Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Groovin' Together

I've been using Grooveshark for awhile now, but I've only recently started to use it to share playlists with friends. It all started with my friend, Lauryn, who I met through my TEFL program. She has great taste in music and I wanted to keep the music dialogue going even after she went back home to Alabama, so we started sharing playlists with each other and it's loads of fun. I'm discovering new music all the time, which is perfect

Sooo, if you're interested, add me! My user name is the same name you see up in the URL, before the blogspot part :)

Here are two songs I'm lovin' at the moment:

"Excuses" by The Morning Benders

"Please" by Ray LaMontagne

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Feel You, Girl.

The other day, while reading about reading, and the authors that make reading possible, I stumbled upon the name Anne Lamott. She's been on my radar for awhile and I've been told on quite a few occasions that I should read her, so when I saw her name and her book on a list of "must reads" for people interested in writing, I decided to read up on Ms. Lamott. Three minutes into reading excerpts from her books, I decided to purchase Bird by Bird. I am impatiently awaiting its arrival.

By the end of my "Lamott excerpt session", I had compiled a long list of quotations by her and emailed them to myself. I also emailed one to my friend, Rachael. It was one I figured she could nod to herself emphatically while reading. (I know I did.)

Rach liked the quote so much that she posted it on Facebook. What followed was an interesting conversation on gender, culminating in 18 comments in a very short time. And rather than fill the Facebook feed with my input, I decided to take to my very own blog.

Here's the quote:

"Part of me loves and respects men so desperately, and part of me thinks they are so embarrassingly incompetent at life and in love. You have to teach them the very basics of emotional literacy. You have to teach them how to be there for you, and part of me feels tender toward them and gentle, and part of me is so afraid of them, afraid of any more violation."
-Anne Lamott

I imagine if you're a [straight] man reading that, the first reaction is one of defensiveness. She's using a word that no person wants to hear- incompetent. Who wants to be described as in incompetent? I don't. But sometimes I am. And sometimes men are. And sometimes men are incompetent in very similar ways to one another.

I agree with this quote. I agree with every part of it. I do love and respect men desperately, yet I do not think there is one topic more turned on its head more frequently in my life more than the "What the hell is WITH men?!" topic. I am 25 years old and I have not lived much, and I certainly have not loved much. I'm not even sure if I have fully. Probably not. But I'm able to read a thought by a fully grown woman and completely relate. I'm trying to figure out if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I'm having a "THIS is what I have to look forward to?! MORE of this?!" moment right now.

I think that a thought like this, a thought that so many of us women (young, old and in between) can probably relate to, mustn't be discounted. This is a feeling that is true to many women because it has been experienced.

Cave woman probably drew on the walls about this...
-"So, then he grunted and so now I'm like, 'WHAT does that even MEAN!?'"
-"Girrrrl, sure beats the hell out of me."

One of the scariest parts of falling in love IS the fear of violation, of vulnerability and confusion mixed with the desperation, admiration and love. It's terrifying to fall in love with another being who's hormonal and chemical make up is different than yours, who literally sees no problem where you see ten and whose emotional communication is not enough when you feel like yours is at a surplus.

It sucks and it's wonderful. Sometimes simultaneously.

I don't think this quote is a dig at men, but rather an acknowledgement of something that straight women all feel at some point. Is this all men? No. I was raised by an extraordinary man, who happens to be, in my unprofessional opinion, the best dad in the world. (My mom, however, might admit to cracking the whip from time to time, along with his phenomenal mother back in the day.) I've also dated some real winners and maybe one day I'll like one for long enough to say "Hey, you're cool. Let's have a baby!" to him. Maybe.

That being said, I think that there are plenty of commiserations shared amongst men (in brief exchanges, of course) about the complexities of our fair female species. W.C. Fields once said, "All women are crazy; it's only a question of degree." And y'know, I can see why he'd say that. And I could also counter that with the fact that oftentimes men drive us crazy, but then I'd be here for as long as this back and forth has been going on...an eternity.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Total Eclipse of the Heart

So, I saw Eclipse the other night.

BEFORE you judge harshly, consider the following:

1.) I went with my class and it was the only movie in English playing at the theater.
2.) See above.

I haven't seen the other Twilight movies, mostly because I have heard that they totally suck AND because they have yet to be played on a loop on TBS or TNT on a random Sunday afternoon, which is when I usually prefer to watch movies that totally suck. That being said, I didn't go into this expecting much, so I was able to enjoy my time watching the film and giggling at the cheese.

Yeah, it sucked. It wasn't the worst movie I've ever seen in my life, but it was pretty awful. I guess I can see why twelve year-olds are taking this stuff to heart, but I'm kind of perplexed about basically anyone over twelve who does. Robert Pattinwhatever has a strange, pale glow for the entire film, making him appear considerably less attractive and Kristen Stewwhocares' character has eerie fake brown eyes. I can't help but think that fake brown eyes make someone look kind of lifeless and empty. Also, why does she have to have them? Is it a MUST? I'm confused.

