Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Project-ion into the Past/Present... Part II.

This is the sequel to A Project-ion Into the Past/Present... Part I.

Last week, I promised that I would check back with updates to my room renovation project. Well, I didn't do that. But I did come back with the results!

So, let's go back to where we started. This is what I had for plans:

If you want to, you could go read the previous post, but this is the final result:

Okay. First of all, this is a bad picture; forgive me. Second, given, it is a bit different from what I had thought it would be. And I don't have the lattices on my shadow boxes yet. They are drying as we speak. But do you like it? I think I do. Especially my antique checkerboard table (center) as well as the French bistro chairs. You can't see it in the picture, but the legs of the table are supposed to be olive green. I may have to put another coat on there. Oh well. Also, I should really get some pillows onto those chairs. They look a little uncomfortable right now. And I also was lacking room that I before thought I had. Ahhh... that's one thing about sharing a room... but oh well. I'll live.

All in all, I think once a little life goes into them they will turn out splendid. After all, real estate companies hire families to live in model homes so it gives the inatimate life, right? That's exactly what I think it needs.

I also think they look better in person.

'Til next time!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

PBS Create 8.3

One of my guilty pleasures is the Public Broadcasting Station's Create Channel. That is 8.3 for me. It is so innovative and inspiring that I often find myself sucked into any project that anyone is doing on there! I kind of zone out or enter the space time continuam when watching it too. It seems like two minutes, and an hour has flown right off the shelf; it's quite a gift those people have. Given, PBS is probably the best anyways, but this definately is my favorite subchannel of thiers. :) My favorite shows by far on it are the following:

Painting with Bob Ross. I love it. Why? Well, look how happy the guy is! He has an afro, too, which makes it all the better!

Sewing with Nancy. She is a super talented seamstress, and I only can wish to have her abilities. Many atimes have I wished that I could have unlimited amounts of fabric (and a sewing machine, for that matter) to sew along with her! The quilt patterns she has are PHENOMENAL!

Sometimes I can catch Baking with Julia, which is a must for any create channel... actually, I don't know if I've seen her smiling face in a while... I'm concerned. I need to check 8.3 ASAP, and if she's not on the schedule, I'm calling that station! I love Julia Childs. She's amazing. Would anyone disagree? Look at her!

And finally... (drumroll please) Ask This Old House. Although I've seen the episode where they build a deck and teach the audience how to mow the lawn properly more times than I can count, it never gets old.

And when I was younger, Martha Stewart was on channel 8. She's not anymore, but she's very talented and is worth a spot on this PBS indulgence list. So here's Martha!

You may think it's silly, but I really do love it. (Call me crazy!) And I know that a lot of you readers have a secret passion for the create channel too. :) So turn that channel to 8.3! Pssstt... they don't have commercials, either. But watch out; time will fly!

'Til next time.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hello, Dolly!

