Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Better Than the Superbowl

This Sunday one of my favorite events of the year will be proudly displayed on television for the world to see. That’s right ladies and gentlemen; it’s the 81st Annual Academy Awards, also known as the 2009 Oscars! Don’t even try to pretend you’re not excited for this glorious event, because I know you all are.

This year there are 50 movies nominated for the 24 different categories. That of course means that some movies (like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire) were nominated for more than one category and if you count up all the nominations given there are 111 total. So far, I have seen 37 of the 50 films nominated or 96 of the 111 nominations (keep in mind that seeing a film like The Dark Knight counts as one film but 8 nominations). Tonight I will be watching Changeling so my movie count will be up to 38 and nomination count will be up to 99. There are 12 movies that remain but only 2 are even possible to see, The Class (which is released to a local theater on Friday) and Hellboy II (nominated for it’s make-up). I am planning to see The Class on Friday afternoon and I refuse to see Hellboy II – stupid.

I am excited to be closer to my goal of seeing all the movies this year. Last year I was only able to see 49 of the 59 movies and 103 of the 114 nominations. It’s always the Documentary Short films, Foreign Films, and Documentary Features that hold up my list. It’s nearly impossible for the average person to see these movies before the event happens and even afterwards, there’s never a guarantee that it’ll play in a theater or come out on DVD – especially the Documentary Shorts.

To celebrate the Oscars I am headed off to Portland on Saturday night to visit my friends and prepare for our “superbowl.” I will be arriving late Saturday night since I have a wedding to attend in Seattle that afternoon. Sunday morning I will be going to church with my brother and afterwards my friends and I will be visiting a grocery store to stock up for our day of festivities. We will prepare a feast of wonderful and delicious foods while we discuss our predictions and thoughts about each of the various films and make our
official ballot predictions that must be finalized before the show begins.

We will watch the red carpet and make fun of the stars we don’t like (Branjelina), ooh and ahh over our favorites (Kate Winslet), and mourn the loss of those who should be there (Heath). The show will begin and we will be giddy with excitement. There is a possibility that this year our party might be a black tie affair – but this has not yet been decided. All eyes will be on the screen and once announcements are made we will furiously check our ballots to see if we were correct in our predictions. As the show ends we will applaud the person with the most accurate predictions and tease the person with the most failures. A good time will be had by all and we will go to bed happily content, finally knowing who the triumphant winners are.

On Monday I will return to Seattle and resume my normal life and will probably take a break from movies for awhile. It’s nice that there aren’t any good movies released in March so I can allow myself a little break from the silver screen. Don’t worry though, the bug will bite me again next fall and I will be just as excited about next year’s class of films as I am about this years’. Happy
Oscar watching everyone!

For those of you who are curious, here is a list of all the movies nominated this year. The x's indicate movies I've seen or will have seen by Sunday.

