They say if you ever want something done, give it to a busy person. I’m sorry (to myself) for starting off with a cliched saying, but I’m really banking on it being true. There is just one semester left between me being a registered nurse and being…. a registered nurse with a bachelor degree in nursing (on top of my other bachelor’s)
(I’m not bitter)
(I’m totally bitter)
and in order to get all of that done by May, I had to cram all my remaining requisites in this semester. It’s not too bad on its own, but the whole, you know, working an exhausting full-time job and vague attempts at having a non-basement-dwelling social life doesn’t help. So, of course, this is a great time to join Cannonball Read 7! I don’t totally hate myself, so I’ve committed to reading and reviewing just 26 books in 2015, most of which I think I’ve already planned out (mostly new books as opposed to the ones I already own because that was a good use of my money). “Reading more” sounds like a great resolution, but without putting a value and a goal behind it makes it a little easier to put off. Considering how little I’ve read and the even smaller number of books I’ve actually finished (zero, the number is zero) this year, that would be easy to do and not at all satisfying.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, a friend who works at a major publishing house and often sends me published books and advanced copies on regular whims, I should be all set, right? Nevermind the full-time job with odd hours and call requirements and the ever-worsening ADD.
Other resolutions involve cooking more (in a paleo direction with meal plans and shit) and trying to learn how to budget almost like a goddamn adult. Come on, 2015. I’m actually trying this year
The shit that scared me as a kid barely makes me blink now.The ghostly pallor of Powder? The ghoulish demons that drag Carl’s spirit down to hell at the end of Ghost (sorry, to the spoiler-phobes)? That episode of “Married with Children” where Al kept seeing aliens after hitting his head?
Freaked the shit out of me.
But when you look at all the other things that populated your childhood, you really do wonder why you weren’t living in a constant state of panic and anxiety. (In fairness, I actually was, but that might be a chemical thing.) My best friend cringes at the mention of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factor (probably has something to do with small children being squashed, blown up, floated up to their uncertain doom towards spinning blades, and turned blue. She also can’t stand the idea of The Wizard of Oz, and I, being the awesome, compassionate friend that I am, enjoyed many a day at college humming the witch’s theme at her while she screamed in horror/plotted my untimely death. But honestly, that’s just the start of it.
Buzzfeed recently listed the creepy-ass shit in “Rugrats” that should’ve traumatized us as kids, which is what started me thinking about this. Another friend told me about a game she played in grade school that involved kids running into the woods behind the school and basically kidnapping each other. They had to stop playing this game at recess because too many kids were getting hurt or, you know, lost in the wilds of Massachusetts.
The childhood game that weirds me out the most was a high-stress version of tag called Bloody Mary. The fact that this was a game I actually played myself is why it bothers me the most. This was around the time I learned the tales of saying the horrifying name too many times into the mirror, so walking around like slow-footed zombies doing stabby motions and saying chanting “Bloody Mary” over and over again, sounds like fun! The worse part was there was no base, no place on the playground was safe, and if you were tagged, the tagger didn’t suddenly free themselves from the awful, undead spell. No, this was the zombiepocalypse. The last person alive in a sea of dead, homicidal children was the glorious winner. I hated every second of it.
My chest is starting to clench tight and my breathing hitching just thinking about it. Being one of the few survivors at the end of the game was hard enough, but being a Bloody Mary was just as bad. Why? I have no idea. As if I’d maybe turn into her for real. Or maybe it was one of the older, much wiser second-graders saying that even having a mirror in your pocket or bag or anywhere nearby while you say her name would summon the dark, murderous one.
Some fucker started this game and passed it on to each year to follow, a terrible legacy, like a blood-soaked chain that goes back and back and back.
I wonder how old the kids who first played this game are now.
(M. Night Shyamalan twist: I created the game myself. The evil was inside me all along.)
