Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"You and I are more than friends. We’re like a really small gang."

I’m off work today and tomorrow. I’ve only been at my job since the beginning of August, so I only had two paid days off for this year. Which is fine, I didn’t need more than that or anything. The only thing is I had to take them before the end of the year, because they don’t rollover. Which is dumb, but whatever. So I’m on vacation. Taking a couple days after Christmas seems like a great idea.

And it is, probably! It is when you have family and friends who actually like, live near you, and you can go do stuff with them. But my problem is… my extended family who used to live in Colorado Springs moved back to Texas last year, and all my closest friends are scattered around the country. That’s what happens when you go to school out of state and/or seek friendship on the internet.

Obviously I wouldn’t trade any of these friends for the world, but I WOULD really appreciate it if teleportation finally got invented, because then the distances wouldn’t matter and I could pop over to Elizabeth’s in Columbus whenever I felt like it, instead of obsessively talking to her on Skype chat every single day. And we could have gone to my aunt and uncle’s house in Fort Worth yesterday and seen our family, instead of not doing that.

So now I’m in this weird situation where my best friends here in Colorado are my friends at work. And trust me, I don’t want to be at work right now, because I don’t want to be doing actual work. But this is the first time I’ve gone this long without hanging out with my work peeps since I met them, and it’s really weird.

In case you were wondering, no, this blog post doesn’t have a point. I’m writing this from a place called Jake’s Brew Bar, which is probably my favorite place in downtown Littleton. It is the first place I ever drank and enjoyed an entire beer, and it is the first place I ever chugged a beer, and it is our number one choice for places to go after work on a Friday night because it’s close to our office and doesn’t stay open late enough for us to risk getting super drunk on a work night (we work on Saturdays). I haven’t been here this early before, but the vibe is nice, the bartenders know me and I feel comfortable and happy. And naturally, the beer is delicious.

jakes1

(If you go here, get the Tivoli Helles Lager. It’s amazing.)

jakes2

I guess I’m just realizing that it’s a weird place to be in your life when your best friends are people at work. Is this what adulthood is like? I mean, it makes sense, because those are the people I spend the most time with – I think I’ve spent more time with them than I have with anyone else this year, even living at home and being unemployed January through July. If you add all those hours at work up plus all the hours after work at various bars and that time we went to a hockey game and that time one of us had a brunch at their house, it’s just a lot of hours. And I’m so grateful for these people because they make me happy to go to work, even though our job is boring and pointless. They’re just a huge blessing to me. They’re the reason I feel like right here, in Denver, and doing this job is where I’m supposed to be at this point in my life. I feel like I was supposed to meet them.

So I guess what I’m saying is… these paid days off are nice, but I am really, really bored.

littleton

In other news, here’s a good song.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Then I Heard the Chords that Broke the Chains I Had Up On Me

Like probably the majority of the people on this planet, I think about music a lot. I talk about it a lot, I listen to it all the time, and there are some days I don’t actually think I’d be able to get through without it. It confuses me when people don’t have favorite bands or songs and just listen to whatever comes on the radio. I don’t mean I expect everyone to have some kind of Beatle-mania level obsession with a band, but I can’t even begin to understand people who don’t passionately love a particular song for whatever reason. (I know they exist. I’ve met one.)

I was talking to Elizabeth the other day about the Americana music trend that’s kind of in right now. The kind of folk-y not quite country type of music, like The Civil Wars (RIP), Angus & Julia Stone, The Lumineers, etc. We both agreed that it is great and that we want it to continue for a while, at least a couple of years. Later on, I was driving and listening to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and thinking about how sad I was going to be when this kind of music isn’t the cool new thing anymore. At that point I fully expect to become one of those people that talks about how music used to be good, back in my day, and whatever this new stuff kids these days listen to is total garbage.

But then I realized that just because someday the type of music I like to listen to now won’t be hugely popular anymore doesn’t mean the songs I love now will get taken away from me. It’s not like I won’t get to listen to them ever again. They’re real and they exist and I can listen to them whenever I want. The greatest thing about music is that nobody can take it away from you. Musicians make music and then they give it to you. Once you have it, it’s yours. You get to keep it.

Music just has this extraordinary ability to get you to feel things. Music is cathartic. I listened to “High” by Jamar Rogers and cried in the shower after I found out about the Newtown shooting. The song is about someone who used to need to do drugs to feel alive and the pain in his voice when he sings is just ridiculously palpable. It has nothing to do with violence or death, but it was the only song I could think to listen to in a moment like that. It has this hopeless aspect to it, but in the end he comes through it. Like I hope we all will, with this.

Music is just so amazing, guys. I made a whole Spotify playlist the other day of these songs that have been gifts in my life, and they still feel like I’m opening the present again every time I listen to them. Some of them have stories behind them and some of them don’t. Some of them I remember exactly where I was when I first heard them and some of them I couldn’t begin to guess how I found out about them. The only thing they all really have in common is the strength of the feeling I felt when I heard it the first time. You know. When a song comes on and you’re like, “Oh I like this.” And then you’re like, “Oh. I REALLY like this.” And then by the time the song is over your life has changed. That one.

These are my gift songs. They aren’t my all time favorite songs, necessarily, and they aren’t always even my favorite song by these particular bands. But I love all of them because of how they make me feel.

You have songs like this. I know you do. You should tell me what they are because I would love to know. You know, or not. But who doesn't like talking about music?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ten Important Life Lessons I Learned from the Book the Kardashian Sisters "Wrote"

I’m not even going to bother to summarize the “plot” of this book, because there wasn’t one. I will tell you that Kourtney, Kim and Khloe wrote a book about three sisters named Kassidy, Kamille, and Kyle, and that every single thing that happens mirrors their real lives in some way. I also have a hard time believing the Kardashian sisters are capable of coming up with any type of original content or ideas, so I’m sure 99% of this book is autobiographical.

photo

I know it says $1.00 in the picture, but I got it for $0.75 on Half.com. I bought it as a joke birthday gift for one of my co-workers. Soon it will be out of my life forever.

Anyway, here are all the things this book taught me:

1. Just because you're poor doesn't mean you're allowed to be furry and ugly.

2. Fishnets and skull chokers are SO yesterday.

3. Money is power, and no money means no power. ("It was a lesson that haunted her to this day and seriously made her want to scream and throw things - at walls, at people.")

