Friday, November 25, 2011

Poetry 171: It Was Winter by Czeslaw Milosz

It Was Winter

Winter came as it does in this valley.
After eight dry months rain fell
And the mountains, straw-colored, turned green for a while.
In the canyons where gray laurels
Graft their stony roots to granite,
Streams must have filled the dried-up creek beds.
Ocean winds churned the eucalyptus trees,
And under clouds torn by a crystal of towers
Prickly lights were glowing on the docks.

This is not a place where you sit under a cafe awning
On a marble piazza, watching the crowd,
Or play the flute at a window over a narrow street
While children’s sandals clatter in the vaulted entryway.

They heard of a land, empty and vast,
Bordered by mountains. So they went, leaving behind crosses
Of thorny wood and traces of campfires.
As it happened, they spent winter in the snow of a mountain pass,
And drew lots and boiled the bones of their companions;
And so afterward a hot valley where indigo could be grown
Seemed beautiful to them. And beyond, where fog
Heaved into shoreline coves, the ocean labored.

Sleep: rocks and capes will lie down inside you,
War councils of motionless animals in a barren place,
Basilicas of reptiles, a frothy whiteness.
Sleep on your coat, while your horse nibbles grass
And an eagle gauges a precipice.

When you wake up, you will have the parts of the world.
West, an empty conch of water and air.
East, always behind you, the voided memory of snow-covered fir.
And extending from your outspread arms
Nothing but bronze grasses, north and south.

We are poor people, much afflicted.
We camped under various stars,
Where you dip water with a cup from a muddy river
And slice your bread with a pocketknife.
This is the place; accepted, not chosen.
We remembered that there were streets and houses where we came from,
So there had to be houses here, a saddler’s signboard,
A small veranda with a chair. But empty, a country where
The thunder beneath the rippled skin of the earth,
The breaking waves, a patrol of pelicans, nullified us.
As if our vases, brought here from another shore,
Were the dug-up spearheads of some lost tribe
Who fed on lizards and acorn flour.

And here I am walking the eternal earth.
Tiny, leaning on a stick.
I pass a volcanic park, lie down at a spring,
Not knowing how to express what is always and everywhere:
The earth I cling to is so solid
Under my breast and belly that I feel grateful
For every pebble, and I don’t know whether
It is my pulse or the earth’s that I hear,
When the hems of invisible silk vestments pass over me,
Hands, wherever they have been, touch my arm,
Or small laughter, once, long ago over wine,
With lanterns in the magnolias, for my house is huge.

Berkeley, 1964

Monday, November 21, 2011

News 170: Occupy Wall Street

Momentum for Occupy Wall Street has been building upon itself for years now as the public becomes informed of how this society is run, how this system really works: realizations that the elite 1% of the United States now own 42% of the country's wealth, that 25,000 people around the world die every day from very preventable poverty-related causes (that's like 6 9/11s every day), that this current system we live in isn't a real democracy at all but an oligarchy consisting of elite bankers and CEOs buying the power of the government.

I started following this leaderless movement on Facebook almost when they just began congregating in New York back in September of this year and it has been both inspiring and heart wrenching to watch and read about. Unfortunately, so much negative attention has been given to them through the mainstream news media, yet another tool of the wealthy. This is why the internet is such a good thing, because it is free reign to find out other sides of the story and come up with your own conclusions.

Occupy Wall Street is a peaceful, nonviolent movement meant to protest social and economic inequality, high unemployment, greed, debt, corruption, and the influence of corporations over government. Yes, that sounds like an awful lot of things to be complaining about in one protest, but they're all connected because of the problem of money. The protest in New York has expanded to activism all over the world including Spain, Belgium, and Germany, and to many major cities in the United States: Occupy Portland, Los Angeles, Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Nashville, Orlando, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Oakland, and many many more including college campuses across the country.

If you haven't heard much about Occupy Wall Street, then there's a lot of back story to know about before understanding just how important this movement really is. I recommend becoming informed with documentaries as they are probably the quickest and most thorough way to learn about this society and how literally every problem branches from a single source: money.


