Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perks of Being a Wallflower: Movie #32

Do you ever feel inadequate? As if your validation is based upon what others want you to be? Your permanency is vaporized and you are just a leaf on the wind of the world, going where you are forced or beckoned?

Well join the fucking club, I guess.

I suppose I never realized that people often felt the same way I did, or had the same experiences, or neuroses about their lives. It’s not that I’m self-centered, but rather, I didn’t know that others felt like that. Because it’s not something you talk about. These feelings are often repressed and shoved away. Saved for a therapist’s office, or the inevitable mental breakdown. So when I finally read Perks of Being a Wallflower, I was amazed that someone knew exactly all the feelings I knew.


The book became incredibly popular very quickly, and was adapted for the screen by the author himself. The story is about a boy named Charlie (played by Logan Lerman) who is about to start high school. He’s mourning the death of his beloved Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) and he’s writing these letters to an anonymous someone because he wants to have at least one friend out there that knows all about him. He befriends Patrick (Ezra Miller) and Sam (Emma Watson), step siblings trying to make their way through the muck of high school. His love of literature leads him to a close connection with his English teacher Mr. Anderson (Paul Rudd). As his first year of high school unfolds, Charlie experiences the ups and downs of being a teenager, of feeling inadequate, and struggling to understand himself.

I finally had the opportunity to go see the film; my hectic schedule made it difficult to fit in. I was not disappointed. The selection of the cast was wonderful. All three of the leads exhibited their talent in drama and use of emotion. The soundtrack and cinematography were also done quite well. I give the movie an 8.5 out of 10. The deduction is based on content excluded from the film. Since the film wasn’t incredibly long, clocking in just over an hour and a half, I was disappointed at some of the scenes that were neglected. I don’t want to go more in depth, lest I spoil something for someone. I have heard a rumor that one of the main scenes I noticed missing was filmed, but cut from the final product. I cried when I read the book, and I cried when I saw the movie. It’s a fantastic read for anyone who felt like they didn’t belong anywhere in high school.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Table for 6?

In a particular conversation recently, a question was posed. Not a super unique question, or bold question. But a question that struck up thought. What five people would you invite to your fantasy dinner, dead or alive? It’s a question I honestly hadn’t given real thought to before. And as I created my list, I would occasionally think of someone more exciting and have to make eliminations. Eventually, my mind created the following.

1. Jane Austen
If you hadn’t noticed before, I’m a bit of a Jane Austen fan. Shocking, right? It’s not like I’ve posted about her multiple times, or seen Pride & Prejudice BBC enough to have it memorized, or have read her most famous six novels in a book club I formed after seeing the movie Jane Austen Book Club. Jane’s invite to my really awesome dinner is to get her perspective on marriage of today’s time versus the marriages of her time. What would her opinion be on the rate of divorce or the scandal of people living together without being married? She wrote what was considered appropriate for her time, but that doesn’t mean she agreed. So what does one of the most famous writers of relationships feel about love? I’m dying to know. And also to be her best friend.

2. J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien was not the original pick for this spot. I had picked J.K. Rowling, because I would obviously need to sit her down and convince her to write more Harry Potter novels. I mean, who doesn’t want to know what Harry, Ron, and Hermione were like in their 20s? With super dark evil defeated and being young, I bet they totally partied. Anyway, Rowling got sacked for Tolkien. I am a huge fan of his work. The Hobbit is one of my favorite books, and I have read it over a dozen times. He creates these epic stories that carry you away. “If you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Yeah, he’s a boss like that. Also, the guy created a language. He sat one day and thought, I’m going to write this awesome epic and I think I’ll create a language too. Who does that? Awesome people, that’s who.

3. Jesus
This might seem like a stereotypical answer, but it’s more than just being a suck up to Jesus. I was raised Roman Catholic, and even though I don’t identify myself as Roman Catholic anymore, I do still believe in a God. Some kind of higher power that we’re all sharing, and calling it by a different name. I would invite him to my dinner party because I want to ask him what his opinion is of all these people supposedly preaching in his name. Does Jesus really hate fags? I highly doubt it. Personally, I think Jesus was the original hippy. He preached about loving everyone despite their faults and said we shouldn’t be judgmental idiots. He shared food, dined with people society couldn’t stand, and told us to love. So why do people not seem to get it? I want his take on the issue.

4. Henrik Zetterberg

Granted, I was tempted to put the entire Red Wings team on here. But I figured that would overmax my limit by quite a bit. I could pick several players to fill this spot, but Zetter is the one I wanted most. He’s the current capitano of the team. I want his insight on how the team is performing, what he thinks they need to work on, and how he feels being in this leadership position. Also, he’s kind of gorgeous to look at, so while he talks I’ll have to keep myself from drooling all over my food.

The last spot was the toughest to decided. I knew I wanted to have someone really special, but I am blessed to have a lot of really special people in my life. It eventually got narrowed down to four people, all of whom are family. My cousin Justene is like my little sister, since we grew up so closely. My cousin Colette is my current roommate, and knows me so well that I’m her emotional half and she’s my rational half. My aunt Carol passed away from cancer. Of all the death I have dealt with, her death still wounds me in ways I can barely handle. Watching someone so wonderful suffer from such a terrible disease is excruciating. She’s my guardian angel. There is three....drum roll please.......

