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Who was I?

Just reread a handful of my oldest entries, and omg I was really fucking annoying and full of shit!

Ships passing in the night

On Friday nights when I'm alone, I start to feel a lonely nostalgia creep over me. I start thinking about all the people who have passed through my life, and I wonder what they're doing right now. I wonder if they ever think about me in a similar fashion.

I came here tonight because it offers me some connection to the past, a safe way to revisit a treacherous landscape. But now that I'm here, I don't really have anything significant to say.

Aug. 4th, 2011

Sometimes, I feel like I have nothing.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Writer's Block: Brush with stardom

Have you ever stumbled across a celebrity in your daily life? Was it more or less exciting than you would have expected? Do you have any interest in meeting media stars?

Three times:

1) Ethan Hawke - I bumped into him on the subway in NYC.  Literally bumped into him.

2) Bill Maher - He was having drinks at the Algonquin Hotel lobby.  My SO and I were pretending to be fancy and were drinking there too.

3) Mike Meyers - He frequents this bar in the Lower East Side that I go to on occassion.  He was eating a sandwich and looked pretty relaxed.

Neither of these three were all that exciting, which is what I expected.  I don't think I'm the type of person who really cares.  I was a bit excited about Ethan Hawke as I was new to working in the city and it was my very first celebrity sighting.  In NYC, I probably have crossed paths with other celebrities but have failed to notice...which is probably why celebrities like to hang out in New York.  They can blend in and nobody thinks about it. 

Hm.

Ok, you might think I'm crazy but I seriously believe that the apocalypse is upon us.

In the past year or so, there have been several events that - to me - seem almost biblically prophetic in nature.  I know what you're thinking: Kristin, you've read too many apolocalyptic novels and destruction folklore/myth, it's making you see fiction where there is only strange facts.

Fair enough but humor me anyhow.

1) The Weather.  Don't even pretend like you haven't noticed how hodge podge fucked the weather has been in the past year, let alone the past few years.  I remember the winter of my senior year, there was a stretch of a few days when it was really warm out even though we were in the dead of the coldest month.  This stretch lasted long enough to make the trees bud tiny little flowers.  In the middle of January.  I thought then that it seemed to hint at something large and sinister taking place in nature, in the universe.

Plus we've had these blizzards.  If it wasn't so cold out, they would have been raging storms, a dark sign always.  Maybe it was because I was raised Catholic in a weird church but I have always associated strange weather patterns with God.  God makes fire falls from the sky, makes the sun disappear behind the moon (I guess God is a Pink Floyd fan), causes the world to be flooded over, basically turns nature against man.  And if it's not any Western concept of God that's doing it, it's someone or something else.  Every culture talks about the weather and the cruelty of nature through gods, spirits, demons, whathaveyou.

2) Obama is president.  Take this whole paragraph with a grain of salt.  I'm not implying what you think I'm implying.  Anyway, my dad once read this Christian fictional series about the rapture.  In it, the anti-christ comes to earth disguised as a powerful charismatic politician.  Now, I don't think Obama is the anti-Christ whatsoever.  Not what I am saying.  However, I find it interesting that he shares a lot of those characteristics that defined the anti-Christ character in the book series.  But Obama definitely shows more weakness.  He reminds me of a Faustian type character in a way.  Something tragic and brilliant.  But the whole story of Obama also to me sounds odd sometimes.  A young ambitious black politician quickly rising to complete power.  A president who is haunted by his celebrity status.  I don't know, something sinister rings inside of the story.

3) Earthquakes.  Need I say more?  Two huge ones not too far apart from one another.  One of which alters the earth's axis.  Strange strange strange.

4) Two of the oldest people in America (including the absolute oldest) died within hours of one another the other day.  That is so rare, I wonder what the odds were for it.  To me, this has the making of a myth.  Two old and wise prophets dying as if something is taking them.  Reminds me of the stories of Methuselah and Enoch.  Kind of.

5) I stick by this even though people think I'm kidding.  The show Jersey Shore.  There is something so horrific about it that makes me certain that it signifies some deep conflict in the universe.  In Watchmen, Ozzy can see deeper patterns by watching TV essentially.  He can see an underlying theme beneath the surface.  Well, the underlying theme I see in Jersey Shore is one of destruction.

