Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Ain't it a glorious day? Right as a mornin' in May. I feel like I could fly!"

^Mary Poppins, "Jolly Holiday" Best Disney movie ever. Today was so perfect!! It was a lovely 65 degrees, sunny, and breezy. None of the rain that was so torrential yesterday, no humidity, just perfection. I spent several hours of my Sunday afternoon lazing on the trampoline outside with my iPod on my playlist of my favorite songs, just loud enough that I could listen but soft enough that I could still hear the sounds of the outdoors: the birds, the occasional airplane, the neighbor's lawn mower, a cow somewhere next door, all the lovely sounds that are sometimes a perfect escape. Perhaps my escape would have been somewhat better if I hadn't been reading a history textbook (about the Revolutionary War and the effects. Fascinating, I know) and a book that I've been trying to finish for about a month and a half (Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak). But that aside, I can't complain. Even reading a history textbook is tolerable on such a perfect day as this. I'd forgotten how much I love laying on the trampoline with a book and some music. I hadn't done it in a while. The sun was warm on my back, the breeze was just right. Even the tiny spiders that seem to live in the trampoline that I had to flick away incessantly were just a reminder of the beauty of simplicity. After I finished Doctor Zhivago (FINALLY!!!), I rolled over onto my back and just listened. I love to do this; it's really relaxing and really takes one's mind off the stress of life. Eventually it got a little too cold and my playlist ended, so I reluctantly headed back inside, my feet blackened by the trampoline and my hair shooting out in every direction from a combination of bed head and static from the trampoline. As I came back into the house to face the Psych essay I should be writing right now, the house seemed so dark after laying in the sun and staring at the blinding white pages of the book for so long. Ah, what a perfect way to spend my Sunday. Sundays have become my days off, since practices for Joseph have been picking up (I have a rehearsal every day this week). Can't wait for performances, though. We open in less than three weeks!!! Yipes! Anyway, last Saturday was homecoming at school. Quite honestly, the best part of homecoming is dressing up in pretty dresses (sleeveless in the middle of October, of course) and eating dinner. This year we didn't plan well (or really at all) and ended up eating at my house, which was perfectly fine, except that it was extremely last minute. Oh, well. Strangely enough, when we got to the dance, no one was dancing. I know, that's what I thought too: "It's a dance... why is no one dancing???" Everybody was standing around talking to each other (besides the people in the middle of the circle in the main gym that were getting, quite literally, very close). We didn't understand. They played the Electric Slide, which is a must, of course, and get this: I was the only one that knew how to do it!!!!!!! I don't know what the world is coming to. About ten people started following me, but everyone else still just stood around. It was very strange. Eventually, though, people started dancing and it was fantastic. Here are some more movies that I've just recently seen:
  1. Psycho: Okay, so I know that this is by no means new, but I just saw it. WOW. What a fantastic movie. I think I spent the last twenty minutes of the movie with my mouth open. The ending was so unexpected. And the shower scene? Wonderfully frightening, even though I already knew that the blood was chocolate syrup. Hitchcock was such a genious. Definitely a must-see. But don't make the mistake of watching it while you're home alone at 10 PM like I did. Never again will I do that. I literally ran down the hallway and up the stairs to go to bed, and I left the hallway light on. I guess that just goes to show how good the movie was. Norman Bates is such a creepy, creepy guy. . .
  2. Max: Very excellent film. It's set just after WWI and it's sort of a thought-provoking "what-if?" movie. John Cusack plays a rich, Jewish art dealer named Max (hence the title of the movie), and Noah Taylor plays Adolf Hitler before he became anybody. Basically, Max tries to convince Hitler to express his anger through his art instead of his angry, anti-Semetic speeches. But there's another man who took notice of Hitler's ideas and talent as a speech-maker and tries to convince Hitler to give speeches. It's kind of about Hitler's struggle between the two. It has a horribly sad ending, but it's a really all-around great movie based loosely on a true story, and it kind of makes you think about what might have happened if Hitler had turned to art instead of speeches.
  3. Noises Off!: I had never, ever heard of this before, but my school is doing the play and I happened to find it on the Netflix Instant-Play thing (best thing ever) and so my mom and I watched it. It's really hilarious. It actually has some big-name people in it for being so obscure. It has Michael Caine, Carol Burnett, and Christopher Reeve, to name a few. It's about a traveling theatre group that has internal relationship issues that basically take over their performances. There's a lot of clever slap-stick and excellent timing involved, and it's a really, really funny movie. I hope the play is just as good!!

In unrelated news, Bert still shows up every once in a while. He's doing very well.

