Monthly Archives: February 2009

Off Topic: Today’s Prose 14

Backing in from the thirteenth railing.

Walter Flint couldn’t sit still.  He insisted on riding with Dean Kattahookee in the ambulance to the hospital.  After filling out some paperwork to the best of his ability and tracking down the number of the Dean’s assistant, Coach Flint alternated between sitting in the waiting area and pacing the hallway in front of the snack machines.  The man with the power and the money had collapsed on Flint’s watch.  If any law enforcement agents were to show their faces in the hospital or go to his house, he wouldn’t know what to do or say.  Yet, any potential precarious legal situations were only a fleeting worry.  Coach Flint was really more anxious about whether or not the Dean would still have his memory intact.  He knew all about head injuries and memory loss.  Flint wouldn’t want to be involved in any rehabilitation process when he only knew the Dean from afar.

Before any more worst-case-scenarios could be entertained, the Dean’s assistant appeared.

You spin me right round, lady

Allegedly, supposedly, presumably like a record, but more like colored bottles in this case.

Just to get my Pugs away from the likes of l’amour, Let’s Picture Ohio with this quick shot of bottles.  Doesn’t it make you think of an apron, rubber gloves, and high school chemistry class in the 1970s? Just a tiny bit?

Speaking of verbs, adjectives, and gerunds involving objects made of glass, I watched and reviewed Not Easily Broken (Bill Duke, 2009) a few weeks back; the review is up at FilmThreat now.  Here’s an excerpt:

If Mr. and Mrs. Johnson’s marital problems were only due to the battle-of-the-sexes and the non-existent quality time they spend with each other, they would probably continue to interact with each other as bickering roommates. The car accident, however, introduces two sources of stimuli: Clarice’s mother, Mary (Jenifer Lewis), and physical therapist, Julie (Maeve Quinlan). Mary’s opinions apparently matter more than Dave’s; and Julie and her teenaged son Bryson (Cannon Jay) have “naively” allowed him to be a surrogate father figure. Both maternal best intentions and allegedly platonic attention threaten to widen the gulf between the husband and wife.

nebposter

Click here for the entire read.

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The Flowfield Unity advises against using the kind of grip of a man who means business while flashing the grin of a man who is either paying zero attention to you or secretly wishing to do you much harm.  Have you ever been guilty of these dual actions?

Let’s Bow our heads and commemorate AZ became a state today

In 1912 it did.  So did plenty of other super cool things that have NOTHING to do with chocolate, flowers, cards, or smiling til your jaw falls off at the loins of your current life as you try to stomach the strength to say, “oh, je t’adore aussi.”

FilmThreat devoted a week to VD with cinematic contemplations–relevant or not to the Eros and Persephone of the matter.  My piece was published last Saturday.  I’m pasting the entire bit here:

Love is in the glare
of the rearview mirror,
a fork slices through
a ganache or two
she twinkles her eyes
into a canid’s playroom

My pretty, young things
as easels
at the behest of starlet donors,
around and around they roam
proffering souls for eternity
before the lensman, to choose

Up for pretty, young things
down for just watching
so Love dowses him
with reality, bound and oft gagged,
a threat to his identity

Love’s chimera of attractions
dolled for grounds of retaliation
hoists up a clear-view revision
for a girl gone missing
still.

-yiqi 4 feb 09 8:36 AM

The first time I’d ever heard of David Slade’s suspense nugget “Hard Candy” (2005) was in the form of a theatrical trailer, which set up the film’s premise as a teenage girl who meets a thirty-something male at a coffeehouse, goes back to his house, and realizes that he’s not as harmless as he might have made her think. And, a couple of montage sequences indicate that he may not be the real predator. I saw the film several months later, in the spring of 2006, at an advanced screening–with producer David Higgins and star Ellen Page present–at a movie theatre in midtown Atlanta.

On the surface, “Hard Candy” is a cautionary tale about why it is unwise for internet chatroom participants to meet each other offline–appearances are deceiving. Thirteen year-old Haley Stark (Page) and thirty year-old Jeff Kohlver (Patrick Wilson) have been chatting for about a month and finally decide to interact in person. In another culture (now) or in centuries past, an eighteen year age gap would be acceptable for a marriage or a betrothal. But in the 21st century dominant Western culture? A resounding no.

While the topic of pedophilia composes a substantial portion of the narrative as well as why the initial predator becomes prey, “Hard Candy” is a subversion (or inversion) of Little Red Riding Hood. Popular renditions of this story present the Big Bad Wolf as a metaphor for a man’s libido. Red Riding Hood should be careful in the forest because she may encounter a man who will charm and then (forcibly) dismantle her virginity. But, the Wolf is clever enough to know that he must disguise himself as someone Red can trust: enter Grandmother. The internet is the universal Grandmother in “Hard Candy” because it capitalizes on a melange of anonymity, fantasy,

and disembodiment. Hayley is visually analogous to Red on account of the red hoodie that she wears. Significantly, though, in this re-interpretation, it is the Big Bad Wolf that ultimately fears losing something.

“A love story” may not be the first, second, third, or sixth term one would think of to categorize Slade’s film. The way that the characters, their conversations, and their actions are depicted suggest that “Hard Candy” is a psychological thriller, a revenge film, or even a dark comedy.

Underneath all the male suffering portrayed in the film, though, there is a love story. Hayley and Jeff are both in love–just not with each other. Hayley is consumed by her self-appointed quest of enlightening pedophiles. Jeff is preoccupied with his own curiosities and tastes–no matter how morally questionable or deviant.

