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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.

Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

The world’s greatest thing (and I mean it)

Posted on November 30th, 2010 by annakjarzab

This Harry Potter fan vid. It’s seriously amazing:

I’ve been watching it over and over and over again. It’s pretty much perfect, and very impressive–it amazes me sometimes what people are capable of, and what they’ll do just because, not for money or fame or whatever else people do things for these days (iPads!).

Relatedly, I read this book last night called Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod, the man behind Gaping Void, and while everything in it is common sense, it was also a really great reminder of all the things we neurotic writers tell our neurotic writer friends but cannot for some reason believe or remember when we need them ourselves. Not that I’m in the business of recommending books for people to buy other people as gifts (minefield!), but if there’s anybody in your life who’s struggling with creativity (and I don’t mean just writers; as I was reading Ignore Everybody–it’s pretty short–I could think of several people to lend it to off the top of my head, and among that number was a friend who’s an engineer, a friend who’s a stand up comedian, a friend who works in advertising, and a friend who works in fashion, my sister who’s a film student, and my cousin who sells fire hydrants and stuff, so…) this might be a good purchase. Also MacLeod is really funny and there are a bunch of his signature cartoons scattered throughout.

If you’re asking yourself, “Gee, did Anna go to the Charmin Bathrooms this year?” I’m here to tell you that I did, but that will be a separate blog post. Suspense!

Eat, pray, sleep

Posted on August 16th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Like every other lady in the United States (and abroad!), I read Eat, Pray, Love when it came out in trade paperback a couple of years ago. And I enjoyed it! I mean, okay. I recognize that it’s a problematic thing, the way in which scores of women admire Elizabeth Gilbert for taking her considerable book advance and her apparent infinite amount of free time to go “find herself” in Italy, India and Indonesia for a year when most people–hm, I would say almost all people–don’t have the luxury of time or money and therefore our breakdowns tend to be a bit less glamorous, to use my roommate’s word. But I understand (or at least I think I do) what it feels like to be at your wits end, to feel lost and separated from yourself and all of that great existential ahngst, and to need to run away. And I think Elizabeth Gilbert herself is a smart lady, and she’s got a fun, self-deprecating voice, which, if you are a self-deprecating person (as I am), you appreciate. And who doesn’t want to go to Italy and eat pizza?! Travel memoir + story about a woman having a nervous breakdown + humor = something I’d reasonably enjoy, and possibly recommend to somebody else.

You know what’s NOT something I would recommend to somebody else? The Eat, Pray, Love movie. I don’t care how many Florence + the Machine songs you play in the trailer, you are not getting my vote, Eat, Pray, Love movie! I’m mad enough that I paid $13 to see you, I would not inflict that on anybody else. First of all, Elizabeth Gilbert’s voice is completely gone, even though they use ACTUAL VOICE OVER with ACTUAL SENTENCES from the ACTUAL BOOK, all the magic of Gilbert’s personality is gone like dust on the wind. Maybe they picked the wrong lines, or maybe Julia Roberts isn’t funny enough, or maybe the movie takes itself way too seriously and therefore Julia Roberts was told not to be funny…I don’t know. They do a bad job of setting up the reasons for Liz’s breakdown (two men love me, waaaah–it’s more complicated than that, obviously, but not dealt with as such in the movie), and then the rest of it? Is just BORING.

Seriously. I was so bored. I was completely not entertained. The movie had no plot, which is fine for a memoir with a different narrative agenda, but not for a movie. It was just a bunch of disjointed vignettes clumped together in categories: Eat/Italy/Learn to be okay with getting fat; Pray/India/Get yelled at by a Texan guy who was way more interesting in the book; Love/Bali/Fall for a dude. Ugh, so boring. My friend Nikki actually fell asleep all through the India section.

I guess Javier Bardem was okay. I thought he was pretty funny, actually, the only genuinely amusing character/actor in the film (except his hot Australian son, who was also amusing and nice to look at). Except I kept thinking he was Jeffery Dean Morgan. Like, I really believed that, until we left the theater and I was like, “Wow, Jeffery Dean Morgan, who knew he could do that accent?” and my friends were like, “Uh…that’s Javier Bardem.” I even argued! That’s how sure I was that it was Jeffery Dean Morgan. Oh well.

