to talk about my scars like Amazing Grace. Only instead of being found, it’s about being a twat. Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come! Was twattery that brought me safe thus far, and twattery shall lead me on!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Let's not put the "duh" in dumb.


Me: I need a terrible movie to write about for Thursday.
Joe: Hmm, how about The Cutting Edge.
Joe: about Pippi Longstocking?
Me: Well, that movie is pretty terrible but it's not my favorite terrible movie.

Also, I got to thinking about it, and I don't think kids movies count as terrible movies because EVERYONE likes terrible movies when they're a kid. There are some good kids movies from when I was but a wee be-pigtailed lass, movies like The Goonies, Annie, The Land Before Time (BUT SO SAD), The Brave Little Toaster, and like ALL of the Disney movies, but there are a lot of really bad movies. Ferngully. Pippi Longstocking. The Land Before Time versions 2 through whatever number they're on now. I mean, good lord, just look:

But it seems unfair to judge my childhood taste in movies, since all kids like some sort of shitty entertainment, otherwise things like Justice Beaver Justin Bieber and the Teletubbies never would have existed. Close your eyes and think of THAT world, a world without Justin Bieber or Tinky Winky, until you come back to harsh reality. OK, come back now, please, and finish reading.

When it comes to picking the shittiest movie I've latched onto as an adult, well, I have a hard time choosing just one, because I love so many shitty movies. Center Stage, What a Girl Wants, The Holiday, FUCK YES, but I could also add Cool Runnings, Grease 2, Pet Semetary, The Fifth Element, and OK FINE, The Cutting Edge.

There's a big difference between plain old shitty movies (When in Rome, Confessions of a Shopaholic, almost all Katherine Heigl vehicles) and EPIC shitty movies. When in Rome made me want to LITERALLY kill myself. And, yes, I SAID LITERALLY ON PURPOSE. It made me embarrassed for every actor involved, except maybe Dax Shepherd and Napoleon Dynamite (because fuck those guys). But for everyone else, I wanted to commit sepukku because I was so embarrassed on their behalf. I mean, what is Kristen Bell doing in that movie? She is too good for that. She is Veronica Mars! She is Uda FUCKING Bengt, people!

But I digress.

Epic shitty movies are like parasites, they latch onto your brain and make you shout things like, "TOE PICK," out loud, in real life, with no context whatsoever. They make you give up trying to do anything productive on sunny weekend afternoons. Instead you sit on the sofa, unshowered and preferably with some sort of greasy hangover food spread out in front of you, and lose hours to The Fifth Element, which TBS* (aka Hangover Theater) is airing over and over ALL DAY LONG.

But alas, I'm still torn! Which shitty movie is my favorite? I'm tempted to pick Sister Act, but I watched it too many times as a child and now I can't even bring myself to call it a shitty movie. Sister Act 2 on the other hand? Yeah, that is a terrible movie, and yet I've seen it at least 100 times. But YOU GUYS. Professor McGonagall is in those movies. How can you NOT love them? And...Lauren Hill? What? Is that not the most wonderfully random thing you've ever heard? Also, this:

My next thought was Never Been Kissed. I love this movie, but it is just terrible. And yet, when I'm channel surfing and it's on TBS (of course) and it's almost to the part where Drew Barrymore is waiting nervously on the pitcher's mound and everyone is watching her and you're not sure if Michael Vartan is going to show up and then it REALLY looks like he's not going to show up BUT THEN THERE HE IS! AND HE'S RUNNING TOWARD HER AND THEN HE KISSES HER AND SHE'S NOT NEVER BEEN KISSED ANYMORE AND! IT! IS! AWESOME! I can't not watch that, you guys, I just can't.


But when it comes down to it, my all time favorite shitty movie is Bring it On. It's the perfect storm of questionable acting, quotability, and DANCE ROUTINES. There is just never a bad time to watch it. Hungover? Watch this movie. You have the flu? Watch this movie. Just broke up with someone? Watch this movie. Bored? Watch this movie. Don't know what spirit fingers are? WATCH. THIS. MOVIE. I've seen it enough times that I can recite the lines along with the characters, which isn't THAT big of a deal, I can do the same thing with Bridget Jones's Diary AND Pride & Prejudice, but there's a big difference between saying this:

"I am most seriously displeased."

and yelling THIS:

"You are being a CHEER-TATOR, Torrence, and a pain in my ass!"

for no raisin whatsoever. I could hate on myself, but COME ON, this movie is amazing. Just...just watch it, OK? Follow me or perish, sweater monkeys.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Let's go away for a while, you and I, to a strange and distant land.

There are a great many things you know about me but at least one you probably don't: I adore shit movies. Like Heather, I've seen What a Girl Wants hundreds of times. Same goes for that one with Mrs. Ryan Adams and Lorelai and Diane Keaton (who is my spirit animal, another thing you probably don't know). So when it came to choosing my absolute favorite of the BILLIONS of shit movies I've watched over the years, well, it was a challenge.

BUT THEN! I remember once having an hour-long conversation with my friend Luke (back when he was available for hour-long conversations) about this very subject. And the subject we both settled upon was this:


This is the absolute best worst movie EVER. I mean, if you can talk to a dude for an hour about a shitty romantic comedy, you know it's gotta be THE SHIT. Don't believe me? Watch the trailer!

I mean seriously guys, in what universe would some single gal be all, "Hey, creepy person from the internet whom I've never met! Let's swap houses!" and another single gal practically on the other side of the planet be all, "Okie doke! Don't steal my stuff or crash my car or nothing!" And then Jude Law knocks on your door all dead sexy with the sexy face and then you have sexy times and then you get to move to England.

Wherever that universe is, I want to live there.

But unfortunately, I live in this universe, a universe where the internet is full of axe murderers and fossil fuels pollute our air and Jude Law is kind of a skeeve. Which is why, I think, I am helpless to turn this movie off whenever I come across it on the TV. It reminds me of a time and a place that could have been. Plus, it has everything in the world one could possibly need:

Jude Law.
Frou Frou.
Meet cutes.
Kate Winslet sans corset.
Old Jewish men.
Jack Black not being a total asshole.
Cute cottages.
And let's not forget, Jude Law.

Jude Law, guys!

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Who the hell are you? NOBODY.


There are movies that are so bad they're good. And then there are movies that are so bad they're good they're bad they're good. I mean, they are just that GOOD SLASH BAD. I think the dance genre has an edge since it almost always features dancers instead of actors and because dancers are limitlessly bitchy. Plus also it's hard to make a genuinely compelling dance story hinging on a fake competition (Step Up 3D anyone?) especially without making it a "psychological thriller" full of mental theatrics.

Like there's a movie out right now, Black Swan maybe you've heard of it, about dancing and I just can't muster up the strength to see it because I've seen the trailer and well, Natalie Portman just isn't the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy. And in that clip where she is crying on the phone telling her mom she got the role? Meh. Maureen Cummings got the role, folks. I was there. I remember. Which is to say: Center Stage takes the (eating-disorder-prop) cake when it comes to terrible movies and dancing movies.

“Have you seen Emily lately? Her pas de deux partner’s going to need a crane to lift her.”

"Cooper, you're an amazing dancer, and you're a great choreographer, but as a boyfriend... you kinda suck."

What a magical piece of cinema.

You should read this awesome piece at TwoP that explores Black Swan vs. Center Stage. The author fails to point out the clear winner, but commenter Betsey proves what truly came first, "The major one you missed which I thought was shot for shot identical to Center Stage was the shoe preparation scene. When they are cutting out the lining, sewing on straps, scoring the soles, etc. IDENTICAL."