The 3 in 3D? 3 dollar 3D fee!

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I still consider The Incredibles my top Pixar movie, but this one was up (ha!) right next to it. Probably because I prefer movies which star my own species, or at least something from the animal family (as opposed to little talking cars, of course.) And digital animation viewed through 3D glasses is freakishly lifelike, and freakishly awesome. Freakishly worth the three extra bucks.

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Fan girls.

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For the record, we didn’t grab the stray hair. We’re not total creeps. Not like the guy shouting all the lyrics to Acid Tongue… boo to that guy! But Jenny sounded fantastic, as we’ve come to expect of her, and the whole show was a lot of fun. We might have even gone just to see Barbara Gruska on the drums!

Also, we were standing right next to this photographer from True Endeavors, so I’ll link to those photos when he posts them, as they will be pretty much exactly our what we saw (plus a post-show shot of Holly, Marie, and I, because we’re sooooooooo photogenic, ha). Update: photos are here.

Oh, and also for the record, I named my blue bicycle Jenny, as we walked it home after the show :)

Flash in the pan, we are.

They played this film at my church yesterday. It was nominated for a short-film Oscar in 2003, and well, it’s pretty rad (no cross-language puns intended!) Das Rad. Check it out:

More paragraphs than I planned on.

When we were kids, my friend Rebecca and I used to write stories together and read stories together and do basically everything together. Beck had those mildly gruesome little “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark” books, which I was always a little jealous of, because I probably wasn’t allowed to have them. We would take the instruction quite literally and look for somewhere dark, or semi-dark, to read them, like a tool shed in the back yard, which, with bright daylight peeking through the door, was just the right amount of scary for me. (If we had only known at the time that a teenage boy had murdered his entire family in her kitchen and living room just 40 years earlier! True story!)

I don’t know what prompted me, but I was thinking about this the other day, about when we used to read these stories to each other. Whenever it was Rebecca’s turn to read I would follow along with her over her shoulder and correct any time she read a word wrong or misinterpreted a particular mark of punctuation. Pretty much I must have been completely annoying! I could pick much more amusing stories from this friendship to write about, could in fact probably fill a book of memoirs-turned-blockbuster movie, but like I said, this ritualistic scary-story-reading is what most recently came to my mind.

And anyway, I just remembered what had sparked that memory. Last night Rachel and Molly and I went to see Holly play a show at IQs, which was great except for the smoke (Madison, my lungs and I love you for being smoke-free… Green Bay, get a clue!) One of Holly’s songs has a line about a toy drum, which made me think of that scary story with the toy drum and the gypsy girl and the woman with the glass eye… I remember reading that story with Rebecca and then a few years later hearing the very same story plagerized by some girl in the class above me, trying to pass it off as her own. Can you imagine? Trying to plagerize a classic like “Scary Stories to Read in the Dark”? Is nothing sacred anymore?

My family and I went to see the movie Marley & Me today. I was surprisingly engaged by it, and so, it seems, were all of the little kids in the theater who were sobbing. I cried a little too – partly because I could feel my mom’s tender heart breaking in the seat next to me. I don’t know if anyone loves animals more than she does.

Friday night I was at Holly’s birthday party and got to hang out with a 3 year old princess.  Really, she had two separate princess gowns along with her. She is my friend now. We played magic carpet ride and sinking ship and fort and when we got hungry we ate Holly (“Come here, you Lunch!”) Anyway, it was good for me. I wasn’t sure if I liked kids too much, but my new 3 year old friend proved that I do, or at least that I can.

On Christmas day my family went to stay at my dad’s cabin on the Wolf River. While we were there we watched Alone in the Wilderness, and I was reminded of how attractive it is for a man to know how to build things. I first realized this when I watched The Notebook with Laura and remarked that, “There is nothing sexier than a man who builds a house for the woman he loves!” So anyway, I’ve decided that my dream man will have the skills to build a cabin with his bare hands (and okay, a few tools). He will also play guitar and be kind to animals. There are at least 100 other qualifiers on this list, you can inquire to hear the rest of them.

