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  • I read a lot, and I have a lot of opinions, so I can't believe I haven't made a list like this before. If you are even a little bit like me or you want to get a peek into my psyche (you probs don't), these are the books to read.
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Archive for July, 2010

Dreams come true

Posted on July 27th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I just happened to see this on Tumblr today and because it makes me so happy, I am posting it here:

500 Days of Summer Dance Sequence from Chris Bale on Vimeo.

Funny thing about Hall & Oates. This weekend, we were driving all over God’s green goodness (Long Island) looking for a Panera Bread because now that I know there’s Panera on Long Island I am insisting upon eating there every time, Kim (who is a compulsive radio tuner) landed on a station that was playing Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone.” Cambria was like, “What is this?” like it’s not the best thing in the whole damn world, and I was like, “Duh, it’s Hall & Oates!” She and Kim both sort of stared at me and said, “You say that like we’re supposed to know this song. This is not a famous Hall & Oates song!” Um, it is a famous Hall & Oates song. Right? At this point, I’ve listened to Hall & Oates so much (my dad is a superfan) that I cannot tell what is and is not a popular Hall & Oates song.

So, as one is wont to do, I just added a Hall & Oates reference into my WIP. BECAUSE I CAN. And because everybody should listen to/dance to Hall & Oates weekly. As you can see from the above video, it makes the world a better place. Cartoon birds land on your shoulder when you listen to Hall & Oates. QED.

The Universe

Posted on July 27th, 2010 by annakjarzab

First order of business: I’d like to thank everybody who posted encouraging comments on LJ and WordPress expressing sympathy, especially my author compatriots, all of whom seem to have been through this before and all of whom seem to have lived. Imagine. Living through a creative low point. Apparently, the world doesn’t end. But I do like the point my fellow Tenner Stephanie Burgis brought up when she said:

One of the best pieces of advice I ever read was in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, when she said it is really, really important for us to grieve our artistic losses. The impulse is to act cool, to hold back the tears, to tell everybody that it’s no big deal…but that’s what stifles us and keeps us from being able to produce. We HAVE to admit and work through the grief of professional disappointments before we can let go and be creative again.

Excellent point, Stephanie. I love the idea that it’s “important for us to grieve our artistic losses.” When you write books from a very personal place, as I do and as I suspect most writers do, it’s hard not to get very emotional when having to put a much-loved, much-labored-over project away, possibly never to pick it up again, and it’s good to hear that other people think we should take it seriously, too.

But enough about that! The truth is that I’m feeling very, very good about the book I’m working on now. I’m excited to get home to it at the end of the day (I even got a little itchy in Long Island this weekend, because as much as I love my friends–and I do–all I could think about was getting back to Caro, because she’s my homegirl), and I feel very confident about what I’m trying to do and say with this book. I can’t wait to post more details, but at the moment I’m keeping it close, because even though I try not to be superstitious, I totally am.

I will tell you one thing about this book, though, and it’s that it has a little to do with science and faith and how the two coincide. The main character, Caro, has a bit of a science-y nerd brain, and in the book she’s an AP Physics student (Neily was also an AP Physics student in AUT–can you tell physics was my favorite science class? Although, grades-wise, I did the best in my biology class freshman year, but biology is so Twilight I can’t even). One of my quasi-secrets is that I really, really love popular science books. Those are basically books written by smarty pants scientists for lame brains like myself. To be honest, I can read one and retain almost no information, because I’ve lost my ability to study after being out of school for three years, and also my mind is a sieve anyway. I forget everything. But I’m also an annotator, so I can usually go back to the books and find passages I underlined to jog my memory. If you’re looking for recommendations, I really love The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene and How the Universe Got Its Spots by Jana Levin. Curved space-time! Who’d have thought? (Einstein, that’s who.)

ANYWAY, did you nerds know that there’s an entire television show on the History Channel called The Universe that is ALL ABOUT THE UNIVERSE?! Of course you did, you are nerds (I have no idea who I’m talking to anymore). The Universe is a supergreat show. I found out about it from, duh, a commercial on the History Channel, which I don’t normally watch but which is on all the damn time in my parents’ house. They’re running these really hot commercials right now with pictures of planets and supernovas and nebulas and stuff, set to “The Flower Duet” from Lakme, which is a beautiful piece of music and really suited to showing off the wonders of our solar system.

