best when viewed in low light

11.04.2013

Universal/Personal



"Science provides a [personal] understanding of a universal experience, and Art provides a universal understanding of a personal experience."

8.07.2013

Time to say goodbye


Dear DVF sandals,

You are the most beautiful, comfortable, and functional shoes I've ever worn. I've paired you with everything from cocktail dresses to sarongs, and you've brought me nothing but envious looks and complements.

The holes in your soles are starting to wear away the leather of your footpad, and it's time for you to go to Shoe Heaven. You will be missed, and your pink sisters will never replace you in my heart!

xo
phoebe

7.30.2013

Zombies all night, writing all day

Last night I dreamed of being caught in a zombie apocalypse with Mr. Fuzzykins, but the moment that kicked it off is the bit that really tickles me.

So, in the dream me and Mr. Fuzzykins are living in an old clapboard house, very similar to the one I grew up in, but with more neglected gardening in the yard. For the second night in a row, I'm pregnant in the dream, and we decide to walk over to the nearby McDonald's (which, I must point out, I wouldn't actually want to eat if I were 1. awake, and 2. not pregnant). So we go and get our McWhatevers, and then I suggest that we also stop at Taco Bell (because what goes better with your Mickey Ds than a side of bean burritos or chalupas or other ridiculous fauxican food?) and Mr. Fuzzykins stands in line, orders, and doesn't ask me if I want anything. So, I do what any hungry pregnant woman would do - I burst into angry tears and storm out of there, yelling about how inconsiderate he is!

But, when I step out into the semi-mallish, semi-suburban neighborhood, it's clear that all hell has broken out...sort of. It actually looks like any low-income semi-urban neighborhood where nobody gives a shit and does stuff like leave the carts from the strip mall grocery store in the middle of the empty parking lot. But there is food around, and you don't really see that much.

At this point, we're so wrapped up in our own argument, we notice the mild chaos around the hood, but we don't really take it in. (Then again, if you were in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, would that ever be the first thing you'd guess as the explanation for odd human behavior? Probably not til you saw zombies eating people.) When don't even have a chance to resolve our argument before we get attacked by our first zombie and go running back to the house.

The dream got pretty elaborate from there... We fought off zombies, gathered supplies, took in some neighbors and thought we had weathered most of the storm...until we see a giant tour bus of very happy people pull up and start flooding the street in front of the house! As we and our crew of randoms look around like WTF, one of us decides to step outside and warn them about the zombies...

When whoever it is - not me - steps outside and gets their attention, they storm our house en masse and start eating people. So their response to the zombie apocalypse was more of an "if you can't beat em, join em"...and they decided to survive with cannibalism. Somehow, a number of us convince them to keep us alive and set up a sort of fortress in our neighborhood...

I just hope my child doesn't have to grow up in a commune of cannibals fighting off zombies. Either way, I wake up hungry.

In my waking life, I'm embarking on the most terrifying project I've ever taken on: a novel. Holy shit what have I gotten myself into?!

7.24.2013

Today at the Planetarium

Maybe it was just the exhaustion of shuffling 18 kids between 4 and 13 years old on two trains, then through the Hayden Planetarium and trying to keep them quiet enough to hear the fraking voiceover, but when I hear - in the middle of Journey to the Stars - that we all have star material in us, I just can't help crying!

Even more tearjerking is the knowledge that I will be passing that star power into the form of my little alien. It gave me a hint of that thing that all parents talk about - the sense that when you have kid(s), you are part of the continuity of life. And not just humanity, but the universe and everything.

Meh, I'm sounding so momish already. Good thing I've got the boobs and starter-bump to prove it.

7.22.2013

Inspector Sophington

Every time I clean the apartment - which, admittedly, is not that often - the dog acts like I've ruined all the important fur shedding work she's been putting in since the last cleaning. She huffs around, looks dejected, and watches me resentfully. Afterwords, she walks the perimeter, sniffing intently in all the corners. 
I may be reading into it a bit, granted, but I find it particularly hilarious. Especially since I'm allergic, every time I clean I feel like Napoleon in Russia - totally helpless against the onslaught of forces (aka dog fur and dander) beyond my control - because we both know it's a battle I will always lose. 

