Pumpkin Cookie Nostalgia/My So-Called Obsession

I think it’s finally set in. I’m realizing that I no longer have the luxury of picking up my cell phone to call or text, asking to get coffee or if it’s cool to come over and bake. Now that I no longer have that luxury, I feel like I took it for granted.

It’s finally set in. My sister is in Seattle, Washington, and I miss her.

As I’ve said before, her moving to Washington has been a long time coming, and it never really bothered me until recently. It doesn’t bother me, more like sunk in. Hit me. I’ve semi-lost the person I had so much fun with. Sure, we still communicate via text and Facebook, but it doesn’t compare to the flesh and blood aspect of our interactions.

I miss making homemade cookies and pumpkin rolls while listening to ’90’s Industrial. I miss accompanying her to Starbucks to get pumpkin spice lattes when late September rolled around. I miss her and her fiancé coming over in the Summer for barbecues. I miss asking her for advice, seeing her reaction and contemplating what to do about said issue. I seriously miss just hanging out with her.

The reason for all this nostalgia is quiet simple and even silly some might be so bold to say. The early ’90’s show My So-Called Life.

Some odd years ago when I first heard (and later saw live) the band 30 Seconds To Mars, my sister informed me that lead singer/guitarist Jared Leto wasn’t just a musician, but also an actor. She told me she first saw him in Life, and at the time I had no idea what she was talking about. The show aired in 1994, meaning she was thirteen and I was three. The reason why I had no idea what she was talking about.

I now know exactly what she was talking about.

I stumbled upon My So-Called Life somewhat by accident. I was watching the movie Juno a week or two ago, and Ellen Page’s character made a reference to the show. At the time, I didn’t know it was a reference until I looked the movie up on IMDb (Internet Movie Database). For some reason, I have this obsession with looking up the various trivia/goofs to the movies I watch. It makes them more interesting. With my curiosity piqued, I opened a new tab and proceeded to go to Netflix’s website…And my curiosity was satisfied because indeed it was on Netflix. 

That, however, was a couple of weeks ago. I found out that My So-Called Life was on Netflix a couple of weeks ago and I just finished the nineteenth and final episode this morning. I started watching it yesterday morning and finished it this morning. I blame the fact that I couldn’t sleep, and the AMC show Breaking Bad. The reason why I didn’t pursue the nineteen episodes of Life right away was because I was catching up on the gritty and violent misadventures of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman that can only be Breaking Bad. Now, I can go on all day long about what a great show Bad is, but that isn’t the topic of my obsession today.

My So-Called Life is a great show. It’s a show that anyone who’s been through the torrential pressure and strange triumphs of high school can relate to. There’s this realistic vibe you get when watching it, like you’re actually in the hallways and classrooms of Liberty High. It sounds a little weird saying that because it aired eighteen years ago, but there a lot of shows/movies that I find myself liking that came out even earlier than ’94. It’s crazy that Claire Danes (main character Angela Chase) and Jared Leto (Angela’s love interest, Jordan Catalano) got recognized because of the show. It’s amazing to watch films like The Rainmaker and Romeo + Juliet (among many others), as well as Showtime series Homeland and think of how far Danes has come as an actress. The same thing can be said for Leto. With an extremely successful band and films like Fight Club, American Psycho and Lord Of War (among many others as well) under his belt, it’s also amazing to see how far he has come as an actor (not to mention a musician, but that is for another day entirely). 

During the short time it took me to complete the series, I felt an instant connection to Angela and all that was going on around her. Sure, I cannot relate to everything she experienced her sophomore year, but I definitely know how it feels to navigate through high school. One minute your accomplishments can make you feel on top of the world, and the next the pressures and expectations bestowed upon you (and every student for that matter), can shallow you whole. It’s honestly challenging some times. One day your best friend can indeed be your best friend, the next they’re your worst enemy. One day you think you know everything there is to know about your crush, the next they’re sending you those dreaded mixed messages and it’s like you’re invisible all over again…

Usually this is the part where I tend to spill too much about whatever I’m talking about, whether it be a movie, book, or in this case, a TV show. This time I will do no such thing. I could go on all day about what happens in the show, but that wouldn’t be fair to anyone who hasn’t seen it and honestly, who wants someone else raining on their parade? I’d say I’ve done pretty good so far. In not spilling the beans, that is. Anyone could tell you how a TV show or movie is, but to really connect with said TV show or movie, you have to see it for yourself.

…As I said before, My So-Called Life is a great show and the unlikely reason for the pumpkin-cookie-nostalgia I’m feeling…Yes, you read right. Pumpkin. Cookie. Nostalgia…I honestly didn’t think that when I watched the first episode (and all nineteen for that matter), that I would not only be able to connect and relate, but also that the fact that my sister lives some 2,000 miles away finally sunk in. It’s good to know that even though we’re apart, we can still connect in the most strangest of ways.

