stuff I read

The Real Deal

It seems that I will need to make a trip to Special Collections in the near future. The University of Iowa Special Collections division has possession of Iris Murdoch’s manuscripts – wow. Coincidentally, my BNBC group is reading The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch (discussion starts Monday, September 1). What a coincidence, huh?


…but I can listen to this!

The Princeton Review Vocabulary Minute! Hilarious! A funny minute or so of an original song created to help improve vocabulary. I somehow managed to “get all” from iTunes and I’ve been listening to them this evening. Some are OK but some are really funny, like “America the Pulchritudinous.”

movie star drool · stuff I read · TV shows

Secretary and The Green Knight

Having been in my possession the longest out of all the Netflix DVDs, I did finally sit down and finish out Secretary. Amazingly enough, my parents rented this one before I even saw it – I wonder if Mom even watched it because this is so far out of her comfort zone….Dad only said it was wierd.

Secretary is an amazing adaptation of a short story by Mary Gaitskill (in her collection Bad Behavior). I was really worried about 20 minutes from the end that the tables were going to turn and it was going to have some hokey, Lee-decides-to-dominate-Mr. Grey-type of ending. I thought the movie was really well crafted up to that point, beautiful set decoration, a nice guitar-and-trap-set score, and that really great scene with the worm…and other things following that scene. But it didn’t get hokey and the ending turned out to be a really beautiful scene of love and acceptance. A really great film to watch and reminded me also of that stray line from CSI, one of the scenes with Lady Heather: the submissive is the one who has the power.

Then I finished out Disc 1 of Slings and Arrows Season One…I’m just going to have to buy the complete set now. I wasn’t too sure during the first episode, there were a lot of characters and I was having trouble keeping track of who related to whom, like I’d missed an episode. I got the premise right about the time Oliver “wakes up” in front of Geoffrey at the funeral home. By the time Geoffrey turned up at Ellen’s with his “second” to duel Darren, I was sold. When the actors are doing “bad” Shakespeare they’re really good at it and when they’re doing “good” Shakespeare (i.e. when the accounting guy give the “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech from Macbeth) it is wonderful.

The Green Knight will start up on Labor Day for my BNBC group. This is one of Iris Murdoch’s last novels and since I’ve never read a Murdoch before I’m coming at this one with few preconceived thoughts. I finished the first section “Ideal Children” and it isn’t very long but I’m not getting a sense of where the novel is going. We’ve been introduced to all the main characters, except Lucas, so I’m hoping that this was a set-up section and then we’ll get into the main action.

Current book-in-progress: Back to The Green Knight since that’s going to start up soon
Current knitted item: Second pair of booties, surprise project, and that pretty top (I’m going to the IHC Node Conference tomorrow; since I’m only going to be busy for about two hours, I might have to cast on a sock….)
Current movie obsession: Slings and Arrows (I pulled the rest of the discs out of my Netflix queue because I’m just going to buy the whole thing on DVD); next up in the queue is Withnail and I, Penelope (finally!!), and Velvet Goldmine (yes, confession again, I haven’t seen this…I was a deprived college student)
Current iTunes loop: Wait, wait! Don’t Tell Me

movie star drool

Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?

So, yeah, confession: I’ve never watched Donnie Darko.

This is apparently a major gaffe in my cinema education. It’s not that I never wanted to see the film, I justnever had the chance. I had some strange friends (at least in undergrad) who thought that The Mask and Adam Sandler movies were the height of cinematic brilliance.

Through the awesomeness that is Netflix I obtained Donnie Darko right about the same time that Conclave started in July. Due to an insane work schedule and the Olympics, I didn’t get toDD until today. (NB: Because of the time difference the US men’sbasketball final didn’t start until 1:30 am local time – right now the US is beating up on Spain) I now understand why certain friends often say “Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?”

I really like how the filmmaker gets into what makes Donnie tick. The final hypnosis scene where he sees Frank in the therapist’s office was so good. Wow. Did anyone also wonder if Donnie took the revolver with him everywhere after he found it-even to school? I had to wonder after the car accident scene (also, great parallel with the movie theatre scene where Donnie and Frank talk across the top of a sleeping Gretchen’s head).

I also liked how the 1988 presidential elections backdrop” the end of the world” paranoia (Bush/ Quayle vs-Dukakis/???) as well as other 80s references. “Notorious” was a great surprise cultural reference as was Star Search. I was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully filmed this is – I was for some reason expecting that area to be lacking and I was so pleased that the opening shots were so gorgeous.

Evil, hypocritical, religious-right gym teacher, LOVE! Also, other great quote, “my brother told her to shove a book up her ass and my parents bought him all this new shit.”

Only one question: because “time-travel” concept allows the climax of the movie to loop back to the beginning of the movie (albeit different outcome) what is the story arc supposed to be? I’m voting an extended hallucination, based on Donnie’s hopes and wishes but I could be completely wrong. Now, if only I could get The Secretary finished (I’m not really feeling like watching an S&M movie, but the two leads are really good).



Why is it that when a teenager complains to me that he/she has read all the Twilight books (and is now bored) that I feel compelled to tell them to read The Magus? Really, this goes for any teenager who reads crappy genre series and snobbishly thinks there is nothing left for them to read. The Magus would at least keep them busy…


At least someone has a brain…

This is why I like the University of Iowa President Sally Mason (the link will open a PDF file). I was thinking pretty much the exact same thing yesterday when the Amythest Initiative broke the news. Actually, my office-mate and I had a discussion and had the same opinion: lowering the legal drinking age is not the smartest idea because binge drinkers drink to get wasted, not because it’s illegal.

black cloud · random


I had a Monday yesterday. For example, I got a parking ticket ten minutes after I put fifteen minutes of money in the meter. How does that stuff happen?

I think people suck. This is nothing new for me, but right now I think one person sucks on an entirely different level. The problem is that I’m not sure who this person is, except that he/she has done something way wrong (i.e. illegal) and I really dislike whoever he/she is right now. He/she will not be a happy camper when I’m finished (and I’m really leaning toward this sucky person being a “he” right now, based on said illegal activity).

I think Tim Daggett is not very bright. He keeps mentioning that Shawn Johnson’s coach, Liang Chow, once coached gymnastics at an Iowa university before opening his own gym. Great, but there’s one problem. Tim keeps saying the university is Iowa State – wrong! Chow coached at the University of Iowa which makes him a Hawkeye not a Cyclone. Get the facts right. Grrrr.

However – WAY TO GO SHAWN!!!!!! That’s how we do things in Iowa. Number 1!!!

Current book-in-progress: The Time-Traveler’s Wife, The Gargoyle (which is really, really good, I was surprised), How Beautiful It Is and How Easily It Can Be Broken, and Feather Man
Current knitted item: seams…but I started a pretty top for myself
Current movie obsession: The Olympics are on! GO USA!
Current iTunes loop: Filmspotting