7.21.2013

Studies in Human Parasitism: Anxiety Dreaming

They say that pregnant women are way more likely to lose their shit, but so far that hasn't happened to me much...while I'm awake.
Ok so maybe last night I cried over the household chores, but I do that on a monthly basis anyway. Mr. Fuzzykins is like "hey, the sheets are in the closet where sheets go - isn't that 'put away'?" While I'm more the type to sort sheets into sets, stack them neatly, and have them ready to go when I need them...What? The nuance is lost on you, too? Well, then you are not anal. Congrats!
So my emotional life hasn't seemed way out of control to me. But my dreams have been fucking bonkers! Not only are they long, involved and unusually vivid, they are emotionally intense in a way that I've rarely experienced since childhood. And interestingly, they are often about deeply anxiety provoking things - either my personal and/or professional shortcomings (like night before last's train filled dream where my mom got mad at me for not fulfilling my promise as a writer), or about loss.
Lately the loss dreams have focused not on losing people to death or injury or things that are terribly sad but don't terrify me during waking hours, but about losing track of people, especially Mr. Fuzzykins. I usually wake up and have to look around and be certain that my waking life is as I left it - they're that convincing.
Last night's dream was almost hilarious, except that I woke up at the point where I was sobbing and trying to yell but unable to use my voice. 
Here's the setup: Mr. Fuzzykins and his BFF, and a woman who must've been BFF's wife (although her personage was not distinct in the way that some dream people can be) hop in the car to go to a barbecue joint I'm really excited about. It's unclear whether this BBQ joint is in Rhode Island or Delaware, but regardless, it's a place I've only seen while passing through and I've never been there before. When we get there, rather than being an authentic and mouthwatering rib shack, it has the plastic tables and faux jolly staff of a fast food joint, and I can tell from the second we walk in that the barbecue is gonna suck. So we have a powwow. Mr. Fuzzykins, who is even more a slave to his stomach than pregnant me, is all for staying and giving it a try. His BFF and BFF's wife are hungry, but happy to go along with the whims of the Hungry Pregnant Woman. So I talk Mr. Fuzzykins back into the car so we can go to another place I think I've seen from the train (oddly that is a reference from real life - a spot in Wilmington DE that looks a little sports bary but good) , but in the parking lot we run into my friend Melissa who's there meeting up with her bridesmaids, and you can tell because half of them are wearing ridiculous pink prom dresses. (That's one of the best things about dreams - I was actually in Melissa's wedding, and it was as unlike my dream of it as it is possible to be.) I stop to say hi of course, and get unintentionally swept into the pack of bridesmaids. When I look around for Mr. Fuzzykins, he's nowhere to be seen! I wander around the parking lot looking for the car, but it's gone. And then I walk through the restaurant - still, no sign. I reach into my pocket to get my phone, and instead of my iphone I find some gargantuan phone that is definitely not mine! Somehow I unlock it and try to dial Mr. F, but every time I try to plug in the numbers the phone takes me to another screen or quick dials a person I'm not trying to reach. At this point I start to get really upset. I try to make my way through the multiplying bridesmaids to Melissa so she can help me dial the number, but I can't seem to make her understand what's happening. Then a girl comes over and claims the gargantuan phone that, it turns out, is hers. I ask for mine in return - thinking maybe we'd switched - but she doesn't have it and after a search through all the bridesmaids cars, I can't find my phone either! By now I'm really alarmed. So much so that I am sobbing uncontrollably and crouching on the ground. But now - as if things could get any worse - the troop of bridesmaids, with Melissa at their core, start to shuffle into the fast food barbecue place. And as I try to yell after her, I realize I can't muster more than a whisper because my throat is so parched from crying!
This is when I wake up, look over at the real Mr. Fuzzykins in our bed, and then rush to the bathroom. Because peeing all the time is a real thing that happens - don't wait to find the dream-bathroom, it's too late then.

7.17.2013

Studies in Human Parasitism: Hongry, Hangry, Tigry

Latest news from the alien invasion:
1. my boobs are GINORMOUS! it's awesome having a spectacular rack.
2. my belly is keeping pace (poo!), but I get to walk around with my gut hanging over my belt with pride and singing "I don't think you're ready for this belly" over and over in my head.
3. I am hungry all the time! (hence, the belly) And there are three variations of hungry. 
Hongry: So fucking hungry that I can eat a cow, or two. 
Hangry: So fucking hungry that I'm soul-strippingly angry and cruel to everyone who gets between me and the aforementioned cows.
Tigry: So fucking tired and hungry that I have a headache, feel depressed, and have to lie around for several hours watching crap TV on the Internet while I debate between eating and sleeping.
4. Y'know, you actually don't have to buy into the insane fear-mongering and obsessive materialism that is modern day baby culture. If I could head out into the woods and pop this sucker out, I would. But for now I'm just thankful to the doula I talked to yesterday who basically debunked all the "Oh you really must ....!" And one visit to Babies R Us gave me and Mr. Fuzzykins hives and heart palpitations...cloth diapers, minimal stuff, and homemade toys all the way!

4.20.2013

I think in code now

animate:
    actions:
        - { action: character.show, name: phoebe, position: center, speed: slow }
    after:
        dialog:
              speaker: phoebe
              style: all_caps
              text: "ZOMG! MY BRAIN ONLY WORKS IN CODE NOW!"
              after: phoebe_reacts
phoebe_reacts:
    dialog:
         speaker: phoebe
         style: normal
         text: "I guess the only solution is..."
         after:
             choice:
                 options:
                     - text: "...turn off my computer and cry myself to sleep!"
                       selected:
                           increment:
                                         cry_baby: 1
                           action: oh_nevermind
                      - text: "...become an itinerant laborer and organic farm hand!"
                        selected:
                            increment:
                                         okay_hippie: 1
                            action: oh_nevermind
                       - text: "...munch and munch til I'm done with the crunch!"
                         selected:
                             increment:
                                          keep_on: 1
                             action: oh_nevermind

oh_nevermind:
    if:
        test: { cry_baby: 1 }
        then:
            dialog:
                speaker: phoebe
                style: whiny_baby
                text: "whaaaaaaah!"
                after: fin
    else:
         if:
             test: { okay_hippie: 1 }
             then:
                 dialog:
                     speaker: phoebe
                     style: sarcastic
                     text: "Everyone has an escape plan..."
                     after: fin
        else:
            dialog:
                speaker: phoebe
                style: peppy
                text: "Go girl! You got this!"
                after: fin
fin:
    animate:
        actions:
            - { action: character.remove, name: phoebe, speed: fast }
        after:

4.19.2013

Gross, Sophie!

You got dog hair stuck under my A key.

THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANKS dog.

