The Llama Scribe

April 17, 2008

Albino Black Jewish Lesbians on Zoloft

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 1:22 pm
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The above is the title of a play by Richard Krevelin.  It is listed on his website, http://www.profk.com, along with the synopses of several other plays and screenplays which he has authored.  His book, How to Adapt Anything into a Screenplay, is required reading for the Screen Adaptations course I’m taking, and I was trying desperately to take him seriously until the dear old internet revealed his credentials.

Hostile Takeover — The human genome is discovered, altered and out of control – killing everyone and thing in its path. 

His book is written for college dropouts waiting tables in L.A. while they labour over their first screenplay in their moldy one-room apartment and elaborate to their friends and families back home about “the big time.”  The first step of his seven-step process includes this gem: “Who is your main character? (You can only have one.)”  Does that count genomes?

Max Holt, Ultra-Mega-Super-Stunt-Boy! — A lonely boy who dreams of becoming the world’s greatest stunt artist, like his missing father, has to use all his stunt skills to survive once the FBI shows up in his school looking for him.

I’m heartened by the fact that none of his movies seem to have been produced, as of yet.  However, I recently re-watched The Player, and I’m assured that, eventually, one of them will see celluloid.  Maybe it will be this one:

Naked on the ‘Net — The day before Jay Birde is going to ask the woman he loves to marry him, he finds pictures of her NAKED online.

It would have been an ordinary, boring summary, but it was the caps lock that really made it for me.  His plays are even better, and some of these actually have been placed on stages:

Lazy Susan — Susan Hyman discovers a priceless painting in the attic which tears her family apart, and it is up to her to bring her family back together.

It tore the Hymans apart?  Really?  Are we in ninth grade again?

Fortunately, I’m not supposed to take his book seriously (I think).  I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to gain from reading it- although it certainly offers ample evidence of the machinery driving Hollywood (insight which I already gleaned from Altman’s masterpiece).  Krevolin may not be a successful filmmaker, but he is a successful professor, responsible for influencing thousands of malleable young minds.  May they have the integrity and intelligence to resist his hyper-commercial idiotic ramblings and find out for themselves that his body of work might have been produced by a ten-year-old overdosing on Adderall.

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April 15, 2008

Unpredictably

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 11:50 pm
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I wanted to post this last week, when I wrote it, but I was waiting for my professor’s response to it.  The assignment was a response to The Time Machine for Pulp Fictions of the 1890s, and the professor- one of my favorites, incidentally- opened it up to any format.  Very late at night, unable to sleep after hammering out a proposal for a different class, and after nearly finishing Time Machine in one gulp, I started writing this in my head.  It’s silly, but it’s also the first piece of narrative fiction that I’ve even considered displaying for public consumption in something like seven years.

For those unfamiliar with the novel, Weena is the Time Traveler’s Eloi love interest, described throughout the novel as thoroughly childlike and naive to the point of idiocy, which, to be honest, seems to suggest a child molesterish side of H. G. Wells.

Anyway, here’s Weena’s Story:

 

It was obvious from the start that he was deranged.  I just didn’t realize that he was dangerous, as well.

Try to imagine this:  You’re going about your daily business at home, watching television, eating Cheetos out of the bag, when your front door opens and in waddles a strange four-year-old kid.  You’ve never seen him before in your life, but he’s so self-assured that you’re momentarily stunned, and he takes advantage of your transitory weakness by plopping himself down on your couch.  You try making small talk, asking how he came to be on your couch, and if there’s any place that he might rather be, or anyone that might miss him back home (there isn’t).  Then he starts criticizing you for eating Cheetos, suggesting condescendingly that his disinclination towards such behavior places him on a higher evolutionary rung than you.  He is astonished when you recoil from his physical affronts, and doesn’t seem to understand that tiny fists can still inflict pain.  He makes a few feeble, exaggerated attempts to understand your culture (“Cheee-tos!  Foood!!”) and then gives up, preferring to stare intently into his navel and occasionally babble about his inventions.  He’s obnoxious, but he’s too stupid to abandon in the wild, so you let him stay.  Oh, and then he systematically destroys everything that you love and winds up getting you killed by your cannibalistic neighbors.

I’m a little bitter.

April 8, 2008

Inconclusively

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 2:46 am
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To update: I have tracked down Oronte Churm.  It turns out that John Griswold is also a pseudonym of sorts, for  “William J. Griswold,” as he is identified in the course catalogue.  I will attempt to register for his section of Introductory Narrative Writing as soon as the major restriction is lifted.  Will I be one of the sullen, unprepared masses of which he writes?  Or will this be the defining experience for which I have been searching for the duration of my mostly unwanted, tremendously long academic career?  Well, the class meets at 9:30 a.m., but I suppose anything could happen.

