29 November 2010

you could try

"I want to listen to James Brown with you."

Would you like to know something silly? My career choice involves reading forty year old newspapers, avidly watching music videos, studying movie credits, pretending to look at everything as though there were a camera frame around it, noticing how when i use a remote I'm not just changing a channel I'm editing a show/commercial/movie, and listening to people talk about Freud.

Yes. You read correctly: I would actually like to do scholarly work on music videos. In fact, I'm thinking about including the evolution of the "independent woman" in music videos from Destiny's Child (skipping over gag me kelly clarkson) to Ne-Yo in my class presentation of my personal film theory.

"I want to watch music videos with you." 

28 November 2010

tomorrow something silly, I promise.

There's a film professor at my uni who's first wife died of cancer. I've had very little person to person interaction with him but as part of one of my jobs I've seen a lot of his home movies.

He made a documentary about her which seems a mindblowing thing. How to face that horror? What benefit to hope for? Three children without a mother, a husband without a wife. The gaping holes. 
The incongruity of existence, or might I say eternity, is that watching her die in this film, I felt nudged to hope. It is not that she was Eisenstein or Mother Theresa or even Michael J. Fox-like championing for a cure. She was alive and then she died.

What blunt words.

That few years ago when I watched that documentary I was in a serious funk. It was that point in life when you are twenty and you're trying to remember why we repeat all of the same actions everyday. I was not spurred to find greater meaning in teeth-brushing because I now knew the opposite: death. (For I posit that I did not and still do not quite know what is this thing called death.) I had felt a strange warmth enter my heart, what I can only call charity.

By charity, I mean that connotation given by LDS theology: the pure love of Christ. Or, if you be not a believer in Christ, perhaps you know what I mean with the simple: pure love.

By charity, I mean I was reminded that I needed people. I above all believe that in life we are meant to love and have relationships. Without this, we fail.

I always wonder why I felt this when I watched the film.

Now go look up some jokes or silly limericks because our faces have become way too long and pious. 

27 November 2010

from funk to groove, I think...

I am about to pull myself out of a funk. Yes, I've fallen into a funk this week and while I have petty medical reasons I can blame, mostly, it's been a funk and nobody knows what to do about those.

Here's a story for you. I love having my toenails painted orange. I discovered this when I got a pedi for Megdarling's wedding and yesterday I purchased my very own orange nail polish. Yes, I bought nail polish. I hate accumulating stuff I won't use and nail polish and I have a dubious relationship. Ever seen me with painted fingernails? 
Cousin L painted my nails pink once. I lasted a day. 
I painted my nails black once. I let that wear off.

So this evening during my millionth episode of some TV show I tried to paint my toe nails orange. And by that I mean my toe nails are orange and maybe a little extra around the sides. Makes my little feeties look pretty.

But that is not what inspired me out of my funk. My eyes are tired from the amount of computer screen/TV screenage I've been having (some of the subjection recreational, but also due to my jobs/profession/school). I took a break and turned to this book, The Elegance of the Hedgehog (which has been taking me a long time because I'm also reading a few text books, magazines, newspapers, and some other books for research). Anyway, the power of the printed word. Viva those pens....typewriters...etc.

Why I felt the need to blog about the pitiful inner workings of my lazy life (I am most lazy when I am most stressed, P.S.) is beyond the comprehension of any one of us. I just hope that my failure can help us all bond more closely together. Also, I hope if I publicly state I'm going to get out of a rut I will privately become productive again.


deep breaths into paper bags. or staring lazily out windows for hours.

I look back through summer journaling and feel UVB rays again. Which warms me just enough to wonder if there's a way I can embrace winter more fully.

Winter moment #1:
When the sun is setting, there's an hour where I can look out my parlour window at the black, wild limbs of those tall trees across the way backed by ice blue sky and those mountains. It's like I've stepped into one of my grandpa's photos from 1967.

There's so much to do before I graduate.


26 November 2010

In the holiday spirit: does anyone else ever listen to the song "Baby it's cold outside" and think "date rape"?

"I really can't stay"
"Hey, what's in this drink?"
"The answer is no"

and what is it the man singer says? "Your lips taste great"?

25 November 2010

assertive, ascertain, a certain ummm...