4.18.2013

Afternoon #DanceBreak! Five Seconds - @thetwinshadow

If you happened to see a screaming woman on the side of the New Jersey turnpike Thursday night...

that was me.

trying to stop my beloved fiance, who was running away from me on the southbound shoulder of the turnpike, because we were having the fight of the century over the definition of "enhancements" as it applies to professional athletes, and therefore what types of medical technologies should be considered regulatable and, thereby, illegal.

because that's what really matters, ok?

thank you for the photo, Matthew Gallaway
turns out we were both feeling stressed about other things and too much looking forward to spending time together.

4.17.2013

#AfternoonDanceBreak: Shuffle A Dream @twittledragon

Pretty convinced this is about Kanye West...

You're So Vain for the 21st century

Everybody's so serious...

Look. My heart stopped when I heard there'd been a bomb at the Boston Marathon - there are plenty of people I love there, and no one needs to get blown up. Especially no one that's just run 27 miles.

But it's adorable that there's this little trope formed on the late night comedy shows on Monday...

Stephen


Jon
[evidently I can't embed more than one video from hulu]

Craig
[evidently, CBS doesn't believe in embed codes]

Conan
[also, not an embedder...]


This project gets me really excited about the future of storytelling

I get all my tweets and logs and chats and texts and whatnot so mired that I actually have attempted to create some sort of system for what goes where, when and how often. That failed, because, well...when is the computer gonna figure this ish out for me?

But I digress. James Carter is one of the nicest dudes I've ever met. He also has a great sense of humor, and agreed with me when I bitched (yet again) about the lack of storytelling discussion happening at everyone's favorite meetup: StoryCode aka Transmedia NYC.

When we last talked in-face, which was a long ass time ago, he talked about doing real theater - real physical theater - as a transmedia thing, and had already done this wicked piece about feeding fetishes...anyway.

His new project is amazing and I absolutely must remember to go see it. Because I'm in crunchtime and that means that I can barely think about anything but the AWESOME game I am working on. In fact, if  NY_HEARTS wasn't so freaking awesome, I wouldn't even be here right now.


Mom loves Anthony Jeselnik

I think it's the glittering boyish smile, not so much the sense of humor...

though I'll take anything with Kristen Schaal...



4.15.2013

the milk of human kindness...or whatever flows in your veins

in stark contrast to Stephen's new portfolio site...



I love Louie C.K. He makes me feel kind of ok about being a shitty, hypocritical, unethical, irresponsible, lazy, self-indulgent, disconnected, angry, lonely, selfish, masochistic human. But only in the most momentary way...because by mid-laugh I find myself on a mental tangent going...

What is wrong with me? with us? that we stay apart from each other as much as possible. what injury hit me so deep that i just assume that other people will be cruel, indifferent, violent, inconsiderate, thoughtless, evasive, vindictive, and jealous with me? so i can justify my desire for isolation.

or, can i, can we, go confidently into the light with our shitty selves and ask for forgiveness, love, compassion, patience, admiration, acceptance, and connection? because Louie makes me feel all those things are possible, too, and that is what is so glorious about his humor.

best artist's statement of all time!

http://www.stephenelefante.com/statement.html

4.11.2013

KAPOW! I have to share this email...


Yo! My aunt is the bomb! And so is this documentary I'm making a game for...

From: Auntie Sarah
Sent: Yesterday
To: 'Auntie Sarah's Gal Pals'
Subject: FW: EXCITING NEWS: Wonder Women! to broadcast on Independent Lens this Monday, April 15 at 10PM! KAPOW!


Wonder-ful Women—Will you join me Monday, April 15th, at my house to watch Wonder Women together? My niece Phoebe
just sent me the message below a few moments ago. We can laugh and chat and nibble and nosh and bring out our
own inner Wonder Women together. Note: 10PM EST, so 7PM for us. Love to all – Sarah xoxo



Subject: EXCITING NEWS: Wonder Women! to broadcast on Independent Lens this Monday, April 15 at 10PM! KAPOW!

My dearest family and friends,
For the last couple months, I've been working on a game called Wonder City, which will launch May 1st on PBS's Independent Lens website! 

It's the companion piece to a documentary called Wonder Women!, which traces the history of our infatuation with Wonder Woman, and her role as an icon of female empowerment. I can't say enough good things about this film - it makes me laugh and cry every time I see it! I very much hope you'll watch it on PBS this Monday, April 15th at 10pm EST, or stream it from the Independent Lens website!

A heartfelt letter from the director, and more details on the doc, below...

xoxo
Phoebe

Begin forwarded message:

From: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan <kristy@vaquerafilms.com>

Subject: Fwd: EXCITING NEWS: Wonder Women! to broadcast on Independent Lens this Monday, April 15 at 10PM! KAPOW!

Dear Friends and Family,
I am writing you with some very exciting news: Wonder Women! - the documentary I have been working on  for the last five years - is airing on Independent Lens on your PBS station on Monday, April 15 at 10 p.m. (Check your local listings, as time and date can vary by PBS affiliate. Or check here for a complete list of broadcast stations, searchable by zip code.) If you miss the PBS television broadcast, Independent Lens will be streaming the film on their website for free for a month.
Here is a clip of Gloria Steinem promoting the Independent Lens broadcast of the film: http://youtu.be/jw8ExGoMZVs and look for other upcoming interviews on our Facebook page.
This is a fun film to watch with friends – I’ve attached a flyer with ideas on how to host a home viewing party! You can also share your thoughts about the film by posting on the Talkback section of the PBS website, or increase the film’s impact by contributing a copy of the film to your favorite school or library. For information on purchasing a DVD of Wonder Women for educational use, CLICK HERE.
Finally, producer Kelcey Edwards and I have been traveling around the country speaking to schools, universities, non-profits and corporations about the themes addressed in the film, and we continue to be available for presentations and workshops on issues involving representation of women in the media. To contact us, or to learn more about the film, please visit our website,WonderWomenDoc.com and sign up for our mailing list, and help spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends!
Love to you all, and thank you for your support and encouragement. We couldn't have made this film without you!
Kristy