But you know what? Read Eat, Pray, Love. Accept that it’s self-centered and narcissistic and envy Liz Gilbert the money and time that allowed her to really wallow in her own misfortune (so much of it self-inflicted!), when really that’s what all of us want to do. You think I don’t want to jet off to Italy right now? And if I didn’t have a job that I needed to, like, pay rent and shizz, I would TOTALLY DO IT. So I’m not going to begrudge her. I liked Eat, Pray, Love–THE BOOK. And I really loved this TED talk she gave about how being a writer, or any sort of creative person, is about showing up and doing the work and being stubborn and not throwing in the towel even though you want to. It’s pretty bomb.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Posted on May 6th, 2010 by annakjarzab

Admittedly, I’ve only watched about ten minutes of Tuesday night’s episode of Glee because I thought it was on on Wednesdays and also yesterday was Cinco de Drinko (I have a life, you guys, and friends, I bet you forgot JUST KIDDING I know you know I’m very busy and popular), but I did catch some clips on Jezebel and while the episode itself seems like yet another stinker (remember how YAWN last week’s episode was? I do, because I just watched it two days ago and also I wrote this blog post), I found Rachel and Jesse’s performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” actually very sad and poignant.

Okay, so Rachel is very often the worst (in the best way, naturally, but I wouldn’t want to know her), and after trying to browbeat Finn into dating her/sing him to death she finally found someone whose booked the same flight and hotel for their MASSIVE ego trip that she did and it’s a match made in Narcissism Cove or whatever (did that make any sense?). My point is: Jesse + Rachel 4 LYFE. But also, in the end it’s always been Rachel + Rachel 4 LYFE because deep down Rachel never thought that anyone would “get” her (i.e. “tolerate” her), so WTF does Rachel do when someone tries to puncture her oversized opinion of herself that is usually kept intact only by virtue of the walls of delusion she keeps high around herself to stave off the near constant assaults to her actually very fragile self-esteem? She acts like a total idiot and makes a woefully misguided attempt to seem “sexy” by singing “Run Joey Run” with three different guys in some weird video that nobody but the glee club kids are ever going to see and they’re already pretty set in their impressions of her (negative). OF COURSE SHE DOES. She’s Rachel. She actually doesn’t understand the meaning of sexy. She and Jesse should’ve done some hot song/dance routine in the cafeteria at lunch wearing skimpy clothing if she wanted to spice up her image. At least that makes sense. Or she should just come to terms with the fact that Jesse thinks she’s sexy (we think? I’m still confused by their relationship and whether or not Jesse is actually in it for Rachel or for Vocal Adrenaline or at first for Vocal Adrenaline but now for Rachel or what) and that’s enough because WHO CARES.

Ugh, Rachel. But still, I’m a big fan of this “Total Eclipse of the Heart” video and I’ll miss Jonathan Groff when he’s gone.


Posted on September 25th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Okay, so listen: I could do the schpiel where I say “I’m such a bad blogger!” and “OMG so long since I blogged!” but you guys are tired of that, right? I should think so. I mean, I do it EVERY WEEK now–sometimes not even that often!

So instead, something new and different! Not so new or different, but whatever. My thoughts on TV plus a boring personal story. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Obviously, Glee is the best show on television right now (and I say this EVEN THOUGH Gossip Girl is rocking my world because Chuck and Blair are doing the relationship thang and it is so so so amazingly cute, obviously). I mean, come on, musical television? It’s not an easy thing to do–ask the writers/actors of Viva Laughlin or Cop Rock (see what I did there, Tony? Stole stuff right from your trivia night). But Glee gets it right because it’s a high school show, so it gets more leeway for ridiculousness, plus it’s got some hyper-realism going on, like Ugly Betty or Pushing Daisies–everything is brighter than normal, everyone has a heightened personality, the jokes are more extreme, etc. You get that you’re in another world, and you buy it. Plus, the music, a great blend of show tunes, glee club standards, and pop/hip-hop, is to die. I’ve downloaded many a song from Glee that I’d never had any interest in before the show–and I’d rather listen to the Glee versions than the originals.

