Web Sites »Everyone Wants Me Dead

wantsdeadTeenage Diary

Re-reading old personal diaries can be excruciating. Funny? Sure, but it hurts. To share the words of your teenage self to the world? I’m not sure I would have the guts (and sadly, my most angst filled stuff is long gone after a whole big mess where my mom found my diary and drama ensued).

Lucky for us, Lexi Borowitz isn’t too shy to share. Entries on her blog Everyone Wants Me Dead, often accompanied by spectacular illustrations like the “Sexual Baseball Field” pictured, let us relive those roller-coaster adolescent years and all the triumph, self-loathing, embarrassment, heart break, and bitchiness they entail.

Great find, Refinery 29! Now, let’s just hope she keeps the entries coming.

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Posted on June 28, 2013

Movies,TV Shows »The Wallace and Gromit Collection

WallaceGromitby Nick Park

It’s no secret that most stuff made for children is garbage. Real gems, like the Nick Park Wallace and Gromit shorts and films are the exception and I am so thrilled that Van is a huge fan. The contraptions and inventions of the hapless Wallace and his best pal pup Gromit are mesmerizing for a little boy obsessed with machines, pipes and wheels.

The first set of shorts include the noirs A Close Shave and The Wrong Trousers as well as the moon adventure A Grand Day Out. They were followed by the feature Curse of the Wererabbit. The hand sculpted characters are not only charming – what they are able to achieve with the painstaking technique is remarkable.

If the first movies represent the pinnacle art of stop motion claymation, the later short A Matter of Loaf and Death shows that old techniques don’t have to be abandoned for new, that computers, which were used can actually inhance the animation and make for quicker production. I’m hoping that eventually means more Wallace and Gromit some day even though most of the original claymation figures and sets were destroyed in a fire years ago (sob).

Beyond the meticulous designs and techniques, these films are well written and as entertaining for adults as they are for children without being crass or stuffed with pop culture references.

I know I am very lucky that my son has taken such an interest in such a great series. I’d gladly chat about what happens in Curse of the Wererabbit a thousand times than have to sit through one Barney. You can find them on Netflix instant with the exception of Curse of the Wererabbit, available for purchase on iTunes.

allwallace

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Posted on June 7, 2013

Laughs »Hey! Why Should I Be On The Internet?

Circa 1995

Cat food cupcakes (WHAT?!)

Was 1995 really that long ago? (yes) and can you imagine that we lived most of our adolescences without the Internet? (no).

Another gem unearthed by Refinery 29.

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Posted on August 16, 2012

Movies »Unzipped

directed by Douglas Keeve (1995)

I adore the documentary Unzipped. I have probably seen it a dozen times and all those times, seen it alone. Of all the passions and tastes Jim and I share, movies about the fashion industry just isn’t one of them so they’ve become a private pleasure.

With this Isaac Mizrahi ode to high fashion being on Netflix instant, I couldn’t help but indulge in another viewing.

Before Project Runway, before any of the many fashion docs, there was this movie. Its inside look at the creative process was truly inspiring and amazing to me as a young woman and still fills me with joy to watch. Mizrahi is charming, the show is excellent (looks as fresh today as then), the cinematography is beautiful and even the score is perfection.

I feel like this movie is almost forgotten and buried behind The September Issue and realty tv but any lover of fashion should see it right away. It’s divine.

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Posted on May 18, 2012

Songs,Web Sites »I Want Someone Badly, Your Daily Song Fix

by Shudder to Think featuring Jeff Buckley (1998)

Jeff Buckley makes me sigh. Has since I was in 8th grade getting my heart constantly broken.

Today I sighed anew after finding I Want Someone Badly, a song by him I’d never heard before. It reminds me of Terence Trent D’arby (in a great way).

Thanks to Daily Sound Fix for introducing me. A look through the site, which features forgotten music, promises more gems are waiting to be found. Too bad it hasn’t been updated for a year.

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Posted on April 11, 2012

Movies »The Big Lebowski

directed by The Coen Brothers (1998)

Continuing my Top Best Movies You’ve Probably Seen But If You Haven’t You Better Get On It Marathon, I give you the oft quoted, nearly universally loved Coen Brothers’ masterpiece The Big Lebowski.

There’s a reason everyone adores this movie. See it. It’s infinitely re-watchable with more unforgettable lines and characters in ten minutes than in the entirety of most comedies ever made.

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Posted on April 6, 2012

Songs »Kiss Them For Me

by Siouxsie and the Banshees (1991)

Kiss Them For Me will always call to my memory the hallways of junior high.

I had bought an oversized Siouxsie and the Banshees tee based solely on my love for this exotic 120 minutes hit (which, of course I owned in cassingle format).

