Archive for September, 2008

Gooooold!

Monday, September 29th, 2008

goldmedal
Mood: Buzzing
Drinking: Tea with melty ice

The Berkeley Film Fest is always a treat. Mel Vapour and crew are always incredibly kind, and this year was no exception.

This year they gave us gold medals. One for me, one for my cinepoetry partner Michelle. That’s my shiny piece on the right.

Award winning is always fun, especially when followed by a giant cheeseburger.

So after collecting our medals and watching the elderly people in the audience freak out a little during the bloody screening of Abattoir (when seen on a huge screen, it does look a bit more violent than it does on a wee web window), Shel and I and a bunch of our pals headed over to Nation’s for some giant burgers and, in some cases, pecan pie.

Nothing like following up a gross-out fest like Abattoir with some red meat.

Anyway, a big fuzzy thanks to all of you who showed up on Friday night for the festivities, and to all of you who couldn’t be there in the flesh, but sent your well-wishes.

And an even bigger thanks to the Berkeley Film Fest folks, my fabulous cinepoetry partner Michelle, and all of you who volunteered to get blood-spattered for free. You know who you are.

-Lo, feelin’ the lurve.

Festivus for the Rest of Us

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

berkeley08
Mood: Yup
Drinking: Yip

This weekend, the loverly berg of Berkeley plays host to the annual Berkeley Film and Video Festival.

One of our fine cinepoems, Abattoir, has been selected to play on the silver screen this year. It has also, for the 3rd year in a row, earned us a shiny trophy.

And by us, of course, I mean my partner in cinepoetry, Michelle Brown. The pair of us will make the trek across the Bay Bridge this Friday evening to collect our winnings and watch our bloody work freak everyone out, man.

You can come to, oh random blog reader, if you find yourself in or around the Bay Area. The film fest is playing at the Landmark Shattuck Cinema in downtown Berkeley. Tickets are $13. Abattoir shows up on the big screen at 7:55pm on Friday. Get all the details here.

And you can see the Abattoir trailer here. Yes. We have a trailer. Aren’t we snazzy?
Huzzah.

-Lo, who never gets tired of collecting shiny gold prizes.

Once Bitten

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

bitemebooks
Mood: Snarky
Drinking: Tea

It was really only a matter of time before curiosity won out over better judgment and I picked up the Twilight books.

I’m a sucker (heh) for all things vampire. Dracula, Lestat, Angel, even the incredibly boring Bill from those Sookie Stackhouse novels. I’ve loved them all, to varying degrees.

I remember seeing Twilight on the shelves in a bookstore a few years ago, with its fairytale-suggestive cover. I picked it up, read the back jacket copy, and dismissed it as too teenage for my tastes.

But then it became more than a book, it crossed over into phenomenon territory, Harry Potter territory, and my curiosity was piqued.

Speaking of Potter, I put him off for 4 whole books, but was finally coerced into reading by a 10-year-old. With Harry, I was pleasantly surprised. J.K. Rowling created a beautiful, fully-realized world, with actual plots and character development.

Stephenie Meyer, however, created a big pile of crap.

I had trouble settling into reading the first book because Meyer’s writing is so terrible. Really, laughably awful. In fact, I’ve read better fan fiction! And yet, the concept of vampires going to high school was intriguing enough at the beginning that I slogged on through it, pausing here and there to roll my eyes in disbelief at the prose.

A friend recently suggested that of course I finished all 4 books in the series because I, like “everyone else”, fell in love with Edward, the vampire hero, in the first book. Except that I didn’t. How could I? Meyer gives you nothing to fall in love with. He’s a caricature of a 13-year-old’s bedtime fantasy.

And then she goes and mucks about with vampire lore, ridding herself of all garlic, crosses, and coffins to create a whole new vampire legend. And I would be fine with that, if her new vampires weren’t so silly. For example: The reason Meyer’s vampires live in Forks, Washington, under the cloudiest skies in the country is not because, like your usual Whedon or Rice vampire, they will burst into flames in the sunlight. No. Meyer’s vampires, when touched by sun, sparkle.

I will pause so you can guffaw.

Yes, her vampires are so beautiful and glittery, they must hide from the sunlight because their skin is so iridescent, it would dazzle all humans and thereby reveal the vampire secret identity.

I guess I prefer my vampires a little less sparkly. And a little less stalkerish.

I remember being a teenager and dreaming of having a boyfriend who thought I was utterly fascinating, who was entranced by everything about me, who loved to just sit for hours and watch me breathe, who wanted to be with me every moment of every day, no matter what kind of mood I might be in.

It was a pretty little fantasy that quickly hit the wall of reality when I actually got a boyfriend and had to face the fact that I really wasn’t all that fascinating all the time, and that having someone around underfoot every single second of the day would only wipe the bloom off the rose that much faster.