Ellen Page remarked during the q & a session that she liked the script because of the ambiguity of viewer identification with the characters. Richard Higgins noted that there are no protagonists in this film; there are two antagonists. What an astute observation. Stick with a love story long enough, and it eventually becomes a “loathe story.” Two antagonists indeed.

 

Off Topic: Today’s Verse 22

he caught her eye with a basket
starched and prepped for an emergency
thoroughbreds on the course of
a knee-length flirt
a rusting transistor radio forfeits
the regional title
for a ride in a blimp

it was made of benign sojourners
who only wanted a moment of his focused,
disbelieving reticence

to where her skirt frayed
and he walked with last year’s roll-over minutes
collected for a gilded page of fame
he’d set her at ease
opposite the pile of laffy taffy,
to soak in a vat of orange fanta
skimming the crests of retired relief
.

-yiqi 12 feb 09 11:51pm

Off Topic: No licorice tea for me, fanks berry mug

Just like the subject says.

I had near-death experience numero two today.  Oh, I’ve not shared the first one.  It happened a week ago; rather than get into the details, I’ll just say that a force greater than my own conscious mind was compelling me to participate in a series of actions that would’ve been most unwise.  I had never experienced such a detached loss of control prior to that moment.

This morning I decided to try licorice tea.  Not a good idea.

Comparing the liquids that I have consumed since I was a toddler, tea was never high on the list.  Between the ages of 365 days to twenty-five or twenty-six years, juice and milk have constituted the bulk of my liquid nourishment.  I drank much more carbonated beverages when I was in junior high and high school than I did in college.  My water intake has always been at a minimum, but I’ve improved upon that greatly in the last five years.   Coffee and other espresso products were incorporated into my menu over ten years ago, when I was in high school.  Intake has risen stupendously in the 21st century.  But tea? I had sweet tea once in a while; I sipped it whenever going to a Chinese restaurant.

A lot of people cannot consume tea on an empty stomach, but I can.  As of this morning, black teas and green teas sit with me well.  Matcha mix for green tea lattes, however, are not welcomed–something I discovered last year.  After a weekend of ingesting the equivalent of a venti (methinks), my throat began to feel tight.  I could still breathe, but something wasn’t right.   I’ve stayed away from green tea lattes from that day and have been fine.

Whale.  Licorice tea appears to have a more severe adverse effect on me.  I made a small cup of it this morning.  After making jokes that it smelled like Pier 1 Imports, I took a sip and was thrilled that it didn’t taste like Pier 1 Imports.  I liked the subtly sweet flavor.  In the next fifteen minutes or so, while also drinking an iced latte, bottled water, and orange juice, I took two more sips–spaced minutes apart.  And then my skull began to feel weird.  The area between my eyes began to feel tingly.  The sensation was reminiscent of but not identical to caffeine withdrawal and how my body reacts to MSG (my face goes numb and feels warm).  It wasn’t unpleasant per se, just unfamiliar.

A couple hours later, it traveled to the top of my skull and then down to my cheeks, underneath my chin, and then to my throat.  My breathing was fine, my heartbeat normal, and did not actually have a headache.  By lunchtime, I had observed that whenever I was up and walking around, I was pretty fine.  I only experienced the kind of sore throat/neck one would have from screaming along during a rock concert.  The moment I sat back down, though, that unfamiliar sensation returned.  I decided to go to Phipps to take a walk and maybe eat something.

And when I was so close to my destination, I nearly got into a car accident (not my fault).  I was able to predict the other car’s lane-changing intentions in time to slow to a stop (in an intersection no less).  Usually when I’m able to avoid collisions (my fault or not), my heart rate immediately increases as do levels of adrenaline and incidence of sweating, whereupon I typically channel my inner swashbuckler and scowl in the general direction of the car that was in the wrong.   This time, I remember mild profanity and being agitated, but it wasn’t until I had parked and got of my car did I realize something was really wrong.  My heart was beating very fast and my hands and feet felt cold, numb, and tingly.  I had to lean on a pillar in front of the door to catch my breath.  After going up one set of escalators, my breathing had become very heavy.  I leaned against another pillar because I was afraid I was just going to fall to the floor.  A security guard happened to be there and asked me if I was all right.

He went up to the mall level with me; I phoned to be picked up and then sat on a bench.  Two other guards came over to see how I was; the first guard stayed with me for about ten more minutes.  After my breathing was less audible and he determined that I would be fine unsupervised (and I said I just needed to breathe), he told me that if I needed anything the info desk would call security for me.  I think one of the guards went to the other side of the atrium to keep an eye on me.

I call this my second near-death experience not because I was clinically dead, but because I felt detached from my body in a manner similar to the first occurrence.  Yet, simultaneously, I felt imprisoned by my body.  My mom had called when I first sat down and when I flipped open the phone, I couldn’t hold it properly.  My hand didn’t feel like it belonged to me.  Poor blood circulation.

When I got home, I ate half a banana and had a chlorophyll mix drink (something I have to take after unknowingly consuming MSG).  What have I learned today?

1.  Yes, people can be allergic to tea, all kinds of tea.

2.  I will never drink licorice tea again or consume “real” licorice candies.

3.  As much as human beings and incompetent drivers still make me go “ugh!” I’ve broadened my “with the exceptions of….” range just a bit more.

4. Why any of this stuff happened is beside the point.  It’s not like the windshield wipers incident, where I eventually recognized the value of the initial inconvenience.  I’m just glad the security guard was there when I had gone up one set of escalators.  I think it helped having him there as a tangible, external focal point.