_Wuthering Heights_

I mean the movie, with Laurence Olivier and all, not the book.

I confess, I’ve tried to read the book three times, and found it emotionally exhausting. This is the first book I had not been able to conquer, and it surprised me. I had loved Jane Eyre. But Emily is not Charlotte, as I discovered.

The next book that conquered me was the Silmarillion. I don’t imagine that anyone is surprised by that.

I tried to read Wuthering Heights again later, and it had the same effect. It was just too much! I needed a break, and afterwards, I didn’t feel like hanging out with those people again.

But I knew there was a movie, and I figured that I could make it through a movie. I did want to know how the end turned out.

The movie was on TCM this weekend, and I had my chance.

You know, it was less exhausting to see Cathy beating her brother with the riding crop than it was to read about it. Imagining it made it seem more cruel than seeing a little sister whapping at her brother.

Of course, Heathcliff as Laurence Olivier made it easy to believe that Cathy would be in love with him. Oh, Olivier is beautiful!

It was all gothic, love beyond death and stony castles and craggy rocks and a smoldering young hero. These elements have been used to good effect in many other places.

I guess what made the book so hard to read is how unlikeable Heathcliff and Cathy both are. When Cathy says “I am Heathcliff!” it is easy to believe, since they are both so mean to each other.

It really could be one of those “They deserve each other” situations. One overriding message of the story is that true love conquers all.

But equally apparent is the idea that one does not need to be virtuous to have true love. Of course, the victorian idea of virtuous was mostly keeping up appearances. And staying in your given social place.

Heathcliff wouldn’t do that. Cathy wished she didn’t have to, but still wanted all that her priviledged position could give her.

I think she wished she could run away with Heathcliff, and didn’t. In the end it killed her.

It’s convenient, how heroines are so fatally unhealthy. Makes for dramatic death scenes.

This one was nice, I have to say.

I remember believing in a love that tempestuous. I’m a little older now, and I am mostly glad that I am not afflicted with it.

McMansions are popping up

In this new place I life, LA, appearances seem to be pretty important.

Homes are a part of that. Here’s an article for the LA times about the zeitgeist:

Keeping Up With the Jonesing

“Having the time and money to build your own home used to be one of the perks of wealth. McMansion buyers, by contrast, are the working wealthy. Many of them labor long hours to pay the massive mortgages on their massive houses. For them, it’s more practical to buy a previously designed place that projects an aura of wealth, prestige and personal achievement—off-the-rack opulence, if you will—rather than create a unique architectural symbol of high culture and refinement. If you want individuality, you can always sink some bucks into unique landscaping or remodel that useless formal dining room into a private pool hall.”

This makes me sad. Individuality is important. It’s one of the things that makes a neighborhood charming. Heck, it’s what makes people charming.

It seems wasteful to have a huge rattley home that doesn’t suit your family’s needs. You shouldn’t live your life for other people, and you shouldn’t buy a house just because other people will be impressed by it.

Especially the cost is so high, it takes you away from your family.

It’s important to pop your head up for air once in a while.

I remember a friend saying that people will spend a lot of time reducing discomfort, but don’t spend very much time increasing comfort.

Tantek’s being clever again…

My friend Tantek put up this very interesting post a while back.

He came up with some categories for organizing his life:


You should read the whole post to get his thoughts on it. But I found this framework to be really thought-provoking.

Sometimes, a new perspective, a different way to approach the problem, can give you a place to begin. So, I’ve been trying out this new categorization idea. Taking a look around my life, it becomes apparent to me that there are some things I want more of (to grow), some things I want less of (to prune) and some things I really want to get rid of altogether (to close).

It is one of my life-long habits, to look at the shape of my life and try to adjust it to what I really want. It is very easy for all of us to get into the cog of doing what is next on the list.

But what about evaluating the list?

So these categories give some tools to evaluate the list.

Thanks, Tantek! You have inspired me to get closure on cleaning my patio.