While we were at the cabin the snow was everywhere and terribly beautiful. My dad has cross country skis and snow shoes hanging on the walls and for the first time in many years I actually felt some desire to go outside in the winterland and participate in some form of sport. Trust me, this is a new development. Being so new, I did not act on it, but I really think I might try some outdoor activities this winter. Considering how winter is just getting started! Don’t tell anyone, but as my family and I were driving through the state this week I said, with my eyes fixated on the gray and white landscape surrounding us, “I like winter.” Who am I? I tried explaining to my mom my theory that winter is the perfect climate for humans to exist (as the miserable beings that we are) and she thought it was kind of depressing. But kind of true?

We visited the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau and checked out the tromp l’oeil exhibit and the illustrated letters exhibit. The latter really inspired me to start writing letters again, and to do so creatively. That was the fun part of a long distance relationship, but of course letter-writing can happen between friends and family as well. I won’t make it an official goal, but maybe in 2009 I’ll do a bit more of this.

Hey, I just made two new friends. They are great. They are characters in my story. I mean, that is the only place that they exist. Is that weird? I brought my sketchbooks along with me this weekend thinking that I’d have a lot of time to get some pages filled. Well, I did have the time, but I am learning that I can’t write when there are people around, or even the option of being around people. So progress has been limited, but I still hope to have my designated chapter finished by the end of this month.

This has been a terrible summary of the past week… it is not chronological, it is not exhaustive, it is hardly descriptive. But considering that I just sat down as a matter of self-discipline and forced myself to start writing I’d say it’s not so bad after all.

2009 is going to be a big year…

Gone is Gotham.

Everyone can stop complaining about the heat, please. Don’t you know I’ve been waiting years for a summer with weather as perfect as this one has been? And after such a horrible winter! It hasn’t been a summer of rock and roll, bike rides, and carefree painting, it hasn’t been a summer of weddings and budding romance, it hasn’t even been a summer of decomposing apartment managers (thank God!) But it’s been a hot summer, and therefore a good one, if uneventful.

Well, I did see The Dark Knight, and since everyone has been pouring forth the same obvious praises (It’s the best Batman film to date, Heath Ledger’s performance was un-flippin-believable, No other superheroes need apply, etcetera, etcetera) I will take a minute to make two slight criticisms. Slight because the sheer awesomeness of this movie overshadows most of my nitpicking. I don’t think there are any spoilers here, but if you haven’t seen it yet you might want to play it safe and skip this one.

Nitpick number one: A Missing Character. No, Batman was present and accounted for, as was Commissioner Gordon, Lucius Fox, Salvator Maroni, Harvey Dent, and of course the Joker. They even kept the girl around, which seems very un-Bruce-Wayne-like. So anyway, who could this missing character be? I’ll give you a hint, it’s not a person. It’s Gotham City! This movie was over two and a half hours long, and at no point in it did Gotham make an appearance. Sure, they called it Gotham, but come on. It was Chicago, baldly. I’ve heard opinions and read reviews that praise this decision, to leave the Windy City undisguised, to shoot so many scenes in daylight, because it brings the movie to a very real level, makes it relevant and timely in an age when America is scared of criminals but even more scared of itself. Well that’s nice, but here is what I think: it’s still a movie. It’s still a movie about a man who wears a bat suit and swings around in the dark beating up thugs. Sure, there is crime in Chicago and every other regular looking city in America, but we can see that on the ten-o’clock news. When I watch it on the big screen I want to be taken somewhere else, I want there to be an element of playful darkness and dark playfulness, and no other city has come close to being as delicious to watch as Gotham. Until now. I really missed it in this movie.

Nitpick number two: Christopher Nolan… I love the man, I love the movies he makes, including The Dark Knight. But there is something about his storytelling that pushes my limit. Maybe after making Memento he felt that each transition in all of his subsequent movies could be just as jarring, I’m not sure. I didn’t notice it in Batman Begins, but there were definitely moments in The Dark Knight where I felt like I had been running along with the movie and suddenly, with a scene change, was made to stop where I was, losing some momentum and taking a few extra moments to get back on track. It makes you conscious of the fact that you are sitting in a theater, staring at a screen, and not actually there where the action is taking place. Granted, this happened very few times (maybe twice?) but it left me feeling a little like I did after watching The Prestige, which was, “Am I sure that this movie was made to its absolute greatest potential?” And I don’t think it was. Of course I watched The Prestige a number of times after the first viewing and came to terms with the parts that bothered me and liked the film more and more each time I saw it. Which is what I imagine will happen with The Dark Knight. But as awesome as The Dark Knight was, for now I’d have to say (and I don’t say this lightly!) I liked Batman Begins better. Anyway, considering what I just said about Christopher Nolan, I’d still list him as one of my favorite directors and I really hope he signs on for the next Batman movie. Is it too early to start talking about the next Batman movie?