My only problem with The Universe is that sometimes it can come off as a popular science version of, um, Unsolved Mysteries, which is the creepiest television show in the history of humans. I don’t know what it is about it. Maybe it’s because they’re always ending the segments on weird, quasi-ominous cliffhangers, and you’re like, “WILL THE SUN EXPLODE IN OUR LIFETIME? WILL IT? OMG IT WILL.” (Spoiler: it won’t.)

I spent most of last night watching a DVRed marathon of The Universe. Okay, I only got through two episodes. They are dense, and also I was trying to finish Apologize, Apologize! because it was so great. But I watched “Gravity” (which reminded me about curved space-time, which I’d forgotten about because, you know, mind=sieve, but which is a mind blowing concept) and “Nebulas”, which, GORGEOUS. Also, because I’m dorkalicious, when they started talking about The Eye of God, which is one of the closest nebulae to earth, I immediately thought The Eye of Jupiter, because they look exactly the same. Because I am a Battlestar freak, apparently.

eye-of-god_1

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I’m so hooked on this show. I love science. I love it so much I can’t believe I didn’t love it as a kid. I’m not very math/science/logic minded, so I was never very good at calculations or formulas, and I do have to struggle pretty hard to understand even basic principles, but I try because I think it’s so fascinating. On my TBR list are Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Death by Black Hole and Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Impossible, once I can convince myself that buying more books isn’t the worst idea ever (I have so many books, you guys, I am literally drowning in books, tripping over them when I stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night, practically eating off them–it’s weird).

It sucked and I cried*

Posted on July 23rd, 2010 by annakjarzab

I often wonder what they teach you in MFA programs. I’ve said before that I don’t really believe in them, and I stand by that for my various reasons, although there are lots of people who got a ton out of their MFA programs and heartily recommend them, which sounds like just as defensible position as any. But sometimes I wonder what they teach you. I’ve taken a few creative writing classes in my day, and most of them went like this: we would all write something, and take turns allowing our peers to read it, and then they would weigh in with criticism of one kind or another.

I don’t remember ever honestly talking about what it means to be a writer, what the day-to-day life of a writer is like. All of my professors were also writers, some highly lauded, but I don’t think they ever lectured–and we never asked–what it means to be a real writer. And by “real” I don’t mean published; I just mean someone who is dedicated to writing, for whom it is not just a hobby, but a real life choice, a professional career of whatever degree. Do people talk about that in MFA programs? Because I’m starting to think that there should be support groups for writers–not critique groups or writing groups, but like group therapy sessions where a psychologist comes in and counsels us all, a safe space where we can make the baldest of confessions and bawl our eyes out if we have to.

Last week I decided to abandon a manuscript I’ve spent several years writing. You’ve heard me talk about it here, calling it alternately MB (for Murder Burger) and Book 2. In my contract with Random House, it’s named as my second book, but it won’t be. It can’t be. It’s broken, and I can’t fix it. I hate having to say that, but it’s so true. I spent five months earlier this year trying to fix it, blindly searching for some magic formula to make it something people would want to read, and I just couldn’t do it. Then I sent it to my agents, and waited impatiently for their feedback, knowing, of course, that it would probably need to be ripped apart.

When I got Joanna’s email that she and Danielle wanted to talk to me on the phone, I knew what was coming. People kept trying to convince me I was just doing my usual worst case scenario thing, but I knew. Over the course of that conversation, during which I can honestly say, with chagrin, that I cried ceaselessly, it became clear that it wasn’t the right manuscript–not for now, and maybe not for ever, although you never know, one day I could wake up and have the key to making it all work. I didn’t want to write it anymore–I hadn’t wanted to write it for months and months and months–and it would have required the world’s greatest overhaul. And even if J and D had handed me a litany of things to fix, and I had fixed them all, the book had become a hated object to me. I resented it. I treated it in my mind like a horrible, deformed thing, something I wanted to get rid of. You don’t want to put your name on something like that.

Still, letting go of the book was hard to do. I started it while living in my grandmother’s basement; I finished it a year later, during a time when I was really happy. I care about the characters, and I miss them. I’m sad to let it go. It’s like putting your dog to sleep, you know? Necessary, but painful. And terribly undignified, at least in my case. I really tried to hold it in, the tears and the gulping near-panic, but I couldn’t. Apparently, I’m still not mature enough to compartmentalize this sort of disappointment; maybe I never will be. Maybe it’s too personal for me, I just don’t think I’ll ever be able to see it as JUST a job. Abandoning a book that I’ve worked on for years, that people have seen, that I’ve talked about a lot in public, that I thought was going to be published, is always going to feel like a breakup, or a death. Hopefully it won’t have to happen very often (or ever again), but if it does, it’s going to hurt.

