The New Literary Literature

Or, how my roommate and I spent an hour talking about candy bars on Facebook, and within the conceit of Take 5, we covered every possible facet of humanity. Literature, music, war, fascism, hate, happiness, sex, Nazism… we cover it all. All under the guise of a hatred of Take 5. Or Take Five. Answer to whatever God you must.

I present to you… The Take Down of Take Five.  (It’s very long).

You haven’t gotten to the best parts yet. Like Stephen King and Pol Pot. Keep going. Have a Take 5.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Fun Times, Life

Actual G-Chat conversations with my Roommate.

And why I am constantly “accidentally capslocking” at other people.

Him:  SO I WAS AT UNIQLO
AND IT WAS CROWDED SO
I WAS LIKE YOU KNOW, TAKE THE ELEVATOR, EASIER THAN TRYING TO GO THROUGH THE CROWD
AND I’M LOOKING AT THE TROUSERS, YOU KNOW, AND JUST NOTHING IN 30X32
JUST NOTHING
AND I GUESS I COULD GET THEM HEMMED FOR FREE
BUT I WAS LIKE
YOU KNOW, I DON’T WANT TO COME BACK TOMORROW AND HAVE TO PICK THEM UP
SINCE TOMORROW, YOU KNOW
MAYA’S HAVING HER THING
AND I WAS THINKING OF GOING TO THE GYM BUT I DUNNO IF I’LL HAVE TIME
FOR THAT AND A NAP
AND I LIKE TO TAKE A NAP ON FRIDAYS BEFORE I DO ANYTHING
SO ANYWAY
I’M LOOKING THROUGH THE SHIRTS
AND EVERYTHING’S THESE MADRAS PATTERNS
AND IT’S JUST WEIRD COLOR CHOICES, YOU KNOW
SO I’M THINKING
MAYBE INSTEAD I SHOULD GO WITH THE SOLID COLOR LINEN SHIRTS
BUT NOT LONG SLEEVED
SHORT SLEEVED
BECAUSE IT’S SUMMER AND ALL

Me:  FIRST OF ALL
I READ THAT LIKE YOU WERE SHOUTING AT ME THE WHOLE TIME
WHICH MAKES ME ASSUME THAT YOUR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE IS CONSTANTLY YELLING AT YOU
WHICH IS AWESOME
BECAUSE YOU DESERVE TO BE YELLED AT
SECONDLY
STOP USING ME AS YOUR GODDAMN SOUNDING BOARD
YOUR INTERNAL MONOLOGUE IS REALLY BORING
AND I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR DUMB SHIRTS

Him
:  SO I WAS LOOKING AT THE LINEN SHIRTS

AND THEY HAD SOME NICE COLORS
BUT I DIDN’T WANT TO REPLICATE SOME OF THE COLORS THAT I ALREADY HAVE IN MY WARDROBE

1 Comment

Filed under Life

CONFESSION: I am a Secret Shipper

I ship. There, I said it. I ship. If there is a YA novel, television show, movie, or comic book and there is romance involved, I will find a couple to love and follow with all my heart. For example:  Sasuke and Sakura kind of need to be together forever. For. Ever. I love fandom. I’m pretty sure it began with my fierce belief in Dawson and Joey’s Everlasting Love.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term ‘ship’ – Urban Dictionary defines it as “endors[ing] a romantic relationship.” I’ll just go ahead and add in the phrase “that is unrelated to you” at the end of that definition.

I have noticed, however, that YA novels of late have been taking advantage of this shipping trait by creating discord among the fans. The readers have to choose who they think makes the better match! The most visible, of course, is Twilight. Are you Team Jacob? Or Team Edward? (… or Team Edward&Jacob because Bella’s a blank slate of a character who doesn’t really represent anything but women-belong-in-the-kitchen-making-babies ideology?) There’s also the epically fantastic Hunger Games series which pits Peeta against Gale (Gale! Gale!… though I almost changed my mind when Mockingjay came out. The shippers, they are fickle on occasion).

That being said, I’m finding this to be a more troublesome trend in the YA market now. Triangles for the sake of bloody triangles. Dear everyone-writing-a-young-adult-novel, you do not need to have two love interests for your heroine. You don’t need kids to be pitted against kids in an epic battle of this-guy’s-better-for-her-than-your-guy just to get your book to sell. If it happens as a result of just having awesome characters, fine – but don’t deliberately create a situation in which you’re selling your own characters out. I’ve put down several YA novels in recent times because I can see that it’s empty-faced girl and two gorgeous guys, and o, Gods, how will she choose?! You know who didn’t do that? JK Rowling, bitches.

