The Llama Scribe

September 17, 2008

FX Goes America All Over Everybody’s Ass

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 12:11 am

I’m awfully excited about the season premiere of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia this Thursday on FX.  I started watching the show on DVD over the summer and gluttonously consumed the first three seasons in about as many days.  Thinking long and hard about how to describe the show, the best I can come up with is: it’s like a live-action version of South Park, except the main characters are adults and they are all Eric Cartman.  Yes, it’s a lot like five Eric Cartmans (Cartmen?).  And at the same time, it’s transcendent of that description.  Just watch the show.

Anyway, here’s an interview with the A.V. Club.

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September 5, 2008

I Think It’s Gonna Be a Long, Long Time (Until I Update Again)

Filed under: School — antoinette jeanine @ 10:51 am

The clusterfuck of events which concluded my final summer break from school (holy ?… no exclamative expletive is sufficient to describe the muddled muck of feelings stemming from that very realization) have somewhat interfered with my already shoddy updating of this pathetic excuse for a weblog.  I feel like I’ve moved four times in the last month and a half, although I really only moved three times.  If you’re curious, that’s out of my old apartment and into Nick’s old apartment for a week, out of Nick’s old apartment and into his new apartment, and partially out of Nick’s apartment and into my new apartment.  Due to…circumstances, I don’t think I’ll be fully moving into the new place, but it will be used as an occasional distraction-free study zone.

I won’t be getting the canine accompaniment I had so longed for this year, but I did order Ian Dunbar’s <i>Before and After Getting Your Puppy</i> for $1.50 on Amazon, because I saw a clip of him giving a lecture on puppy-friendly puppy training.  You can probably youtube it if you’re so inclined, it’s pretty fascinating, at least until he goes off the rails about administering puppy training techniques to children and spouses, which I don’t have a hard time believing is a common practice by dog trainers.

After almost two weeks of classes, I am the most optimistic about this semester than I have been about any semester of school in my seventeen years of schooling (holy crap on a stick- there it is).  Here’s a fun matching exercise for my classes:

1. This class is completely unchallenging and I’m going to kick it in the butt, but I do wish my professor would hurry up and get his doctorate so that he can actually teach instead of sleeping through Hemingway.

2. This class is not related to any of my coursework, but satisfies a general education requirement that I’m 99% sure I’ve already completed.  It treads the line between science and bullshit, and is taught by three (very insightful) Koreans, two of whom are writing theses in the subject.

3. This class is horrifying, in a good way; the professor has published about thirty books and looks like Woody Allen circa 1985, if he was of Chinese descent.  My teaching assistant has taught the class for more semesters than I’ve been in college and is horribly intimidating in his demands, but perhaps I got on his good side by volunteering to take notes for absent students (wait…I did WHAT?)

4. I thought I would drop this class halfway through the first meeting based on the subject material, which I thought I couldn’t be less interested in, but I’m enjoying it more than any of the rest.  The readings significantly depart from the standard list for this time period, which likely contributed to my change of heart (although it probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve studied two of the texts we’re starting off with in other college classes).  The professor is energetic and awkwardly hilarious, and altogether too excited about being recently tenured.  And La Croix.

5. This last one is going to be good, but is also scary in that the readings are comprised of dense, complicated essays (so far, by pre-19th-century philosophers).  Another young professor, this one knows his stuff, and assured us on the first day that it would be the class that would make us realize why we came to college in the first place (and all this time I thought it was so that I could learn how to play beer pong).

Match em:

A. English 225: Survey of American Literature to 1850

B. English 251: The American Novel from 1914-present

C. English 301: Critical Approaches to Literature

D. English 429: 18th Century Fiction

E. Linguistics 225: Elements of Psycholinguistics

It’s gonna be a fun semester.  When I expressed amazement to my father that this would be my last school-starting fall, he retorted with “until graduate school.”  Knowing that he thinks blogs, especially those written by me, are irrelevant, I can safely say: Dad, no.  No grad school.  Not now.  Not ever.  Never.  I would rather bus tables.  I would rather wash cars.  I would rather teach, but I would also rather perform hara-kiri than teach.

Happy trails,

Antoinette

July 22, 2008

Comically

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 11:09 pm

What is this upside-down bizzarro world which seems to have surreptitiously replaced my well-worn reality? Not only have I recently volunteered to drive Cartman’s hippie drill, but the impossible has happened: I have been drawn, like a special-needs mosquito to a bug zapper, to the world of comic books…and I like it.

