Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Directions

I'm slowly becoming a Gleek, even if I didn't realize until last night that Kurt and Finn were brothers. Which made me feel stupid because they actually look like they could be. And while we're on the subject, my favorite is Blaine because who doesn't look good in a preppy jacket and an even preppier name?

But the real reason for making this confession is because this week's episode, "Blame It On the Alcohol," reminded me of two very strange assemblies I had in high school, memories I had repressed until the musical stylings of Ke-dollar sign-ha brought them to the surface.

Strange assembly number one: I am from Idaho. Idaho is the birthplace of Napoleon Dynamite. Idaho is the home to 98 percent of the cast of Napoleon Dynamite. Including the bully from the movie, who assures me is named Bracken Johnson. He spoke to my school about how not to be a bully, which I think implies that he actually is one because this sounds like some sort of state-mandated community service. And, in case you are jealous that you, too, didn't get the opportunity to learn to be a "V. N. P." (a very nice person, not a very Napoleon person), here's a photo of him giving one of these assemblies. No, tots were not provided.

Strange assembly number two: For some reason, the administration decided not to take the route taken on Glee and instead of having the choir sing about the dangers of alcohol, they hired a hypnotist for this part of our social education. He did all the basic hypnotist stuff, convincing students they'd won the lottery, that they were chickens, that hypnosis is actually real. But then came...THE DRAMATIC PART. He hypnotized these same students into thinking they'd just been in a drunk driving accident. Thus, the star of the rival football game and the school drama queen lost their "son" and went into hypnotic hysteria. Well, I haven't been drunk, or driven while drunk, and I think this angle worked just as well as having a cheerleader barf on a musical theater diva. Plus, no barf. Win-win.

And thanks to the wonders of the internet, Google images, and flickr, this is a picture of the actual hypnotist and my vice-principal in my actual high school gym. Yes, I love technology, but not as much as Blaine, you see. But I still love technology. Always and forever.

Monday, February 14, 2011

If Love Is All You Need...

I was cynical tonight with an attractive Australian man. Poor guy. He caught the brunt of my Valentine's day loneliness and my desire to tell just one man exactly what I think of this holiday. Because all it makes me feel is jealous, angry, and bitter. Not attractive emotions.

So when he asked me at pre-arranged, unromantic dinner group how my Valentine's Day was, instead of giving the answer he wanted to hear, I told the truth. He first tried the "look on the bright side attitude": "At least you have your health." I paused. Not exactly, but no comment.

Then he went for the "in the same boat" angle: "If it helps, I'm not in love today either." I admitted that there was a fair amount of satisfaction in that, if only because misery loves company. And boy was I miserable.

But then he got serious, and profound. "You could meet someone tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after that." True, I admitted. Every day I'm one day closer. But, bitterness still fresh, I said there's a fair amount of irony in meeting someone the day after Valentine's. "What are you doing while you wait?" I think I've been doing some pretty good things while waiting. "Maybe the key is to not be obsessed with the waiting."

He shared something personal. Having pondered and pained over this issue himself, he'd asked not to be so obsessed with love, not to feel like finding love was the driving force and purpose of his life.

On the way home, fresh tears stung my face. I wanted to be right. I didn't want men to have the same pains I do about lacking love. If love is all you need, what do you do without it? I wanted the answer to be wait around and beat yourself up until you find it...or it finds you. Knowing he was right with every step I took closer to my door, I tried to say that it was fine for him, but I'd tried that to and it hadn't worked for me. But I haven't tried hard enough to give those pains away and let Someone Else carry them for a while.

Thanks for calling me out on my cynicism, attractive Australian man. I don't like me when I'm jealous, angry, and bitter either. So I don't know why a guy would.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Birthday Card Writing Movies

One of the keys to a great romantic comedy is the protagonist having a quirky but delightful job. With female leads, the writers usually settle for something prominent and powerful to give the film a feminist bent: will she choose him over her career? For me, if he's the guy, the career won't even come into play. I'm a writer. You can do that from anywhere. Anywhere with paper. Or a computer. Or both.