April 4, 2008

Obviously

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 5:48 am
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A short while ago, I wrote on the unveiling of a McSweeney’s contributer as an adjunct professor in the very same English department with which I have recently been able to align myself.  Since said revelation, I have been gradually pouring over Oronte Churm/John Griswold’s McSweeney’s writings, the Dispatches from Adjunct Faculty at a Large State University.  I have found his articles so startlingly affecting that reading them at work- and McSweeney’s makes terrific work reading, as the site has no vaguely or starkly elicit sidebar advertisements- will often lead to the kind of emotional reaction that my months-long, Everest-like conquest of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States often provoked last summer. 

More often, however, I am struck by the well-flung accuracy of Professor Churm/Griswold’s observations of this department, which after only three months I am still exploring and comparing to my prior experiences with the music school.  For instance, given my struggle to adjust and deep cynicism encompassing the entire project of higher education, this passage from “On Tenacity” seems particularly prescient:

“The mass of students I’ll see lead lives of quiet desperation. Hinterland U. attracts the best of the really-very-good students in the state, but if they could have gotten into or paid for Harvard or Berkeley, they would have gone there. Humanism is not their main concern. They are expected to go to college by their entire middle-class suburban culture and are dutifully doing just that, for the reasons told them: getting an education means greater lifetime earnings, and besides, Zane, if your Uncle Billy can get a degree, anybody can.”       

Strangely enough, I’d always concluded that the professors and graduate students tasked with furthering my exploration of and appreciation for works written in the English language were hugely resentful of my inability to fully commit to this project, the obligatory commitment that is undergraduate school.  Then again, when I do force myself to become immersed in study, I often thoroughly enjoy the work that I am given- but, of course, not nearly as much as when it is self-motivated.  I resent being forced to have my time wasted by a certain English professor of film criticism, whose largely incoherent and shrill tangential lectures rely heavily on her ability to perform in-class Wikipedia and Google research.  But, more than that, I regret that my own ungrateful disposition has resulted in the wasted gifts of the good professors, the ones who do not seem to resent their work and their audience quite as much as she.

I registered for classes today, and in performing pre-registration research, I desperately searched for classes that might have already been assigned to John Griswold.  Tragically, he was nowhere to be found.  But, more tragically, if I were able to find him, I’d probably treat his class with the same unbridled disrespect that I’ve exhibited in regard to each and every class that I’ve taken in the past three years.  And it’s different with the English classes; in place of the loathing and muddled, irate confusion which I bore for music theory and, to an extent, music history classes, I feel no need to perform to what might be a higher potential.  I’ve been told that I have the ability, but I have no desire.  

I wonder if that will change after graduation.  I wonder if I will chance upon employment which challenges and inspires me, as I’m sure about 5% of working Americans have.  Far more likely,  I’ll find a job that I don’t entirely hate, and I’ll complain about it and only apply myself sporadically, in spurts; after all, I’ve been training for that scenario for as long as I can remember.

April 1, 2008

Unfortunately

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 3:26 am
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I go along in life, ignoring the large things that scare me as well as the small, and something triggers it.  Suddenly I am transformed from a rational, if easily confused, person, into a seething tower of irate.  I stumble around, engrossed in the one thought, unable to focus on anything else until I have found someone at which to rant.  Inevitably, this rant is met with confusion and unease, as its source is uncommon and it might appear, at its core, to be somehow biased and unfair.

But I simply demand to know: Why do old people decide to create offspring?

Do they perpetrate this action without thought or care for the day when their spawn, now entering their third decade, uses their newfound powers of prediction to create a vague outline of the future?  Twenty and seventy simultaneously are unfair numbers, because they indicate that thirty and eighty should logically follow. Unfortunately, humans have a tendency to die, if of nothing else than having lived too long.

The anger of a child who realizes that their parent created them knowing that at least half of their life has already passed is not easy for people outside of this circumstance to understand.  It is not “ageism.”  It is only resentment, and premature mourning.

March 11, 2008

Excitement in the Air

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 1:11 am
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With one week to go till the Magnetic Fields show in Chicago, I decided to do a spot of research on their current tour, so as to prepare myself and avoid the disasterbacle that was the Of Montreal concert at the Canopy in October.  To my great relief, I found this in a review of their February 29th show at Harvard’s Somerville Theater:

“Though songs from “Distortion,” the band’s newest album, are covered in layers of shoegaze distortion, feedback, and electronic effects, the live performance was entirely acoustic, consisting of piano, guitar, cello, and bouzouki (an eight-stringed instrument similar to a mandolin). Adapting the new songs to this format consisted mostly of removing drums and guitars to expose the melodies underneath. Merritt’s latest lyrics emerged from the layers of guitar noise to reveal a sincerity and intimacy unheard since “69 Love Songs.” Compared to the pristine, stripped-down acoustic versions, the studio recordings from “Distortion” sound cluttered and muddy.”  