4. Date guys who are on Twitter so you can spy on them easier.

5. If you have to pee but there’s a long line in the bathroom, pour out some gin while you’re peeing on the floor to mask the smell. (Page 28.)

6. Shoplifting is like playing an Xbox game, for real.

7. This is what it looks like when Kardashians talk about Shakespeare:

lol

8. These are words: superannoying, superexpensive, supercool, superhungry, ultrasuccessful, superquick, supersmart, supernice, superinteresting, nonwedding, superfamous, supermad, vomitacious.

9. If you want to know what the temperature is outside, go to the weather website.

10. You can write a book about nothing with no plot and get it published if you’re a (super)famous airhead.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here lamenting the loss of the brain cells this book stole from me.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Selections From My Scarf Collection, As Modeled By Clark the Bear

I’m addicted to scarves. It’s a thing now. Officially. I think this has to do with it finally being fall and chilly most days and I have a job to wear them to. But yeah. I have 25 and counting. “Sarah, do you really need all of those scarves?” Um, no. This isn’t about NEEDING.

026

scarfs, scarfs, scarfs, scarfs scarfs scarfs, everybodyyyyyy

I wear a scarf pretty much every single day it’s cold enough to justify wearing one. I would model them myself, but I’m too lazy, so Clark’s going to take over that job for me. He is named after Clark Kent. He has two outfits – a plaid shirt with jean shorts and then, naturally, a Superman costume – but as I have said time and time again, to the amusement of many: “He’s not as comfortable to sleep with when he’s wearing clothes.” What. It’s the truth, all right?

Let’s start out with my two newest acquisitions.

020

I call this one my Sherlock Holmes scarf. I went searching for a red plaid scarf because of my newfound obsession with Elementary, in which Jonny Lee Miller wears a scarf marginally similar to this one. It’s not a perfect match, and mine was $5.90 from Forever 21. His is probably ten times that expensive and not from Forever 21, but I’m pretty happy with it. (If you are considering commenting and telling me to watch BBC’s Sherlock because it is better or something, please refrain. I’ve seen it. I like Elementary better. Not sorry. Steven Moffat ruins things.)

030

I wouldn’t say this is Clark’s best look, but we’ll make it work. I saw this on ModCloth a while ago and had been salivating over it, so I finally just ordered it the paycheck before last. I can’t explain my love of things with deer/elk on it, so don’t ask me to. It also has little squirrels and hearts. And now I see ModCloth has put it on sale. Great. Oh well. (Fair warning, ModCloth WILL suck you in, so click that link with extreme caution.)

021

Here’s one for when you’re feeling patriotic. I have no idea where I got it. Target, possibly? Anyway, if you’re American, don’t forget to vote. Tomorrow is the big day.

025

This is a scarf Elizabeth gave me for either a Christmas or birthday present, I can’t remember which. It’s one of my favorites. She got it in Ohio somewhere, so good luck if you want one just like it.

027

Another one from ModCloth. It’s more summer-y and light, but it’s long enough to wrap around twice, which is why I like it so much. They have it in a bunch of different colors, but the indigo one is currently sold out. It’s called “Crinkle in Time.” (Again, ModCloth links are dangerous!)

034

This is a FashionABLE scarf. I love, love, love this one. FashionABLE is a non-profit organization that works to create sustainable jobs for women in Africa. The women who hand-make these scarves used to be suffering in poverty, forced by their varying circumstances into prostitution. Buying these (admittedly somewhat expensive) scarves helps them build better lives for themselves and their families. Because of the price, I had put off getting one for a while, but I finally went ahead and ordered this Abeba scarf. Each scarf is named after the woman who makes them and they come with a handwritten note from them, thanking you for your support. The whole thing is great – you get an awesome, cozy scarf that people will give you compliments on, and you get to tell them about a great cause.

That’s it for our fashion show today. Hope you enjoyed. I will leave you with this amazing new Mumford & Sons video directed by and starring Idris Elba. It’s my favorite Mumford song and this video is beautiful.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Songs to Listen to While Deep in the Midst of a Top Secret Operation that May or May Not Result in You Getting a Boyfriend

I can’t talk long or give you any details (like the subject line says – top secret) but I’ve been listening to these songs a LOT the last few days and I will be relying heavily upon them in the coming week.

1. Hurricane by MS MR
I jumped the gun
so sure you’d split and run
ready for the worst
before the damage was done

2. Please by Selah Sue (feat. Cee Lo Green)
so please, please, please help me
give me some kind of sign
please, please, please, please, please
I want to be somebody, somebody, I want someone to be mine

3. Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran
I’m falling for your eyes
but they don’t know me yet

4. Keep You by Wild Belle
I've got a pretty face and I wear a nice dress
why can't I keep you?

5. They Could Be Wrong by Lianne La Havas
the way you smile when I'm speaking
I feel how clearly you see me

6. VCR by The xx
watch things on VCRs
with me and talk about big love
I think we’re superstars
you say you think we are the best thing

7. Little Bit by Lykke Li
hands down
I'm too proud for love
but with eyes shut
it's you I'm thinking of

8. Dead Sea by The Lumineers
like the dead sea, you told me I was like the dead sea
you'll never sink when you are with me
honey can't you see
I was born to be your dead sea

9. Not With Haste by Mumford & Sons
and I will love with urgency
but not with haste

Spotify.

colorado

Over and out.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

you’re like a big parade through town

Ugh, you guys. I don’t know what the deal is. I suck at blogging now. Which is dumb, because I’m definitely not too busy, and I have totally had ideas for posts. But I’m not motivated at all. I get halfway through writing something and then save it on my computer and forget to go back to it. Or, in the case of the hockey post I was working on (which no one would have read anyway), I got depressed about it because there’s probably going to be a lockout and I won’t get to see any NHL hockey for a long time. (I refuse to start stoking the fire of my Avalanche feelings until I know I have a good reason to.)

I EVEN LOST A FOLLOWER. I DON’T EVEN CARE ABOUT FOLLOWERS, BUT SOMEONE UNFOLLOWED. That’s how boring and lame my blog has been the last couple months.