--
WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines
a documentary feature directed by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan
www.wonderwomandoc.com

WONDER WOMEN! press selects:

"5 Stars. It’s the personal stories that really got to me... If you have a daughter, it is a moral imperative that you show her this film as soon as possible." - Film Threat

"...Turns what could've just been a flat history of a comic book character
into a brief study of female empowerment in the last century." ­­- Wired.com

"...Makes a strong case that Wonder Woman should be reborn
on the big screen." ­­- Huffington Post

"A great way...to see how really far we have not come." ­­- Indiewire

 "...Makes a moving case for the necessity of heroic women
in pop culture, never more affectingly than when a fourth-grade girl...tells
how this fantasy figure in star-spangled shorts inspires her to never give
up."­­ - Austin Chronicle

"If you're like me, or one of the other 400 women mouthing 'Yes! Yes!'
during the screening, then Wonder Women! will be candy for your inner
feminist." ­­- Austin Woman Magazine

4.08.2013

On the flight home from GDC2013...

This is what I was thinking:

[I went to this one talk in which Tom Bissell said: "videogames are not a storyteller's medium..."]

Videogames aren't a storyteller's medium?!...I fucking disagree! It's up to us to redefine the relationship and perception if or relationship to our audience...even in a book the connection is my imagination to yours, mediated by an asynchronous technology I which we believe we have authorial control...but the that's an imperialist and archaic idea and asumes the audience is a bunch of idiots who aren't playing an interpretive and co-creative role!

[I can't even count the number of times I heard/read/saw the term "gamification" bandied about like it's the new key to everything...]
Fuck gamification. It's playification!
We already have rules. We have incentives and rewards. We have narratives - our own and others'. What we need is the spirit of play to invade what we do, what we define as "work" and remove the fear of failure, experimentation, and refinement. Lets not hide our weaknesses and keep them tucked away in the dark hoping no one notices...lets bring our curiosity and questioning and most importantly mistakes out into the light to be morphed into strengths. Augmented by the contributions of others, we all get better together

[Naomi Clark is a fucking badass, and she ranted on a topic very close to my heart: activism in storytelling/game design/media in general]
Following on what Naomi expressed at GDC, we as makers of media in the public eye must consider the symbols we put out because they say something whether we like it or not. So we have to use those symbols consciously. It's not just what big boobs say about women's value, or men's muscles and big guns. It's fear of aliens over and over and over - the brown folks of the new millennium - as if that xenophobia isn't influencing immigration policy worldwide. It's technology as the deus, deciding our fate as if we didn't make that shit with its killer instinct in the first place! It's "dystopia", as if utopia isn't an even worse fantasy. It's "evil", as if anyone is truly good. 



4.05.2013

I really wanna buy this guy's work

Name's Brandon Garrison, and he's got something to say.

3.21.2013

Super dancing girl, age 6

At first, you'll be cheering for the kid in the yellow and black, cause he's nasty...but that's before you've ever seen a 6 year old girl do a headspin...

3.15.2013

coffee rings

mom asked for more personal stuff on my blog.
here are some things I'm excited about today:
old coffee rings
a daffodil tray
standing up straight

that last, despite crying myself to sleep from the pain caused by a twinge in my back that I got from yoga - one too many deep back bends, not enough forward compression. sometimes, it's better to go rogue in class, even though it's hard to break the training of doing what you're told instead of doing what you need to do in that moment...



3.13.2013

BarberShop SexyBack



Nothin to say but awwwsome!

Bachelor Update: If you have to ask, the answer's no

I was so fraking bored by the first two episodes of Sean's search for true love on this recently wrapped season of the Bachelor that I haven't seen a single scene since then. Out of curiosity, I kinda watched the finale...

One thing that strikes me as being unquestionably inane about the whole Bachelor premise is that, on the eve of asking someone to marry you, you're so undecided that you need help choosing between two people.

Yeah, it already involves a voluntary suspension of disbelief:
- you can find love in 9 weeks (really, if anything, that's the most believable part)
- you can fall in love with one person while dating several other people
- you can expose your real feelings on TV

But, falling in love with two (or more) people at the same time? Inconceivable!

As the show evolves, I wonder if they'll really need to stick to the original format. The permission phrases, the roses, the elimination process...in another couple seasons, won't the participants know the process so well that they'll self-impose rules and do the work of packaging themselves for a particular role on the show? Frak it! A behind-the-scenes of the Bachelor show is the best spin-off ever!


3.12.2013

CODE PINK! Disney's City Girl

Offended reader Mama B. Ottergroundie sniffed out the stink of this insult to people with brains via the internet and forwarded it so we can all share in the hilarious horror.

I present to you, Disney's "City Girl". A not-even-scathing-enough article about it appeared in Gothamist, which is really as close as you want to get to the real thing.

Hey, at least you start out as a college grad. That's something, right?

I am fabulous...


SO fabulous, in fact, that the game invites me to spend ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS (Best Value!) TO GET GOLD.

Long, long ago, my interest in games was reinvigorated by an article about Second Life (yup, that long ago), in which a player paid over $100,000 ACTUAL POUNDS to purchase an island. Or maybe it was Eve Online...

