Monthly Archives: December 2011

Fallen Ice Cream

I remember the day well,
Falling ice cream put me under a spell.
I stared at it as I cried,
And the concrete became its bride.

It was chocolate in a chocolate cone.
I loved it like a dog courts a bone.
Uncoordinated and clumsy, I stood no chance,
Of eating all of it.

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Sterile White Walls

Diseases, toxins, bacteria
White blood cells
Battle to save a life.
Surgery is a trauma of its own.
Recovery is not a team sport.

Hooked into an IV
A girl has shrapnel wounds
With internal bleeding.
Children should not be around
Explosives.

A hospital bustles
Doctors hurry
This one has to be rolled
To the O.R. now.
This one can wait.

No one appreciates what
A doctor does
Unless it saves
Your life.


Cultural Similarities and Differences in Oroonoko

This is a paper I wrote for my 17th and 18th Century Lit class. Since, I am proud of this paper I figured I’d put it up on my portfolio.

As we read Oroonoko we noticed that Aphra Behn drew from what she witnessed and was a part of in South America. I would like to use the focus of this paper on the cultural differences between the African slaves and the slave owners when Oroonoko and Imoinda are sent to Surinam. Then I would like to provide you, dear reader, with my reaction to the blatant differences and similarities.

First, the struggle between Oroonoko and his grandfather over Imoinda, the lovely lady that both of them had fallen for. There is a blatant similarity between Oroonoko and his grandfather and the king’s relationship with his son(s) in England. It is common knowledge that the king would get the woman because he is king and so Oroonoko’s grandfather got Imoinda to join his harem. Oroonoko was stonewalled and his beloved had to give herself to his grandfather, though she felt that her virginity had been given to Oroonoko.

This is something that we do see rather often in monarchies when there is a struggle between father and son, so it was pretty accurate. The only issue is that it hits a little to close to home. The king pretty much gets whatever he wants.

The second item on my list is the naming of possessions. When Oroonoko arrived in Surinam he was renamed Caesar by his owner. This was a way of taking away his rights as a human being. Imoinda was not renamed, as if her humanity didn’t matter because she was a woman. It is not a common instance in our culture in America to rename humans after they’ve already had one for their entire life. We do it with pets, but not with humans. Oroonoko became nothing more than a possession to be bought and sold over and over again. He wouldn’t make it that long, but that is what would have happened. There also seemed to be a lack of a language barrier, because in the first part Oroonoko would not understand being cunning, so it would not be that easy for him to understand the people of Surinam.

The third object on the list is the clear difference in the two cultures is the relationship between men, women, love, and death. The African belief is that if a man loves his wife and he believes that she would not be taken care of he would kill her himself, or if he tired of her he would kill her himself. If he did not love his wife, the man would have someone else kill her or leave her in a worse situation. The white owners would just leave him or her be. The wife may be bruised (until she died sometimes) but she would still be around when he died. It would not matter whether she would be in a good situation or not.
This is most potent when Imoinda begs Oroonoko to kill her when she does not think that she could escape with her man and her child. He was shocked that she suggested it before he did, but they were going to go through with it. I personally did not expect it. Often times in slavery the slaves would adopt the master’s beliefs. It was obvious that he did not do this, despite the fact that it would make it easier for them all.

This was one of the more unusual books than what we had read previously, though I greatly enjoyed it. The writing was easier to handle than Jonson and it went smoother than Evelina, so I almost wished I could go back in time and read it again with the class. The substance of Behn’s characters combined with her vague beliefs in slavery made for an interesting read. It seemed like she was giving the pros and cons of it, though we’d say that the cons outweigh the pros. The novel worked because it made you think and question things without being obvious. It also helped the people of its time understand other cultures. This is definitely one of the highlights of Behn’s career.

Bibliography:
Sparknotes; Oroonoko Characters; 19 December, 2011
<http://www.gradesaver.com/oroonoko/study-guide/character-list/>
Sparknotes; Oroonoko; Study Guide; 19 December, 2011
<http://www.gradesaver.com/oroonoko/study-guide/section1/>
Oroonoko; Aphra Behn.


Anti-Christ; A Film Review

Anti-Christ, a provocative film about the evils of human nature that knocked my socks clean off!