I’m going to try super hard to start caring about my blog again. I promise. Unfortunately this post probably won’t make YOU start caring about my blog again, but I can’t control that. However, I can show you a hilarious and adorable picture of Leo. So here’s that.

leooooooooooo

I’ve also been listening to a ton of Regina Spektor lately, which reminds me a lot of my freshman year of college, but not in a bad way. Anyway, her most recent album is amazing and I’m mad I waited so long to listen to it.

In other news, my life is great right now. Everything in the last post but heartily reiterated. Things are going really pretty fantastically well. Like, yesterday I had such a good day that even though I got home at 11:30 and should have been tired, I had so much energy from having too much fun with the friends I’ve made at work that I didn’t fall asleep until almost 4. Yeah. Maybe I’ll write more about that sometime.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Finally Moving

So… that was an unintentional month off of blogging. I mean, I thought about blogging pretty frequently during that time but I just never felt the inclination to write anything. And I didn’t have anything interesting to say anyway, so. But that has changed! Kind of. I guess whether or not this is interesting to people besides my immediate family is somewhat subjective, but: I got a job. Yes. I did.

What I’ve come to realize over the past couple weeks is that it’s really, really hard to get your dream job. Everybody has something they want to be doing and then there’s the thing they’re doing in the meantime. This job that I have right now is definitely a “meantime” type of job. My last job was also a “meantime” job, and I hated that about it. There were other problems with that position – it wasn’t full time or reliable at all – but the biggest issue I had was that I felt like I wasn’t really contributing to making the world a better place. And maybe this is selfish of me to say, I don’t know (or care), but I didn’t feel like it was making me a better person either. Every day felt like a waste of time. Every day I dreaded going in, dreading talking to the majority of the people there. Every day I left feeling relieved and freed.

So far, two weeks in, I haven’t encountered any of those feelings at my new job. Granted, I’ve just been in training, and I haven’t spent a great deal of time yet actually doing the thing I was hired to do, so my perspective might change eventually. But at this point, what I’ve felt is just happiness. Happiness because I have a job again where I feel like I’m contributing to some kind of bigger picture (even if it is the big picture of a big corporation), happiness because I’m getting paid, because I’m full time, because I get benefits. Happiness because I’ve met a lot of people I really like.

I mean, I’m making friends. I’m meeting people I would actually enjoy spending time with outside of work. That is a revolutionary concept for me. I have never wanted to hang out with my co-workers! Okay, that’s not true – I met someone I’m still really close with at my last job. I hung out with her last night, in fact. But she is the only exception I’ve had up until now. I’ve complained a lot in the last few months about how difficult it is to make friends post-college and well, here I am, interacting with people at my workplace that I don’t plan to hide from if I accidentally run into them in real life. This is major progress.

I don’t know if I’ll be making the world a better place in this job. Realistically, I probably won’t be. But I think it’s helping me feel more comfortable in my own skin. And I think that’s good enough. I’ve laughed with these people a lot in the past fourteen days and frankly, the more laughter there is in the world, the nicer a place it is.

Is this job my dream job? No. Do I want to have it long term? Unequivocally, no. But I don’t hate it. I don’t hate the people. I have fun when I go to work. I like going. I don’t sit around counting down the seconds until I get to go back or anything, but being there feels right. I waited a long time to hear back from them (applied in April, started this month) but the wait seems like it was worth it. I’m going to be able to get my own place in a few months because of this job. This job is going to look awesome on my resume. I feel like my future has an actual direction now that I have this job. It’s great.

It’s fantastic, actually.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rise

batman

There are a lot of people saying a lot of words about The Dark Knight Rises and the thing that happened. And I thought, for a while, that I wasn’t going to go see this movie, because I thought I wouldn’t want to, just because of the connotation. But I changed my mind today, because I refuse to let it rule me. I completely, one hundred percent understand the position of those who are abstaining from this movie in the wake of what happened, and I am not telling you should do anything you don’t feel comfortable doing. But this is how I am coping with it. I cannot let the actions of a psychopath have any power whatsoever over the way I live my life.

Nolan’s Batman movies are about a lot of things, and this is one of them: not letting yourself be controlled by fear, chaos, pain. They’re about refusing to be defeated, even in the darkest moments of your existence. Even when you feel defeated. You don’t give up. You always get up. You get up and you fight back and you say no. You stare the villains in the face and tell them they have no power and that they are nothing.

I know I would have seen this movie differently if that thing hadn’t happened. I know I wouldn’t have been so hyperaware of the exits and who was around me if that thing hadn’t happened just a few miles from where I live, in the one area of Aurora I’m actually somewhat familiar with. I know I wouldn’t have cared what time of day I went to the theater I’ve grown up going to, where I’ve seen countless midnight showings over the years, if that thing hadn’t happened in another theater to people who are just like me. I know I would have been able to relax and enjoy it much more if this wasn’t looming so large over our community. And I know that it’s going to be a long time before I can go to a movie theater – a place I love, a place where I’ve found so much joy – without thinking about this. I’m not even sure I’ll ever be able to not think about it. But I’m still going to go. I will not let this rule me. I will not let someone whose name does not ever deserve to be mentioned by anyone ever again take this away from me.

When it comes to the actual movie, I liked it. It was pretty good. Catwoman ruled so hard. She almost makes me want to read some DC comics. I thought the ending was somewhat predictable, and it made me wish Nolan had been more JJ Abrams-esque about keeping secrets about this movie, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still good. It still has the potential to inspire, to give people hope. To remind people that in times of darkness, there will always be someone there to shine a light.

We might not have superheroes like Batman or Superman or Captain America in real life, but these are characters that exist to give us courage when villains appear. And there are always villains. Some men just want to watch the world burn. Those men are very real. Yes, it’s true that they could turn up anywhere. But if you think for even a second that we should live our lives in fear of chaos and pain because the villains outnumber the heroes, you’re wrong. You’re so, so wrong.

I’ve heard some people say things about these Batman movies, saying they’re bad for us, that they’re helping to destroy our society by being so violent and dark, that because a line can be drawn connecting them to this unspeakable tragedy, they must be inherently bad. This is not true. And you would know that if you’d seen any any of the interviews with any of the witnesses who were in that theater that night.

