Saturday, January 29, 2011

When Photos Find You

One thing that I love in a weird way is when photos find you. A photo that finds you is a picture of a person or persons that was clearly meant to be kept yet somehow manages to find its way into your possession. For example, I recently checked out a book from the library, and I was about halfway through, reading at my desk during my lunch break when a photo strip fell out. “How unusual,” I thought. But as I leaned over to pick up the strip where it had fallen, six more fell out.
First of all, don’t those things cost like $5 per strip now? Who was making so many of these? And why? It’s not like they were all of the same person, either. Ultimately, there ended up being something like five different faces in a variety of pairings and poses.
Above: Actual photos from library book.
I think I like finding these things because it sparks my imagination when I least expect it. It makes me think: “Who is that girl? Who are those ladies? How are they related? What else did they do that day? How did all these photos end up in this library book? Questions need to be destroyed by answers!”
It also reminds me of the movie Amelie (which, if you haven’t seen it, add it to your queue INSTANTLY) when the protagonist, Amelie, finds a scrapbook filled with photo strips—all of different people—which for her presents a fascinating mystery. I don’t find myself as caught up, but it’s still interesting to think about…

A photo may have found its way to you before that made you think, “Oh, that’s weird/interesting/random” like it did me. Or photos may forever be finding ways into your life, but you don’t give a crap, so you don’t even remember, and even now as you’re reading this, you’re thinking: “I have no idea what this wacky girl is even talking about. AS USUAL.”
So what say you, interesting or no? A source of questions or random trash?

Friday, January 28, 2011

The 39 Steps (Play-Type)

Wednesday night, I went to see The 39 Steps at Marietta’s Theatre in the Square, and it was great!
Aside: You may be thinking: “Wow, this girl sure sees a lot of plays. I bet she likes everything she sees. I’m not going to waste my time/money listening to and/or following her opinions.” FACT: I don’t like everything I see. Some stuff whomps. Actually, a lot of things do. So many, in fact, that I don’t have the time or space to write about them here. ALSO: Sometimes I like stuff that other people don’t, for example, I watch and enjoy kids’ movies way more than an adult woman should. So what? I own that, and I know better than to shove my strange tastes off onto other people. If I recommend something on my blog, it’s because I liked it AND I think other people will like it too.
Anyway, the play is a fast-paced farcical version of the 1935 Alfred Hitchcock spy thriller in which the hero must solve a convoluted espionage plot to clear his name when he is suspected of murder. While the plot itself isn’t particularly funny, the comedy comes in when the four actors recreate the film nearly verbatim, recreating something like 150 roles—sometimes playing a variety of men, women, and children in a single scene. And, while two of the actors played a handful of main roles, the other two were hysterical, portraying literally everyone else. Seriously, Bryan Mercer and Scott Warren stole the show with their myriad of wacky characters; their rampant silliness was like watching Monty Python live!

I’m recommending this to everyone, though, because now that the rights are available, a number of local theaters will be performing it, and I can’t imagine a production of this that would not be funny (OK, maybe if it was like at your local middle school), therefore, you should find out when it’s playing in your town, then go check out it…or else!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Imperfectionists: A Review