I remember watching the first episode of the Mighty Morphin’ Power Ranges when I was, maybe nine years old. Everything was shiny and bright, like a really cool episode of Saved By the Bell, and there was even an Asian girl who didn’t have an accent, omg, on my TV. (At nine and living in the middle of WhiteAsFucksVille, OH, this was a pretty big deal for me, the hairy, gangly, growth spurt-ridden baby awkward ’bot that I was.) And one day, this totes cool girl who wore yellow scrunchies as well as anyone did in the early 90s, had a really cool variety of friends…. with whom she fought crazy-ass monsters with.
In a giant robot tiger.
I didn’t know about mechas back then. All I knew is that someone on TV looked like me and kicked ass. Seriously. What more did I need? Thus began a love affair with Power Rangers that lasted way longer than was probably appropriate as I ventured into my preteens.
(I also was way into the Xena/Hercules series and started my Ryan Gosling crush way back when he graced my screen as Young Hercules, with the hair of a god.)
(There was also a live-action TV show where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got a sixth member, and she was a chick, had a soft Chinese accent, and also kicked all shades of ass. I was 13.)
Time passed, and other girls in my year (whom I loathed) (because they’d never let me be one of them) started getting into the Power Rangers. Mostly because Tommy was, like, totes cute. (I was more of a Red Ranger kind of girl myself, and this was clearly proof of their inferior tates.) The show lost its spark for me, and there was junior high and periods and the Backstreet Boys stealing my attention away from them. It was time to move on.
But I’ll never forget what it was like, joy of watching a giant-ass robot that moved way in ways that defy physics.
The second I felt closest to that was when I saw Pirates of the Caribbean in theaters. It wasn’t the greatest movie ever with the most nuanced performances and character development. I mean, Orlando Bloom was the leading man. How good could the acting have been? But goddamn if it wasn’t a blast to see them swash their buckles, with even the damsel in distress getting in quite a few good hits in there herself.
We’ve lost that sense of fun in our big summer blockbusters over the past few years. Things need wacky twists and turns, movies going far past the two-hour movie mark, gritty darkness and vast destruction. And most of them aren’t even all that smart. Or they think they’re a regularly McSmartypants, and/or assume the audience is full of dunces who are lucky to have made it to the theater in one piece. And we’re cynical now because of it.
A movie about giant lizard-things and giant robots? Ha. Yeah. That’s not going to be idiotic. But Pacific Rim is definitely not that. Sure, it doesn’t purport to be a high-concept film about anything other than things going KABLAMO, but it doesn’t try to be. And it doesn’t mean it wasn’t made with skill, thought and love. The pacing was awesome, and the characters attractive but also good in their parts. People watching it with me were conspicuously in awe of everything that Idris Alba is. Young Mako gives one of the best damn performances I’ve seen on film in months. (Seriously, someone give that girl lots of money to be in more movies.) (Also, someone also suggest more Japanese movies to me, stat!) Instead of groaning at a forced kissing scene, I’m bouncing in my seat, practically shouting for our main characters to do so.
AND DAMMIT I HAD FUN.
Everyone, go see this movie. Support good storytelling, even if it isn’t the most groundbreaking story ever told. Show Hollywood that we will shell out the money for overpriced fireworks, as long as it’s quality fucking fireworks. And let’s all support Charlie Hunnam taking off his shirt more often.
Because it’s number three in the box offices behind GrownfuckingUps 2. And that’s not the America I want to believe in.
To be a good writer, you really need to have your own voice, a perspective, something to say. Pretty sure I haven’t had anything to say since I was a first grader who believed strongly in recycling and the proper, safe disposal of toxic waste. Even then, that was more Captain Planet’s message than mine.
It’s like I’m living a plagiarized life.
