30 Days

I’ve gone… and done it again.

(Note: I just spent 10 minutes trying to find a .gif of Kevin Spacey saying that in Se7en to use here, albeit unsuccessfully. This tells me two things. One: that line is far underappreciated by the general populace although it has gotten tons of mileage in my life. And two: I rarely get anything done because I spiral down the rabbit hole that is the internet/social media whenever I’m doing anything.)

So anyway, what I’ve gone and done is allow another long stretch of time to pass with no blog. It’s not that I don’t write. I do write. Just not on my blog. I have to be gimmicky with myself. I have to set weird, concrete goals in order to make any progress on anything in my life. Period. If it’s 3:15 and I don’t feel like going and doing the stuff that I need to do, I have to say, “Ok, at 3:22, you are going to go do such and such. As soon as the clock strikes 3:22, no matter what.” It’s solid, it’s specific, it’s something I can count on. It may also be neurotic, but it’s still true.

I’m doing this thing called Write Yourself Alive. It’s just a 30-day writing challenge, meant to help you establish a daily habit. I already write, but in sporadic bursts. Some weeks a lot, some weeks none. I’m hoping it will help remind me to MAKE time when I don’t always feel like it. It’s gimmicky, but I’m ok with that. It runs from August 1st through August 30th.

So, the long and short of it is, hopefully you will see more blog posts happening. I don’t plan to do one every day, but more than zero days, as has been my pattern lately. Wait, not lately. My whole life.

Oscar Morning – 12:09 a.m.

Do they ever end on time?

Here is a running list of my thoughts and observations as I watched the Oscars. If I tweeted more, these could have been live, but I don’t. So, here they are:

I heart NPH. He makes me laugh, even though a lot of people will probably hate this opening bit.

I totally nailed my best supporting actor prediction. J.K. Simmons. Although, I totally doubted myself as they played the clips from the movies and I thought Edward Norton was going to swipe in for the steal. Good thing I didn’t have time to change my prediction. Stuck the landing.

9:00ish DVR completely freaks the fuck out and locks up – has to be rebooted. Luckily it was during costume design/make up awards and I didn’t really miss anything, but it was very. Bad. Timing.

Nicole Kidman looks fake as hell.

Why do they make people sit on those weird little box seats on the side? It takes them forever to get to the stage.

Long speeches and wrap up music. Wrap. It. Up. People.

Everything is awesome was not awesome. It was terrible. I don’t get it. I’m not into the whole Lego thing, and that was definitely weirdo Mcweirdo at the Oscars.

There are a lot of screaming over the music and lengthy speeches tonight (and every year of Oscar history ever, I guess).

Jason Bateman looks better than ever. The documentary film maker that won the award he handed out with the pom pom dress did not, however. HA, then NPH made a joke about it. “It takes a lot of balls to wear a dress like that.” I guess I’m not the only one that took notice.

The Oscar nominated songs are not doing it for me this year. Tim McGraw is flat as hell. What a terrible last note! Too bad Glen Campbell couldn’t have sung it himself.

NPH got naked on stage, which was ballsy. Pun intended.

I just remembered that I didn’t post about my predictions for best director. I just added a comment to my blog post on facebook to give myself a timestamp in case any of my 10 readers doesn’t believe me. I think Linklater should win.

Jared Leto’s hair has gone into another league that is now starting to diminish his hotness instead of enhance it. Time to chop it off buddy.

Twitter is the best ever invention. If there’s any lull in the action, twitter always comes through.

I missed my prediction on Emma Stone for best supporting actress. I can feel that I’m going to be wrong. Now that I’m watching the clips, I think Arquette should win. Drum roll please……………Damn it. I knew I should have picked her. Too late. I’m 1 for 2.

I hate all the songs.

Fatigue is starting to set in. I’m old and sleepy. I know I don’t have to go to work tomorrow, but my eyelids are getting heavy.

Ok, I don’t hate all the songs. John Legend’s voice is amazing. His Selma song with Common is pretty good. That performance blew all the others out of the water. A much-deserved standing ovation.

It’s 11:30 and none of the major awards have been given out. This seems to be one of the longest running Oscars ever. They don’t seem even a little pressed for time.

Oprah’s dress is freaking awesome.

Best Director coming up. I predicted Linklater, but Anderson or Inarritu are strong contenders. And the Academy Award goes to…Alejandro Inarritu. As predicted, I’m stinking at my predictions. I guess that’s the only thing I can predict. Inarritu was amazing as a director. He directed such an insanely good film. I thought Linklater might win because of how conceptually different and innovative Boyhood was being filmed over such a long time.

