Archive | February, 2011

Academy Awards 2011:View from My Couch

28 Feb

Today’s round of little-known facts about me: I adore movies. From a very young age I’ve been instilled with a near-rabid love of the silver screen, something I credit my mother for. My father, bless him, has never been much for going to the movies, so my mother began dragging me and my younger sister out as soon as we were old enough to not be terrified of Disney movies.

Which took until I was about 5 or 6. Old Disney was scary.

Along with this love of movies came a love of spending time with my Mum, so this year, just like many years before, I went over to hang out at my parents’ house and we curled up on the couch with cups of tea and ginger snaps to watch the Oscars.

I don’t hold a lot of stock in the Academy Awards as a genuine measure of Hollywood Achievement. I still hold that the best movie of 2008 was Doomsday. No disrespect to the Coen brothers, but any movie that features cannibalism, pole-dancing, a high-speed car chase and knights on horseback is going to be my favourite movie of the year. I think most of the Oscars is power play and politics and people wearing sparkly dresses that make the viewers at home go “dang, that dress costs as much as my house”.

This year was pretty fun in my book though. I love Anne Hathaway, and just about every dress she wore last night was absolutely stunning (though I wasn’t a big fan of that last one), though James Franco didn’t impress me until he came out in drag dressed as Marilyn Monroe and informed everyone that he’d just gotten a call from Charlie Sheen.

Here are a few of my personal favourite moments:

– Justin Timberlake confessing to the audience that ‘I am Banksy’. As a street-art geek I loved ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, but had a strong feeling it wasn’t going to win just because Hollywood didn’t want to incur the real Banksy’s wrath. On a related note, I was really hoping Kevin Spacey would follow up this joke and turn it into a running gag by bringing up that whole ‘Kaiser Soze thing’.

And I’ve just ruined the Usual Suspects. I apologize.

– Holy crap on a stick, Zachary Levi WAS actually singing in Tangled. I think I literally exploded when he stepped out and delivered a beautiful and classy performance (Mandy Moore wasn’t bad either). It took a while for me to reign in my fangirl squee and I flailed and wailed until my mother threw sofa cushions at me to shut me up.

That said, Randy Newman totally deserved the award. As did Toy Story 3 for Best Animated. Though How to Train Your Dragon was my favourite animated movie of the year.

– Double holy crap on a stick, Trent Reznor got the Academy Award for best original score. Speaking of rabid fangirl squees, I basically broke down and could not contain my flailing. Nine Inch Nails is pretty much my favourite band, I listened to the Social Network Soundtrack about fifty times before I saw (and loved) the movie, and somehow the older Trent gets, the better he looks, and there’s only so much of that I can ignore to account for his huge talent and musical genius. Mrreow. But anyway, he gave a wonderfully tasteful speech, and is paving the way for amazing film scores everywhere. Something my mother, a music professor, heavily approved of.

– Lots of love to the writers this year. Aaron Sorkin took away Best Adapted Screenplay and gave a wonderful speech, as did David Seidler for Best Original Screenplay. Maybe I just love the Screenplay awards because that’s the award I have the best chance of ever taking away myself, but whatever. Props to the writers. *woop woop*

– Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr. reprise their Sherlock Holmes dynamic to present, and it filled me with more fangirl squee. I just want to cuddle both those boys.

– Natalie Portman’s non-meltdown, an accomplishment after the last time I saw her accept a Best Actress award. Also, great dress, truly. Rockin’ the purple.

I didn’t have too many bad moments, though I kind of wish Gwyneth Paltrow would stick to acting and walk away from country singing. Sweetie, singing with your eyes clothes doesn’t make you a better singer. And Sandra Bullock has definitely had some work done.

I also kinda wished Social Network had scooped the big awards, but that’s just because I haven’t seen The King’s Speech (thanks to poverty).

Also, Kirk Douglas. Dear Heavens Kirk Douglas. I want to cuddle him.

