Thursday, March 29, 2012


I've been trying to sort out how I feel about Madonna and I finally put my finger on the adjective I've been grasping for: underwhelming. Her new album is underwhelming...pretty much everything since "You Can Dance" has felt empty to me...well, that's not fair. Let's sum up her discography.

1. Madonna (1983): intriguing.
2. Like a Virgin (1984): still has my attention.
3. True Blue (1986): ok, this chick is sticking around.
4.Like a Prayer (1989): evolution = adaptation = success.
5. Erotica (1992): ok, now you're pushing it, Madonna. Perhaps it's time to admit you're 34 and act less like a teenager.
6. Bedtime Stories (1994): first time working with interesting electronic producers...GOOD evolution, mostly.
7. Ray of LIght (1998): acting like an adult and playing to your strengths...GOOD evolution, mostly.
8. Music (2000): bad Madonna! I don't even want to talk about this one.
9. American Life (2003): or this one. Badddd Madonna.
10. Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005): Better. This is who you are, Madonna...a disco princess singing cliches whilst utilizing the best producers money can buy...GOOD. Self-actualization? Will you stop now, while you're ahead?
11. Hard Candy (2008): I never even listened to this one...I didn't want to ruin the "Confessions.." buzz I had going.
12. MDNA (2012): no, Madonna. BAD Madonna. STOP singing. You're 54 and your heart is not in it anymore. You sound hollow. There is one passable song on this album while most of it is unlistenable. STOP. You made MIA sound is that even possible?!?!

To be fair, Madonna has always been mediocre. Her music is background for folding clothes or...dancing? I don't even dance to Madonna, so what is she good for? Ray of Light was the last album Madonna had any emotion or anything semi-new to say. She feels so generic. She thinks she's subversive and shocking even still. She thinks she's still the same brassy blonde she was 30 years ago. It's painful to watch. I would be willing to let Madonna be sexy at 54 if her face was still her own, but I am not buying into her image anymore. I hope Lady GaGa doesn't evolve in the same patterns as Madonna forever, because her trajectory is boring. I hate when artists fuck it all up at the end (Tori Amos, I'm talking to YOU) to the point of retroactively embarrassing themselves when they were still relevant. "Live to Tell" and "Oh Father" MEANT something to me as an 11-year old girl, but I can't look at her the same knowing she's been barely phoning it in for the last 14 years.

And don't even get me started on her lyrics. They're the worst! I was going to spend time looking up a bunch and making a little quiz, but I can't even be bothered with spending that much time on her lyrics as I'm about 80% sure the twenty minutes it would take to compose said quiz would be more time spent than the composition of the lyrics themselves...

She's infected me to the point than I am now phoning in this blog entry the way she does her career. I have as much expression on my face as the Botox robot she looks these days. I'm surprised I can even fling insults with all this apathy. Perhaps there's a bit of animosity toward this character that meant something to me in my preteen years.

It seems we're dealing with yet another career trajectory we need to cut off before the gangrenous part...I'm calling that time period 1998. What do you think, dear readers?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This is going to sound really pedestrian...

both in that I am talking about walking, but also in the "commonplace and dull" sense of the word, but really, let's take a moment.

It was only January 2007 that the first iPhone was announced. Think back to those dark ages before smartphones. I am still amazed at what I can do with one object.

Today I took a hike at Wildcat park. I had four things with me: car keys, neoprene bottle with 14oz of water, my headphones, and my phone. During this hour and a half hike I:

*recorded a video of ducks by a dam
*recorded a voice memo of nature sounds in the forest by Shoal Creek.
*took pictures of nature.
*made a phone call.
*used voice commands to "play Queens of the Stone Age on shuffle"
*texted my mom.
*took notes on ideas for zine articles both via voice dictation and typing.
*listened to internet radio (both's "Underground '80s" station and Pandora station based on Covenant).

Other things I could have done include:

*checking Google maps if I got lost in the wilderness.
*looked up local flora and fauna on the internet and catalogued it all.
*read a book (I almost sat on a rock and read awhile).
*played Scrabble with my feet in the creek.
*posted a blog with my feet in the creek. get the idea...

Was this walk a little TOO multi-tasky or is it dreamy to be able to seamlessly do whatever you want with one device? I am still in awe that my phone takes such great pictures (see below and above). I am seriously considering getting rid of my digital camera because I think I've used it once in the last year. Who needs a decent digital camera (not professional is what I mean by decent--I still see a use for digital SLRs and the like) when you've got a swell one in your phone?

