Normally, New Year’s Resolutions are a bunch of royal phooey in my head. Most people don’t carry through with their resolutions. And while most are made with sincere intent, many are just fads, like the typical ’10 lbs lost by February’ resolutions. If I’m going to make a resolution that is meant to make me a better, more self-fulfilled person, I’m going to personalize the shit out of my resolution so that I have the greatest chance of success, right? There really should be a lot of planning and thought that goes into creating a single resolution.
Well, guess what? I made two! One to improve upon a flaw, and one to open my mind to something new.
RESOLUTION A: I will *permanently* beat my sugar addiction, and be able to painlessly refuse a piece of chocolate by June.
Don’t laugh. I do, indeed, have a tragic addiction to both simple and complex sugars (which has been scientifically proven to be possible). It has, I believe, led to the fact that I feel absolutely gross even when I eat something healthy, like a salad. My theory is, without sugar, there will be no guilt, and my food phobias will be significantly reduced. Sugar apparently can inhibit brain function, and I have candy at least once daily to curb my craving.
I understand this challenge will be painful. I could possibly experience withdrawal symptoms similar to an alcoholic’s hangover. Candy surrounds me in stores, malls, and even in the office. Learning to resist my favorite food in the Universe is going to kick my ass so hard I could possibly die an emotional death if I don’t do this right. That’s why I added the second part of this first resolution. It gives me a realistic time frame in which to overcome Stage A, which is sugar-toxification, and transition to Stage B: ignoring the cravings.
I’m also doing this not just to curb a bad habit, but to prove to myself that I can do it. I’ve always been convinced I have minimal will power. I will say I’ll wake up at 6AM to hit the gym, then hit the snooze button and lock my cat out of my room so he won’t disturb me when I sleep in until 8:30. I’ve always been a spur-of-the-moment type, and when it comes to laziness, I’m about as miserably and tragically endowed as they come. If I don’t feel it, I rarely press through the laziness and overcome it in order to do what I need to.
RESOLUTION B: I will take up archery, and shoot three bulls-eyes by the end of 2012.
I am TOTALLY not doing this because of Disney/Pixar’s Brave coming out next year, and doing this will completely make me the ideal candidate to cosplay Princess Merida…despite us having the same hair, same personality, same heritage, and same degree of epic awesomeness (and I can just tell this from the trailer).
No, I’m doing this to counter-act some of my lazy personality. In my area, the closest archery club is 15+ miles away. This one will help me built up my motivation, and take on a hobby that is actually active. You know, something other than reading, writing, and needlepointing. I’ve actually privately wanted to take this up for a few years, and now that I’m not afraid to drive anymore, I think I can make that trip 15 miles down the freeway once or twice a week. I went to a summer camp for several summers in a row as a child, and the camp had an archery range. I remember getting a bulls-eye on my second attempt, and was one of only a handful of kids who could even hit the target.
This will give me something to practice and perfect. It is something that will take me time, and again, this is why I added a second claus to the resolution that paints a realistic time frame.
Well, fair readers, wish me luck on this quest! I will probably keep you updated on it if you care to follow me! *deep breath*
ASIDE: The first resolution will not commence before January 1st to accomidate for consumption of holiday goodies, of course!
What can one honestly say about virginity? If you’re a man, it’s something to be ashamed of. If you’re a woman/unmarried Christian, it’s something to be proud of but still keep hush-hush. If you’re a teenager, it’s a festering sore on the face of your reputation no matter what way you look at it. Does having it make you innocent? Childish? Naïve? Prudish? Does letting it go precociously make you a promiscuous embarrassment, but somehow simultaneously mature and admirable?
There is no doubt, virginity is a massively confusing and touchy subject. Maybe it’s because I have about 500 other things to worry about at the present moment (and the fact that I lost mine quite a while ago anyway), but virginity doesn’t really do anything for me either way. The only thing I associated with my virginity was curiosity. Then when I lost it, I noticed my voice was a little deeper (and my head was spinning from the copious amounts of alcohol I’d consumed prior to the event). That’s really it.
I see no reason whatsoever to value virginity. In the ancient and medieval times, it was basically the only way one could be assured that kids born to a wealthy couple were legitimate to inherit the title/cash one day. So many religions are honestly, quite out of date (and out of context) when they insist on virginity as a young person’s (mainly a young woman’s) most prized asset. It’s like all society has left of a bride-price, or dowry. I personally, place zero value on it myself, but the insane (and sometimes high creepy) lengths some microsocieties go to preserve virginity in girls is horrific.