xAuf der Strecke (On the Line); Live Action Short
xAustralia; Costume Design
xBolt; Animated Feature
xChangeling; Actress, Art Direction, and Cinematography
xDefiance; Score
Departures; Foreign Film
xDoubt; Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actor, and 2 Supporting Actress'
xEncounters at the End of the World; Documentary
xFrost/Nixon; Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Director, Film Editing, Picture
xFrozen River; Actress and Original Screenplay
xHappy-Go-Lucky; Original Screenplay
Hellboy II: The Golden Army; Makeup
xIn Bruges; Original Screenplay
xIron Man; Sound Editing and Visual Effects
xKung Fu Panda; Animated Feature
xLa Maison en Petits Cubes; Animated Short
xLevatory - Lovestory; Animated Short
xMan on Wire; Documentary
xManon on the Asphalt; Live Action Short
xMilk; Actor, Costume Design, Director, Film Editing, Original Screenplay, Picture, Score, and Supporting Actor
xNew Boy; Live Action Short
xOktapodi; Animated Short
xPresto; Animated Short
xRachel Getting Married; Actress
Revanche; Foreign Film
xRevolutionary Road; Art Direction, Costume Design, and Supporting Actor
xSlumdog Millionaire; Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Director, Film Editing, Picture, Score, 2 Songs, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing
Smile Pinki; Documentary Short
xSpielzeugland (Toyland); Live Action Short
The Baader Meinhof Complex; Foreign Film
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon); Documentary
xThe Class; Foreign Film
The Conscience of Nhem En; Documentary Short
xThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Director, Film Editing, Makeup, Picture, Score, Sound Mixing, Supporting Actress, and Visual Effects
xThe Dark Knight; Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Supporting Actor, andVisual Effects
xThe Duchess; Art Direction and Costume Design
The Final Inch; Documentary Short
The Garden; Documentary
xThe Pig; Live Action Short
xThe Reader; Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Director, and Picture
xThe Visitor; Actor
The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306; Documentary Short
xThe Wrestler; Actor, Supporting Actress
xThis Way Up; Animated Short
xTropic Thunder; Supporting Actor
Trouble the Water; Documentary
xVicky Christina Barcelona; Supporting Actress
xWall-E; Animated Feature, Original Screenplay, Score, Song, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing
xWaltz with Bashir; Foreign Film
xWanted; Sound Editing and Sound Mixing

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What can you do?

It’s always hard for me to buy things. First off, I hate spending money. I always think things should be cheaper than they are and so I end up depriving myself of things that I want simply because I don’t want to pay whatever amount for it. Case and point, I wanted an ipod for a really long time. Did I ever buy one? No. I got one for free the summer after I graduated when I opened up a savings account. It’s only a nano, but it’s served me well these last two and a half years. I’m all about good deals.

When I’m forced to having to buy something – like when I had to buy a new car last year or I have to get something fixed and there is no control over the cost – I get very sad. I almost always have buyer’s remorse when I go shopping, even if I get things that I like. I always feel like I should have gotten a better deal or waited just a few more months and then it’d be on sale. I hate going shopping with other people because I feel pressure to get things when if I were alone I wouldn’t spend the money.

I think the root of my problem is that I think once I have purchased an item I will not longer want it as badly as I did when I didn’t already have it. And then I’ll feel guilty for spending so much money (but not really that much money) on something I don’t absolutely love anymore. It’s a value thing and it’s interesting to me that once I have something the value decreases. This doesn’t always happen – there are certain items that I just love (like my artwork) and wouldn’t return even if they offered me more money than I had originally paid, but often it does. I’m discovering that this indecisive little issue that I have is carrying over into other aspects of my life – not just with things that I purchase.

I’ve said for a while now that I’m thankful for my singleness and am enjoying it – which is true. I love my freedom and independence and not having to factor another person into everything that I do. Besides, I’m going to be gone for a significant period of time in the fall and I don’t want to start a relationship just to leave. Long distance is no fun when you’re an hour or two apart, it’d be even worse on a different continent. This isn’t to say that if the right person came along I would reject them, I’m just not out looking for that person right now. It’ll happen when it happens but I’m in no hurry.

Ironically my blatant apathy towards dating has brought me more attention in the last few months than I’ve received in the last six years. I know that part of it is that I’m getting myself out of the house more often and making an attempt at being more sociable, but I just find it funny how I can be so set in one path and then something happens that changes how I feel. I spent years hoping I’d meet the right guy and things would just somehow work out and nothing happened. So I’ve now been going out and enjoying life as a single person and what do you know? All of a sudden there are opportunities for dating.

God has a funny sense of humor and all I can really do is just laugh along with him. I don’t know what any of this means and I’m not going to pretend that I do. I’m just going to live in the moment and see what happens. I’ve decided I’m going to be all about meeting new people and getting out of my comfort zone. I’m going to say yes to more things – but not necessarily everything – and who knows? Maybe my plans will change for the better and I’ll suddenly find myself with incredible opportunities that I could not have even imagined for myself. So, what can you do? Here’s hoping for the best!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Just Dance!