Best actor coming up now. It’s such a tough category. I nailed it. Eddie Redmayne. He gave a great performance.

And now the best actress. Holy shit Matthew McConaughy: What. Is. Your. Beard?   Hahahaha. I just read a tweet by comedian Esther Ku (@EstherKuKu) and she said “Is Matthew McConaughy wearing pube extensions on his beard?” My thoughts exactly. Julianna Moore wins. My stats are getting better and better, here.

Locked box joke is falling quite a bit flat. Sorry, Neil.

Oh Sean Penn. You look a little too intense for your own good right now.

Best Picture. Drum Roll Please………Birdman. I nailed it. And so did the Academy. It was one of my favorite films ever. Go watch it!

Oscar Night

I’m writing this as the red carpet is happening for the event that I have been counting down towards.  I realize that most people in my life don’t give a hoot about the Oscars, but as you may or may not know, I love them.  I love watching all the films – even tracking them down at independent theaters and going to watch them by myself.  I love wondering which ones will win.  I love the history and tradition.  I love the red carpet and all the celebrities.  I don’t care much about the fashion, but I guess I do love the glamour of the whole thing. I know I’m not alone in my love of the Oscars, because approximately a gajillion people watch them every year (that’s an exact figure.)

“Don’t they want to kill themselves doing this?” My sister is saying to me as I type.

“No,” I reply, “I doubt it.”

“I would.” she says, and disinterestedly goes into the other room.  I don’t care if I am alone in this venture.  It makes me happy.

Therefore, I know this post is more for me than my readers.  I have spent the last few months diligently making sure that I saw each and every film that was nominated for Best Picture.  I sort of don’t know why I do this, because I often don’t agree with the award winners that the Academy Chooses. I suppose I just want to be informed and I love films – pretty much everything about them.  So, while I wait for the real show to start, and before the awards are actually given, I am going to do some ranking and rating of my own.  I doubt I’ll be correct in any way.

For me, the best picture nominees are ranked in the following order:

  1.  Birdman

  2. Whiplash

  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel

  4. Boyhood

  5. The Theory of Everything

  6. The Imitation Game

  7. American Sniper

  8. Selma

It is extremely rare that I would ever put another film over a Wes Anderson film.  He is probably my favorite film maker of all time.  However, Birdman and Whiplash totally blew me away.  They were unbelievably amazing.  If you haven’t seen either one, you should.  I feel as though the Imitation Game looks unfairly low on my list, because it was a tremendous film, but obviously this is some tough competition.  I liked American Sniper and Selma, but I doubt either of them should have been nominated for Best Picture.  They were out of their leaque in this crowd.

Same thing for Best Actor:

  1. Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

  2. Michael Keaton – Birdman

  3. Steve Carell – Foxcatcher

  4. Benedict Cumberbatch – the Imitation Game

  5. Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Eddie Redmayne may just be fresh in my mind because I watched The Theory of Everything yesterday, but he was truly outstanding.  Michael Keaton has never been better, so they are almost tied for me.  I love Bradley Cooper, but it wasn’t Oscar-worthy.

Supporting Actor:

  1. J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

  2. Mark Rufalo – Foxcatcher

  3. Edward Norton – Birdman

  4. Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

  5. Robert Duvall – the Judge

J.K. Simmons was captivating in Whiplash.  I really didn’t like Foxcatcher at all, but Mark Ruffalo was the best part of that whole film.

On the Actress side of things, I didn’t see all the films, much to my own dismay.  I only make sure I see all the best picture nominees, but that usually gets me a long way and covers my bases.  This year, I didn’t see Wild, Into the Woods, or Two Days, One Night. Three films short of perfection.  I wanted to see them all, too.  Damn.  So basically, my rankings will have to exclude those films and will therefore not really be fair.  I’ll just say my favorites.

For Best Actress my favorite was Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Other nominees in that category were: Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One night), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Reese Witherspoon (Wild)

For Best Supporting Actress my favorite was: Emma Stone – Birdman

Other nominees in that category were: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Laura Dern (Wild), Kiera Knightley (The Imitation Game), Meryl Streep (Into the Woods)

I will say that Kiera Knightley’s performance in the Imitation Game must have been amazing, because it’s the first time I haven’t wanted to kill her while watching her in a movie.  I loathe her, but not in this movie.