Sure, I could go on about purity rings and how ridiculous they are, or how creepy those father/daughter ceremonies are when the daughter pledges to keep her hymen intact until her wedding night to her father, even though in my humble opinion, a girl’s sexual status has nothing to do with her dad. I could even go ranting about how most of these ‘True Love Waits’ movements actually harm youth in that they don’t present alternatives to prevent STDs and pregnancy in case someone slips into temptation, then demonizes those who do ‘make THE mistake.’
But instead, I’m going to shake my head and sigh woefully at the new TLC show that documents ‘old virgins’ and their plight to lose it as fast as they can…or at their wedding. Yes, TLC, who brought you such wonders as ‘The Rise and Fall of Kate Gosselin’s Priorities,’ and ‘I’m Worthless Unless My Uterus Is Full of Baby,’ and let’s not forget ‘I Steal People’s Newspapers So I Can Use the Coupons to Buy Ungodly Amounts of Antifreeze.’
My personal favorite…’Adventures at Grandma’s House.’
It’s called Virgin Diaries, and basically it just follows around thirtysomethings who, for whatever reason, haven’t done the nasty yet. Some are unwilling, some are EXTREMELY unwilling, and some are Christians. By the end of the show, some will have lost their maidenhoods, some will have realized that perhaps waiting until later isn’t such a bad idea. Hey, Steve Carrell got a movie out of it.
I don’t think I’d have such a problem with this show if it didn’t decide to focus on such stereotypical ‘virgins.’ You know what I mean. Every person in the show was either painfully immature and childlike, or a fat nerd. I also wouldn’t have much to say about it if the focus wasn’t on DESPERATE virgins hoping to lose it instantly. If virginity was a part of their daily life and they weren’t all OBSESSING over it, fine. Who am I to condemn what society values as a whole? If we want to see virgins, fine.
I still fail to see how virginity can be such a goddamned obsession. Honestly, I was more anxious about losing my memories of middle school.
In the end, it’s just another brick in the wall of a societal institution that is sex-crazed. Like everything else. *UGH!* I need to find a different conclusion for half of my media rants.
Anywho, I have a proposal for TLC: live up to your name, and I will actually give a damn about your programming again. You know, TLC stands for The Learning Channel, right? Not The Litter Channel, The Loser Channel, The Little People Channel, or The Lunatic Channel. Lately the only things I’ve learned from TLC are that gypsies in Ireland throw slammin’ epic weddings, and the Italian Mafia has a setup in Hoboken disguised as a specialty cake shop.
It came from an ex-dog of ours who now resides in the Blessed Kennel Club in the Sky, Finn. Finn was a hairy, hairy German Shepherd/Collie mixture, and he shed so often our poor Dyson couldn’t handle it. But the one place we could never seem to get all the hair off of him was the place around his touchas. Finn wouldn’t let us touch his hindquarters, and as a result of neglect, the hair there matted into a giant hair clump just beneath his tail, and it drove my mother insane. However, on his last Christmas on Earth, Finn magically shed the giant hair clod, right beneath the tree, a present for my mother’s sanity. She tied a red ribbon around it and placed it on the tree, dubbing it ‘The Magic Dingleberry of Christmas.’ In subsequent years without our beloved doggy, Mumsie still tears up a little when pulling the blessed wad of butt-fur out of the ornament case.
This is probably the most perfect example of why seemingly stupid traditions to one household may carry emotional memories and lots of love in another. We are probably the only family in the country that worships a hair clump at the holidays. Of course, that is only one of many of our family traditions that are ungodly immature and annoying, but yet we still manage to hold close to our hearts. The Magic Dingleberry might not even be the most profound, but it was the first one that came to mind.
But while I get into the heart of this post, let me relay to you a conversation between my sister and I (verbatim) during a viewing of the Rankin-Bass Holiday Classic ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’:
SISTER: Holy s***! Santa was a ginger?!? Mrs. Claus too??
ME: Yeah? So was Dumbledore.
SISTER: Does that mean all gingers grow giant white beards, get magic powers, and walk around in flamingly flamboyant robes with droves of admirers worldwide?
ME: I guess so.
SISTER: Just wondering.
ME: That evil mayor’s face looks like a hamburger.
Apologies to Rankin-Bass for defiling their beloved masterpiece. And believe me, that was the least random of our commentary.
I do adore this time of year. You really can tell a lot about a household by their holiday traditions and how closely they celebrate, if they celebrate at all. Some people are Scrooges. Their houses are bare of any holiday décor, be it Jewish, Moslem, Kwanzaa-ese (?), Christian, Wiccan, secular, etc. Others spare no expense, and buy up every possible version of a Frosty The Snowman 8-foot blowup for the front lawn (an example of this would be my Aunt Robin). Some people sleep in until 10AM, some people get up at the butt-crack of dawn. Some break out the fancy cocoa, bagels, sausage bread, and some just don’t bother with breakfast at all. Every family is different, and I really get into how many combinations of traditions that can manifest on a single block alone.
