Very busy these days…
So on hiatus indefinitely….
Take care everyone! 🙂
Came across this one on the ‘net (io9.c0m) and the elizabeth stark website:
The main problem with Twilight isn’t its sparkly vampires who lack all traditional weaknesses, or even its anti-feminist sensibility. When you get right down to it, the trouble is that the writing is terrible, filled with cliche phrases (“smoldering eyes”), repeated words (294 “eyes” in 498 pages) and the reductive characterization of its main characters (Bella is clumsy, and I guess she likes books. Or something).
On a recent car-trip with my husband and the writer Chip Cheek, we mulled over the question: What if great literary writers of the last 200 years had penned Twilight instead?
My top favorites from the site include:
“Call me Bella.” A tome about the length of the original series investigates Bella’s monomanical search for the vampire who stole her virginity. There’s an entire chapter devoted to describing the devastating whiteness of Edward’s skin, and several on the physiognomy of vampires, starting with their skeletal structure outward.
The novel takes place over the course of twenty four hours, during which Bella is painting a portrait of Edward and reflecting on how her femininity circumscribes her role within 20th century society.
In the opening scene, Edward dashes Bella’s head against a rock and rapes her corpse. Then he and Jacob take off on an unexplained rampage through the West.
Basically the same as the original, except that Bella is socially apt and incredibly witty. Her distrust of Edward is initially bourne out of a tragic misunderstanding of his character, but after a fling with Jacob during which he sexually assaults her (amusing to no one in this version) she and Edward live happily ever after.
Edward and Jacob defy society’s expectations up in the mountains.
Bella takes acid and charts syllogisms.
Edward’s rapacious love for Bella reflects the way globalism has pillaged Ireland. It’s entirely written in Esperanto, with sections in untranslated Greek, except for Chapter 40, which is inexplicably rendered as a script page from the musical The Book of Mormon.
Bella writes a brilliant takedown of the latest school play, dates a string of men, and repeatedly attempts suicide.
Stifled by her marriage to Edward, Bella has an affair with Jacob and then drowns herself.
Edward and Bella exchange terse dialogue alluding to Edward’s anatomical problem. Eventually, Bella leaves him for Jacob, a local bullfighter with a giant…sense of entitlement.
Edward tells Bella that he intends to stop saving her life, unless she starts paying him in gold bullion. Hatefucking ensues, then Jacob spouts objectivist philosophy for the next 100 pages.
Haruki Murakami: [Added by commenter Benk]
Bella has sex with Edward, who is half a ghost. Jacob is a talking cat. Most of the prose is given over to descriptions of Bella making pasta.
The story begins with a song. Then the song creates the world. Then major, minor and demi-gods appear. A hero’s journey in hell occurs, with Edward starring as the brooding, pissed off vampire who can’t drink blood because of a spell and must go to hell to break the spell. A duel of philosophical/existential dimensions ensue. Somebody gets swallowed up in a vagina. Edward saves the world by singing.
The world is a flat disc on top of a turtle spinning on top of an elephant and Edward and Bella are on top of this world trying to save the world from witches and fairies and goblins and what-not.
Edward is Han Solo trying to save Princess Bella and Jacob Skywalker from the Evil Empire of Disapproving Vampires and Werewolves. A intergalactic civil war ensues. Vampires fly spaceships. Princess and Skywalker think they like each other, but realize they are related, so Edward gets the girl instead.
Ah, so many possible things could happen – if anyone but Stephanie Meyers wrote this series.
As Yoda said – “Endless,the possibilities are”.
Saw this really awesome blog post by scientist and sci-fi enthusiast Kyle Munkittrick from Discover:
Science fiction knows how to play around with sex and gender. The free-lovin’ of A Stranger in A Strange Land, Commander Shepard’s bisexual proclivities, and William T. Riker’s seemingly universal interspecies compatibility are constant sources of entertainment.
