So have you heard about this film? Brave, a film by Disney & Pixar, is set to come out this June. I started hearing about it sometime last fall and I was only mildly intrigued. First of all, I’m in my early twenties now and I don’t really pay attention to animated films that much. There’s nothing wrong with watching animated films when you’re in your twenties, I just don’t do it that much (with the obvious exception of theatrical masterpieces such as Disney’s The Sword in the Stone — omg).
Anyway, the film was floating around some blogs and tumblrs that I follow and I did notice that the animation style looked really neat (as do all of Pixar’s films) and that the main character seemed to be this princess with an awesome name (Merida) and a fantastic head of hair. I didn’t really sit up and take notice until the second trailer was released and I happened to watch it one morning.
In this trailer, Merida is sitting with her parents as they watch men shoot targets to vie for her hand in marriage. Merida is visibly annoyed/bored/frustrated as this is going on. I also noticed that she is wearing an outfit that conceals her friggin’ awesome red hair. Anyway, Merida becomes so annoyed that she eventually goes out onto the field herself and declares, “I’ll be shooting for my own hand.”
And that’s when I fell in love with this movie.
To be honest, I don’t know much about the plot of this film. Pixar always seems to hold their films’ plots close to their chest (and I think this is a good thing — if you’re not giving too much away, that means there are awesome things you want to keep secret for when people go to see the movie). What I do know is that this girl is independent, an individual, and a kickass princess wearing a dress and climbing mountains. No, seriously (around 2:18).
So, yes. As a gal that’s always wanted to “shoot for my own hand,” I will be seeing Brave. And I will probably cry in the movie theater. Which is something people do.
(Sidenote: Sorry about the lack of BEDA posts. I have been either too busy, too tired, or have had nothing to say. I apologize!!)
Sometimes blogging is about your frustrations. And this week my major frustration has been public transportation. In fact, as my post title suggests, my reaction to public transportation all week has been, a la Liz Lemon, BLURGH (the spelling varies, just trust me on that).
Every single morning this week, my bus has been late. For the past month, there has been an 8:45 AND an 8:55 bus on my route. I’m able to catch one of those depending on how early or late my train is. This week, however, there appears to be NO bus between 8:50 and 9:15. ….What? What is going on? Are there new bus drivers? Are new drivers being trained this week? Is there some function going on in the city that I’m not aware of? Is there road work being done? I really don’t know, but it’s incredibly frustrating.
Suddenly, it’s like pulling teeth to get to work each morning. The train is reliable. It shows up on time (or it has this week), it gets me where I need to be, and then it’s really up to the bus to pick up the slack. And the bus has been dropping the ball left and right. On Wednesday, my afternoon bus joined my morning bus in being phenomenally late, which means that I really have to rush to get to the train to get home.
Public transportation, it seems, is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it’s amazing to me that buses run all over the city to get people where they need to be and somehow don’t just collide into each other. Same with trains. On the other hand, you’re completely at the will of these buses. You have to wait until they show up and you have no control over them if they’re late. For a control freak like me, that’s a big problem.
So, CTA, this is your wake-up call. That’s right, a random blog post on some girl’s tumblr. Hear the call! Be on time next week!
The title there is pretty self-explanatory, eh?
Last week I read my way through “Take the Cannoli,” which is Sarah Vowell’s second book of essays. I’d already “The Partly Cloudy Patriot” and “The Wordy Shipmates.” I own “Unfamiliar Fishes,” but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. As soon as I realized that Sarah Vowell was the voice of Violet, the daughter in The Incredibles, I was in love. For me, having a crush on someone famous means also wanting to be them to a certain degree. The more of Sarah Vowell’s writing that I read, the more sure I am that I want to be her.
From what I’ve read, Sarah Vowell is an amazingly literate, intelligent, sarcastic, witty human being who gets to work from home and write hilarious, observant articles for magazines and for published compilations. She is also ridiculously obsessed with and informed about American history. She is also politically active, has awesome friends, and just seems all-around amazing. She also lives in New York City and has been on The Daily Show, which only earns her more points.
Oh, and I’d also really like to have her ability to spin awkward, embarrassing childhood occurrences into humorous, pithy essays that The New Yorker would pay me to write.
