And the OSCAR Goes to …

CRASH needs to win the Oscar for best picture, hands down. Sunday is Oscar night. YAY! Many love awards shows, many find them a snore. Me, love! A night dedicated to the best Hollywood has to offer (usually, that is, and yes, with some debate) in fun, entertaining, and hopefully, thought-provoking movies. Stories that need to be told and are a pleasure to view. Here are just a few thoughts that come to mind about the whole affair …

So, though Joaquin Phoenix is a personal favorite, le sigh, let alone, Mr. Cash, it would be great to see Terence Howard win for Best Actor in Hustle & Flow. Especially when that performance is juxtaposed alongside his performance in Crash. Night and day! Philip Seymour Hoffman, too, did a wonderful job of embodying Capote with his baby voice and minimal mannerisms and particular walk and stance.

Weak in character, he is, devious little man.

ASIDE: It’s rumored that Capote actually wrote To Kill A Mockingbird, his good friend Harper Lee’s famed story, which is among my favorites. Not sure how I feel about that … guess I’m just glad it was written! The thought that Atticus Finch and Holly Golightly were birthed from the same mind, two most glorious characters, is a lovely thought. Odd, too, since in the film Capote, Truman wasn’t portrayed as very sympathetic, a trait I’d think would be key in creating the integrity and stand-upness found in the lawyer Atticus Finch and the fragility and optimism in Ms. Golightly. Instead, he was rather self-serving, all about, me, me, me, in fact, with his canoodling of a murderous and troubled man. He wins the man’s trust in order to coax the details of the brutal murder from him with declarations of wishing to show the public the remaining humanity in the man and his partner in crime via his novel. Only, instead, he writes a book entitled In Cold Blood which says it all. Yeah, and then keeps it from the man, whom he’s fallen in love with to further entangle things, burdened with the fact that he must not release the much anticipated book until the man is killed via capital punishment, or else be found out. Weak in character, he is, devious little man. Whew! That was quite the aside … so, back to it:

As for Heath Ledger, true, he did a fine job in Brokeback Mountain, but not worthy of an Oscar. I could barely understand the man throughout the entire film. Mumble, mumble … marbles in his mouth! Even so, I would have thought he should still be in the running UNTIL just watching The Order. Yeah, it was the same acting job! Just insert a priest, or two, and a crazy, painting girl for Jake, and voila! Same turmoil and pain displayed on screen.

Syriana, George Clooney should not be winning in the supporting actor category. Please, noooooo! He did nothing out of character or especially note-worthy to my recollection. This film, I took a nap in. This, coming from a girl who worked 4 years in a movie theatre, spending many, many nights watching new films into the wee hours of the morning, checking for correct splicing and soundtrack match-ups. Snooozzzzze. Yeah, the last time I fell asleep in a film, it was Judge Dredd, for two minutes. And, I liked that film even. For what it was. At 3 o’clock in the morning.

Matt Dillon’s character in Crash was written very well, multi-faceted, many levels incorporated, and he pulled it off wonderfully. I loathed him, pitied him, identified with him, and learned from him as the movie progressed. William Hurt is an interesting pick for a nominee. He definitely had a different, hard edge to him in History of Violence. But, when I saw that movie, I along with the audience basically laughed when he came on screen. Not because he was bad, but a little absurd in his portrayal really. Ahhh, Mr. Giamatti needs to be nominated for the BIG ONE, an actual Best Actor, none of this Supporting schtuff, and then he needs to win. He’s perfectly wooonderful!

It set a slow, deliberate pace with it’s sweeping cinematography and forlorn, drawling soundtrack.

I don’t have much to say either way for any of the female nominees this year … there were some solid roles, strong performances, nothing that makes me want to take it and run with it, though. Next year, more to say, maybe.