And if there is a next time, I’m going to try not to be such a big baby about it, but no promises. I struggled for a while about how to talk about this on the blog, because I’m definitely not proud of the way I dealt with it (i.e. with tears), but there’s no shame in having to let this book go and start on something new. I really wanted to say that to all the writers out there, because I feel like, when I read author blogs, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of real honesty about the things that scare us or hurt us or annoy us. Everybody’s too concerned with not upsetting anybody or betraying any sort of self-doubt, career mistakes, jealousy or hard decisions, although I’m sure–I KNOW–we all go through it, even the biggest bestsellers and the most petted debut authors. I respect everybody’s personal choice to talk about what they want to talk about, but I personally, as someone who’s pretty new to this whole thing, wish other authors talked about the hard stuff more. It’s easier when you go through whatever rough times, creatively or professionally, to know you’re not alone and that where you are going, many have also gone, and come back. We all have those moments where things just aren’t going our way, and we don’t know how we got there, and we don’t know how to stop it or get back to the safe, happy place. It’s part of the dillio (sorry, but we’ve got to lighten this thing up somehow–with outdated early 2000s slang!).

So anyway, that’s my story. What it basically boils down to–I had to give up on a manuscript because it wasn’t working–doesn’t sound so bad, but it wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy. But neither was continuing to write the book, so…you pick your battles. You try to do what’s best for yourself, and for your career. You try to be kind to yourself, because you’re the one who has to live it. I probably deserve to be writing something I want to write, instead of something I feel like I have to write, when I have the option of one or the other (I know that sometimes you don’t, if you’re locked in for a specific book or whatever, but this is not one of those cases). I feel guilty for abandoning these characters I’ve lived with in my head for years, and in one case just really started to get to know, but I wasn’t capable of doing them justice this time around anyway. Maybe next time. But I also feel profoundly relieved.

Luckily for me, I wrote a another book last fall, just for fun. Because I wrote it just for fun, though, without any idea when or if it would ever be published, it needs some editing and rewriting. But the difference in working on this book versus the other one is that even the challenges are exciting to tackle. It’s sort of like writing AUT again! Which is an experience I’ve been searching for longer than I even realized until very recently.

*I blatantly stole this title from Heather Armstrong of Dooce. It’s an homage.

California Dreamin’

Posted on July 20th, 2010 by annakjarzab

There’s not a ton to say about my trip home to California except that boy am I glad I was there last week instead of in New York, and also I’m not ready to be home yet, especially because apparently we have mice (I say “apparently” like we don’t know whether or not they’re there–I totally saw one yesterday as I was innocently getting a glass of water) and that this mouse house we live in will cost us $2300 per month come December, instead of the $2000 a month we pay now. So…awesome. We’re going to have to move. I don’t think the place is worth $2300, because even though it was “gut renovated”, as the guy said on the phone this morning*, the work is shoddy at best. Not looking forward to moving yet again, but what can you do? We’re not prepared to absorb such a steep increase. Waah.

But anyway, I came here to tell you a story about how I seriously thought I was going to die this past week. It goes like this: my dad’s birthday is today. That was part of the reason I went to California, so I could celebrate with my family. On Saturday, the five of us (my parents and my brother and sister, who are both home for the summer) went to Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen in Berkeley, because despite the fact that we all grew up in the Midwest, thanks to my dad’s family we have roots in the South (Louisiana and Mississippi specifically), and my mom had heard on TV that this was one of the best Southern restaurants in the Bay Area.

This story isn’t about Angeline’s, but seriously, check it out if you like Louisiana food and you’re in the Bay Area sometime. I had, honestly, the best pecan pie I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.

img_0347

img_0348

It was obviously very important that I take two pictures of two different Angeline’s signs.

Anyway, after dinner we went back to Dublin to go see Inception. Except, it was sold out. I don’t know why I didn’t think that it would be, and insist we buy the tickets in advance. I’m used to things being sold out ahead of time in New York, but for some reason I figured it wouldn’t be the same back home. Except, as my brother pointed out, the Dublin Regal Cinemas is basically “the only game in town” if you want to see new releases, and it was a Saturday night, and we’re morons. Bad planning!