And the fun doesn’t stop with organic entities. Androids, cyborgs, and robots make gender all the stranger. Why is Data fully functional? Isn’t it curious that, of all the characters in Ghost in the Shell the two most heavily cyberized characters, Motoko and Batou, are hyper-feminine and hyper-masculine respectively? And, my favorite: as a robot Bender has no gender, so if Bender bends his gender, what gender does Bender bend?
Sci-fi sex is fun to talk about, of course, but how can all of that help us understand the actual future of humanity? Simply put: we imagine what we hope to see. So the question is: what is it we imagine and hope for? An utter free-for-all of alien-cyborg-A.I. bacchanalia? I don’t think so. Instead, sci-fi is teaching the diversity of our own human sexuality back to us.
Science fiction allows for universes in which we can more easily accept alien forms of gender expression and sexual desire. For example, Ruby Rhod from The Fifth Element is perfectly and outrageously androgynous. In a normal action flick, I suspect Rhod would be a controversial and possibly distracting figure. In science fiction, however, Rhod is just another character caught up in the chaos. Sci-fi lets us explore sexuality free of the cultural and social baggage it carries in the here and now.
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He’s just so sick of being pigeon-holed as an instrument of U.S. policy. And “truth, justice, and the American way“ are ”not enough anymore.” That’s why Superman, in the latest Action Comic, has announced he is “renouncing” his U.S. citizenship.
Although he’s traditionally seen as an American hero (remember, though, he is an alien), Superman is fed up with being connected to the USA.
So it was one of those Saturday nights when I had nowhere to go and decided I’d watch “Black Swan”.
There was me, Irish housemate, single English housemate with ballet/dancing background dying to watch “Black Swan”, English couple, one half of which is the woman with the PhD and is published, the other half of which is the cook and overall houseperson.
See there was much hype about Black Swan, and well, I hate hype and wouldn’t have watched it for that. I did hear about the girl-on-girl scenes so I’d watch it for that.
In a nutshell: mentally stable, repressed, possibly virginal, ballerina (Natalie Portman) gets lead in “Swan Lake”and proceeds to have a very disturbing, gory breakdown which includes hallucinations, fears of splintering fingers and feet, fears of being followed by strangers, fears of losing lead role to hot, sexy alternate (Mila Kunis) with whom she may or may not have a night of drunken, brazen sex with, and imagining herself sprouting wings and what-not.
Let me just say – this is a load of unbelievably pretentious crap that is accidentally funny, unbearably tedious and torturous and overall, a waste of two hours of my life I can never get back. I’m still wondering what Portman won the Oscar for.
Darren Aronofsky – you owe me!
After having watched “127 Hours” I have learned some very important lessons that I should remember everytime I have the urge to travel somewhere:
1. Always remember to tell someone where you are going…in case you fall into a crack in a canyon and your hand gets pinned in a boulder. So, people, I am in Africa.
2. Bring loads of water. It saves you from the inevitable moment when you have to drink your own pee.
3. Never buy the China-made knife. Bring your Swiss knfie instead.
4. Bring food.
5. Ropes are important.
6. Don’t forget your digital camera. It can save you from a Wilson-the-ball/Tom Hanks-madness.
7. Your arm is not as important as you think it is.
And in related news…if you were Aron Ralston and trapped in a boulder, would you give up your arm to free yourself?
So, a former housemate of mine introduced me to “127 Hours” with the idea that it is about a guy who cuts off his arm when he is trapped in a boulder in a canyon for five days.
I didn’t think much of it, but I did copy his copy of it. I had heard it nominated for the Oscars (as of press time it had lost out to “The King’s Speech”) and that made my interest a bit more piqued. But not sufficiently piqued as to actually watch it. The thought of another film, much like “Castaway”(can you actually bear tw hours of Tom Hanks? I didn’t think so) and “Ladder 49” where someone is trapped somewhere and you watch two hours of the person struggling, just seems unbearably boring for me. So I held out on it til yesterday, when I was at home, having watched all of my movies and now ready for “127 Hours”.
After finally watching it, though, I had to kick myself for not having watched it sooner. The difference between this film and the ones that came before it, was director Danny Boyle’s trademark filmmaking style and James Franco’s gritty performance as Aron Ralston.