I guess, back to Crash as Best Picture. NOT BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. Please, not. Capote, I was definitely enthralled, captivated, anxiously waiting to see what was to happen next. Not even sure what caused the film to have that affect on me, but it did all the same, so I wouldn’t put up too much of a fuss if it ended up taking the Oscar. But, Brokeback Mountain, though a good film, simply shouldn’t win. I liked the film. It set a slow, deliberate pace with its sweeping cinematography and forlorn, drawling soundtrack. It was a tasteful telling of a topic of controversy. It made me cry. Still, it was a good movie at best. Not excellent. Or worthy of the little golden guy!

Crash should win!!! It’s an original screenplay. Fantabulous! Although I believe every film nominated in the Best Picture category this year gives an excellent lesson to be learned, I’d say that Crash embodies all those lessons. The prejudices and judgments, the coldness, and hardness of heart, all of that evil stuff we humans unleash on each other that needs to go out the second story window, was captured in this movie. There were amazingly intense moments, and situations where I saw myself, none too proudly, at times in the past. Best of all, and what helps to set it apart from the rest, is that amongst all the evil and wrong doing, it still offers up moments of hope. Something we all need. It shows that the heart can be softened, eyes can be opened, minds can be enlightened. It does this with honesty, not by tidily wrapping up the conclusion of the film with a great, big, happy ending, no. Instead it leaves us with the truth, that humans will go on being human, judgments and prejudices will continue. And, we’ll deal with it. ♦

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Lyrical Amusement

A sucker for conversations via songs titles and lyrics, I am. Try it, you may like it, too.

1.Choose a band | artist and answer ONLY in titles of their songs:
K’s Choice

2. Are you male or female:
Old Woman, haha! Maybe, I shoulda chose a different band …

3. Describe yourself:
Me Happy.
And, Busy.
I Smoke A Lot (just kidding), I’m Not An Addict.

4. How do some people feel about you:
Hopefully, they see Paradise In Me.

5. How do you feel about yourself:
Now Is Mine.

6. Describe your ex boyfriend | girlfriend:
Something’s WrongWeak.

7. Describe current boyfriend | girlfriend:
I Wanna Meet the Man.

8. Describe where you want to be:
Always Everywhere.

9. Describe how you live:
Favorite Adventure!

10. Describe how you love:
Shall I Let This Good Man In.

11. Describe your current occupation:
My Record Company. NOT, but it’d be nice, yes?

12. What would you ask for if you had just one wish:
Butterflies Instead … or …
Everything For Free, maybe?

13. Share a few words of Wisdom:
Believe & Live For Real.

14. Now say goodbye:
Walk Away. No Wait, I Will Return To You. ♦

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And We Got A New Espresso Machine, Too!

Whoo-hoo! So, I’m sitting here at my desk at work and in walks this cute little old man, slightly hunched over wearing blue snake-skin cowboy boots and he’s got these great gold sunglasses on and a white butterfly-collared shirt with rhinestones on it … wait a minute … he’s an Elvis impersonator! Sideburns, and obviously silver-white hair dyed jet black. This man rules. Kerchief around his neck. This in fact may be the real Elvis, given his age … he bought a newspaper.

This weekend was the big move! My sister and I have this wonderful 3-bedroom apartment together now. Hooray! Each day feels like Christmas and my birthday rolled into one as I unpack all the new stuff we got. Am busily painting every room, too. No white walls for me! I felt so loved with all of the help my friends and family offered all day long and on into the night even. Finally got to have people from school and work meet people from church and life and family. All together at once. Neato! Am sooo having a house party!

Metal hearts strewn across the path so that I step on a heart each time I go to leave

One of the best details of our new place is the pathway along the outside of the apartment has the alphabet painted in large letters, one letter for about every 3-4 ft, or so. Inlaid along each letter in the cement are all these cast-iron shapes. Skeleton keys, Classic Coke bottles, butterflies, spiders, gardening tools, cranes, owls, and so on. All items I love for a host of reasons, the owls being for my grandpa, his favorite (yay!). I find it amusing that as I walk to where I park, I walk across the “H”, which has a variety of metal hearts strewn across the path so that I step on a heart each time I go to leave. Maybe I’ll start crossing over the “G” instead …

Someone ripped the “cherries” antenna ball off my car. Rude! My sister bought me that when we were on vacation in California a few years back. Now there’s one little red ball left. Basically, a clown nose. So, it will now stand as an ode to Pennywise, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, and the clown with the brain aneurism in Billy Madison. Note to self: Re-watch Billy Madison!