I saw those interviews. I stayed up all night watching the local news, and I spent most of Friday doing the same thing, and I saw people – my people, nerdy people like me, the kind of people who go to superhero movies and leave feeling inspired – showing exactly how good and brave and compassionate they are. I saw people who want to believe in heroes and who, that night, became heroes. People who said they wished they could have done more to help, even as they were living through a nightmare. Even as they were dying. At least one of the victims died to save someone else. And frankly, I don’t need a press release to tell me that he wasn’t the only person willing to make that kind of sacrifice that night in that theater. I know it for a fact. If you’re seeing only the monster, if you’re letting him eat away at your faith in humanity, you’re missing something so much bigger and more important.

This is not a time to sit around and bemoan what this world is allegedly coming to. This incident should not be used as an excuse to blame scary pictures for causing one person to do something horrendous. This is a chance to acknowledge that superheroes can, and do, bring out the best in us. Yeah, so they aren’t real. So they have special powers that are impossible for us to have. They have more fictional money than we’d earn in ten lifetimes. So they’re from another world that doesn’t exist. So what? None of that matters. Even if it’s just one line that they throw out that can give us courage in a time that seems so hopeless and frightening, then they’re as real as they need to be.

This is a time to celebrate heroes. They exist, and their number is great. They are as real as the person sitting next to you in the movie theater. And if this is a world full of people who believe that we can be just as heroic as a character in a comic book, then I think… I think we’re doing all right. And I think we’re going to be okay.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Battle For the Ages

batmangorilla

(Gorilla Grodd [I’m assuming that’s who he is] is hiding behind the orange juice cup.)
Batman: Please get over here. Please get over here. Please get over here. Please get over here. Good job.
Gorilla: ROAAARRR!
Batman: AHHH!
Gorilla: I am NOT getting over here.
Batman: I see you, bad man! Get over here!
Gorilla: (Still hiding.)
Batman: I see him!
(They fight and end up on the other side of the table.)
Batman & Gorilla: Now we're over here.
Gorilla: RAAAA! (Smashes Batman, jumps up and down.)
Batman: (Takes a break and lies on the table while Gorilla makes some noises.)
Gorilla: (Gets attacked by a purple toy from a Chick-fil-A kid's meal [pictured above].)

Me: What's happening to him?
Jack: Batman is getting him.
Me: Oh, okay.

Batman: (Experiences a malfunction, somehow gets stuck in the purple toy.)
Batman: Now I'm stuck in here!
Batman: (Escapes.)
Gorilla: (Starts to get stuck in the purple toy.)
Batman: Now, this is all we need!
Gorilla: NOOOOO!
Gorilla: (Gets trapped.)

(Jack takes a break to drink some orange juice.)
Me: What are Batman and the gorilla doing now?
Jack: (shrugs) I don't know.
Me: Are they done fighting?
Jack: No. The gorilla is sticking his foot in the cage so Batman gets hurt.

Gorilla: (Sticks his foot in the purple toy to kick Batman.)
Gorilla: Smash! Smash! Smash!
Batman: Ow!
Gorilla: Smash! Smash! Smash!
Batman: (Almighty roar as he escapes from his purple prison.)
Jack: (Enthusiastically knocks over his cup of orange juice.)

And scene.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

On College Towns

There’s something weird about visiting your campus for the first time after you’ve graduated and moved away. It felt like time travel, because I felt like I’d never left. The two years between then and now were just a blink of an eye and for about an hour, they slipped away like a dream.

And since I was there during the summer and on a major holiday, the campus was pretty much deserted. There were no newer, younger students to jar me out of my fit of nostalgia.

patneff

I never went inside this building.

northrussell

Where I spent my freshman year.

brooks

Where I endured my sophomore year. I was the first person to ever occupy that second dorm room on the third floor. (Maybe you’ll notice I didn’t get out of the car to take this picture. Not a lot of great memories in this dorm. Like… zero.)

ferrellcenter

Where national champions play.

healthcamp2

Pretty much my favorite restaurant in the whole wide world.

healthcamp1

Look at that beautiful menu of shakes. You know how many flavors they had when I was there? Like, six. You know how many they had for the past, like, forty years? Yeah. Look how many they have now. Just look. I’m so mad.

peppermintshake

The most delicious peppermint shake in the history of the world (more or less).

I like Texas. I really, really do.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

On the Road

I’m going to Texas for a bit today. I’m sure I’ll post more about that soon. In the meantime, here’s a video that makes me happy to be alive.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

On Being Emotionally Invested in Fictional Characters

So I’ve been watching Avatar: Legend of Korra and maybe if you haven’t seen it you’re about to be like, “wait, that’s a Saturday morning cartoon, wow, this girl is a loser,” but look, you don’t understand. Or maybe you saw or heard about the movie M. Night Shyamalamalamalan made out of Avatar: The Last Airbender, and you’re still thinking “wow, really Sarah? Wow,” but no. You don’t understand. These animated people are different. They're incredibly human. Painfully so, sometimes.

THE LEGEND OF KORRA

I love Legend of Korra. It’s a pretty flawed show and definitely not as good as The Last Airbender, but I love it anyway. My favorite moments in LOK so far, though, have mostly been the ones that flash back to moments in the past that feature the characters from The Last Airbender as adults. These scenes always got me a little emotional, but none of them hit me as hard as when Aang, the Avatar from the first show, showed up in the spiritual world to talk to Korra, the Avatar in the new show, at the end of the LOK season one finale. Like, I wept. I just went, “omg, it’s Aang,” and then… waterworks.

Which is strange, because honestly Aang wasn’t even my favorite character in TLA. But seeing him grown up in flashbacks and there at the end, it finally hit me that he’s… dead, in this world. He had to die for this show to happen, since the whole thing with this show is that the Avatar gets reincarnated into the next generation when one dies, and they’re the only one who can master all four elements and blah blah blah. So Avatar Aang was always going to be dead, because he had to be for Avatar Korra to exist as a character. But I finally faced that this character I spent so much time caring about has died in this world I’m watching now. And I cried.