I don’t know where my love of dance came from but I know I’ve always had it. My parents have video of me dancing and I’m sure I’m no more than 5 years old. I was enrolled in ballet lessons and it was fun for awhile, but I remembered hating it because there was too much instruction and I thought the teachers were mean. I wanted to do hip hop and jazz, but you had to take ballet too in order to be enrolled in those classes and my family couldn’t afford to put me in two classes, so in third grade I quit. Now that I’m older part of me wishes from time to time that I’d stayed in ballet and continued my pirouettes and plies but then I’m also glad that I got to enjoy my childhood and didn’t always have my hair in a super tight bun and loads of ridiculous make-up on.

It wasn’t until high school that I re-discovered dancing. I absolutely loved going to dances because I had so much fun just moving to the music and I didn’t care what anyone else thought of me. I was having fun and entertaining myself and my friends and that was all that mattered. I never understood why people refused to go to dances if they didn’t have a date. My favorite dances were the ones where I went stag and hung out with a large group of friends. Even when I went with a date, we always ended up dancing as one big group of people anyway.

In college I met a friend who grew up dancing and loved it. She knew all the “real” dances and I loved to have her teach me things. I’m sure she was annoyed with me at times because I was not a quick learner and I’m not very graceful, but I always tried really hard. We took a dance class together our junior year and while I enjoyed it, she embraced it. It was in that class that I finally grasped that I will never be a dancer but I will always love dance and wish that I could be more skilled.

After college I went to a club for the first time. I had wanted to go my entire time in college, but never had anyone to go with, or the timing was never right. So, once presented with the opportunity I took it, and while I know most people hate going out to clubs, I love it (most of the time) purely because I get to dance! I’m not a fan of the creepers and sometimes I wish it was just me and my friends in the club, but I love the loud music, being able to act like a fool and know that no one will care the next day (because half of them wont remember it anyway), and there’s always a good story to tell afterwards. Clubs are fun – because I have boundaries and I don’t let anyone cross them.

I will have to admit that my all time favorite place to dance is in my car. I LOVE car dancing because anyone who can see me is not around long enough for me to become embarrassed, I can turn my music up loud and sing (badly) at the top of my lungs. I currently have three favorite songs, Just Dance by Lady Gaga, So What by Pink, and Single Ladies by Beyonce. They are burned to a CD and are played over and over and over in my car – they’re probably the only three songs I’ve listened to in my car over the last two weeks. There’s just something about those songs – specifically Just Dance that get me moving and going and energized.

I believe that dancing will forever be a part of my life. It's a great work out and it's so much fun that I really never want to stop - as those of you who have gone out with me before know. I am thankful to have friends in my life who go dancing with me and can enjoy the craziness that I bring to the dance floor. I just hope that any future friends can appreciate and support my habit as well. At some point I’ll get too old to go out to the clubs, and that’s fine, but I’ll always have my car. :)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

iTunes Survey

I love a good survey especially when I'm a little bored. Today I found one of them that I particularly enjoy where you shuffle your iTunes and then the title of the song is the answer to the question. I don't think these things are true by any means but they are entertaining. Well, here are a few that I found particularly interesting, ironic, and funny.

What would best describe your personality?
Faithful to Me - Jennifer Knapp

What do your friens think of you?
Girl All the Bad Guys Want - Bowling for Soup

What do you think about very often?
No Place Like London - Sweeney Todd Soundtrack

What is your life story?
Take My Hand - Shawn McDonald

What do you think of your friends?
Blessed - Brett Dennen

How will you die?
Blackbird/Yesterday - The Beatles

Will you ever get married?
A Hard Day's Night - The Beatles

What scares you the most?
Penny Lane - The Beatles

Does anyone like you?
Kill Yourself - Timbaland

If you could go back in tme, what would you change?
Every Little Thing - Hawk Nelson

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Permission to be Selfish

I have decided that I am in a phase of my life where it is perfectly reasonable to be selfish. Not completely and 100% selfish, but selfish enough to put myself first in a majority of areas in my life. Let me explain.