“Tiff.” Nifty little word for a fight. Makes the fight sound insignificant and small. Removes some of the responsibility of the fight, too, I’m thinking. Yeah, had two of those nasty little things this weekend. One with the mother and one with Bean. Over before they started. Still, not fun. Note 2 to self: Don’t call people cows. It’s not nice.

I can’t get enough of the song Stars by the Cranberries. If I could crawl up inside that song and live for a little while, I would. Must own CD! Well, off work at last, and onto the night’s fun! ♦

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Thought Leftovers With A Side of Emptied Brain, Please.

Gotta empty the mind before sleep will come …

I can forgive you, the forget part still needs work.
Lobster is overrated.
Never been to a therapist.
I despise the pirating of music.
I’ve never broken a bone. Knock on wood!
I’ve been stalked before. Mildly.
I own a pair of blue seude shoes.
I have a crush on the supermarket checkout guy based entirely on how he looks.
I sucked my thumb until I was 15-years-old. Then I got braces.
I played with Barbies. I still do sometimes.
A slice of mild cheddar, a Kosher dill pickle and a piece of white bread with crunchy peanut butter, never smooth, is a fantastic snack! Yep, yep.
I can tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue. Twice. I must be a good kisser … ;)
I own an acoustic guitar. My sister owns an electric. We still can’t play much yet.
I’m six feet tall sometimes with the right heels.
I used to be proud of the fact that I could verbally shred a person down to a withered pool of tears. Now, it’s enough to know that I could still do it, but choose not to.
This year, I’d like to be someone’s wonderwall.
I’m picky when it comes to marinara sauce.
“Craptastic!”is a really fun hybrid.
My dad is one of my very best friends.
It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. And if you don’t believe that, then you weren’t loved right.
At one point, I didn’t own a single item of clothing that didn’t have paint spattered on it somewhere.
Someday, I’ll meet my last first kiss.
I hate when a person makes a joke at the expense of another.
Pulling on a pair of new socks makes everything better!
So does a new Sharpie pen.
I’m an aspiring souffle maker.
I own a phonograph from the 1930’s along with a hefty collection of big band records and 45s.
The words “scrumptious” and “brand-spankin'” delight me.
I don’t eat chicken off the bone too often. It still resembles the bird too much! Ew.
I appreciate satire.
I saw four bald eagles flying about at close range today while dining near the waterfront. Gorgeous!
And, two sea lions. But, they weren’t flying.
Wonder why they don’t make the entire plane out of the material that they make the indestructable black box out of …
I live in a constant state of expectancy … right now the expectancy of a great night’s sleep.
Goodnight. ♦

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Just a Small Part of the Whole

My grandpa has died.

I am sick about it. I keep thinking this hasn’t really happened. My thoughts go as follows, like a robot: This is me driving my car to my mom’s. This is me walking down the hallway. This is me trying to console someone over a loss I cannot fathom. I cannot say a word. I will just hold her. I will let her talk. I hope it is enough. This is me going through the motions of my Grandpa’s death. This is me empty.

I hate losing those I love. It hurts so bad that I’d gladly have my legs broken, my arms, my back, my neck, before my heart. The ache only fades with the passing of time. Too much time. It’s happened enough that I’m quite good at it by now. Knowing what has to be done in order to move forward. Doesn’t hurt any less, though. Wish it did. It was just his birthday. It was just Christmas Eve. Our times together at family gatherings, will never be the same. Grandpa was magic. He was the spice in our time together. He always had a joke going. And not those passe, little-old-man jokes that one feels obligated to politely laugh at. No! The wry, quick-witted jokes and the laugh-out-loud-belly-laugh-kinda jokes. There are no words I can write to capture him on the page … that will do him justice. No words to neatly sum him up in a convenient and thoughtful paragraph. He was much too big for that. Still, I will try. I will rattle on until I can’t any longer. I will miss the best conversations. The best stories. The best laugh. So smart. And no jokes about broccoli on my birthday this year …

Grandma’s Tree.

