Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Oscars: 2015

Tonight is the 2015 Academy Awards. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but Drew is crazy for the Oscars. He can usually predict pretty closely which movie is going to win which category. Like, ALL the categories.

I, unfortunately, have kind of bad taste in movies. I like romantic comedies. I like to rewatch favorites from when I was a teenager. So it’s nice to have this milestone every year where people who know good movies make a list of the “best” movies, and then I can check them off a list as I watch them.

There are eight Best Picture nominees this year, and while I wished that Gone Girl would be on the list, it wasn’t. (Also, we watched Foxcatcher before the noms came out, assuming it would be one of them, and it wasn’t, so I would like that 129 minutes of my life back please.) But this weekend we finally watched the last of the eight movies – just in time.

And so, here is my (completely definitive) ranking of the 2015 Best Picture nominees:

  1. Boyhood
  2. Whiplash  
  3. Birdman
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. The Imitation Game
  6. American Sniper
  7. Selma
  8. The Theory of Everything
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Drew, Movies

Here We Lent Again

Happy Ash Wednesday! It’s time to frantically figure out what to give up for Lent this year!

I actually started thinking about this a couple weeks ago, when I noticed at work that someone had brought in some Mardi Gras-themed pastries from a board meeting. But it’s nowhere near Mardi Gras! I thought. Then I looked at a calendar. But it’s not quite — well there’s still a little time — I mean, who even likes King Cake? Well, the colors ARE nice.

In the past I’ve given up Facebook, and arguing with Drew. Last year I gave up chocolate, and although that was an appropriately difficult thing for me to give up, I didn’t want to just repeat something from last year. So, after some hurried thought (and finishing some Ben & Jerry’s Coffee Toffee Bar Crunch last night), I think I’m going to give up ice cream.

What are you giving up this year? (Or, as I know some people do, are you taking on something additional during Lent?)

Leave a comment

Filed under Beginnings, Food, Holidays, Humor, Nonfiction, Religion

For Another Ten

Drew and I recently celebrated 10 years of dating. It was a couple weeks ago, so I’m a little behind here, but 10 years is significant enough that I’m giving myself a pass.

Here are some fun facts about when we got together back in 2005:

We were about to start rehearsals for Into the Woods, but we cast the show before Christmas break. So just for the record, I didn’t cast him because he was my boyfriend. I cast him because he was awesome.

Erin actually knew that we both liked each other at least a week before we admitted it to each other. She chose not to say anything because we had both told her in confidence. That’s some crazy loyalty there.

We were at a party where we discovered our mutual interest. This party took place in the house that we later moved into for my final year of school.

Incidentally, I wasn’t originally planning on going to that party. I only went because my friend Josh stood me up. It turned out he had an emergency appendectomy that night. Thanks, Josh’s burst appendix!

Even if I hadn’t gone to THAT party, I still think our dating was inevitable. We had been inching toward it for weeks. It was going to happen.

For instance, a few weeks earlier, we’d gone to the movies together to see The Phantom of the Opera. But I don’t think either of us knew whether or not it was a date. I mean, I was running late, which I would have tried not to do, obviously, if I knew it was a date. And I presume if it was a date, he would have picked me up, and maybe we wouldn’t have gone to a matinee.

We accidentally introduced our parents to each other after just a couple weeks. They just both happened to have come to this show we were both working on, on the same night. Oops!

The Last 5 Years came a little later, so it doesn’t really fit into my theme here, but I’m still inspired by the fact that the movie version is coming out today. It’s bringing back a lot of memories and feelings from those early years.

I have never in my life been more sure about any choice I’ve ever made. Then, now…always.

1901430_10103329166969533_645994753557501722_n

2 Comments

Filed under Beginnings, Drew, Love, Memoir

tbt: Ashes North

My new term at school started this week, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to juggle two classes at once. Also, this week at work we revealed our upcoming season to the public, so there was a lot of planning to be done for that party and the (good) aftermath. The good news is, I think I got my feet back under me. The even better news is that the Fiction Writing class is exactly what I wanted: some readings, then write a short story. Critique others. Every week. I am so excited.

I have been focusing on the other class (Literary Theory), so I don’t have anything to show yet for Fiction. But I thought I would hearken back to my first Fiction class at UC Davis, which I believe was 2005. I don’t remember what the prompt for this was. But it’s clearly loosely based on Lakeport (which, for the record, I adore – and which, in the last 10 years, finally got a Starbucks).

==

Ashes North

There is a magical thing happening to the town of Ashes South, Minnesota. Children and adults are gathered in the streets, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the bulldozer that will destroy the building that was their church in the seventies and early eighties, to raze the land and build afresh on top of it. Teenagers pretend not to care but in their diaries and when they’re drunk they confess to each other how excited they are about the changes that are coming about in Ashes South. There is little more to talk about between classes at the local high school, and the students – 207 in all – shiver in the cold February air, rubbing their arms through their jackets and talking about how the town will change. Daydreaming about the exciting lives that will soon be theirs, they pass around stolen cigarettes behind the weight room during the lunch period, then munch tic tacs on their walk back to the classrooms when the bell rings. But the entire time, they are talking about the news they’ve been seeing in the local paper, watching on the local news, discussing in their economics/government class, and hearing about from their parents over dinner.