Let me clarify: I have not yet crossed the line and actually read a comic book or graphic novel. Like stepping from Firefly to Battlestar Galactica, this is a line I cannot cross. However, earlier this summer I read and thoroughly enjoyed the heck out of Kavalier and Clay, a novel about two young comic book artists in the 1940s. Then there was Iron Man, which left a glazed impression of awesome on my brain, but which has otherwise been forgotten in the glorious afterglow of (you guessed it) The Dark Knight.

Even after discussing the movie for something like 6 hours at work yesterday, words still cannot describe the incredible power of TDK. The movie legitimized the comic book for me- even just as source material. I can’t adequately verbalize the film’s many genre-transcending, mind-blowing achievements, so I’ll let Dan from Pajiba do it for me.

Furthermore, the news that the folks responsible for Dexter, a show which is among my 20 or so favorite television shows of all time (I tried to compose a complete list for Facebook, and failed miserably. There are simply too many to list), are going to be at ComiCon this year. Seriously?! Once almost the nerdiest of the Cons, ComiCon now features attractions for normal people as well as underpants-gnomes of the highest order. The feeling of wanting to go to ComiCon is new for me, and it strongly reminds me of the sensation of wanting to have one’s spleen removed, yet not knowing why or if it would kill you.

Already, the resemblance is startling…

July 17, 2008

why hippies make me angry these days

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 9:33 pm

Five years ago, I wanted nothing more than to live in the 1960s. I grew my hair out and modified my pants to make the bell-bottoms egregiously large. I listened to no music produced after 1975. I thought Abbie Hoffman was a fucking genius.

Things have changed somewhat in the intervening years. These days, when certain blindly idealistic family members- and I don’t take issue with them for their blind idealism, it’s a terrific state of mind, and it goes REALLY well with certain perhaps unnecessarily illegal narcotics- applaud circus-clown hippie antics, it makes me blisteringly angry.

My newfound rage probably has something to do with the crushing realization, four years ago, that while tossing money at the suits in the NYSE and watching them grab for the cash like kids under a pinata may have been a fun indictment of that organization’s shallow greed, it was at best an empty spectacle. It changed not one damn thing. Idealistic actions fueled by a sense of glorious superiority really achieve only one accomplishment: they piss off every single damn person who subscribes to a more traditional value system. The kind of people who believe, perhaps foolishly, that hard work, loyalty, and faithfulness will bring happiness- and that prancing around dressed like an asshole and refusing to wash your hair is absolutely the most counterproductive, useless thing that a person could possibly do with their life.

So, in other words: Get off my lawn, you damn dirty hippies!

And all of this to link to this article over at Deus Ex Malcontent.

The age of the individual is over; the status quo no longer considers him a threat that way it did in the 60s. That’s because every form of rebellion imaginable has now been co-opted, pre-packaged, and is for sale at your local Hot Topic. Defiance is a slogan. Insurrection is product placement. The revolution is not only televised, it can be Tivoed and enjoyed at your convenience.

Deal with it.

July 11, 2008

a couple of thoughts on veronica mars

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 11:10 am

1. Veronica gets roofied…a LOT. I’m staring to wonder if she really doesn’t just like the taste of GHB.

2. I’m reasonably certain that Jason Dohring is physically incapable of closing his mouth entirely. Mmm… Caveman stare.

June 11, 2008

Nerdily

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 11:52 pm

Instead of writing here, I have been keeping myself occupied through several methods, the least nerdy of which is a new job as a novelist’s assistant. Here are a few of the nerdier things that have held my attention over the last month or so.

David Sedaris: When You are Engulfed in Flames

It occurs to me that I and my ilk have made David Sedaris very rich. It sort of pains me to read his description of the Business Elite class when flying between New York and France, a ticket which he freely admits costs $8,000, when last night I agonized for hours over spending $316 to fly between here and NY next month instead of taking the train, which would still cost over $300, and would destroy four whole days of my life. What are the chances, I ask myself, of becoming morbidly rich by writing hilarious anecdotes concerning my family, which is competitively insane? It must be worth a shot, at least.

The new book is not as choke-on-falafel-and-die funny as some of his earlier stuff, but it’s solid. It seems like a stable relationship has maimed Sedaris’ ability to weld reality and absurdism; I’d call the new stuff generally “straighter” than his twisted canon, but I’m still reading.

Michael Chabon: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

This I truly loved. In sharp contrast to AHWOSG, which ran something like 300 pages, of which I would have liked to excise 100 or so, I wouldn’t remove a page of Chabon’s 600+ page masterpiece. It’s gotten a lot of much-deserved praise, so there’s really no need for me to prattle on about it. If you haven’t read it already, get to it.