I did not see any real indication that the main couple had an amazingly romantic and cool relationship. Maybe that's because I missed all the romantic and cool stuff in the first two movies, but something tells me (a.k.a. everyone I know that has seen it) that I didn't miss much. In that same vein, does anyone else notice that this relationship is completely unhealthy, co-dependent and possessive?! This girl needs to get out and FAST. She's dating a guy that can read thoughts and has no soul...RUN!

Okay, but my biggest beef with this story is the fact that this girl is planning on giving up her life, losing her soul, and becoming a blood-sucking monster for this guy, BUT, BUT, BUT! They absolutely must NOT have sex until marriage. This is the part of the story where I remembered the fact that a Mormon house-wife writes this crap. Sure ladies, SELL YOUR SOUL FOR A MAN, BUT DO NOT HAVE SEX WITH HIM UNTIL DOING SO!

I'm actually not enraged about this at all, though the caps lock may indicate otherwise. I just think it's a shame that this is what the little people are all wrapped-up in these days. Today is the 15th anniversary of the release of Clueless and sure, it was about shopping and boys and parties, but it was also sharp, witty and fun. As IF this Twilight crap can even hold a candle to that gem. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

And plus, I'd take Paul Rudd over Robert Pattindork any day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

We. Are. Golden.

I'm pretty sure everyone wishes that they had a soundtrack to their lives. I do. I really, really do. That would be so cool. It would also completely validate the already melodramatic thoughts I have in my brain everyday.

Along that same vein, I've always dreamed of making a hilarious, but heart-felt music video with friends. I mean, who hasn't? Sooo, as my departure approached last spring, I decided that I had to do a music video with my two best guys/gays, Nate and Dustin. What better time than just before I dramatically depart for the wilds of Latin America (or something like that)?

So, we got together on an unseasonably cold (you can't tell from my outfit but I was FREEZING) spring afternoon and made a video to Mika's "Happy Ending". Nate learned how to edit and put it all together in ONE day. He and Dustin Skyped me for the premier two nights ago...I've been gone for almost two months now and I think this is the part where I start feeling a little home-sick from time to time and reflecting on the things and people I miss. I am so happy to be here, but sometimes, when a Friday night (or a Tuesday or a Wednesday...) rolls around, I'd like nothing more than to be giggling between my two favorite boys. Needless to say, this brought tears to my eyes.

The following video was improv'd on the spot, is completely cheesy, over-the-top, and in my opinion, a dorktastic masterpiece. Enjoy! (Oh, and there's 9 minutes of this cheese, so don't stop watching after the first song!)

PS- My friends don't do coke...those double image shots are from a photo project that Nate did.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The 4th

A few (fellow American) people have recently asked me if Costa Rica celebrates July 4th. I understand it could be a simple assumption, considering the United State's empirical pull across the world...but no, as far as I can tell, there were no BBQ's, parades or fireworks in honor of the USA, in this, another country, today. Go figure.

Although, maybe I wouldn't be completely surprised, as I struggle to find an obvious, defined culture here in Costa Rica, between the Hooters, Wendy's, and True Value. Sure, I feel at home, but that wasn't the point, was it? Two of the five classes I'm teaching take place in offices, and my students are employees whose companies have been bought out by American corporations and are now required to learn English. One of these students simply does not want to learn, but will lose his job if he doesn't. Yeah. Not quite as enriching as the other classes I teach in a school with willing learners.

I wish I could say that my heart-strings feel a tug when I hear the US national anthem. I wish I could say that simply seeing the American flag fills me with a proud warmth...but it doesn't. It would be nice, though, wouldn't it? If all the things that our songs, anthems, banners and signs claim to represent were true? Wouldn't it be great if the United States of America were brave, revolutionary and bold?

I know, how dare I expect more of and question my home country?! Why not just sing the songs and wave the flag and pretend that because my white, upper-middle class existence has been cushy, cozy and all too comfortable, that must mean that America is really not so bad.

I was glad to see I'm not alone in my sentiment (or lack thereof) as I read Howard Zinn's "Put Away the Flags" and Matthew Rothschild's "Why I Don't Celebrate the Fourth" in The Progressive today:

We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation.

- Howard Zinn

American patriotism has also gotten in the way of solving global warming. Many in the United States, which consumes 25 percent of the world’s resources but has just 4 percent of the world’s population, believe we have the God-given right to use up all the resources we can. And there is an all-too-common attitude that we don’t need to listen to any other countries, or the U.N., or obey any international agreements because we’re Americans, and we’re better than everybody else.

- Matthew Rothschild