I realize this blog is sort of a bore-fest, but that’s ok.  I wanted to get my rankings in before the show starts so that I can clearly show that I was totally wrong once the awards start rolling in.  Also, since I’ve binge-watched 8 seasons of How I Met Your Mother recently, I am currently obsessed with Neil Patrick Harris and I’m excited to see how he hosts the show.  It’s going to be an all-around good time.  29 minutes and counting.


The Mayer Factor

I play mouth guitar. You probably didn’t know that about me. What’s mouth guitar, you ask? It’s the phenomenon that comes over me whenever I listen to a John Mayer song. Not only do I know and love all the words, I know and love all the guitar parts as well. You can’t just sit there, still and silent, while John is killing it on the guitar. So, you have to play mouth guitar. It’s a finely tuned skill that I have developed over the last decade and a half or so. It’s necessary to any authentic John Mayer sing-a-long. And, it’s a real thing. I looked it up on urban dictionary. See for yourself:


Speaking of John Mayer, he has been on my mind lately. Well, if you know me, that’s not really an unusual thing for me to say. He’s pretty much always on my mind in one way or another. I love him. Like, a lot. Not like fangirling type of stalker obsession, but…ok, maybe a little. I’d prefer to say I’m just dedicated and appreciative of his many talents. In my first apartment, which I shared with my fellow John Mayer enthusiast, and best friend, Andrea, I put a picture of John Mayer in our bathroom. No, not because I’m crazy. It was actually because I’m hilarious. I went through the trouble to make a picture (in a frame and all) that said A “John” Picture at the bottom. Get it? Because he’s John, and his picture was in the john? Ok, you know what? Judge me all you want, I don’t care! So anyway, I’ve seen him 5 or 6 times in concert (The fact that I don’t know the exact number proves that I’m not crazy, right?) and plan to see him anytime he’s within a 200-mile radius of me. Or 300, depends on the venue and the time of year. Well, there was that time, I flew to Colorado to see him. Ok, so there’s no mileage limitation. I own every song he’s ever written, covered, or recorded (unless I don’t know about it, in which case I want to!) I know every note on those songs like it’s a part of me. That’s because they are.

Music is powerful. I think we all know that. It doesn’t matter what I’m doing, where I’m going, or what mood I’m in – there is a John Mayer song for the occasion. I made a quick chart for you all below of just a tiny sampling:

Mayer Song     Associated occasion/thought process
Wildfire     Summer wistfulness
Wheel     Contemplating the nature of life
Slow Dancing in a Burning Room     Impending Break Up
Who Says?     Who gives a F*ck what people think?
3×5     Don’t forget to live in the moment
Vultures     This beat is cool as hell
Free Fallin’ cover     Tom who?
Walt Grace     Damn, John is a good songwriter
Something Like Olivia     Makes you jealous of someone named Olivia.
(Wait, maybe that’s just me)

I love many other musicians, too, like John Lennon (wait, maybe I have a special place in my heart for John’s?) and the Beatles, Brett Dennen, Jason Mraz, the Backstreet Boys (yes, it’s true, and I still don’t care what you think), the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Jack White…we could probably be here all day if I keep this up. But, what I’m realizing as time goes on is that John is my go-to guy. He’s my desert island pick. You know that whole, “if you were stranded and you could only pick one album/artist etc…” thing, and then you say to the person asking you, “Why would I only have one? It doesn’t make any sense…” because you don’t want to have to narrow it down to just one. So you say, “Well, can I pick two?” and they say, “No just one, just play along, blah, blah, blah.” Well, for me it’s John.

John hosted the Late Late Show last week for three days. (It was the only three days I have ever in my life watched the Late Late Show. Just sayin’.) He was charming, entertaining, and hilarious as always. But to get to my point, Mary Lynn Rajskub was a guest. You probably know her as Chloe O’Brien from 24. Or at least, that’s where I know her from. She seemed to feel the same way I do about John, and her segment was quite entertaining because it’s always fun to see someone drooling over someone in a way you can relate to. She also said she wrote him a song, which there is a link to below. I highly recommend that you watch it if you’re into funny people, talented musicians, or Chloe O’Brien.



So, while John is all on my mind from his late night hosting gig and my surplus of John Mayer time this week, one of my best friends, Desiree, posted this on Facebook yesterday:

“Seriously – if there was ONLY one thing we could universally agree on in the US, it would be that Prince is the coolest dude there is.”