And on top of everything, on top of me caring so much about this fictional person who has had a fictional death, he’s a drawing. These shows are animated. There isn’t even an actor portraying him on screen. He is a moving picture. He’s not really dead, they just stopped drawing him. I am emotionally invested in the life and death of a bunch of lines and colors moving around on a computer screen.

I don’t want to argue the merits of an animated story versus a “real” one, because that isn’t what I care about. Anyone who has seen a Pixar movie, or even just the first five or so minutes of Up, knows that animated stories can be just as meaningful as non-animated ones. But it is interesting to me that stories can mean so much to people, regardless of how anchored they may or may not be to our own reality. Like, Doctor Who (and particularly Rose Tyler. I will defend her to the death. THE DEATH) affected me so much I ended up getting a tattoo of the TARDIS on my ankle. (No, I will not be posting a picture. Sorry nerds.) I wanted that reminder of adventure, of being bigger on the inside, to be with me for the rest of my life.

There are just so many amazing stories and people inside those stories that become real to us somehow. I don’t have any particularly deep insights about this… I guess I just wanted to throw this out there and see what people think, because I’m curious. What fictional characters are you emotionally invested in? And why them? How does your emotional investment manifest itself (tattoos, blog posts, Comic Con costumes, etc)? What fictional story last made you cry? Which one makes you cry the hardest? 

In the meantime, I wrote a post for Elizabeth’s blog about the history of our friendship a couple days ago, so if you feel like reading it, there it is.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

This is a Post About Nerdy Things

Last weekend, Denver had its first ever Comic Con. As a nerd, I felt obligated to go, so I did. My sister and I went on Saturday and it was pretty great. It definitely has room to grow, so I’m excited to see what it’ll be like in years to come. The coolest part in my opinion was the fact that all the proceeds from the con go to benefit Comic Book Classroom, an organization that teaches 5th through 8th grade students literacy and arts education through comic books.

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I had a really good time at this thing, but I have to say that while I do consider myself to be pretty nerdy when it comes to my pop culture tastes, I really wish sometimes that the people who also enjoy these same things were not so weird to be around in real life. Like, I’m not going to judge you if you want to go out in public wearing a Captain Canada unitard or a pair of jean cutoffs strategically torn to show off your zombified upper leg, because, you know, if that’s you’re thing, that’s cool. But I reserve the right to run away from you. Fair warning, k? Also, please stop using internet speak in real life. Hashtags are only for the internet. Also, don’t ask me what kind of utilikilt you should buy, because my answer will be “I don’t care, but I’m glad I’m not dating you.”

I took some pictures, but most of them aren’t very impressive because I was using my phone most of the time and I didn’t really try that hard to make the ones I took with my actual camera that great. I’m not sorry enough to apologize.

Here are some Iron People…

Denver Comic Con 006

Here are the droids you’re looking for…

thedroidsyourelookingfor

Here is, um, a zombie attacking someone? Maybe? She had a knife though so I’m not sure she qualifies as a zombie, as I have yet to encounter a zombie that can competently operate tools. (This picture also features a few other costumes, including someone with a horse head.)

zombieattack

Here is the Colorado Convention Center blue bear. He just wants to come inside and hang out.

bluebear

Here is an Observer, sitting and reading a magazine…

observer

Here’s a dalek and a couple Jedi…

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I was trying to take a picture of the guy in the Colts/Broncos Peyton Manning jersey foul, but this picture ending up mainly being of the guy in the yellow crocs. Yeah, hi, dude. Yes. You’re in my picture. Yeah. Okay. Cool hat. Stop looking at me.

manning

Here is Jasika Nicole, aka Astrid Farnsworth from Fringe. We didn’t go to her panel, because it was in the morning and we got there around 1:30 or so, but we creeped on her a few times. She is definitely my favorite character on that show as of late (though Joshua Jackson gets some points because tonight he presented Gabriel Landeskog with the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year – no, I was not going to go a whole post without mentioning that). The reason this picture is blurry is because she smiled at me right before I took it and I was flipping out.

astrid

Here’s a picture from the Aaron Douglas panel, also known as the "whine about Wil Wheaton canceling on us” panel. It was not my fav. I bet I would have thought it was hilarious if I had any room in my heart to care about Wil Wheaton’s absence, but I was there to hear stories about Battlestar Galactica, not to view a slideshow comprised of images of Aaron Douglas’ head poorly photoshopped onto Wil Wheaton’s body in a bunch of Star Trek pictures. Just saying. (I will say that when he did start talking about BSG, it was awesome, but since he was late to the panel we only got that for like 20 minutes.)

Denver Comic Con 012

Other people who were there that I didn’t take decent pictures of: Kristen Bauer, James Marsters, Colin Ferguson, Cindy Morgan, some people from The Walking Dead that I know nothing about and a bunch of comic book people that I’m not yet nerdy enough to recognize, although one of them was Neal Adams, who I now know is a big deal thanks to a book I have been reading.

And now, here is Bruce Boxleitner.

Denver Comic Con 015

He is the main reason my sister and I went. Yes, he is Tron in the movie Tron. But he is also, and much more importantly, in our opinion, Captain John Sheridan from Babylon 5, which is one of the greatest sci-fi shows ever.

This is a picture of him answering his phone the first time it rang during the panel. (It rang twice and he answered it both times.)

Denver Comic Con 016

Denver Comic Con 013

Denver Comic Con 023

Okay, so maybe I’m a 24 year old who is attracted to a grouchy 62 year old dude who was in a show that was hugely formative for me when I was growing up. I can neither confirm nor deny that. But I can confirm that I took a bunch of pictures of him wearing those glasses and that this one was the only one that came out because of how excited I got. Whatever. No judgments please. Plus my 22 year old sister agrees with me, so everyone can just deal.

This was the first con I’ve ever gone to, and while it definitely wasn’t on the same level as San Diego Comic Con (the one I have obsessed over and wanted to go to for forever), it was a really great time. I’m glad Denver finally has its own official comic con and that I will forever be able to brag that I went to the first one (and got the t-shirt – I would share a picture but it’s in the laundry, sorry).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Five Songs I’m Obsessing Over

Oh, you like music? Hey, me too. That’s because we’re humans who live on earth. There is only one of us who does not like music, and that is Sarah Walker from Chuck. We don’t talk about her, because her complete and utter lack of legitimate characterization sends me into irrational fits of rage (as does pretty much everything that happened on that show post-season two). I’m getting off topic. The point is, normal people with souls like music. So here is a post for everyone except for Sarah Walker.

