Archive for February, 2013

I Liked the Oscars

Last night, my husband and I watched the Oscars. I had not — and still have not — seen any of the best picture nominees, but that didn’t stop me from printing out a ballot and filling in what I wanted based on what I’d read. The two movies I did see that received Oscar noms were Marvel’s The Avengers (nominated for best visual effects) and Pixar’s Brave (winner of best animated feature film).

I am a movie fan — I’d like to call myself a buff, but I think that implies a level of knowledge of both movies and the stars that I don’t quite have, so I’ll call myself a buffette. I like good movies and bad ones. My husband and I are suckers for the $3 and $5 bins at stores like Walmart and Big Lots. We own a copy of every Pixar film, and many other animated ones, at my instigation (not the kids’). I have a stash of movies made by the “mockbuster” studio The Asylum, including “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus,” which contains performances by Lorenzo Lamas and Deborah Debbie Gibson, in case you’re wondering whatever happened to them.

I don’t expect a whole lot from the Oscar telecast, or even the host. It’s a pretty thankless job — make people laugh while the film industry, which makes a boatload of money every year despite the perennial gnashing of teeth, pats itself on the back. Don’t offend too many people, but don’t be too milquetoast either. With those kind of low to mediocre expectations, it’s hard to get disappointed and if I’m going to invest 3.5 hours into a show, I at least want not to be disappointed.

So I watched last night, I laughed, I was entertained, I was pleased to see Ang Lee win Best Director for Life of Pi, and somewhat disappointed that Frankenweenie did not win Best Animated Feature. What can I say? I’m a big Tim Burton fan. On the other hand, I haven’t seen Frankenweenie, so perhaps Brave was the better film. (Or perhaps people feared being stomped on by Pixar’s desk lamp).

Yet I get up this morning, and everywhere I look, the Oscars are being slammed. MacFarlane was lame and unfunny and misogynistic. (Really?) According to Tom Shales over at Roger Ebert’s site (and I enjoy Shales’ articles), MacFarlane also couldn’t sing or dance (again, really?). For MacFarlane himself, I had no expectations — I have not watched Family Guy, although I’ve seen bits and pieces, and I did not see the movie he wrote, Ted.

But I thought he was funny. I actually liked the opening number “We Saw Your Boobs.” I just found the whole idea of singing such a song — backed by a gay mens’ chorus! — great fun. Some of his one-liners hit and others missed. I admit I squirmed at the Django Unchained/Chris Brown/Rihanna joke, but hey, you can’t like it all. And I could have lived without “All that Jazz,” from Chicago. You had John Travolta there — give us a number from Hairspray!

I was relieved to find a couple of articles over at Slate.com written by people who, like me, were in fact not offended by MacFarlane’s routine. Even in this day of constant commentary, guess what? You are free to turn off the television. You are not obligated to watch the Oscars, nor, even with the ease of access of Twitter, et al, are you obligated to express your opinion of it to the world (but if you want to, have at).

A lot of people went on about the boobs song and how it was degrading, etc. True, there is not likely to be a male equivalent like “We Saw Your Balls” or “We Saw Your Junk.” (Although wouldn’t it be fun, and let’s get Meryl Streep to sing it, with that same chorus.) Why? Because aside from Harvey Keitel in The Piano, you won’t find much male frontal nudity in mainstream US movies. (Wait, there was that guy in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, right?) So why can we not poke a little fun at nudity in the movies? Yeah, it’s female nudity mostly, but who’s fault is that? Until the MPAA and other groups loosen up, and/or the actresses decide to keep their shirts on until there’s topless equality, this is the state of things for a while. So let’s sing a song about how silly that is.

(Aside: Some may note that Jodie Foster baring breasts in The Accused was different than Kate Winslet in Titanic, and I’d agree. But this is slippery ground in humor. Should MacFarlane have limited himself to only rom-coms, or coms, or roms, or trashy horror movies? I don’t know. It wouldn’t have made a difference to me, but others might have carped at that very limiting. It’s up to MacFarlane to decide, then up to us to be offended or not.)

But perhaps in a more egalitarian song, MacFarlane could sing “We Saw Your Butt,” because I’d say male and female derrieres appear in about equal numbers of movies.