I’m sure people who don’t live in NYC know this already, but there’s this thing called Red Box? In the grocery stores? Where you pay a dollar and you get to rent a new release? This is genius. I love my Netflix, but if you just wanted to rent a movie, tonight, what a perfect way to do it. And only $1! Nothing costs $1 anymore, not even a cup of bad coffee. So we went to the Red Box in Safeway and got Shutter Island instead, which…y’know, Leonardo DiCaprio movies are all the same, right?

Oh God. Shutter Island was completely and utterly TERRIFYING. Not even in a graphic sort of way, or a shock and awe type of way, but it burrowed its way into my psyche and scared the crap out of me. To the point where, that night, I spent the hours of 12-4 having nightmares about it. Until The Thing happened.

I took a picture of The Thing, but it won’t seem so incredibly frightening until I describe what happened. So, imagine you’re in a dark room, having nightmares about Shutter Island. It’s the middle of the night. The ceiling fan is whirring away, a breeze is coming in through the Venetian blinds, all seems calm except in your head while you’re having these horrible Shutter Island nightmares. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, the overhead lamp switches on of its own accord, filling the room with a blazing white light, and all you can hear is a loud, ominous ringing sound, as if the Liberty Bell was being repeatedly struck right next to your ear. It sounds like maybe a tornado/hurricane/earthquake/other natural disaster alarm might sound, or maybe a prison break alarm given your nightmares about Shutter Island. It scares the ever loving crap out of you, and makes you literally sit up in bed, clutching your heart as your blood pounds in your ears. You honestly think you’re about to die from nuclear attack, along with the rest of the tri-state area.

That was the experience. The reality is considerably more humdrum, and wouldn’t even have been so scary if it had been day time. This happened at, like I said, 4 AM. I sat up in bed, paralyzed and hyperventilating, not sure what was happening, and my sister (who was still awake…sigh, teenagers) ran in and immediately figured out what was happening–the glass light fixture attached to the ceiling fan had come loose and was whirring around half-cocked. It was making such a horrible noise because it’s made of a heavy glass, and when it came loose it switched on the light. If that doesn’t make any sense, I took a picture with which to better illustrate:

img_0349

My sister immediately turned off the fan, because I really couldn’t move or process anything, I was so shocked and confused (not to mention only half awake). But man. Awful in the moment.

You know what was also awful in the moment? The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. What a snoozefest.

*I would like to point out that this guy (“Kenny”) called me to warn me about the rent increase last week, but I thought I was dreaming it, because he called AT FOUR AM. I know he’s in New York, and assumes I am too, but still, seven is an ungodly hour to call people. He texted again at 6 AM today. WTF KENNY? Can we please have some respect for those who like to sleep?

Right on time

Posted on July 12th, 2010 by annakjarzab

The options on Netflix Watch Instantly are getting better and better. For instance, you can watch all seasons of Doctor Who, which I’ve just started, post-Battlestar, on recommendation of Alex. I also watched this movie I’d never heard of, TiMER, which I randomly chose because of the premise. TiMER takes place in a near-future where science has developed a way to determine when you’ll meet your soul mate. In this world, you opt to get a timer on the inside of your wrist, and it counts down midnight the day you’ll first lock eyes with that special someone–so, some people have them, and some people don’t.

emma-caufield-timer

The protagonist of TiMER is Oona, played by Emma Caulfield, who Buffy fans will recognize as the demon Anya, Xander’s lady love. Oona is, as most female protagonists of romantic comedies tend to be, a type-A woman in her late twenties trying to find that special someone. Oona lives and dies by the idea of the timer, but hers hasn’t started counting down, which means that her One doesn’t have a timer of his own. Her step-sister/best friend, Steph, has a timer, too–one that tells her she won’t meet her One until she’s 43. Bummer. So Steph is filling her soul-mate-less days with meaningless one night stands, and Oona is freakazoiding out about her blank timer, to the point where she drags every man she dates into the store to get a timer implanted, in the hopes that both their timers will “zero out” and she’ll have found her match.

I’m totally into this idea. I was having a conversation with my friend Kim recently, and I actually said, “I would freak out about being single way less if I knew when I was going to meet the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. Even if the answer was ten years from now, I could just let it go and concentrate on my own life without worrying.” Apparently not, if Steph is any indication. The film asks: Is knowing better than not knowing?