A most amusing Academy Awards this year. I definitely laughed more times than I groaned, and not all the dresses were horrifying. Plus it was a fun way to spend time with my Mum, which doesn’t happen all that often these days.   And now I have a huge long list of movies to check out when I start getting paychecks. Never a bad thing.

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Weekend Update

26 Feb

So it’s the weekend. I don’t start my new job until next Friday, which is kinda awesome but also kind of a bummer since I’ve now got a week stretching ahead of me with a whole lot of not much floating around in it. I’ve got Pokemon to play (and blog about, since it’s apparently a really popular subject – my pokemon post got a lot of hits today and I wrote it almost a week ago), Ugly Betty to watch and friends to hang out with. That and today I started writing a new novel on a complete whim and I’m now almost 6000 words in, which is great progress for me, especially considering I haven’t exactly been writing a lot in the last few months.

I’m debating what to go with for dinner tonight. The urge to order delicious pizza has never been more tempting, but we have a house full of food, so pizza would be silly. We also have beer, so I’m going to enjoy another one of those and probably whip up some pasta or something equally delicious. For I have been writing for the last three hours, and that makes me hungry.

So, off I go to hunt for food. I’m still not drinking soda, and it’s still going surprisingly well. Green tea is what’s doing it for me, I swear it. That stuff is incredible for preventing the caffeine headaches.

Hope everyone’s having an enjoyable weekend. That’s all from me.

Dailypost Writer’s Block: Sleep

25 Feb

Question 1: What keeps you up at night?

Answer: Everything. I have Anxiety Disorder, so sleep is difficult to find on a regular basis.

Bonus Question: What helps you forget about what keeps you up at night?

Answer: Melatonin. It’s heavenly sleep in a bottle. Also cuddles. But those are good in any situation.

Victory!

24 Feb

This morning I got a call that woke me up. This happens on occasion, and during the course of my rabid jobhunt I often anticipate early calls.

Turns out that was fortuitous.

Starting March 4th, I will be gainfully employed once again. Turns out that interview for the data entry job went better than I’d thought.

Now excuse me, I’m off to do the Carefree Victory dance:

Carefree Victory from the Homestuck Soundtrack

Coveting

23 Feb

So, because writing these things down will keep me sane, here’s a list of things I want to do when I have money:

1) Join a yoga class. Or a gym or something. Yoga sounds appealing because I think it’ll help me with all the spiritual turmoil as well as the miserable out-of-shapedness business I’m dealing with. Seriously. I shouldn’t feel the burn just for walking three and a half miles at a slight incline. That or I want to start swimming again, which means buying fancy shampoo so my hair doesn’t turn green.

2) Join a local co-op. Sounds like crazy hippie talk, but I want to shop, eat, and live more local and more healthily, and besides, the nearest local co-op is crazy awesome and totally sweet. Their deli has the best pasta salad I’ve ever had ever in my life.

3) Follow up from 2 is to eat more healthy, local foods, and keep up this crazy no soda diet I’m dealing with. If I eat more healthy, I’ll just feel better in general. So that’d include buying from the co-op, and occasionally venturing across town to Trader Joe’s, which is the best source of healthy junk food I’ve ever found.

4) Save up to get a sweet-ass apartment with Jeff in August. And by sweet-ass I mean this one place that has two bedrooms AND a spiral staircase.

5) Save up more to decorate said sweet-ass apartment with awesome kitchen appliances, wall hangings, furnishings, posters and so on.  So it’ll actually feel like home and not just a temporary fixture like most places I’ve lived.

6) Travel. As well as needing to check out law schools in other states, I miss my sister and I want to visit her in England before she comes back.

7) Get more tattoos. I love my first one, and I got it about a year ago. I could definitely enjoy having a few more. I’m thinking I’ll get my Star Wars tattoos next. Because I am a geek.

8) Buy a new wardrobe. In particular some skirts, sweatpants, other random things. I’m tired of looking at myself in the mirror and going ‘ugh, my clothes look all weird today’. That and I have a weakness for long flowing skirts.

9) Pay my parents back for all the money they’ve been helping me out with in the last couple of months. Unemployment would be a lot more miserable without their help and love. My parents truly rock.

