Monthly Archives: July 2008

We can’t quit him

This article from the Tribeca Film Festival website says it right about Heath Ledger. “We’re still staring greedily at Heath Ledger, asking in vain for more. With Ennis Del Mar, the young actor delivered a performance so stunning and true that we’ll never be able to quit him.”

I agree that Ledger’s more than a “promising” actor because he fulfilled his promise in several films that will be his legacy. But I disagree that even had he lived, Ennis Del Mar would have been his most memorable role/performance. I think it would have been one, one of the top memorable performances. But who know what more he would have done had he lived. Dark Knight demonstrates that. I can’t say which is a better performance, Ennis Del Mar or the Joker. BUT, I think Ledger’s turn as the Joker definitely proved he had MANY more astounding roles in him.

But it’s nice to be reminded of all the wonderful performances we are left with and to know that while they may not be all we want, we’re so lucky to have them.

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Greedy…me and Hasbro

I’m very greedy with books. Even while I’m trying to par down my personal collection to books I’ve actually read (yes, a good 90% of the books I own, I’ve never read), I’m adding to my library card collection. THREE cards to libraries in three cities and two states. The day I got my BR library card after a year without one…manna, my friends. What a dork, I am. [It’s a funny story how I lost my BR library privileges last year, pure conjecture and no proof…] Getting my Nola library card made me feel like I truly lived there for the first time. But they have a 20 item limit, which is a crime for a researcher. When I asked about ways to get around that, they looked at me and actually asked, “Why would you need more books than that?” BECAUSE I’M BOOK GREEDY! Because I like to read like 10 things at once, especially when I’m researching. And you couldn’t trust your books to a more devoted person. The EBR librarians at my old (and now current again) branch *get me*. “Glad to see you’re carrying to your patron weight,” they say when I come in to check out books. And pulling my stack of 4 books from the hold section, one of the ladies went back because, “That doesn’t seem right, seems like there should be more…” And yes, before you ask, I carry all three of my library cards in my wallet at all times. Just in case.

I saw an item about Hasbro suing the creators of Scrabulous and put a note on Facebook asking why Hasbro didn’t just buy Scrabulous. I mean, clearly Scrabulous infringes on Scrabble and Hasbro’s online rights. Clearly. But it’s so popular, it only makes sense to keep it going. And then, a good friend linked to an article that answered my question and shamed me deeply. Why the shame? I worked for an intellectual property law firm for six months and I *know* why Hasbro doesn’t just buy Scrabulous. I just wasn’t thinking. But you know, it just goes to show I was never suited for intellectual property litigation (or support thereof). [And you just thought my “not working at law firms” comment was random bitterness! No sirs and ladies, I assure you, it is not random at all.]

For the record, running through water fountains with a bunch of kids while wearing a dress and watching a free public screening of Big Fish is a *lot* of fun. Just why I come to BR to party.

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If I ever have money…

I wanna give it away like Charles Barkley does (some of it, anyway).

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So here’s a question for ya…

So you’re a writer and you walk into B&N/Borders/other BIG CHAIN STORE (you’ll see why in a sec) or even a really well-stocked indie store and you see…books. *Everywhere* there are books. And you’re plugging away on your book, certain that you can get it published (or maybe just hopeful) and you see *all these books*. How do you feel? If you’re overwhelmed, how do you counsel yourself? If you’re excited, how do you pace yourself?

If you’re a reader/reviewer, how do a find *one book*, one special book, in *all those books*?

I’m asking cause I got to thinking while looking through my 1,500+ friends on MySpace, most of whom are writers and I got tingly and overwhelmed looking at all those gorgeous glossy photos, all of those books. How do we stand out? How do we get that book into a reader’s hands?

Wanna hear the good, the bad and the ugly here. What do you think?

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Maybe what I said is a bit of a lie

So I told Zak Nelson I thought I’d shaken all of the “glamour stars” out of my eyes, but maybe that’s not entirely true. Why? Because I love that a good friend of mine is the writer of a series of books that people are RABID over and I spent last night reading 150+ pages of the rough rough draft. And that my mamma mia! came *this* close to bribing me to see it (come on ma, professional integrity!). She did beg, but maintained enough dignity not to bribe. Yeah so, I’m still glamour-eyed a bit. And you know what? I hope that never changes. I want to always have some excited fangirl in me. Because if the things that you love become your life/job and then no longer excite you, you’ve seriously lost something. Maybe it’d be better to be like Anthony Trollope, always a British postal worker, writing in the mornings before work and never as famous as his mama (in HIS lifetime). Going postal never looked so appealing.

I submitted some rocking 6-word memoirs to Smith, so go check them out. Eh, they’re kinda personal since they are memoirs, even if they are rather short. But I have to get used to being just a bit emotionally naked for when TCB is delivered unto the defenseless world.

My SYTYCD predictions for tonight? I think Comfort and Mark are going home. We’ll see. I’m still stunned by Kherington last week, so what do I know?

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Oh and…


That cupcake was soooo verrrry gooood! The book in the foreground is ” Not Quite What I Planned,” which I mentioned in the last post. The cupcake was also mentioned in the last post, but now it is history, in my belly, yo. And yum. Cheers knows cupcakes.