Boyle’s frenetic, kinetic, filmmaking style, fraught with MTV-saturated images, backed by an upbeat soundtrack that pushes rather than constrains the scenes and breathtaking cinematography of the Utah canyons, does not interfere at all with Franco’s intense depiction of a solitary, secretive man who is more at home in the wilderness than in the office, and who, moment-by-moment, manages to infuse this character with more life even without dialogue or other characters. The script is fast-paced and clean, and clocking in at one hour, 30 minutes, and proves that the age-old adage, less is more, is true in this case.
There is no Wilson in this movie, no elaborate flashbacks to stretch the drama. In fact, flashbacks are not treated as such, and are actually both memory and introspection and imagination for Franco’s Ralston, who imagines his treatment of past lovers, family and friends with casual indifference at first, but gradually, as the days progress, with much regret. But the most fascinating thing about this movie is the age-old theme of literatures past, man vs. nature and man vs. himself, when, stripped of all the trappings of everyday urban life, Franco’s Ralston comes to appreciate the daily routine only a man trapped in a boulder can appreciate: 15 minutes of sun on his toes, a bird flying overhead for eight seconds, water, camera, the luxury of memories, and also comes to appreciate the devastating realization that he was responsible for where he was in now and no other, and thus, being responsible for himself and his actions, his destiny and his future, Ralston is able to break free from his predicament by doing the one unimaginably harrowing thing anyone can do: cut off his arm with a cheap, dull, China-made knife. I think that was the most compelling part of this film – the idea of accountability and of personal responsibility, an amazing existential moment that seems unusual in post-millenium cinema.
I like this so much I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a great film to watch this year. If you are going to watch anything, watch “127 hours”.
Lazy Thursday in the office. Thinking I’ve had enough of volunteering (it seemed like a good idea a year ago haha!), and surfing the net for something to do.
A random sampling:
I haven’t realized that I’ve got a crapload of emotions to tell all my exes the following (well, not really all, the others I don’t even know their real names).
So this is part deux, to my exes (part 1 was reply # 3 in this post) :
To R: I am really sorry that I told you I’ll be staying in China for good. It was just a quick business trip for me, but to you it may seem like 3 years of my absence. I was overly immature to break it up that moment that I used the “long distance” get out of jail free card.
To B: I always knew that you wouldn’t feel for me the way I feel for you. I am so glad that we never consummated whatever relationship we had, at least we’re still friends now. I received the Japanese cookbook you sent me last week (thanks) and I hope you enjoyed The Killers DVD I sent you. I know – you’re the R&B kind of guy, but “somebody told me… that you had a boyfriend who looked like a girlfriend that I had in February of last year …” and I associated the music with you (fast forward to Chapter 4 of the DVD please).
To H: I stopped bugging you to return that Alanis Morissette CD “because the love that you gave that we made wasn’t able to make it enough for you to be open wide”. So please stop asking me for your Fiona Apple CD back, you Criminal!
To F: I thought I needed closure. But I guess the VD tests were enough. I am very happy not to get anything from you, even if I lost a lot of investment to you. I’m just happy I’m very disease-free. If you’re still the way you were when we were together, please get tested. For your sake.
To G: My apologies for not attending your wedding. I was really swamped with work and the date coincided with our product launch that I can’t leave behind. Thank you for thinking of me when you asked me to read the gospel in your wedding. At least I knew whatever we had meant something. I still owe you a wedding gift. See you in June?
Click here for more (it’s just addictive!).
So last night, whilst talking to my housemates (a Chinese Canadian guy and a new British Chinese guy – yep, it’s two guys, a gay person and a house) we were talking about homesickness and what whether we have comfort films (like comfort food) that help get us through those dark times.
Housemate number 1 (Canadian) says his comfort films were Se7en, 12 Monkeys and Fight Club (“Do you have a thing about Brad Pitt?” housemate number 2 asks.).
