Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Let it be this way then, the lost way. Life is the adventure of losing your way - and it's about time I found out!"

- Philip Roth, The Counterlife

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Productive Day

See #28 on the list on fastest solvers? Yeah, that would be me. I guess 2-5 crossword puzzles a day for the past four years or so has paid off. Too bad I can't actually solve a New York Times crossword puzzle after Tuesday...

Update: I actually did Wednesday's puzzle apparently. I guess they go online a day early? The good news is that I can solve Wednesday's puzzle now (they get harder as the week goes on). The bad news is that I'm now #152 on the list of fastest solvers. But somehow I don't think I'll ever be able to solve the NY Times crossword puzzle in 3 minutes...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This weather makes me want to take naps outside, listen to indie pop, and take sun-drenched pictures of people I care about. I've definitely been doing the second one, but I doubt I will get around to the other two soon, especially because it's supposed to rain next week. But at least the fact that the library isn't open today let me take a break from the computer screen and sit outside, even if it was just to do more work.

Break is winding down, and although I'm happy to have almost all my friends back at Vassar, I'm not so happy about everyone else coming back. I've liked the deserted paths, the deserted library, the deserted THs. The quiet and small groups have been exactly what I needed, and I feel like the beauty of Vassar right now will only be marred by the activities of the entire campus.

But it feels like spring is here to stay, and despite all the scary and/or not-so-good things spring will bring, I'm starting to think things will change for the better. And if there's anything I need right now, it's a little bit of change, and a lot of sunshine.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Down the rabbit hole

When I first heard Tim Burton was making Alice in Wonderland in 3-D, my thoughts were along the same lines as when I heard he was remaking Willy Wonka: 1. He'll ruin it! It will be too Tim Burton-ish and weird! and 2. I guess if anyone's going to remake it, it should be him. and specifically for this: Why does everything need to be in 3-D?! Turns out I was mostly wrong about 1 and 3.

If anything, this movie should really be called a sequel to Alice in Wonderland, although I don't know what the actual title of the movie should be in that case. The characters are all there, and some scenes (i.e. the tea party) are the same, but Alice is about 18 years old, this is her second visit to Wonderland (or Underland, as it's called in the movie, which is stupid and unnecessary), and the situations themselves are almost entirely new. In this version, Alice returns to Wonderland, and is supposed to slay the Jabberwocky, which will allow the White Queen to take over from the evil Red Queen. Of course, no one is sure she's the "right Alice."

But let's start with the queens. Yes, Helena Bonham Carter looks unnecessarily weird, but I think she actually did a fantastic job. Despite being a composite of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland and the Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass, but hey, it's a sequel. A truly evil queen wouldn't have worked in this movie, so the humor and insanity that Carter puts into it made her into a much better character. Sure she was over-the-top, but that's kind of how she needed to be. The White Queen on the other hand: eh. I know Anne Hathaway can act, so I'm more inclined to blame the character than her, especially when it was a small part, but she had no personality, and her affectations came off as annoying, rather than a necessary part of her character.

Also, nerdy side note: Maybe this is mostly because I'm taking a class on Elizabeth I, but the Red Queen is absolutely Queen Mary and the White Queen is definitely (but less directly) Elizabeth. I mean, they even call the Red Queen the Bloody Queen! And the White Queen being somewhat trapped in her castle while her followers plan a rebellion she may or may not be involved in? Definitely the Wyatt Rebellion rewritten to be successful. I'm also 99% sure there was a picture of Henry VIII (Mary and Elizabeth's father) in the Red Queen's castle.

Anyway, if there's one thing that was too Burtonesque, it was Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Of course I hate to say anything bad about Johnny Depp, but I think he had a little too much fun with this role. His part was much, much bigger than in the books, and to some extent the character development added depth to the plot, but it was mostly unnecessary, and I think it would have worked better if Depp toned it down a bit. You don't need to be a serious actor? Alright, we get it. You also don't need to change your accent every five minutes.

I have to say Tim Burton was right when he said he's never seen a version of Alice in Wonderland that captures the true essence (not that I've seen many versions, although I have a strong recollection of one with Whoopi Goldberg and some people on roller skates), but I'm not entirely sure he does either. He said he wanted to make a "warrior" version of Alice, which I don't think is the essence, but she was a lot more vulnerable than I thought. I think the movie succeeded because there was plenty of basic things (i.e. characters) for people who don't know the books well, and lots of little things for people who do know them well, but Burton also managed to create something entirely new. Framing the story with Alice having to kill the Jabberwocky may seem kind of silly, but I really liked it, and not just because that poem is one of two that I know by heart. It gave the movie purpose, and direction, and allowed Alice to really shine. Even the 3-D was done reasonably well, and wasn't nearly as gimmicky as I would expect from Tim Burton. All in all, it wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but I liked it far more than I thought I would, and would definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Daily self-esteem

This is why I'm hot

Correct punctuation in text messages? Obscene amounts of trivia? Lack of dancing skills? Competitiveness? Omg, I am so hot right now. And if you're reading this, you probably have at least some of this qualities too. Congratulations, you're hot!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I Love NJ

Popular News Topics on

1. New Jersey corruption
2. New Jersey traffic
3. New Jersey transit
4. Weird New Jersey news
5. New Jersey shootings
6. New Jersey plane crashes

We are corrupt, morbid, and drive a lot. Awesome!