So, writers, balance the possible relationships. Balance. Make me love all the characters so much that I could never choose, but will still spend time talking about the character’s ultimate choice on the internet (… Vampire Diaries, I’m looking at you).

Related anecdote:  A few nights ago, a friend and I were watching Disney videos on Youtube (because we’re awesome), when I noticed an associated video, “Draco / Hermione Can You Feel the Love Tonight” – we both thought, what? Clicked.

You’re welcome:

THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING, FRIENDS.

Turns out, anything can be shipped. I mean seriously. Anything.

(I’m sorry).

4 Comments

Filed under Fun Times

Adaptasaurus Rex! Raaaaar!

Last night, I went and saw Jane Eyre in one of the two theaters in which it is playing. (I picked the one that was less likely to have o-the-horror, or as they’re better known, bed bugs).

I should start off by saying, I am hugely, giantly, nerdily, grossly in love with Jane Eyre. It’s been my favorite book since I was fourteen. There’s something about this incredible story full of gothic mystery, love, betrayal, and passion happening to two fairly unremarkable people. I don’t think, however, that this makes my opinion on the film any harsher than it would have been if I was just a passing reader.

Alright, confession time over.

So as I said, I went to see the movie last night.

I knew something was wrong when the movie made me snicker. One should not snicker during Jane Eyre! It is not a snicker-worthy story! Some light laughter perhaps, at Jane and Rochester’s banter, a smile or two at her precociousness, even. But snicker?

The movie was just not. that. great.  They did an admirable job of keeping all the relevant plot points, and even giving Jane’s story some context (for first-timers) by opening with her fleeing Thornfield. I don’t have a single issue with their adapting the story to script. My issue is that they lost all the feeling. The Red Room or when we finally meet Rochester’s mad wife for the first time – all kind of left me saying, meh. And the loving words exchanged between Jane and Rochester? Laughable. I mean literally… we laughed at them.

It’s not like literary adaptions are impossible to get right! I mean, just look at the following:

Pride & Prejudice


I was staunchly against this movie when it came out in 2005. I have never been a huge Keira Knightly fan. (I think it’s the way you can always see her bottom teeth. So weird.) Also, how dare they think that anyone but Colin Firth could ever be Mr. Darcy! Eventually, I ended up on a 10 hour flight with a broken iPod, so I sucked it up and watched the only movie available on the flight: Pride & Prejudice.  I was genuinely surprised by how good it was. The acting, the script, the cinematography and the music came together and encapsulated what makes P&P such an enjoyable read.

The Importance of Being Earnest:

Again, I actually mean the newer version. Oscar Wilde has some misses on his repertoire – but the Importance of Being Earnest is not one of them. The play is brilliant and hilarious, and the movie carries it off really well.

Dangerous Liaisons / Cruel Intentions


This is a dangerous admission on my part. I think Cruel Intentions is a fairly good modern interpretation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangereuses. As of three months ago, it was the only version of the book I’d seen in any format. Then I watched John Malcovich and Glenn Close tear it the eff up as the Vicomte and the Marquise. I mean, damn.

The list goes on: Lord of the Rings, Wuthering Heights (1939), Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz (arguably better than the book), pieces of the Harry Potter canon, Emma (2009)… IT CAN BE DONE.

So Jane Eyre, in it’s inability to honestly use what the author had provided, failed to be a successful adaptation. It had the right pieces, but lost itself in campy horror tricks, ridiculously stilted conversations, and period film cliches.

I guess you could call Jane Eyre a rental… but if you’re going to go to the movies, maybe you should think about seeing Rango instead. I hear that the animation’s, like, really good.

1 Comment

Filed under Fun Times

Missed Connections, in True Life

I’ve been terrible about Hurling Words, writing too much for corporate America to concentrate on my own thoughts. Damn if I am falling into a rat race trap here. (I should mention that my language may reflect the amount of Westerns I’ve been watching lately).

That being said, I had a Missed Connections experience recently, and I thought it would be an excellent way to return to your good graces if I shared it with all you kind people out there.

Let’s begin the story – Once upon a time…

It was a Saturday night in Williamsburg. It was a night of New York coincidence, warm bars, and loud music, but that’s not really what our tale’s about. This one starts at the end. Because, you see, I was on-my-way-home. Which meant walking arm in arm with just the loveliest ladyfriend a girl could have and being assaulted by foul subway graffiti.

The platform was full of leather and plaid and over-sized glasses for heroin-chic faces. And luck was on our side, we had no more than four minutes to wait for the train. Funny how a little liquid courage can make time just fly on by, like it’s late for a party. Headlights rounded the corner and the L train charged forward, the last car coming to a standstill in front of us.