We are now five inches away from the crossroads of my transition from student to graduate. If you would really like to know I'm looking for work as a researcher. A lot of films, be they fiction or non, require researchers. Just to know things. When you make a film you've got to know things and I like to be the person who's searching for that knowledge. I dress the part, you know it: unwieldy sweaters, vintage and/or chunky shoes, and I push my glasses up by the bridge which will forever drive my mom batty.

So I'm dressed for success, I have a good resume to start with...

The world suddenly seems very large and I am very fish-like in a floundering kind of way. Does anyone else feel like they've been pushed onto a big city street that's full of the hustle and bustle of people taking care of themselves? And you're going to have to be extremely assertive to catch anyone's eye?


21 November 2010

mirrors in the winter

The introduction to Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen reads a bit like this:

Once upon a time there was a troll, the most evil troll of them all; he was called the devil. One day he was particularly pleased with himself, for he had invented a mirror which had the strange power of being able to make anything good or beautiful that it reflected appear horrid, and all that was evil and worthless seem attractive and worth while. The most beautiful landscape looked like spinach, and the kindest and most honorable people looked repulsive or ridiculous. 

"It is a very amusing mirror," said the devil. But the most amusing part of it all was that if a good or a kind thought passed through anyone's mind the most horrible grin would appear on the face in the mirror. It was so entertaining that the devil himself laughed out loud. All the little trolls who went to troll school, where the devil was headmaster, said that a miracle had taken place. Now for the first time one could see what humanity and the world really looked like--at least, they thought. 

They ran all over with the mirror, until there wasn't a country or a person in the whole world that had not been reflected and distorted in it. At last they decided to fly up to heaven to poke fun of the angels and God Himself. All together they carried the mirror, and flew up higher and higher. The nearer they came to heaven, the harder the mirror laughed, so that the trolls could hardly hold onto it; still they flew higher and higher: upward toward God and the angels, then the mirror shook so violently from laughter that they lost their grasp; it fell and broke into hundreds Of millions of billions and some odd pieces. 

It was then that it really caused trouble, much more than it ever had before. Some of the splinters were as tiny as grains of sand and just as light, so that they were spread by the winds all over the world. When a sliver like that entered someone's eye it stayed there; and the person, forever after, would see the world distorted, since even the tiniest fragment contained all the evil qualities of the whole mirror.

You can read more of this here. This has been on my mind since we read it in a class on Wednesday. 

20 November 2010

from places in scandinavia

Perhaps we can say I've developed Stockholm Syndrome from being a student for so long. What is it Dear Old Wiki says towards the end of the page? You become dependent blah blah blah? This would be why liberation takes me kicking and screaming.

There's a lot about S.S. that can fodder some good pondering.

Note: tis two ante meridiem and I am not falling asleep.

17 November 2010

no more.....school?

I'm scared.

I only have two more weeks of classes and then I am done.

One week of Thanksgiving and no classes.
Two weeks of classes.
Then finals.

And then,
I'm done.

It is good and this is life and I don't really need to be afraid and I don't want you to comfort me. Don't tell me anything.

Just listen:
I'm scared.

13 November 2010


Maybe I should be at the gym instead. If I were at the gym I could read my book on the history of the various theories of ethics that have informed documentary filmmaking while I exercise. Such productivity! Why have I been so tired today? Oh look, this is me not relaxing. I should imagine a scrub brush cleaning out empty shelves in my mind. Everything all washed out, clean, clean, clean....like a puffy white pillow. Mmm pillows. This pillow is pretty comfy. I wonder where I can get knitting needles from. Should I budget them in or just borrow some? My sister says we're not doing Christmas presents this year but she has a baby so of course she doesn't care about presents and I just have good ideas sometimes... This can't be right. Is there a better way of meditating? Should I read about this on the internet some more? My bed is so great. I hope I don't fall asleep. Or maybe I should. Should I take a nap? Or should I take a sleeping pill and go to sleep early tonight? Is that why I've been tired? I'm turning into a bear, I just know it. Ah! Empty shelves! Clean brain! Peaceful. Breathe. My breath is smelly from that guacamole I just ate. I really like spicy food.

hunta juddle

I am extremely frightened of missing children photos. I can't look at them and I feel guilty about this.

Now read this article "IRS sits on data pointing to missing children" from the New York Times and we'll discuss it.

