Notes from a LiteraryVixen

Snarks and Randoms for Your Enlightenment.

Deja Vu? January 30, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — theliteraryvixen @ 9:20 pm

You may have seen these posts before. You have neither been sucked back into the Wayback Machine nor have you imagined it. And, no, none of the posts are plagiarized. But if you’re a longtime reader of my blog (from back on MySpace), you may have read today’s posts before. I culled some of my favorites from that fakakteh site and posted them on their new home. Some of them need reformatting.

 There are still tons of them, some a lot more personal, there: www.myspace.com/amyvank if you’re interested.

Enjoy a blast from the past, or come back later. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure in that way.

 

Amy Needs . . . a LOT, Evidently.

Filed under: Randoms — theliteraryvixen @ 9:09 pm

As suggested by a myspace member’s page, I just went and Googled the phrase “Amy Needs”.  Here are the Top 10 results, in order (some deleted for repetition): 

1. Amy needs to either wake up or start getting some extra will-power.

2. Amy needs some training.

3. Amy needs help.

4. Amy needs a topic for her film.

5. Amy needs a flu shot.

6. Amy needs three volunteers.

7. Amy needs an article.

8. Amy needs to get another facial expression for deep ponderance. [sic]

9. Amy needs a blueprint for her financial future.

10. Amy needs to mend her ways and be more of a team player. 

Wow – these next ones didn’t make the top ten (I just kept digging back in my result set), but definitely need to be posted!  Let’s keep going with the best of the rest: 

11. Amy needs to strap on her personal bomb mechanism and blow herself up.

12. Amy needs to get out the monkeysicle and do some tests on him.

13. Amy needs to stay out of the sun.

14. Amy needs a loving, committed family who will provide structure and stability and have the ability to understand her growing process.

15. Amy needs to decide if this fits her idea of a good relationship.

16. Amy needs to be the only cat.

17. Amy needs to hit the sack.

18. Amy needs to close her legs and open her mind because she stands to lose everything.

19. Amy needs the cooperation of the taxidermists for access to the animals.

20. Amy needs to take off.

21. Amy needs to realize that her family and friends require as much devotion as the horses.

22. Amy needs a new plan and fast!

23. Amy needs to find her credit card.

24. Amy needs to graduate.

25. Amy needs to remain aloof and detached from her decision in order to validate her decision and move forward.

26. Amy needs a hug 

I could keep going – I think these are all hilarious . . . and weirdly appropriate  . . . however, that last one was a bit profound to end on, no?  We’ll stop there. Do it yourself!  Do a “[your name here] needs” search on Google. . .  Who knows what weird things YOU really need!

 

Anyone Have a How-To Manual?

Filed under: Randoms — theliteraryvixen @ 9:09 pm

Sometimes, it’s really hard to be a good friend.

I mean, just being a good conversationalist is enough work to keep one occupied on a regular basis, and that’s during the good times.  During the hard times, it’s nerve-wracking.

Here you have someone who you love, and whether it’s their own personal issue to contend with, or a disagreement between the two of you, you really just want them to be happy.  Happy with you, happy in the now, happy in the long run . . . just happy in general.

Arguments are extremely difficult, because they’re uncomfortable on two levels: 1.) You want to make your point and be heard – and sometimes apologized to and 2.) You want to get back to being friends with your friend!  However, as difficult as arguments are, the hardest thing about being a friend is when the other person is going through a personal difficulty that has nothing to do with you.

Whether it’s loss/grief (break-ups, death, etc.), stress (especially from change) or illness that is hurting this other person, there is NEVER a good How-To book to get you through the situation.  All we can do is try and think of how we would like to be treated in the same situation, except . . .

Well, most of the time you just can’t know. Either we haven’t had to deal with the situation ourselves, or we have completely different coping mechanisms than our friends.  Even the most similar of personalities can handle extreme stress in very different ways. 

Do they want to talk, or does that seem pushy?  If I don’t bring it up, will they think I don’t care?  Will a night of frivolity get their mind off of it, or will it make them feel like you’ve forgotten?  People who are dealing with something extreme often say that they want the people around them to just act normal . . . but normal isn’t the same anymore.  The graph has shifted, and we are finding a new equilibrium point. Normal before doesn’t even exist on this new plane.