I grew up, I grew out of it, and I came to understand that love was more complicated than I had imagined, but it was better, too.

Meyer apparently never outgrew her fantasy, and she bequeaths her vampire Edward with all the attributes of a perfect teenage dream. He is pretty. He has great hair. He’s mysterious. He’s slightly dangerous. He plays the piano. He’s a vegetarian (he only sucks the blood of animals, not humans). He never sleeps, so he has plenty of time to devote to staring at the object of his inexplicable, immortal ardor: a human girl with brown eyes, brown hair, and average everygirl tendencies, Bella.

Bella is quite possibly the most boring heroine I’ve ever come across. She narrates all four books, and constantly harps on Edward’s perfection and her own comparative inadequacies. It’s the old “why does he love me?” quandary, times ten.

The thing is, Meyer never really answers that question to the reader’s satisfaction. She never gives a good enough reason for why Edward does love Bella, and why then readers should love her, too.

Bella remains a hapless, accident-prone damsel in distress, self-absorbed, co-dependent, utterly obsessive in her fixation on Edward, and yet somehow profoundly boring.

I kept returning to that underlying issue as I read each book. I wasn’t in love with Edward, and I didn’t give a shit about Bella. I’m still not sure how I made it through all 4 books.

There’s also the love triangle with a werewolf (of course).
Pages and pages and pages wasted on that angst-ridden drama, only to resolve it neatly and all-too conveniently in the final book.

Wasted pages an apt description for this entire series of books. Meyer’s writing does improve somewhat — it would have to, as she churned out these 4 books in just 3 years.

But she is not a good writer, by any stretch. You’d hope that she’d make up for it by at least being a good storyteller, but she doesn’t pull that off, either.

For me, one of the most ridiculous storylines in the entire series is this: Bella, who is a virgin (of course), wants to make love to Edward. But he won’t have sex with her because he’s afraid he will hurt her with his vampire super-strength (super penis!). Ok. I can possibly accept that.

But then Meyer, who is a Mormon, takes it to a whole new level of crazy: Edward, who is really about 80 years old, and therefore was a human in a much more genteel time, really doesn’t want to have sex with Bella UNTIL THEY ARE MARRIED.

For real. A vampire with a puritan (or Mormon) moral code. Pardon me while I die laughing.

Overall, Meyer’s overarching plot points, if you can call them that, are much ado about nothing. She’ll blather on and on and on about pointless details, with excruciatingly long conversations between Bella and her two men, Edward and Jacob, and then *bam* throw some sort of dramatic conflict with other, non-vegetarian vampires in toward the very end in order to resolve some half-assed plot points.

In the last book, there’s this big buildup for chapters and chapters to a final battle, and then when you actually get there, the battle just disappears. The vampires talk it out instead.

Gah! Most. Boring. Vampires. Ever.

I just kept thinking, as I plowed my way through this mess, “How in the HELL did she ever get published?” Followed quickly by, “And who the HELL are her editors? They should be fired!” Followed immediately by, “And why the HELL am I reading this garbage?”

Bottom line: Meyer’s books are the most self-indulgent, poorly-written, ridiculously-contrived, juvenile fantasies I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading. Edward groupies can bite me, because no amount of fanatical raving is going to make these books any good.

They say curiousity killed the cat, and all that, but in this case, curiosity killed off more than a few of my brain cells.

Oh, I can’t wait for the movie!

-Lo, twice shy.

Beautiful Bowen

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

paperwings
Mood: Pleased
Drinking: Diet DP

I don’t fall in love with other poets very often. My list of favorites is a very short one.

But Kristy Bowen has made it into the top 5.

I read her Ghost Road Press book, The Fever Almanac, a few months ago, and I dragged the reading of it out, on and on, just snippets a day, to make it last longer.

I’m doing the same thing now with Feign, and I have to share it with you, because this poem just makes me happy.

And this week we could all use a little happiness, no? Black predictions on the left and on the right, sky falling in and Wall Street crumbling and whatnot.

I could use a little extra beauty mixed in with all the truth. A heavy-handed dose of sugar and paper wings.

So here we have some beautiful Bowen. It just might do the trick:

HOW TO READ THIS POEM

I suggest a system. A lifeboat. Or at the very least a bathtub.

I suggest you sit down.

I suggest the bird at your shoulder be ruby-throated with a milky eye.
That it say inappropriate things at inappropriate times.

I suggest bringing something ruined. Or broken. Or drunk.

I suggest you take the south road. Slip beneath the piano and
out the trap door. Sneak up on it from behind.

I suggest you take a snack. An umbrella. A dictionary.