1. Florence + the Machine – Breath of Life


This song is from Snow White and the Huntsman, which is a movie I saw pretty much because of how wonderfully epic this song is. I didn’t hate the movie, but it did not live up to the expectations Florence gave me. However, I will be forever grateful to it for being the reason this song exists.

2. Daughter – Home


I found Daughter yesterday thanks to Tumblr (aka a website created by the devil to suck away hours and hours of your life) and I am in looooooove. So, so good.

3. The National – Rains of Castamere


They played this over the credits of a second season Game of Thrones episode (I forget which one, because I am not as rabidly obsessed with that show as others are). I feel like I could see an actual character in GoT singing this, it fits the tone that well. I love The National, the guy’s voice is just so deep and smooth and great.

4. Lights - Flux and Flow


This song has inspired some writerly feelings for me and that is why I have listened to it approximately 400 times in the last week or so.

5. Carrie Underwood – Two Black Cadillacs


So… I don’t always listen to country music, but when I do, it’s usually Carrie Underwood. She is my homegirl. I don’t love everything she’s ever recorded but I do enjoy a good portion of her most recent album, including this song that I cannot get out of my head lately. It’s kind of dark and depressing… which is probably why I like it. But for real, Mike Fisher, you better not ever cheat on Carrie because if you do she will legit wreck your car and then kill you.

(I also had this incredibly intelligent revelation recently: If Carrie Underwood had taken Mike Fisher’s last name… she would be Carrie Fisher. CARRIE YOU COULD HAVE BEEN PRINCESS LEIA.) (Ok that is probably on the list of reasons why she didn’t do it. That and the fact that she already had a career with her own name, but whatever. I would have done it. CARRIE FISHER.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

On Blogging

Let’s talk about why we blog. I’ll go first.

I’ve probably said this before but I’ve had a blog since I was like fourteen. I have not had a blog that people actually read for that long an amount of time, and I haven’t consistently written on one for that long either, but I have been able to call myself a “blogger” of some kind for basically a decade. I didn’t really bother with it much over college and I just started getting back into it with this blog last year, when my plan was still “move to California and hope for the best.” Obviously that didn’t work out, but I still have a blog because at this point, it has become a habit, and it feels weird not to have one.

Not to sound like an old lady here but blogging, or at least my awareness of what blogging is, has changed a lot since I started doing it. I’m not here to judge whether or not it has become better or worse, because I don’t really care what other people use their blogs for. I think it’s interesting to see what other people choose to show of themselves on their blogs. Some people like to talk about their clothes, or stuff they do with their friends… which is cool! I do that too, sometimes! (Okay, not the clothes part so much… unless you want to hear about stuff from Target?) I’m not judging people who use their blogs for solely those types of posts. It’s cool. We’re cool. The internet is a big place and there’s room for everybody to talk about whatever part of their lives they feel like sharing, and if that involves posting fifteen pictures of you wearing that cool vintage blouse-skirt combo you got at a thrift store for a grand total of $7, that’s great. Go for it!

While I was writing those posts about the Marvel movies, I sort of came to a realization about how I think about this blog. Like, I have 67 followers now, and hi, people, if you are actually reading this, you are awesome and great and thank you for caring enough to click that button and make me feel popular and like maybe my tiny little voice is being heard by someone. But then I saw The Avengers and I was like, I’m obsessed with this. I’m going to talk about this on my blog, because I’m obsessed with this. And then I thought, lol no one is going to read it. I thought that because I feel like a lot of people who find my blog might be expecting less wordy posts or pictures of cats or food or whatever. Stuff I’ve posted before, yeah, stuff that interests me, yes (I am very interested in both cats and food), but nothing that deep and not really things that I spend my time dwelling on.

But I just decided, whatever, I’m going to write about what I feel like, and I don’t care if people read it. Which was my original approach to blogging. Literally, when I started my first blog, the only place I posted the link was in my AIM profile. (Wow. Yeah. “Back in my day, we didn’t have Facebook or Twitter! We used MySpace and AIM to communicate! You kids don’t know how GOOD YOU HAVE IT!”) And I just put that in there on a whim, I didn’t actually think people would click on it and read it. (People did, and soon after that a ton of my friends started blogs, and subsequently came my first experiences with internet drama. But that’s a story for another time…)

Seriously though. I didn’t care if people read what I wrote. I just wanted to write about stuff I liked. And doing those movie posts was really fun, because it felt like it was my high school blog again where I wrote about what I wanted to talk about and didn’t care if people read it. And then people did read it, and that was really, really awesome. But it was just a bonus, because the fun part was the writing.

That’s my point, here. The writing should be the fun part, not the attention you get from having done the writing. And that’s the kind of blogging I want to get back to doing. I don’t like it being a chore. So maybe that means I’ll talk more about movies or TV or books, or maybe it’ll be the rambling hockey posts, or maybe it’ll be a post about my clothes from Target or some new shoes or a picture of my cat being adorable or literally whatever the hell I feel like writing about on any given day. But my new rule, for myself, is going to be that I won’t write a post because I feel like people are going to stop paying attention to my blog if I don’t write one. I’m not going to write on here out of a sense of obligation to whoever might be reading. I’m only going to write a post if I feel like writing one.

So… yeah. That’s why I blog. What about you? You can tell me, but only if you feel like it.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of a snake I saw on my run last night.
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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Seven Small Things in The Avengers That Aren’t Actually That Small

Oh look, my last Marvel Movieverse post. Links to my posts on the other five are at the bottom of this post.

The Avengers

This being the crossover movie to end all crossover movies, I want to take a look at some of my favorite tinier moments from this film that I, at least, have not seen talked about (much) in other reviews (not that I’m reading other reviews. I already know it’s good).

Obviously, this post is for people who have seen the movie. I don’t particularly care if you read this when you haven’t seen it, but there are spoilers, first off, and secondly, since these aren’t things you could have seen in the trailers, it probably won’t make sense to you. But do what you want, bros.