First of all, I had to laugh, because despite loving her to death, we disagree frequently in our opinions, so this was just par for the course. Below this post, was a stream of comments totally in agreement with her about Prince being amazing. My response was not similar. My immediate reaction was WHAT??????? (aka wtf kind of world would agree on such an egregious thing?) I don’t get Prince. Like, at all. (which I promptly told her in the comments of her post.) I don’t think he’s cool, or sexy, or good, or entertaining. I don’t like his voice, or his songs, or to watch him perform. I seriously do not understand why people swoon over him. (But I still love you anyway, Des.)

But, the reason I don’t get Prince and everyone else does is because for me, he doesn’t have that indescribable, intangible factor that any musician you truly love has to have – those vibes that radiate from every pore of them, every note, and every breath. My Prince vibe radar is dead – no response, non-functioning (I’m way OK with that.) He’s not my guy. And John Mayer is. Prince doesn’t speak to my soul. He doesn’t make sense to me. But John Mayer does.

Some people (perish the thought) would say the same thing about Johnny boy. They don’t get him. He’s unlikeable. He’s a womanizer. He’s mediocre. (All their words, not mine.) He himself has commented about how widely hated he is and has been since a string of bad press about five years ago. The bad press was not unwarranted, believe me. But I never, not for one second, stopped loving him. His music wasn’t tainted, as can sometimes happen when you find things out about musicians outside of their music itself. I never even flinched. There is nothing that could ever make me. The Mayer Factor is impermeable for me.

Andrea, my aforementioned best friend, and I always joke about how we don’t care about any of those rumors and bad press. We know he’s a good guy. We know the real John (umm, yeah. We don’t. But we FEEL like we do…you know, through our deep connection to his music.) We just want to chill with him in Montana and sit around a campfire together while he writes music casually, plays guitar with his hands and his face (he does that, I know it sound weird, but he does that), and makes us laugh with his wit and crooked smile. Sounds pretty good to me.

What if?

When my students are starting to write short stories, I tell them an easy way to come up with creative ideas is to ask themselves the question, “What if?”

What if…an asteroid was about to hit the earth?

What if…you have an accident that changes everything?

What if…you wake up and it’s 75 years in the past?

You get the point.

The what if? scenario has created many central conflicts in stories throughout time.

Tonight, I find myself with some of my own what if? scenarios running through my head, albeit much less impactful than the ones that guide great literature and storytelling:

What if…middle school students were suddenly all thoughtful, organized, time-managing experts who were excited to absorb knowledge and embraced each school day with enthusiasm?

What if…my dog could stop stepping in his own shit whenever he goes outside?

What if…I set my alarm clock for the time I actually know I’m going to get up instead of an hour earlier than that time knowing full well I’m going to hit snooze a million and a half times?

What if…I stopped putting off getting gas until tomorrow? (because you know I’ll feel more like pumping it in the dark, freezing cold, early morning hours when I’m running late due to over-snooze-buttoning it.)

What if…I wasn’t so prematurely elderly that I could barely stay up late enough to watch the state of the union address?

What if…I never thought I’d hear myself say that I would be purposefully watching the state of the union address?

So there’s this pizza guy…

Pretty much my whole writing life, I have been drawn to trying to write stories that have something to do with murder.  As you can guess, I have no experience with this subject – only exposure through books, television, and movies.  I don’t even really know anyone in law enforcement of any kind, or even remotely related to law in any way.  They always say write about what you know. I say this to my writing students all the time.  Historically, I have been terrible at following this rule for myself.

In freshman year of high school, the first short story I wrote that ever got really good feedback was (I’m sure) truly terrible.  I think out of embarrassment I have blocked out the details, but it had something to do with an up-and-coming lawyer whose pregnant wife gets murdered and he has to tie the details together to solve the crime himself.  There’s a weird scene with a movie theater and a ransom note that I can’t quite recall.  The timeline makes no sense.  The legal details make no sense.  My teacher must have wanted to kill herself while she read it.  She gave me an A, probably because she saw some glimmer of hope in what I had produced, but it must have been hard to find.