Well, okay, I don’t like writing reviews. I hope we can consider the above post to be more of a conversation starter than a review. What did you think of the film?

July in April.

Remember my Valentine’s Day gift to you? The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal? I always find things out a few years too late. Did you know that’s Miranda July narrating? I just found that out tonight by the following string of events:

The String of Events:

General boredom leads me to click on the address bar and scroll down to see my past sites visited.

Links include the ordinary (Gmail, Myspace, Youtube, Google, Dictionary, Craigslist) and at least one which is extraordinary: www.learningtoloveyoumore.com, a web project by Miranda July and Harrel Fletcher. This website is precious, but also ingenious, and some day I think I may set about completing some of the challenges it offers.

While visiting Learning to Love you More I click on a link for the Learning To Love You More book because I love the design of the cover. I think for a moment how I typically admire any aesthetic that July has had her fingers on, particularly text aesthetic, particularly the content of that text: the sentences she comes up with.

I think about a time last year when I was in California and, waiting for a friend, found myself killing time in a Barnes & Noble. I picked up a pink copy of July’s then-newly released book No One Belongs Here More Than You. I sat myself down in an overstuffed armchair and began to read the first story or two. Some cruel-hearted employee popped a Barbara Streisand live album in and the entire store was filled for the next hour with such unpleasant sound waves. I could barely enjoy the book, and in fact, gave up eventually, left the store.  This is the memory that I think of, briefly.

I wonder if Miranda July has begun any feature length film projects since Me and You and Everyone We Know. I check IMDB. I notice a film listed in her credits: Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal–Narrator. Overcome, “It all makes sense now!” I feel I have to tell you, so I sign on to my blog.

But maybe you folks aren’t even fans of Miranda July. Well anyway, years late as always, here is my new favorite website.

You’re already so far away from me.

I have a date for the wedding! Just when I was ready to accept my fate as the lonesome bridesmaid, toeing shyly at the edge of the dance floor, my good friend and former band mate has agreed to keep me company. Well all right, she’ll be my guest, not my date, but that’s even better. The Art Table!

Speaking of, Holly and I spoke tonight about a possible reunion show. Holly, who has moved on to bigger and better musical endeavors, suggested this last fall but I shrugged it off at the time. Recently I have really been missing the good old days of The Main Stage and The Eagle’s Club, the days of Mable and Diana, and shipwrecks and dog bites and zombies (of course). Holly recently bought a new drum kit and offered to give the old Art Table kit back to me (“back” because once upon a time, long before we even dreamed of playing music together, they had been my drums and I sold them to her). It would be fun, having a drum set again, and maybe this time I would actually learn the proper way to play them, but I just don’t know where they could live. Drums and multi-family apartment buildings don’t mix, generally.

Years overdue, I finally got around to watching American Splendor this evening. Combined with a quick library read of an Adrian Tomine novel (yes, the same one I sniffed at with snobbish disdain last week) I come away from this evening a bit inspired to return to the graphic form of storytelling. Although it seems, at times, like I can barely keep my monthly comic strip afloat, I can’t shake the idea that there is some tiny little story inside me that can most effectively be told with pictures. I know it will never be anything epic, and it may not even stand on it’s own. But I think I have to get it out of me. If only I knew what it was. In the meantime I think I’d like to buckle down on my comic strip, get to know the cast of characters better. Did you know my comic strip is about a blogger named Paul? I didn’t even know his name was Paul until just recently. It’s time we got acquainted!

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You know I’m not usually a fan of music videos, but watch this one and try not to smile:

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