You're really not American if you haven't heard of or heard Dolly Parton. Known as the big-busted, little dynamo with a voice, Ms. Parton has made her way to an American pop-culture phenomenon, right from day one. Whether a-croonin' with Kenny Rogers (what a pair!), making dreams come true with her amusement park Dollywood, adapting her very own movies into musicals, or creating the songs we ALL know and love with her bare voice, her empire continues to grow even today at 65.
Everything else put aside, what a talent! We all know and love the song "I Will Always Love You," as made famous by Whitney Houston. Well, she wrote that song! And from where does this inspiration flow? On her first day in Nashville MANY years back, she met an asphalt road paver at a laundromat who warned her that she might get sunburnt if she stayed in the sun too long. Long story short, they got married and just celebrated their 45th anniversary. Please raise your hand if you knew Dolly was married. Zero people? Hmmm... that's what I thought; it's nice to see that both don't have to be in the spotlight and can still be in love.
We also cannot forget her acting career! Among many titles, 9 to 5 is definately her most popular, in which she co-starred with Jane Fonda! (Shout out to Casie Ecklund! :) ) It turns out that it was a smash hit, obviously. She has also made cameos in many movies and TV shows, among which Miss Congeniality 2 was my favorite. "Are you kidding?! These aren't real!" (HahahahaAAAAaaahhhh! Oh, I have to do a post on Sandra Bullock sometime.) Not to mention that she's so famous that these cameos, even if they weren't as herself, were first-named Dolly. Not many people pull that one off and still be AWESOME. (Ahem... Justin Bieber in CSI.)
And still there is talent to spare! In 2007, Dolly successfully adapted 9 to 5 into a Broadway sensation. (Now on tour and coming to a city near you.) You should really check it out. Her music is sensational and can only be surpassed by the mind of... actually, no one, not in the popular music business, that is. Featuring songs such as "Get Out and Stay Out," "Shine," "Backwoods Barbie," "9 to 5," and many others, her musical is definately worth a shot to check out.
Should I even mention Dollywood? Come on. Some little kid ran away from home and took a plane to Dollywood! In other words, he chose DOLLYWOOD over DISNEYLAND. Yes. I guess it's that good. And she promotes reading! It's called the "Imagination Library," promoting literacy in early childhood.

Just for the fun of it, I'm going to post my favorite Dolly song, because everyone should like this lady! I mean, come on! She is to be respected!

'Til next time!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

What time did you say it was?

One of my aspirations is to one day be a city planner, city manager, or something along those lines. Either way, I firmly believe that a clock tower has a place in any city. Why, you may ask, would I think that? Well, it may be because I grew up looking at the towering Denfeld High School clock tower (above) from up upon the Duluth hillside. It may be, and this is more likely, that I love the lines that it draws upon the rigidity of any skyline. Needless to say, I truly appreciate the design and architecture put into these pieces of history. After all, each has a story. Plus, the dual purpose of a work of art plus a functional way to keep track of schedule is wonderfully accepted in my mind. I wanted to share some of my favorite clock towers out there. Enjoy!

 Of course, we have to include Big Ben in London. I hope to see this next year when I hopefully attend the summer olympics 2012. It will be crumpets and tea! Does anybody have aspirations to go to England? I still need a travel mate.

La basilica twin clock towers in Ecuador.

Chiang Rai in Thailand

Leave it to Liverpool to have such a historic gem!

This would be the ultimate penthouse!

See!? Aren't they amazing! So let me know if you see any cool clock towers around.

'Til next time!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Being Named After Robert Redford

Fun Fact of the Day:  I was named after Robert Redford!

Okay, that's not entirely true, but it is true at the same time. More like one of his characters. But it's nice to have been said you were, considering he IS one of America's most iconic movie stars. The Great Gatsby, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc... Anyway, it is KIND OF true. Let me explain.

My middle name is Roy. Not only does this allow alliteration in my name, but it also is named after a movie character, which is fitting for someone who enjoys movies so much. This being said, in 1984, Robert Redford's movie The Natural was released. In said movie, Redford played the baseball player Roy Hobbs. Seeing that Hobbs is a nickname for my surname and my dad really likes baseball and that movie (?), it fit. It didn't overthrow my first name, which I inherited from my grandfather, but it is a great piece of trivia, no? Plus, I rather enjoy  it. Who else enjoys their middle name? (Please comment below with your middle name.)

I was named after Robert Redford.

'Til next time!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Getting Paid in Bread

Seeing that it was a SUPER nice day today and that I wish to use a ginormous, lavished frame that I have for a new project of mine, I decided to bring my dog outside. Now, if you know Sally, she's often very stoic. And friendly, but that's beside the point. I say stoic in every sense of the word. I love her. She's going to be the subject material for my new watercolor, after all! And so I grabbed the camera and got a few shots of her for reference. After a while, she wanted to go inside, which I can understand. She must have been EXHAUSTED! Sitting around having pictures taken of you can really wipe you out. (I'm not kidding either.) And so Sally skipped back into our air-conditioned house and drank a cold bowl of water, served by yours truly. She thought that was all the compensation she would get for her modeling gig. I did too. Below are some shots from the photo shoot.