This is also why I cannot stand the people who insist that ‘Happy Holidays’ is offensive to Christians, who would prefer ‘Merry Christmas.’ ‘Happy Holidays’ is all-inclusive of what is ultimately a month-long season that contains more religious and secular holidays than any other time of the year. ‘Merry Christmas’ is but one of those many celebrations, and the only reason it is so widespread to begin with is because Christmas is the victim of the most commercialization. ‘Happy Holidays’ is an abbreviation that only takes a moment to say. People need to get over that.
Same goes for ‘Holiday tree’ versus ‘Christmas tree.’ Yes, Jewish people don’t open gifts around a ‘Chanukah bush’ or anything, but do these fundamentalists realize that Christmas trees come from an ancient druidic and Norse pagan rite that involved entire villages of ‘heathens’ dancing around a decorated evergreen in order to ward off the cold and summon daylight? ‘Christmas tree’ has come to be the more typical way of referring to the tree tradition, but it means something different to everyone. To a Bible-believer, it may represent Jesus, while to me it represents years of epic gift-receiving and pre-game poking/peeking while Mum was out shopping. If anything, however, a ‘Holiday tree’ is more accurate a label, as the Bible never insists on celebrating Jesus’ birth with a big old tree in the living room. If anything, Christians should be importing sheep and smoking ‘frankincense’ but that only seems to happen on college campuses anymore.
Those who bring up ‘political correctness’ and ‘the reason for the season’ end up ruining the holidays for everyone else, as opposed to reclaiming it. How do these people not figure that out? Are these people the modern-day Scrooges who insist on having December their way or no way? Perhaps so. At least that’s how I see it.
So, too all of you: Happy/Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Festivus, ‘Hi, Neighbor!” Month, Boxing Day, Las Posadas, St. Nicholas Day, and Holidays I Probably Forgot! May your season be filled with awesomely random traditions, and don’t shoot your eye out!
It’s sure nice to know that the miserable trend of preconceiving the stereotype that young people are all members of the selfish idiot archetype isn’t new for Generation Y. St. Elmo’s Fire is proof positive that such portrayals have their own unique manifestations in each generation. This is the GenX version we have before us today.
Starring the Brat Pack actor’s brigade of the mid-80s (who are known more for the more substance-laden films The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles). Now, most of the Brat Pack movies to date had featured some-but-not-all of the Pack. This was supposed to be The Big One. The One That Brought Them All Together (except for Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall, who were too young for this one). But what this movie turned out to be is a pile of incoherent subplots that, for all I can tell, were MEANT to come together into some big moral solution towards the end of the film, but didn’t. What you see when you view the film is six different vignettes about eight friends who went to college together and recently graduated….each one more selfish and melodramatic than the last.
Thus, I find I cannot review this in one piece. I find it more effective that I should review the film and criticize it in parts: one review for each subplot. Then you’ll get a better understanding for how painfully fragmented this movie it. Let us begin…
Subplot #1: The Stalker and Andie MacDowell. Possibly the most straight-forward creepy member of the post-college ensemble cast is Kirby (played by Emilio Estevez). He gets back in touch with an old flame (Andie MacDowell) who he took out on a grand total of ONE DATE in college, and decides that she’s still hot in spite of her horse mouth and frizzy hair, and stalks her senseless. He spends the entire movie either stalking her, harassing her when she CLEARLY doesn’t want to be around him, and trying to impress her by riding his bike to her house in the rain, renting limousines, and even house-sitting for rich people so he can throw a huge mansion party for her (which she doesn’t even attend…ouch). While Kirby’s one of the more optimistic characters, and for that I have to admit he’s not as insufferable as some of the others, he just gets more and more obsessed with Andie MacDowell as the movie goes on, and by the end, you pretty much hate him as much as everyone else.
I do get some laughs at how Andie MacDowell’s character CLEARLY does not want this runt hanging off her elbow anymore and the awkwardness that ensues as a result.
Subplot #2: Mr. ScrewUp’s Many, Many Failures (and blonde girls). Rob Lowe (already so much promise for a quality performance) plays a frat boy who can’t hold down a job because he gets drunk all the time and sleeps around with a large amount of nameless blonde girls. He’s the one who has the hardest time cutting ties with college, because now that he has to stop partying and get a job, life suddenly sucks. He has a baby with a bratty woman who wants to leave him because he refuses to grow the hell up and be a father. And….that’s pretty much it. I’m not kidding.