5. My mom
I’ve been blessed to have not only a mom who is cool, but a mom who truly embraced her job raising me. She was not terribly young when she got pregnant, but at 21 not everyone is responsible enough to take on raising a child. There were times as a kid, where I felt like we didn’t spend that much time together, but as I grew up I realized she was working hard to provide for me. I didn’t want for anything, but I wasn’t spoiled. We spent Thanksgivings and Christmases serving food at church so I understood the value of what I had. And as I got older, I understood her more and the choices she made when raising me. Now that I’m grown and out of the nest, she’s a confidant that I can talk to when I’m feeling troubled. Or a drinking buddy when I want to relax and have a good time. I owe my mom a lot for how I am today, and especially the values I want to espouse should I have kids. We haven’t always gotten along the best, but we’ve always loved each other and that got us through all the other mucky stuff.

With the table set and the invites out, all I need to do now is prepare the food. I’m thinking coq au vin, because I don’t know what it is and I’m desperate to find out. Also wine. Lots and lots of wine :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Club: February

This month’s novel was the Paris Wife by Paula McClain, which follows Hadley Richardson’s marriage to Ernest Hemingway and their short life together. Swept up in his charms and charisma, Hadley falls head over heels for the writer a few years her junior. Their romance takes them away to Paris where they get swept up in the artist contingent growing in the Roaring 20s. Notable writers make appearances in the tale of Hemingway’s first marriage.

Of all the fashions of the time, polygamy was popular and widely accepted as fact for relationships of the time. Hemingway’s desire to have a more open marriage is the straw that breaks his marriage to Hadley, and eventually would break other relationships of his. The novel portrays the period well, allowing the reader to wish only to transport themselves far away to a time of luxury and relaxation.

While Hemingway openly has problems and admits them, it is his narcissism that ruins his marriage to Hadley. He needs constant reassurance and when he becomes too comfortable with Hadley, he seeks out comfort in other women. One part that irritated me was one of Hemingway’s nicknames for Hadley: cat. While at times it is cute, it also is dehumanizing. Allowing Hemingway to rationalize his behavior to himself. He blames the unrest in his marriage on Hadley’s unwillingness to be polygamous, when in reality it is his infidelity that causes the break.

It’s hard not to view Hemingway in a different light after seeing how he treats women. I knew previously that he was an alcoholic. But I had never realized how destructive he was in his relationships. He made a habit of burning bridges with people who helped him along the way to being famous. Other women in book club knew more about his life and his relationships with his family. Apparently he was quite an ass, which based on how he treated Hadley I can easily believe.

Some quotes that I found interesting:

“Books could be an incredible adventure. I stayed under my blankets and barely moved, and no one would have guessed how my mind raced and my heart soared with stories.” -pg. 26

“Are you always this wise, Ruth?” “Only when it comes to other people’s lives.” -pg. 49

“Men hear what they like and invent the rest.” -pg. 218

“Why? Are you afraid I’m becoming a bitch? If I am, we know who’s to blame.” -pg. 261

The novel is a fantastic picture of Paris, and Europe, in one of the most glamorous decades in history, and all the fashions of the period. Your view of Hemingway could be tainted, but I suppose certain genius comes with some nasty baggage. In the end, is the genius worth it if you destroy people you love to get there?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Lost Little Lamb

As many people close to me know, or for those of you who are complete strangers reading this who don't know (hey strangers), I’m very passionate about using my Criminal Justice degree to help victims, or rather, survivors of crime. Many people I care deeply about have survived crimes, and I myself am a survivor.

I’ve recently started undergoing training to become a Rape Response advocate. It’s a volunteer position that I want to use to gain experience for my future career. It has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made.

In dealing with heavy emotional turmoil, one of my outlets has become creative writing. Sometimes it is working on trying to get a novel started. Other times I turn more towards the freedom of poetry. Yesterday at my job working 4:30 am to 2:30 pm, I got a creative streak going and wrote the following poem, which is indicative of what I’m training to help change.

Little Lamb, Little Lamb
Tight skirts, tiny dress.
Heels a mile high.
Rouge and pearls and all things pretty,
Adornments for the flesh.

Here is the slaughterhouse.
Lambs led to their deaths.
Wolves stalk about in grey suits,
And with a smile, their eyes flash.

Lure away a little lamb,
Or drop a present in her drink.
The wolves covet silky skin.
And the woman’s treasure held inside.

Scatter, lambs!
Run away, in your heels so tall.
Guard yourself with care.
And see if you can hide.

The night is ended.
Little lambs stumble home.
Some as safe as can be.
But one forever slew.

Tick, Tock. Goes the clock.
Lambs dolled up in white.
Sinister wolves give hungry grins,
And the ritual begins anew.

I knew when I decided to study Criminal Justice that I would help people. Too many women are taken advantage of every day, every month, every year. Not only do we need to be there for the women who have survived, we need to be there for the women still in terrible situations. And we especially need to educate males on proper treatment of women and females on how to know and see unhealthy behavior. The world can be better. And even if sometimes I feel like the only one fighting, you can bet I’ll be fighting until I die.