Our poor spot of choice ended damn smack in the middle of two sets of doors. Commuters will recognize our subsequent position in front of the doors as the “Oh, sorry, let me – are you getting off? I’ll move – oh goodness, the door is – let me just -” and awkwardness aside, it is prime for accidental elbow jutting and toe treading.

We jawed and guffawed through a few stops, letting the train clear around us, eyeballing the other occupants, maybe eavesdropping on a topic or two – then clear across the other side of the car, who should I spot?

“Hey, turn around slowly, Willem Dafoe is on our train.” She craned in response,
“He looks just like him.” A little taller maybe, younger certainly, with a red bandana that spoke of Platoon. But that hair, those cheek bones.
“That could be his son!” My eyes continued to flick to him for the rest of the ride. The doors chimed open to our area of East-east-east-eastest-east-Williamsburg. I side eyed Willem to see his plan.

He stepped off the train and turned left.

We went right.

“He got off at our stop. HE-GOT-OFF-AT-OUR-STOP.”

I stumbled home and exchanged my layers for the comfort of pajamas. As I am a 21st century girl, I lay back on my pillows, laptop in hand and it came to me.

WWW(dot)craigslist(dot)org

I dragged the cursor to that anonymous hot spot of internet hot spots.

Willem Dafoe on the L Train – w4m 26

I think I saw you on the L train tonight, Willem Dafoe.

You might’ve just been a kid in a red bandanna.

But I’m pretty sure it was you, Willem Dafoe. Then you got off at my stop. Damn, Willem Dafoe, whatchu doin’ in Bushwick?!

Laptop safely tucked away, I fell into the heavy sleep of a Saturday night well spent.

As this was my first Missed Connection posting, I naively assumed that that was that.

The responses began to trickle in a day or two later. April wanted me to clarify if I truly was a woman seeking a man (she couldn’t know that it was so much more than that, could she?), and Dante needed to know the exact location of this supposed Willem Dafoe doppelganger – or maybe just where I lived. His message was brief, and so his motives suspect.

Then there was Kings, who just wanted my body to sing for him. Because, you see, he wanted to play me like an instrument. But I was not to be played.

Lastly, the elusive Patrick, who only emailed me to say: “I know who you are looking for.” But if he did know, he wasn’t talking.

Then, nothing. I joked about the experience at after work happy hours and cafeteria lunches, but as with most memories in the making, the immediacy of it all fell away. I forgot to even think of it.

Fast forward a year in the wild wild west of the internet. Or, in the real world, ten days later.

Sitting at a friend’s, waiting to start my french toast project, I idly hit the mail button on my phone as I am wont to do.

Connecting…

Connecting…

Checking mail…

Downloading 1 of 2…

Downloading 2 of 2…

At the top:

oedwotd subject “muggy, adj./2” – Word of the Day from the OED

But below that! Fate had intervened!

Jesse ****             subject hey it’s willem dafoe jr.

my friend in chicago came across your craigslist post — ha i get that all the time.  that’s so funny.  only time i’ve ever worn a red bandanna.  wasn’t i awesome in Platoon?

Could it really be him? I was raised during the height of web-paranoia. I knew better than to trust a stranger ON THE INTERNET.

So, I found him on Facebook.

Friends, readers, it was him. It was my L-Train Willem Dafoe. How did he find me? Why was his friend in Chicago searching through Brooklyn Missed Connections? Was Peter his friend?

I’ll never know the answers to these questions. I replied, exclamation points abound,

“Willem Dafoe, you just made my day!”

And that’s where I’ll leave it.

4 Comments

Filed under Fun Times, Things I Find Interesting

Independence! (Independents?) Indie-pants, depends.

There was a quote in this morning’s Shelf Awareness about what Indie book stores represent:

“Independent bookstores are the places where freedom of speech and anti-censorship are integrated into everything we do. We are spaces where difference–of ideas, sexuality, spirit, politics, and philosophy–is embraced and not feared. Politics and Prose has been exactly this kind of place for the past 27 years. Independent bookstores are essential to their communities and hence to a truly democratic nation. The survival of our bookstores relies on children becoming informed and engaged in our midsts. Only through the nurturing of this future community will we ensure having a customer base on which to rely.”

It is a pretty verbose way to say: “Indies promote thought” (and of course, I mostly agree with it, grand statements aside). A few paragraphs down, there was a note about how big chains were faring in today’s largely digital world – about the big chains’ need to remake themselves to better understand and serve their communities.