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I finally deserve the cupcake!

I promised myself a scrumptious chocolate cupcake from Cheers when I finished my freelance project (interestingly enough, it has cupcake in the title, but I didn’t think of that at the time). I’m done, so I finally deserve that cupcake. Chocolate is good motivation.

There’s sooo much to write about! First, let me say that I will be writing about Dark Knight at the end of this blog, so consider everything else I say in between now and then SPOILER space!!

I’ve been a subscriber of Entertainment Weekly for years. Recently, they underwent a major facelift. I really like the new look and all that it’s brought with it. One of my favorite parts of EW these days is Mark Harris. In the July 25 issue, page 18, he talks about the Katherine Heigl debacle(s) in a kick-ass, cunning way I can only dream of. I was cheering by the end of “Heigl Kicks Heinie” (giggle, so do you Mr. Harris). Here’s my favorite line from the essay: “And I like the fact that her mouth – which is not even slightly ugly – is connected to her brain.” Thank gawd Heigl has a white knight in Mr. Harris – she doesn’t need one, but it’s nice to have somebody recognize that she’s not talking shit just to talk shit. “My God,” Harris says, “do we really want our stars to be that boring? …. Being honest – what a shockingly inappropriate tactic!” When I went looking for the link, I saw that EW has the essay on the front page. They’re smart cookies, they are. Even when I’m poor, I pay for my EW, and everything they’re doing lately ensures that I’ll keep doing so. (There’s also a great article on Sugarland in the same issue).

Then, a friend of mine sent me an email linking to this NY Times essay written by my friend Margo Rabb, “I’m Y.A. and I’m O.K.” A must read, even if you never plan to write Y.A. because it has a lot to say about genres and publishing and advertising that writers need to hear. Also, as someone who does write Y.A. and also writes other stuff, I’m tired of Y.A. being so disrespected. In the essay, Margo quotes someone saying to her, “My God. That’s such a shame” when she tells the person her book is Y.A. WHY? Young adults are the people who still actually read books, after all. Teen-driven books are selling HUGE, getting made into movies and are actually being talked about. There’s a lot to be said for a well-respected literary book…if anyone reads it to say anything. If anyone pays attention. But why can’t you be a great writer and write Y.A.? Why is it inferior, or selling out? Read the essay.

And this is REALLY cool. A while back, I heard about a book called “Not Quite What I Planned.” It’s 6 word memoirs by known and unknown writers from the staff of SMITH Magazine. I zipped through 50 pages of it while waiting in the drive through at the bank. It’s a quick, powerful, engrossing read. Coolest of all, there’s a website and they have ongoing 6-word memoirs as well as calls for submissions on specific topics. Here’s some of my favorites so far:

“I asked. They answered. I wrote.” – Sebastian Junger
“I still make coffee for two.” – Zak Nelson
“Almost a victim of my family.” – Chuck Sangster
“Tombstone won’t say ‘had health insurance.'” – Dean Haspiel [Amen!]
“Made a mess. Cleaned it up.” – Amy Henderson
“Boy, if I had a hammer.” – Tim Barkow [Amen again, though I don’t know what Dean meant.]

Was VERY sorry to see that Estelle Getty died yesterday. I’m really not ready to lose any of the Golden Girls, but especially not Sophia.

Now to Dark Knight. Spoilers – you were warned before, so don’t be surprised. Alright, LOVED it. Probably not a surprise if you’ve heard any of the reviews. Like when I recently saw I’m Not There, I was so engrossed in the movie, in Heath Ledger’s performance, that I forgot he was dead. Literally forgot. His Joker is the creepiest, saddest, most frightening villain I think I’ve ever seen. An anarchist with no compassion, no true history, an ADD kid grown up and stripped of his ability to care about what happens to him or to anybody. Someone who starts fires just to watch them burn. The emotion and the thought behind the plot are completely sound but then there are also those incredible, breathtaking action sequences. Ledger’s performance, no matter how stellar, would have faltered if his villain hadn’t been given truly devious and diabolical things to do and man did they give him diabolical plans (can YOU answer the essential question: that boat or my boat?). I barely breathed for the last half of the movie and it ALWAYS had my attention, despite it’s length. I will say, having thought about it for almost a week, that I think they could’ve slimmed the movie down and could’ve saved most of Harvey Dent’s transformation into Two-Face for another movie. Two-Face is a good enough villain for his own movie. As it was, the transformation felt a bit rushed, almost disrespectful. A bit bewildering after the emotional upheaval of all the come-backs and the crap-not-coming-backs. That’s my ONLY criticism, however. For a while at the beginning, I was more amused than I should’ve been by Christian Bale’s Batman rasp (always been a BIG Bale fan, since Newsies, even if he doesn’t like that movie, I do and always will) but then I just bought it, hook, line and sinker. I can easily imagine Oscars for this movie (not just a posthumous one for Ledger), can easily anticipate that it will become a “classic,” and I firmly believe that it’s better than the original Nolan Batman flick. Really. I don’t know HOW he’s going to top it with his next, but I’m firmly convinced that if he can’t top it, he can make a very, very solid installment to bookend it.