I suggest you start slowly.

I suggest you read the red skirt as a metaphor for sex. The fistful of poppies
languishing in their vase.

I suggest everything is a metaphor for sex. Even the bird.

I suggest you mind the foil, toiling in the background. It’s all very
Shakespearean. Even her red hair, Shakespearean.

I suggest you take the setting into consideration. Or here, where the
narrative slips off its track.

I suggest you look askance when the woman opens her arms and lowers
them.

I suggest you be kind. But distracted.

-Lo, in need of many, many more lovely things.

Wee Ones

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

underwatertoesMood: Anticipatory
Drinking: Fluids

See those juicy underwater toes right there?

I’m planning to be nibbling on those in a couple of days. Perhaps even underwater, since it is still 93 degrees up northern Cal way, and there is a pool not too far from my sister’s house.

I always used to think it was weird when people would describe babies as delicious, as if they wanted to slather them in marmalade and feast.

But now I understand. My wee nephew is the possessor of many juicy appendages, and I have already been guilty of trying to gobble him up on more than one occasion.

I’ll have to remember not to mention that to him when he’s older and more easily embarrassed.

I’m not sure why people do that, anyway. At age 29, I met a woman who lived next door to my parents when I was a baby. She couldn’t stop shrieking at me, “I used to change your diapers!” As in, “Don’t tell me you don’t like onions, I used to change your diapers!”

I wanted to backhand her.

You know when people ask you what your superpower would be? Most people choose super-strength or flight or invisibility.

I think I would like the ability to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time. Of course, I would totally use this power for evil.

I am not always great with words in their instantaneous, spoken form. On paper I get to push and prod them around until they line up in the little shapes I like, but when put spot on in any given situation, I can’t for the life of me find the words I most want.

In high school I was tormented by the constant lack of a clever retort, which would have come in handy with all the social awkwardness. Even now, with all these years of practice, I come up with a great response 2 or 3 days later.

I would like to add some measure of invicibility to my super-word superpower, though. So after I tell the shrieking diaper lady, “That’s nice, but don’t expect me to ever change yours!” I won’t be worried that she might pinch me.

Or, in more common situations, when some dude yells something from a passing vehicle, I can make my smart-ass comment back and then go all Buffy on his ass when he turns his truck around.

Wow. Look how far we’ve come from underwater baby toes. I have no idea how that happened. Or why. Or what the point of this post is, really. Except that I’m roadtripping for nephew time this weekend, and I’m excited.

It’s been an odd sort of week and I’m all out of sorts, so if you’ve made it this far in this post, you deserve some sort of medal. Or a snickers bar. Your choice.

-Lo, wandering off in search of baby bits.

Beer Butt

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

beerbutt
Mood: Tasty
Drinking: Tea

My mother told me a long time ago that I either needed to marry a wealthy man or a chef.

I got lucky with Boy — not only does he love to cook, he’s possibly the most excellent cook I’ve ever known.

And last night? Last night he made the best chicken I’ve ever tasted. What is this exquisite dish called? Beer Butt Chicken.

Yup.

Boy shoved a can of beer up that tasty chicken’s, um, cavity, plopped that sucker on the grill and a little while later we dined on the tastiest bird ever.

I have no doubt that part of the impetus for trying out the new recipe was the intriguing title. I mean, who wouldn’t want to find out more about Beer Butt Chicken? Such a handsome fellow.

So basically, this post has no point except to gloat about my man’s cooking skills, and add a reason for someone to land on this site after googling something about beers up the butt.

All in a good day’s work…

-Lo, whose cooking specialty involves exotic ingredients such as cheese and macaroni noodles.

Enough Already

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

whitehouse
Mood: Cynical
Drinking: Tea

I’m so sick of all the politics. From both sides. From all sides!

Let’s just get this goddamn election over with already.

I’m too beaten down to feel any real sense of hope — I’m ashamed and disappointed and disillusioned by my fellow countrymen these last interminable eight years.

I want change I can believe in and I want to believe in change, but it seems things just keep changing for the worse.

My only comfort comes from the fact that I live in San Francisco. In this beautiful tiny bubble of reason.

Enough with the rhetoric and the conventions and the posturing and the mudslinging and the insane woman with her silly glasses and fussy hair.

I’m over it…

Miz Dooce speaks with much more eloquence on her blog today than I could at the moment. All I can come up with is, “Suck it, Palin!” And that’s just sad. So I’ll just send you over to Dooce and tell you that if I were better at being coherent about these sorts of things, that’s EXACTLY what I would have said.

And after that, please enjoy this amusing aside from my lovely friend G about the albino turtle.

-Lo, who loves her country, but wants to smack its bitch up sometimes.