Firefly

Here’s where the nerd-bird flies in through the open window and wrecks up the place. I’ve made a point of keeping my nerdiness to a minimum, refusing to play any video games less cool than the Marios and Guitar Hero (I won’t go anywhere near World of Warcraft, Starcraft, or that golden calf of nerd-dom, Final Fantasy). I likewise won’t flirt with Battlestar Galactica, no matter how much praise it receives (and it continues to receive a lot of praise, from people whose critical opinion I highly respect). I’m only a couple of precious inches and a gender away from Comic Book Guy as it is, and I savor that distance. However, there are some instances when veering ever closer to the world of greasy ponytails and splotchy facial hair is acceptable, and my nerdiness is, as a chick, somewhat attractive to the opposite gender (at least that’s what Nick tells me, when he’s not railing on me for being such a nerd). All this to justify the following: Firefly, a space western spanning one television season and a feature film, is about a thousand kinds of awesome. From its cast of “That Guy” actors, to its biting humor and sweet soundtrack (sometimes I try to pretend that I don’t dig bluegrass, but the music festivals my parents brought me to as a kid are some of my favorite childhood memories), Firefly is a show for the cool nerds. Like me.
Freaks and Geeks

As with Firefly, I’m a few years late to the party on this one. But the advantages of growing to love a TV show years after its cancellation include never having to know the heartbreak of a fan scorned. It’s also fun to see the cast, a few of whom (Rogen, Franco and Segal, sharing the top left corner) I recognize from their more current ventures in TV and movies. But more than that, I enjoyed the hell out of Freaks and Geeks because of its counterpoint to That 70’s Show; both are set in roughly the same decade, both concern high school students, and they aired simultaneously for F&G’s single season. However, Apatow’s show doesn’t beat you over the head with cultural references, and the humor is infinitely more subtle (wanna call it a “dramedy”? Want to be punched in the face?). At any rate, I liked it, and I’m belatedly mourning its loss. ‘Nuff said.

While there are other things noshing at my attention span this summer, the above constitutes the bulk of my entertainment recently. I’ve also gone home to Charleston for two days, spent a bit of time in St. Louis, and occupied myself with apartment-hunting, with a marginal success rate. I will be spending the week of Fourth of July in Brooklyn, and allowing my excitement to percolate for the next two weeks, or until I explode with the bagel-lust. I have started writing again, at the encouragement of my new employer, and that’s something new. So far, this summer is eons better than the last two, which were spent suffering through fruitless job searches, crappy jobs, and the long-distance relationship-mutilator. This weekend I explore Urbana’s Farmer’s Market and public pool, and if one out of two is decent, I’m calling it a win.

May 21, 2008

Disappointingly

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 1:48 am

Eggers’ book is inscrutable to me.  It’s much easier for me to relate to a 50-year-old character than a 24-year-old one.  I’ve never known any 24-year-olds, really, at least not well, and it’s essentially impossible that I will ever be that age.  And I have no sympathy for this person who thinks too much, and gropes too many strangers in the dark.  

At least I’m almost done with the book.  I have to see it through to the end, because maybe in the next 20 pages something really great will happen that will make me laugh (I’ve laughed a few times), or maybe the ending will be as heartbreaking as he promised the book would be in the acknowledgments and the title.

May 20, 2008

Finally

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 3:31 am

I did much better this semester than I was expecting.

I had anticipated the phone calls with my parents (maybe I would tell my mother in person, maybe I would wait until she had bolstered herself with joy or substance): “I won’t be receiving scholarships next year, I’m on probation, I’m going to need to go deeply into debt to finish this silly experiment, this flirtation with higher education which will probably never pay off in any substantial way, material or otherwise.”  Their disappointment was palpable; I had been feeling it all semester and it had been feeding into my actions and preemptive depression, the anticipation was that real.

But I did well.  Not great, but well enough to feel as though my continued existence is somehow justified, that I don’t need to be ashamed of myself for living happily.  I’ve seen too many students pay the penalty for happiness.  One didn’t last a semester, one lasted three years but still won’t be seeing the end of an undergraduate degree, at least not from this place.  That’s what happens, you see, when you forget that these are the years of punishment.  You thought they would be over when you graduated high school and got the hell out of that place, but they were just starting.  I did well because I stayed up and watched the dawn too many times to count, these last five months, and I read Dracula, all of it, in one 8-hour painfully prolonged orgasm.  Had I not done this, I would be calling my parents.  “You were right, I had to suffer in my youth.  I forgot that I had to suffer as you did.  You suffered, didn’t you?  Was it like this?  Was it worse?  Is there more in store?  Will it worsen after college?  What if I procreate?  It’s going to get worse, isn’t it?  Please lie to me.”

