Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts about Dexter.

My mom and I have had a night every week since like 2006 that we call Gilmore Girl Night. Every Thursday we watch several episodes of a couple of different shows. It started with "Gilmore Girls" of course, but it has also included "FRIENDS", "Will & Grace" and most recently we agreed to finally endure the entire run of each of our respective Favorite Shows of All Time. You know what MY favorite show is, of course, and my mom is enjoying it WAY more than she thought she would. My mom's Favorite Show of All Time is "Dexter". Being that it has less episodes in it than "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" we've already finished it and I have a few thoughts.

I enjoyed the show. A lot. I really didn't think a show about a serial killer's inner monologue would be that endearing to me. I went through the Serial Killer Phase in high school (American Psycho and Exquisite Corpse being two of my favorite items of serial killer fiction) and I'm pretty much over the romance of that whole thing.

The inner monologue of the main character, Dexter Morgan, was pretty heavy-handed pretty much all the time, but I got used to it and eventually found it endearing. The constant appearances of the apparition of Harry, Dexter's deceased father, were a never-ending source of frustration. Every time Harry appeared onscreen I yelled, "Shut the fuck up, Harry!" I wish they would have phased this aspect of the show out.

Overall, the show's plotlines, though often as heavy-handed in bald symbolism as Dexter's inner monologue, made sense to me and kept me interested.

***SPOILERS after the gif of Deb.***

However, I came away from the entire 8 seasons of the show ONLY caring about 3 characters: Debra Morgan (Dexter's sister), Dexter, and Angel Batista (eventually Lieutenant of Homicide where Deb and Dex work). Several other characters throughout the series I was SUPPOSED to care about, I never did. I never cared about LaGuerta or Hannah or Rita really either, though I don't hate her as much as my mom does. I HATE Harry. Masuka was present throughout the entire series and depth was never added to him, unless you count his surprise daughter showing up in the last season, and I DON'T. 8 whole years of a show and I only care about three characters?! That's sad. Several casting decisions in the show were bad ones, though generally the show is racially diverse and the female-to-male ratio isn't atrocious.

As characters go, Jennifer Carpenter as Debra and Michael C. Hall as Dexter were the best choices casting made. They blew their wads on these two, and I'm glad they did. Both of them consistently delivered believable performances and a range of emotion most actors couldn't deliver. Their performances singlehandedly kept me interested. They both deserve armloads of awards for this show if they didn't get them.

I feel like the show's writers consistently asked only two questions when writing the scripts for each episode: "What else can Dexter get away with?" and "What else can we put Debra through?"

EVERY SINGLE EPISODE has Debra being put through a load of ridiculous bullshit most normal people wouldn't live through with their sanity intact, both emotionally and physically. Conversely, each episode involves Dexter getting away with murder in the nick of time and the suavest of schemes. He is forever the golden child while Debra deals with his fallout, most of the show while not knowing her brother is a serial killer. I kind of hate him for everything he put Deb through and thankfully, he hates himself for that too.

So in the very last episode Deb dies and Dexter takes her out on his boat and dumps her in the water. He did kill her, but only in the pulling-the-plug way of her being braindead from a stroke caused by a gunshot that wouldn't have happened without Dexter, though he's not the one that shot her. He then steers his boat into a frickin' hurricane attempting to kill himself, thus abandoning his girlfriend and son. Then, epilogue time! Somehow this hurricane doesn't kill him and the last shot of the show is him dressed as a lumberjack (hawt red beard) hiding out on some fisherman island somewhere.

This is the last shot of the entire series.
On one hand, I get the ending. The entire run of the show was a journey toward humanity, not happiness. Dexter didn't think of himself as a real human until the end of the series when he was planning a move to Argentina with his son Harrison and girlfriend Hannah wherein presumably he would no longer need to kill, because he now has love and family in his life. But he couldn't live with himself for letting Deb die. He ruined her life consistently throughout the series and things were just beginning to turn around for her as he was preparing to exit from her life (save for her occasional future visits to Argentina). It couldn't have ended with him being with his son and girlfriend forever while Deb moved on with her life, and DEFINITELY couldn't have ended with Dex happy while Deb is dead. I think it makes sense that his life as he knows it ends with her. But no one knew Hannah had Harrison (because she's a serial killer too, and on the run). They were waiting for Dexter in Argentina when he calls her from the boat (!! all the time Dexter was making phone calls from that boat...yeah, right, like there would EVER be reception out there!!) to tell her and Harrison he'd be there soon and that he loves them, etc. And no one knew Dexter unplugged Deb and took her out of the hospital. So what does everyone think when Dexter's boat is found and he is presumed dead? Do they assume Deb was with him? Do they assume Harrison was with them? WTF? Poor Batista. Poor Hannah. Poor Harrison. Poor Quinn (Deb's boyfriend). Poor Dexter. POOR DEB! I loved her the most! So much tragedy and loss in this series but also worth it, I think.