I can’t keep up with all of the things I’m supposed to be upset about, to fight for or against. So I’ll just pick my battles. This is not one of them.

Years ago, on MTV, they ran a special that dealt with things like the influence of music on suicidal people, and other “dark” things. You know the type of thing — did Black Sabbath really get people into Satanism and what not. Personally I’m guessing the guys in Sabbath were too drunk and/or high to do much with inverted crosses. What I remember is Lemmy from Motorhead saying that there are always people who will be offended, that there are people who go around with little notebooks, waiting to be offended so they can write it down.

And now they take it to Twitter.

 

What I’ve been doing

You know I haven’t been writing. What I have been doing these last few months is crocheting. One nice thing about that is I don’t need an editor. 🙂 Of course it means I can’t write while I’m doing it (or eat, which is a side benefit, really) but I figure since I’ve done a fair bit, I’d add in the pictures.

First there are the Victorian doll dresses. This is not because I’m a big doll person, but because I wanted to use up some yarn. And they worked up quickly, another plus. My son requested a Dalek, and I obliged. At Halloween, I made trick-or-treat bags (two of my own design, one following a pattern). Recently, I made each of my kids a minion (also my own design).

There are a few others, but those are the highlights. 🙂

Sorry it’s a little disorganized. I haven’t figured out the picture stuff yet.

P000-256-283-468-7f032 Pict0349 P1010914 P1010913 P1010915 P1010690 P1010694 P1010702 P1010787 P1010938

 

 

 

Here it is, February

I’m sure you’re used to my apologies for not posting more often, but I do have to say that I had not intended to go the entire month of January without posting something. In my defense, we have many January birthdays in our house, and we worked in a visit to my husband’s family. So here’s hoping thing settle down a bit now that we’re into February.

With that in mind, I do plan to start writing again. I have ideas, as I’ve said before, I just haven’t had the time. It’s difficult to manage family, the house, writing, and anything else that goes on. I have the feeling a lot of people think that when you’re at home, you’re time is your own, but in many ways it isn’t. Some things must be done, like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. By the end of the day, when the kids are back from school and you’ve made dinner (and perhaps cleaned up after it) and then the kids are in bed — a person is tired.

I once saw a Rita Rudner television special and at the end of the show, she said she would take questions, and described this as the portion of the show where she had to be funny “all of a sudden.” That’s lately how I’ve felt about any free time I have. I may not know I’m going to get it, and I probably don’t know how long it will last. It’s hard to get into a creative or even relaxed mode when you have that going on. Even when I can take some time, I find it’s a bit like a vacation — it takes about half of your vacation to really relax, and by the time you hit that point, you have to get ready to leave.

On the other hand, I recall some Garrison Keillor advice when he was a columnist at Salon.com. If you want to be a writer, he said (and I paraphrase), stop bitching and write. If that’s your job, or the job you want, then do it. And with that in mind, I am to get back into the routine. It may take a bit, but I will.

Writing can be somewhat daunting, and like many other things, we don’t realize how much so until we try it. Writing, as much or perhaps more than most creative arts, has people thinking “I can do that.” We all go through schools writing essays, the occasional poem and story, etc. But you know what? When you really sit down to write something, you realize it’s more than you thought. There are actions and feelings to describe; events to relate; time lines and plots to keep straight; and let’s not forget the grammar and punctuation (although a great many either have forgotten or never learned).

It’s a good feeling, though, when you’ve finished something, or at least I think it is. When I first finished a story, I was pleased. I had started many stories before that, but never finished them. That was a big block.

The next block will be doing something about publication. I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has asked or commented that they wish something was available. I have discovered that publishing is as daunting as the writing. ISBNs, at least in the US, are not cheap but are required. Sending to publishers requires a cover letter (aaauuggghhh! to quote Charlie Brown), not to mention patience.

So although it’s February already (and tomorrow is Punxatawny Phil’s big day!), it’s still early in the year with time to get things done. I hope to have some more stories available, either via free sites or sale, and will keep you updated.

On that note, a new compilation of stories from Yellow Silk Dreams, with stories by Jocelyn Modo, Gemma Parkes and Jacqueline George and more is due out soon. The theme is “enchanted.” I hope you enjoy it.

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