the fall film challenge: my list

August 23, 2019

one. richard armitage: brain on fire.
two. sean astin: the goonies.
three. sean bean: mirror mirror.
four. cate blanchett: song to song.
five. orlando bloom: new york i love you.
six. billy boyd: the flying scotsman.
seven. marton csokas: the amazing spiderman two.
eight. benedict cumberbatch: war horse.
nine. john rhys-davies: aquaman.
ten. luke evans: midway.
eleven. martin freeman: ode to joy.
twelve. ian holm: young winston.
thirteen. christopher lee: the three musketeers.
fourteen. evangeline lilly: avengers: end game.
fifteen. ian mckellan: stardust.
sixteen. dominic monaghan: soldiers of fortune.
seventeen. viggo mortensen: green book.
eighteen. mirando otto: the daughter.
nineteen. lee pace: captain marvel.
twenty. andy serkis: inkheart.
twenty-one. liv tyler: dr. t and the women.
twenty-two. karl urban: red.
twenty-three. hugo weaving: the dressmaker.
twenty-five. elijah wood: green street hooligans.

the fall film challenge

July 31, 2019

begins one minute past twelve a.m. september first / concludes midnight november thirtieth. you may NOT use a movie you have already seen, even in part (excluding trailers), for this challenge. all films MUST be new to you. all selections MUST have a page on the internet movie database and MUST have (had) a theatrical release. titles released outside of the united states are acceptable.

in previous challenges, membership to the fall film challenge facebook group was a requirement for prize eligibility. that is NOT the case this year. if you choose not to join the group, please find ways to communicate your progress with me so that i can keep accurate lists and ensure prizes are awarded correctly. once you've selected your films for the categories, post your choices to the group's page or email it to quirkypickings at icloud dot com so i may add your selections to the master list and, if necessary, upload the correlating stills to the galleries. there are eight photo albums, arranged by decade, on the group's page. once an individual has seen a film, he or she leaves a comment on the corresponding image saying when it was viewed and for what category so i can track progress. if you are not a member of the group and are in communication with me, i will make the necessary notes to stills representing your selections.

each film is valued at ten points. changes after the challenge has begun ARE acceptable.

the first five people to complete the challenge prior to november thirtieth will each receive either an amazon or itunes, as is preferred, gift card valued at ten dollars. if you complete the original list, you will be eligible to compete in the bonus round, the details of which will be revealed october fifteenth. the person to accumulate the most points at the event's conclusion will receive an amazon gift card valued at fifty dollars.

"this is a serious journey, not a hobbit walking-party"
(peregrin took -- as written by j.r.r. tolkien in lord of the rings: the fellowship of the ring)

and so this year, we celebrate the cast of tolkien's tales. choose one film for each actor.

richard armitage
sean astin
sean bean
cate blanchett
orlando bloom
billy boyd
marton csokas
benedict cumberbatch
john rhys-davies
luke evans
martin freeman
ian holm
christopher lee
evangeline lilly
ian mckellan
dominic monaghan
viggo mortensen
mirando otto
lee pace
andy serkis
liv tyler
karl urban
hugo weaving
david wenham
elijah wood

seventeen weeks, two days

July 8, 2019

that's how long it's been since i've posted anything. seventeen weeks. that's a LONG time. i'm sorry to have been so absent. i haven't had anything new to say.

i spent much of march and april fighting a hellacious and tenacious sinus infection. it was so severe it caused significant bouts of vomiting. i was unthrilled. i've never been that sick for that long in my life. i'd started to worry it was something more severe, but no... it's just allergies.

i've rejoined bumble. because i'm an idiot. glutton for punishment. i actually drove to katy to meet a guy last weekend. i drove. something's wrong with this, right? when... W H E N is a guy i find interesting going to think enough of me to make the effort? when am i going to get a damned clue that if I'M the one making the effort, he's not worth the time and energy. WHY, W H Y do always, A L W A Y S feel as though i've to convince a dude of my worth.

and, goddammit, i have value.

of course there are those dudes who make the effort, and the words that come out of their mouths are so wrong... and then i feel guilty for being so judgmental. i don't need a man to impress me with this exhaustive, fifty-dollar-word vocabulary. i've spent years studying english and creative writing from some of the finest professors in the state, and one of the first rules they teach you in writing is don't use fifty-dollar words when fifty-cent ones will do. if you use fancy schmancy words in dialogue, i'm going to assume you're a pretentious son of a bitch, and i don't need that kind of man in my life. on the other hand, if you spell words like later like l8r, i'm going to assume you're a lazy son of a bitch, and i don't need that kind of man in my life, either.

i keep doing this. i keep hoping it will be different, and it never is.

see? nothing new. but it's been seventeen weeks and two days... i didn't want yall to think i'd forgotten about you or that i'd disappeared. i'm here.