My point is that Pliny the Elder got it right: value in the form of gold is the first, and worst sin against humanity. I'm not sure whether virtual gold is even a single step beyond that cognitive leap, or the same leap into a different chasm. After all, when the systems of the world collapse, what good is gold?



SPOM: Nicholas, the first

I know I've posted about my grandfather(s) before, but mom has made it an effort to track down proof of Nicholas Satterlee's existence. I'll forget it if I don't put it all somewhere:

This is the sort of touch I recognize as Nick's contribution to modernism - a functional whimsy that invites life, especially nature and beauty, into a building hemmed in by the realities of resource limitations and imminent need.

(although, caveat: I know nothing of DC's modern architecture scene except what I've looked at over the first 20-odd years of my life; I don't know from some blueprint somewhere that he added this piece; I'm going on instinct; also, pretty sure I posted a link to Capitol Park II before)

Grand-pere Satterlee was partners with Chlothiel Woodard Smith for part of his career, and I'll bet anything that a creative partnership with a woman who was an influential architect in the 50s and 60s had its political and personal frustrations. I'm still going to use her name for a character at some point.

(Don't worry Grandpa dear, the fictional Chlothiel will be a real c*nt, too.)

3.10.2013

Pay not attention to the man...

I'm not really sposed to be here, but I have a ton of writing to do today and might as well stretch the proverbial neurons...

Just some instant hits on Oz:

James Franco was predictably awesome and perfectly cast - the fact that he can't quite escape that wink-and-nod with the audience that lets us know he's in on the joke of all this fakery that acting/celebrity/media cultism is...well, since Richard Pryor is dead, then there's nobody better to play the lost anti-hero.

Mr. Fuzzykins felt - rightly, I think - that Oz as a horny scoundrel (with the vim and vigor to at least metaphorically frak all the females on-screen) took it a little over the top...I mean, this is no deep-character-development kind of a film, but still. He's already a narcissistic child, no need to make him a dog, too.

Really, though? Three powerful, politically intelligent women fall for the same dude-who-just-happens-to-be-there?

We all take the one who shows up, I guess.

And one thing I really liked about Franco/Oscar/TGAPOz was that once he found himself at a moment of choice, he decided to show up. In a way, it doesn't matter that his motivations are selfish, because everyone prays to a false god, whether it's gold or beauty or love or whatever. It's actions that matter to others.

At least Rachel Weisz/Evanora/Wicked Witch of the East knew what was really going on: why waste your time mourning for/waiting for a king, when the throne is right there? Take it!


But what does it say that women have to get evil to get the throne? Because wanting power is more corrupting to women than to men? What's even funnier is that, minus this whole argument about a king, these three women have been capably running Oz since the king died...why not just divide Oz into three states and have a three-witch ruling council?!

I kind of love Mila Kunis...she over-enunciates certain consonants in a way I find utterly endearing. But, Mila/Theodora/Wicked Witch of the West, what's with this whole "I turned green and evil because the man I wanted was into somebody else"? Can I get one woman onscreen to represent the thousands of us who - when we get dumped, especially for someone else - get mad, and then get the frak over it! Move on! Don't waste your life on hatred, girl!


At least in Wicked she's born that way. Which actually makes me love that book even more in retrospect...too bad McGuire just spun it out into a stupid gimmick.

One last thing: all three women in this movie have really round, childlike faces. Even the mature-and-stern Weisz is cast from the same plump-cheeks-and-wide-eyes mold. And Franco looks puffy and bloated from too many munchies. What with the peculiarities of CGI acting and enhancement, these cartoony faces make for an oddly anime take on a stereotypically Western myth.


I might go see this again - 3D IMAX is better from the back of the theater. I left feeling like the moisture had been sucked from my brain...thanks third row.


3.07.2013

Girl Rising!

Today is the premier of Girl Rising!, a documentary about the work of 10x10, an organization empowering girls around the world through education and opportunity.

I feel an immense sense of excitement and satisfaction when I see other people doing things in the world that I wish had the time, skills, energy, and compunction to do, especially when said effort is so completely aligned with my own thinking and intentions. It's a real GO TEAM! kind of sensation, because we're all trying to get to the same place, in our different ways. And the more of us there are, the faster and more conscientiously we'll get there.

Action is awesome.



(Thank god I can't see it today...way, way too much inspired weeping for a cold and not-so-snowy Thursday.)

3.06.2013

SPOM: Ride to Inwood, Sail the Isle, Flamenco

Latest NYC activity recommendations from mom, who lives in DC but keeps a far more interesting social calendar than me and Mr. Fuzzykins:

A bike ride to Inwood to check out the very weird, very industrial, very gentrifying Columbia U sports complex.

And a sail around the Manhattan island, which I am actually super excited about. Where else can you see the epoch changes in our relationship to water? I'm already shopping for an adequately matronly sunhat.
You know where we'll be Friday nights (in our fantasies)! Because post-30-and-giving-a-shit I'm so exhausted by Friday night that our plans are more often chinese and netflix. But eventually we'll get motivated...
(If you recognize these images, thanks @NYTimes via @CathSatterlee)

3.04.2013

An argument for F2F IRL, from Jack White

This month's missive from Third Man Records:


Years ago someone told me that 1,200 high school kids were given a survey. A question was posed to them: Have you ever been to a stand-alone record shop? The number of kids that answered "yes" was... zero.

