It’s a Rough Life

Let me tell you.

Running without an ipod is rough.

As much as I wish I could be one of those onewiththeroad kind of people who chant their mantras and count their breaths, I don’t think I ever will be.  I’m too busy getting tangled up in my headphones, jamming the left earbud in while the right falls out (with a touch of defiance, I suspect).

Last week, undoubtedly fed up with being squished against my cranium, my right earbud completely fell apart, the speaker disc skittering to the floor.

After a few days of moping, I took to the indoor track again, only to find that it is rough to run without an ipod.  There was nothing left to do but creep on the Yogalates group down below and conscientiously pick up speed whenever I ran by the weight room windows.

And let me tell you: Cloud Cult’s “Lucky Today” is a heck of a lot more melodious than the clack of my shoelaces against my ankles.

Oscar Picks 2012

For posterity:

Best Picture
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Help”
“War Horse”
“The Tree of Life”

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Animated Feature
“A Cat In Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Costume Design
“The Artist”
“Jane Eyre”

Best Documentary Feature
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?”
“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
“Incident in New Baghdad”
“Saving Face”
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

Best Achievement in Film Editing
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Best Achievement in Makeup
“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“The Iron Lady”

Best Animated Short Film
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”


Sorry about the cop-out post last night.  I guess I’m learning that some days are just going to be slacker post days.

Today, as a matter of fact, has been a slacker day even outside of WordPress:

I forgot about a shift I had volunteered to work, and instead slept until 1 pm.

I then spent the rest of the afternoon pacing anxiously, writing an apologetic email, and organizing my entire life onto Google Calendar.

After a belated Frosted Mini Wheats breakfast, I got down to statistics.  And here I remain.  Right now the ratio of solving stats problems to banging my head against the wall is 0:500.

I’m relying on SNL to cheer me up.



I had to give a few speeches last spring, for my Trial of Galileo class.  In the class, we were all given historical roles to play: Conservatives, Linceans, Bishops, etc.  I was initially a Conservative, but was killed off in the midterm lottery and assigned a new role; I then played a Spaniard trying to rally Vatican support for the Holy War Against Protestants.  In my packet, it said that should support be refused, I was free to attempt a Pope deposition.  Needless to say, kicking a Pope out of office was difficult business, and I ended up messing it up horribly by putting too much faith in the Linceans (who played the game well, bless their hearts).

Anyway, those speeches I delivered, in pursuit of war, and eventually, deposition, were wonderful to write.  Mainly, I admit, because they required little research; I made them as style-laden as I wanted, spending hours creating elaborate metaphors about gold-encrusted ceilings and small Catholic boys being tossed from their homes by Protestant heretics.

I learned what anathema meant, and I used the word often, and with obvious relish.

But whenever I stood up in front of the class to perform, flooded with the confidence of four years of high school speech, the most horrible thing would happen; my voice would shake.

At first, I was able to convince myself that no one noticed.  Fingers clutching at the sticky edges of the podium, I would look up often, which was important.  I read the words I had so much faith in, words I had convinced myself of, because that’s what you do when you spend your weekends in secret meetings with bishops of the Vatican.  I read the words with the exhilaration that comes from speaking into a silence that is meant only for you, and I tremored all the while.

“Were you nervous, Holly?”  Someone asked me after class.

“No, I really wasn’t.  I don’t know what happened.  I’m not afraid of public speaking.”

I’m not afraid of public speaking.

It made me wonder what had gotten me through all those years of speech without so much as a quake.  Everything else had happened; croaking through Harold Ickes with a Cold That Wouldn’t Go Away Before Saturday, having to walk of shame back to my desk mid-speech because let’sbehonest I wasn’t quite memorized yet, gesturing so woodenly and repetitively that by the end of my eight minutes I felt like a puppet on instant replay.  But I don’t remember my voice ever shaking.

And yet, I’ve changed so much since speech days.  I’m more confident, possibly more poised (if not less graceful).  I have a greater sense of self.  If anything, I’ve become steadier.  How curious, then, to stand up, with all the pomp of a twenty-year-old, only to find that new fears have apparently arisen.

One of Those Days

It’s one of those days.

As much as I love the library, sometimes I can’t settle down and study there.  Most of the time I attribute my dissatisfaction to a subconscious need for readjustment, so I wander the various floors until I find a new spot to study.  The rest of the time (when I’m sane and honest, that is), I attribute it to my conscience lack of study motivation.  If you don’t want to write a paper on the 3rd floor, chances are slim that the 4th floor will change anything.

Secondly, I participated in World History today.  Sounds silly, but I’m one of those people who needs a week or so to “settle in” to a class before I start speaking out.  Anyway, the instant after I made my comment, it occurred to me that what I had said was incredibly stupid.  Bless the prof for simply blinking and moving on.

Thirdly, I am currently sitting on zero ideas for my 15-20 page story for Advanced Fiction Writing.  I thought I had something good last night, but I was wrong.  The morning light revealed it for the rubbish it truly was.

Finally, I am about to buy myself sour gummy worms as a bribe for running a few miles at the fitness center.  I have a feeling Heidi Klum would approve.

Stress-Relieving Chocolate Hamsters

Here’s what we do in M6 when the Mondays get us down:

1.  We hold Feezap, the tumor-afflicted hamster who still manages at least 1,000 wheel reps a night.  Feezap is small, grey, and unassuming.  I try to give him a smile and an affectionate “Bye Feez” when I pass his cage on my way to class, but sometimes I forget.  Tonight, Feez, after crawling around my hand for a while, gave my finger a sniff and then gnawed on it for a few seconds, until he was satisfied that all of the blueberry lemon hand soap had dissolved between his tiny teeth.

2.  We make devil’s food instant pudding, and do our best to ignore the powdery taste that inevitably lingers in instant puddings.   It is chocolate, after all.

3.  Finally, we go into our rooms, shut the door, and sit down at our desks.  We stare at our bulletin boards for a few minutes, blankly taking in the Obama Inaugural, the Beatles Rubber Soul, the Support the U buttons that we pinned up on earlier, more earnest days.  Our readings have been printed.  There is no excuse for Twitter, for Facebook, for IMDB (me), for CollegeHumor (Maddie).  Taking a few cleansing breaths, we set off into Studying, into the land where nobody dies except for Richard the Lionheart and historical figures like that.  It’s bright in Studying, and not unpleasant in the least.  We’re enlightened here, we’re intelligent and brave.  If only it wasn’t such a struggle to get through.

V for Vendetta

Another movie-heavy post, and I apologize.

But when you walk from your apartment through snow that you didn’t know had fallen, and when the movie you’ve been assigned to watch is actually at the library (though it’s Sunday night), and when there’s a DQ Blizzard waiting for you in the freezer back home but you don’t care, then I think you must write about what the culmination of these events was.

It was “V for Vendetta.”  That was the assigned movie, that was the movie I was given discussion questions for last Tuesday, and the movie I hadn’t watched until tonight, two hours ago.

I guess if you’ve seen it before you know.

I guess you know why halfway through I stopped taking notes and started watching.

And now that it’s over I’m going to reluctantly return it to the library (four hour checkout), pack my backpack, and tromp back through the snow to my apartment, where there are discussion questions waiting for me.  And a Blizzard too.