the unreliable narrator

March 9, 2019

i don't know how old i was when i learned i had cerebral palsy. i suspect it was when i was ten, when i had to have the third of six surgeries... the first one i was old enough to remember. i had a navel hernia -- something to do with the abdominal wall and a hole... and if it's not fixed, your stomach could mesh with your intestines and you die. or at least that's what i remember from the explanation of the thing all those years ago. i'd been suffering suicidal ideation for two years by this point in my life. i would've preferred death, but... i was ten. my parents found a doctor and scheduled the surgery and here i am.

i'm always amazed at how full of irony life can be. seconds before i'd begun typing this, the group messaging app used by the gals in a bible study i've been attending started sounding off notifications. a friend's husband was life-flighted today and had a surgery that lasted eleven hours, the results of which have so far been unsuccessful. it's funny to me how the ones who don't want to live get to linger, and the ones whose lives are so detrimental to the well-being of others can be snatched away in seconds. i'm writing about the need for a patch in my abdominal wall... and another's in need of the patch in his heart. the patch in mine worked. the patch in his isn't.

i've been volunteering at a christian academy since september. the kids are out for spring break this coming week. wednesday next, i'll be presenting at the school's chapel service. i'll be talking about the fruits of the spirit -- one in particular: faithfulness.

i've shared some of the details of my story with the gals in the bible study. the other day, one of them commended me for my faith. i was surprised by the compliment.

there's some passage in the bible about how we're fearfully and wonderfully made. fearfully. yes. absolutely. i am full of fear. wonderfully? i call bullshit.

i was browsing through netflix and came across the theory of everything. i can't watch the whole thing. i can't. i HATE seeing how the body is ravaged, how its destruction ruined so much, was so catastrophic to so many and in so many ways.

what i have, it's nothing compared to lou gehrig's disease. my body isn't rotting. but i recognize the anger stephen hawking may have felt in the days... the decades after his diagnosis. i've been PISSED at mine for almost all my life. and i've been pissed at me for being pissed because, as my mother has said over and over again, i can do so many things.

it'll get worse as i get older, though. and at some point, i'm not going be able to keep my muscles from spasming... and the heart... it's a muscle, too. most of the time, i think this can't come soon enough. i dread it, though. i dread how this disability is going to break me.

this is the story i've chosen to tell... this one of anger and hate and fearfulness. i played the part of the unreliable narrator. i've become so accustomed to the role, i don't know how to make the necessary corrections.

what was i thinking? how could i possibly begin to talk to ten-year-olds about faithfulness?

because one reading challenge isn't enough

January 13, 2019

okay. so i'm gonna try my hand at this year's pop sugar reading challenge. i spent the morning at brio's with a couple of friends chewing over the list and the books on my to-be-read shelves and have come up with this list:

one. a book becoming a movie in 'nineteen. the rosie project by graeme simsion.
two. a book that makes you nostalgic. every last word by tamara ireland stone.
three. a book written by a musician (fiction or nonfiction). this life i live by rory feek.
four. a book becoming you think should be turned into a movie. the last summer of you and me by anna brashares.
five. a book with at least a million goodreads' ratings. the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime by haddon.
six. a book with a plant in the title or on the cover. the care and handling of roses with thorns by margaret dilloway.
seven. a reread of a favorite book. lovers and dreamers by nora roberts.
eight. a book about a hobby. let's pretend this never happened by jenny lawson.
nine. a book you meant to read in 'eighteen. elinor oliphant is completely fine by gail honeyman.
ten. a book with pop, sugar or challenge in the title. the sugar queen by sarah addison allen.
eleven. a book with an item of clothing or accessory on the cover. the seven rules of elvira carr by maynard.
twelve. a book inspired by myth/legend/folklore. the lord of the rings by j.r.r. tolkien.
thirteen. a book published posthumously. the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society by shaffer and barrows.
fourteen. a book you see someone reading on television or in a movie. dandelion wine by ray bradbury.
fifteen. a retelling of a classic. alice i have been by melanie benjamin.
sixteen. a book with a question in the title. where'd you go bernadette by maria semple.
seventeen a book set on a college or university campus. maybe someday by colleen hoover.
eighteen. a book about someone with a superpower. miss peregrine's home for peculiar children by simsion.
nineteen. a book told from multiple points of view. the bookshop at water's end by patti callahan henry.
twenty. a book set in space. the martian by andy weir.
twenty-one. a book by two female authors. between the lines by jodi picoult and samantha van leer.
twenty-two. a book with salty, sweet, bitter or spicy in the title. hotel on the corner of bitter and sweet by jamie ford.
twenty-three. a book set in scandinavia. bear town by fredrik backman.
twenty-four. a book that takes place in a single day. one hundred two minutes by jim dwyer and kevin flynn.
twenty-five. a debut novel. reconstructing amelia by kimberly mcreight.
twenty-six. a book that's published in 'nineteen. all we could have been by t.e. carter.
twenty-seven. a book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature. the hobbit by j.r.r. tolkien.
twenty-eight. a book recommended by a celebrity you admire. where the crawdads sing by delia owens.
twenty-nine. a book with love in the title. love walked in by marisa de los santos.
thirty. a book featuring an amateur detective. the lake house by kate morton.
thirty-one. a book about a family. the weird sisters by eleanor brown.
thirty-two. a book by an author from asia, africa or s. america. the number one ladies' detective agency by smith.
thirty-three. a book with a zodiac sign or astrology term in the title. water for elephants by sara gruen.
thirty-four. a book that includes a wedding. the glass kitchen by linda francis lee.
thirty-five. a book by one whose first and last names begin with the same letter. probability of miracles by wunder.
thirty-six. a ghost story. a room away from the wolves by nova ren suma.
thirty-seven. a book with a two-word title. saving june by hannah harrington.
thirty-eight. a novel based on a true story. the promise by ann weisgarber.
thirty-nine. a book revolving around a puzzle or a game. legendary by stephanie garber.
forty. your favorite prompt from a past popsugar reading challenge. furiously happy by jenny lawson.