Zeitgeist film series (free online viewing):
A step by step breakdown of what is really going on and how to fix these problems over the course of three films. These do go into some conspiracy theories in the earliest film regarding money and war (a very angering and inspiring part of the film), but the rest is very informative about how the economy works and why it isn't working, what could replace this system, and how it's possible to.

Inside Job (rentable on Netflix):
A film about the stock market crash in 2007. It's very slow going, but it shows how this government is more of an oligarchy than a real democracy.

Sicko (rentable on Netflix):
An incredibly revealing film about the current health care system and a very good representation of the inequality of this society and the greed of those in power.

If anyone else has more suggestions that are relevant to the cause, please leave a comment! If you support the movement, spread the word on your own blogs and find out about local activism communities surrounding Occupy Together. We are the 99%!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Movies 165 : Abduction

Now this isn't a movie for everyone. But I'm pretty sure Taylor and his Dad knew what they were doing when they got together to produce this film. Perfect timing too. Everyone on Team Jacob awaiting the new Twilight film got an early snack.

So Taylor gave his fans what they wanted. A film staring him. And a lot of him.

The movie has a fantastic cast. Sigourney Weaver, Maria Bello, Lilly Colins, and Jason Isaacs. Also Taylor does most of his stunts too. And of course, we get to see him shirtless.

Taylor and Lily are no longer dating.

Fans who have grown to love him in the Twilight series, will surely get what they came for when they see this movie. And I'm sure will buy their own copy once its to DVD.

They have a history. Maybe they'll get it right this time.

On the other hand, the story is a bit predictable. And perhaps some will wish the plot had been a bit more than what it is. But in truth, this is a movie for Taylor's fans. If you're not a fan, you'll want to avoid this movie.

STORYLINE: Nathan, a teen, along with his friend, Karen finds a website that has photos of children who are missing or believed to have been abducted. They decide to age one of the photos and discover that is of Nathan as a child. He contacts the person who placed the photo to find out what's going on. The person on the other end only wants to know info about Nathan so Nathan hangs up. The person then contacts someone in Europe and shows him a photo of the one who called. He then heads for the U.S. Nathan then wonders is it true, was he abducted. He tells his "mom" who then tells him she and his "father" will tell him. But before they can, two men claiming to be cops show up wanting to talk to Nathan, and when he isn't found they pull guns and demand Nathan be given to them. His parents fight them but are killed. Nathan runs but remembers that he asked Karen to come over...


Sunday, September 18, 2011

TV 164 : CW's Secret Circle

The “Secret Circle” series follows 16-year-old Cassie, who moves from California to live with her grandmother in Chance Harbor, Washington after her mother dies in a murderous fire. As soon as she arrives strange things begin to happen to her. She is eventually told by her “new friends” that her family is part of a legacy. One of 6 families of witches. Now that she is in Chance Harbor she completes the circle making them all very powerful. The real sinister plot in the series are the parents of the teenagers who have an agenda of their own.

What better way for Must See Thursday night TV than to have vampires and witches. Secret Circle is by the same author (L.J.Smith) and people who do VAMPIRE DIARIES (Secret Circle is on right after the Vampire Diaries). It stars Britney Robertson as Cassie who comes back to New England after the firy death of mother. Little does she know the secrets that six families hold back in the old town by the sea.

With every good TV drama comes a wicked villian, and Secret Circle definitely has one. This has to be Gale Harold's best role as of yet. He is splendid as Charles Meade. Would anyone suspect what he's up too?

In the secret circle of witches is the wild child Faye Chamberlian (Phoebe Tonkin from H2O) who so happens to be the principal's daughter. She has her own way of pulling in Cassie to their group. And she knows they need her in the circle so they can be stronger.