And THEN, about three hours later, my family discovered this on our front door step:

Yes. That's right. A plastic bag of bread that says, "Stale bread for Sally." Okay, this needs some explaining. About a half year back, Sally had the dog equivalent of vertigo, meaning she was really dizzy and couldn't stand up and stuff like that. It was super sad! We called the vet, who said to give her allergy pills. Sally dislikes three things:  carrots, grapes, and pills. She refuses to even touch any of them. But she DOES like bread. Therefore, we wrapped bread around pills and fed it to her, ensuring that she would get better soon!
Now, we don't know when it happened, but along the way Sally got addicted to bread. She also got better. :)
And so, if you're the unfortunate one who gets up first in the morning, she senses any movement and darts to the breadbox, waiting for you to serve up her favorite dish. Evidently, the neighborhood knows this story now. (See bread on doorstep.) Thank you, kind neighbor!
And so Sally's payment for being my model? Donated bread. Her favorite is Sara Lee, but she'll settle for bakery bread too, I guess.

'Til next time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Fascinations of Writing A Book

My dad always used to say, "After retirement, I'm going to start my first book... And then I'm going to read a second one!"
You may think it's corny, but I die laughing everytime. From this, along with many other inspirations in my life, grew a real passion to actually write a book, and so I set out on this adventure this past year with my friend Miranda Montez. I think she would like me to tell the backstory.
Once upon a time, two friends named Miranda and Russell were bored in a Calculus class. Talking back and forth, they realized that something must be done to fill this boredom. They started compiling quotations from a rather odd individul in their class. (Sorry Chris, but it's the truth, and you had some very obscene comments going there! Plus, you know you liked the attention.) But then the book grew silent as Chris learned not to say such mean-spirited lines. And so the friends started to imagine about a love story between Chris and another in the class. Anna Moen, one of their friends who sat near the two mathmeticians, was the perfect literary character. And a star was born! Implanted into the minds of the two friends grew a story of passion, betrayal, love, lust, and DEATH happy endings. And so began the story of Chris Giraffe and Vanna Moen, two star-crossed lovers that try to beat all odds to be together!
We definately thought it was a novel idea. (Hey, THAT'S where that phrase comes from!) Not to mention our grand hopes for a Hollywood release... *ahem, Spielberg. Anyway, after much deliberation, we titled it Ares & Aphrodite, seeing many attributes of these mythical characters in our characters, and slapped the pen name Miranda Russell on there. Once the story was finished, the coverwork was done, and the back of the book summary was completed, we sent it to the printers and it came out rather nicely. See?

For further understanding of our plot, this is what the summary on the back read: 
In an instance of high stress, high emotion, and little time, students ready themselves for graduation and the inevitable journey of life. Battling destiny one last time, honor student Chris sets off to woo his high school love, Vanna, who struggles to keep herself afloat in her high stakes situation. A story of love and passion to excel, this coming-of-age story stabs below the belt in a true and humbling tale of fighting the clock one last time.

Long story short, no one read it besides Chris and Anna, who received them as graduation presents. Only fifty pages (does that qualify as a novel?) it's still a book. And Anna said she liked it, along with a statement pertaining to a plot rush halfway through the book... but HEY!. We were on a time crunch! Only doing it during our study halls, you should be thankful we got it done at all!

And so now that this is done, maybe I'll have to pair up with somebody different to write a play or something. Who knows... Is there anybody out there that writes music? We could write our own musical. It'd but fun! Ah, a thousand ideas popped in my head. PLLLLEEEEAAAAAAAAAASSE? (You can comment below if you're interested. :D )

Hey, look on the bright side! I won't have to wait for retirement to start my first book. :)

'Til next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Project-ion into the Past/Present... Part I.