And our hockey team really likes to fight...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New color scheme? The old one was feeling drab and wintery. Not that this is quite so springy, but it's better. What do you think? I can't decide if I like it or not...

Monday, March 8, 2010

Side note: My overuse of ellipses is titles is atrocious. As is my overuse of them in text messages, emails, and any other non-schoolwork form of writing. This must be really annoying, so tell me to stop! Most of the time they're totally unnecessary, and only make me sound unsure of myself. Which I am quite a bit of the time, but rarely in blog post titles or text messages.

Also, my blog took a bit of a detour into Xanga/Livejournal-dom the other day, which I'm really trying to avoid with this, because it's childish and passive-aggressive, so sorry for that. So I plan on sticking to movie reviews, fashion reviews, postmodernism, and all that sort of good stuff from now on. Who wants to read about my feelings when they can read about the Oscars and other blogs?

Alice in Wonderland review coming soon (for real this time). Teaser: I thought it was mostly wonderful (pun intended), which I totally wasn't expecting.

And the Oscar goes to...

Well, no one really, because this show wasn't that great, but let's start at the beginning.

Which of course is the red carpet. Sometimes, I love the red carpet more than the show itself, because I really love couture. But this red carpet was just lackluster. There were some horrible dresses (Zoe Saldana, the usually beautiful Diane Kruger), and some great ones (Gabourey Sidibe, Carey Mulligan, etc.), but mostly a lot of "Oh, she looks really good for her" (Tina Fey, Meryl Streep), and "That dress wouldn't be so bad if it were a different color/this one detail was different" (Anna Kendrick, Charlize Theron). Even George Clooney didn't look all that great, and that never happens. Seriously George, get a haircut. And now that I have a Vogue subscription/followed Fashion Week, the lack of good dresses was even more disappointing, because I've been seeing designers do some really wonderful things lately, and I wish that was represented on the red carpet. And obviously these dresses are chosen far in advance, but I would have liked to see someone in an Alexander McQueen. Not even Sarah Jessica Parker, possibly his biggest fan, was wearing one of his designs; instead she decided to put some metallic embroidery on one of her curtains, wrap it around herself, and call it an outfit. Ew.

As far as best dressed goes, I would probably have to say Gabourey Sidibe. Obviously she's quite a bit bigger than the average Hollywood star, but she really dressed to flatter her body and the dress itself was beautiful and age-appropriate. I would totally wear it. As for the other top 9? I'll get back to you on that.

And the show itself? Once again, let's start at the beginning. If it's entertainment news and on the internet, I will most likely find it. I had no idea about Neil Patrick Harris opening the show. Good job, Oscars! He's one of the most loved and lovable people in Hollywood right now, and that worked really well. Alec and Steve themselves were perfectly decent hosts. A bunch of their jokes were hilarious, a few were wonderfully off-color, and most were at least mildly funny, although a lot did fall flat. They played well off each other, but something about it came off as vaudeville-esque, like they were going to throw pies in each others' faces or do some other slapstick humor any second. That's not bad necessarily, but it wasn't as interesting as it could have been. Case in point? My grandma thought they were the best Oscar hosts ever. My grandma has a wonderful sense of humor, but it's also a bit indicative of the time she grew up in...

The show wasn't actually any longer than previous ones, despite the 10 nominees for Best Picture and those somewhat silly video introductions for each category. Maybe it was those things, or the lack of Best Song nominees singing, or maybe I was just distracted, but the show felt a lot longer than usual, and I think it just really wasn't that interesting. Everyone's speeches were reasonably short and appropriate, and the presenters mostly just did their jobs and that was it. Even Ben Stiller's Na'vi impression wasn't nearly as good as his Joaquin Phoenix impression last year (which I totally thought may be Devandra Banhart when he first came out, but clearly that wouldn't happen at the Oscars). All in all, the show wasn't bad, but wasn't too good either. Either way, I can't wait for next year's Oscars!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blogging Idols

I've been reading this blog, Smart, Pretty, and Awkward, for a while. When I first heard about it, I was really excited, because I like to think I'm reasonably smart, reasonably pretty, and well, sometimes (often) I just can't help being awkward. I would never turn down anything that claims it will help me be smarter, prettier, and less awkward. And while a lot of the blog is great, the truth is, the advice is sometimes dubious (manicure every week in the middle of a recession...?), and the woman who writes it seems like one of those people with inspirational quotes hanging on their walls, which if you know me at all, you know is not the kind of person I would generally take advice from. Nothing wrong with some inspiration, but the advice is sometimes just a bit too...I don't know how to describe it. The best I can do is to describe her as an inspirational-quotes person.

But anyway, a few days ago, Smart, Pretty, and Awkward pointed me in the direction of what will definitely be my new obsession: Cupcakes and Cashmere. It's mostly a fashion blog, with a lot of posts about food, some posts about life in general, etc. But it has absolutely beautiful pictures, of both the person who writes it and other people, and I have a huge girl crush on her now. Anyone who writes almost exclusively about food and fashion will have my heart, but everything about the blog is just so beautiful. And it won Best Fashion Blog at the Bloggie Awards (whatever the hell those are) this year, beating out The Sartorialist and The Cut, which is a huge deal.

So check out the blogs. Maybe keep reading mine, but know it will never be this level.