random quarter

January 5, 2019

one. three things i like about myself: intelligence, compassion, generosity.

two. three things i dislike about myself: insecurity, temper, laziness.

three. the happiest person i know: michelle.

four. the two people i like and respect the most and why: aurora and cynthia because they are like sunshine.

five. i am: a child of god, one who is never quite happy with her lot in life.

six. the five qualities i most admire in others: perceptiveness, honesty, dedication, resilience and affability.

seven. my mission: to last the day.

eight. what i would attempt if i knew i could not fail: the things that come to mind are ideas put in my head by family and friends, and i am not confident that these wants are truthfully my own so i don't feel comfortable with this topic.

nine. five people who can help you achieve your goals: the only goal i have now is to survive the day, and the people i would most like to have near me for that are aurora, cynthia, erin, rebecca and traci.

ten. five things i've been procrastinating doing: cleaning out the closet, creating a prayer corner--a war room--in my bedroom, cleaning out my vehicle, applying for full-time employment and cleaning out my storage unit.

eleven. ways to make monday magical: i welcome ideas for this one. all i can think of is allowing myself a long, hot soak in fragrant bubbles and salts whilst sipping a glass of some kind of a white.

twelve. do you know how amazing you truly are? no. no, i do not.

thirteen. natural gifts: i can sing. that's pretty much it.

fourteen: wonders of the world i'd like to see: the great barrier reef, the grand canyon and the northern lights.

fifteen. ancestral lands i'd like to visit: austria, ireland and scotland.

sixteen. i've always wanted to: attend a red sox game at fenway park; drive the length of route sixty-six; drive the length of highway one; take the train across the country; spend a week on a beach in fiji.

seventeen. if the average lifespan is an estimated twenty-seven thousand, three hundred seventy-five days, how many do you have left? ten thousand seven hundred seven.

eighteen. what did you worry about six months ago? a year ago? five years ago? my well-being. always me first because i'm a vain woman. my biggest fear in life is that i would become a spinster, and yes, that has come to pass.

nineteen. when was the last time you did something for the first time? december twenty-fifth: i played game of thrones settlers of catan with my mother.

twenty. about what are you passionate? nothing.

twenty-one. what is something you've always wanted to do but haven't done? know romantic love.

twenty-two. how will you change the world? no fucking clue.

twenty-three. about what do you care? my family and friends.

twenty-four. how do you want to be remembered? for my heart... as scarred as it is, it is good.

twenty-five. people who have made you feel appreciated and special: amelia, megan, cassady, jace, maylee, elizabeth, nicki, luke, landon, liberty, colton, piper, cam, bentley and justin.

the (extremely belated) fall film challenge update: november

December 28, 2018

once again, i lost my film-viewing mojo. i worked on a bonus list but didn't post it because i didn't love it. i actually watched four films, not three, but damned if i can remember what the third one was, and of course i didn't log them in the facebook group, so...

one. sing. yall, i can't STAND matthew mcconaughey, but he was PERFECT for this movie. he did GOOD. i liked his character. i liked the story. STRONG cast. the first half is MUCH better than the second. the end was disappointing. had the first half been as weak as the second, i NEVER would've made it through the movie. it was cute. not one i'd want to see again.

two. the first time. found this one on netflix. i didn't love the beginning, but i couldn't bring myself to turn it off -- maybe because i liked the characters. the story was kind of weak, though. the ending was okay. not one i'd want to see again, but i wouldn't turn it off it were on.

three. fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald. yall, i am SO, SO over johnny depp, and i can't tell you how much it pains me to say this because i've been in awe of his skills and work for much of my adult life. but now when i see him on screen... ugh. jude law, though. i still love him. i LOVE, LOVE him as dumbledore. i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE jk rowling for giving us such glorious magic. this one was GOOD. i liked it better than the first. i'd watch it again and again.

so... how'd the rest of the crew do? AMAZING!!! this was a magical year, yall! i'm SO impressed.

november tally:

stephanie: FIFTY
dani: FORTY-ONE 
christine: twenty-five 
andrea: twenty-five
kathryn: twenty-five
velvet: twenty-five
joanna: twenty-four
kirsten: twenty-three
alyson: twenty
erin: sixteen
lisa: eleven
brianne: five
lauren: two

total movies seen this challenge
(not counting mine):

never forget

November 11, 2018

my munkle served in the navy. so did his brother, my great uncle joe. my mom told me once that joe served with patton and marched with him in germany. i hope i'm remembering that right. i like thinking of it. my uncle chris served in the navy, too.

i will never forget the time we'd gathered in washington, d.c. with my uncles and their children and we'd toured the museums and monuments. the time we'd gone to the wall, and i'd walked the length of it, intending to go back and really look at it, only to find my uncle at the end with tears in his eyes and a gruff voice. get the others. he needed to leave. he didn't need to say anything else.

my aunt's only son was in the marines. two of my other uncle's sons were in the military -- the marines and the army.

i will never forget how they joke with each other about which branch is better. the shirts their mother wore in support of them both. the time the cousin who chose the army spent in san antonio while i was there... the times my younger brother and his then wife and their mutual friends came up for a weekend to spend time with our cousin and me. the time my cousin and i were at red robin, talking about the eye surgeries i'd had in my infancy, and how doctors would've made the corrections then... how he, who was training to be a mash doctor, paused from his meal to look behind my ears to determine whether they'd taken my face off, told me that they'd done so, then resumed chowing down on his royal cheeseburger, unfazed.

i will never forget walking into borders at selma the morning of september eleventh to see one of my staff standing at the information desk with a radio playing, my pointing at him as i passed saying, you know you can't have that up here. we're open. his face as he asked me you haven't heard? i still didn't stop. heard what? that my manager told me not to go to my parents' house. to stay put.

the younger cousins enlisted after that, i think. i remember my aunt's son had already served in one war. i remember the worry from that. i remember the last christmas we all had together, with his mother who died a year or so afterward. i remember he left on christmas day to go to saudi arabia. that he was on the front lines.

i will never forget the night i sat outside my great aunt's house when we were in colorado to bury my brother. i remember sitting on the steps, staring up at a midnight sky and the specks of white and imagining one of my older brother's oldest friends overseas in afghanistan or iraq or whever the hell he was, praying that my older brother could somehow be with him and get him home to be with wife and sons.

i will never forget the days i worked at a shipping store and a man would bring in red polybags with white stars on them, freedom hard t-shirts and other paraphernalia being distributed across the globe. the time he brought in boxes of t-shirts and caps and coffee for me to repackage and send to florida or utah or london. i will never forget how much i loved that i got to have some small hand in those products making their way to others. i will never forget the joy i felt when i'd ordered, then received, my own freedom hard t-shirts. i've worn them with pride.

support our troops.

never forget.

fall film challenge update: october

October 27, 2018

one. haunted mansion. this was not a film i'd selected. i'd spent an evening with my younger brother, his children, his wife, her sister and niece. we had an outdoor movie night, swimming and soaking in a hot tub. the ghosts make this movie. eddie murphy does NOT.

family night at my brother's house... it was this or or hocus pocus, and i'd already seen the latter, so... i voted for this one. i think i would've preferred to watch hocus pocus again. it wasn't awful. but it wasn't awesome, either. the kids enjoyed it. terence stamp starred in valkyrie with tom cruise who starred with bacon in a few good men.

two. before the flood. watched this one to learn about some work i'm doing. it's interesting enough.

NOT because i wanted to so much as i needed to for a job i'm doing. i can't STAND leonardo dicrapio. he was in the departed with jack nicholson who starred in a few good men with tom cruise.

three. easy a. i love emma stone, and she's her typical, cute self here. it's an interesting story, and i enjoyed it. it can be pretty ridiculous at times, but then almost immediately following the silly, there comes a scene that is really sweet. i like it. i'd watch it again. it's the only movie of the five mentioned here about which i can say that.

i liked it. there are some spots that are utterly ridiculous, but almost immediately after those would be something that was pretty cute or clever. emma stone starred with bacon in crazy stupid love.

four. john wick. i do love keanu reeves and ian mcshane. this movie is all special effects and gratuitous violence for the sake of those things. not a fan.