One of the best things about Sunday, besides church, is that you can set out a tentative plan for the week, some things you want to accomplish. This week, I'm setting out on a creative project to, in a way, refurbish my room. I'm a very visual person, and so, as I often do, I sketched out the side of my room I wish to remake and add revisions. This is what I came up with at the end.

Now, what you see here is very simple. The symmetrical boxes near the top are shadow boxes I already have up. The shelf below the painting is also there. The six boxes on the wall below are mirrors that are already in place. This is what I did to prep my project:

#1 Take down EVERYTHING, besides items that I mentioned above, which will stay fixed in place. I find it easier to start from scratch.
#2 Dispose of the stuff I do not need. Although I anticipated a struggle with this area, as I can be a hoarder at times, I departed with some stuff that really did need to go or be stored away for the time being.
#3 Come up with a plan. As sketched out, I plan to obtain a small desk, of sorts, an end table, a new lamp, and a chair. I contemplated this, and with financial dealings as they are (paired with my acute frugalness), I decided to make this a true project. I'm going antiquing/shopping this week to find inexpensive items to refurbish myself. With a little bit of primer and paint, they should be ready in no time! Plus, I'm going to make the shadow boxes into little display cases, glassed in with lattices. I think it will look great!
#4 Take currently used items and repurpose them. On the shelf used to set a whole lotta cds. I decided that my books need to come out. They use more space, and I spend more time with them anyway.
#5 Finalize a theme. My room is painted brown (top), white (stripe/middle), and cream (bottom). Paired with accents of red, represented through sheathes of berries, I think it will look rather nice. The phrase "Past Meets Present" will do nicely, especially with my books and the antique revitalizations I hope to embrace in this project, while taking to account the other half of my room as well, which will match the motif.

Although it may be quite a job, I think I can pull this off before the next Sunday rolls around. I always like a good project, and it has been far too long (a good two months!) since I have worked with paint.
I'll be back with updates throughout the week on my finds, my progress, and the final results!

'Til next time.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"Into the Woods" comes out on top.

I had the joy and great pleasure of attending the Duluth Playhouse's rendition of the classic musical Into to Woods this evening. Molded around the stories of many of our favorite Grimm Brother stories, including "Jack and the Bean Stalk," "Cinderalla," "Rapunzel," and "Little Red Riding Hood," this musical, with music and lyrics by of course Stephen Soundheim and book by James Lapine, was yet another one of Duluth's dazzling display of talent, both onstage and off. What a joy it was to follow a baker and his wife set out to free a curse set upon them by their witch of a neighbor, literally! You'll have to see how it all turns out for yourself, though:
The first thing an audience notices in any production, if a curtain isn't used, is the set. Luckily, the curtain wasn't used, meaning more time to soak in and admire the beautiful carpentry. Curtis Phillips really outdid himself. Built on a proscenium stage, a forefront of three house, owned by some of the fairytale alums, were on display. Then, the magic began. After the opening number, three trails pass from the clearing that is the mainstage up the stage and, in every sense, into the woods. Trees tower freely and even move on cue. Leaves create a wooded floor. It seems that dirt even arises on each step.
The lighting adds volumes to this already magnificent set. Through filters used to resemble sunlight through leaves, the whole thing comes together in a breathtaking ambience. I may be partial to this aspect because of my lighting origins in theatre, but they were truly incredible! I have Jeff Brown to thank for this. So thank you.
The costumes were to die for. Drawn from illustrations originally used from story books themselves, Jean Olson did wonderfully. An example of her work confines in the stitches of Cinderalla's wadrobe stitches. First, in the rags that reveal her all too humble beginnings to her ball gown bestowed by her mother to her wedding dress, Cinderella truly looked like the princess so many young ones love to dream about often.
The actors, the obvious stars of the show, came out from the woods brightest, though. My favorites were the Baker, Little Red, Cinderalla, and the Witch played by William Lucas, Kate Horvath, Jana LaPine, and Andrea Schmidt respectively. With the looks of Andrew Rannells, Lucas pushed full force, not that he had to try hard; his voice is so crisp and detail-oriented. Kate Horvath made me laugh a little too loudly. Seriously, I thought the guy next to me was gonna snap! She is hilarious as Little Red; she is PERFECT in all aspects of the character. I am proud to say that I know Jana LaPine personally. (In fact, she and I are related! Pass the talent, cuz!) So poised and a natural, her presence lifted the whole ensemble. And of course, Andrea Schmidt is to be mentioned. I was first introduced to her character through Bernadette Peters, who leaves HUGE shoes to fill, but she is truly incredible. Because I'm lazy, I don't want to go back and revise the last paragraph, but I also have to mention Kyle Geissler, who was Jack. His body movements as Jack were perfect for the giant-fighting boy; his acting abilities also brought greatness to the Duluth Playhouse. And the wig! I love it!
Of course, these various pieces are nothing without the director, Priscilla McRoberts. Fantastic job, everyone involved. You made for a wonderful night.
Now, everybody else:  GO BUY TICKETS. The show runs until July 31st, 2011, so get on that!!!