OK, so remember that time I wrote about how some things are quality, but some quality things can also be depressing? That is the case with Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists.
You see, I lovelovelove books (I would have to, or I wouldn’t be writing about them here), but, as with movies, I do not love to be depressed by my media choices. Some people do, and that’s their prerogative. My mother, for example, once brought Atonement and The Pianist on the same beach trip. UGH. Not beach movies by any means. But, I mean, whatever. If she wants to make her daughter cry a bucket of tears while on vacation, well…
Anyway, I was initially excited to read this book. I had read a lot of wonderful things about it—
"Marvelous… A rich, thrilling book that is both a love letter to and epitaph for the newspaper world…”
Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“…The novel is alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching."
Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review (Front-Page Review)
—so when it came up as a possibility for my book club (yeah, so?), I was totally on board.
The book itself is a collection of interrelated short stories, each chapter starring a different staff member of an English-language newspaper in Rome. From the copy desk to the family of publishers, each character was fully realized and each had his/her individual story to tell. I also enjoyed how the stories were so subtly woven together.
I think my problem came when I realized how good Rachman actually was at telling these stories. His assessment of man and his failings was a little too spot on. Some people may find that amazing, but I, though wowed by his talent, was disheartened by his representation of a world in which the majority of people were jerks and those that weren’t were inevitably ‘f’ed over by the end. It was a world that felt a little too familiar and a lot too depressing.
So, if you were to ask me “would you recommend this book to someone else,” I would have to say “yes”. It’s very well written; I was engrossed from the first. However, when choosing something to read in my (very) limited spare time, in the future I’ll opt for something a little less true-to-life and a little more based in fiction.
I’d love to have my former newsroom buddies read it because I’d be interested to hear their perspectives on this one.
Also, has any else read this? What did you think?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Best" Picture

I don’t like the Academy Awards show per se, but I do love movies, and I definitely like it when other people can pull out the “best” as ones I should watch, or, more likely, tell myself I need to watch.
Take last year’s nominees for Best Picture. I only saw the ones in bold, but every single other movie (still) sits on my to-watch list:
·         Avatar
·         The Blind Side
·         District 9
·         An Education
·         The Hurt Locker
·         Inglourious Basterds
·         Precious
·         A Serious Man
·         Up
·         Up in the Air
But there’s a huge difference between telling yourself you should see something and actually wanting to see it. A good illustration of this is the time I requested Schindler’s List on Netflix and it sat unwatched in my apartment for 8 WEEKS(!) before I finally just gave in and returned it, unopened. I just couldn’t get jazzed up about watching something that was bound to be depressing. This goes double for Precious, which seems like such a downer that 30 Rock created the parody movie title: Hard To Watch: Based off the book "Stone Cold Bummer" by Manipulate.
And now a year has passed, and I can ask myself if what I’ve been watching at the movie theater is of any quality. Below are this year’s nominations for Best Picture:
·         Black Swan
·         The Fighter
·         Inception
·         The Kids Are All Right
·         The King's Speech
·         127 Hours
·         The Social Network
·         Toy Story 3
·         True Grit
·         Winter's Bone
Hmm…it looks like I did exactly the same as last year (4/10). If it makes it any better, though, I actually am interested in watching all the nominees I haven’t seen this year (except 127 HoursBARF!). And, to pull this off before the awards are announced, I think I’m going to attend one of AMC’s movie marathons. I feel like it would be so festive, but then I think about how long that would actually put me in a grubby movie theater seat—forever. UGH! Decisions!
How many of this year’s nominees have you seen? Better question: how many did you like?

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is kind of a weird one, so bear with me. I am a big hibernator. From about January 2 until the first warm day in Atlanta (anywhere from the middle of February to the end of March), I do what I have to do (work, errands, etc.) but choose to spend any and all remaining time hibernating in my house, specifically my bed, if at all possible. It seems like, however, that everyone I didn’t get to see during the holidays (because I was busy with family and random obligations) wants to see me now, usually to get dinner or partake in some other “fun” activity AT NIGHT! Don’t they know that I would prefer not to move for the next 6-8 weeks?! How can they ask me to leave the house when the temperature is below 50˚F and I can’t even pretend like the sun is doing its job.
As I continue my winter hibernation, I’m slowly whittling down my Netflix queue and reading through a never-ending stack of books I keep on my nightstand. If you want to join me in my journey to becoming a vegetable, a few choice titles are listed below:
Books (pronounced büks by my inner voice):
·         The Imperfectionists
·         Northanger Abbey
·         The Historian—Read it, the movie rights for this one have already been optioned.
Movies (I’m going through a British period piece phase [BPPP?], so sorry):
·         Cranford
·         Lilies
·         Berkeley Square
·         The Town (“One of these things is not like the other/One of these things is not the same…”)
Or, to give me suggestions on books/movies to make my hibernation better, email me or comment below.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sloane Crosley

I lovelovelove Sloane Crosley! She is a writer and humorist (a la David Sedaris) who captures the same based-in-reality absurdist-style essays that I find fun to read.