I remember the first time I was overseas, I was spending a disturbingly inordinate amount of time watching movies and television series (hence the birth of this blog), and I remember watching “Hairspray”and “Stardust”over and over again at the time. I also remember watching a few Filipino films (say that fast, 10 times) as well.
When I was in Canada, for some strange, inexplicable reason, I used to watch D.E.B.S over and over again.
When I went back home to the Philippines, I used to watch “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”over and over again, as well as “Battlestar Galactica”, “True Blood” and “Glee”.
When I’m feeling down, I usually turn to light, romantic, usually teen films or comedies. I refuse to watch horror now because they’ll just depress me more.
Right now, it’s “Zoolander” that I love watching over and over again, along with “How to Train a Dragon”. If I could snag “The Producers” and “Team America”, I’m all set.
What about you, what’s your comfort film?
I watched Mulholland Drive the first time it came out on cable, first on the Japanese cable, Wowow (but of course!) in its full, uncensored form, and then on Star Movies, so mercilessly cut that I couldn’t make sense of it even more. All I could remember of it was “Silencio….silencio…” a line from the film that my sister and I would just randomly insert in conversations that had morphed into a joke afterwards.
I remember having intense discussions with friends about it, and I remember one friend actually walking out on me, refusing to believe my analysis of the film.
If truth be told, almost 10 years after its release, I am as baffled and bewildered by the film as when I first saw it. And I still wonder about a lot of unanswered questions the movie raised. Like why does Rita (Laura Harring) have amnesia? Why did she have a car accident? Where did the money come from? Why is Betty (Naomi Watts) so annoyingly cheerful? Did Rita and Betty’s intense (intensely sexual) relationship really occur? Or did it all happen only in Betty’s mind? What is the dwarf’s purpose? What does the cowboy do? How does Adam (Justin Theroux) fit in all of these? And what is Rita and Betty’s connection to Diane (again played by Watts) and Camilla (played by Harring)’s story? Why were the love scenes so brutally short, or brutal and short? More importantly,what does it all mean?!?
The story of Rita’s amnesiac character,who stumbles onto aspiring actress Betty’s apartment (and into her arms, =wink=, =wink=), and who tries to search for her identity as a budding romance develops between her and Betty, which suddenly abruptly ends as another storyline of the same faces but with different names (Dianne and Camille) has left critics and movie fans properly baffled and puzzled, but this story though has generated a lot of buzz and a lot of interest, long after the movie has been given accolades and/or bad reviews. This is understandable as the movie started out as a television pilot from the mind of David Lynch. Confusing and puzzling it may be, but boring it isn’t. Told in a maddeningly non-linear fashion (but not so non-linear as to be “Memento”), the film has generated discussion on reality and the subconscious, mind and memory, emotion and ambition, as well as discussion on how Hollywood is depicted: the glittering, glamorous Hollywood of possibilities and stardom, and the dark, depressing Hollywood of broken dreams and failures.
If you do want to figure out what it all means, David Lynch has come up with helpful clues on the DVD release that might either puzzle you, enlighten you or drive you right to the edge:
“David Lynch’s 10 Clues to Unlocking This Thriller”:
- Pay particular attention in the beginning of the film: At least two clues are revealed before the credits.
- Notice appearances of the red lampshade.
- Can you hear the title of the film that Adam Kesher is auditioning actresses for? Is it mentioned again?
- An accident is a terrible event — notice the location of the accident.
- Who gives a key, and why?
- Notice the robe, the ashtray, the coffee cup.
- What is felt, realized, and gathered at the Club Silencio?
- Did talent alone help Camilla?
- Note the occurrences surrounding the man behind Winkie’s.
- Where is Aunt Ruth?
While you may come out confused about the movie after watching it, I recommend watching it at least twice, just to see where it takes you. Half of the fun of watching movie is the new discoveries you find as you watch it and seeing interpretations and re-interpretations of it.
Or you can just watch it for Laura Harring and Naomi Watts passionately giving it a go.
Either way it won’t disappoint. Even if you come away from the movie scratching your head, baffled and bewildered, asking yourself, “”But what does it all mean?!?”