Frankly, I wish I could write a more interesting or informed blog post about this topic because I really do admire Sarah Vowell as a person, as a woman, and as a writer. But it’s nearly eleven o’clock at night and sleep is begging me to succumb to it. So I’ll leave it at this: I want to be Sarah Vowell. Just for a day. I know she must have bad days too. We all do. But I’d really just like to step into her shoes for one day and be awesome.
At the tender and curmudgeonly age of 22, I have developed a very strong disdain for commercials and advertising of all kind.
Yes, I know no one likes advertising. No one likes product pitches to be screamed in their faces. No one likes their television to be interrupted by people yammering on about foot powder. But my disdain runs deep. I mean, the kind of disdain that leads to yelling at the television and viciously jabbing the “mute” button on my remote.
New, very large ads for orange juice recently appeared in Union Station. These wide banners chirp at you, “a city of 3 million and you run into that guy. Grab a Tropicana.” As though they expect you to read it and roll your eyes, laughing and thinking, “Oh, that guy. I hate that guy. You so totally understand me, corporate slogan.” Tropicana will make it all better! It’ll be “the good part of your day.” Oh brother.
And now they have a new way of getting at us — ads before YouTube videos and before you watch a clip of The Rachel Maddow Show. How dare you infiltrate my precious internet?!
My brother and I have found a way of coping, though. We just answer the commercials’ questions with snide remarks and make the whole thing into a joke. That way, at least the disdain is accompanied by laughter rather than screaming. It all works out for now, but I’m probably going to bust a vein over someone asking me if I’m getting my daily required dose of Vitamin Whatever.
(this post has been filched from the Jet Fuel Review blog, which I very often write for. it will arrive in tomorrow’s “community discussion” post.)
A recent blog post on the Book Riot site was bravely named I Haven’t Been to the Library in Almost a Year: A Story of Shame. In this post, Kit Steinkellner discusses how she has been delinquent of late with her library visits and why that has happened. When I saw the title of the post, I felt a chill. Imagine staying away from the library for that long, I thought. And then I realized that I’m just as bad as Ms. Steinkellner. I can’t even remember the last time I went to my local library.
Do you ever hear the synopsis to a story and almost catch yourself salivating? There are some back cover descriptions that just make me want to devour them. Once such description is the story idea encapsulated in this Kickstarter video. You can watch for yourselves, but this dude has come up with a story idea that takes real, historical ladies and puts them into an awesome book for young adults. The following paragraphs are taken from the Kickstarter page:
11 year old Ada has a problem: her governess, Miss Coverlet, has quit her job to go get married (a dumb idea if ever there was one, if you ask Ada) and her new tutor Percy (“Peebs”) is a total drip. She’d rather be left to her own devices – literally – inventing things and solving math problems and ignoring people altogether.
She’s also forced to study alongside the imaginative girlie-girl Mary, who’s always going on about romance and exotic travels. Fortunately, Mary’s appetite for adventure leads her to propose the two girls open a detective agency, and when an heiress shows up with a case about a missing diamond, it’s the perfect puzzle to coax Ada out of her shell.
This is the made up story about two very real girls – Ada, the world’s first computer programmer, and Mary, the world’s first science fiction author – caught up in a steampunk world of hot-air balloons and steam engines, jewel thieves and mechanical contraptions. For readers 8-12.
Readers 8-12? Are you kidding me? I really want to read this! I think it’s fantastic that this author wants his daughter and other girls her age to have real, intelligent, strong female characters to look up to. And the fact that they’re both interested in math and science just makes them even more awesome characters. I think I’ll be buying this book when it eventually comes out. As you can see, they’ve surpassed their goal on Kickstarter, so it looks like there will be plenty of stories in the series! Be sure to check out the “Wollstonecraft” page — it sounds like such a great idea.
A few weeks ago I stumbled across an online article somewhere that talked about The Shins streaming their latest album, Port of Morrow, for free. “How cool!,” I thought, and then I moved on with my day.
For the past four days I have listened to nothing but Port of Morrow on my train ride to and from work. How does this happen??