'Til next time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"I always meant to read that book."

As I often do, I made a trip to Barnes and Noble today. I quite enjoy it there. It may be because the wallpaper is so inviting. Anyway, I picked up this beauty!

Yes, that is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte! Not only that! The cover art is designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith! Yes, I was intrigued and, in every meaning of it, giddy to see it. I scooped it up before anyone else could nab it; it WAS the last one. I cannot wait to curl up and read this one soon!

As Told By...

When I started my blog four days ago, I googled my name to see if I could get to my blog any faster than I previously had. I don't know if anyone's googled their name before, but it's kind of weird where your name pops up, especially if you have a really common name. I, fortunately, don't have that problem and saw that my name was mentioned in a post, which confused me to say the least. Needless to say, because I'm just curious like that, I clicked on it and started reading this article:

I quickly realized it was a writing that one of my best friends Sierra Napoli wrote for a college application. I continued reading, although I was familiar with the story. Then, I instantly knew that I had to write my own (less formal) version of this story for a blog post (I actually really like blogs now; sorry for going back on my word). Maybe you want to read Sierra's version first, but here we go. (Cue flashback, wavy transition thing)

It was a beautiful spring day. The sun dashed across the newly dewed lawn as a butterfly pranced upon the soft blue breeze. I don't quite remember what I was doing at the time the phone gave a sharp ring, but I was most likely reading, a favorite pasttime of mine. Although I was contemplating not answering the phone, I peeled myself out of my reading chair toward the phone, picked it up, and saw it was Sierra Napoli, one of my best friends. I really didn't want to talk to her (just kidding, Sierra! :) ), but I pressed "talk" anyways and instantly started conversing.
"Hey, do you wanna do something right now?"
Apprehensively, I responded, "Uhhhh... I don't know." I looked to my half open book and my comfy chair. Clearly I had a lot going on. "Why?"
"Do you want to go to Enger Tower with me?" Ah, Enger Tower. The Norweigen gem that fits exactly into the landscape of the Duluth hillside. It's so natural and elegant that many people journey up its two hundred foot staircase to view the harbor that trustily lies before them upon each climb.
I looked back to my chair and book. I seriously don't know why it was such a hard decision. "Well..."
"Come on! It'll be fun!"
"Well, okay."
"I'll be by to pick you up in a little bit."
"'Kay." I hear a click and put the phone down.
Early afternoon clearly is the time for the ritual brushing of teeth. What? I was busy READING. Remember? Anyway, I got ready to go and finally saw her car pull into the driveway.
We were whisked along Skyline Parkway in a frantic rush for no apparent reason and, thankfully, made it to the gates of the tower. If my mind serves me right, the tower was closed that day and the gates that stood to block the driveway to the parking lot was also chained. We parked, almost hit a car I believe, and jumped to the safehaven of firm ground. (If it seems like I think Sierra's a bad driver, please think again. I'm told that I shouldn't be judging anyone's driving skills.)
Just our luck. The tower's gates were shut up, but we traipsed (Thanks for the verb, Sierra!) around some surrounding trails, took in the view from a beautiful white pagoda rested upon a rockbed, and rang a gong from Duluth's sister city in Japan. Just two friends hanging out, it was beautiful.
And then it happened. Her phone buzzed and out of her pocket whipped that blue devil (she since updated). "Hello?"