Not that these movies are always bad; it's just that extroverted personal assistant and too-busy-for-romance doctor have become the new stand-bys, replacing nurse, schoolteacher, and secretary. In my favorite rom-coms, the female leads work as token booth attendants (While You Were Sleeping) and Irish-Italian waitresses (Return to Me). Maybe it has something to do with cheering for the underdog, but I like it more when someone who doesn't already have the perfect life--minus the guy--finds true love. Cinderella story and all that. Call it a universal theme or the collective unconscious, but I prefer watching Lucy Luckless find love to Mable Got-It-Made.

The real point of this blog post is to tell you that Linus Luckless is just as interesting. Even though, in this case, I think he actually has a dream job. Mine. My Top Three Most-Desired Writing Careers That Other People Wouldn't Think To Have are (1) paint color assigner, (2) Jeopardy! trivia writer, and (3) greeting card writer. (Thus, the name of my blog.) This unususpectingly lucky protagonist has one of these jobs, but, unfortunately, he wants to be an architect, which I consider to be the most attractive career on the planet. Something about combining the precise calculation of numbers with the creativity of building design. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I know of two movies where the male lead is a greeting card writer. One is not worth watching, even though it features Tom Everett Scott from my favorite movie ever, That Thing You Do! It is a made-for-TV Christmas movie (a highly under-appreciated category), but instead of being sappy bad, which I can tolerate, it is weird bad, which I cannot. In Karrol's Christmas, the best part is the first ten minutes when you learn that Tom Everett Scott is a greeting card writer, you see the definitely unique and funny-if-you're-in-that-mood cards he's recently written. Skip the rest. It's a retelling of A Christmas Carol; how do you think it ends?

The second one I just saw last night, and it is the inspiration for this post. (500) Days of Summer. Not a movie about summer, the season. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is all grown up from his days as the couldn't-get-a-date boy in 10 Things I Hate about You, and even channeling the good looks and charm of the late Heath Ledger. And he writes greeting cards, but, as I said, he wants to be an architect. And he wants Zooey Deschanel to realize they are soul-mates. From the beginning, the other worldly narrator voice tells you this is not going to be a love story, so as he falls deeper and deeper, it feels more and more like cheering for Cinderella while she gets repeatedly trampled by the pumpkin coach. But, in a good way. Because this movie is charming--and so is our birthday card philosopher hero. Who is not afraid to dance to show his happiness (best scene in the movie). And who has a giant chalkboard in his apartment (which is an inexplicably attractive concept to me--just think of all the complicated math a guy could do on that thing...).

Here's to you, Mr. Birthday Card Philosopher. You and I are both still looking for love.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Infamous Doorstep

I did something awkward last weekend. The good part is, it came right after something awesome. The bad part is, it came right after something awesome. That something was a date. The date was to the BYU Men's Volleyball game. Someone told me it takes a pretty confident guy to take a girl--a blind date girl--to a sporting event where she could potentially be checking out very athletic guys the whole time. Which I wasn't. Because he was nice and articulate and into tennis and taller than me.

But I temporarily lost my social skills when he dropped me off. Because instead of having the doorstep conversation on the doorstep, I unlocked the door, stepped inside, greeted my roommate and her boyfriend who were cuddling on the couch, and then turned to said Mr. Articulate and had the conversation. With the always awkward end of the night hug.

And then I closed the door. And then my brain kicked in again. Hey, wait. That's not how that was supposed to work. Oh well. I'll never do that again.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

James Franco: Man or Myth?

Three things:
1. He is a "powerful, new literary voice." What does that make me?
2. He is teaching a class about himself. Confidence or ego?
3. Maybe if I was in a movie as a man who cut his own arm off, I could get a book published and teach a class about myself.

I know I'm not supposed to, but I'm just sayin'.

Also, would James Franco be considered a Jimmy?

But he's still the only redeeming quality of the Spiderman films.