While Oona is losing her mind over not knowing, she meets Mikey, a way younger man who’s a grocery store clerk by day, musician by night. Mikey is infatuated with Oona, but Oona, being all prim and proper and a slave to the timer, takes one look at his, sees that he’s only got four months to go, and rejects the idea of dating him out of hand. Until her fourteen-year-old brother, Jesse, gets his timer implanted–and sees that he’s only got three days to go until he meets the love of his life. So Oona, sick of living her life by the whims of the timers, decides to date Mikey, who is all wrong for her, while Steph tries to engineer a meeting between Oona and this timerless guy she (Steph) met at her job.

timer-movie1

I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will recommend the movie. The friendship between Oona and Steph is really lovely, and so is the love story between Oona and Mikey, even as it’s not entirely predictable. Watching the movie was strange, because I kept recognizing all the actors but not knowing how I recognized them. Turns out, the guy who plays Mikey is the same guy who played Aaron Rose in Gossip Girl. I KNOW! HE IS TOTALLY GROSS IN GOSSIP GIRL! But apparently that was just the character (and the haircut), not the actor, because he’s sort of sweet and adorable in this movie. There’s, weirdly, another actor from Gossip Girl in TiMER–the guy who plays Jack Bass, Chuck’s evil uncle. He also plays Quinn in Dexter; I’d never made that connection before. He’s less of a jerk in TiMER than he is in either of those other two shows, but also less interesting. So you get what you pay for, I guess.

I also watched Anastasia today. I haven’t seen that movie in such a long time. It’s so good! I’d forgotten. Guess what I hadn’t forgotten? All the words to all the songs.

anastasia_and_dimitri_by_darraneekeri

Sunday funday

Posted on July 11th, 2010 by annakjarzab

One of the best things about working in publishing is summer Fridays, that beautiful tradition in which we work an extra forty-five minutes Monday-Thursday (which is sort of LOL because I usually work until about 6 PM or later no matter what time of year it is, so I barely notice) and then get to leave at 12:30 (or 12:45 or 1, depending on which house you work at, but mine is 12:30) on Fridays. My boss is very adamant that we take advantage of summer Fridays, so I do often leave at 12:30 or 1, and it makes the weekend feel super long. By the time Sunday rolls around, it feels like getting away with something.

So I’m sitting here on my bed right now with my computer in my lap, trying to figure out how to spend my Sunday. I could go watch the World Cup final with some buddies, but I’m still recovering from the swanky cocktail party I went to last night with those same buddies, and I’m not so sure I can take it. Also, I have much to do to prepare for my trip to California!

Have I mentioned I’m going to California? Next week! I’m going home! I’m so excited. I need a break like whoa. I’m super tired and the New York heat wave is making me cranky (I’m sure these are connected; I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in over a week). Plus, I’m going to get to see some old friends I haven’t seen in over a year (I think? Shannel, confirm?), and spend some much needed time with my family outside the shadow of my grandmother’s death. I really want to go to Filoli with my mom. It’s right up her alley, so much so that I can’t believe we’ve never been there before. My parents have always been very in to dragging us kids around to national parks and museums and weird old houses. One of my favorites, which I continue to remember vividly, is the Helmcken House in Victoria, B.C., which I thought was awesome because the tour was self-guided via audio tapes where the house “talked” to you about itself.

Anyway, Filoli is this mansion in Woodside, CA that has extensive gardens and beautiful architecture. I’d never heard of it until I read about it in Smithsonian a couple months ago. My first thought was, “Mom will really dig this.” So hopefully we can go.

I will probably spend my Sunday doing laundry in prep for my trip (I leave on Wednesday), cleaning my apartment, and figuring out what books I’m going to bring with me. Which is always my favorite part of any trip. I have so much good stuff on my hands, I can’t really figure out what I want to read first. My Kindle is already stocked with manuscripts for work, and hopefully I’ll make my way through some of those, but I also have Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the sequel to Beautiful Creatures, which I LOVED; Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund, sequel to Rampant; Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto, my U of C thesis adviser; Counting My Chickens: And Other Home Thoughts by Deborah Devonshire*; Apologize, Apologize by Elizabeth Kelly, which is my book club book for next month; and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, which I’m reading right now. I really shouldn’t bring all of them with me, because I will probably end up reading none of them anyway. I do this all the time. I bring a ton of books with me, and then spend the whole time I’m on the planes sleeping or working on my own stuff. Decisions, decisions.