I wonder how these big chains ARE serving their communities. As far as I can see, on some level, Indies still cater to their community in the same way that a local Barnes & Noble may do so – they order the books they think  the people who come into their stores will buy. Most may not have coops that are quite as influential as say, having your book on the front page of Amazon, or in the front table at B&N. So, with chain stores and digital behemoths, should they have the same sense of responsibility to their customers? To keep them informed of not just when the new Stephenie Meyer or Dan Brown novels are coming out, or when they can get that next Glenn Beck picture book, but also of books highlighting local politics or a title you may never have dreamed of buying in a thousand years, without someone saying – hey, you should check this out.

Do they have a responsibility to personalize the experience, I guess, is what I’m asking. Not a responsibility in a moral sense, or from some sense of duty – but tradition? Customer service? People are getting cheated out of knowing any better!

… You think that maybe this (and the ease & accessibility of the internet) is why a lot of chains may be falling under? … Of course, this is all conversation that’s happened and is happening and will probably continue to happen for quite some time. But, whatever. I’ma say what I’ma say.

With the enormity of what Amazon gives us, there’s also a sense of panic when trying to figure out what you really want. And so, I believe (or maybe just really want to believe) that independents are (or will) make a comeback, among people who value the experience,  conversation, and above all the sense of community involved in book shopping.

… Of course, this is all tied in with whether or not book publishing itself will figure out a way to stop being so damned costly and damned repetitive (if I like this, then MAYBE I WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND NEW). (But I will not go on that rant today, no, sir.)

To go back to the “promoting thought” comment, we (…I) like to complain about the obscene amount of power Amazon holds over the book industry and book buying habits of the masses – but I sometimes forget the political and psychological effects of the big-digital-business experiment. I don’t necessarily mean “political” in an industry way, but, how big business defines what people are exposed to.

I’ve mentioned before how this country seems to get less and less “American” with every passing day – with one group or another being legally or illegally put down for being different. You see it in the media – Oh hello Ground Zero Mosque that is niether at Ground Zero, nor a Mosque. And you see it in our book stores with the perpetuating of certain titles or authors, or even just trends (ahem, Vampires).

Not to say that one is equal to the other – but, if all we’re exposed to is one point of view, well, then, shit. How will books that aren’t like anything else out there be released? I’d suppose their platform would have to be the independents that may not need to rely on history for every title that comes through their stores.

With the word count I’m at, I’ve come too far to comfortably publish something with the thought: Sure, my friends will read this – because they won’t. It’s too freakin’ long.

… My bad.

Well, this is all kind of a roundabout love letters to Indies. I support them, you should, too. Unless you want to get stuck with getting a goddamn John Grisham novel or, dare I say it, a Sarah Palin book of Essays (Times, They Are a’Changin’) every Christmas because no one decent gets published anymore.

Chew on that you kindlers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life, Things I Find Interesting

Promise of a Better Day

I’ve regressed to listening to awesome old Taking Back Sunday demos. Shut up, it’s awesome. Although, I don’t really have anything to say about beautiful girls. Except, you know.

Obviously, you understand that I’ve been on vacation in the French Alps with Louis Garrell for the last three months – by which I mean we started our blog at work and now I don’t have time to write for my own. Which may be is a good thing, yeah?

Working on the WORK BLOG has pulled me back into a sort of nostalgia for all the great, weird chapter books I loved when I was a kid – so I thought in my return to El Blogacabre, I was going to list out some of my favorites… but then I just ended up reading about them on Wikipedia and falling into a spiral of meeeeeeeemories.

Although, I think everyone could do with a reread of Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.

I’ve spent a lot of this post talking about things I can’t or won’t say. Talk about postmodern blogging.

… God, I’m an asshole.

But it’s strange, it’s not like I’ve run out of things to rant about – good ole’ T-bone and I just had a great debate (read as: ridiculous argument) over whether or not a book’s classification as Literary Fiction hinders its potential sales. Or its sales potential. Whatever.

We’re real smart over hurr.

Any way, maybe it’s because there really is only so much you can say on the internet? Or maybe I’ve just run out of steam – it was a very hectic summer. (I’m saying this both mysteriously and elusively.)

… This is mostly untrue, I blogged this summer, I just did it on my side-project. I’m like Tom Delong and whatever the name of his crappy side project is.

The side project failed kind of, because I didn’t follow through. As usual.

THIS BLOG POST IS SO DEPRESSING. REMEMBER WHEN IT STARTED AND I WAS HOPEFUL?

Boy, oh boy, … and now I’m thinking about Joe Pesci in With Honors and now I’m even sadder. Good Lord, media culture- what hath you wrought?

O, readers, all three of you, aren’t you glad for my return?

Alright, I’m going offline.

Leave a comment

Filed under Life