What does this have to do with me, other than I like the show? SO GLAD YOU ASKED. (Although you won’t be, in a second.)

See, this week (if you haven’t seen it, spoilers ahead, sort of), Kurt joined the football team to make his dad proud/cover up his flamboyant behavior. Except, through Will’s interference, he ends up teaching the entire team the “All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” dance, supposedly because they need to learn rhythm and fluidity, to loosen up and relax on the field, or whatever. Mostly an excuse to play “Single Ladies” 87 times! But anyway, Kurt was like, Hey, what a good intimidation tactic–nobody’s going to expect you to bust a move on the football field, to Beyonce no less! And eventually the team comes around, and that’s exactly what they do, and then they WIN THE GAME BECAUSE OF IT. Behold, the McKinley High School football team dancing to “All the Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”:

I lost my mind when I watched that the first time, and again every subsequent time (I’ve watched it a lot). I mean, pure joy. What’s better than that?

Anyway, the reason I felt it was necessary to blog about this was that when I was a senior in high school I moved to California and transferred schools. I was a competitive swimmer in high school, so I joined the swim team when I got there. Now, my old swim team was huge, disciplined and super competitive. The caliber of talent on the team was so fierce that I was never on varsity, even though I was a decent swimmer. We did morning practice three days a week and every day after school, on holidays and over breaks, and we won most of our meets.

But my new school, though it had a swim team, was not competitive at all. I was on varsity, which should tell you something, and was one of the best swimmers on the team. We lost all of our meets except two, and one of those was a forfeit. You see what I’m saying? Not so great. The thing was, I had an amazing time on that team, and I was basically miserable on my old team. My life revolved around the SHS swim team, and we worked so hard, and people were so self-centered and awful in some ways. It was just really difficult and stopped being fun, but it was my entire world so I could never imagine quitting. But the DHS swim team was so fun, because nobody took it too seriously–nobody planned on competing in the Olympics or winning state or getting a scholarship. We were just there because we liked to swim.

And we decided that, if we weren’t going to be good, we were going to be memorable, so one of our JV boys swimmers choreographed a dance to a very special song. You may have heard it, and if not, after you do, you’ll never forget it:

Yeah. We started out every meet by dancing to “Tunak Tunak.” It was so awesome, and still one of my favorite things about high school. We just looked totally crazy. Good times.

Matryoshka love

Posted on June 7th, 2009 by annakjarzab

Just in case you missed this in the comments, Amy posted the link to this crazy hilarious video featuring my favorite thing: matryoshka dolls! Enjoy:

A little perspective

Posted on May 15th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab

I’m so sure y’all have seen this on, like, a hundred million other writing/book/publishing blogs and websites already, but just in case you haven’t, please watch this video:


Oh my God, is that not the funniest thing ever? It’s all so true. My favorite quote? “YouTube. Of course. ‘Cause you know that’s the dream, right? 20 years ago when I wanted to become a writer, a big part of the dream was being able to put little videos on the Internet. That’s it. That’s why we do this.”