My mom shared this little story with me. Apparently, my grandma had a small tree out in the front yard that she absolutely loved. Grandpa discovered that the tree was dying. So did my grandma. She began to pray for the tree to live. Grandpa could see that, that wasn’t gonna happen. So, he spray painted the tree. Green on the leaves. Brown on the branches. Grandma looked out at the tree from the window anyway, as it was, so she wouldn’t notice. She saw that the tree appeared to have revived itself, come back to life. It was a miracle! She called everyone she knew and praised God for healing her tree. Grandpa never told her. My uncle snuck over one afternoon and photographed the painted tree for black-mail purposes, he jokingly says.

Gardening.

I love gardening! Can’t keep a house plant alive worth a darn, but get me out with the actual earth, and I’m good to go. All because of my grandpa. Used to spend the weekends over at their place out in Spanaway as a kid sometimes. We’d get up at 6 a.m. and I’d accompany him out to his massive garden. I was none too excited the first time. He had lots to share, though. All sorts of interesting facts and knowledge. And he put me to work, too. Having me check on the lettuce, see how the carrots were coming along, lift up the leaves to see if the strawberries were ripe enough yet. One time, he told me about how he found gold in his garden. Yeah, suuuure … he pulled out a nugget from his pocket! Swore up and down he’d dug it up in the garden. I spent a little time digging myself. My cousin Chris, now 27, he spent HOURS and HOURS digging. Haha!

Birthday Present.

You know, I wanted to take him out driving. It was supposed to be his birthday present. I thought for months on what to get him. He always talked about wanting to drive. But he couldn’t because of being deemed legally blind. I saw no reason for that to stop him, though. I picked out a field along a stretch of road out in the boonies where we were to go after the holidays and we were gonna have at it. I never told him, though. Was just gonna pick him up. He’ll never know what I got him for his birthday now.

Toys.

My grandpa had all sorts of toys in his room. A kid at heart. The best kind of man- able to take care of adult matters with integrity and follow through, responsibly, but still a big goofball who knows how to laugh and have fun and more importantly, share it. Bean and I have all sorts of toys, figurines, oddities, too. A good family trait, I think. My glove box, my trunk, my laundry shelf, my room, behind a pillow in the living room, fun lurks. Toys. Grandpa …

Peanuts.

5 and 10lb bags of unshelled peanuts stacked sometimes shoulder high in two rows inside the pantry. There was a host of critters that literally lined up for my grandpa daily. Squirrels and crows. Sweet, chubby little cherub-like birdies. He had fruit trees galore in the backyard that drew them all and he would stand on the back porch stoop and they would wait in a row, coming up one by one as he doled out the peanuts. He was so cool! A sight to be seen, for sure. I’ve carried peanuts with me everywhere I’ve gone for over a year now because of him. In my purse, in my coat pocket, on the car dash. Last year, at work, Cliff even made these fantastic, hilarious drawings I still have all about Mr. Peanut all stemming from a peanut at my desk in the design team office.

Restaurants.

My grandpa knew how to treat people. Never a jerk, always funny. He treated waiters with respect and courtesy. Always won them over with his humor. I was proud to sit with him when we went out.

Pocket watches.