Subplot #3: Granny’s Break Out. This subplot takes the least amount of screen time to present and resolve, as it’s central character, Wendi (Mare Winningham) is probably the most mature and sensible of the cast, and therefore, you can’t get the stupid melodrama that is this movie to stick to her. Instead, she spends the movie dressing up like Granny from Looney Tunes, confessing her crush on Rob Lowe’s character Billy, and breaking away from her helicopter parents who expect her to marry and have babies as soon as she moves out of their house. Again, that’s essentially it. Her subplot does help contribute to Rob Lowe’s a bit in that she’s the catalyst that helps him grow up by the end.
I have to say, if the movie wanted to take a much more effective approach to creating a story, instead of giving Wendi her own milquetoast subplot that takes up no more than one tenth of the film, make her the go-between for all of the other idiots’ stories instead. She’s probably the most relatable character and the most realistic to boot, so instead of adding melodrama to melodrama, make her the glue that brings the film together! I guess that would make her de facto lead in a Brat Pack ensemble drama, and that might not work out for the 80s audience that came to see Rob Lowe and Demi Moore to begin with.
Subplot #4: The Insufferable Duo. This one is probably the most painful-to-watch subplot of them all. It also takes up most of the movie. Here we have Yuppie Couple Leslie (Ally Sheedy) and Alec (Judd Nelson) who have just moved in together. Leslie wants to be a career girl, and Alec wants to get the fuck married. When Leslie puts him off, he decides the best way to get Leslie to accept his proposal is to…sleep with other girls.
I am not shitting you.
I mean, who WOULDN’T go after these nostrils? You could shove quarters up there and have room for more!
When Leslie finds out, all hell breaks loose, Alec kicks her out, and she sleeps with Alec’s best friend (see Subplot #5 below). For the last act of the movie, Alec keeps trying to win her back, but fails thanks to his own dominant piss-poor attitude. Leslie is a fairly likeable character, but Alec is, quite frankly, the biggest dick in the entire movie. He’s a selfish brat who falls apart when things don’t go his way, he throws temper tantrums a four-year-old would think was unreasonable, and he is completely oblivious to other people, including his girlfriend.
Leslie’s flaw is she’s a bit of a contradiction. She wants to be independent, make her own choices, and be a career woman, yet she becomes an emotional wreck when Alec cheats on her and immediately flies to someone else for comfort instead of standing on her own two feet. She does get a little bit of redemption for this when she finally calls Alec a shithead to his face at the end, but she’s a bit of a flip-flopper character, so you can’t really tell if she’s worth rooting for or not. Standing next to Alec, she certainly is, but as a solo character, she’s a bit of a passive moper. But she’s still nothing compared to…
Subplot #5: Emo Writer Smokes A Lot of Cigarettes and Pretends To Be Straight. Andrew McCarthy plays Kevin, a chain-smoking neo-beatnik who’s easily the most emotional character in the film, as well as the most pessimistic. He spends most of the movie walking and moping in dark alleys, brushing off suggestions that he’s gay (to little avail), and hinting that he’s in love with someone unrequitedly. His plot doesn’t really fall into place until the last act of the movie when he reveals to a mourning Leslie that he is in love with her, they get drunk, and screw until the break of dawn. When Alec finds out, he beats Kevin repeatedly, and Kevin essentially sticks it to him because he won…until Leslie dumps him too. Then he goes back to being depressed…and that’s the end of his subplot.
Kevin’s a whiny little prick who single-handedly destroyed his best friend’s chance of getting the girl of his dreams back. I don’t like him or his plot. Fun fact: it took Andrew McCarthy fifteen years to kick the cigarette addiction he developed while filming this. Hope it was worth the lung cancer, buddy.
Subplot#6: Demi Moore Does Drugs. And Her Boss. Demi Moore’s subplot is the closest thing we have to a glue for this pile of puzzle pieces. She basically does a ton of crack, sleeps with her boss, waits impatiently for the impending death of her abusive stepmother, and everyone else from all of the other subplots worry about her. At the end of the film, all of the subplots make a sad attempt at uniting as Demi Moore’s character Jules gets fired and has a freak out in front of an open window.
“Hey! You’ve been evicted! Might as well torch the joint!”
She’s the one that has the most growing up to do, aside from Rob Lowe. At the same time, you can kind of tell that she was meant to represent the quarter-life crisis, and therefore, is the characterization of the ‘moral’ of the film.
Some moral. She ends the film jobless, homeless, and loveless. Whoopie.
I guess, all in all, if you’re in it for the nostalgic element, this movie is worth a watch, but I would probably only pop the DVD in again if I needed background noise. Too much arguing, too much melodrama, not enough for me to actually like any of the characters. This movie lacks the substance The Breakfast Club had, the sensitivity Pretty in Pink had, and the staying power that both of the aforementioned flicks had.
I guess leaving Molly Ringwald out wasn’t such a great idea after all.