Anti-Christ is about a man who is going through the grieving process with his wife after the death of their child. Charlotte Gainsbourg played a convincing woman going through a constant state of panic while her husband (Willem Defoe, Spiderman) tries to cure her with exposure therapy. There is a lot of blood and pain, so if you can’t stomach it, then don’t watch this amazing film.

First of all I must say that Defoe and Gainsbourg both do a phenomenal job portraying their characters. They set the mood for each of the scene splendidly. I want them to work together again, and soon! Their chemistry was so realistic!

Next, I must applaud the cinema-photographer because there were so many beautiful shots of the nature as well as so much provocativeness in the less extreme shots. He did a wonderful job. I felt like I was there with the characters as all the action went down. The few special effects were so beautiful as well. Go special effect guys! Wardrobe was good, nothing was too outrageous which meant that the actors could play up their clothes instead of play up to their clothes. And they looked like they were easy to move around is as well.

The soundtrack was done completely organically. Not one instrument that you couldn’t find directly from nature without doing anything do it was used. The music sounded amazing and I want to sway to it as they played it. The person who found the location needs to be given a raise. I don’t know how they found Eden, but the place was beautiful. There were only a few places where it didn’t quite match up, but those areas needed to be done in a studio. It took an extremely close look at the set to notice that they weren’t the same.

Now, I’m giving this film all this praise because it was amazing, but I did have one issue with it. Trier tried to change the concept of an anti-Christ into something that is more like a battle for balance of power. This doesn’t really work because the title is something so ingrained in Christianity that its not something you can really change. I know that Lars von Trier titled it this because of his personal experiences, but it doesn’t work. If the film ended with the woman becoming pregnant after killing her husband that would make a bit more sense, but that’s not how it went down.

Over all Anti-Christ was so good that its at the top of my must see film list.

I give Anti-Christ 4 out of 5 stars.

 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0870984/

 


Crapmas Vacation-Film Review

Christmas Vacation. A movie that several of my friends have recommended as being extremely funny. I’m afraid that I cannot  quite say the same. Christmas Vacation is about a family trying to have a sensible Christmas with shenanigans getting in the way. There are bickering in-laws, bickering siblings, and even some prat falls that just may or may not fall short.

It opens differently than many comedies and other genres open, with a clever little cartoon about Santa. Santa is fighting to survive the trek through the Griswold’s house. The cartoon is so funny that it set the bar for the rest of the movie.  A bar that it could not possibly reach. I felt like I was watching one of the old Disney animated shorts.

After the opening sequence that I would pay to see we have to bear witness to a drawn out road scene where the Griswolds are driving to pick up a tree. Clark goes all crazy because some drivers were being jackasses. It was unnecessarily dramatic. Seriously, there are bad drivers everywhere. No point in it. There is no humor in it either. Its just a man over reacting to the road.

The actor playing Clark (I refuse to use the names of the actors because this is such a bad movie) over acted everything. Every single moment is over acted to a painful extent. I wanted to take over the directing, but its too late. Every other actor did the same. There’s one thing when its just one actor, but its ridiculous when its everyone, except for the guys playing the next door neighbors, whom had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. There was no plot. The next door neighbors were lovable. I would have loved to have Margo and Todd live next door to me.

There were numerous unrealistic situations that would never really happen in real life and be funny. A sled going that fast down a hill mainly. I mean, come on! It was practically shooting rockets. Clark would have also broken several bones by the half hour mark. The lights would have come off the house because the staples would not have held Clark’s weight and neither would have the gutter.

The weight of the world must fall on the actress who played Audrey because they seemed to have told her to be constipated all the time. She even sounds constipated during the unnatural sounding argument she had with her mother. I wasn’t sure who sounded more fake: Ellen or Audrey.

Speaking of fake; the reveal of the house after Clark finishes putting up the lights takes far too long. It was as if they needed more length to he movie, because it would end up short. We spend ten minutes watching the guy give a speech and another ten with the drumroll. After he fails his family “consoles” him. It takes another twenty minutes and a lot of begging before they move onto the next scene. Seriously, I was begging. It would be one thing if the consoling was done with some sort of humor, but there was nothing. Even the “witty” side cracks fell short.

Now, I like prat falls as much as the next girl, but this movie was ridiculous. A prat fall, if done right, can seem better than something cold on a hot, muggy day. Charlie Chaplain was the master of prat falls, but no one studied him for this movie. I felt like the prat falls could have been done better. I mean, it was like having sex with a hot guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing: there’s a big, suspenseful build up, but it either falls short or it has unsatisfactory results.