Also, congratulations to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on getting a little extra legroom.

Do you call it Myanmar or Burma? Quickly now, speak up, souls hang in the balance.

Now, break!

10 November 2010

1: tom waits's voice

2: "You named me as your lover, well, I thought I could be anything." from The Tallest Man on Earth's song King of Spain. Italics added for emphasis.
tom waits

call me pretentious. i am. but if you buy me five quinces I'll make us both happy.

To go back to the Pudderida fiasco:

Tonight in my "Great Films" class we watched a straight-up bit of surrealist film that historically made Salvador Dali jealous. Really. Apparently when it was being screened he kicked over the projector. So imagine watching a film that would make Dali green and then a subsequent discussion over what is art.

What is art?

That time old question. A little voice whispers in your ear to ignore it and enjoy a good honest rustic piece of pie instead. Like this one:

Quince Bisquit pie from Lottie+Doof

But no. We fall into the trap, back to rice pudding postmodern theory because defining what qualifies as art is my new favorite metaphor to explain structuralism/the silliness of structuralism (I was referencing structuralism and Claude Levi-Strauss here). So the definitions of art used to be pretty rigid (now is not the time to argue about whether rigidity remains, good/bad etc). There were these pompous yet possibly sincere academy/salons in France that set the rules about what was art.

You may have seen this little piece, The Gleaners by Millet, before:

It was rejected by the Louvre.
Yeah, they were rigid.

Anyway, things get crazy with radicals like Courbet, Manet, Monet, and Cezanne. Don't blink there's the Salon des Refusés, Picasso, and people putting urinals on pedestals. All hell is breaking loose. Hide ya kids, hide ya wives, hide ya husbands too because the artists are having their say and then, rewind. The Gleaners. Not art. Art now but not art in 1857. Structuralists say language makes sense of the world for us, it's our mediator. Nobody is literally in contact with reality. So crazy things can happen like the Louvre rejecting aforementioned painting?

But here's an even greater example of where structuralism may get you (specifically the scene at 7min16:

Therefore we can conclude that structuralism leads to Jerry Lewis and Monty Python.
Second and open-ended conclusion: Is this where higher education gets you?

09 November 2010

and let this feeble body fail*

I only recommend Leonard Cohen's Last Year's Man if you're comfortable listening to songs that express disillusionment with Christianity and other societal concerns. It made me want to cry. Like every time I read Hosea and how he is told to marry a whore I want to cry. It's so pretty to me.

(listen on Youtube)

I have a fascination with religious worship and spirituality. It's half sincere belief and half primeval/primitive/primordial...something. The two halves feed off each other. I stick with my church because it seems the best to me, but I can't get enough of other leanings either. After all, I want to know everything about how other people reach for the divine.

Someday we can talk about how I considered atheism once. Which I assume wouldn't have lasted long because this is so intrinsic to me. Or how Sunday evening I couldn't stop staring at the Jesus painted on the cross in the Catholic Cathedral. Or how someday I want to spend a whole Sunday going to various churches. And how my dad reminded me that I need to be seeking out the words of live apostles. But for now, we'll say that tonight I'm skipping out of Monty Python early to go to Sacred Harp Singing at the local Episcopal church. It's just been too many months without singing old school hymns about death and drunkards. 

*line from a Sacred Harp song

08 November 2010

jacque-ice pudderrida

I frequently want to dunk my head in a barrel of water to drown out all the theorists. Last night I was at a dinner party where Jacques Derrida was brought up over rice pudding. Yeah, I was thinking, "Oh noooooooo," too.

J.D. lead to referencing this obnoxious thing that some people came up with at some point. You get no more specifics than that because I'm so tired of dropping names. It's like if I knew anything about sports I could now draw a terrible metaphor to people who frequently do things like fumble. People fumble in croquet, right? (I'm going to come back to that later.) So this obnoxious thing: we know things, not from experience, but from talking about experience. So it's not so much that this weekend I was at a dinner party, it's that I have this phrase "dinner party" to describe this event. And "dinner party" conjures an image in your mind not so much because you yourself have been a member of a dinner party, but because after thoroughly digesting your Peking duck, the next day you met Ethel for tea where you discussed the various members of the dinner party and how atrocious it was when Bertie had clam juice dribbling down his chin. We're getting nitpicky here and saying that you'd still be an ignorant lump if we didn't have language to explain what happened to us. (That is, if I'm properly understanding the words and ideology people fling around.) Which is kind of genius. And kind of asinine.