The answer to the series' two main questions are as follows:

Q: How much can Dexter get away with?
A: everything

Q: How much can we put Deb through/how much of Dexter's shit will Deb take upon herself?

My final summation is that this is a really good show, but I cannot believe that BASTARD lived through throwing himself into a goddamn hurricane when Deb dies! It is SO not fair that Dexter gets to live after ruining his sister's life! I suppose he will suffer forever for this, but so will his abandoned girlfriend and son! He does look cute in his red beard and lumberjack outfit, though. Super cute.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The 79cent therapist, #347

A long time ago I read in a book about journaling that a journal (namely, any one subject notebook that probably costs 79 cents) can be your therapist. I've been a believer in the concept ever since. There's nothing in my life I haven't been able to gain insight from by writing it out. I may not solve an issue, but any stack of papers with room to scribble upon has the capacity to begin a psychological healing journey.

We all have some forgotten half-filled notebook somewhere in our desk drawers, right? And surely everyone has a cup with pens and pencils in it. Of course one can just as easily use a typewriter or a word document on their computers if typing is your preferred mode of writing.

The hardest part is getting started. Deciding to sit and write is the biggest hurdle to using your 79cent therapist, but you CAN jump it. You don't have to have a goal. Just write. See what comes out. For me, I adopt a superhero mentality when journaling. By that I mean I pretend I'm Buffy or some other super, often mythological, version of myself. This allows me to not blame myself in my writings to myself. It allows me to explore the idea that things aren't my fault and then work problems from the angle of that assumption.

For you maybe your writings can be directed as letters to yourself or to another person in your life, even if you'll never give them the letters. Or maybe you want to write fictionalized versions of what happened in your day, or maybe you just want to document how your day went in one sentence per day. Maybe you burn your journals after you write them, choosing never to actually read them back to yourself. Maybe you create a blog that no one knows the username to and post your darkest thoughts to the internet publicly.

It's your inanimate therapist. Use it however you like.

Friday, January 9, 2015

MixtressRae's Top Ten Shoes of all time.

I've had an idea formulating in my brain for some time now. An idea of minimalism. An idea of comfort. An idea of quality footwear. The idea is that I really only need 10 pairs of shoes. That it doesn't behoove my wish-I-was-a-minimalist heart to have more than that. That if I can suss out the good quality shoes for all seasons and situations, I would never have to think about acquiring shoes again, save for hunting down a replacement pair every 5-10 years when one of my ten dies the inevitable sole-death.

I've known for months WHAT these categories of shoes will be. I created rules of shoe conduct for myself months ago as well, but it wasn't until last week that the final essential category of shoes was acquired. Now I can begin my life of shoe minimalism.

The rules are thus:

1) From now on I will only acquire replacements for the shoes in my top ten categories of shoes.
2) I don't have to get rid of any of the extraneous pairs I already own (four or five pairs of heels and wedges I only wear for brief periods of painful-feet inertia), but when those shoes perish they are gone forever.
3) I've decided not to count slippers as shoes, though I will probably always have a pair of those for the cold months trudging about the house, plus that backup pair I keep clean to take with me to Jill's because she makes me take my shoes off in her house. Hippy!

I'm pretty proud of this idea of shoe frugality. I will feel like some sort of zen monk of feetness following the silly rules I've set for myself. Each pair of these shoes (except #10 which is just a category that can't be avoided) has been thoughtfully chosen and will be well-loved. Here's my countdown:

#10 -- Category: Flip Flops
Function: for the pool or the beach only
Brand Preference: cheap
Brand of Current Pair: ??
Lifetime Estimation: until the ferret chews them into a new shape or hides one or both of them permanently.
#9 -- Category: Heels
Function: for a night out of fancy dress and minimal movement, or maybe photography situations
Brand Preference: cheap 
Brand of Current Pair: Solanz (I think it's a Shoe Carnival brand)
Lifetime Estimation: probably forever because I wear heels like once a year for an hour, mayyyybe
#8 -- Category: Flats
Function: pair of basic slip-on shoes for work 
Brand Preference: sturdy
Brand of Current Pair: cushe
Lifetime Estimation: 1-3 years
#7 -- Category: Brown Boots
Function: for earth-tone outfits that don't match my superior pair of Doc Martens black boots
Brand Preference: none
Brand of Current Pair: Target
Lifetime Estimation: 1 year (I really like these boots so when they wear out I'm going to take them to a professional to see if they can be resoled.)
#6 -- Category: Running Sneakers
Function: workout/run
Brand Preference: well-rated budget trail running shoe
Brand of Current Pair: New Balance Women's 110 Trail
Lifetime Estimation: 3-5 years
#5 -- Category: Hardcore Boot
Function: hiking, snow-trudging, outdoor work, cleaning out your house after a tornado, lumberjacking your yard after an ice storm destroyed all your trees, etc
Brand Preference: Vegetarian Shoes 
Brand of Current Pair: Vegetarian Shoes; this particular pair has steel toes and was bought 11 years ago with barely ANY wear to the soles. Definitely worth the high price tag.
Lifetime Estimation: forever
#4 -- Category: Mary Jane
Function: work, cuteness
Brand Preference: Doc Martens 8065 Mary Jane
Brand of Current Pair: same
Lifetime Estimation: a couple of decades, at least...I'm hoping
#3 -- Category: Everyday Sneakers
Function: everyday comfort (especially in temperate seasons)
Brand Preference: Converse Low Top
Brand of Current Pair: same
Lifetime Estimation: 2 years
#2 -- Category: Sandal
Function: hiking, everyday summer
Brand Preference: Chaco ZX/2
Brand of Current Pair: same
Lifetime Estimation: forever, though the straps and soles will need replacing every 5 years or so
#1 -- Category: Badass Boots
Function: everyday 
Brand Preference: Doc Martens 1460 Boot
Brand of Current Pair: same
Lifetime Estimation: forever if I can get the soles replaced. I have a backup pair for when the current pair dissolves because I'm THAT obsessed with this shoe.

If you'd like to enter a giveaway for a pair of skeleton high heels and/or see even MORE details about my top ten shoes, see the video below:

Thursday, January 1, 2015

stop. making. sense. // a tattoo story

Last night I was asked if there's a story behind this tattoo. I'm TERRIBLE at telling stories, so this blog is an attempt to tell it better than I did almost 24 hours ago...

When I was a teenager I had a subscription to Alternative Press magazine. Back in the mid-to-late nineties, it covered music that was actually pretty good. They sent out sampler mix CDs every season during 1998. Man, that was so awesome. It was the only year they did it (while I was subscribing, anyway).

One day, I assume because of my subscription to AP, I received a simple postcard in the mail: black background and the word "STOP." in red typeface. Some time later (I think it was a week) I received a second postcard just like it with the word "MAKING."; "SENSE." followed another increment of time later.

I was fascinated. I taped the postcards together and put them on my bulletin board by the computer desk in the dining room. Those postcards moved with me, usually displayed by my desk, until weather took them away from me. I can't find images of them on the internet, but I swear I didn't make them up.

I sometimes have this ability to enjoy things for my own made up reasons without wondering why they were created. The back of the postcards must have explained that they were a promotional tool for a Talking Heads concert DVD being released (1999), but I don't remember wondering what the postcards were advertising. I didn't know it had anything to do with Talking Heads until many years later.

I like Talking Heads. They're my #34 artist according to my stats. I don't mind the few people that recognize my tattoo as a Talking Heads reference thinking that I got the tattoo because I'm a fan, but I didn't. I've never even seen the concert DVD!

The reasons I was enamored by the postcards and the reasons I got the words tattooed on my arm are entirely because of my personal conceptions of the words and the way they were delivered to my consciousness. I truly enjoyed the anticipation of waiting to "make sense" of what the postcards wanted to tell me. When the final postcard arrived and the idea that it wasn't supposed to make sense was revealed to me, I placed an ironic meaning into it. I kept those postcards as long as I could to remind me not to place meaning in life. No one I've ever talked about these postcards to remembers receiving them. It's the coolest piece of promotional advertisement I've ever seen, though obviously it didn't have the intended effect on me.

I got the tattoo because I no longer have the postcards. I got the meaningless tattoo to remind me of the ultimate meaning of life...that there is no meaning to life...except 42, of course. :)

So that's it. I like Talking Heads, but I like reminding myself not to take anything seriously more. I quite like being a meaningless speck in a gigantic and spectacular universe. There are a lot of us and some of us are pretty cool.