The worst part of all of it is that you can’t ask your friend, really. What people need is rarely allowed to break free from the coping mechanisms within.  Humans are terrible about asking for help when we most need it, or even at knowing what to ask for.

Wow, this was a depressing blog. 

The moral of the story, kids, is to have patience with your friends.  They love you and are trying as best as they can.  It’s not easy . . . even when we’re not the ones directly impacted.

 

What the HELL am I Watching Here?

Filed under: The Arts — theliteraryvixen @ 9:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

God knows, I love me some independent and foreign films. 

Why? 

Well, to quote my good friend Forrest Gump, they’re “like a box of chocolates . . . you never know what you’re going to get.” 

With Hollywood films, you can pretty much predict the plotline with one lobe tied behind your back.  Not so with an independent and/or foreign film!

For example, last night I watched one of the most disturbing and affective (if not Effective) pieces of film I’ve seen in a long time.  It was a Czech film called “Little Otik”, which I stumbled across on IFC.  Let’s play “Name that Genre” with the movie, shall we?

It starts out by introducing us to a married couple struggling with infertility.
**Drama about the human condition?  Nope.**

The husband, digging up a tree stump, sees that it resembles a baby, and presents it to his wife to cheer her up.
**A love story about a couple overcoming hardships and disappointments?  Oh, no.  **

The wife pounces on this tree stump, and immediately dresses it and bathes it (keeping its little head above water), powders and diapers it.  When the husband tries to show her that it’s only wood, she pretty much loses her mind.  The woman decides to fake her own pregnancy, so that in nine months, she can introduce the baby as her own; the husband allows it, afraid to “out” his crazy wife, and hoping that she’ll recover.
** A cautionary tale of a descent into madness? Nuh uh.**

Magically, after the woman goes through this psychosomatic pregnancy, complete with morning sickness, weird cravings (pickles and whipped cream? Ew!) and a painful “labor”, the baby/stump comes to life . . . in a creepy Bjork-like stop animation way.
**A fairy tale about how magic can happen if you wish hard enough, a la Pinocchio?  I wish. **

Then the stump/baby, whom they name Otik, eats the family cat, and you start to realize where the movie is actually going. 
**It IS a fairy tale, but in the really f**-ed up “Grimms Brothers” way. Oh, crap. **

Eventually, Otik grows to six feet tall and nearly as wide, and eats a Postman, a Social Worker, a Pedophile and his own mother and father.  There is a happy ending (an old woman splits his stomach open with a hoe, and everyone comes out alive) as dictated by the foreshadowing of a little girl’s book, but they don’t show that part.  You just walk away from the movie all creeped out.

But in a good way. 

It was mesmerizing.  Repellant, but mesmerizing.  I think it’s one of those movies like “Freeway” that just gets under your skin, and eventually you HAVE to see it again.

 

Fat Fingers, Skinny Neck.

Filed under: The Arts — theliteraryvixen @ 9:06 pm

Last week, I embarked on an endeavor that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time: teaching myself to play the mandolin.   

If you’re reading this blog, then you should probably know me well enough to know that I LOVE to sing.  And I do it incessantly.  In the shower, in the car, while watching TV, or cleaning, or reading, and even at WORK, much to the chagrin of my coworkers.   

Here’s the quandary: I want to be able to sing in front of an audience (as a youngest child, why would I want to do anything without an audience?), but I don’t really respect singers who cannot play an instrument and/or write their own music. So, rather than becoming a version of myself that even I couldn’t respect, I just sat on the sidelines for years, using a karaoke night here and there to fill the void.  But, as we all know, karaoke is mostly relegated to being a dirty little secret, too many drunks and wannabes having slain the reputation of karaoke as a pastime. 

I tried the piano when I was 10.  Far too undisciplined to achieve any skill at it.  I played the violin, rather badly, from fourth through sixth grades.  I tried the guitar, kind of, for one semester in high school.  I say “kind of”, because it was really like study hall than guitar lessons.  A group of 5 girls, including myself, basically locked ourselves in the large practice room every day for an hour or so and chatted. 