1. Loki getting into the back of the S.H.I.E.L.D. truck.

I just want to point this out because I think it's hilarious. I don't have any intense character insights about this moment, other than how much it illustrates the fact that Loki totally does not fit in on this planet. I mean, he shows up looking like a crack addict in withdrawal, kills a bunch of people, brainwashes some of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s best, and then he sort of lets Hawkeye lead their escape. So I imagine when he walks out to those cars with them, he's thinking something along the lines of “I have no idea what these things are but I guess I have to ride in one.” And then the way he gets in the truck is just so wonderfully awkward. It’s only a split second thing, but I laugh every time. Once he’s in they show him gripping onto the side, like he’s holding on for dear life because he's never been in one of these things before and he's Loki of Asgard and he has an image to maintain, here, and he definitely can’t look like he has no clue what’s going on with these mechanical contraptions mortals use. And then the whole chase sequence after that where he’s apparently regained some confidence about this truck situation and is standing up in the back of it like he's directing a chariot or something is so great to me and just, I have such an appreciation for Tom Hiddleston in this movie, and I know he's enough of a geek to have given this much thought to these tiny little decisions.

2. Agent Coulson telling the soldiers to leave the boxes of weapons as the S.H.I.E.L.D. base is about to collapse.

This is one of many moments in this movie that demonstrates how awesome Agent Coulson is. We saw earlier the conversation between Agent Maria Hill and Nick Fury, where he tells her to make sure they get the weapons out. The weapons are a priority, to Fury, more than just purely evacuating everyone. But when it comes down to saving lives, Coulson makes the right decision – the people matter so much more than the fancy weapons they were developing, and thanks to him telling them to leave them and go, those soldiers don’t get caught in the wreckage. I think this – and most of his decisions in this movie – can be traced back to the fact that he looks up to Captain America as much as he does. Cap is his hero. Cap, the embodiment of self-sacrifice, a soldier willing to give everything up to save the world. Coulson’s not a superhero, he doesn’t have any powers – but he doesn’t run away from a fight. He is willing to lay it all down to make sure the Avengers will all still be there to win the final battle. And that’s exactly what he does. (That said, he is totally not dead, and it’s not just me being in denial. No body, no death. Plus, it’s comics. They’re movies, but they’re still comics. And nobody stays dead in comics. And in the words of Tony Stark, “there’s a lot of things Fury doesn’t tell you.”)

3. Bruce Banner’s wardrobe.

When Natasha picks him up in Calcutta, he hasn’t had an incident in over a year. For the most part, he’s doing pretty well, at least where hulking out is concerned. But even then, with the tight lid he has on it, he’s still wearing these baggy clothes that don’t fit him. It’s especially noticeable when he first shows up on the helicarrier and he’s bumbling around… those clothes do not fit him. They’re a representation of how uncomfortable he feels in his own skin. Baggy clothes are probably for practical reasons – Bruce is probably hoping that if The Other Guy does show up he’ll maybe be able to stay somewhat dressed for at least a while. He knows he can’t trust his own body to stay under his control and that is an inevitability that he is always planning for. But it’s also a sign, I think, of how insecure he is and the fact that he actually sort of… hates himself. He hates what’s inside him, what The Other Guy is capable of. It’s depressing.

Which is why what Tony does for him is so great. I talked about this in my post about The Incredible Hulk, but Tony does really help Bruce come to the conclusion that he can turn his curse into a gift. And at the end of this movie, when these two dudes get into a sports car to go off and do some Science together, Bruce isn’t just wearing clothes that fit him. He’s wearing a bright yellow shirt and some khaki slacks that fit him perfectly. I mean, Tony probably got them tailored for him, let’s be real, here. The yellow shirt is my favorite, because up ‘til then Bruce’s shirt of choice was purple. Undoubtedly that was to call back to what Hulk wears in the comics, but the yellow shirt – yellow being on the polar opposite side of the color wheel from purple – perfectly illustrates Bruce’s 180. And I love it. Bravo, costume designers.

4. Tony offering to fly Coulson to Portland to visit the cellist.

I had to see this movie three times before I saw that this moment even happened. My initial reaction was “wow, Tony Stark using his excessive wealth to make someone else happy, wow, he actually noticed something personal about someone and is trying to be nice just for the sake of being nice.” I still think that, though I’m trying not to let my cynicism about Tony get too embedded here and avoid going off on a rant about how the only reason he even noticed anything about Coulson’s actual life is because Pepper did first. We all already know that Pepper makes him a better person. It’s a journey Tony is still taking, and I think this little moment was a huge step for him. I love that Coulson is embarrassed, like – “okay, I get it, yes, thank you, okay, can we go fight bad guys now” – but you know he’s flattered and probably grateful. And really surprised, too, given how the two of them left things in Iron Man 2. (Remember how Tony was using Cap’s old shield to level off the thing he was making? I bet that infuriated Coulson to the point of tears. I am not joking.)

But the fact that Tony is not only starting to notice the so-called “little people” more is part of the reason he’s more likable for me in this movie. That and the whole “sacrificing himself to blow up some aliens” thing, but that I think can be directly correlated to the argument he had with Steve, which hadn’t happened at the point of the Portland conversation. Maybe this moment was intended to add more padding to Coulson as a character, and I think it does, but personally, I think Tony needs to be shown as empathetic more than Coulson needs to be shown as having a life that would suck to lose. Coulson does enough of that on his own, in this movie. Getting to work with and hang out around Captain America? Dude’s living his childhood dream. So he has a love interest that moved away – so what? People can have fulfilling lives without those, so for me that moment does a lot more for Tony’s character development than anything else.

5. Natasha is terrified of the Hulk.

So, here’s the thing. Lots of people use Natasha’s fear of the Hulk as an excuse to call her weak and useless. That is categorically untrue, if you actually watch her in any of the other scenes she has in this movie. Like when she tricks Loki, professional trickster, into revealing his plan. Or like when she rescues Clint from Loki’s brainwashing by beating him in hand to hand combat. Or like when she hitches a ride on an alien air scooter to go take down the portal. Which she then closes. And not to even mention her entire introductory scene where she manhandles a bunch of Russian arms dealers in some pantyhose. This lady is pretty fearless. Which is why it’s so interesting to me that she’s so scared of the Hulk.