A really cool mom schooled me on Siouxsies’ history when she saw me wearing it (that mom later got arrested for running a brothel, but was super nice, had the kindest son and is the reason I knew about the origins of punk when I did).

This 90′s comeback which featured a very sexy Siouxsie in sequins and champagne video is perfect listening for those pining for the best the 90′s had to offer (aside from naive optimism and allowances from our parents.)

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Posted on March 24, 2012

Songs »Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days)

by Monica (1995)

90′s radio R&B is one of my favorite genres and Monica’s Don’t Take It Personal (Just One of Dem Days) is one of the best examples.

I love that it feels like a teenage girl wrote the lyrics, its incredibly catchy and no one makes hit songs about their sensitive BFs getting all whiny anytime a lady needs her space.

Girl’s got to get cranky sometimes!

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Posted on February 22, 2012

Movies »A Chinese Ghost Story 1&3

directed by Siu-Tung Ching (1987 and 1991)

The East does weird in a way that the West simply can’t and the fun, crazy Chinese Ghost Story trilogy proves it.

I remember hearing about these films years ago as elusive, cult classics; and with demons, tongue battles (that would be battles fought with giant monster tongues), walking tree spirits, rapping warriors, slapstick beheadings and ghostly seductions, “cult” is the only way to effectively classify these unique films.

The plots are similar between the two: Beautiful ghost spirit is under the control of a tree demon. Kind, handsome traveler stays the night in her haunted temple and falls in love. Must defeat demons to save her.

The original is more romantic and serious, but both include a healthy dose of humor and slapstick–the third almost to the point of tedium. The second… well sadly I can’t tell you anything about it: see, Netflix instant issues dictated a strange viewing order. First I watched what I assumed was the first movie only to find out afterwards that Netflix had mislabeled it and I had actually watched the third. So, not wanting to forgo seeing the original I watched the first movie (which was labeled Part 2 on Netfilx). At that point I thought we might as well finish up the trilogy, but found all three movies were no longer available. So, only reviewing 1 and 3 and no screen captures from me.

It’s a shame they’ve been taken off Netflix because they’re not readily available in the US–but are worth seeking out for lovers of bizarre cinema. I hope to one day see the second installment and complete the trilogy.

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Posted on January 21, 2012

TV Shows »Two Fat Ladies

on Cooking Channel, Sat at 10

You’d be hard pressed to find to women on television as utterly charming as the Two Fat Ladies whose cooking show graced the airwaves in the mid to late nineties.

Their motorcycle and sidecar are as iconic as they are. Their locations and food are thoroughly British. Think castle boarding schools, cricket matches, pheasant terrines and an intriguing anchovy paste called “gentlemen’s relish”.

It was very sad when Jennifer passed away, ending the show in 1999.

Cooking channel had a marathon on Christmas day which I dvr-ed and have been enjoying intermittently since.

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Posted on January 14, 2012

Songs »It’s Just Like Christmas

by Low (1999)

True, Low’s Just Like Christmas is far more Midwest-indie than my tastes tend to run – and I can vividly imagine it as the soundtrack to a precious, folksy Volkswagen commercial, but it’s undeniably, a sweet Christmas ditty.

Very nice to see new, catchy compositions for the Holiday are being written not just as an after thought to make money but artfully and with genuine heart.

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Posted on December 24, 2011

Movies »Perfect Blue

directed by by Satoshi Kon (1997)

The bizarre anime Perfect Blue just kind of explodes in front of you. It’s startling, disorienting and rapid. It never allows you to get too comfortable wrapping your head around it. Even the pop songs get truncated suddenly.

While the experience is jolting and one you just have to let take you with it, afterwards the effect is lasting and unsettling. I feel like I’m still not done thinking about it.

The story concerns a pop star turned actress who looses her innocence for stardom and perhaps attracts the murderous attentions of a distraught fan.

People around her start dying (and the movie takes on a Giallo sheen) But to say this is a serial killer movie about a pop star is like saying El Topo is a western.

After lots of twists, Things wrap up neater than expected, I had kind of hoped it would have retained its vagueness- still, this is a wild one and not for the kiddos!

A great companion to the similarly themed Black Swan.

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Posted on December 18, 2011

Books »A Song of Ice and Fire

by George R R Martin (1996-????)

There’s so much to say about the epic Song of Ice and Fire series but so little you want to give away to those still buried within its thousands of pages.

Like so many others I picked the books up after loving the HBO adaptation… and what a fun time to be reading it. It’s the kind of book you want to discuss with people incessantly and there’s no shortage of fellow readers. Jim even texted me after especially incendiary chapters in disbelief.

With that kind of fervor and enthusiasm that the books evoke, George R.R. Martin has created something truly unique and it’s little wonder that the world is entranced.