Of course, Cassie takes the clique as crazies, but she has a yearning for Thomas Dekker's Adam who is Diane's (the so called level headed leader of the bunch played by Shelly Hennig) boyfriend. Together, Adam & Cassie can make magic in the forest.

Louis Hunter as Nick and Jessica Parker Kennedy as Melissa play supporting roles in the circle. One might wonder if Nick will make a play for Cassie since he has the power to look inside her bedroom window. And is Melissa more than Faye's sidekick? Its been said that Melissa and Nick will get their flirt on for each other in the coming episodes.

The first episode offered special effects and a cool foundation of the characters to get the story started. It left viewers wanting more. The soundtrack is rather infectious too. With a cast like this, one is eager to find out just how powerful the Secret Circle will be.

That awkward moment where the school from The Secret Circle is the same school from The Vampire Diaries.-kate


Friday, September 16, 2011

Poetry 163: This Is Not A Poem

This Is Not A Poem
By David Butson

I’m not going to say anything about bridges. or horses. or sky
ripped apart by birds. there are no fires. in this poem. no lips
trailing smoke. no rearview mirror eyes.
I’m not going to compare her eyelashes to flags waved from departing ships.
or her eyes themselves to rain through dusty winter windowpanes.
her lips to wine stains. her fingers to Japanese paper napkins.
that’s not my image anyway. you won’t find any scarecrows
between these rows of words. no train whistles in the vowel sounds.
no silent movies reflected in her sunglasses I’m not going to say
that her syllables are arpeggios of surrender. or anything like that.
in fact. my poem girl’s breath is nothing like the sweet of night’s earth.
her ribcage isn’t rattled by the angry bird I call her heart.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Poetry 162: Funeral Blues

Funeral Blues
Wystan Hugh Auden  

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Movies 161 : Crazy, Stupid Love

Here is a comedy with a lot of drama. Its the story of a man's marriage breaking up. Yet another about a boy who's found his soul mate. But then there is the 17 year old girl, head over heels for the older man. In the mix is the man at the bar who knows the art of getting the woman, but does he really know what love is?

I wasn't that crazy about the first part of the movie. It was quite a stretch in places. Sure, its awful how the wife Julianne Moore (Emily) springs I want a divorce on her husband Steve Carrell (Cal) who takes it the only way Carrell knows how to take it with his straight man comedy silliness. Then Cal  meets someone like Ryan Gosling (Jacob) in a bar and hands over his credit card, practically willing him to make him over. Yet as the film grows, there are connections that make one smile and even laugh.

Analeigh Tipton retired from pair skating at 16. She plays the babysitter in the movie.

The movie has its moments. Emma Stone's conversation about Conan O'Brien with her girlfriend was amusing. And to find out how smitten she is with Josh Groban (her boss at the law firm). Yet it was the little surprises I liked best in the twist and turns of the humor. Jonah Bobo's performance as the son Robbie was genuine and sweet. Even better, the performance of Analeigh Tipton as the babysitter. She's awkward yet delightful.

Although, Ryan Gosling is buffed and suave, I've seen him in at his best in other characters. Perhaps I've seen Emma Stone in far too many movies this summer. Honestly, I have mixed feelings about the movie. Still, there is a lot to love about this film. And some amazing bit parts by Marrissa Tomei and Kevin Bacon.

STORYLINE: Cal (Steve Carell) and Emily (Julianne Moore) have the perfect life together living the American dream... until Emily asks for a divorce. Now Cal, Mr Husband, has to navigate the single scene with a little help from his professional bachelor friend Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Make that a lot of help.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Poetry (Sort Of?) 160: Date A Girl Who Reads

Hacking GTD into Traveler's Notebook
Date A Girl Who Reads by Rosemarie Urquico
(In Response to Charles Warnke’s You Should Date An Illiterate Girl.)

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent.  Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

TV 160 : ABC Family's Lying Game

A great way to end summer with a new show!