Sometimes the miles between don’t mean a thing.

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The Girl With The Raindrop Tattoo

I’m not going to go into a huge, senseless rant about how I haven’t blogged since February because honestly that’s boring and I really don’t want to write about something boring. It’s almost like the past two months have been lackluster but they certainly haven’t. I know I said that this year will be different as far as the writing is concerned, and it definitely will be. I just haven’t really had the impulse to write or didn’t think I had anything interesting to write about…Until right now.

Way back in January, I mentioned that I put a healthy dent in Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and thanks to Netflix, I watched all three Swedish films in the trilogy before I finished the novel. Strangely, it didn’t change how I felt about the book or stifled me from finishing the grand piece of work. Usually when I read a book, I’ve already seen the movie or I just end up losing interest in the novel because I already know the outcome of story. Sometimes it happens, other times it doesn’t. In the case with GWTDT, I found myself even more drawn into it and wanted to finish it at a quicker pace in order to get my hands on the next one. As I type, I’m currently involved with the third and final book in the installment, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest, and with 538 pages to go, I’d say I’m well on my way finishing the brilliant trilogy.

The reason why I say brilliant is because that’s exactly what it is. I remember when I first saw a preview or something on TV for the Swedish GWTDT, I didn’t really think much of  the book or really the movie for that matter. I just thought they were some films that looked pretty good that I would probably never watch because they were subtitled. While there’s nothing wrong with subtitles, I couldn’t picture myself sitting for however long the movie was, reading subtitles, trying to figure everything out. As time went on, I started to see the books together in box sets at different bookstores, and then my mom bought my sister The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo for either a birthday or Christmas gift. I don’t really remember which occasion. Regardless of the occasion, there’s no denying that the movie is pretty damn good as well. Both Swedish and American.

Most of the time it seems like when foreign films are taken over the ocean and made into American films, they tend to lack in some respects, whether it be character, plot, etc. This surprisingly cannot be said for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I think what truly made the American version is the character of Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara. Her portrayal of Lisbeth was amazing. I absolutely adored Noomi Rapace’s equally beautiful portrayal of Salander in the original film, but there is no real comparison because both women brought their own brand of fury and beauty to the character…Lisbeth is a character all her own, unlike any other heroine out there. She’s extremely intelligent and moralistic, but at the same time is damaged in a way, doing things in a way that no one else would think of. She’s the type of character that you can relate to without even realizing such relation was possible. The whole time I read the book, and while watching both films, I felt some kind of connection with Lisbeth. I’ve in no way shape or form had the type of life she as a character had experienced, but she has this almost real-life quality that makes you empathize and root for her, while still questioning her actions. It isn’t every day that you stumble upon a type of character with that kind of audacity…Both Rapace and Mara do an incredible justice to one of the most interesting and original characters to date.

Needless to say, I’ve gushed about how in love I am with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, (or technically the Millennium trilogy as it states on the back of The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) and is starting to sound like one big book/movie review, but it’s not so chill out. Aside from reading like there’s no tomorrow, I found my deeply hidden talent during that week of insanely beautiful weather in March. When I still worked the stock room and compactor last summer, I took one of the coffin-shaped boxes suits are packaged in off the line and vowed to paint something awesome onto it. Almost a year later, with a couple of months to spare, I finally broke out my acrylic paints and began to make magic. The result: A gnarled, spooky looking tree with a bright moon behind it and dark purple layered over an equally dark blue as a background. Below my masterpiece that is my awesome looking tree (if I do say so myself), is a red anchor, accented with yellow to portray as years-old rust, with an oddly colored green and red rope intertwining behind said anchor, all on a light blue backdrop. It doesn’t seem like I accomplished that much of it because there is only the front of the box completed, but when I look back and think about the time and effort I put into it, it’s definitely something to feel good about.

Around the same time I started to work on my painting masterpiece that is the coffin-shaped box, my sister was making plans to move out of the house in which she had been living. Not just out of her place of dwelling, but out of the state as well. This might not seem like a big deal and at first it honestly didn’t, then I started to think about it. I’d known she would be leaving for a while before it started to sink in. She and her fiancé had planned on moving sooner, but things didn’t turn out as hoped and it became postponed. They both visited the state many times and were very fond of it ever since. I remember she brought me back a pair of Orca whale earrings the second time she was there. She would be leaving the state the end of March and I wouldn’t be able to see either of them until they came across the country for a visit. I say across the country because it isn’t a state or two over.