10) Buy more bookshelves. If you could see the overflow problem I have in my room, you’d understand the reasoning. That and Jeff and I are going to end up combining book collections when we get a place, and that means more bookshelves! Preferably of the floor-to-ceiling variety. One of the reasons I’m reluctant to move out of state is that it means leaving my book collection behind, at least for a while. This would sadden me immensely.

11) Get sushi once a week. Because few things in life make me happier. Delicious food that doesn’t make my stomach panic and curl up in fear? That’s a big ‘yes please’. Even just the vegetable kind makes my life better.

12) Videogames. I’m budgeting my meager unemployment moneys to buy Pokemon Black on the 6th of March, but I’d like to have some others too. Jeff has a lot of them, but I’d love to have at least a few of my own to squee over and suffer addiction from.

I’m sure I covet plenty of other random things. This is a small portion of my materialistic madness.

Challenging

22 Feb

I’ve decided to give up drinking soda for a month.

Due to my horrific caffeine addiction, this is going to be rather complicating in my life. So give me a couple days.

It’s part of my 30 day challenge, something Jeff and I are doing. I’m going to blog about it here (don’t worry, your friendly neighborhood madness that is the Uncomfort Zone will continue to update on a regular basis, it’s just giving me somewhere to chatter about the challenges that isn’t here, because you’ll get sick of me whining about caffeine and talking about food and exercise within days).

 

So wish me luck. Tomorrow I’ll find something more interesting to chat about tomorrow folks, I promise. 🙂

Jobhunting: The Endless Cycle of Hopelessness

21 Feb

Those of you who have been paying at least a modicum of attention are aware that I’m currently in the market for a job. And by aware I mean that you follow me on twitter and have been watching my tweets get steadily more and more whiny over the last month. That or you haven’t seen me posting a blog in all-caps emblazoned with the words ‘OMG I GOTS A JOB BEEETCHES! WOOOOO!’

It’s sad but true; I’m one of millions of other Americans in the ‘Post- college got a degree but have next to no useful work skills’ rock and hard place position. In the last month alone, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Jobhunt is an endless cycle that goes around and around, feeding off the rise and fall of the huntee’s hope and disappointment.

So here it begins:

Stage 1: Starting Point
‘I really need a job!’

I consider this the ‘unpleasant realization stage’, the point where you, say, look at your bank account and try to decide which is more important this month, eating or putting gas in your car.

Stage 2: Hunting
‘Scour internet and local businesses for viable jobs’

The definition of ‘viable job’ changes with every rotation of the cycle. The first round of the cycle most folk are picky, opting only for the most quality opportunities for employment. After a few times around the merry-go-round, however, even jobs like inbound telemarketing or dogsitting start to sound appealing.

Stage 3: Applying
‘Fill out a billion applications’

This is one of the more lengthy steps. Applications and the requirements for applying for a job can be as simple as ’email us your resume’ or as complicated as ‘send us your resume, then fill out this extremely complicated questionnaire, and then this other one. Then sign a contract in blood proffering your firstborn upon acceptance of the job.

Stage 4: Waiting, Part 1
‘Wait to hear back from jobs’

This step is the least fruitful, but can be done in tandem with stage 3 if applied correctly. If job prospects fall through for those jobs you applied for, this is usually where you return to step 1 and begin the cycle again (I call this the mini cycle of job hopelessness)

Stage 5: The Interview
‘Be offered an interview’

The interview comes in two forms: some places go for a sit-down interview right from the get-go, others just start with a phone interview. When an interview is offered, the hope begins, thus leading to me considering Stage 5 one of the more difficult, crueller stages in the jobhunt.

Stage 6: The Interview part 2
‘Attend the interview’

One of the more nerve-wracking stages. Before you go to it you spend hours twitching and adjusting your attire, muttering motivational phrases to yourself and wiping your sweaty palms on your pants. After it’s over you sit there and twitch some more, wondering what you’ve done wrong and how you could ahve screwed it up

Optional Stage: Second interview
‘ Attend the second interview’

Some places request a second interview for one reason or another. Often it’s because interview one was a phone interview and they want to meet you in person before they deem you worthy of hiring. Other times they go for a group interview to see how you will function within that office with those interviewers. Whichever one it is, the second interview further sparks that flare of hope in the heart of the interviewee, kindling it all the more until it becomes strong.