Then, during Sophomore year, I wrote a lurid tale called “Revenge” which was about two kids who were home alone for the weekend.  Their father is a prosecuting attorney who put someone in jail for something as prosecutors will do.  That someone is now out of jail and wants – you guessed it – revenge.  He subsequently breaks into their house in the night, and ties up the older brother in the basement. The sister, being the quick-thinking, badass type, uses a dumbwaiter (yes, I said dumbwaiter) to sneakily lower herself into the basement and plan a surprise knife attack on the suspect.  She is stabbed in the process, but once they have knocked out the perpetrator, they flee to the neighbors who call for help and they all lived happily ever after.  It ends with one of the most horrible endings in history, with a scene of the brother and sister in the hospital (for the stab wounds of course) calling their parents to tell them, “We had a little problem tonight….” or something terribly un-clever like that which doesn’t make any sense at all and would make you cringe if you read it.

Fast forward to 2015 to 33-year-old me who is still consistently torn about what kind of writer I want to be.  I write poetry pretty plentifully, but have yet to grapple onto something larger than poems, short narrative memoir-like pieces, or short stories.  I have always wanted to write a novel, but there is always that part of me that regresses back to my child-like need for a crime-thrilling plot that has a perfectly resolved ending that surprises the reader.  It has many times paralyzed me as a writer throughout my life.  For the last five years or so, I have been writing much more under the philosophy of “finding” my ending as I go, which does free me up in a lot of ways to let characters and ideas find me – and find me they have.  But endings still never seem to find me – or follow through of any kind really.

Tonight, I sat with my sister in the living room printing out a small selection of the characters and story beginnings I have gathered over the last few years – stories that come to me out of nowhere, or from a prompt, or from a story I heard in real life.  I have a lot of beginnings.  Beginnings that go nowhere because I can’t see their ending, or even figure out how they might eventually have one.  My sister was helping me to get a little more concrete with some of these stories, or to come up with an idea that might become a larger-scale project for me, because she knows how much I would like to make this happen.  We were brainstorming, and she said jokingly, “So there’s this pizza guy.”  I laughed long and hard, because when my sister, Andy, and I were younger, we used to come up with these intricate plot ideas for stories we were going to write.  The stories were little projects we would invent spur of the moment, especially in the summer when we were bored and in need of something to do.   The pizza guy, was one such little project – or it almost was.

We stayed up well into the night one summer after we decided we were really going to dig in and write a book.  Our concept was a pizza guy who is framed for murder because he is delivering a pizza to a house where a murder is taking place.  Sounds groundbreaking, I know.  Well, he might have been accidentally pinned for the murder, or he might have been purposefully framed for the murder – I don’t know.  The details are hazy after all these years.  But, we had maps, character sketches, the whole nine yards.  We were basically staging a production, drawing character movements within a kitchen we created and sketched.  We tried to figure out timing, and how the case would unfold for the reader.  There are always moments of brilliance in these sessions, where you would think you have the whole story tied up in a neat little bow and that it’s all going to come together.  Then, within minutes, a question is raised that brings the whole thing tumbling down again.  We never made that story work.  We quit when sleepiness set in, and that project got brushed aside as so many others have as well along the way.

Tonight felt a lot like that night in our parents’ kitchen so many years ago where we mapped out a crime scene for the pizza guy.  I have some scenes I have written from a concept I’m developing, and my sister – my idea assistant for many years now – helped me to try to map out how everything can fit together.  It’s a slow process, and a painful one for me at times.  I am still learning to find the balance between being unable to write until the whole story is exactly planned out, and going in blind with no ending or direction in mind.  I don’t know if I’ll ever find the perfect balance.  But one thing I am determined to do is to stop being someone who never finished anything I start – and to stop being that person who says they want to write a book, and never does.  Many times tonight when the ideas had gaps and the story needed some rethinking, I found myself saying, “Nope, this concept isn’t going to work.”  My sister kept telling me to shut up, basically.  She was right.  I am going to write my ass off this year.  I need to shut up that little voice in my head that says a story is going nowhere and give it a chance.  I need to let it try to be something, before it’s just nothing – like the pizza guy.


How not to do yoga


A sampling of the wide range of unhealthy/un-yoga-like/sort of yoga-like thoughts I had during my practice tonight.