Books to flims* trailers

Posted on May 6th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab


I just read Brideshead Revisited, as you can see on the left sidebar, and I really loved it so I’m pumped for this adaptation, with a screenplay by the capable Andrew Davies (I’ve pretty much been devoted to him since the very classy adaptation of House of Mirth starring Gillian Anderson) and directed by Julian Jarrold, who Becoming Jane, which I loved. I know going in that it’s mainly going to concentrate on the love story between the book’s narrator Charles Ryder (Matthew Goode, of The Lookout, which was good, but mostly owing to the awesomeness of Joseph Gordon Levitt, so this is a test for him) and Julia Flyte (relative newbie Hayley Atwell, who played Mary Crawford in that Masterpiece Theatre Mansfield Park I couldn’t bring myself to watch, so it’s a test for her as well), so I won’t be too disappointed going in. I’m wondering how seriously they took the religious struggles of all the characters, and it already seems like they’re positioning Sebastian as a gay character, although I’m not quite sure that’s what he was in the novel. I mean, he was a bit fey at times, but overall I think his descent into acute alcoholism and spiritual despair, which consume his life, really negate the question of his sexuality altogether. Whatevs! The trailer is very stirring, as trailers can be, but of course this means nothing as to the final product. I’m really interested in the relationship they seem to be setting up between Lady Marchmain (Emma Thompson) and Charles, implying that they become enemies, which isn’t really true. Lady Marchmain has her own agenda, and she does want Charles to fall in line so that she can rein in Sebastian, which doesn’t work, but she is long dead before Charles falls in love with Julia and their subsequent affair, so she can’t really interfere in that. We’ll see. In the meantime, I find that moment when Julia snaps, “What does Charles Ryder really want?” to be very affecting. And that moment where Lord Marchmain (Michael Gambon) says, “What a lot of temptations,” and then puts his arms around his two children, and they’re all dressed in white, and Sebastian lays his head on his father’s arm and Julia sits there with her cold appraisal and they all look like ghosts who are planning to, like, suck out his soul or whatever is super creepy, in a really awesome way. Movie comes out…July 25, 2008 (limited)? Wow, I didn’t think it’d be so soon. Thank God I live in New York, so I can see it in limited release because you know that’s not making its way to theaters across the country.


Now, I never got around to finishing Twilight, let alone the two giant tomes (soon to be three) that follow it, BUT I have to admit I’m a bit excited for the movie. I like a good vampire flick from time to time, esp. when it’s got hot boys, which is sort of the whole point of this movie. On the other hand, I thought the book was repetitive to the point of being boring, so hopefully that won’t carry over. I think the trailer is a bit misleading–with all those shots of Bella walking through her own house and the lines about there being a secret told as a legend blah blah blah it seems like there’s something about her house and the farm (?) it’s on, but really there isn’t (or am I just saying that because I haven’t finished the book?). And there’s only a few shots of Edward Cullen, and he’s, like, the main pull of the whole franchise! Sad face that Anna Kendrick (so superb in Rocket Science) is relegated to a small part (I think one of Edward’s vampy sisters?), but she’s on the rise anyway. I’m hoping that seeing this movie will rev me up to go back to the series and actually read all the books.

Any other book-to-movie trailers about that I should see?

*This is not a typo. Did you ever see that commercial with Steve Martin as the Pink Panther and he’s sitting in the theater next to a little girl and she’s making some noise by opening a package of Twizzlers or something and he’s all, “Shh, I’m trying to watch the flim!”? My friends and I now say “flim” a lot. Sorry about that.

ETA: Ooh, look, another Twilight trailer via Marmite and Tea. This time with actual words!


Pretty freakin’ important

Posted on March 24th, 2008 by Anna Jarzab

Happy Easter everybody! Because we’re far away from our families, my friend Cambria and I exchanged Easter baskets before going to brunch after our respective churchy services.


That horse you see in the back there? His name is Whiffles, and Cambria got him because she thought he was a unicorn, a clever little shout-out to our unabashed, puerile love for Charlie the Unicorn. I wonder if Diana Peterfreund has seen Charlie the Unicorn, as she’s writing a YA about killer unicorns and if there are two more sinister unicorns than the ones who drag Charlie to Candy Mountain, well, I don’t want to know about it. Anyway, Whiffles is not a unicorn, he’s just a regular horse (I had to give Cambria VERY SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS not to eat him, as she’s a fan of the exotic meats), but he does have some pretty funky hair that with a little gel could resemble a unicorn horn. I tried to fashion him one out of one of my leftover Post-Its, but it, um, didn’t work out as planned.

Anyway! This photo also gives a tiny little peek into my very humble abode; that white fabric with pink tulips on it is one of my pillow shams, and to the right you see my beloved laptop, Iphigenia Doubtfire. We’ve been through some rough times, me and Iphy, but she always has my back. Maybe I’ll tell you about it some day.

I’ll leave you with one final photo. A little sacreligious, but since Peeps probably have as much to do with the true spirit behind the celebration of Easter as red and green M&Ms have to do with Christmas, I think I’m on the safe side of blasphemy tonight. Enjoy!

peep show

It’s a Peep show! Geddit?