i thought the story was stupid, the film another excuse for special effects and techno music. the only good thing about it was ian mcshane and willem dafoe. i'd planned on watching the sequel. that's not happening now. keanu reeves starred in something's gotta give with jack nicholson who starred with bacon in a few good men.

five. peter rabbit. another flick the kids picked. i was really glad when it was over.

yall, this movie was SO, SO stupid. the only good thing i can say about it is that the end comes quickly. connection: rose byrne starred with bacon in x-men: first class.

and that makes twenty-five for me!

i'm hoping to complete the bonus round, as well. still tweaking my list.

the fall film challenge: bonus round

October 14, 2018

if you have completed the regular round of the fall film challenge, you are eligible to compete in the bonus round. choose one film for each of the following actors:

kevin bacon
sean bean
jim beaver
halle berry
emily blunt
alison brie
john candy
peter coyote
russell crowe
peter finch
megan fox
michael j. fox
vivica a. fox
jamie foxx
ryan gosling
heather graham
gloria grahame
alec guiness
jon hamm
ethan hawke
john hawkes
jack lemmon
walter pidgeon
anthony quayle
brett rice

if you notice, the last names of these actors sort of have something in common: bacon, bean, berry, brie, crowe, graham, guiness, hamm, lemon--kind of like something edible. you can make substitutions to the list, so long as the actor's last name is in that vein--lucy pickles, for example--but they must be approved by me.

if you have seen one film by each actor listed above, you can watch other films by those actors for extra credit. each movie is valued at ten points.

a supplement to the second question

October 7, 2018

yall get caps today because i'd started typing this in an email then decided to post it here and am too lazy to tweak it.

A friend asked me the other day what excites me. My father had posed a variation of this question many, many years ago for a creative nonfiction project I call the Griffin Inquisition—the second question. I don't know how much of that answer applies anymore, but I did like what I wrote then.

I can’t remember the last time I was excited, to be honest. It doesn’t take much to make me happy or sad, empathetic or angry. But rousing me to an excited state—and I mean to use the term to describe giddiness—is a challenge. The only things that have managed to stir up some semblance of that emotion in me in the past couple of months are the films Life Itself and What They Had—and yes, they are dramas, and yes, they will most assuredly make me cry (I’ve seen the former three times now and have wept at each viewing). 

I’m excited when I fall in love with a story, whether it’s told in the pages of a book or the lyrics and music (because yes, the music tells a story, too) of a song or on the screen, but that doesn’t happen often. I spent my years in college listening to professors run their mouths about works of literature I felt weren’t worthy of the praise. I got an English degree but did not love classic literature. It wasn’t until I took some undergraduate English courses at UTSA that a man got me to appreciate it. He assigned us Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens; it was the first of three novels we were to read for his class, and we began reading it on the first day, and I fell in love with it before I’d finished the first page. That doesn’t happen often, by the way. I was taught to be critical of text, of stories. When I’m shopping for books with other friends, they might gush over a dozen books. I’m hard pressed to find one that I think might be halfway decent. I’m TOO critical. I know this. The only books that have managed to enrapture me in this way are the Harry Potter novels, Eleanor and Park and Landline by Rainbow Rowell, The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Right Before Your Eyes by Ellen Shanman, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

There are songs that can do this, but it’s rarer. The only one that comes to mind is Sometime Around Midnight by The Airborne Toxic Event.

Films can do it, but that’s rarer still. Life Itself is the most recent example I can give you for that.

I’m excited by the idea of love, but I’m also terrified of it. TERRIFIED. Same with sex—and the terror there is exponentially greater.

The past two years, I've spent a day cheering on IronMen near the finish line. I get pretty excited about doing that.

Several years ago, I had season tickets to the Aggies’ football games. In 2010 I watched them defeat Texas Tech, then Oklahoma, then Nebraska, all teams that were MUCH better—or so it seemed—than they. I was damned excited about that.

In 2004, when the Americans 4X100 Men’s Freestyle team defeated the Australians, which wasn’t supposed to happen, I was jumping up and down on my coffee table. 

I like to think I save excitement for things that are REALLY special. 

Those last moments are the ones that are the biggest in my mind. 

Once a man bought me a long-stem rose—because I was late, he’d said… I was late because I couldn’t fit into any of my good clothes anymore, so he’d gone to the florist next to his apartment complex and bought me one red rose. It was the first time I’d ever been given flowers by a man outside my family. That excited me, but in different ways than these other examples. Years later, another man I’d just begun dating and with whom I’d not shared any address information found out where I worked and sent me a bouquet of long-stem roses. Dozens of them. I was embarrassed, not excited. He sent me another bouquet the following week, different flowers, just as beautiful. I was as embarrassed by them as the first. Maybe it depends on the man, but I like the one rose SO much better than the bunch. But roses are easy. Obvious. It's hard for me to get too excited about them.