South Ashes is the last town in Minnesota to get a stoplight. It is the last town without a public pool: the closest is 30 miles away. There are three families in the town with pools and they have pretty much accepted coming home in the afternoons to pools full of high schoolers, looking sheepish but unapologetic. In South Ashes, everything is closed by 6 pm, sometimes 5 pm on Sundays, except for the Safeway which was built 2 years ago: it’s open until 11 pm on the weekends. If teenagers are hanging out at midnight and get hungry, they’d better have stored up supplies earlier in the day, or they’ll be waiting until the morning. The Ashes South High School has a drama department, but it’s one 45-minute class per day, and their productions are sadly low-budget. Sometimes a parent volunteers to direct the spring musical, but usually it’s directed by the drama teacher, who is also the freshman English teacher, and also coaches boys’ basketball in the right season.

The people of Ashes South feel unexcited. They feel thin, and uninteresting. They flip through travel magazines but don’t go on vacations because they don’t want to embarrass themselves by accidentally exclaiming, “Look at how tall that building is!” or something similar. The tallest building in Ashes South is the courthouse, at three stories, and truth be told, the adults of Ashes South are a little afraid of the big world.

Today something is changing. The mayor of Ashes South is making an announcement about which everyone has already heard: rumors travel fast when there are less than 4000 people in a town. Still, everyone is excited about it becoming official. They gather in the town square, in front of the old library, down by the lake, and they murmur to each other while they are waiting for the mayor to make his announcement. Finally he arrives, and the cheer that goes up surprises even the people of Ashes South: they weren’t quite aware that they were capable of making such a noise.

The mayor is a man who never grins. But he is grinning. He knows the good news he has to impart on the people of his town, and he and his advisors have been working all month to perfect the plans. When he announces the arrival of a Starbucks in town, the citizens of Ashes South cheer: they have seen such things on television, they have read about them in books from the local library. Some of them have traveled, and they have tasted the wonders of the Starbucks. They have told others about this good thing. The mayor has just announced that one will be opening in Ashes South, and he steps that up by telling them the hours. “It will be open until…” He pauses for dramatic effect, even though it’s unnecessary. The people are absolutely hanging on his words; even the teenagers have forgotten to pretend that they are not interested. “…ten o’clock on the weeknights, and eleven o’clock on the weekends!”

The citizens are stunned. In the silence that follows, the mayor announces his slightly less unsettling news. “Because of this new addition to our economy, and the direction in which our city will now continue, we will no longer be known as Ashes South, Minnesota,” he says. “We are now the people of Ashes North, Minnesota!”

A cheer goes up, the mayor and the man who will become the new manager of the Starbucks drink a toast to the future success of the city, and the people of Ashes North leave the town square, talking about how their city will grow: how there will be freeways running everywhere and how even at 3 am, it will be so bright from lights that it will seem like daytime. There is excitement in their footsteps.

Ashes North closes down for the night, at 6 pm just like scheduled, and people continue to discuss the Starbucks over dinner, bowls of ice cream, and the nightly news. The old church is razed to the ground by the end of the week and the field sits, looking empty and ready for change.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Writing

My love affair with Ira Levin

One of the other things keeping me busy lately has been a writing class I’m taking – the first course of an online master program in creative writing. It happened kind of out of the blue. A friend of mine mentioned how she was finally going to bite the bullet and get her masters, because her husband had found this program that was entirely online and fully accredited. I looked it up and it looked good, so now she and I are both students at Southern New Hampshire University.

Go Penmen!

So I just finished my first class today. I submitted my final paper this afternoon (before crashing and taking a 3-hour nap…yikes). This class was the basic intro class on Rhetorical Grammar – so lots of talk about voice, rhythm, diction, cohesion, adverbials/adjectivals, punctuation, nominals, and other exciting concepts. I actually really enjoyed the class, and I think that was due in part to a cool, accessible professor.

It was probably also partly because we were able to choose the author we would be focusing on throughout the term. So while some people were applying voice/rhythm/diction/etc to HP Lovecraft or Shakespeare, I went and picked Ira Levin, one of my all-time favorite writers.

A major upside to writing about Levin is that his books are generally pretty short, so it was relatively easy to read through Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives about 3 times each over the last couple months, as well as reading Veronica’s Room and the endings of Sliver and Son of Rosemary. (I still can’t believe this is scholarly.)

If you’re going to write a 16-page paper with 12 different sources, this isn’t a bad stack of books to be working with.

FullSizeRender (1)

I get a week off before the next term starts, and I’ll be taking a literary theory class (which terrifies me) and a creative writing class (which thrills me). I plan on using this week to watch all the Best Picture nominations we have left, to read something besides Ira Levin, and to sleep as much as possible.

2 Comments

Filed under Beginnings, Self improvement, Writing