Stage 7: Waiting, part 2
‘Wait for results’

The worst stage. Some places make you wait days, others make you wait only hours, but they’re the longest hours of your life. Time passes slowly, and the flame of hope wavers and sputters. It’s impossible to do anything else related to jobhunting at this point; you can try to fill out more apps, follow up on leads, but it just adds to the frustration and the uncomfortable knot in your stomach. However long it takes, waiting to hear back from a job is one of the more potent forms of mental torture available on this planet.

Stage 8: Responses
Hear back from potential job

There are two ways this response can go, very simply: One, you get a call or email that regretfully informs you that while you were well qualified and have all number of skills, you were not selected for the position. Two, you get a call or email that joyfully congratulates you on joining the team of whatever job you applied for, and then hashes out when you can start. However, in this job market and day and age, the more likely of the two responses is always going to be One.

Stage 9: Mourn
‘I didn’t get the job. Screw all this’

Mourning is a tad melodramatic a term, but the essence is there. Not getting the job crushes the flare of hope kindled by the interviews and the applicant returns to his or her life of cynical alcoholism or similar. My technique for dealing with rejection usually involves a fair amount of alcohol and the shedding of tears. Then the playing of videogames, congratulating oneself on at least making a strong effort to track down a job.

And thus, the cycle returns to stage one. It is of course possible to break the cycle, but the only way to do this is to go around and around, hopes rising and falling over and over until the money runs out and eating your own shoes becomes a viable option for sustenance.

Fellow jobhunters, I hope your searches are more fruitful than mine, and that you get to spend less time going around this cycle.

If I get the chance later, I’ll draw you an easy flowchart.

New Short Fiction: Cheshire

20 Feb

I’m starting to get back into the swing of writing again. Here’s something I banged out while listening to Homestuck Vol. 5 today:

*

Cheshire

Four dark walls with a patch of light in the center of the floor. Four walls covered in cloth, soft, padded. Rough like an airbag but not hard enough to bruise or traumatize. Hands crawling across the square panels of cloth, counting out of boredom, of idle curiosity. Each square is three hand-lengths high and wide, and there are six squares up the wall, along the wall, across the floor and the ceiling. There is room to move around, to walk and stretch. There is a door, somewhere, but it is covered in the pads the same way the rest of the room is, soft and safe, so it’s indistinguishable from the rest of the wall when closed and locked. Attempts to discern it have failed, even after weeks of trying.

At least I think its weeks. The colour of the light through the gap in the ceiling is the only indicator of the passage of time. If I stand perfectly still under it on the right nights, I see the stars move across the sky, sometimes even the moon. I’ve seen many starry nights standing on the padded floor staring up through the glass hole in my padded ceiling. I have no way to keep count because they will not give me pencils or pens or markers or ink, except under close supervision, and then only after good behavior.

‘Good behavior’ means remaining silent. It means not biting or scratching myself or any of the guards or the other inmates. It means eating all my food in the allotted amount of time. It means taking the pills when they give them to me and not just hiding them in my cheek or puking them back up again. It means not trying to bash my skull against the wall or tear the cloth padding. It means not singing songs to the people on the other sides of my walls or telling stories. Good behavior is, as far as I’ve learned, being invisible.

If the doctors deem my behavior good enough, I sometimes get to go outside. Some days I’m permitted an hour in the common room down the hall and to the left, with some of my friends, or people they expect me to make friends with. I’m uninterested. They all stare at me like I’m one of them, like I’ve lost my mind and found madness to replace the hole in my head. Once we played cards, but I started to talk to the Ace of Clubs more than Gina across the table, so they put me back in with the padded walls. They gave me a jacket that trapped my hands so I couldn’t braid my hair or scratch my nose or count the squares with my hands.