_Never Been Kissed_

As far as I’m concerned, the whole point of this movie is when Drew Barrymore is standing on the pitcher’s mound and everyone in the whole packed stadium is applauding her wildly.

That ALONE is a huge-normous fantasy fulfilled.

And it’s the first scene of the movie.

The rest, except for the very end, is flashback.

The whole thing is fantasy fulfilled. For everyone that’s looked in the mirror and come up with the perfect response to yesterday’s taunt, here is your movie. Everyone would like to go back and do it right this time.

High school was so tortuous, we all have things we’d want to do over. So that’s what Josie (aka Josie Grossy) gets to do.

It’s cute, and it’s horrifying to remember all that high-school drama. And the crying in the bathroom scene! I swear, there could be a whole documentary about girls crying in the bathroom.

Naturally, it’s all cathartic, and she emerges an empowered woman, finds her true love, etc. etc.

And that’s what makes it such a good movie. I’d watch it again.

Polite requests bear fruit

Someone wrote to me and asked if I could add a link on my site to their site.

I am quite impressed with this request. I checked out the site, and it does not seem to suck. I am happy to link to his site.

He already linked to mine.

I am pleased to see politeness on the internet. It seems rare.


It is warm, and the breeze blows fresh sunshine-smells over my face. I dance across the campus pathway, my first college spring at home in Northest America. I hum a spontaneous melody, so full of newness and joy:
Do you ever feel like singing
Right out loud to the sky above?
Is it the same spring? I am feeling that joy in spring.

It is spring, and the seeds of the past are coming back. Those wishes, fears and hopes that fall from me in actions, thoughts, and sacrifices do not cease to be with my forgetting. With seasons come change. I change every year and every day.

The detritus of a squished population surrounds me. There are scraps of clothing, boards and machinery. Buildings need a coat of paint; the melting snow runs tracks through the grime of the old and peeling surface. Water pools in ruts on the ground, forming long ponds across the passageways. No municipal services are left in Yakutia after the death of communism. Pedestrians, and we are all pedestrians, lay long, thin boards over the seasonal moats. We become brave balancing acrobats to get to school and work. It is up to us to find a way through. Look, what is that flattened thing? The freeze-dried carcass of a cat, fatal participant in the sub-arctic changes of season.
Is it that spring? The warning to build my own path is the same.

But the seasons remain the same. I sing the song I began at the beginning. Its refrain returns in the spring of my step and drops with my footfalls. Beginning and end, life and death—spring brings to life and feeds on death.

In a beautiful mansion donated by a man passed on, different people take turns to stand on their feet and read. Such a collection of interesting noses! They read in their own languages of an empty tomb. It is past midnight, the first time I have heard this kind of service. Christos voskres! Christos Anesti! El Messieh kahm! Christ is risen! He has conquered death by death! Joyful faces tell of a stone rolled away and new life brought from dying. The priest, the leader of the church welcomes me to the pre-dawn table. We eat, and he tells me of his faith, drinking wine. I have never seen a pastor drunk before.
Is it the spring once more? The story is the same.

The melted snow water is being soaked into the wakened tree-roots that make up the Alaskan forest of my memory. Barren branches have waited all winter for the sun-sweet nectar to reach them. Hard buds swell and surge into sticky chartreuse baby-wrinkled leaves. They grow a shocking green, almost painful to the eye when the slanted Northern sun shines right through them. After months of landscape in black and white, eyes must grow accustomed. If I forget to look for just one day, I would think it was an explosion. I do not forget to look. I know it happens quickly, but it is still a progression.
Is it spring again? I feel the expectation.

My will-volition swells with the season. I strain against the hull of old boundaries. Tight-packed growth against well-known walls. I am quivering for my freedom.

Quivering with fear. New life means new death. Chances and risks taken are the straightest path to disappointment. Is not my life now entwined, rooted and fed in the sweat, sorrow and tears of all that came before?

Put another ring around this tree. Either die now or die later. It is spring again, every spring that ever was or will be. I am here to take my place in the season. I am the Resurrection and the Life.