So, whew, after all that. NOW, I’m re-reading the Twilight books before Breaking Dawn comes out, anticipating the movie AND Harry Potter in November. And tonight, I’m going to be smack-dab in front of SYTYCD (REALLY not pleased that Kherington got kicked off last week. She’s one of my favorites) with my cell phone only accepting calls from my mother and Julie and only if they want to talk about SYTYCD. Password is: paso doble.

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Libba Bray and SYTYCD

So Toni made me read Libba Bray’s July 15th blog entry and it was so PERFECT!! All of you writers out there, need to read this immediately. She makes a hysterical analogy between writing a book and a relationship. I like her Y/A books and I’m a big fan of her blog as of today.

Also, I thought I could just be content that Jessica was out of the competition on SYTYCD and leave it at that. But I was sooo grossed out with her explanation performance (it was a performance and a pretty obvious one at that). All I have to say is this is VERY GOOD timing on her part. She gets to sit like a pretty martyr in the audience instead of working her ass off and she STILL gets to go on the Top 10 Tour. All along, I thought she was the weakest dancer and wanted her off the show, but I still thought that she was probably a sweet girl who handled the criticism well. Now I think she’s just grossly, sickly sweet and is waaaay too conniving. Whether or not she’s injured, however it was decided to go with this arrangement, Jessica is a very, very lucky girl. Let’s hope she continues to be lucky because I think she’s too afraid to let her talent speak for her and THAT, regardless of her dance ability, will always keep her from being a great dancer. She has to stop being afraid of being successful on the strength of her ability and she has to learn to step up. When someone cares about you and your talent enough to criticize you in a constructive way, GET BETTER, use the criticism.

I’m going to miss the results show tonight. Which is just as well, probably, because at this point, I like everybody on the show and I’m gonna be sad no matter what.

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SYTYCD: Jessica

I meant to say something about this yesterday when I found out. Jessica, my least favorite dancer on SYTYCD was safe last week and Comfort went home. I feel kinda bad cause I got kinda vicious in my dislike for Jessica since I really did feel she was the weakest dancer. She handled the criticism sweetly, but NEVER stepped up (she had 2 good performances, but they still aren’t my favorites) the way she should have to stay on the show. Honestly, I felt like because her dance partner was Will, they gave her chances she didn’t deserve. I seriously believe that she didn’t get kicked off my the judges last week simply because she and Will had a routine that the judges RAVED about and they probably wanted to see that in the Top 10 tour, so they had to keep Jessica. That’s the only reason I think they kept her because she was in the bottom 3 as much as Comfort, I’m sure. And had worse performances.

Well…now that they’re (in 9 minutes) about to split up all the dance partners and mix things up, Jessica has now taken herself out of the competition, claiming an injury that the producers only just found out about (all the way since the disco routine, apparently). Comfort’s back. I’m going to accept this with good grace and just be relieved that she’s off the show and Comfort’s been given another chance.

I’m off to enjoy now.

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Two cities, Bob Dylan, webcomics and proper grammar

A tale of two cities and one girl. Very excited about the opportunity to do some work for my friend and mentor and to visit with friends in BR. But it’s taking some getting used to, this shuttling between cities. If only I were ready to move back to BR, eh? Maybe someday…

My neighbors and I had a porch sale on Sunday and made a bit of extra cash. It’s nice, having a group of close-knit neighbors, hanging out and looking out for each other. I’m thinking this is something I generally don’t ever want to live without again. Papa bear’s in town for business, so we had a fun adventure where I wanted to yell at an airport cop a little high on false authority AND THEN almost hit a bicyclist who wasn’t obeying traffic laws OR looking as she zipped in front of us in the dead of night. That was pretty scary. We were both pretty shaken and tired after that.

I watched “I’m Not There” with my roommie the other day and was so blown away and confused (let’s be honest here) that I watched a good half of it again with the commentary on. FASCINATING. Then I read the Wikipedia article on Bob Dylan and downloaded a bunch of his music (I’d already had a lot, but I got some great covers, etc). I’m an enormous Heath Ledger fan (have been for over a decade) and was really upset about his death earlier this year. Yet, he’s such a wonderful actor, I mostly forgot about being sad he was gone while I was watching him. I wasn’t thinking, “I’m watching Heath Ledger, who’s no longer with us,” I was just soooo embroiled in his character and the story. Gives me hope for “The Dark Knight,” which I’ve been kind of wary of watching.

Speaking of movies, I’m excited to see “Mamma Mia!” but very, very sad that my own mamma mia and I won’t be in the same city so we can see it together.

So here’s something REALLY cool. My good friend Anna (Nana) has started a blog/webcomic called The New PolyAnna. I’m thrilled with the comic. It’s uncanny how much the artwork reminds me of the “real” A and W. I begged permission to link to it here. I hope everybody checks it out and enjoys, especially as she adds more strips (HINT, HINT, Anna).

And via After the MFA, here’s a great website devoted to not so much promoting proper grammar (though that too, probably) as mocking those instances of wretchedly improper English grammar, English Fail blog.

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