Wednesday, March 26, 2008

don't blink or you'll miss it

I have so many things I want to tell you. So many ideas that crop up quickly, like those intense momentary wind gusts in the desert that seem to come out of nowhere and sting your legs with flying sand, but then, just as suddenly, fall quiet. What was that thing I was thinking? That thing that made me lose track of the present and wash the same dinner plate over and over so many times? It seemed important then, but now, I don't remember.

Have you read a particularly good book lately? Fiction? What I need is a decent novel. Someone who knows me well enough thinks I'm hard to please, but I'll tell you what I think: I think I have an abysmal track record for picking real doozies. Books, Movies, What have you. So it's not that I don't like *anything*, it's that I have such varied, unpredictable tastes that I try a little bit of everything and I have to slog through plenty before I find some that fit just right.

Of course, it may also be argued that I might (and this is purely speculation for while I am an expert at resorting to snappy self-deprecating retorts for humor's sake, I never say anything overtly incriminating, a gal's got to have a little bit of mystery, after all) be a little bit of a contrarian. I've been considering this quite a bit recently. I can be contrary. I don't know how to get along with everyone but I do know how to take the dissenting opinion. This applies to lots of things, media, fashion, lifestyle choices, presidential candidates.

I don't care to discuss politics at length, but I will say this: It's hard for me to look at the current campaign without seeing a fat, fast moving bandwagon. Just guess how I feel about bandwagons. It boils down to this. I don't care for the masses. If the masses care for something, then I can assume it's not for me. This fuzzy logic has proven true more often than not. Which is why I'm having a very difficult time considering Obama's rising popularity as more than a parade, people falling in line just because the line is long and people are in line. I see a lot of enthusiasm. And? A lot of enthusiasm. This cynic isn't blowing horns for anybody yet.

The truth is, the more popular something (some one, whatever) becomes, the more suspicious I am. So if I am building a reputation as a curmudgeon, I supposed it's deserved. I'm a jolly curmudgeon, though. Not one of those surly ones. I never (okay, rarely) rap angrily on the window at passers-by from inside my house and I only smell like urine a little.

You saw Blades of Glory, right? Will Farrell? That urine line had me laughing for days, but it was all in his delivery. I don't really stink. But I do contradict myself, all the time. I have a soft spot for the basest comedies. I still quote Chris Farley movies with my sister and I find Will Farrell hilarious. It's true. You couldn't pick me out of line up of the hoi polloi if you tried.

I've made two bad comedy movie picks in a row, though, and I didn't find them funny at all. Not the 40 year old Virgin and not, definitely not, Superbad. Just because I loved Michael Cera in Arrested Development and just because I had so recently watched and adored Freaks and Geeks, in which Seth Rogen plays a part, does not mean I should assume their respective future projects will appeal to me in the same way. I didn't make it past the first twenty minutes or so, but if the masses made it a blockbuster, I'll gladly be the grumpy curmudgeon calling bullshit from the corner. Because it wasn't funny to me at all.

I haven't seen so many other movies lately. When I discovered NBC was streaming The Office online, we watched all of the current season, which we hadn't seen, and got all caught up. It does make me laugh. See, and that's popular, right? I'm right there with you. Movies often feel like such a time investment. I can much more easily commit to watching one, okay just one more, television episode than a whole full length feature film.

Oh, but this isn't about movies! This was just an incredibly roundabout, freewritey way of saying that, yeah, sometimes I like regular old stuff that you probably like, too. I'm overdue a trip to the library and I need something compelling and brilliant and life changing to read. Or, you know, something Not Terrible. I'm easy.


Lisa said...

I really like Chris Farley and Will Ferrell too. I haven't seen Blades of Glory, because we don't usually find the time to watch a full movie either.

I'll try to think about some good books. I usually read a lot then can't remember any of the titles that I read.

Angelina said...

Oh man, I've been reading mostly nonfiction on the rare occasions I read at all. Which is rare these days.

And then when I do read fiction? It's usually mysteries or Jane Austen style books.

I suppose you've read some or all J.D. Salinger's work? Because that makes me think of you. You love "Grapes Of Wrath" and so I also wonder if you'd like Carsen McCullers? I think she's very dark but I also think that about Steinbeck.

"The Secret Life Of Bees" was a book I really enjoyed a lot by Sue Monk Kidd.

That's all I've got.

by Johanna Brandvik said...

Reading? What's that? Amazing how few books have graced my bed stand since having children! However I did recently read Joan Didion's The Magical Year of Thinking. It's not at all joyful, but I really sunk my teeth into it...which is rare.

april. said...

yes, angelina, i do like Carson McCullers!

i also did like the secret life of bees okay, i had some gripes about it, but it kept me entertained. her second book, though? terrible! i do not recommend!

johanna- i very much enjoyed the year of magical thinking which i read when it first came out, i think. you're right, not at all joyful, but important. i liked it so well that i read some of didion's fiction, too.

jess said...

okay, i'll give it a shot.... did you ever read 'the namesake' by jhumpa lahiri? i read it several years back and just saw the film directed by mira nair. both were good- the movie was beautiful and the book was well written and wrenching in places.

i attempted nick hornby's new book 'slam' but it came due before i got past the first chapter. adolescent boys and skateboarding? uh... i think i'll try again though because i do so like nick hornby.

april. said...

jess, the namesake has been on my 'mean to' list for a while. i'll see if the library has it. i read lahiri's short story collection Interpretor of Maladies a couple of years ago and it is wonderfully good.