*I feel like this one needs a little explanation. I’m sort of mildly obsessed with the Mitford sisters, and I own several books about or by them. My friend Cambria gave me this one about a month or so ago. Debo is my second favorite Mitford, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

Eclipse

Posted on July 7th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I went to see Eclipse this weekend. Because I’m a lady, and that’s what ladies do. Duh! Right? Wrong? Whatever. The point is, I paid $13 to see it in a theater instead of watching it illegally for free on my computer. And it was totally fine, just like the other movies. I felt like it was pretty close to the book, which is, I feel, one of the slight problems with the Twilight Saga movies. They’re so fixated on following the books closely that they don’t entirely fly on their own as creative endeavors. I feel like they’re a challenge, like they’re daring me to go ahead and compare it to the book and try to find fault. Which is annoying. Because first of all, I only read Eclipse once and I still maintain that if you can skip New Moon and Eclipse and still enjoy the basic arc of the Twilight story. So I don’t know that I think there’s anything remarkable or important about Eclipse as a book, and I certainly retained almost no details from it. And secondly, I just want to sit and eat some popcorn and enjoy a film, but also I want to be entertained by something new. It doesn’t all have to be new, it certainly shouldn’t be, but I’d appreciate it if some things were.

And the ways in which the movies do deviate are sort of absurd? Like how Chris Weitz put that scene where Edward gets thrown against the marble floor in the Volturi’s lair and his face cracks a little and at the time I was like, that’s not a thing, but then I was watching New Moon with director’s commentary and Weitz was like, “Yeah, that’s not a thing, but we thought it was cool,” and I thought, “Yes, that is cool, but CAN OF WORMS!” Which is basically why, in Eclipse, it’s like all the vampires have been submerged in liquid nitrogen? And you can just break their hands off? So what’s so hard about killing them, anyway, if you’re also a vampire? I mean, I get that a human wouldn’t have the strength to, say, smash a vampire’s head in, but if you’re also a vampire then you’re all set? You can totally do that? Weird. Wasn’t there a whole song and dance in Twilight about how hard vampires are to kill and it takes the whole Cullen clan to kill James and they have to decapitate and burn him immediately or else he regenerates something something something…I feel like we’re starting to lose our grip on logic, here. All because Weitz thought putting a crack in Edward’s face because he’s described as feeling like he’s made of marble was cool. Which it was! But now we have this:

INSERT GIF OF RILEY LOOKING AT HIS BROKEN-OFF HAND AND SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER HERE. I can’t find one. If you do, email me. For now, you get this:

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Okay so ANYWAY. Also, remember how becoming a vampire makes you, like, INSANELY HOT? Then explain to me why Victoria and Riley’s army of vampires looks like an army of homeless people. I get that they are, indeed, homeless people who have been turned into vampires (right?), but they’re supposed to get hot. Why are they all so fugly? Even Bree Tanner, whose name I wouldn’t even know if Stephenie Meyer hadn’t released that book about her a few months ago, was sort of whatever. She’s a little girl. Not exactly someone who would lure me in so that she could feast on me. And she has lines! Hm.

After being a little outraged at the Victoria recast (only on principle), I’ve decided that I think Bryce Dallas Howard, however much I disliked her in Spiderman 3, works well. She’s…sexier, than Rachelle Lefevre? Or sexy in a different way? I just feel like, Rachelle Lefevre’s version of Victoria would not NEED Riley or his band of pirate hooker vampires…she’s pretty good at kicking ass and taking names herself. This new Victoria is weaker, and needier, and thus makes more sense for the story. Character inconsistency? Yes. But I don’t entirely believe that Edward could kill the Lefevre Victoria. She’s just too good at her job.

Is it too obvious to object to the random insertion of the Volturi in this movie? They’re not in the book. I’d say it’s pretty absurd for them to come all the way to freakin’ Forks, WA only to skulk on rooftops and generally not accomplish anything at all until the last scene when they rip a girl’s head off for no good reason, except that’s exactly what they do in Breaking Dawn except in that case you need to substitute “rip a girl’s head off” with “burn a girl at the stake” (spoiler) and replace “for no good reason” with “for being the worst.” But they still come into town and skulk around and use their freaky powers just for fun. I like the idea that the Volturi are just insane after all these years and do ridiculous melodramatic nonsense because the mood catches them. I just think it only works so many times, y’know?