6) One of the Corey's died.  Michael Jackson died.  Farrah Fawcett died.  Billy Mays died.  Lots of people are dying.  Lots of people die every day but between several icons dying and who even knows how many dying from earthquakes, these deaths are a little bit outside of the normal every day stuff.

I don't know.  I don't know if any of this means anything but these are observations I have been making.

In other news, remember Matisyahu?  The Hasidic Jew who reggaes about God?  Had that song on the radio "King Without a Crown."  Zvi doesn't like him.  But I like that song.  It's a little romantic and sexy for me even though it's about God.  There's a line, "Want to be close to you, yes I'm so hungry."  Makes me think of Zvi.  Another great line: "You're a slave to yourself and you don't even know."  I know it's a religious sentiment but I feel like it applies to non religious things too.  Anyway, Matisyahu.. I think he's hot.  Sincerely hot.  What is with me and Jewish guys?  I remember this at Rutgers, I used to check out the Orthodox boys all the time.  I think it's the following: 1) beards! (I am really a huge fan of facial hair, apparently) 2) they dress nice/cool (I don't need a dude to be the snappiest dresser but I like one with something verging on decent fashion sense; this leaves a lot of room for guys since I think simplicity is sexy as long as you wear it well) 3) there's an intensity in the eyes.  I don't know.  It's enigmatic to say the least.

Anyway, here is a picture of him.  He's one good looking man.

Matisyahu


I recently mentioned that I have been reading Kobo Abe's The Woman in the Dunes and I think I also mentioned that I was less than impressed with it.

Kobo Abe is one of Japan's most celebrated modern authors.  I can see why.  His writing is simple yet it doesn't lack in poetics and philosophy.  There's a quiet beauty that breathes between the words.  You have to lean down far to hear it.  The Woman in the Dunes is one of his most famous works, internationally renowned and critically acclaimed.  For me, it's a snoozefest.

The characters are a bit boring, for one.  Which I guess is part of the point.  The story reeks of existentialism - the absurdity of life, the meaningless acts we take part in to dress it up.  There are only two main characters, a man and a woman.  The woman, as the title dictates, lives in a sand dune.  Well, it's like a giant sand pit and she has a house at the bottom of it.  Because of some pseudo scientific reason, the village that she is a part of is haunted by the threat of being buried under the ridiculous sand that accumulates there.  So, for some more pseudo scientific reasons, the women and several other families spend their lives pushing the sand so that it doesn't bury the village.

The man, an outsider to the village, is a school teacher and amateur bug collector.  He comes to this sandy area in search of bugs that hang out in the sand.  The villagers trick him into going into the sand pit that the woman lives in.  Then they leave him there with no way of getting out.  The point is that he's supposed to help her push this sand and thus help her save the village.  But he doesn't go down without a fight.  After about a hundred pages of whiny brooding and failed escape attempts, the man's spirit is eventually broken.

So here we have two characters with different lives.  But essentially, their lives are the same.  The woman's whole life is dedicated to pushing the sand away just so she can live another day.  But she lives another day only to push more sand.  It's Sisyphus at the beach essentially.  Here comes this guy, he sees the way she lives and says, "This is no way to live."  And from his world of societal norms and logical boundaries, it probably does look pretty silly.  However, I think Abe draws a nice subtle parallel here.  The man's life is pretty pointless too.  He gets up, goes to work, has a wife that he doesn't really love, collects bugs, and rinse wash repeat.  Instead of pushing actual sand, he is pushing the sand of society to save not the village but some greater abstract equivalent (being a contributing member to Japanese society).

Somewhere in the middle of the book, between all the brooding and plotting, we get a glimpse of what these two people could have.  The woman seems to recognize it - now that the man is in her life, she can do things other than push sand.  Also she can enjoy the comapny of another person.  This, to me, seems more like a good life.  Sure, she still lives every day to push more and more sand but at least there's an upside.  There's someone to love and a chance to do something new.