In more unrelated news, my friend, Michelle, and I got to write and design the center-spread for our school's newspaper, which was both extremely exciting and a huge headache. The program that we use for layout is horribly frustrating and badly made. It took us many hours and many terrifying moments of "OH NO!!! We just added one comma and it messed up the entire thing!!!" But it turned out very cool. Perhaps the best page in the paper. But perhaps I'm a bit biased. What's fun is that it's the reason I watched Psycho. Only in classes as cool as newspaper does one get to watch a movie like Psycho to do an assignment. We wrote the spread about horror movies and why they're scary. We hadn't really seen any of the movies we used as examples, but we wrote it to make it sound like we knew what we were talking about. It's pretty awesome. I hope there are more days a lovely as today coming! I need my Sunday escapes!!! ~Snooty Crumb P.S. Here's a silly little story for you. So, in my English class, we have to write something for every Friday we have class, and then we have to read it to our "writing groups." It's very annoying. But anyway, I didn't really know what to write about, so I recycled a story from seventh grade and rewrote it to make it a bit better. I was almost positive that she was going to call me out on it, because it's a story about a middle school girl and it's pretty childish-sounding. But here's the kicker: She LOVED it. She gave me an 11 out of 10 on it. She complemented my character development and said that my style was "so engaging" or something ridiculous like that. I giggled to myself when I read her comments because I'd written it when I was twelve. She apparently had no idea. I wonder what she would do if I told her. Heh. Just a little chuckle for you.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Life is short, and it's here to be lived."

Emma Thompson said that.^ I suppose I’ve fallen a little behind, no? Not that anything worth reporting has really happened. But. Um. . . it’s been pretty boring, because this is the point of the school year when everybody just falls into the rut of doing the same thing over and over and over and over, day after day after day after day. . . (That was an example of polysyndeton, for you English nerds out there like me. This is what I’ve learned in school.) I forgot over the summer how routine school is. I remember why I’m always ready for it to end now. I don’t particularly enjoy doing the same thing every day. I’m one that enjoys excitement and interesting things. Needless to say, school does not fall under either one of those categories.
However, we still have 30-something weeks left, so I suppose that means I’ll just have to suck it up and find something else to be excited about. . . . . . Like theatre! I’m in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (by Andrew Lloyd Weber, so if you’ve seen any of his shows you know exactly what the music sounds like in this one) with a local community theatre group. This is my third show with them, and even though it’s often a bit disorganized, it’s always a blast and the people are just fantastic. They always make new people feel very welcome, even though everybody that’s done it before is a pretty close-knit group. I love theatre, particularly the non-musical variety. I love musicals, don’t get me wrong, but they’re much harder for me to get a part in because I’m much better at acting than at singing. But I love the idea of being on a stage and entertaining the people watching. I love getting on stage and having the lights be so bright in my face that I can’t see anything past the first row of the audience. And I love being in the center of attention in situations like these. Theatre is a great way to stay on one’s toes, because in theatre there’s no way to redo it. There's one chance and that's it. And when you mess up, the hardest thing (and the most interesting thing) is to pretend like it never happened and keep going. Part of acting is making everyone believe you know what you're doing even though you're clueless. That's what I love about it. My high school is also putting on Oliver! and I tried out and got into the chorus, but I'm not doing it because of Joseph. I think I might play in the pit orchestra, depending on when the practices are. I played in the pit last year when my school did Sweeney Todd, and that was a fantastically fun experience. So I might do it again this year since I can't actually be in the play. Performances for Joseph are in November, so practices haven't really started up completely yet. More on that when something happens. In completely unrelated news, Bert is still hanging around. He comes and goes when he pleases and eats lots of food. His foot is much better and he can put a little weight on it. He limps around on the table outside when he visits. There was some other random pigeon that showed up one day, but we never saw that one again, and we're not really sure what happened to Bernice. In more very unrelated news, Netflix is perhaps the most wonderful thing ever!!!! We've finally gotten it and I could spend hours just looking at movies on the website. My mom and I have already streamed a couple of movies to the computer that's hooked up to our TV and our queue is already up to 9 or 10 movies after 4 days. So far we've seen:
  1. Then She Found Me, which is this really random chick flick with Helen Hunt, Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, and Colin Firth (we had to watch it because both Matthew Broderick and Colin Firth are in it). I really, really liked it. I usually don't like chick flicks that much because they're all the same. But this one was very different and particularly excellent.
  2. Murder by Death, a murder-mystery spoof by Neil Simon. It had a bunch of really old comdey actors in it like Peter Sellers (he played a Chinese guy, true to form), James Coco, and Peter Falk, and it also had Maggie Smith (whom you might recognize as Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter.), Elsa Lanchester (who was Katie Nanna in Mary Poppins; my mom and I had quite a debate over who she played. I was right.), and Truman Capote, who is a very, very strange man.
  3. Ed Wood, which I've been dying to see for quite a while, because I'm a HUGE fan of both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. It was a very strange movie, but then, it was Tim Burton. I had no idea that Ed Wood (or Edward D. Wood, Jr.) was a real person, but he really was called "The Worst Director of All Time" and he really did have an obsession with angora sweaters. It was much darker than I expected, because Ed was good friends with Bela Lugosi and Lugosi had serious problems. But it was very, very excellent. I liked how Johnny Depp played Wood; think of how he played Willy Wonka and you've pretty much got it, only I liked Ed Wood better than Charlie. But he talked in a very similar way and he had that same sort of attitude.

So. That's what I've seen so far. Now I'm waiting on Psycho, because I have to watch it and write an article about it with my friend for the school newpaper. Hardship, I know. But seriously, I'm probably not going to feel safe in my shower for a while. But, anyway, I am very much enjoying Netflix.

So. . . That's really all I can report as of right now. ~ Snooty Crumb P.S. Sorry once again for the lack of pictures.