I always imagine Charlie Brown's teacher's voice on the other side of phone conversations that I can't hear. And so our mutual friend Kaylyn Mottonen (another one of my best friends) instantly became a Peanut's character.
"Okay," said Sierra. She turned to me, "Can we go to a dress shop in downtown Duluth? Kaylyn said she'll meet us there."
Hesitantly, (Man, for me to do ANYTHING is like pulling a tooth!) I agreed after further prodding by Sierra.
And so we drilled down to the dress shop in five minutes flat. After a parallel parking fiasco, we finally made it out with our lives and entered the shop, where we were greeted with Kaylyn saying, "Try this one on." She shoved a dress at Sierra. "I have to go to a dentist's appointment right now." And she ditched us.
We sauntered around the store, Sierra collecting dresses and I collecting scads of boredom  along the way. Finally, she had collected about three to try on in the dressing rooms. Naturally, I volunteered to wait for her. It's not like I was going anywhere; she drove me there in the first place.
Ten minutes passed. I was done looking at the shoes and slippers of all kinds and headed toward the millenary section. Imagine a Southern baptist church and you'll know what types of hats they had.
Twenty minutes passed. I looked at my phone for the time. I sighed and moved onto the furniture strictly used for display purposes, as determined by the lack of price tag on them. They were nice since I fairly enjoy the distressed look on end tables and such.
Thirty minutes passed. This strange women started staring at me. There wasn't men's clothing in the store. What is he doing here? That antique smell started to sink into my clothes. I hear a wrustle from within the changing room. She must have just bumped the door. False hope once again.
Forty minutes, fifty minutes, SIXTY HOURS passed! (That may or may not be an exaggeration.)
Finally, she came out and held out a yellow dress to me, revealing a rip along the zipper. I knew she was kicking herself for it and didn't know what to do. I believe I may have asked her if she's going to tell the shopkeeper, upon which she responded, "I don't know."
I trailed her as she approached the counter to tell the women about her damage. Her voice trembled, and I knew the nervousness she felt. "Oh, don't worry about it, dear! This happens all the time," the shopkeeper said. She went on to explain how the owner can easily fix it and how she was thankful that Sierra was truthful.

Now, I'd like to say that I saved the day since I was the narrator of the story, but Sierra was the protagonist; she did the right thing. Now, my only hope is that she'll read this post because I lived, heard, and read multiple times about this incident.

For reference, this is one of our favorite pictures from our marching band days. She's to the far left and I'm the tall one.

'Til next time!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Red Box Nation

Just the other day was the first time that I actually used Redbox. Now, before you say anything, I KNOW I'm out of the loop for just trying it, but (hey!) I was a little skeptical about how it would all work. You ask how I was skeptical? Well, I guess I'll just have to list my reasons. Starting with number one:

#1 You have to use your credit card. (As previously mentioned) I'm sure that's enough for many to turn away!

#2 How do new DVDs get in there!? I was having a brief talk with my brother about this particular point, and I suggested that maybe it's like a pop machine, whereas vendors come and restock it periodically (as in every Tuesday when a new batch of DVDs come out.) I doubted this theory quickly though and now firmaly believe that Abby Cadabby, that wretched new character on Sesame Street that's sabatoging my ol' frands Rosita and Elmo, must be restocking the machine with her magic wand.