The pills make me lethargic; I can’t stand up when my dosages are higher. My sleep is dreamless and dull, full of figments just out of reach. The doctors watch me take them now and make sure I’ve swallowed them though; I can’t escape my walls into dreamland, because when I do I wake up with blood on my hands and scratches on my arm and I’ve written it again and again all over the walls of my room in red smears: “WE’RE ALL MAD HERE” or sometimes “OFF WITH HER HEAD”. They find me laughing to myself, or so they tell me. They always want to know what’s funny about what I’ve done to myself. I never tell them. Never give them words, only a grin, a cat-smile that leaves them alarmed and writing figures on paper that correspond to dosage levels.

I see Doctor Carroll three days a week, sometimes more if I’ve not been demonstrating good behavior, and he spends each of our sessions asking me questions about what he calls my delusions. After four meetings, I stopped answering with the truth and responded to his questions with silence. We both know progress will not be made unless he starts believing me or I start believing him. We are both people of faith and strong conviction, and we are not willing to waver in our certainties. I imagine this is what religion is like.

Once they permitted me an hour outside on the green with some of the other inmates; I chased a rabbit to the perimeter before they caught me. It did not have a pocketwatch out, nor did it wear a waistcoat. I told them I was perfectly aware of this, I merely wanted to ask him if he knew the Queen. They kept me inside after that, and now I only see the rabbits through the windows in the common room, and none of them are white.

Doctor Carroll tells me that I’ve been with him for six months; I ask him if we should celebrate and if he has any tea and he abruptly changes the subject.

They brought me here because I tried to walk through a mirror, that’s what they said. Found me in the study with my arms covered in broken glass and blood pooling at the bottom of the mantle. Apparently I whispered to them of nursery rhymes and chess pieces before falling unconscious. I’m not allowed to play chess either, because I inform my opponent that we are at war and that the black pieces are supposed to be red. Like the cards, when I refuse to touch the red cards and ask them where the tarts went.

Everyone sounds mad without context. Dreams do not qualify as context, however, as dreams qualify as slightly lesser forms of delusions and therefore should also be considered a symptom of my problem.

Sometimes I think Doctor Carroll encourages me to tell him my stories because he’s writing a book. He takes much longer with his notes than any other doctor I’ve seen. His grins are never Cheshire; they’re worse. He indulges me more than most when I do talk. Even calls me Alice when he knows that’s not the name on my file.

I wonder if he’ll note me in the dedication. Call me his muse and label it a breakthrough when I eventually rejoin regular society while receiving fat royalty checks for sharing the story he told me was nothing but the delusion of a girl with little to do and a big imagination.

I will probably never get out of here. The bars on the ceiling are too high and the padding of the walls is too thick. Even if I lie and pretend that I know none of what happened to me was real or true, they will know my intent is to escape and I will merely return to them two weeks later with more injuries and ravings about caterpillars and queens.

Sometimes I think the moon is my friend; I see it in a crescent and think it is smiling. Cat-smiles coming to rescue me from a realm where madness is unacceptable and treated with medicines and babble. Four walls bleached white to cover the bloodstains. White padded squares, dented where my head has rested upon them. A hole for the sky that taunts me with its Cheshire curve when the moon waxes or wanes.

We are all mad here. No rescue from hatters or hares. No cakes or drinks to help you shrink or grow away. No more roses or teacups. The only jabberwock I have to slay is the one that pulls me between what I know to be true and what tells me my truths are mere madness. None of my days are frabjous.

Four walls to keep me in. Walls to keep me safe, safe from myself and the dreams. Dreams I wish would come back. I stare up at the Cheshire sky before the pills damn me to dreamless sleep and tell it I miss it, and if it could bid my old friends hello the next time he visits them for tea. I would like that very much.

*

Comments, suggestions etc. are welcome. Inspired by Alice in Wonderland.

 

Of Pokemon, Trolls, My Long-Distant Childhood and other Oddities

19 Feb

I’m not ashamed to admit it; I’ve been a Pokemon fan since I was ten.