Zero? How could that be possible? Then I got realistic and thought to myself, "Can you blame them?" How can record shops (or any shop for that matter) compete with Netflix, TiVo, video games that take months to complete, cable, texting, the Internet, etc. etc? Getting out of your chair at home to experience something in the real world has started to become a rare occurrence, and to a lot of people, an unnecessary one. Why go to a bookstore and get a real book? You can just download it. Why talk to other human beings, discuss different authors, writing styles and influences? Just click your mouse. Well here's what they'll someday learn if they have a soul; there's no romance in a mouse click. There's no beauty in sitting for hours playing video games (anyone proud of that stop reading now and post your opinion in the nearest forum). The screen of an iPhone is convenient, but it’s no comparison to a 70mm showing of a film in a gorgeous theater. The Internet is two-dimensional…helpful and entertaining, but no replacement for face-to-face interaction with a human being. But we all know all of that, right? Well, do we? Maybe we know all that, but so what?

Let's wake each other up.

The world hasn't stopped moving. Out there, people are still talking to each other face-to-face, exchanging ideas and turning each other on. Art houses are showing films, people are drinking coffee and telling tall tales, women and men are confusing each other and record stores are selling discs full of soul that you haven’t felt yet. So why do we choose to hide in our caves and settle for replication? We know better. We should at least. We need to re-educate ourselves about human interaction and the difference between downloading a track on a computer and talking to other people in person and getting turned onto music that you can hold in your hands and share with others. The size, shape, smell, texture and sound of a vinyl record; how do you explain to that teenager who doesn't know that it's a more beautiful musical experience than a mouse click? You get up off your ass, you grab them by the arm and you take them there. You put the record in their hands. You make them drop the needle on the platter. Then they'll know.

Let's wake each other up.

As Record Store Day Ambassador of 2013 I’m proud to help in any way I can to invigorate whoever will listen with the idea that there is beauty and romance in the act of visiting a record shop and getting turned on to something new that could change the way they look at the world, other people, art, and ultimately, themselves.

Let's wake each other up.

- Jack White III

2.09.2013

The terminator gene

It's funny, I was scrolling through some of my much older posts, back when I was still angry enough to care about stuff like politics and all the wrong, wrong shit that some people feel they can perpetrate on others. So I have to laugh when I feel the same virulent horror and detest for something in the middle of a fairly vapid teenage spy story.

I refer, of course, to Alex Rider. Certainly my favorite spy books (Fleming's not-really-veiled insecurity and misogyny just didn't do it for me...Sean Connery made that character relatable, but that's another bar fight), and coming to be one of my favorite teen series, period. Sorry, Twilight.

Anyway, I've been burning through these books, and just hit the lead-in to the main premise of Alex's next mission in "Crocodile Tears." And what do I discover, but that Alex will be saving us from genetically modified (GM) foods! A topic that has long been near and dear.

2.06.2013

My parents really, really love me

I hesitated posting this link to my parents' new blog, because there's no need for the world to see all those awkward in betweens in which I was not always my best self...but then, the love and admiration evident in this presentation is unquestionable. And truth be told, I can't believe I'm lucky enough to have that (even though I really hate all those fat pictures)!

My parents made an homage for the 12,783rd day of my existence on this planet. Here's a sample:

Seriously, I'd still wear all that.

Reversible Destiny

http://www.reversibledestiny.org/http:/

Power up expectations

You must see this: http://youtu.be/Ks-_Mh1QhMc

Ok I have to pause here and rag on YouTube for a sec...

WHAT?! Your mobile app doesn't support embed codes? How the frak am I supposed to embed your videos into my blog? Weirder, I'm on blogger and there's no way to automatically embed a video from YouTube. Google, I don't know what your twenty percenters are inventing ovah theah, but it ain't what I need.

And really I'm disappointed cause you usually think of these things. End of rag.

And you must hear this: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/09/18/161159263/teachers-expectations-can-influence-how-students-perform

1.24.2013

Put your money where your mind is

Woman-owned business? Check.
Building community? Check.
Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles? Check!

Usually when I get a request to fund something, I have to just run with my initial no-thank-you-very-much response and justify it by lamenting that I don't have nearly enough myself to wantonly spread it around. And it's true, I don't. But no one considers their stash "enough," it's positively un-American!

But some things matter more than money. Empowering women and girls, for one. Community oriented businesses and events, for two. And energy neutral transportation counts for a HUGE third.

I can't stress the benefits of bicycles enough, especially in an urban environment like New York, where anyone able bodied enough to walk or ride should feel it is their utmost duty to reduce the amount of energy, space, and time they take up to an absolute minimum. Cities are made for cycling (except, perhaps, San Francisco...but hills are no excuse! Just think of the Shwarzeneggerian thighs you'd develop riding up just one SF hill every day?!), and so I feel called by a higher motive than money when I have a chance like this:

Bicycle Roots is doing their damnedest to reopen after a bad deal with a landlord, and I'd like to see them do it! So far, it's the only bike store in the metro New York area that I've ever stepped inside feeling like a competent , intelligent human and left feeling the same way.

On the whole, bike shops are populated by boys whose phallic references are made of Chro-Mo or Carbon, rather than steel and chrome. But it's still the same damn metaphor.

So here's my $50 bucks towards a better bicycle shop! Go, Bicycle Roots! Go!

1.21.2013

Warriors or Redskins?

My parents are resurrecting their inert activists!

As a DC native, I'm a fan of the Washington Redskins, even when they suck because that's what real fans are.

For years there has been talk of changing the name of the team. And I've always had mixed feelings, not because I want to be racist against Native Americans, but because the term "redskin" is so archaic that it doesn't denote insult in its contemporary usage.