This isn't quite good enough for man which is both reasonable and not.  I mean, he had a nice life back home that consisted of bug collecting and working for a paycheck.  Which is where the contradiction lies.  These things that the man deems important are of no more consequence than what the woman does with her life.  He sees what he does as more important, really, only because society has taught him to believe that.  In reality, the things he was living for were just mundane and futile.  They are both contributing to the world's that they live in.  What he doesn't recognize is that they come from vastly different worlds.  He is infuriated by her dedication to the village and the sand but cannot recognize that he too is guilty of an equal, unreasonable dedication - to his blah life in his blah hometown.  I mean, seriously, so what.  He's an apathetic teacher who collects bugs.  What great meaningful contribution has he made to anything?  It is arguable that the woman's life, though more tedious, is of greater importance since she is part of a unit that together saves the village on a daily basis.  However, she gets no reward other than the gift of living another day.  Which makes her either a) stupid or b) entirely more noble than the man could ever wish to be. 

However, on the other hand, what is it of anyone's business to decide what makes a life worthy?  Honestly, who is anyone to question what it is that makes the man happy?  The man has built himself a life and no matter how trivial or stupid it may seem, it is the life that makes him most comfortable.  It is the life that he has strived for and it is the life that keeps calling to him.  You can say that he is a product of society's rules and norms but so what.  We are all creatures of nurture as much as we are of nature.  We are all influenced by someone or something and no one can cast the first stone in this.

Anyway, so the characters are boring.  But I think that's the point.  This crazy event didn't happen to two wildly exciting individuals -  because in the end, all people are equally boring and equally exciting.  We are all just flesh and oxygen, at some point.  And not all great stories happen to great heroes and princesses.  I don't know if Abe meant for this specifically, these are my own ruminations.

I take it back, the philosophy is kind of interesting.  It gets you thinking without realizing that you're thinking about it.  I should stop being a weanie.

Anyway, I'm adding a few more things to my goals of 2010:

1) Open up an etsy account and start selling my homemade crafts.  Simple stuff for right now.  Jewelry, journals, maybe a few other things like boxes and decorations.  One step at a time.  I hope to post some pictures of things I have already made to livejournal and facebook so I can get some good old fashioned feedback from friends.

2) Learn an instrument.  I have always said I wanted to do this and I have never done it.  Zvi taught me how to play one cord on the guitar this weekend and it made me feel like a rock star.  So corny.  Anyway, I'm thinking of walking into a music store and saying, "I have small hands and a thin wallet, what's a good instrument for me?"  I hope it's a harmonica!

3) Learn a little bit of a language.  I'm thinking Japanese.  Why not.

Awaiting the blizzard


We're supposed to get a bad blizzard over the next few days but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's all hogwash.  I'm going to call it "Blizzard-gate" since everyone in the media lately describes anything that makes headlines as being "something-gate" (ex. I've already heard the Sarah Palin writing notes on her hand thing called "Ink On Hand Gate", seriously?).  And for that all whole media phenomena, I'm going to call it Gate-gate.  Yeah.  I went there.

Edit: So after writing this entry I came across an article about Megan Fox's not-so-foxy thumbs.  Apparently she has odd looking thumbs.  Why anyone cares is beyond me.  Anyway, this article referred to her recent superbowl commercial (which apparently showed her thumb) as "thumb gate."  No, really.  Read it for yourself.  It's the last line in the article.  Really.  Thumb gate.

Reading Kobo Abe's The Woman in the Dunes.  So far it has yet to prove to me why it deserves 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.  I'm not very deep into it but it's taken me almost 2 hours to get to where I'm at already (page 36, btw) and I've fallen asleep twice.  However, it's elegantly written in a style that I am recognizing as being very Japanese.  Meaning that Japanese authors from this time period seem to create a collective voice - simultaneously unified and multi-faceted.  Murakami has been compared to Abe but I don't see why just yet.  Murakami's voice and rhythm, for one thing, are much more Western.  Murakami reminds me more of a Jonathan Lethem or a more exciting Michael Chabon.  I've only read one book of short stories from each author but in terms of themes, motifs, cadences, and poetic language, I see a similarity there.  However, Abe is all about the existential dread ala Camus and Kafka (I know, I know Camus never considered himself an existentialist but if you've ever read him, you can see the seedlings of existentialism, albeit it a lighter variety; philosophies bleed together sometimes regardless of labels).  So in that sense, it's similar to Murakami

Murakami has also been compared to Philip K. Dick though I don't see that either.  Dick wrote sinister novels about the future set in a gritty LA.  Murakami writes metaphysical science fiction combined with mythological fantasy all taking place in the present with stark, unabashed realism.  Maybe I haven't read enough Dick though (that sounds funny, I am so immature!).