I love pocket watches because of him. He was a watchmaker and repairman for many, many years. He worked in a little shop in the Tacoma Mall that is no longer there. He was thought so highly of that the owner of the mall asked him to manage the whole place at one time, but my grandpa turned him down. He said that he knew what he could and couldn’t handle and he figured that his temperament wasn’t of the sort that should be unleashed in a position overseeing people. I respect him for acknowledging that about himself. I am always told that when he returned from the war, he was different. That’s the kinda thing I hear often, in movies and books, but have yet to personally experience in anyone, actually see the before and after. I know of the damage his post-war behavior caused to my mother, and to his wife, more so than anyone. He mellowed in the last fifteen years, or so, and we were only left with the good in him. He learned that his behavior was a choice and I was so very proud of him.

Safety.

Where I felt most safe … I remember when I three. Being held on his knee as he talked to me about the berries in the nearby berry patch. I had on a lavender dress with a little white pinafore and everytime I looked up at his face the sun was in my eyes so I could only see his silhouette. It was so warm out and I just wanted to take that little white pinafore off and go run around in the berry patch. I felt so safe with him there. It’s a moment that stands out as one of those defining ones. That berry patch. Shaded by trees and fenced in with chain-link fencing. There were so many bushes overgrown in there that any adult that went in had to hunch over at about half their height to get anywhere. I loved it! Being three, I was a short one, and could easily run through the maze of bushes, all around to the perimeters of the fencing, and because my grandpa was tall, he was extra slow in getting around so I could run and run, hide and hide, squealing and laughing when he finally did catch me. All along the ground were strawberry bushes and amongst all the bushes were great overgrown blackberry bushes. I still am not a fan of thorns to this day because of that place, the only drawback. Now I love to go pick blackberries along the bike trail down at the Kent Golf Course because it reminds me of when I was three and safe with my grandpa.

It happened now. He is gone NOW. He did not leave before his birthday. Before Christmas even. Or New Year’s. Those times are forever with us. I am so glad of that. My last memory with him was one of a hug and an “I love you” and fittingly so, a joke between us about who was to exit the house first and not slip on the ridiculously wet wood stairs. A joke. I am glad of that.

Last moments.

I collect last moments. I can remember in the past when a relationship has come to an end, I look back at our “lasts” together: the last hug, the last laugh, the last kiss, the last phone call, the last movie … never seems that I know that it was to be the last of anything. No, instead they are often just another moment on a random Tuesday afternoon, one in a long string of them. Well, I can remember all of those lasts for him as well, but my most favorite last was of our time in his garden months back, maybe towards the end of September, when he was showing me around the tomato section which turned into the flower section. A most wonderful of sections! Mums, the flowers were. Gorgeous heads of many, many perfectly curled petals stemming from the center in fuschia and white and yellow and red. He promptly took out his pocket knife and asked if I’d like a bouquet to take home. Yes, please! So, together, we made quite a little team in gathering one of the most memorable arrangements of flowers I’ve ever been lucky enough to own. Grandpa had his sight deteriorate over the last several years so that he could only see peripheral. If he looked at something straight on, say a person, he saw their outline, not their face or their actual body. He had laser surgery in October and I remember not knowing just what to say to encourage him when he shared that he was a bit afraid of the whole thing. Then, he told me that one of grandma’s church lady friends had called the house and had begun talking with him when she found that grandma wasn’t home. He found out that she had just had that surgery herself. And, that she was 92! So, when I heard that, I knew he had to know that if a little, 92 year old, sweetheart-of-a-woman could have this surgery, surely he, at a mere 80 could hack it. So, pre-surgery, cutting those lovely flowers, he’d have me guide him to the blossom and stem and then he’d snip! He was amazing! He could do more “blind” than most can with full sight. He bought a VW Beetle a few years back because he knew of my passion for them and then proceeded to re-upholster the whole interior and paint the exterior a scarlet red (Non-SuperBeetle 1974 Sun Red to be exact). I had stripped one down, re-upholstered and painted one the year before, and in him doing so, too, we had quite a lot to talk about! How cool is that?! To me, very.

Dancing.