But my dad, who's an avid fan and couch philosopher posited this gem: Change the name, but keep the logo--with its iconic native american warrior--the same. And really, what better way to pay homage to the native people of this land than to employ an image of their warriors as a sigil for the warriors of spectacle from our modern day?

Sign the petition to support the Washington Warriors (and save our beloved team logo) here

Warriors of the Rainbow

A Cree legend:

There would come a time when the Earth would be ravaged of it's resources, the sea blackened, the streams poisoned, the deer dropping dead in their tracks.


Just before it was too late, the Indian would regain his spirit and teach the white man reverence for the Earth, banding together with him to become Warriors of the Rainbow.

There was an old lady, from the Cree tribe, named "Eyes of Fire", who prophesied that one day, because of the white mans' or Yo-ne-gis' greed, there would come a time, when the fish would die in the streams, the birds would fall from the air, the waters would be blackened, and the trees would no longer be, mankind as we would know it would all but cease to exist.

There would come a time when the "keepers of the legend, stories, culture rituals, and myths, and all the Ancient Tribal Customs" would be needed to restore us to health. They would be mankind's' key to survival, they were the "Warriors of the Rainbow". There would come a day of awakening when all the peoples of all the tribes would form a New World of Justice, Peace, Freedom and recognition of the Great Spirit.

The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would spread these messages and teach all peoples of the Earth or "Elohi". They would teach them how to live the "Way of the Great Spirit".

They would tell them of how the world today has turned away from the Great Spirit and that is why our Earth is "Sick".

The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would show the peoples that this "Ancient Being" (the Great Spirit), is full of love and understanding, and teach them how to make the Earth (Elohi) beautiful again. These Warriors would give the people principles or rules to follow to make their path right with the world. These principles would be those of the Ancient Tribes. The Warriors of the Rainbow would teach the people of the ancient practices of Unity, Love and Understanding.

They would teach of Harmony among people in all four comers of the Earth.

Like the Ancient Tribes, they would teach the peoples how to pray to the Great Spirit with love that flows like the beautiful mountain stream, and flows along the path to the ocean of life. Once again, they would be able to feel joy in solitude and in councils. They would be free of petty jealousies and love all mankind as their brothers, regardless of color, race or religion. They would feel happiness enter their hearts, and become as one with the entire human race.

Their hearts would be pure and radiate warmth, understanding and respect for all mankind, Nature, and the Great Spirit. They would once again fill their minds, hearts, souls, and deeds with the purest of thoughts. They would seek the beauty of the Master of Life - the Great Spirit! They would find strength and beauty in prayer and the solitudes of life.

Their children would once again be able to run free and enjoy the treasures of Nature and Mother Earth. Free from the fears of toxins and destruction, wrought by the Yo-ne-gi and his practices of greed. The rivers would again run clear, the forests be abundant and beautiful, the animals and birds would be replenished. The powers of the plants and animals would again be respected and conservation of all that is beautiful would become a way of life.

The poor, sick and needy would be cared for by their brothers and sisters of the Earth. These practices would again become a part of their daily lives.

The leaders of the people would be chosen in the old way - not by their political party, or who could speak the loudest, boast the most, or by name calling or mud slinging, but by those whose actions spoke the loudest. Those who demonstrated their love, wisdom, and courage and those who showed that they could and did work for the good of all, would be chosen as the leaders or Chiefs.

They would be chosen by their "quality" and not the amount of money they had obtained. Like the thoughtful and devoted "Ancient Chiefs", they would understand the people with love, and see that their young were educated with the love and wisdom of their surroundings. They would show them that miracles can be accomplished to heal this world of its ills, and restore it to health and beauty.

The tasks of these "Warriors of the Rainbow" are many and great. There will be terrifying mountains of ignorance to conquer and they shall find prejudice and hatred. They must be dedicated, unwavering in their strength, and strong of heart. They will find willing hearts and minds that will follow them on this road of returning "Mother Earth" to beauty and plenty - once more.

The day will come, it is not far away. The day that we shall see how we owe our very existence to the people of all tribes that have maintained their culture and heritage. Those that have kept the rituals, stories, legends, and myths alive. It will be with this knowledge, the knowledge that they have preserved, that we shall once again return to "harmony" with Nature, Mother Earth, and mankind. It will be with this knowledge that we shall find our "Key to our Survival".

This is the story of the "Warriors of the Rainbow" and this is my reason for protecting the culture, heritage, and knowledge of my ancestors. I know that the day "Eyes of Fire" spoke of - will come! I want my children and grandchildren to be prepared to accept this task. The task of being one of the........ "Warriors of the Rainbow."

From Native American Indian Legends

Dr King's day

I had a conversation last year with a gentleman whose fraternity played a large part in funding the recent Dr. Martin Luther King memorial in DC. I had mixed feelings, and what he said changed my mind.

If racism (or any kind of bigotry, really) is an insurmountable monolith, then Dr. King managed to carve out an area in that monolith about the size of a man. What he represents is simply the recognition of the monolith's existence, and the hope that we can do better if we scrape and scratch away bits at a time.

Last night Fuzzykins McGrath and I saw DJANGO: Unchained

I went in expecting to be disappointed (but that's another post), which is the best way to see a movie.

What I saw was a recipe for empowerment, and it was a work of genius.

I don't even want to say anything about it, really. Let the work do itself. If I were to point out elements of the film to watch, it would only distract you from the humor and tension and horror that works its way so deeply into our psyche and lets us see things a little differently than we did before.

