Awards

The Liebster Award

Thank you, Courtney of According to Courtney, for nominating me for the Liebster Award! The only award I expected to receive for this blog was some kind of Golden Raspberry equivalent. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised.

Major thanks to you, my readers, as well. You don’t have to put up with my nonsense, but you do. I really appreciate having you as my blogging neighbors.

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The rules for the Liebster Award are:

  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.
  • Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.
  • Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

11 Facts about Me

  1. I love Elton John. A LOT. Everything on Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is beautiful.
  2. I’m really, really into Battlestar Galactica. If you follow this blog for any length of time, you may get sick of hearing about it. Lesser known fact: no matter how much I love BSG, Boston Legal is my all-time favorite show.
  3. I have a poisonous houseplant that lives outside but will have to come in for the winter soon.
  4. I hate mushrooms.
  5. I occasionally read poetry to my cats. They love it. LOVE it.
  6. I have four copies of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Absolute favorite book.
  7. I own so many pairs of earrings. I’m approaching hoarder status.
  8. I’m a librarian. People ask me a lot of weird questions. But I also get questions about Star Trek, which is pretty fabulous.
  9. As far as I’m concerned, pie > cake.
  10. I like really sad movies and fiction about WWII (see Kavalier & Clay; also Atonement, Life Is Beautiful, and The Remains of the Day).
  11. I still have a lot of VHS tapes.

Answers to Courtney’s Questions

1. What is your biggest fear in life?
Writing about my feelings in a public forum. Ha, I know I’m a jerk. There’s a reason I write sarcastic critiques of movies instead of posts about my feelings.
2. If you had the chance to move to Mars, knowing you could never return to Earth, would you? Why?
Probably not. I’ve watched too many space-themed horror movies.
3. Which do you prefer: dogs or cats?
CATS. CATS CATS CATS CATS CATS.
4. What do you wish you had done when you were younger that you never got to do?
GO TO FUCKING DISNEYLAND. I have grown too old and cynical to go now.
5. Where is your favorite place in the world?
Half Price Books, any and all locations.
6. If you were stranded on a deserted island with one thing, what would it be?
Probably a cat. It could keep me company and maybe bring me mice (and probably wipe out the native bird population). I might even end up mayor of London, who knows?
7. Do you believe in ghosts?
No.
8. What food could you not live without?
Chocolate. Also bread and basically all dairy products. (Don’t make me choose.)
9. If you could choose your own theme song what would it be?
The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me.” This song just epitomizes the ‘80s cheese that lives in my heart.
10. Christmas or Halloween?
HALLOWEEN.
11. What is the most influential book you have ever read?
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I spent most of my childhood convinced that children are the worst (an opinion that has not changed). When I read LOTF in high school, I thought, “See? This William Golding guy gets me.” Of course, he was already dead by then.

11 Blogs I Love

  1. A Stitch to Scratch
  2. A Voluptuous Mind
  3. Reed Read Review Entertainment Enthusiast
  4. The Discerning Reader
  5. Angill Cards
  6. Sash Around the Clock
  7. Half-Naked Housewife
  8. Far Out in Africa
  9. Novel Reading
  10. Mdickinson35
  11. Adventure Pengembara

11 Questions for My Nominees

  1. What was the last thing you borrowed from a library (or from a friend)?
  2. Which ‘80s pop culture icon are you? http://www.buzzfeed.com/perpetua/which-80s-pop-culture-icon-are-you#1oezkbh Or, if you aren’t as addicted to online quizzes as I am, which ‘80s pop culture icon would you invite to a party?
  3. Favorite book? Or, if too difficult, favorite book you’ve read recently?
  4. Cake or pie (and why)?
  5. Favorite post you’ve written or are at least somewhat proud of?
  6. A Youtube video that always makes you laugh.
  7. One thing you love?
  8. One thing you hate?
  9. The best thing on tv (or Netflix, Hulu, etc.) right now is _____. If you don’t watch tv, favorite movie?  If you don’t watch any of the above, how do you unwind after a long day? (I threw that last part in just for you, Far Out in Africa).
  10. A song you always pump up when it plays on the radio (or on shuffle).
  11. This is really for my own purposes: any bad (or good) movie recommendations?

I hope all of my nominees decide to participate but, if not, just know that I really like your blog and look forward to your next post!

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Blogging 101

Nobody Expects the…

I was reading One Little Library’s post The Best of 2014 (So Far!) on her favorite books of 2014, which gave me inspiration for this post. Some of her favorites are ones she didn’t think she would like (Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, for example, which sounds like a fun read).