My sister and her fiancé are now residing in Seattle, some 2,000 miles from Ohio. I have to admit, it’s a little weird not having her live in the same state anymore. Usually I could just text her and ask if I could come over and hang out, ask if she would want to get coffee or just plain hang out. I remember a couple of years ago on Halloween her and I made the best pumpkin roll I’ve ever had, and before she left for Washington, we made awesome oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and once again two of the best pumpkin rolls I’ve ever had. I may not be able to bake or hang out with her anymore, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost contact with her completely. We still text, she reads my blog and we’re both on Facebook…Oh where would the world be without it?…At least we’re using the site for what it was meant for, reconnecting. Whatever distance we are from each other, we’re never completely apart.

The month of April consisted of one of the three ‘Friday the 13ths’ we shall see this year, and while I’m not superstitious in any sense of the word, it hit me like it never had before. I woke up as I usually would, make myself some coffee, when out of nowhere, I felt this pain in my right side. At first I thought it was nothing, and just wrote it off as an ache or something. How foolish of me. The pain only got worse. I lay on the couch in the most pain I’ve ever been in my life. Yes, you read right. The most pain I’ve ever had in my life. This is coming from the girl with the raindrop tattoo. (If you read the post about my first tattoo, then you understand the reference). I remember I laid there for an hour, frustrated and fed up with it, when it stopped hurting altogether. I then proceeded to get on with my day, free of the pain my in side…Or so I thought. Some three and a half hours later, I was in pain again worse than what I started out with. At 9 ‘o clock I finally decided it was time to go to the emergency room. I’ve said before I have a high pain tolerance, but there’s only so much a person can take.

Long story short, after spending somewhere around 3 hours at the hospital, watching Storage Wars and Deadliest Catch, the verdict was ruled that I had developed kidney stones. Kidney stones. I then found out that individuals with Crohn’s Disease are more prone to kidney stones. I was given a prescription for pain, instructions to drink plenty of fluids and make an appointment with a urologist. After making the appointment with the urologist and having a CT scan done, it was determined that I indeed did not have a kidney stone. All the symptoms considered it be in fact a kidney stone, but in the end there was nothing there. Once I received this news, my urologist said that it could be something else, like a lump in the meat of my kidney. A lump in the meat of my kidney. Gross. After I had another procedure done, the verdict was that there was nothing wrong with me. In conclusion, I have no idea what caused me to have that pain and might never know. The story of my life as far as my health is concerned.

From my current obsession with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy and my almost masterpiece of a painting to everything in between, I’d say the past two months have been interesting to say the least. I wonder what the next couple months will bring. Only time will tell I guess…And you can be sure I’ll actually be blogging about it.

I’m the girl with the raindrop tattoo…I know exactly where I belong.

The Nerve/The Legend

Something just came to my attention. Well, a while ago actually…I’m not sure if it matters or if it’s that big of a deal, but I think it proves a fact. People will gravitate to someone after something very tragic happens. It’s almost like no one pays that much attention to that person, and then when something unexpected happens, they flock to the scene. It seems like that’s sort of what happened with late actor Heath Ledger. My friend brought it up, and it had me thinking a bit.

You’re probably asking how I came to this realization…I saw the movie Lords of Dogtown for the first time, and my friend brought it up before the movie started.

As bad as it might sound, it is true. After people learned that Heath Ledger had passed, it seemed like all of a sudden people were huge fans of him. It seemed like everyone immediately recognized him as the Joker in The Dark Knight, completely forgetting about the movies he’d played in before, probably because they didn’t know the movies he’d played in prior to The Dark Knight. Focus only on a movie everyone knows, instead of the ones that got him the start to be able to play in his most well-known picture. That’s original.

With all honesty involved here, I first fell in love with Heath Ledger as an actor when I saw 10 Things I Hate About You. I didn’t know that it was a modern adaptation of The Taming Of The Shrew until I’d seen it a couple times and found out from my sister, but that didn’t really make a difference. He played the character of Patrick Verona perfectly, and I don’t think the movie would’ve been the same without him as the rebel who ends up having a little of a soft side.

The next movie I’d seen Ledger in was The Patriot, as a part of a school project in the 8th grade. I’m pretty sure I’d missed the beginning of the movie because I wasn’t in school when it started, but I’d seen the rest of it. His role as Gabriel Martin, a patriot’s son, is a far-cry from that of Verona in 10 Things but that’s the entire idea of acting. I distinctly remember that some of the girls sitting in front of me thought that he wasn’t bad-looking, which honestly, he wasn’t. They thought this for most of the movie until…They found out that he was one of the main characters in the controversial, award-winning film Brokeback Mountain. I can’t say that I wasn’t shocked upon learning that Heath Ledger was to play opposite of Jake Gyllenhaal in the particular role he was in, but I didn’t lose any respect for him. Yeah, I was pretty surprised and what have you, but whether you’re in a provocative role or not, something new to you or not, it doesn’t change you as a person. You’re still the same person once you leave the set of whatever movie you’re shooting or whatever it is you’re doing. Some people, I think, don’t understand that.