Wedding dance. Dancing is a great thing! I don’t care if one looks the fool, or not, it must be done. And my grandpa understood this fact. At my cousin’s wedding last summer, he came up to me and asked me if I’d like to dance. Not my sister. Not my cousin. Not one of his three daughters. Me. I almost said no, for fear of looking the said fool, and then duh! Lightbulb! Who cares?! Bring on the foolery. I had the BEST time. He had absolutely no rhythm. He didn’t lead worth a dime. And he was the best partner I could have asked for. His passion and laughter and determination made it the absolute best. He probably got half that dance floor up and moving their bums. “If he can do it, we can,” I heard time and again. Heck, yeah! I only stopped dancing to take pictures of him dancing.

Writing is the only way to release all of this. I’ve tried talking and the anger comes. I was so surprised to find myself angry. See, it wasn’t pretty. It was an accident. He shouldn’t be gone! Somehow, I felt that if his body gave out, he’d had a heart attack or something, that it was okay. But, no. He was found face down on the floor in his room. After the autopsy, it was found that he’d tripped and fallen, knocked out on impact, asphyxiated in the pile of clothes he fell on. Was planning to wear. It wasn’t supposed to happen! He should still be here! His dad, my great grandpa Leo, lived to 96-years-old.

What I hate more than my pain, is the pain of my family. My uncle Lefty has lost a friend of more than 70 years. 70! I am just a small part of the whole that was him. A husband was lost. A father. A brother. A friend. A soldier. A man.

I love him. This aches.

The hurt will fade, but the missing, the missing will remain. ♦

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Any Idea?

Wonderment: Why, oh why, are the photos I’m posting showing up with those blurry little spots and dashed lines? The resolution is 72dpi, some are even 300dpi, the dimensions are fair in size … what to do? I’m supposed to be the one who knows this kinda thing, too, working with photos in design all the time, and all. Geez, Louise! ♦

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‘Ello …

Fog. YAY! Went in the store tonight, clear. Came out, fog! Instant atmosphere. I am in an especially good mood today. Good moods are frequent occurrences for me, but today, life just feels grand. Wish I had a time machine, though. It’d be grander yet! Well, tonight will be a long one. Much to wrap! Much. Oooo … the house on the corner has the coolest vintage Christmas lights. They’re blue, almost my favorite green-blue, and their front windows look all eery and pretty because of it. I wonder if they’d sell me those lights? Something to think about enquiring on.

So, my Christmas quest still ain’t over! Here’s how it’s gone as of late: head to a store with intended gifts to purchase, but alas! Out of stock. Booo! Hisss! So, then, it ends up that the next three stores don’t even have the intended items. It’s like some sort of sick multiplication problem I’m stuck in. 1 STORE x 1 INTENDED ITEM = 3 MORE STORES!

It’s the only company’s version I’m interested in seeing.

Know what is not a happy thing? Missing the Pacific NW Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker again this year. Maurice Sendak, children’s book illustrator regale, designed the sets years back. It’s the only company’s version I’m interested in seeing. Drosselmier is my favorite. Followed by the peacock woman! Next year? I so hope.

I’m thinking Tilda Swinton may be perfect casting as the White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia! I don’t know for sure, still must see the movie, but that is surely how I’ve always envisioned her. Jack Black was on Letterman last night. Oooh, yeah! Funny little man. Can’t wait to see him in the big monkey movie. That reminds me, I must ask someone if their little roommate gets to trek along to said film. Surely, yes!

Happy news: There will be two, week-long endeavors down south to help with hurricane relief come January and February via my church. I really hope I can go! Pick me, pick me! We will see. I’m anxiously awaiting a phone call from the director. I so want to go. Wanted to go when it all happened a few months ago, but couldn’t have time off at that point. Besides, I totally want to help after the first waves of relief have occurred and there will still be much to do, with not as many actively willing to help. That’s when it’s important to hop to it. Have had the Red Cross site bookmarked for weeks and weeks, but the time for training just hasn’t ever felt like the right time. Now, if this opportunity pans out, I know why it didn’t feel right before. So excited!

Jiminy Christmas … just looked at the count for views of my blog today and it’s more than it’s ever been, by far. ♦

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