So I thought for today’s Blogging 101 task, I’d make a list of some things I have expected to hate, but have actually enjoyed quite a lot this year:

  1. Battlestar Galactica: science fiction tv show about humanity’s struggle to survive after sentient robots attack.

I didn’t necessarily expect to hate this show, but didn’t expect to get so sucked in by the plot and characters. There’s a lot of sci-fi that is just a vehicle for phallic spaceships exploding, but this isn’t one of them. BSG is a really intelligently written show that uses its sci-fi premise to offer social criticism and make you very uncomfortable. You will probably be extremely upset that Starbuck is a fictional character if you watch.

  1. Hanging out by myself in public places.

I have a lot of down time between many of my shifts, but it’s not worth my time/gas money to drive home. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot of time in sandwich shops reading, eating, and/or watching bad movies. It’s been quite pleasant to sit in a corner while people make me food and expect minimal human interaction. Even though I would still rather sprawl at home on the couch with no bra.

  1. Wolf Children: anime about a woman struggling to raise her half-wolf children after their father dies.

Guys, I am really not someone who enjoys anime. It usually just confuses me endlessly, but Wolf Children was a lovely movie about loss, family relationships, and establishing an identity independently (spoiler alert: there are also wolves. And children). I find Hosoda’s films highly imaginative but grounded in the deep emotional connections between characters. Plus there’s some beautiful animation going on in his movies.

  1. Kindred by Octavia Butler: science fiction novel about an African-American woman in the 1970s who is thrown back to the early 19th century to guide her plantation-owner ancestor.

I find sci-fi is very hit or miss for me, so even though I’d heard great things about Octavia Butler, I was skeptical about picking up this novel. I’m so glad I gave it a chance—one of my favorite books of any genre now. Kindred is so action-packed and absorbing with some very unsettling observations about race and gender in both the past and the present. No matter how disturbing this book became, I couldn’t put it down until I knew how it ended.

  1. Enlightened: tv show about a woman trying to change her life and the corporation she works for after having a huge meltdown on the job.

Cheating because I didn’t expect to hate this show, but I did read a lot of negative reactions towards Laura Dern’s character, which put me off watching. I ended up loving her character, who is extremely flawed but stubbornly optimistic. I didn’t expect a show about a woman having a mid-life crisis to seem all too relevant to my own life, and for the writers to basically send a giant “fuck you” to corporate America. Added bonus is the appearance of Luke Wilson in this series, who is aging extremely well.

  1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: pretty much the contemporary YA version of King Lear.

I don’t read a ton of YA fiction (too much angst—been there, done that), but I wanted a nice light summer read. While I suppose it didn’t end up being nice or light, it was a lot of fun to read and kept me in suspense until the end. Much more carefully and intelligently written than many other YA novels out there.

  1. Iron Sky: bad movie about Nazis who colonize the moon post-WWII.

I didn’t expect to hate this movie, but I didn’t have high hopes for it. The premise sounded like it could either be brilliant or horrendous. With its hyper-awareness of its own absurdity and surprising amount of snide political commentary, it’s definitely one of my favorite bad movies now.

  1. The Walking Dead: I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you’re familiar with this show. If not, it’s a tv show about zombies.

I just started watching this show, and I’m enjoying it so much more than I thought I would. It’s really disgusting, which is somewhat problematic because I’m usually eating when I watch tv. That being said, it’s not (quite) as much about blood and guts as I thought it would be, though I’m not sure how much longer I can keep watching without becoming totally repulsed by the human race as a whole.

  1. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: comedy tv show.

Kind of cheating again because I couldn’t think of any reason I wouldn’t love John Oliver’s show. However, I do love it more than I thought humanly possible, especially this clip from his latest episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDPCmmZifE8.

What about you?

Have you been pleasantly surprised by anything that you initially thought would be terrible? Or maybe you’ve gone back to something you hated the first time and loved it the second time around.

Ha, I’ll hate you a lot if you say this blog. 🙂

Film Reviews

Wolfen, the Citizen Kane of Werewolf Movies

“My goal is to update weekly” is a direct quote I posted on Facebook regarding this blog.

Then I started watching Battlestar Galactica.

I’m almost done, so I am again striving to meet the (somewhat realistic) goals I’ve made for myself.  Here’s my review of Wolfen, which I meant to post over a week ago.  It’s a bizarre one, guys.

The Film:

Wolfen

Where to Watch:

SearchOhio that shit; alternatively, buy/rent from Amazon or stream elsewhere

The Premise:

Someone or something is brutally murdering the people of New York City.  Albert Finney is the totally retro detective who investigates the murders and stares into a lot of mirrors.  Inevitably, there are wolves, conspiracies, and cults explained by a young Edward James Olmos (Commander Adama from Battlestar Galactica!).