Another Ledger film, that I still haven’t seen all of, is Candy, filmed in his native of Australia. From what I saw of it, the movie isn’t hard to follow, but is very raw and real. The story of Candy revolves around the complicated and deadly love between artist Candy and poet Dan. Their love that was once strong and stable, gives way to Dan’s heroin addiction and swirls into something they never saw coming. Like any movie that focuses on more of the real world than some are willing to accept, it really makes you think about how some people live their lives and what happens when some kind of dependency ruins a part of them or in the process, destroys someone else. The other film I still haven’t managed to watch all of is A Knight’s Tale. I swear, it’s been on a million times and I’ve never seen the whole thing. A Knight’s Tale, inspired by The Canterbury Tales, came out after 10 Things and seems to be one of the movies other than The Dark Knight that people seem to recognize him in. Don’t get me wrong, The Dark Knight displays one of Ledger’s best performances via the Oscar that he won, but there was more that led up to that point. While Candy shows real life in a present-day, on the receiving end of an addict in love with the two very different things in his life, A Knight’s Tale shows real life in a completely different time, on the receiving end of a squire who fills his dead master’s shoes, literally, with his jousting talents.

The last movie I saw Heath Ledger in was, as with almost everyone in the entire world, The Dark Knight. Before I’d seen the movie, I heard a lot about how the classic villain wasn’t the same criminal that was portrayed by Jack Nicholson or that of Cesar Romero before him. Every actor has their own way of portraying characters and Ledger’s rendering was no exception. While Nicholson and Romero’s interpretations of The Joker seemed clean and well-kept (for a criminal) as far as make-up and clothing go, Ledger’s version was more gritty and rough, via the smudged make-up and cleverly stylish mismatched clothes. Out of all three actors’ perspectives on the classic character and his deranged nature, it seems like Ledger’s interpretation was unexpected. The very core of his character bleeds with the corruption and insanity of a society driven under, something that previous outlooks didn’t display in such the manner that you get chills down your spine.

Most people are quick to believe that The Dark Knight is the Australian actor’s last movie before his untimely passing…and they’re right for the most part. The fantasy film, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, would have been Ledger’s final finished movie, but everything doesn’t always work out how it should…Oddly enough, the movie still manages to work out. The main character, Tony, is able to go travel through this imaginarium (via the title) and as he travels, his image changes. Upon Ledger’s untimely departure, the role of Tony was taken by Johnny Depp, Jude Law, and Colin Farrell, working out perfectly since Tony’s character looks different every time he goes through the imaginarium. Even though the film didn’t finish with Ledger fully present, I would still like to see it for myself and see how good it is.

The whole time I watched Lords of Dogtown, I wasn’t thinking about the comment my friend made beforehand, but how I would’ve like to live in California in the 1970’s. I could honestly picture summer, the sun all around, watching people skateboard in empty swimming pools, so care-free without a worry in sight. Aside from the fact I was thinking about summer in California, I felt pretty educated because I honestly never knew where the sport/culture of skateboarding started. I had really never thought about it, and after the movie ended, I still felt proud that I knew how it all started. It’s pretty amazing how something so simple as a way to kill time could be the next big sport. I was also amazed to know that the movie was written by Stacy Peralta…The Stacy Peralta. One of the three individuals that started the skateboarding movement and went on to become a legend. That definitely made me smile. Just learning and knowing how the legends actually became legends, it was 100% worth it.

Seeing Dogtown was (as I just said) definitely worth it. Not only did it feature the beloved and missed Heath Ledger, but it also showcased the origin of how skateboarding started and how the legends came to be. That’s the beauty about movies sometimes, you learn little (or big) facts that you never knew before. May Mr. Ledger rest in peace and the heart & soul of skateboarding live on.

Life is a joyride of non-stop ups and downs. Live every day and regret nothing.

Happy Birthday, Amy!

Today is, as you know, August 31st. The last day of August, but it’s not just the last day of August. It’s also my sister’s birthday.

So I just wanted to say Happy Birthday, Amy! I know that ever few days she reads my blog, and tells me what she thinks about my posts and which are her favorites. I know she’ll stumble upon this entry first, unless I stay up late writing another post, (which I won’t!) but I’m sure this will be the first one she and everyone who visits my page will see. 🙂

Happy Birthday, Amy! I hope you had a really good birthday. I know I didn’t share it with you, but I did help pick out your present. 😉

Happy Birthday! Love you!