No, really, I’m a horrific geek for Pokemon. I’ve played through the Red, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Platinum and Heartgold versions. I’ve watched several of the movies as well as the TV show. I’ve owned stuffed pikachus and keychains and posters and comic books and other nerdy memorabilia. I collected the trading cards. I bought a DS in college for the sole purpose of playing Pokemon, and it is the only game I’ve played on it. I even bought the hideously awful soundtracks to the movies and sang along with the love songs that had nothing to do with Pokemon at all.

I was, and still kind of am, obsessed.

So, what happens on a Friday evening when I’m a little bored and I start jonesing for the release of Pokemon Black/White in 12 days? Which I might not even be able to buy due to being unemployed and impoverished?

I start a new save game on Heartgold just for funsies of course!

So here’s where I’m at, and those of you who aren’t much for Pokemon should flee now because none of this will make any sense.

(Also, most of the clicky-links related to Homestuck are rife with spoilers, so proceed at your own risk if you have not read Homestuck. And if you haven’t I highly suggest you do)

I’m three badges in, just made it to Ecruteak City. My player name is Terezi (After my favourite Homestuck Troll), which I went with due to a love of theme-naming my pokemon games. My rival’s name is Gamzee, though he hasn’t HoNKed at me yet, which is a blessing.

I’m in the process of building my party in the appropriate roles and playing to a balanced set, which is difficult so early in the game. My pokedex only has 25 so far, but I’m getting there.

So, as for my party:

STARTER:

Pokemon Name: Cyndaquil
Gender: Male
Pokemon Nickname: Strider (Named for the coolest kid in school, Dave Strider)
Current Evolution: Quilava
Level Received: 5
Current level: 20
Moves: Tackle, Smoke Screen, Ember, Flame Wheel

*

Pokemon Name: Zubat
Gender: Male
Pokemon Nickname: Sollux (named for the Troll)
Level caught: 3
Area Caught: Dark Cave
Current level: 14
Moves: Leech life, Bite, Astonish, Roost

*

Pokemon Name: Mareep
Gender: Female
Pokemon Nickname: Kanaya (named for the Troll)
Level caught: 6
Area Caught: Rt 32 (between Violet City and Union Cave)
Current Evolution: Flaaffy
Current Level: 19
Moves: Tackle, Flash, Thunder Shock, Thunder Wave

*

Pokemon Name: Gastly
Gender: Male
Pokemon Nickname: Aradius (maleified form of the troll Aradia‘s name, because I couldn’t for the life of me find a female Gastly >.< )
Level Caught: 5
Area Caught: Sprout Tower
Current Level: 16
Moves: Hypnosis, Lick, Curse, Night Shade

*

Pokemon Name: Sentret
Gender: Female
Pokemon Name: Nepeta (sure, Sentret isn’t a kitty, but she was too cute not to name after this troll)
Level caught: 3
Area Caught: Route 29
Current Evolution: Furret
Current Level: 16
Moves: Surf, Foresight, Cut, Headbutt (can you tell Nepeta is sort of turning into my TM/HM mule?)

*

Pokemon Name: Eevee
Gender: Female
Pokemon Nickname: Vriska (named for the lovably sociopathic troll. I plan on evolving her into an Umbreon)
Level received: 5
Area Received: Goldenrod City
Current level: 5
Moves: Tackle, Tail Whip, Helping hand

Thus begins my quest to be the greatest Pokemon Master. I’ll be over here being a total geek now. *sits in the corner, huddled over her DS)

Woo! 50 Posts! And a Meme!

18 Feb

Because I’m too tired and achy to come up with anything better to say on this milestone of a post (because I am tired from two job interviews in one day plus having a headache of doom), I’m just going to throw my hands up and say ‘woo!’ I’ve been posting on this here blogthing enough to actually hit milestones and junk. So yay and hooray for me!

And thank you all for reading.

Here is something amusing for you, to express my gratitude and to share some meme love:

(More of this amusing meme can be found here)