Reason #1: I am single
While many of my friends are married or dating someone of significance I remain single and have been for quite some time. I could wallow in my singleness and wish for someone to come and pull me out of my misery but instead I chose to live life as a single, independent woman. Yes, someday I would like to settle down and be married and have a family, but the keyword there is someday. Once I get married it will be forever and that means that there will always be someone else in my life that I will need to consider the feelings of. It’s a huge responsibility to be married and I don’t intend on taking it lightly, so while I have the freedom to do what I want when I want, I’m going to do it gosh darn it!

Reason #2: I am responsible
When I refer to selfishness here I am not talking about completely disregarding everyone else in my life. I have friends and family that I care about and do not want to push out of my life and I have job responsibilities that I cannot shirk. Knowing what is important in life allows me to take care of those aspects and perhaps be a little more self-focused in other areas. I will make time to see my family and friends because I love them and I will do my job to the best of my ability because I take pride in my work, but I might choose not to answer the phone because I’m deeply engulfed in my book or (let’s face reality here) a movie or I might take a sick day because I need a mental health break. I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s not mean or hurtful. Calls will be returned and my work will get done, I just don’t have to drop everything to be on someone else’s terms.

Reason #3: I am my own provider
I support myself almost 100% completely. I will admit that my parents continue to help me out, specifically with my student loan payments and my phone bill, but other than that I am completely self-sufficient. It stands to reason then that how I spend my money is up to me. If I want to save it, spend it, invest it, throw it away, or give it away – that’s my prerogative. As long as I pay my bills (see reason #2, being responsible) on time I can do whatever I want with my money. It’s my choice and if there are any consequences I will take responsibility for them.

Reason #4: Everyone deserves time for themselves
I think it’s important for each of us to have times of self-discovery to learn who we really are and what is most important to us. If there is always someone or something you put before yourself you’ll never get to truly see who you are. I have friends who have suffocated in their relationships or in their school work or in their family because they have tried to carry the burden of what those other people or those other things expect of them. They have to be the perfect girlfriend/boyfriend, student, employee, daughter/son, friend, and so on but they never find out who they are until that thing that has defined them for so long leaves or disappears and then all of a sudden their faced with the question of who they really are! When I graduated from college I had to define myself as something other than a student and I made goals and plans for my future.

Reason #5: When else can I be?
I may have goals and plans for my future but there are things that I want in my life right now. I want to travel, enjoy life, and experience as much as I can while I can. There are always the “someday” things out there, but who says that they always have to be done someday? Why can’t they be done now? It’s only going to get harder to find the time and money to do things when I have a real career and a family. There is going to be less and less time for me as I grow older. I will become involved in causes that I care about and will take care of and invest time in the people I care about, but those things can be my “somedays” and my “somedays” can be my realities now. It’s the same attitude I had when I chose to live in the dorms for four years. A lot of people thought I was crazy and said they could never do that, but when in my life will I ever have the opportunity to live with 40 friends just around the corner? When will I ever have three meals prepared for me daily and I don’t even have to do the dishes? Why not expand that experience? I have the rest of my life to live in an apartment and cook my own meals – which I do now and do thoroughly enjoy.

I can be selfish now because it’s not unreasonable for me to be. My responsibilities are to myself and the world around me but as I grow older the number of people in my life will only increase. I don’t want to be married with children resenting the fact that I never had the opportunity to experience everything I wanted to. I know that life doesn’t end when you’re married or when you have kids, but there is a different level of responsibility that one has to take on and I want that – eventually, just not now.

So here’s what I say to all of my friends out there who feel guilty for putting themselves first and making themselves a priority. Don’t feel guilty. Do it and embrace it! Don’t forget your responsibilities and don’t be reckless, but enjoy every moment. Don’t let someone else determine what you will do and what will make you happy. Live YOUR life because it's yours to live and live it well without any regret.
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