It’s completely logical to be scared of him, of course. He’s pretty much unstoppable, and as highly trained as she is, there’s no way she can take him down. But what I find fascinating is the fact that they have her playing it like Hulk is the only thing she’s afraid of. She barely blinks at Loki and his very real threats, she takes down all these giant alien monsters like it’s no big deal, but the Hulk leaves her curled up on the ground, shaking. I really, really want to know why that is. What does he remind her of? There has to be a story there. And I hope that story is in the Black Widow prequel I am desperately in need of.

6. Thor can't pick up the hammer right away after he falls out of the helicarrier.

Huh – look at that. He’s not as immortal or indestructible as everyone thought. You know, this type of little moment is basically what I thought Thor was lacking. Specifically, actual character things involving Thor coming to understand himself and the world(s) he spends his time in. In that movie he sacrifices himself, but that was when he was just a really strong dude. He didn’t have the magical powers bestowed upon him by the hammer when he did that. Here, after he gets dropped out of the sky by his brother (ugh, that moment between them right before Loki presses the button, ugh heartbreaking), he still has his hammer, he still has all his powers and his strength… but he still finds himself weakened. He reaches for the hammer and it doesn’t leap up to meet him. Not right away. That moment, for me, is when he learns that he is not actually invincible. Hooray for character development!

7. "Sentiment."

The first time I saw this movie, I thought Loki was saying this about Thor. He’s not.

Loki and Thor are battling on top of Stark Tower, and Thor keeps begging him to stop it, to close the portal, to fight alongside him, to come home with him, and Loki takes advantage of one of these moments to stab his brother with a knife. The very same knives we saw him being utterly lethal with in Thor. He knows how to use those. He knows how to kill Frost Giants with them, and killing someone like Thor who is standing right in front of him would be so easy. But instead of going for the throat or the heart, he just stabs Thor in the side. Almost uselessly. It gets Thor to let go of him for a second, but after that it’s like it never happened. And so when he says, “Sentiment,” he’s talking about himself. He can’t kill Thor. He can’t do that to his brother, no matter what. He still loves him.

That’s Loki’s “weakness”: His love for his family. Whatever else he says or does, he just can’t cut that out of his heart.

I do think there’s a chance that he’ll be redeemed somewhat in Thor 2. I don’t think it’ll be a full redemption, and I don’t know if he’ll ever get one of those. But that one word (and ugh, the delivery of it) is proof enough for me that it is possible.

"What I find fascinating about [Loki] is that underneath all of his megalomania, ego, arrogance, jealousy and vanity is a wounded child, it seems to me. He is jealous of Thor, he is lost and damaged. I basically had to start there and build everything else around it to build the layers of how he is a character with a broken heart, and a broken heart that's hardened and is behind this shell of rage and destructiveness, basically."
-Tom Hiddleston (who I apparently can’t stop talking about in this post, but whatever, no regrets)

In my perfect world, Thor 2 would be called Thor 2: The Trial of Loki and would focus entirely on that, with lots of flashbacks and backstory about Asgard and all the adventures they had before Loki went bad… but that’s not going to happen. Some trial scenes would be glorious though, and since it has been announced that there’s going to be another villain besides Loki in that movie, I’d really like to see him team up with Thor to fight him, just for a little while, because doing so would be in both of their interests for some reason. (I don’t want to write Thor 2, I want to be friends with the person in charge of writing Thor 2 so I can tell them to do all these things and not have to do any of the actual work.)

I love this movie. You should see it. The fact that Marvel was ambitious enough to make all of these movies and set them in the same universe, and then make a movie with all of their superheroes fighting together, and the fact that they’re going to make movies like Captain America 2 and Thor 2 and Iron Man 3 and then do another Avengers movie… is seriously magnificent, in my opinion. It helps that all the actors and writers and directors they get to work on them are all so ridiculously talented. So while this post is the last Marvel post for now, there’s going to be at least a few more in the future.


Iron Man“Let’s face it, this is not the worst thing you’ve caught me doing.”
The Incredible Hulk“And Hulk? Smash.”
Iron Man 2“There's only 8,011 things that I really need to talk to you about.”
ThorNo More Than Another Stolen Relic
Captain America: The First Avenger“Is this a test?”

Monday, May 28, 2012

Writing is Hard.

I’m trying to be a real writer again/for the first time. And it’s hard. Look how many times I started this thing over.

writing

And I still feel all "ehhh" about it. I blurred it all out so you can’t read the things I wrote and promptly hated and X’d out, but each paragraph is a new start because I am a failure and will never amount to anything because I can’t even finish a sentence I like much less an actual book. Etc.

On top of being a terrible writer, I’m also a terrible procrastinator. For example, instead of actually working on something creative right now, I am writing this blog post. I’m telling myself that blogging is still writing so it still counts as work, but we all know that isn’t true. This post isn’t going to win any awards or change anyone’s life. And neither will my book, because I will never finish it. EVERRRRRRR.

All right, so that’s out of my system now. But for real, writing is hard. And scary, somehow. I feel like my time in California had the opposite of the intended effect. I was supposed to feel more creative, being surrounded by other people who loved writing and being creative, but instead I just felt really out of my league and like nothing I wrote was worthwhile (no matter what feedback I got, which was actually largely positive #humblebrag). It’s been almost six months since I left, but I still feel that way. I know it’s stupid, but I haven’t been able to shake it.

And I know all the advice – “just write! Just keep writing and it will all be okay! Somehow!” – but for some reason I’ve been too scared to, and in the last couple weeks since I’ve been trying to face this, I’ve written literally like, four pages. Handwritten. And then as soon as that happened it was instantly deemed too crappy to look at again, ever, and then I didn’t type it up or try to do anything with it because I just hated it, automatically, because it was something I wrote.

I don’t know what the point of this post is. I guess I just needed to vent. So thanks, internet, for existing and allowing me to spew my fears and insecurities into the void. I’m in a rut and it sucks, but hopefully that will get better. In the meantime, I’ll just be over here, watching Midnight in Paris over and over. And over. (AND OVER. Because seriously I just watched it the other day for the first time and it was instantaneously promoted to one of my top five favorite movies of all time.)