ABC Family was so successful with PRETTY LITTLE LIARS that they decided to bring another Sara Shepard story to the small screen. But will it work? PLL keeps us guessing with plenty of eye-candy to go around and  parents who were once hot on TV a decade or so ago. Also, fashionista characters who hopefully figure out the mystery, which of course, keeps us coming back for more.

Does Emma have the drama for this?

This go around we have soap veteran actress from AS THE WORLD TURNS, Alexandra Chanda who gives off a bit of Nina Dobrey vibe from Vampire Diaries. Still Chanda has that doe in the headlights look, and she's not only one character, but two. Emma a good hearted foster kid on the run from her own problems and Sutton the poor little rich girl..Twins separated at birth.

We get to see how Emma (who doesn't even know her rich twin) act like she's Sutton, while Sutton goes off on a quick trip to L.A. to find their real parents. So the suspense rises as Emma plays along. Sutton's parents find a much nicer daughter. She really embraces the family. Her fake boyfriend too, who she finds is definitely faking it. Sutton is also a tennis champion, as well. Emma finds her self up to the mental and physical challenge.

Blair Redford finally gets a main role. He's been seen on Switched at Birth and 90210.

This time around wonderful Helen Slater plays the adoptive Mom. Blair Redford is to the rescue as Sutton's real boyfriend, Ethan Whithorse. General Hospital's Tyler Christopher plays Ethan's uncle who is the law around.

Madeline Rybak & Charlotte Chamberlin star in this series as Sutton's besties.

Its hard to say yet if the girlfriend pack will be as genuine as on Pretty Little Liars, but it has a mystery to unfold. Sutton's not back and Emma is stuck in her role. Its off to a good start.

STORYLINE: The show follows Emma (Chando), a kind-hearted foster kid who cant catch a break. She finds out she has an identical twin sister...

the lying game

Friday, August 19, 2011

Poetry 159: Drown by Bianca Stewart

 (Sometimes you just can't beat the beauty of simplicity.) 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Poetry 158 : Annabel Lee by Edgar Allen Poe

Annabel Lee
Edgar Allen Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Monday, August 8, 2011

TV 158: NBC's Love in the Wild

Couple most likely to win. Samantha and Mike. They get along so well together.

Honestly, I'm not much for reality TV. I don't really want to make stars out of everyday people either, but Love in the Wild has been sort of a game changer for me on Wednesday nights this summer. The show is down to the final three couples now.

Steele is possibly the hunk but he's curse, coming in last. He finally went home.

It's like doing coupling research. It makes you think of your own relationship. Could you survive this sort of bootcamp? First you have these people who truly want to make a love connection. They think they've found someone of similar interest in the contestants, and then, they are put out in the jungle with certain challenges to get through. The winner gets the Oasis suit while the others have to go back to the cabins. We get to see two sides of them. One, where they are getting to know each other, spending the night with each other (seriously, we have no idea just what sort of connection they have going at night). Second, there they are having to be team players as couples, using real life strategies to get through the obstacles of the day. Many have said on the show that couples should go through this boot camps. One contestant said he couldn't believe how easily they became couples, too. Its fun to see how some support each other on these adventures, while others show their true colors. Some get along beautifully back at the cabins. They really talk to each other. Then they can be so explosive on some of their challenges.

Miles & Erica. Some just play well with others.
Ben was the biggest jerk of all. He made Brandee miserable (in the pink) and she wanted to be everyone's friend.

Then comes elimination time. If you are at the bottom, time to go home. Oddly, last week, two couples went home. One that couldn't stand each other anymore while the other possibly wanted to see if they could stay friends after they left.


Love in the wild tumblr

All are looking for the love connection.

It's been fun to watch these couples. Darren McMullen is the host. The back drop is beautiful Costa Rica. The show started where the women chose their partners for the game. But winners can switch it up. Even the host switched it up, during one challenge when the couples were set to start.

Movies 158: Cowboys & Aliens

This is the movie I've been waiting for this summer. What a concept. There is something about being out in the wild west that conjures up Aliens in the wide open spaces. One doesn't even have to go to Arizona to feel it. I have to admit even in one scene, I could imagine how a pioneer would have felt seeing the Marfa Lights for the first time.