I suppose the best example, though, the one that makes me happiest, is the day where I'm not physically or mentally in pain. Those days are so, SO incredibly rare. They are beautiful things. BEAUTIFUL things. I can't remember the last time I had one of those.

fall film challenge update: september

September 27, 2018

okay. so first off... i've decided i'm going to attempt to watch fifty movies this time around because i've never managed to do the regular AND bonus round lists, and i want to see if i can do it. this means that i had to bump some movies off my original list. the gray areas are more immediate responses that i'd left in the facebook group.

one. tag. i LOVED this movie, yall. it was HILARIOUS. what made it awesome for me was knowing this was based on a true story. these guys have been playing tag FOREVER. once a year, just for the month of may, the game resumes. these guys had FUN making this movie, and it shows. i've watched this one twice.

two. still alice. this was beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. julianne moore is amazing. my paternal grandparents suffered alzheimer's. i expect my father will do so as well. her portrayal is pretty spot on, and the supporting cast does a good job, as well. my only complaint is that i expected this one to make me cry, and it did not.

good movie. hard to watch, mostly because my paternal grandparents had alzheimer's, and i've always worried that my father, that i would struggle with it. the cast did a fine job. connection: julianne moore starred in benny and joon with johnny depp who was in black mass with bacon.

three. life itself. this one's my favorite on my list, so far. it's PACKED with conflict, yall, and the cast -- everyone of'm -- does a phenomenal job relaying how that conflict affects them. oscar isaac is INCREDIBLE. i've watched this one twice.

HOLY FUCK THIS WAS GOOD. definitely NOT a date movie, but DAMN dan fogelman knows how to write a script... someone on twitter said she'd walked out after the first forty minutes because it was excruciating... it's NOT an easy film to watch, and the beginning isn't great by any stretch... but the last forty minutes are EXCEPTIONAL. connection: oscar isaac starred in inside llewyn davis with john goodman who starred with bacon in patriots day.

four. the bookshop. this one packs a punch, too, and i didn't think that it would. to be honest, i was kind of bored through the first half, and then all the sudden there's this power -- a kind of quiet rage. i really hadn't expected that, and i love that something so simple could be THAT powerful.

slow, but surprisingly powerful. love bill nighy here. might be my favorite of his performances. love patricia clarkson. might be her best work, but my god her character’s repulsive and vindictive. connection: clarkson starred in playing by heart with jay mohr who starred with bacon in picture perfect.

five. destination wedding. keanu reeves and winona ryder had a damn fine time making this one, i think. their characters aren't very likable, and yet i loved them. i've watched this one three times.

this one made me laugh a lot. i had a feeling it would, and i'm glad it did. it's VERY focused on the two characters and dialogue HEAVY, which i didn't mind. they are unhappy people with biting wit, and it does get to be a bit much, but right about the time you think oh god... there's just enough sentiment, just enough goodness in them to get you to the end. i don't know that i would want to watch it again, and yet, i kind of miss their characters already. i think what i like best about it is that reeves and ryder looked very much like they enjoyed making this movie. connection: winona ryder starred in edward scissorhands with johnny depp who starred with bacon in black mass.

six. darkest hour. gary oldman. god, i love that man. and i have always admired winston churchill. this one was good. there's a couple of instances where the story's a bit overdramatic; there's a couple of instances of cinematography for the sake of a pretty picture. but it's good. yall should watch it.

i got a little teary-eyed in this one, which i hadn't expected. god love winston churchill. we need more men like him in the world. god love gary oldman for playing him so well. connection: oldman starred with bacon in murder in the first.

seven. the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society. i liked this one.

pretty film, pretty story. connection: mathew goode starred in watchmen with billy crudup, who starred with bacon in sleepers.

eight. sleeping with other people. NOT a fan of jason sudeikis, but i didn't mind him in this movie. liked the story well enough. it had some moments that i felt were pretty strong.

i figured i would like it, and i did (even though i'm not crazy about jason sudeikis), but it had some strong scenes, and that surprised me. i liked the characters. connection: amanda peet starred in playing by heart with jay mohr who starred with bacon in picture perfect.

nine. love, simon. this was good. i liked it. love jennifer garner and josh duhamel. i thought the cast did a pretty good job with this one.

liked this one. good stuff. connection: jennifer garner starred in thirteen going on thirty with judy greer who starred in love happens with jennifer aniston who starred in picture perfect with bacon.

ten. operation finale. hell of a story, this one. everyone should watch it.