I'm still amazed that I can be rocking out to the Dum Dum Girls, get a phone call, answer it with my headphones, and when I hang up, the music resumes. I STILL think about how awesome that is EVERY TIME. It's a phone. It's a camera. It's a music player. It's the internet. It's a handheld gaming device. It has my schedule in it. It has my grocery list.

As Nick from "New Girl" questioned in the last episode: Is it possible to be sexually attracted to an object? Yes, Nick, yes it is. Of course I don't mean that literally, but the reverence with which I worship my smartphone is pretty lofty. Remember life before this? It was not bad, just with the saturation turned way down.

All this is not to say that being constantly connected is always the answer. There's still a simple elegance to grabbing your iPod and walking out the door. Sometimes these hikes are taken with ONLY my entire music library. No phone. No camera. No internet...just sound. And that's still pretty freaking amazing have your entire music library in your pocket. I know it's no surprise to anyone that I love technology, but damnit, I really really do...

Friday, March 16, 2012

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Graduation Day, Parts 1 & 2.

It's time to settle in for a two-parter...take a deep breath, get out the shot glasses for the Angel shirtless drinking game, and let's settle in for approximately an hour and a half of cheesy Buffy goodness!

Episodes 55 & 56 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
airdate: 18 May 1999 (part 1) & 13 July 1999 (part 2).

Everyone's picking up their caps and gowns. They are maroon (yech) like we had at Joplin High. Willow is all sentimental and nostalgic, JUST like I was at the end of senior year. Xander says he won't make it out alive, which is the whole Joss metaphor, of course. High school = hell/demon playground. I'm feeling nostalgic, too. I like the familiarity of the school backdrop. The soda machine that looks like it's from the '50s, etc.

Faith kills a professor brutally. She stabs him in the stomach! That's a little much, don't ya think? More Mayor/Faith bond reassurances. Since when does Willow ride a bike to school?

Anya tries to ask Xander out and he reveals that he may not make it to next weekend 'cause of the Ascension and all and she freaks...she's seen Ascensions before, so that adds to the cryptic. She has information and tells everyone. This is the first revelation of the Buffy mythology that the demons that walk the earth aren't PURE demons, only part and that an Ascension is when a human becomes a PURE demon. She decides to leave town. Buffy makes her mom leave town as well. Willow is trying to find a spell to stop the Ascension and getting nowhere. This is the time for her and Oz to do it, apparently. Impending doom and all that. Rowr! It's so sweet to see two normal people on this show do it. They're consensual, similar ages, no weird desperation or malice. Just sweetness. If only all of our first times were this nice.

Buffy and Angel are fighting and Faith shoots him with a huge arrow. Angel has LIFTED his shirt for Buffy to bandage him...take a half shot. Angel has clearly been poisoned.

Ooh, Oz topless! Bonus shot! Anya tries to convince Xander to run away with her. She likes him! "When I think that something could happen to you I feel bad I might vomit!" This is THE moment where Anya's super bluntness really presents itself. Yay for Anya regularity! Angel topless and squalling with fever. Take a shot!

Buffy quits the Council when they won't help cure Angel. Giles immediately, and stoic-wordlessly, backs her up. Xander looks yummy in a minty sweater.

The only way to cure the poison is to drain the blood of a Slayer. It takes Buffy a minute, but she decides to kill Faith. Xander tries to talk sense into her. Buffy gets Faith's knife and goes to Faith's new apartment. Faith looks like any teenage girl laying in her bed listening to girl rock, reading a magazine, and eating Twizzlers. It's almost sweet, for a minute. Buffy's wearing her red vinyl pants. I used to have pants just like that in high school. They're probably in a landfill now, as I left them in my wind-desiccated house. When Faith sees her knife during their fight, she says, "That's mine." Buffy replies, "Well, you're about to get it back." but she doesn't say it like a badass. She says it with a catch in her throat, obviously tormented by what she has to do.
She stabs her in the gut and Faith jumps into a passing truck to keep from helping Angel, though she seems resigned to die.

Begin part 2...

The Mayor discovers Faith's empty apartment and is very upset. He genuinely does care about her. Angel mistakes Willow for Buffy and makes a whole speech about how he was wrong and he can't leaver her, etc. Angel is STILL topless, but I don't recommend taking shots for every scene he's topless, 'cause you'd be pretty sloshed.