I have never before listened to The Shins. I know about them peripherally in some way, I think they’re mentioned in the movie “Garden State,” but I have never actually listened to them before now. There’s something strange about coming into a band’s discography with their latest album. It makes you feel like an interloper in a world where people have toiled and slaved to purchase vinyl copies of all The Shins have ever recorded and here you are just discovering them. Luckily, I’ve never come across anyone who might accuse me of being a Musical Interloper.
This album is amazing. It frees me, somehow. I wake up with its songs in my head and look forward to listening to them on my commute. The songs stay in my head all day (and I mean all day) at work and I can’t wait to listen to them on the way home.
I’m completely obsessed with “No Way Down.” And there’s just something about the lines, “As you rise, rise from your burning fiat, / And go, go get my suitcase. Would you?” from “The Rifle’s Spiral” that I absolutely love.
And because my music gets wrapped up with whatever I’m reading, The Shins will forever sound like Sarah Vowell’s Take the Cannoli. Somehow, the music takes on all of those words and it just sounds like what I was reading about the Cherokee, about Frank Sinatra, and about the Goths. Does anyone else connect music and books this way?
The other day, as my train ride home was ending, I stood up and crossed the cars to get to the door where I usually get off. As I was crossing between the two cars, though, I got this weird rush and actually paused for a moment (luckily, only a small crowd is left on the train when I get off, so I was able to pause) to look down and realize that all that separated me from a dreadful and crunchy death was some metal. I was being asked to trust the integrity of that metal and the bolts holding the train cars together while I walked across.
At the crosswalk outside the train station, where I have to cross to catch my bus, the light stays green for a very long time and strands large crowds of pedestrians on one side of the street while their buses pull away. After several months of doing this whole commuting thing, I’ve noticed that daring pedestrians dart across the street when there is a prolonged break in traffic. I know this isn’t entirely safe and, yes, it’s technically jaywalking, but there’s something exciting about making it across just in time and getting your bus.
These are sources of everyday exhilaration — little things that make us realize we’re alive. This made seem lame, but I love those little things. I don’t live a very “exciting” life. I’m not climbing mountains, saving lives, or driving race cars. But every once in a while, I can cross between the train cars and get excited about the ground rushing past me.
Here is my theory: political activism skips a generation.
This afternoon my ~free~ Obama/Biden 2012 bumper sticker came in the mail. Upon seeing the envelope on the table I said, “ooh, my free bumper sticker!” My dad responded, “Oh, is that what that is? Please don’t put that on our car.”
(First of all, I don’t have a car to put a bumper sticker on anymore. The car has passed on to my brother. I think he’d actually have the cajones to put the bumper sticker on, but, anyway.)
So I said, “oh yes, god forbid you be associated with…” and then I sort of trailed off because I wasn’t sure where I was going, and dad jumped in with, “we don’t endorse anyone.”
Indeed. My parents are incredibly apathetic when it comes to politics.
So, I used to be a conservative. You know. Waaaaay back when I was foolish and misguided. I’m a liberal now, but no matter which party I identify with, I have always been very enthusiastic about politics, the system, and the election season. I can’t help it. I know everything is corrupt, I know so many things need to be changed, and I know that it’s mostly this huge orchestrated event that involves a lot of money. I know all of that. I still love election season.
My parents’ political apathy makes me feel both pleased and disappointed. On one hand, I’m quite lucky. I could have parents who support Rick Santorum. That would be horrific. But on the other hand, I’m disappointed that my parents aren’t interested at all. If they were fervently and enthusiastically conservative, at least we could have some interesting discussions?
And here’s the part where I remember what I named this entry — my grandma is very interested in politics and is a fervent Obama supporter. My dad talks about her support of Kennedy back in the day as well. So, my parents got skipped, but at least I can share eye rolls with my grandma when people bring up Fox News.
In any case, I’ve got my free bumper sticker (thanks Obama campaign office!) and I don’t know where to put it. No matter how apathetic my parents may be, I won’t lose my enthusiasm for politics. If you’re not involved and interested, how are things going to change? What if no one was interested? Things might be even worse than they are today. And when it comes down to it, as a woman, I’d rather support the guy who defended Planned Parenthood over the guy who clearly doesn’t understand how birth control works.