Clark went up in the attic to hide Christmas presents and his mother-in-law closed the attic door. His attic door was in the ceiling, so you’d have to pull it down to do anything and push it up. Now, no mother would just close the attic door without yelling up to make sure no one is up there for sure. That’s just common sense. He also had enough time to yell out about being up in the attic. So he makes his way to the window and then near a chest. He just stands there and his feet goes through the ceiling. He could have used the hole that was created to get out of the attic and then fix it later. Also, if the attic floors are that weak, then clark should not be in the attic, walking on the floors. Then, common sense says not to sit on the closed attic door because someone might open the door.

When the lights are finally working we learn that they are all connected to one light switch in the garage. There is no way that would work, especially with all those weird plugs in one outlet without any kind of extension. And then the redneck part of the family comes in town and plays up the stereotypes that pains even the most stereotypical redneck. And then Clark doesn’t use the full range of sarcasm. I also doubt that Clark would steal anything from his job because it doesn’t fit with his personality. They are also guilty of cruelly making fun of elderly issues and diseases and why didn’t anyone check on the animals? You have to check on them to make sure they don’t get into anything.

Then, they drew out the bonus scene. It lasted much longer than it should have been. I don’t care about what you’ll do with the extra money. I don’t care. The cheer that went out over the family sounded incredibly fake and wrong. It doesn’t sound natural when he swears, using four letter words that didn’t come up before. There was minimum cursing in the beginning and then all of a sudden Clark drops an “F”-bomb. There were also several points where the neighbors would have called the cops because of Clark’s brother. Then, they killed the cat. Animal cruelty hurts me.

There is this entire scene where they are running away from a squirrel. A little squirrel. Just contact animal control or chase the little thing out the door. There was a simple way of doing it. It was over dramatic and then the police raided their house and their next door neighbor’s. Dramatic music pays and they drop in from the sky and break the windows. It was entirely unnecessary. There were too many characters, so I couldn’t make any personal connections. No emotional impact for the movie from me. Also, Clark did not recite Twas the Night Before Christmas. He read it. That annoys me more than anything.

Now, there were a few good things about the movie. The issues involving money was realistic and the prat falls of the neighbors were entertaining. It also had a good soundtrack for the most part. That was pretty much it. Those were the only good things in the entire movie.

Christmas Vacation was not worth the hour and a half of my life that I wasted watching this monstrosity.

I give Christmas Vacation 1 out of 5 stars.


Ripper Should Rip this Movie

Or at least sue the Hughes Brothers.

When I saw From Hell on the video rack at the local video store I was excited about watching it and writing a review about it. Johnny Depp stars as Inspector Alberline in a Jack the Ripper thriller that promised something that it could not follow through with. They promised to explain who committed the horrendous murders, but they didn’t really give us much more evidence than what a lot of us already knew. I was ashamed while I watched this film play out. Its one thing for Hollywood to mess up simple things that Indie films kept accurate, but its another when a well known name screws us over.

The first thing I noticed was that one of the prostitutes was wearing rather expensive looking lace that she would not be able to buy in reality. It was expensive black lace that looked like fishnets, which women were not wearing back in the Victorian Era. Another thing I noticed, also involving the whores, was that the group of friends was being too friendly. Back in the Victorian Era whores were overly competitive, so they were friendly. However, the prostitutes would not have hung out that often. They would have been too busy trying to coerce men into enjoying the pleasures of the flesh for a fee. When the whore got someone she slept with him standing up and facing each other. No man in the Victorian Era would be willing to face a woman he was not married to because she was nothing more than a common “unfortunate.” They would be in the doggy position.

The language of the common people in the film was in no way accurate. I would not have had an issue with it if there weren’t so many more damn inaccuracies in the movie. The accents were also a tad off. The prostitutes’ accents should have been much more common. They sounded too eloquent to be whores. Also, Jack the Ripper silenced the women he was killing as he started killing them, despite that the East End would have been so loud and full of screaming that there would have been no point. Everyone would have just ignored what was happening.