  • I haven’t done yoga in awhile, not since my neck injury, I hope I don’t re-aggravate it. I hope I can still do yoga.  I’m probably going to suck.
  • Oh man, I’m sore.  Yep, suckfest on the way.
  • Wow, I’m pretty tight.  I’m sucking tonight.
  • Wait, this is my practice.  I am how I am.  I’m here on the mat.  Today is different than every other day and that is ok.
  • Oh boy, the balance is off.  I can’t stand up.
  • I can’t…
  • I can’t…
  • Ok, this side is better. Just breathe, be present, stay focused, quiet mind.
  • Are my hips even? I can never tell.  I’m so bad at that.  Jenn always has to help me.  I can’t even tell.
  • See? He just adjusted my hips and they were way off.  I have to get better at that.  I need to learn how they should feel.
  • Am I on the right breath? Am I supposed to be inhaling or exhaling? I’m always doing the opposite.  Damn it.
  • My foot’s not in the right place.
  • Still not in the right place.  The lady next to me is nailing this whole thing.  Her foot placement is perfect.
  • Jenn says I overthink things.  I do overthink things.  Why am I overthinking this?
  • My ankle hurts.  I shouldn’t do that.  Maybe I’ll push through, it only hurts a little.
  • High plank for the 50th time? I hate your guts.  Namaste.
  • Low plank? I have a giant bruise on my forearm from my accident, that’s going to hurt.  It does hurt.  I’ll keep doing it anyway.
  • Is it svasana yet? Hurry up and get to svasana.  Screw being present.  Get it over with already.
  • Does that hurt or am I just weak?  Weakness or pain? Weakness or pain? How’d I get so weak?
  • I’m nailing this pose.  I love yoga.
  • Stretching is awesome.  Why don’t I do yoga every single day?
  • Svasana is the best, let me clear my mind of my lesson plans for tomorrow, and how cold it is, and how I can hear the hairdressers walking around upstairs, and how I should write a blog, and the wind sounds like it’s going to knock the building over, and it’s so hot and stuffy in here, and why do they set it for 81 degrees because I think I’m not the only one who hates that it’s so hot in here, and I wonder how my car’s coming, and I need to remember to send that email, and oh yeah, I’m supposed to be clearing my mind……deep breath.


You get the picture.












So.  If you look back at some of my posts, you may notice a pattern.  Stop.  Start.  Stop.  Start.  Big gaps of nothingness.  No writing.  Radio Silence.

If you were to look at my notebooks and journals (of which I have a LOT) you would notice a similar pattern.  I start things, and I fizzle out.  I don’t finish.

I have been working on this issue of mine more diligently throughout the last year, through therapy and other venues.  I feel like I have made progress, but I know I still struggle with carving out time in my day for things that are important to me – like writing.

I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but there is something about January that does give you that extra dose of inspiration.  My father bought me a website a few months ago after we talked and I expressed an interest to start putting my writing out there more.  He has spent many hours with me, both on the phone and in person, helping me to set this up in a way that is going to work for me in a more permanent fashion with the (hopefully) potential for growth in terms of audience. (Thanks, Dad!)  And so, theunexpressed.com was born.

I have started to blog a couple of times now, always trying to have a focus and a purpose.  I don’t think that’s working for me, because I box myself in.  The truth is, I don’t know what you will read here when you come to visit my site – if you come.  You might read me talking about the mundane details of life, or my latest Oscar movie.  You might find poetry, or snippets of stories and narratives, or writing of any kind really – in all stages of the process.  I might talk about my students and my life as a teacher, or my experience as a human being in this world, in this time.  I just don’t know yet.

My purpose is to develop a habit of expression.  It’s important to me.  I love doing it.  I want to find my voice and purpose, and move towards publishing my work at some point.  This is one tiny step.

This afternoon, as my blissfully long school vacation was coming to a close, I finished setting up a writing space in our spare room.  I have a small desk that overlooks the road.  My mom found me a Smith Corona typewriter from the 50’s when I expressed an interest in finding a way to use them with my students.  (Thanks, Mom!) I haven’t brought it into my classroom yet, but it seems to fit in nicely on my desk upstairs.  I sat there, with ink all over my fingers from changing the ribbon and figuring out how to work the darn thing, and blasted out a couple of quick writes on it.  I have been reading Ernest Hemingway, so he and his legacy have been on my mind this weekend.  I will include pictures of each of the pages, even though they may be hard to read.

I think sharing them is a good step to get me over the stumbling blocks that have prevented me from sharing my writing in the past in a venue like this.  I await perfection, and revision, and editing.  I don’t want to wait for perfection anymore.

What you see is what I wrote in that moment, in that setting, and it is enough.

Here’s to hopefully overcoming the title of my blog.




Oscar Night

Surprise, surprise.  I stopped blogging for practically forever.  Just like the last time I had a huge gap in my writing, I said I did not stop watching movies in the meantime.  The same thing is true again.  Except, now it’s been over a month and I’m WAY backlogged here.  Why do I do this to myself?  Oh yeah, because I always start things with a lot of enthusiasm which quickly dies off.  I need to work on that.