#3 You can take a DVD from one Redbox and return it at ANOTHER Redbox. Okay, I know that each DVD has a little barcode on it, and I'm sure that they can keep track of them, but what if an influx of Texans stop at an Iowa Redbox and rent out all the Little Rascals DVDs!? Will there ever be Little Rascals in that Iowa Redbox again!? (Cue melodramatic music as I begin to sob.) And THEN, there will be a huge number of Little Rascals DVDs in Texas! Do people in Texas even LIKE Little Rascals? Or are they just punishing the Iowans? Dear Abby, please help!
***Sidenote:  The movie Little Rascals is used as a base for any movie anywhere. I do not know and really do not care if Texans or Iowans love the movie or not. Plus, it's too old to be in a Redbox anyway. (which brings me to my next point.)

#4 They only offer NEW movies! That's right! NEW MOVIES! I haven't really decided if this is necessarily a good or bad thing. Here are a few questions I must ask on this topic:  How many of each new movie are in the Redbox? Is there a certain number based on box office ratings? How many DVDs in all can fit in a Redbox? When Texans take Iowans' DVDs, is the Redbox refilled by a one Abby Cadabby? Once a movie is more than six weeks old... (continued on the next point)

#5 What does Abby Cadabby do with the DVDs once they aren't needed anymore? Obviously, there's only so much room in that red box, and unless it's like Mary Poppins's bag (which it's not), there would not be enough room for decades and decades worth of DVDs! I cannot come up with an answer for what happens next. Are the used and six-weeks-old DVDs given to daycares around the U.S. for young children to enjoy? If so, what is their review on the movie Nightmare on Elm Street?

And thus concludes my inquiries on the intentions of Redbox. I've heard the saying, "Ignorance is bliss." Although I believe that this is an ignorant phrase (haha), I also believe some things really aren't worth researching to such a depth. Maybe someday I'll find out. But 'til then.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Cup of Bon-Bons and the Clyde Iron

Time and time again in history, America has proved itself an obsessive nation. In that sense, the American public has also proved itself as such. Why? I have no idea. I just remember that in my psychology class the teacher constantly said that some people have "addictive" personalities. I blame this obsession thing on this particular "theory," especially when looking at and analyzing the vacuum-type appeal of American pop culture.

Recently, my obsessions have turned to an American pop-culture phenomenon that has recently slipped back into the spotlight, so to speak. We'll play this as a guessing game. Keep track of your points! #1 They are two people:  one boy, one girl. #2 They had lots and lots of money. #3 They were famous during the depression era. #4 They are not Lil' Orphan Annie and Daddy Warbucks. #4 Like Mary Tyler Moore, the girl was famous for her beret. #5 They were smooth criminals. #6 They eventually died. #7 I'm pretty sure they were in their lates 20's/early 30's. #8 They pertain somewhat to the title of this entry.

Got it yet?

It's BONNIE AND CLYDE!!! Now, it may seem that these two people are bad to be influenced by, but hey they were a big thing back in the Great Depression. And does it matter that the police caught them and put them to death? Yes! The whole country was following their story, as two star-crossed lovers raced across the country in hot pursuit and held up gas stations and walked away with a whole lotta dough! To the radio listeners, I'm pretty sure it was comparable to H.G. Wells's War of the Worlds. Without all the screaming people and sense of a failing world of course. They were an escape from the reality of Hooverville, after all! Give the people a break for supporting these ruthless criminals!

Back to the pop culture debate. Anyway, I find that Bonnie and Clyde have made QUITE a splash in the pop culture even after their "successful" debut during the Great Depression. The first big reprise of the fame occurred in 1967 when Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty portrayed the duo in the famous movie Bonnie and Clyde. At the same time, "The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde," the song sung by Georgie Fame, was a huge hit on the airwaves. The big deal about this? These two projects were unrelated and did not know about each other until each seperate release. So there you go. 1967 was a big time for Bonnie and Clyde.