May 17, 2008

Uabashedly

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 1:55 am

I’ve started summer reading 2008 with Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.  I’m a little more than halfway through, but it’s not a project; a little something light for those desperate, frightening spells when the internet fails to amuse me and I’m caught at work with no television (god, I am a pathetic product of my generation, aren’t I?).  Presently, I’m embroiled in a long, rambling transitional section, and I’m struck with and marginally inspired by the apparent honesty of Eggers’ confessions regarding his childhood imagination and his adult paranoia.  I’ve possessed some very weird traits in my day, the revelation of which, I’ve always imagined, will force my expulsion from polite society, my dismissal from employment and, naturally, the dissolution of present romantic relationships.  However, I can, for the most part, contextualize them in my past- my childhood, if you can consider my present state “adulthood”, however absurd that notion might be- therefore neutralizing them somewhat, or so I hope.  So here you are: Confessions of a Preteen-Teenage One-Woman Freakshow.

When I was between the ages of seven and thirteen years old, I fell into a hopeless mire of melodrama.  In 1996, a blizzard haplessly dumped a few feet of snow on Long Island, and I wrote in my journal of starvation and isolation (“There is no more milk”).  Everything was epic.  Fights with my parents concluded with bizarre, threatening signs taped to my window (“I am a caged tiger!”).  I am somewhat ashamed of this.  I was a strange kid.  (But I’m not so strange anymore- see how I did that?  No need to ostracize me, thanks- I’m normal now!).

Around the time that my affinity for melodrama began to subside, my paranoiac neurosis began, sprouted from boredom and true isolation.  We had moved from a suburb of moderate population density within a few hours from one of the world’s largest cities to a vast island in the swamplands of the Southeast, where even what passed for civilization took half an hour’s drive to reach and didn’t even have a Dunkin’ Donuts.  I knew none of the neighborhood children, and had no real interest in gaining their acquaintance.  When I wasn’t in school, I usually wandered fecklessly around the house, pining for cable TV.  To keep my brain occupied, I invented a scenario, which could then be repeated indefinitely and with nearly limitless variation.  It went something like this (and I warn you, it is sincerely weird):

I’d find myself thinking about a friend, acquaintance, love interest, family member or fictional character.  The only requirement was that they were at present separated from me by some physical distance, and the inclusion of close family members seen on a daily basis was pointless (unless they were my parents who, by my imagination, were made young- preferably my own age).  

This person, or character, or invention of my devious mind, would be asleep, or walking down the street, or eating breakfast- and maybe they’d get conked on the head, or maybe they have just opened their eyes in a different way.  At just the right moment in my daily life, typically the closing or opening of a door, or of my own eyes, they are suddenly and inexplicably transplanted into my head.  They are suddenly able to see what I see; they have gained my perspective.  They have no idea how this happened, and their discovery of my identity can take up to half an hour and can be as creative as I am bored.  Early on in these inventive spells of lunacy, I would permit them access to my thoughts, but I found it bothersome to keep track of my own conscious thought patterns and often forgot to do so.  

Now I’d have a new narrative to follow- not merely my own dull narrative on my thoroughly uninteresting daily tasks, but also the imagined perception of said actions by a whole new person.  Specifically, I could make people pass judgement on me without requiring their physical presence.  Neat trick!

Imagine how weird it was to watch Being John Malkovich for the first time- several years after its release, in 2003 or 2004, after I had been occupying myself in this way for a good chunk of my early teens.  Certainly the function of remote access is fundamentally different between the film and my weird conceit- and I never went so far as to give my fictional inhabiters power over my actions- but the similarity in form was nearly unbearable.  I could feel the tunnel in my mind begin to crumble.  It hasn’t been the same since.

You see!  I even recovered from that one.  And without a therapist!  Hooray for the triumph of the individual psychotic.  

May 9, 2008

Tragically

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 4:56 pm
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I cannot count the number of times that the Significant Other has defended to me the intelligence of the student populous here at this hallowed University.  He cites admissions statistics, claiming that it would be impossible for a person of below average intelligence to be admitted into even the most lenient of departments.  Unfortunately, his arguments tend to dissolve in evidence such as this, overheard in the campus health center earlier today:

Female Student on Phone: “I (expletive) hate Chemistry.  I want to find who invented that (expletive) and smack they (expletive).”

Eloquently put, but a daunting task to say the least. 

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