As I’m typing this, the Oscars are on.  I’m really aggravated that I fell just short of seeing all the best picture nominees.  In the last month, I saw Life of Pi, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Argo.  I had plans to see the remaining two, which were Amour and Django Unchained, but those plans fell through.  I know that those two will probably win every single award because those are the ones I didn’t see.  Oh well, I did the best that I could.  Amour was supposed to be at Red River but was pushed back for some reason.  Because I’m a little bit neurotic, I even emailed them about a month ago to see what “TBA” meant on their website.  The lady that runs the scheduling told me that it would be there by February 15th, but it was pushed back to an undetermined date for a undetermined reason.  The day I was supposed to see Django Unchained, I fell down the stairs at Andy’s and wrecked my ankle.  Needless to say, I didn’t go that day.  Then the day I rescheduled for ended up not working either and that was the last day that this movie was playing anywhere in the state.   

I liked all of the last Oscar nominees that I saw.  I was really dreading seeing Life of Pi because it just did not look interesting to me at all.  I have avoided reading the book for years.  It’s one of those books that I felt like I was supposed to want to read, but never wanted to.  I broke my own rule about not seeing a movie of a book without having read the book.  I ended up loving the movie and now I want to go back and read the book.  It was really thought provoking and emotionally engaging.  I thought the actor that played Pi was really remarkable.  Argo was sort of the same way.  I had about zero interest in seeing it and was very pleasantly surprised.  I thought the plot was interesting, the acting was amazing, and the true tie to history pulled me in as well.  Beasts of the Southern Wild was weird as shit.  I mean truly weird.  The little girl, Quvenzhane Wallis, who is the main character in the movie was really hypnotizing though and I can see why she is the youngest best actress nominee in history.  It was a movie I was glad I watched, but did not LOVE it in the end.  It had really good elements, it was filmed in a beautiful way and really touching in some parts, but like I said, it was weird as shit.

To check a few more former best picture winners of my list, I have watched the following movies since my last blog:

The Sting – 1973
The Life of Emile Zola – 1937
Wings 1927/28

The Sting was really entertaining and only further reinforced how big of a crush I have on 1970’s Robert Redford.  I’m really glad I’m watching all these movies, because the Sting is one of those movies that I always have heard about, but never actually “felt” like watching.  When I force myself to watch some of these, I realize that I have actually been missing out on some great filmmaking. 

The life of Emile Zola was….wow…..god awful.  I absolutely hated it.  I tried to watch it, no lie, at least 10 times.  I fell asleep the first 9 times after about 10 minutes.  The 10th time, I watched it in chunks because I could not sit through it straight.  I thought it was terribly unengaging, boring, and not particularly well done.  I know it was 1937, and you’re probably thinking I just don’t like old movies.  Well, that’s not true at all.  I love old movies.  I just didn’t love this old movie.  Emile Zola’s Wikipedia page even puts me to sleep.  It says, “Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism…blah, blah, blah”  That’s pretty much what the movie was like.  Borefest.

Wings was the first best picture winner of all time.  It was a silent film about two pilots during World War I.  I watched this with my dad, and although he will probably rat me out for falling asleep towards the end, that does not change the fact that I did like this movie overall.  (In my defense, I have not been sleeping well due to my hurt ankle, and I will blame my drowsiness on that)  Although there were some hokey scenes in this movie that caused us to chuckle even though they were supposed to be deadly serious, it was very entertaining and interesting to watch a silent film in the midst of all these films.  Filmmaking without sound is such a different experience and requires a totally different type of acting (hence the point of the film, the Artist.)  There were some pretty impressive shots in this film, especially for the technology of the time.  I would recommend checking this out if you’re into film history at all. 

This blog is pretty lame-o, but I want to get back to watching the Oscars.  Until next time.  I think Slumdog Millionaire is next on my cue.  Bye for now!

My prediction: Lincoln will win best picture.  Either that, or Argo, or Life of Pi, or Les Miserables, or Silver Linings Playbook.  🙂

Double Feature

Well, I dropped off in my blogging for the last week or two.  I didn’t, however, stop watching movies.  Now I have a lot of catching up to do.