AMAZING. WATCH THIS NOW. connection: melanie laurent starred in inglorious basterds with brad pitt who starred with bacon in sleepers. (oscar isaac is my hero.)

eleven. hired gun. this one made me not like billy joel very much, but it made me see alice cooper in a very positive way, which i appreciated. i enjoyed learning more about how the music industry works.

i decided to watch this because my dad was a musician in high school and college -- he played with the winters brothers -- and i sometimes wonder what life would've been like had he chosen to follow the musical path. this made me feel sorry for musicians, actually. i no longer like billy joel or richard patrick. jason newsted looks like an idiot. i saw neal schon, aaron lewis and mike mushok in the credits... would've been interesting to see their clips. loved seeing pink. loved listening to rudy sarzo, kenny aronoff and alice cooper talk. connection: jon bon jovi starred in new year's eve with robert deniro who starred in sleepers with bacon.

twelve. stronger. so i watched patriots day, which was a really good look at the first responders and law enforcement agencies who worked to save those affected by the boston bombers. i wanted to watch this one because it kind of focused on one person and how the event affected him and those close to him. it was difficult to watch, but the ending impressed me quite a bit.

hard to watch, but there's a moment toward the end that makes watching it SO worth doing. gyllenhaal starred in a dangerous woman with debra winger who starred in terms of endearment with jack nicholson who starred with bacon in a few good men.

thirteen. before i fall. i liked this one. good story. predictable, but good. interesting.

this one was a hard one for me to watch, and i pegged the ending. but i liked it. connection: jennifer beals starred in four rooms with marisa tomei who starred with bacon in crazy stupid love.

fourteen. how to make an american quilt. i wanted this one to be better. SO much better. i didn't much care for this one.

for such a STRONG cast and decent amount of conflict, this movie is WEAK. connection: samantha mathis starred in pump up the volume with christian slater who starred with bacon in murder in the first.

fifteen. outside providence. this one was alright. i wish alec baldwin had been in it more.

not bad. not one i'd want to watch again. connection: richard jenkins starred in eat pray love with julia roberts who starred with bacon in flatliners.

sixteen. the miracle season. meh. i didn't care much for this one, either.

so i'm the girl who looked at the main photo on imdb's site for this film and thought west, texas. like the volleyball team there came back to win a championship after the town suffered a tragedy. it's iowa city west... and they lost a player. it's a good story, but the execution's typical, predictable, formulaic schmaltz. i loved the credits. would've liked the film better if it had had as much heart as that player had. connection: helen hunt starred in as good as it gets with jack nicholson, who starred with bacon in a few good men.

seventeen. deadpool two. didn't like this one nearly as much as the first. not sure they should've made a second one, actually. all the things that made the first one so good were absent from the sequel.

agree with zosh (who said she thought it was funny, but she still preferred the first). connection: brad pitt starred with bacon in sleepers.

eighteen. unbroken: path to redemption. i picked this one because i watched the first part of this story last year and wanted to see the continuation of it. the sequel's MUCH more well-done than the original. but there's no reason why these two films couldn't have been one.

this watch MUCH better than the first one. but there should’ve been ONE movie telling the story, not two very drawn out halves.

nineteen. why him. meh. i thought i was going to love this one. i didn't. i did like megan mullaly in it, though.

the trailer CRACKED ME UP. the movie did not. i did love megan mullaly, though, and i've never cared much for her work before, so it was really nice that i could appreciate it here. it's funny. just not as funny as i wanted it to be. connection: james franco starred in alien covenant with billy crudup who starred with bacon in sleepers.

twenty. every day. this one SUCKED. it was such a STUPID, STUPID story. don't waste your time.

SO, SO, SO, VERY, VERY, VERY B A D. DO NOT watch this shit. connection: maria bello starred in coyote ugly with john goodman who starred with bacon in the patriot.


September 13, 2018

about a year ago, a friend invited me to join her book club. it's a great group of women, and i feel so blessed to be considered their friend, but since joining, i've read two of the books chosen, and one of them was my pick (also one i'd already read -- the language of flowers). the other was a man called ove. i eventually read a third, beach music, but not because of the book club so much as i needed a book for one of the categories of erin's book challenge (feel free to join... there are about six weeks left in this session, but she always welcomes latecomers, and she'll start another challenge in a couple of months... it's neat to flip through the albums and see what others have read). anyway. three books out of like twelve. that's not bad, but most of the girls have gotten in the habit of joking that i won't read it anyway...

we're reading beautiful boy this month. i'm on page forty-four. i'm reading it because i've chosen to watch the movie adaptation for the fall film challenge (we're only a couple of weeks in, and i, too, welcome latecomers... it's neat to flip through the albums and see what others have watched).

i've been more hopeless the past couple of months than i normally am. probably more than i've been in my life, actually. i'm not fighting as much, i'm becoming more and more merciless about the things i keep. gwyneth paltrow plays plath in the film sylvia. there's a line: i feel like there's nothing behind my eyes but air. i understand that line now. i understand how a person could feel that way. for most of my life i've felt like there's nothing behind mine but water. it doesn't feel like that anymore.