In addition to being an entertaining writer, from what I’ve read/heard about her, it seems that Ms. Crosley is a neat, approachable lady in real life. Even after publishing two (extremely well-received) collections of essays, she continues to work full time as a publicist for Vintage Books, a Random House imprint. In a Gawker interview I read with her when How Did You Get This Number? first came out, she said:

I like my job. It's a really good one and I'm lucky to work with the people I work with. Also, I would go crazy without two jobs of some kind. I know this because when one side of my life cools down for a moment, I feel a temporary relief followed by a low-grade frustration. Sort of like when competitive swimmers shave their legs before a meet and then suddenly they're going at warp speed. Huh. I think I just compared either writing books or being a publicist to leg hair.

Also, in that same article, it said that she got her start when she got locked out of her apartment and wrote up the wacky tale to send to her friends via email—an email so fun to read it was eventually published in the Village Voice. (‘Hey!’ I think to myself, ‘I write wacky emails to friends every day. It must just be a matter of time for me!’)

But the article that reminded me to write about her here is one that I read in Psychology Today (hard copy, sorry!) about her lack of spatial awareness in which she said, “You don’t want people to pity you and you don’t want to complain in public because of what kind of real problem is this?”…Complaining “is just begging the universe to respond to give you something really to cry about.” Ha! So true. Which is basically what Crosley’s writing is all about, finding the inherent truth and ridiculousness in everyday life. I love it, and you will too; Check her out!

Thanks to Paige for my hard copies of both How Did You Get This Number? and I Was Told There'd Be Cake.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What the Hell?!

No, really: what the hell?! How is it that nearly a decade after Avril Lavigne (side note: that profile pic of her is CREEPY!) first faux-punked her way into my teenage heart I still love/hate her ridiculous songs! Seriously, she is as punk as Ashley on Degrassi (is it a Canadian thing?), but her singles are so catchy I just can’t stay away. For example, “Girlfriend”—“Hey, Hey, You, You, I don’t like your girlfriend”? Objectively awful.  But did that stop me from downloading it and putting on a workout mix? Yeah, nope!
And this new one—“What the Hell”—I’m hooked already. Maybe I secretly relate to her wannabe punk attitude… “All my life I’ve been good, but now, whoa, what the hell?!” You’re right, Avril. I’m so sick of living this goody two-shoes lifestyle; I’m just going to do whatever the hell I want! (as I listen to your song in my cube at work…)
Whatever the reason, this song is as catchy as hell, and I will continue to listen to it…with my earbuds.
Thanks (for nothing) Zach, for introducing me to this song.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bring It On: The Musical!

True Life: I’m a drama nerd, so I was bound to enjoy the Alliance Theatre’s production of Bring It On at least a little. I went Sunday night with two theater friends I hassled into coming after I found out we could get “industry” tickets for just $10.
Side note: Industry tickets are reduced rate tickets for people in the “industry”, aka theater professionals. I may not be a professional per se (at all), but I won’t turn down a cheap ticket for anything (making industry tickets my absolute fave).
Regardless of cost, though, the show was great! It started a little slow with too many ballads at the top of the first act but made an amazing recovery as soon as preppy cheerleader Campbell crossed the metal detector-enshrined threshold of her new high school. With a book by the same guy who penned the irreverent Avenue Q, Bring It On’s hilarious one-liners were outdone only by its jabs at contemporary high school culture. “S.T.F.U.!”
Even though I didn’t have the highest hopes for the show (due to its entertaining but less than groundbreaking source material), the creative team really took the basic concept of rival cheerleading squads and ran with it—creating a totally new (and awesome) show hilariously reminiscent of Single White Female. Check it out! That “mess” is headed straight for Broadway.
Bring It On: The Musical runs from January 15–February 20 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.