Jon Favreau certainly gives the feel of open spaces in this movie. There are bad guys everywhere you turn in this film. And they aren't even aliens. Those who are good turn bad quick..or so it seems. And someone who was bad, well, he might be the answer to everything. Maybe.
Who better to fight aliens than Indiana Jones & James Bond.

Daniel Craig's Jake is an unlikely hero. He wakes up with this thing on his wrist, and he doesn't even know who he is. Soon enough, bounty hunters find him. Luckily, Jake's a fighter. And as you can tell, he fights his way through the movie. Of course, Harrison Ford is an angry old rancher. He just can't seem to keep his son nor his cowboys in line. Even cows are getting blown up. Just what the movie needs, two anti-heros who can't see eye to eye on anything.

Cool and Calm Ella

Noah Ringer & Paul Dano
Paul Dano was a surprise in this film. Honestly, I've never seen this side of him and it was definitely refreshing and fun as Harrison Ford's dysfunctional son. Also Adam Beach was so true and genuine in this film. And Olivia Wilde was remarkable as Ella who has a few secrets of her own.

Honestly, a wonderful cast. The Arizona Territory vast and natural. Then there are the Aliens.

Of course, they kept this film popping with action. Although, I wish Hollywood would give us a new breed of aliens. These creatures are just there. Killing machines. Really, no character. But they are the bad guys. A little dried up, but then slimy and cruel.

We have here a great John Wayne type story..where you hunt the aliens down, shoot and destroy. The actions scenes are epic. And it takes the Indians, desperadoes and anything else that can stop the alien invasion. Also, you see how this tale changes people. Its a great popcorn movie. Its good to see Harrison and Daniel in action, together. But they possibly would have gotten nowhere without the help of Olivia Wilde's Ella.

STORYLINE: The Old West.. where a lone cowboy leads an uprising against a terror from beyond our world. 1873. Arizona Territory. A stranger with no memory of his past stumbles into the hard desert town of Absolution. The only hint to his history is a mysterious shackle that encircles one wrist. What he discovers is that the people of Absolution don't welcome strangers, and nobody makes a move on its streets unless ordered to do so by the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde (Ford). It's a town that lives in fear. But Absolution is about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known. Now, the stranger they rejected is their only hope for salvation. As this gunslinger slowly starts to remember who he is and where he's been.

Cowboys&Aliens tumblr

Friday, August 5, 2011

Books 157: Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Running With Scissors is the memoir of Augusten Burroughs, chronicling the insanity that is his life from the age of nine to seventeen. From a mother prone to frequent psychotic episodes involving throwing Christmas trees off of the back porch, to his fascination with shiny objects and doctors, Augusten's life is anything but ordinary. However, things take a turn for the extremely strange when Augusten beginning with his mother's rather unorthodox psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, and his equally odd extended family. At the Finch residence, where schizophrenic patients live in the upstairs bedrooms and it's perfectly acceptable to eat dog food and make a homemade skylight in the kitchen ceiling, Augusten learns that any shred of normalcy that had been left in his life was now completely gone, and he liked it that way.

I absolutely loved this book. It was completely hilarious and legitimately had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. There are so many things that sound too weird to be true until you remember that what you're reading is a true story, and then you mind is totally thrown for a loop. I swear, this guy had the most interesting life in the world, though I'm not exactly sure if I'd want to switch with him... Needless to say, I highly recommend it. 

Little did I know, there was apparently already a movie made of this book! I am so late on this bandwagon... I'll definitely have to check it out from the library as soon as possible. According to IMDb, it has Alec Baldwin, Gwenyth Paltrow, Evan Rachel Wood, and Joseph Fiennes, so definitely not too shabby of a cast.

Other books by Augusten Burroughs:
  • Magical Thinking
  • Possible Side Effects
  • A Wolf At The Table
Happy reading!