I can't think of a better way to spend a day that honors a man who gave his life for his own freedom than by seeing this movie again. Tarantino has done what no other director could do at any other time in history. Jamie Foxx as Django has done what few other actors could, at the first moment in our present when such a role is possible. Leonardo DiCaprio is probably the only white dude that could play Candie and not be so widely despised for being convincingly, achingly naive in the face of his own brutality and still survive with a career. Christoph Waltz...

When we came home, I insisted that we watch Inglorious Basterds, because the seamless transfer of character from one QT flick to the next is part of the fun. As "The Jew Hunter", Waltz's mastery of tension and humor is mind-dumbingly frightening. As Dr. King Shultz (great grandfather of Paula, perhaps?), those same character traits make him appear confidently badass and threatening only in so far as you know this ruthless bastard will do whatever he can to destroy the institution of slavery...even though he can't.

Just go see it. Or watch Barack Obama's second inauguration. Or both.

1.16.2013

You sure know how to turn a phrase, Mark Deuze!

To describe my encounter with Dr. Deuze as lucky is an underwhelming platitude, nowhere near as significant as the impact he's had on my professional development.

But luck it was - I went to school certain that I'd spend my time conducting economic experiments in 3D virtual worlds and extrapolating grand conclusions about reality from those glass-encased paramecia. Fascinating as that topic is, I found quickly that I'd rather be the Architect, moving screens and pulling strings, than the Observer, watching as behaviors unfold and doing one's best to have no impact. (As y'all might've concluded, I'm nothing if not high impact.)

But back to the point: I came across Mark and his surgical insights into the synthetic relationship between our animalish species and our beloved tools, especially those electrified ones we inundate ourselves with these days (you're doing it right now)! Recognizing the brilliance and rarity in Deuze's media doctrine, it literally changed the course of my studies and my career since.

We worked together on a couple articles, which I no doubt bragged about when they were published.

But here he's hit me with a new nuggest: We don't live with media, we live in media. He's probably been saying that for a while, but it just hit me with profundity.

Rock on with your bad self, Mark.

"the universe wants to be noticed"

In the past several weeks I've been reading a bunch:
The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente
Under Wildwood, Colin Meloy
Stormbreaker & Point Blank, the first two Alex Rider books, by Anthony Horowitz
Sway (the first ibook i ever tried...better than i'd hoped), Amber Mcree Turner
and
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Research, yeah, but sometimes I find the books I select mirror some internal process, and this past year has been bombarded by rites of passage. Losing things and finding more.

My grandfather died, and I lost the first person I've ever missed. And later, Carter died without my knowing he was sick, and so I missed the passing of someone I loved but had already lost. I fell in love with Fuzzykins McGrath...finding the one I've always missed, and hope I'll never lose. I made a world with some of the most talented people I've ever had the honor to meet, and then somewhere along the way I lost track of most of them. It's been a rollercoaster, so the books of going into the dark unders and insides help me keep that bright end-of-tunnel light in mind. It makes me realize that happiness is like the superficial sweetness of sugar, and fulfillment more like the layered, vibrant, murky flavors of honey - there is more to be had in depth.

Each of the books has made an impression.

Valente's second act was impressive if only for the glaring fact that she's a prolific and imaginative young writer (and I better get cracking if I wanna be published before death). Also, I love September, who does not flinch at uncertainty or call for mommy. I will be reading the story of Queen Mallow.

I was happy to be surprised by Under Wildwood, also a sequel, also a second act in the underworld (obvs). But this one, rather than resolving smoothly--fairytale-ish--at the end, barely spits us out on the eve of an ever-worsening disaster. There are many victories, but the war is still on. More like a Reloaded, where you leave feeling the tension of uncertainty. Suddenly, we recognize ourselves as denizens of that same part-real, part-imagined life that seems to lead us, only to leave us befuddled in the midst of things we're not really sure we can handle. Wtf, life?! Mr. Meloy, I anxiously await your next authorly escapade.

I'm gathering profiles for my next adventure into the phallic realm. (what?! no, I'm not talking about porn!) And as a young Bond with an almost-man complex, Alex Rider is about as phallocentric as it gets - the author actually refers to plane and car make and model numbers, like we know wtf he's talking about! And though the all-knowing marketers will be flabbergasted, I have to say I love a good gun-filled romp. Maybe these books aren't brilliant or inspired, but they are impeccably paced and riveting: I've finished both in under 36 hours (life, be damned)! And Alex rides a bike everywhere in London...my kinda guy!


Sway... I cried through most of this book, even though it's actually hilarious. It was just so touching, so charming, so...innocent and accepting. What is it about the american south that--like Africa or India--escapes the philosophical sterility of modernity and globalization? There is another (much better) book called Swamplandia! that I love and have still not read the last 30-50 pages of, which better illustrates the synthesis of conventional reality, mundane existence, and human cruelty with a (spiritual?) whimsical worldview. The metaphors have a literal weight. The unlikely is possible. I guess there was this in Huck Finn, or Their Eyes Were Watching God. Does this have a name?

And this brings me to The Fault In Our Stars. I need to think about it, I guess. What I can say is: read it. What I can't say is whether or not it's deep and meaningful, or whether--because it's about cancer--it's just a book about cancer. Just two teens in love. But then, I guess regardless of the circumstances, one third of all stories are written about two teens in love (the other two thirds go to Heroes of all sorts). Anyway, it's John Green that says, "I think the universe wants to be noticed." And I agree.


In the past...