After the first two murders the two coroners both vomited and passed out. That would have never happened. They would have been used to Syphilis victims, which would be worse than any organs missing. They would have seen several victims of the sort and Jack the Ripper’s the only publicized killer whose details kind of became public. There should have also been more screaming coming from the East End of London. It was accurate that the whores were thrown out of the tavern because there were more girls in the room than had paid for it. There are no mentions of legal proceedings, which I knew there were because they needed the legal proceedings to decide whether or not the crime was really a crime. They needed to discuss whether or not a killing was suicide, homicide, accidental, or natural causes.

I do have to commend the Hughes Brothers on how the murder scenes were portrayed. They artistically avoided showing the details of the gruesome murders, so you got the gist of it. You knew what had happened because of the dialogue, but they never showed much gore. The only thing they did show was the human heart the physician placed in the tea kettle over the fire. There was also a really cool murder sequence where you see the whore with her throat whole and then a shadow passes and her throat is cut. It was done really well and I loved watching the sequence. It was also accurate that Alberline made a lot of enemies.

Now, Alberline was the type of man who was very strict about who he hung out with.  He would have never taken such good care of a prostitute, never mind her group of friends. Also, the important papers were ineligible to me while I was trying to read it. It was too blurry. Also, the crime photos are way too detailed for the time period. We should have never seen the stitching of the closed autopsy cuts. The time scheme also didn’t work, because Jack the Ripper stopped killing in 1888, but everything passed in the film in a few months. It also lacked suspense and I think that it may be because there wasn’t much in the line of suspenseful music. I mean, they could have used Mozart of Beethoven because that was the music that was popular during this era. Mary Kelly’s bedroom was set up differently than what was in the film. Drawn diagrams show that the windows and door were not close to each other.

I only have two more issues with the film. The first is that the film is about Jack the Ripper, not a love story with Alberline and a prostitute. The love story took over in the end and I felt like it should not be there, especially since Alberline was happily married with no children. He also did not die of opium. He died of old age long after the Ripper case was over. Those two inaccuracies entirely screwed up the film. That was the final straw. The story wasn’t even about Alberline, it was about the case. The case was more important than the character.

I do have to say that actors did a remarkable job with such utter crap. Johnny Depp was at full strength in his roll of Alberline, though it was inaccurate. There were other well known actors in the film as well, but I’ll not mention their names so you can play the I-can-spot-a-familiar-face-drinking-game.

I wouldn’t recommend From Hell as a serious thought as it isn’t worth the time, nor the money that went into it, but if you want to watch actors do what they do best then this is the movie for you.

I give From Hell 2 out of 5 stars.


A Mystery

I started this, fully intending to finish in one go, but it couldn’t seem to pull itself from my mind like I wanted to. So it’ll be continued. If you have a suggestion for a better title let me know.

I watched the lights flash off my Glock as I took aim at the motherfucker who had decided to kill my mother. His eyes were wide, shocked that I had come all the way to Hickory to find him. I breathed out through my mouth, allowing a surreal sense of calmness to encircle me. It steadied my hand and I no longer blinked.

“How did you find me?”

“It was simple,” I said. “It started the day I spoke to the police.”

“Why don’t you tell me the entire story?”

“No.”

“I want you to know before you kill me,” he said, backing away with his hands up.

“You’ll hear it soon. You’ll read it soon,” I said, my voice barely above a whisper. He shuddered as I took aim at his right knee. He started blabbering about something for a moment and I listened before I pulled the trigger. He screamed and I took pleasure in that scream before taking off, purposely dropping my note.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t entered the room the exact moment my mother died. A man stood, facing me with a mask on and his Glock in hand. He dropped the gun and sprinted out the window, towards the fire escape. I was screaming and crying so loudly over my mother’s body that the next door neighbor had walked in to check on us. The police tried to pin it on me, but my alibi checked out and all was well. At least that’s what they told me. They had never caught the guy because my mother was  a prostitute.

I could never remember much about my mother’s attacker, but his pale blue eyes. It was like looking into ice and that ice had started burying into my soul.

As soon as I could I got emanicipated from my grandparents and moved to a small apartment close to the college I wanted to attend. I never got in, having to drop out of school to afford my apartment, but I started studying at the library. I was there so often that I was offered a job.

I had been there for ten years before I saw the man again. At first I wasn’t sure. He was the same height, sure. I hadn’t seen his entire face, so every man that tall scared me a little, but his eyes were those same ice blue. Ice blue that spread cold throughout my body. I followed him from the library until I knew what he had done, what he could do. I caught him…..

(To be continued).