Now, I don't know why I all of a sudden became interested in this pair and all of a sudden NEED a biography of their story, but I find that obviously many other people crave Bonnie and Clyde once more in 2011! (Luckily for the currently obsessed me) Let's list off two ways that kind of illustrate my point. First of all, a movie, which most people can relate to, is being released as a "remake" I believe of the Dunaway and Beatty flick. This time, however, Hilary Duff is starring as Bonnie and Kevin Zegers is Clyde. (Sidenote: Evidently, Faye Dunaway, who received as Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Bonnie in '67, is outraged that Hilary Duff is Bonnie... ??? Is this going to be that whole Etta James screams at Beyonce for singing "At Last" at the Presidential Ball thing again?) Secondly, a musical with music by Frank Wildhorn and Don Black is landing on Broadway in December. Have you heard Frank Wildhorn's music? Yeah, it's gonna be good.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you're obsessed with something, it's not because you were influenced by pop culture. It's because humans can subconsciously mind read each other's thoughts, and therefore, have the same likes and dislikes. Mull that one over! And mind reading happens in design, architecture, fashion, drawing, sport tactics, music, and movies. Slap that theory together and call it pop culture. That's what I do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Impervious Ways of A Toll Bridge

I really hate blogs, and I'll tell you the reason why. It's because people often log on and write down every little detail about their lives for everyone to see. Does ANYBODY need to know what song you had stuck in your head all day? Doubtful. Does the world need to know about the splinter you got on your pinkie toe? Hopefully not. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? No. Just no. Bloggers say "cathartic"; I say pathetic. If you need an audience to know that stuff. Get a dog. Some bloggers in the "blogosphere" know this as a pitfall, and they avoid this travesty of a long, boring journey all together. Yet they jump over one downfall of blogs and fall into a gaping hole of "Random Tidbits in the Life of a Stranger." Maybe this is where my blog would fit in as well. Either way, I suppose that only true friends would read a blog. And that's why people post the story about how his dog peed on the wood floor, and he slipped on it, almost severing off his right pinkie toe on a support beam in his basement. So what does that make me if I'm writing a blog? Cathartic? Pathetic? Desperate? I'm going with all three.

Seriously, these are the times when my composition class comes in handy. Because even though I may not be following proper sentence structure and may not be making any sense whatsoever in following a thought (sorry Mrs. Stauber), I find it kind of a relief to get my thoughts out of my head at times. And even as I stop to "think" what I'm going to write next, I see one of the seven revision rules I should have changed earlier on in the draft. Who's grading me? No ONE! Who's reading this? No ONE! I need to find a pet and fast.

So what? It may be 10:30 P.M., and I, who hate blogs, am writing a blog. So what? I might be dying of heat stroke in Minnesota right now. So what? I have a dog and am writing a blog. So what? I made food today that smelled like puke... and I ate it. The contradictions of life are always so appealing. God does have a sense of humor!

And thus I start on my adventure of the blogosphere.
Act I, Scene I.
"The Impervious Ways of A Toll Bridge"
A thought I've mulled over for some time now and am now releasing to the world to understand (no matter how frivolous it is) is the fact that the term "Toll Bridge," in which a driver of a vehicular machine with wheels has to pay a fee to cross a structure over water, may actually be derived from the old story we know and love that I call, "The Billy Goat's Gruff." You know that story. There are three hungry billy goats in a field. They eat all of the grass on one side of the river and need to have more grass because they probably live in America and want more, more, MORE. But an evil troll guarding the bridge crossing the river demands them a payment. The goats, probably too lazy to just wade across the river, have to use the bridge. Blah, blah, blah, skip a few, ninety-nine, one hundred. I'm pretty sure they all get eaten by the troll.
And voila! T(r)oll Bridge. There you go!

This is just a preview, mind you. There is definitely more to come of random thoughts that stray online. 'Til then, time is pressing. Keep keepin' on!

*Sidenote: Please forgive any grammatical errors. I did not edit this golden lass of an introduction to my blog.
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