I’ve been trying to get into Distortion, but it sounds so little like the band that I fell in love with last summer that I found myself terrified of having to sit through two hours of…well…distortion. I understand the musical statement that Merritt and the band were making with the album, but the truth is that 69 Love Songs, and to a lesser extent the band’s earlier albums, form a uniquely pleasurable listening experience which is not replicated in the newest album. I booked the tickets for Friday well in advance of Distortion‘s January release, and I’m infinitely happy to hear that the show should be more like what I was expecting in November- sweet, sardonic lyrics with an accompaniment to match.(Pictured is Stephin Merritt, the songwriter and singer for the Magnetic Fields, as well as the 6ths, Future Bible Heroes, and the Gothic Archies).

March 8, 2008

On Literary Magazines and Serendipity

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 4:23 am

Like thousands of young intellectuals who are sufficiently ashamed of that title and optimistically humble to add a “pseudo” to it, I attend college at a large state university, and am presently studying within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, specifically the English department. Like hundreds of other English students at this college, I am pretentious enough to read and enjoy McSweeney’s on a regular basis (the electronic version, not the paper version; I am, after all, a student with mounting debt and too many expensive luxuries already). A fellow student, who is, surprisingly enough, not an English major, alerted me to the possibility that the author of the Dispatches from Adjunct Faculty at a Large State University could potentially be on University of Illinois payroll about two years ago, which I dismissed due to the great number of large Midwestern state universities. However, I was wrong.

To me, this is more significant than all of the achievements and donations of our dear Mr. (Dr.?) Siebel, who has funded something like 90% of the University’s architectural achievements over the past decade. Coupled with the revelation that Mr. (Sir?) Timothy McSweeney himself is a U of I alum, I feel my chest swell with the good old Illini pride.

Hoorah!

(Incidentally, Mr. Griswold’s observations on Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day capture my experience of the holiday, and of those who seek alternatives to it. An English professor of mine, largely disliked and distrusted, handed out fliers for the Guitar Hero tournament which Mr. Griswold attended, and I silently observed that every student that I know who plays Guitar Hero regularly does so with the assistance of alcohol, including myself- while there are, no doubt, a great deal of Guitar Hero experts on campus, they were likely playing and drinking in their apartments or dorms).

March 7, 2008

Desmond Hume Has Come Unstuck in Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 8:50 am
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To extend the praise of recent Lost episodes, here is a very detailed analysis of last week’s episode, “The Constant”, and its various allusions and references, including one shiningly beautiful connection to Slaughterhouse Five: Lost: The Constant & Non-Local Brain Games.

It’s a bit lengthy and extraordinarily detailed, but I loved that episode in a profound way, and I love that it is possible to analyze an episode of a TV show with such depth.

March 6, 2008

Further Laziness

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 3:43 am
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Things that I have recently enjoyed:

  • Cave-Aged Kaltbach Swiss Gruyère
  • Cocoanut-Lime Amalfi Soda, both from Espresso Royale and homemade
  • Rewatching Season 1 of The Riches (Eddie Izzard is the shit, yo).
  • Following the current season of Lost, and basking in the show’s return to form while blissfully pretending that seasons 2-3 never happened.

Things that I have recently not enjoyed:

  • Falling behind in classes (way behind)
  • Falling behind in blogging (which I care about much less than falling behind in classes)
  • Fucking Jane Austen, and the “Heritage Cinema” section of my Cinema class.

Explanation of Jane Austen Hatred: It’s the formula. Build up an intelligent, independent female character, then create a love triangle which ultimately ends with the intelligent, independent female conforming to social standards in order to complete herself by finding a man (“Aww!”). Forced viewing of Mansfield Park in aforementioned Cinema class has all but led to induced vomiting. I’m sure that Jane Austen hate in this vein has been articulated before and many times, in many different venues, by folks more scholared than I, but I’ll chorus it for good measure: The woman was a hack. I understand that she would have been ostracized for expressing anything resembling true feminism- at the very least, she would not have enjoyed the sort of popularity that she did- but what truly baffles is her current status as Female Novelist Supreme.  Can we get over this, collectively?

February 29, 2008

I’m an Empty Grocery Sack!

Filed under: Uncategorized — antoinette jeanine @ 7:32 am

Today, laziness.
Garfield Minus Garfield : It’s a premise so simple and ingenious, it can only yield results that are funny, existential, and downright disturbing.

My favorites:

Stuff White People Like : I have to admit, it’s mostly true. And the blog is written somewhat in the style of a white culture survival guide, complete with tips on how to use the knowledge of white people’s likes to one’s own personal gain. For instance, from today’s entry (“Musical Comedy“)

“If you find yourself at a corporate retreat where you have to put on a skit for the other employees in your office, it’s always a good idea to suggest doing a funny song. The rest of your group will get very excited and start work immediately on some clever lyrics. Do not worry about the music part, if you have more than two white males on your team, it is certain that one of them can play the guitar. “

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