I was as well as heartbroken, shocked (repeatedly and effectively), obsessed, angered, relieved, frustrated, awed and now after just finishing Dance with Dragons filled with a venomous ache for justice, some conclusions and frankly for some plot lines to get on with it already… ( I felt like Martin Sheen thinking “Mereen, shit I’m still only in Mereen”)

Yes it’s not without its flaws one cringe worthy sex scene where cock and cunt cant be told apart proves that but what’s harder for this reader is the scattered scope after the whirlwind of awesomeness in book three. The plot splits between two books and beloved characters aren’t seen for hundreds upon hundreds of pages. I can only imagine how frustrating this must have been for readers that had to wait years for the next book as I am about to do for book six.

But despite the flaws and the fact that it might never be completed, this is one extraordinary reading experience. Now I get to see how book two is interpreted on the show… too excited.

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Posted on September 21, 2011

Songs »Here’s Where the Story Ends

by The Sundays (1990)

I was sitting in Mike’s apartment and suddenly – flash! I was twelve years old again: I was zoning out with my cd walkman, watching the rain from the back seat of my mom’s car and thinking of poetry about, hmmm let’s see, 7th grade, maybe it was Ralph Lowenstein Danny Jendral I had a crush on? (How soon we forget.)

Anyways – all it took to transport me to those olden days, where bands still looked like hangovers from the 80′s, was The Sundays hit, Here’s Where The Story Ends (now how long has it been since you heard this one?). It holds up pretty well, much better than similar artists like Cranberries and Belly in my opinion.

And since I am so old that kids these days now only know Star Wars as 3D animation on Cartoon Network, this ballad will be new to many of you younger folks, so do enjoy kids – maybe it will make you zone out with your iphone, watching the rain and thinking about poetry about the boy or girl you have a crush on.

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Posted on August 24, 2011

Movies »See The Sea

directed by François Ozon (1997)

See the Sea is the only film in a while that has left me unsettled and jumping at noises in my apartment. Once you hear the premise, and learn that I am about to vacation on an island, you’ll know why.

A mother is left alone at an island vacation home with her ten month old baby. When a young backpacking woman arrives asking to set up camp in her yard, the mother relents looking for a bit of adult companionship, blind to the stranger’s strangeness. Things get creepy fast but subtly.

Marina de Van is amazing as the wanderer. Rarely do movies offer a villain so realistic and understated and they never cast someone that looks so right too. From her tongue ring, to her vacant stare, from her unkempt clothes, to her only smile in the movie (when she talks of her abortion), she embodies the women you see on true crime documentaries perfectly.

As the mother, Sasha Hails is equally interesting. We sympathize with the loneliness she feels with only an infant as company, (believe me!) but mother of the year she is not. There were so many times I was nervous for the child’s safety, whether left alone on a beach or crying in a bath tub, which only adds to the movie’s overall suspense.

Pretty much the worst thing you can imagine, and you begin worrying and imagining it right away, happens but that the conclusion is expected doesn’t make it any less shocking or the getting there any less tense.

A true gem of understated terror.

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Posted on June 28, 2011

Movies »Microcosmos

directed by Jacques Perrin (1996)

I tend to gravitate to movies and books that explore the darker side of life, but every once and a while I just want to relax with something that makes the world seem wonderful and awe inspiring. The French documentary MicroCosmos is such a film.

I remember the movie making quite a splash with it’s amazing technology that manages to capture the most intimate daily moments of insects and thier surroundings. We follow a bee as it polluantes, we are up close and personal with mating snails, we see a drop of rain bounce a lady bug from her leaf and we are mesmerized by it all.

It makes one see the world in a way we’ve never seen it before. We thought it was great that it was shot in what Jim called “just some French countryside” and not some totally exotic local, making the somewhat familiar magical.

The film is mostly set to music,  bookended with minimal narration. Funnily, and probably acurrately, the French felt this would be a tough sell with Americans and tried to tie it to Jurassic Park to gain an audience.

Like most things I watch these days, this is available streaming on netflix and looks amazing in HD.

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Posted on June 21, 2011

Songs »The En Vogue Hit Trilogy

by En Vogue (1992)

Daughters of the nineties (and particularly sassy sons too), please don’t tell me I am the only one whose inner Funky Diva was let loose when En Vogue hit the airwaves.

With My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It), Something He Can Feel, and Free Your Mind, the Oakland foursome invaded suburbia and no girl was left without day dreams of herself sashaying down a disutopian runway in a push up bra top, or seducing dapper boys in a push up bra top, or denying boys your love in…a push up bra top.

Oh and sampling In Living Color? Hipster bands wish they had thought of it first!

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Posted on June 8, 2011