For now, the blame shall be placed solely on Twitter, land of pith and brevity. It’s easier and more convenient. Within 140 characters, it’s a lot easier to spout out nonsense, hope it’s entertaining or informative enough, then walk away. Honestly, the idea of writing in paragraphs kind of freaks my shit out. There might be truth to be found in blocks of words, truths about myself. God, what if after all this time, I’m not actually funny or witty or smart or a whole person. Do you know what they do to sub-humans? I’ve seen it in movies. It’s not pretty. If you can’t prove yourself, then you’re the Elephant Man or the first person to die in a horror movie. (I’m a woman of color, so there’s a good chance I’ll get ganked in the first half of the movie, but it’s nice to think you have enough character development to be the second or third ganked after the slut and the douchey beefcake.)
I’ll get better at this, I promise. Okay, I can’t really promise that. If history has taught me anything, it’s entirely possible the exact opposite will happen. Maybe I’ll start sleeping around so I can at least have some stories of sexy and zany hijinks!
A new and empty notebook is a thing of beauty. Those pretentious fucks that hoard brand-new Moleskine notebooks with shiny black covers and off-white pages like they were goddamn gold pressed into fine, lined leaf and extolling the supposed history tracing back to Hemingway and Proust and, I don’t know, Jesus and Nero (who wrote the Bible together in a Jewish conspiracy against the conservative Christian Right, obvs), because pretentious people are nothing if not really good at buying into excellent marketing. The black stacks pile up, the paper edges yellow with time, and the notebooks just look pretty damn sweet on the shelves. And every year passes with those pages with absolutely not a goddamn thing written in them.
I’m one of those goddamn pretentious fucks, the kind with nothing to back up the pretension, the quiet snootery. The notebook fetishists that could be seen walking around with bound-up lined paper tucked under their arm as if they were carrying around something Important and Thoughtful and other words that ought to be capitalized, even when simply spoken aloud. We keep them in pristine shape, we never let the pages curl or the spines crack too hard. It’s a love affair with something thin and unfeeling. Writing should be a mirror, reflecting the writer back at them, but we put nothing into them, and they sit there, empty and collecting dust.
It’s pretty fucking obnoxious.
But here’s the thing: there’s promise and potential in an empty notebook. It’s filled with fantasies and exotic adventures, the thoughts and feelings we could and will have one day.
And yeah, we’re cowards because we can’t write the first word of the first line of the first page.
I collect notebooks like some people collect stamps, ostensibly to grow in value over time, to gain weight and meaning. At least you can hold an actual stamp in your hand, look at it, know its history and show it off to your friends. Writing shit down, that’s revealing a part of yourself you’re afraid to show even to yourself, let alone other people. Let alone other people out there. People with eyes and brains and feelings and judgey judgement parts.
So we let those notebooks sit. We don’t paste little bits of receipts or movie ticket stubs from first dates or scratch out the beginnings of the GREATEST DAMN POEM EVER TO ENGLISH IN ANYONE’S EYES, and we tell ourselves we just can’t think of anything good enough for those pristine pages. It’s a good enough reason, we tell ourselves.
And then we use the plural form of pronouns because it sounds better if it’s not just I, me, myself.
The stupid thing is that I do this with blogs, too. I collect them over time with names that I think sound awesome then run away from because maybe they’re not really me. As if I, even at the ripe old age of almost-28, know who or what the fuck “me” really is. Inevitably, the first post is the most unimportant one. Unlike the first page of a pretty-pretty-princess notebook or journal where the first page is the first thing someone might see when they open it, the first blog post will largely go unseen. No one will search it out. No one will see the countless grammatical errors in the beginning paragraph alone. (Except me. I assure you, I will see them.) It’s a beginning. A tiny, insignificant beginning. The first step of an infinite number of them. In the end, or even in just the middle, it’ll mean absolutely nothing.
But it’s still a start.
Hi, human peoples. I’m Annie, the terminally ill-informed.
(P.S. I’m actually convinced the hardest part isn’t the first post but, in fact, the second one. Not that I’d know this firsthand. I’ve written many first posts but very few second ones, if any. I’m like the Groundhog Day of first posts but without being as jerky or awesome as Bill Murray. That guy’s pretty cool.)