Buffy offers herself to him, of course...the fact that her friends don't suspect she'll do something so stupid is a little lame. This is her atonement for killing him last season. Of course when he drinks from her she has to trick him into doing it and it's all erotic and shit. He stops himself, but she's unconscious so he takes her to the hospital. Note: he puts on a shirt to go to the hospital. This is what classy men do. they put on shirts to go out in PUBLIC. Just sayin'.

Faith is also in the hospital. She's in a coma. The Mayor overhears a nurse talking to a doctor about "another young girl with severe blood loss" and he goes and starts to suffocate Buffy. Angel stops him. Everyone's mad at Angel, of course. Further reinforcement that he should get out of town. I totally see the logic in that now.

Ooh, it's the first Buffy/Faith dream. Faith has all her stuff in boxes at her apartment and Buffy asks her how she's going to fit all this stuff and she says "Not gonna. It's yours...just take what you need. You ready?" Then she touches her and Buffy wakes up. I would argue this is the very beginning of Faith's redemption. Buffy showed vulnerability by trying to kill Faith and Faith understands her a little more now. So she chooses to give herself to save Buffy, in that dream-like metaphor way. This is also a turning point for Buffy, because I'm pretty sure she never forgives herself for putting Faith in a coma and is harder and more like Faith forever a survival tactic. She HAS to become harder to save the world all the time. To live her life as a Slayer. She is graduating, man! That's deep. OMG they're in the same hospital room! Buffy kisses Faith on the forehead like she's thanking her. Another of her resurrections. She has a lot of those. Anyway, she has a plan when she wakes up, of course. She tells Xander he's the key to this whole thing. Is this another Apocalypse we can say Xander has thwarted? I'm going to count it.

Wesley decides to help.

The Mayor is all excited about his speech. Cordelia is so skinny...glad she bulks up when she's on Angel. Her and Wesley share an awkward kiss and they sort of mutually hate it and thus the sexual tension is resolved.

And the Mayor turns into a giant snake and the entire senior class takes off their robes to reveal weapons. They are an army that Xander organized. Snyder gets eaten. That's for all the teenagers that hated their principals. Cordelia stakes a vamp. Harmony gets bit. Buffy distracts the Mayor with Faith's knife and they blow him up along with the school. I wonder if the high school graduates that survived the tornado feel like this...their school got destroyed on the DAY they graduated. Spooky.

Angel has told Buffy he's not going to say goodbye, but she looks for him afterwards...

Giles saved Buffy's diploma from the wreckage. "You've earned it." Sweet Giles, how I love thee.

Angel and Buffy make eye contact right before he walks away. Sad moment.

Everyone meets at the end to have a reflection moment. I love those. Jokes and stuff.

Oz: Guys, take a moment to deal with this. We survived.
Buffy: It was a HELL of a battle.
Oz: Not the battle...high school.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I am about to embark...

across the south. Tomorrow night we will be in Alabama. Sunday night we will be curled up on the couch of my best friend Kim watching something ridiculous on TV in Fort Pierce, Florida. Tuesday we will be staying in Vero Beach for Michael's birthday at a really cool quirky hotel on the beach.

I love traveling. Less the older I get, I will admit, but I do love being on the road. Right now I'm envisioning myself in the backseat of the car watching the South roll by the window as I listen to my Strict Machine (160GB iPod). It's calm in my daydreamy world. Road trips are especially awesome when my Asperger's self doesn't have to drive, as this time I will likely not have to drive.

I always return from the road more enlightened. More knowledgable about myself. More ready for my life. It's like taking your life and balling it up and throwing it far enough away so that you can still see it, but you can't reach it without considerable effort. It leaves you able to examine yourself from a distance. When I return I will be so happy to be home, but I will appreciate my life more than usual...I will have the relaxed exhaustion of a person that's soaked up a lot of sun and had a little time to think about everything.

Ooh, I need a raunchy paperback to read on the beach! I can't take my iPad or library books to the beach! What should I read? Perhaps Stephen King's Firestarter or my favorite Poppy Z. Brite. I've read that SOOO many times, however. Perhaps an Austen?

I love the theme of chicks of horror. Firestarter. Carrie. Bride of Frankenstein. Barbarella (not really horror, but she has that feel or campy powerful awesomeness). Return of the Living Dead 3's Julie. Kabuki. Queen of the Damned. Perhaps that could be my obsession! I'll start collecting something!! Ok, everyone, that's my thing: girls in horror. OMG, that is my obsession. I've always loved wicked witches and bad girls...who doesn't really?