In my absence, this year’s Best Picture contenders were finally announced.  I’m in deep doo-doo to say the least.  I’m way behind.  The nominees are:

Argo – Haven’t seen it
Django Unchained – Haven’t seen it
Zero Dark Thirty – Check
Les Miserables – Check
Amour – Haven’t seen it, probably can’t see it (unless I get to Boston)
Lincoln – Check
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Haven’t seen it
Life of Pi – Haven’t seen it
Silver Linings Playbook – Check

I’m at less than 50% currently.

I plan to see Argo and Beasts of the Southern Wild sometime in the next week or so.  I desperately want to see Django, but I still need to schedule that one in.  Amour literally isn’t playing anywhere around here except Boston, and I’m not sure if my level of commitment is that high.  That leaves Life of Pi, which I have avoided because it’s the same situation that kept me from completing the list last year – it’s based on a book, and I haven’t read the book (nor do I have the time to).  I didn’t see War Horse or Hugo last year for the same reason.  I might have to break my own rule and just see it anyway.

I saw Zero Dark Thirty today with my father.  I must admit, I dozed off in the middle somewhere for about 5 minutes.  Normally, I am poking him every two minutes in the theater because he dozes off and starts snoring (although he claims that he is just “relaxed” and snores although he is wide awake with his eyes closed might I add.)  I was a total hypocrite today because it was only noon time, and I was dozing off like an elderly woman out past her bedtime.  It was a looooong movie, and I stayed up really late grading papers last night.  Not a good combo.  Overall, it was a good movie.  I’m not sure it’s Best-Picture-worthy material, though.  No outstanding acting performances, and no outstanding cinematography or artistic directing.  I think maybe the subject matter got it a little further than it should have.  Don’t get me wrong, it was pretty good – but of all the nominees I’ve seen so far, it was my least favorite of the bunch.

That brings me to my other mission.  I have TWO to write about this time, because I’m a procastinator and didn’t write as soon as I finished watching the first one.  Shocker, I know.

Chicago was next on my list.  It won in 2002.  I have AVOIDED watching this movie for several reasons.  The first one is simple and consists of three words:

Catherine Zeta-Jones.

I can’t f-ing stand her.  She annoys the crap out of me and she always has.  Maybe this doesn’t happen to you, because you’re probably normal, but sometimes I just can’t stand someone for now particular reason – they just BUG me.  Another actress that gives me the same feeling is Jeanne Tripplehorn.  Many of you probably don’t even know who the hell that is, but she bugs me on a monumental level, so I can pick her out of any lineup.

As promised, Catherine Zeta-Jones was horrible in this movie.  It made me a little peeved to find out she was the only actress/actor to win an Oscar from this movie for her performance.  I thought Renee Zellweger (how the heck do you spell that anyway) was way better than her, but I suppose I’m hate-biased. 

The second reason I have avoided watching this is because I never ever feel like it.  I didn’t know enough about it, I’ve never seen the musical before, don’t really know the songs, and therefore, just generally was never tempted by it.

To keep this as succinct as possible, I HATED this movie in the beginning, and then slowly but surely started to really like it.  (This is pretty much the case with just about anything in my life.  I always hate stuff and then later realize I love it)  The music was pretty fantastic, and the cinematography, choreography, and staging seemed to be incredibly effective for the storyline.  I would be interested in seeing how the musical is done on stage to be able to make a better comparison.  My favorite scene is when Richard Gere and Renee Zellweger do ventriloquist act.  It’s weird but fantastic at the same time.  I’m surprised, given my fear of dolls and such, that this doesn’t bother me more than it does.  Rob Marshall did an excellent job directing this scene in particular. 

Here’s a link to that particular scene on youtube if you’re interested:


I also watched Annie Hall.

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet.

It. Was. Brilliant.

Where has Woody Allen been all my life?

Stylistically, it was amazing.  I love the direct address method he used.  The directing, the acting, the script – all brilliant.

I think I need to hunt down a lot more of his films.  I’ve only ever seen Radio Days, which I really liked.  However, something tells me that Woody Allen is somebody that I will really be able to connect to.  I appreciate his style.  It reminds me of the way I feel when I watch a Wes Anderson movie – how everything is so smartly done, so purposeful, so subtle, and yet so effective.  Every choice seems to speak to me.  I love that in a director. 

Of all the films I’ve watched so far in this thing, I would rate this at the top.  I’ll let you know if anything else can knock it out of first place…

For next time, I will be getting Wings, which is the very first Oscar winner ever!

I promised I wouldn’t give Netflix any more of my money than absolutely necessary, but I may have to back down on that decision and up to the two disc plan.  This waiting around in between movies is for the birds.

Until next time!