Holy whoa!

I have almost 900 entries in this livejournal!  Geez!

I used to write in this thing all the time then I stopped for a while because I ran away from the internet.  Now I'm back at it.  I like it better now, actually.  I'm not constantly complaining or ranting, life is fun, the world is interesting, and I have a lot to say.  Haha, and yet I say very little.  Oh well, I guess that's what a personal journal is all about anyway.

Anyway, last night I got to Zvi's place and his roommate Michael spoke the magic words: "I downloaded all of X-Files.  Ready for a marathon?"

YES

We watched Pilot, Deep Throat, and Squeeze.  But Zvi is sensitive and was scared.  Though I think at some point he was going over the top with it (Oh I don't think I'll be able to sleep, what a scary show!) so that I would continue to comfort him.  Haha, he's a cute little baby.  Anyway, it was very exciting, haven't watched the show in a while and I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  Vinny and I never finished watching it so now I can watch it with Zvi and Michael.  And occassionally Moshe if he's interested.

It should all happen


There are three things that I would like to see happen in 2010:

1) I would like to volunteer to become a story teller for children.  I don't know how I would go about this but I love the idea of being a story teller and I would like to do this even if there is no pay (as I suspect there wouldn't be).  I came up with this idea during a night out with friends.  Late last year I was at a bar/restaurant with some friends.  While we were waiting for a table, I went to the bookstore that was next door and purchased a very cheap collector's edition of Where the Wild Things Are (in addition to a few other things that I had been itching to read).  I came back and everyone giggled at the fact that I bought it.  I told them they shouldn't scoff at it and proceeded to read it outloud.  For whatever reason, I was feeling frisky and decided to give it a performance edge complete with dramatic moments and well placed pauses so that I could show everyone the pictures.  And would you believe that my silly drunken laughing-at-the-whole-thing friends sat there captivated by the story.  At some point I realized that several other people at the bar were also listening and looking at the pictures.  I had an audience.  This was encouraging and just kept on going.  It made me realize how much drunk people were like children.

Anyway, I would like to do this with ACTUAL children.  I think it would be a great experience.  I like reading, I like kids, I've gotten over my performance anxiety.  I think the time is now.

2) I would like to put together a book review/criticism blog and sister podcast.  These days, anyone can do these things so why shouldn't I?  You never know, I could be the Perez Hilton of book reviews.  Just some person sitting in a coffee shop talking about what they like and then WHAM famous!

3) I would like to finish one of my novels.  I realized that while it's great that I have so many ideas, I should probably stick with one idea and go with it.  The most recent one is my top pick at the moment.  Unlike most of my other ideas for novels, it is the most unformed with the least amount of structuring (ironic since it's going to end up being such a structured book, a Choose Your Own Adventure).  I have no idea where the plot is going and I think that's what makes writing it so fun.  And I think that is why it's come out decent so far. 

Also in the past I have set the goal of being published by the end of the year.  This is silly.  I should work on finishing and cleaning before I even consider the next step.  So this year, I am going to take baby steps toward this goal.  I would like to take a shot at getting a short story published.  I have a few that I'm proud of.  So I think I will at least clean those up and then once that is over consider the next step.  No crazy time slot

My other reason for updating is to mention that I have read several great books recently.  The most recent one I am almost finished with.  It's called THE LOTTERY AND OTHER STORIES by Shirley Jackson.  I love Jackson.  She has a great style, great word choice.  She can fill you with dread over the most mundane things. 

Anyway, that's it in my cooky literary world.

AVATAR SPOILERS Am I weird because...



I don't see racism everywhere like others do?

edit: I should have put this behind a cut and I'm sorry I didn't but the computer is acting screwy.  Anyway, you have been warned and can choose not to read if you so wish.

In the past twelve hours, I have heard two things said regarding James Cameron's Avatar and racism.  One thing was said off hand and the other was an article I read this morning.

This is the article.