Here’s a tip: Pizza Veggie Burgers

These things are very tasty!

I had a coupon, so I bought these things in a fit of eat-betteredness.

But they ARE veggie burgers, so they were diligency freezedrying themselves in my freezer.

Until supplies got low.

I had to rush to pack a lunch for work (yet another fit of eatbetteredness) and threw this patty on top of some spaghetti for protien.

After I had microwaved the lot, so that it was all steamy and nice, I took a bite.

Wow! That burger was really good! They had mixed in the mushrooms and the basil and stuff, which was great by itself.

But then they had mixed in some cheese. Wow, that made a difference! It made it juicier and sizzlier. Those are hard to find in a veggie burger.

The patty only has 130 calories, and 3 g of fiber. That makes it very point-friendly for the weightwatchers. And it’s just good for anybody.

I thought I would share.

_Waiting for Guffman_

Another one of those psuedo-documentaries, like Dog Show. It’s kind of a cute movie.

Cory-in-the-closet has to direct the 150th anniversary play for Blaine. Red, White and Blaine is what they call it. So the documentary takes you through the lives of the people in the play.

The young lady works at the Dairy Queen. That’s funny. And the singing Dentist. He’s funny.

Cory, of course, it hilarious with his portrayal of the gay man.

But they are all excited about Guffman, who is a famous theater man from broadway coming to see their play. That just stirs up all kinds of feelings and reactions from everyone.

I think it’s worth seeing, a light little video. You have to see Cory’s little funky dance.

The Glass Menagerie

Those Southern writers–it seems like they are all filled with drama and theatricality. Appearances, tragedy and social position.

And those amazing accents!

I have to say that it can be really heavy, diving into the Southern drama. When I first started listening to the performance, I felt myself thinking, “Oh no, not another one of these depressing Southern Dramas.”

It was depressing. All the characters seemed so trapped. But the story showed about how people are.

It was incredible how much pressure was put on the son, the man of the family. I felt so sorry for him. He was the BREADWINNER, the one who had to make sure his family didn’t starve. Yikes! I’m really glad that we have more equal opportunity employment now. I would not want to depend on anyone to feed me.

Or have to feed other perfectly capable people, either. It made me realize that women in this story were not considered “perfectly capable.” They were supposed to be protected.

And Laura, the sister, sure seemed to need protection. Either that or a slap in the face. She couldn’t even bear to go to school and take an exam. All she had was her little collection of glass figurines.

But the mother! Whoa nelly! She was more capable than any of them. But she had appearances to keep up, and besides, she was a female and had limited earning potential.

She at least understood her handicap. She didn’t have any skills, but she wanted her daughter to be able to take care of herself. That’s why she tried to send Laura to vocational school.

But Laura was too helpless.

Everyone seemed to be focused on Males. The deadbeat dad, the breadwinning brother, the ‘gentleman caller.’

Not a place I’d want to be.

This particular version of the play was especially wonderful, because there is a recording of the author reading the last scene. His voice, with the accent, is so right for the dialogue.

If any actor wants to be in this play, they really should hear Williams himself reading the scene. It made it really come alive.

Also, Williams reads another short story of his at the end about the Yellow bird. It was a great treat that I wasn’t expecting.

Creativity takes SOME sleep

I’ve been working kind of hard the last two weeks. It’s getting in the way of posting.

I’ve got a huge backlog of things to review, but…I get tired and braindead.

I need to have a certain amount of sleep a night to be functional.

You know, I figured out, by trial and error, a formula.

I can function for a day, or two, on 5 hours of sleep per night. I can make it, barely.
But I will get sick if I dont’ catch up.

I can go for extended periods on 6 hours of sleep a night. I won’t be happy, but I can make it through.

7 and a half per night is really optimal.

But I can’t dip into the 5 hour range without getting sick.

This was in my early, wow, EARLY 20s, so maybe it’s not the same now that i’m 30.

But I like the symmetry.