i started bible study this week. we're reading joshua. that name means the lord saves, by the way. or so my notes told me. i've gotten off to a good start, much better than i have in the past. yesterday and today, i spent the better part of an hour reading parts of proverbs, of my own accord, and the recommended reading from our notes: bits from genesis, psalms, romans...

and then i've taken my copy of beautiful boy and read while walking around my neighborhood.

off and on in the course of my life i've thought that i don't believe it's possible that a man could love me. i know why he should. i know i'm worth loving, even when i'm feeling my absolute worst, i know that in my heart. my head, though... the older i get, the more difficult it is for me to believe in that possibility. i've given up, actually. not because i want to, but because it's almost easier to live without the hope.

so i'm walking and reading and come across this passage on page thirty-two:

our first cautious date is at a friend's party on the upper east side. the fine young cannibals play on the music system, waiters circulate with trays of champagne and canapes, and then, though it is a sweltering night, i walk her the length of manhanttan to her downtown loft. it takes a couple hours, during which time we do not stop talking. whenever we come upon an all-night grocery, we get popsicles.
it's dawn when we say good night at her front door.

i stopped when i read that. stopped and read it again. and wished i could know what a date like that was like without having to read about it in a book. how sad is it that a forty-five-year-old woman only knows love from the books she reads and the people she sees?

before i fell into that well of despair, i made myself get moving again, reading and walking.

i want someone to see me the way ove's wife sees him, the way grant sees victoria. i want to know the man who can't help but stay and talk with me.

my friends are quick to suggest bumble. i've been on there. i can barely get a man to say hi. i don't want to meet my guy that way. it doesn't have to be anything fantastic. i don't need extraordinary. that's what books and movies are for.

i've prayed. i've gotten down on my knees and sobbed against my comforter and begged. 

the last gift my older brother gave me was at christmas: a bottle of ralph lauren's romance. i spray it and think of the day after he died when i was out running errands, getting things for the memorial service. i heard him say i'll find you someone. such a delusion, but i believed it.

which is worse? wanting love in your life and not getting it or wanting to live without it?

the best antidote

August 31, 2018

hey!! good people!!! i need there to be an especially ginormous abundance of love being shared today.
reach out far and wide and tell as many folks as you can
that they are loved beyond measure. please.

this was the facebook status i posted the day my aunt committed suicide. contrary to what it may seem here, when depression gets the better of me, i don't share that kind of stuff on facebook. like everybody else, my facebook page is generally uplifting. i post pretty pictures i've painted or videos that warm my heart... it is a source of light for me.

that post got nineteen likes and fourteen loves and twelve comments. most of those comments were friends telling me they loved me. i wasn't fishing for that. i truly needed my friends to put love out into the universe that day. it didn't need it to come my way. not then. of the five hundred some friends i have on facebook, only one knew that something was very wrong for me that day. only one.

she messaged me:

hey friend. what's going on today? it seems like a particularly "not great" day.

god love her for her perceptiveness. god love her for giving a shit about me. 

after kate spade and anthony bourdain left us, i saw a shit ton of posts on facebook and twitter about how we should think to check on the strong ones. like they're the only ones worthy of the check. 

  1. When they all swept out of there 4 hours later, my place was a home. Not only was everything put away - but now it had a memory attached to it, a group memory, friends, laughing, dirty jokes, hard work. These are the kinds of friends I have. Be that kind of friend to others.
  2. That's the end. The "ask for help" advice is well-meaning but not really thought through. There's shame, there's enforced helplessness, there's the feeling you're not worth it, etc. My friends didn't wait for me to ask. They showed up. They took over. They didn't ask.

these are tweets from a thread i found today, and everything about this thread is SPOT ON, but these two speak volumes to me. VOLUMES.

i don't ask for help when my world is caving. it's not your job to make me feel better... or so i tell myself. i've lived with this shit for thirty-seven years. i bring a lot of this shit on myself. i don't want to burden you with my problems. i don't want your pity. i don't want your preaching -- because here's the thing... i know ALL the ways to battle depression. i know them. i have to care enough to use the tools. and if i'm depressed, i don't give a shit. about ANYTHING.

not that many people reach out to me. that's probably my fault. i know i'm not easy. i've never known easy. kind of hard to be something you don't know.

one friend has two children, a boy in california and a girl who lives at home but is about to embark on a global adventure for a few months. the boy was having health issues, and i imagine when your kid's in the emergency room half a continent away you'd feel pretty helpless. and then your girl's leaving in a few weeks... i imagine that'd make you feel pretty sad. and this friend battles depression, like me. she and her husband have partnered with another couple to operate a snow cone stand. it takes about an hour to get to it. i drove all that way to get a snow cone. to see her. that's the kind of friend i am.

i wish i had more friends like the one mentioned at the beginning of this post. i wish more of my friends thought enough of me to check in with me. i wish more of them took time for me.

because to be honest, the best antidote for depression is life. camaraderie. kindness.