Ok so I understand all the points made in this article but I think it's sort of...too easy to play the "Hollywood is racist" game?

The White Messiah myth - ok, this could easily be said about the film but I feel like it kind of, oh I don't know, ignores the plot and point of the movie.  Jake Sully gives up his body (the "whiteness") and opts instead for a Na'vi body.  When the military man asks him, "How does it feel to betray your own race," it's an interesting moment because you suddenly understand that Jake's true "race" is Na'vi.  Not because of the spongy flesh and brittle bones that made him human but because of what is inside him.  He now understands the importance and the harmony of Pandora.  He has seen the horrors that have been inflicted on the people first hand.  And he connects to it.  It's what makes sense to him. 

Jake Sully starts off feeling like a red-headed step child that's worth nothing now that he's been paralyzed.  He has no direction, he has no connections.  The Na'vi people and their culture bring him full circle to finding himself.

Ok, So Jake Sully saves the day, big whoop.  Honestly, it has nothing to do with him being white.  It boils down to a simple plot device - the man with the insider information who knows how the enemy is going to attack (because that was once his life) and what the weaknesses of the strategies are is going to know best how to lead an army of people who know little about the enemy.

And that doesn't make the Na'vi stupid or even naive.  They have weapons, they are capable of brutality, and they have an advanced society (the focus of advancement is more spiritual and natural than technological so it looks different from the humans advanced society).  They will go in with their all and dammit can they put up a fight.  But certain tips and tricks are helpful.

For example, Jake Sully thinks its best to go up to the floating mountains to fight.  Why?  Because he knows that the military's computers go haywire up there and that the Na'vi will have the upper hand in the battle at least on that end.  I'm going to take a wild leap of faith here and assume that, because they had not been exposed to the technology, the Na'vi had no idea that would happen.

All I mean is that Jake knows crap that the Na'vi does not.  So he imparts his knowledge to help them.

Now I don't know a lot about football so this metaphor might be a stretch but check this out: I'm pretty sure Eli Manning plays for the Giants.  Now.  Say that Manning got traded to the Cowboys.  And say that the Giants, before Manning left, came up with some super duper awesome secret thing that would destroy the Cowboys.  Now, Manning knows all about this secret thing so the next time the Cowboys play the Giants, Manning dispenses his knowledge  to the team and coaches.  Does that make Eli Manning the white messiah to a team made up of a lot of black guys?  No, it makes Manning a good team mate even though he's playing against those who he used to align himself with.

This might seem goofy to you but sports are actually a perfect metaphor for what we're talking about here.  The very nature of a sports game reflects a war theme. 

FURTHERMORE, Jake Sully isn't even the only grand hero if he's even the hero at all.  I'm glad everyone forgot about Neytiri killing off the bad guy and saving whitey's ass.  Or how about Mother Nature coming in and kicking serious ass.  Or the whole entire Na'vi clan from all over Pandora uniting together to defend the home.

To say Jake is a white messiah fable is to say that none of the shit that anyone else did even mattered.  That no matter what Jake Sully would have saved the day simply because he is white.  And quite simply, that is retarded.  Because if the other tribes decided to stay at home and watch American Idol instead or if Neytiri suddenly decided that she was bored and went off to look at some flowers or if Mother Nature said, you know what fuck it you're on your own then Jake Sully, with all of his "whiteness" would have been up a creek without a paddle.

Meh.  It's impossible for people to enjoy movies anymore.  People want to pick everything apart and make sure they find something horrific in a film.  And in doing so, sometimes they ignore other key elements.  But I guess if you're working so hard to make it fit a formula, it's easy to cut out the things that negate your point.

Ugh, I'm going to repeat myself again but whatever.  It really annoys me that a huge blue woman (played by a Dominicana) actually saves the fucking day and still people can only focus on the damn white messiah fable.  I love how while pointing the finger of racism, they take away the glory of what actually happens.  Nice going, you bleeding heart cry babies.

Note: the article DOES mention Neytiri killing the bad guy but what irks me is a) they don't mention her by name (thanks sexism) and b) they sort of brush over what she adds to the triumph over the enemy humans as if it was just a silly little nothing.  All in the name of poutrage.

Hm, I think I should make a blog about incidents of poutrage.