Now we can rewind a few years to when I was in a class where my mates were trying to ascertain from the T.A. just what kind of papers we were supposed to be writing. At the time I thought the T.A. was not understanding the questions people were asking as he kept waving his arms and saying, "It's all semantics." I laughed then and now I laugh harder. One could say it was all semantics.

So saying things like fumbling and croquet in the same sentence brings up something else that happened at the dinner party. The rice pudding was a bit runnier than what is generally considered pudding (though still good). I facetiously suggested that we could add potato flakes. Five minutes later I realized that some people might have thought I was serious. Which caused me to (a) wonder if I'm becoming my father and (b) reflect upon how I have a growing respect for Monty Python and Bakhtin's interpretation of carnivalesque humor.

I can't believe the mumbo jumbo that comes out of my mouth/typtastic-fingers these days.

(pretty rice pudding picture taken from smitten kitchen, a very yummy blog.)   

03 November 2010

i am not weary over miniskirt dresses. i am weary over...

1. When I get to heaven I'm going to an Otis Redding concert.

2. A girl in my living room just said she didn't think a woman should ever be president. Now, I don't really agree with that but I do feel like there could possibly be some intelligent arguments against having a Mrs. or Ms. or Miss President. I'm not quite sure what they are. What I am sure is NOT an intelligent argument is, "It's called hormones." And then to continue on about how female hormones keep you from good decision making. A girl said that. Now if that doesn't just make you want to cuss like a sailor.

A girl said that. It's so horrifying. Disgusting. Pardon, I have to go puke. 

01 November 2010

the tastebuds of bees

I am still avoiding writing the horrid non-fiction article for children's mag (pardon, magazine) (that's a newsstand type magazine, otherwise known as a periodical, not the arsenal and pas le magazine français). They say to write what you're an expert in/what you're confident about/interested/what you know/blah blah blah blah blah....so that leaves me with....avant-garde film? Stan Brakhage? Who's my audience? There must be some way I can cleverly serve anti-conventionalism to children. I mean, it's in their nature anyway, they just aren't quite self-aware about it yet. Technically I'm allowed to nack out a niche into the teens, but can we be more blasé? Let teens find Velvet Underground on their own, seven year olds are so much fun. Not that teens aren't great, but it's always rewarding to find youngers who are becoming aware of existentialism before the average sum of their peers. Note how much you will enjoy Julien if you watch Au revoir les enfants (1987). And writing for the youngers is so much more of a challenge. I, Marge Bjork, will combine Brakhage and puns and it will be terrific.

No words are coming out yet, though. So I've been reading food blogs. And Smitten-Kitchen keeps adding flaky salt to her recipes, to which I say, I need flaky salt. Why don't I have any?

Maybe I should be writing about salt instead?

photo courtesy of B.M. and that Spiral Jetty trip

No. I just know that salt tastes good. Not enough. So, my paltry readership (in number only, I'd hardly dare insult you to your eyes), how do I charm and pun youngers into a greater understanding of Brakhage? He believes cinema is a treasure trove of unrealized magic, the magic to see things in new ways. From birth we've been programed to view the world a certain way, not just ideologically, but in what registers as important in our brains, what we focus on. Film has the capability to break through our humdrum visions and find something fresh through it's ability to manipulate time and space and any other number of things. Shackles will be broken, possibility awaits, we can see as a baby or a bee.

Brakhage, himself, often painted directly onto celluloid sometimes including "found" objects (Mothlight 1963) or photo stills (The Dante Quartet 1987).

Well, now I lay me down to sleep to dream about flaky salt. Hopefully.

p.s. is it ethical to write about brakhage who potentially has an easily discoverable not children appropriate portion of his oeuvre?

there's a dead goose on the landing

my roommates throw big parties. they're rather creative big parties, i have to respect that. through the course of their shenanigans i learn new things about myself. in the spring i learned i love llamas. a lot. i want one. this halloween i've developed a fondness for having taxidermied animals around the house. what this says about me, i don't know.