But now I have determination.  Now I have a goal: fronting a cool bluegrass-tinged pop act.  Now I can tackle my sad history of learning an instrument and DO this!  I hope.  I love the sound of a mandolin in the hands of a skilled player.  I don’t know if I can ever attain “skilled”, but “passable” would work for me at this point.   

Since picking up the instrument last week, with the help of my guitar playing brothers, I can already play the cool licks from both “Sunshine of My Love” and “Smoke on the Water.”  [No “Stairway to Heaven” yet, but I will keep you posted.] Besides those omnipresent licks, I can only play three and a half chords.  Those would be C, D, G and A5.  I say “three and a half” because A5 is a total cheater’s chord, for those of us who cannot play an A to save our lives.  I cannot make my fingers get into the right position on the neck to make the A chord sound anything like it should . . . hence the title of this blog. 

Anyhow, now I have another good reason to learn to play.  While looking for a fierce mandolin strap (so far, nothing) online this weekend, I saw an acoustic electric mandolin on eBay with no reserve.  I kind of . . . accidentally . . . bought it.  It was a great deal, but now I have two mandolins and no skills. 

Well, if I fail this instrument, there’s always the tambourine, right? 

Wish me luck!

 

In Praise of Hermitism.

Filed under: Randoms — theliteraryvixen @ 9:06 pm

Sometimes, I think socializing is way overrated.

You meet someone who you think is really cool, that you would want to add to your circle of friends . . . and then you discover how wrong you were.  They turn out to be lame or one dimensional or, worst of all, a total CHOAD.

Multiple encounters like this can harden your soul, until there’s a fairly impenetrable shell around you, impeding even the people who you would like to let in.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

Recently, someone asked me “if I could go back in time and give one piece of advice to my younger self, what would I say and when?” I told them that I would go back to my 12-year-old self, and let me know that it does get better – that people DO grow out of middle schoolishness.  Right now, at this moment, I don’t know that I would actually do so.  I think middle school politics, the lameness and the superficiality that create it, are actually in existence more than we, as adults, would like to admit.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not generalizing that all people, or even most, are like this.  However, it is disheartening how often it happens.  I’m not saying that I’m ready to cash in my chips and go live in solitude in a cave somewhere (especially because caves rarely have Internet access and climate control), but it certainly does make me loathe to speak to the random.

[sigh] Oh, well.  Onward and upward.

 

It’s Not a Tumor.

Filed under: Randoms — theliteraryvixen @ 9:04 pm

I sometimes feel like there’s a little part of my brain that is almost an entirely separate entity.  It’s the part that tells me to do things that I know I shouldn’t do . . . and it knows how to get its way. 

Don’t get scared!  I don’t hear voices.  I have no inclination to either climb a clocktower or work for the U.S. postal service, and I do not own multiple copies of Catcher in the Rye (actually, I don’t even own one – I hated that book). 

So what am I talking about, then? 

Well, it seems that this little rebellious part of my brain hates mornings.  HATES them.  And, evidently, first thing in the morning my defenses are down, and this little morning-hating chunk of brain cells can convince my rational self of anything: 
“Of COURSE you can go back to sleep for five minutes!” 
“Why, certainly, you can lay here and listen to the end of this song without falling back to sleep!” 
(and, my favorite) 
“No, you didn’t already hit the snooze button – the alarm hasn’t even gone OFF yet!” 

That rebellious little part of my brain necessitated the world’s record in getting out the door on Wednesday.  I had gone out the night before, which was fun, but not the smartest decision I have ever made.  Got home at around 2:00 a.m., slept fitfully (darn you, Sir JaegerBomb!), and woke up with 15 minutes to get out the door.  I think I shampooed so fast that smoke rose from my fingertips. But I did it! [However, the lack of sleep and strange start to the day showed later, when I ordered a sandwich for lunch.  Five minutes after I placed my order, a reminder message popped up on my computer, informing me that I was supposed to be meeting a friend for Thai food in 15 minutes.  I had to pick up my sandwich (Lunch #1), and put it away for dinner before joining my already-waiting friend for Lunch #2.  Oops.] 

One of these days, I will learn how to silence the little morning-hating liar in the back of my brain, and will roll out of bed each day refreshed and ready for the day . . . every day. But, until then, take pity on me and the constant battle in my head: don’t schedule anything for me before 10:00 a.m.  It just gets him all riled up.