The Uncondensed Version:

Our movie opens with the demolition of a building in a really rundown part of the Bronx.  Then we get footage of these Native American guys (one of whom is EJO) standing on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Apparently this film was revolutionary because of the camera technique used to see from the predator’s perspective, which is part thermal camera, part acid trip.  I just found it really distracting and it made me question if this is really how wolves see.  Has there been any scientific research about how wolves see?  (Nobody had better ask me this at the ref desk.)

So anyway, when we have our first murders, they are trippy as fuck.  For whatever reason, the governor and his wife have their chauffeur drive them all to Battery Park at 4 in the morning.  Because they’re dumb.  In true horror movie fashion, the black guy is the first to die, but the governor and his wife follow shortly after.

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This is the way wolves see you before you DIE.

We finally meet the detective, Albert Finney, who is all ‘70s glam in this movie, when he goes to investigate the murders the next morning.  He is eating something the entire time, which is incredibly distracting.  He is also eating a COOKIE while he watches the autopsies being performed.  It made me never want to eat a cookie again.  For about 3 minutes.

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Note the headband.

Then we meet a criminal psychologist who will be working with Albert Finney.  They go on a date, which I thought would only end in tears, but is actually not a catastrophic mistake.  In a move made specifically to garner the interest of librarians (read:  cat ladies), the psychologist has a cat!

At this point I started to lose interest because I wanted to see some fucking werewolves, so this may not be the most accurate plot synopsis on the web.  There’s an eco-terrorist group the governor’s niece is involved with called the Götterdämmerung (seriously, is it a requirement to mention Götterdämmerung in every bad movie?).  I think the assumption is that they’re somehow involved, but Albert Finney continues to investigate.

He talks to EJO, who kind of fucks with him by pretending to be a werewolf.  EJO gets naked, runs around the beach, and does some pretty wonderful crazy eyes as part of his “transforming” face.

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This makes me wish Adama were secretly a werewolf.

One of the werewolves FINALLY appears after an hour and a half; it’s just a black wolf.  HIGHLY DISAPPOINTING.

Then EJO and the other Native American guy explain the Wolfen, who are a really old group of wolves with special abilities and may or may not be gods.  This is when the movie gets really philosophical and pushes an environmental message that comes out of nowhere with lines including:

“Reality is just a state of mind.”

“To them, you are the savages.”

“In the end, it is all for hunting ground.”

“You don’t have the eyes of a hunter.  You have the eyes of the dead.”

This is some heavy shit for a werewolf movie.  Albert Finney seems to agree, as he just kind of slowly unravels for the remainder of the film.  He stares into fragmented mirrors A LOT and thinks about wind chimes.  He also repeats series of words to himself, such as “territory, terrorism, terror,” and thinks about demolition, urban renewal projects, and loss of land.  The last 20 minutes of this film is basically just Albert Finney repeating words to himself.

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Fragmentation. Broken society. Koyaanisqatsi.

When Albert Finney, the chief of police, and the psychologist go outside one evening, it’s foggy, atmospheric, and suddenly…wolves!  EVERYWHERE.  The police chief gets murdered, then his car explodes for no apparent reason.

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WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLVES.

Now Albert Finney REALLY loses it.  He’s just kind of sitting in a corner holding a wolf pelt, occasionally repeating random words to himself.  The Wolfen are watching; they break through the glass to kill him and the psychologist.  Albert Finney aims his gun at one of the wolves, then lowers it and empties the bullets.  He then destroys the scale model of a new development, and the police arrive, opening fire.  The wolves suddenly VANISH.

Last lines of this film really drive home the environmental message of this movie:

“In arrogance man knows nothing of what exists. There exists on this earth such as we dare not imagine; life as certain as our death, life that will prey on us as surely as we prey on this earth.”

The Critique:

This is the Citizen Kane of werewolf movies.  Or at least it wants to be.  It was also sort of trying to be a film noir, so it resulted in a lot of shots of characters walking along alleyways in the dark, which became a bit tiresome.

There are so many wind chimes, reflections, and repetitions in this film that I didn’t find particularly effective.  The movie ends as it began—with a demolition.  The writer/director probably loved that this reinforced the cyclical nature of our existence, the inevitable destruction that accompanies our way of life, the damage we bring upon ourselves and our environment over and over again, but I didn’t think it was that clever.

A werewolf movie is the last place I would have expected the message to overwhelm the story, but it did.  I anticipated terror and werewolves, and this film didn’t deliver.

My biggest takeaway from this film is that BSG is always relevant.

The Rating:

Small Pink PantherSmall Pink Panther2/5 Pink Panther heads

It would probably be 1/5, but I threw in a bonus Pink Panther for EJO running around naked.

I thought this movie would click for me at some point, but it never really did.  It was just really strange and pretentious.  Plus I wanted werewolves!  Footage of wolves ≠ werewolves.

FDR, American Badass is coming up, I swear to god.