But I get it, they had to include Dakota Fanning in the script because contracts or whatever.

Okay, actually, I just read the Wikipedia description of The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and now apparently the Volturi DO show up? Of course, the convo they have with Victoria in Bree doesn’t actually happen in the movie. They just…decide to let her try to wipe out the Cullens? Because: entertainment? Or am I totally misremembering Eclipse? Absolutely possible.

And what was UP with Jasper’s hair and accent? I can’t even choose which one I was offended by the most. If vampires don’t ever change, does their hair really grow? I mean, I get the continuity from the Civil War to now, but what about those intervening two movies when he didn’t have lady hair? Am I wrong? I’m not wrong. Also, Jackson Rathbone, that accent–woof! Though, to be fair, I found this moment pretty damn cute:


GIFSoup

You see, I love the Cullens, and I wish we had more moments of them being cute in their cutey-cute couples. You don’t even get any sense of Rosalie and Emmett as a couple in the movies! It’s very annoying to me.

Whatevs, it was a movie. It was okay. I liked going with my friends to see it, that’s the best part for me. You know, when my roommate and her friend and I were standing in line while our other friends went to Duane Reade to buy toilet paper (multitaskers), we were cracking up because there were a bunch of dudes there with their girlfriends, and it wasn’t like, oh, waah, I have to go see this dumb vampire movie because my girlfriend’s making me, it’s like, “COME ON BABY, WE GOTTA GET GOOD SEATS!” They were totally into it. And the girlfriends are looking at us like, “WTF, we didn’t even invite them.”

Wasn’t this a good review? Totally worth reading? If you made it to the end, I salute you.

Pincers

Posted on July 6th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I want you to know that I have about fifteen saved, unpublished posts living in WordPress right now. I can’t seem to bring myself to finish any of them. I blame a lifetime of English teachers for drilling the INTRO – SUPPORT – CONCLUSION five-paragraph essay into my brain. I’ve got the intro and support down fine, it’s just the conclusion I struggle with, and then I lose interest, and those posts languish in the queue until they don’t even make any sense anymore.

I’m still in a holding pattern where book 2 is concerned, but I’m happy to report that I’m hard at work on book 3–I talk about it here sometimes, it’s the supernatural thriller? It’s coming along pretty nicely. I wrote almost sixty pages of it this weekend, which is quite a lot. It’s almost 14,000 words. The book is creeping up upon 50,000 words, and I think it’ll be twice that, probably somewhere around 400 pages. Of course, I thought book 2 would come in at around 300 pages, like AUT did (here I’m talking about manuscript pages; book page counts tend to be slightly higher), but it came in at around 400 (108,000 words approx.), so you never really know.

I spent yesterday on my couch (which is, not surprisingly, where the only air conditioning unit in my apartment is located), writing. I was there for so long that my back was so cramped later. Sitting with a hot computer on your lap for eight plus hours is not a great idea in near-100 degree heat (I know! It’s so gross! Shut up with your heat wave New York!), but the productivity makes me feel good about myself. Although, it’s always a little depressing because I’m zero-drafting, which means that all the prose is really bad. Zero-drafting, for me, is about laying down the tracks, assembling the spine of the plot. It involves a lot of pushing myself to put words on the page, which is something I hate doing–pushing myself, I mean, not putting words on the page. But the thing is, I’m so excited about this book and where it’s going that I can’t wait to write all the good parts, and since I can’t write a book piecemeal, I have to race through the other stuff to get to the Big Reveal or the Action Sequence or the Romantic Moment. So I’m pushing. Which is okay. I’ll go back and layer in the description and the pretty phrases later. For now, I’m all about plot and dialogue. I just need to let go and let God on that front, I think. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Etc.

In other news, I’m rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows because I saw the trailer when I saw Eclipse on Friday (oh, we’re going there) and I got SO! PUMPED! Then I realized I’ve almost completely forgotten all but the most obvious details of that book, so I’m going back to it, even though book 7 isn’t my favorite. I rewatched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and found myself less offended by the cuts than I was when I originally saw it (the fact that the film is called Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and yet that plot line was given only the most cursory of treatments was a major failing of the film, in my opinion) and more appreciative of the cinematography, acting, directing, and, of course, the series of scenes where Harry is high on drugs Felix Felicis.

pincers

Pincers