Movie Pairing: Brooklyn and The Light Between Oceans

Family Stealing, Synthesis of Identity, and an Excellent Wardrobe. Oh yes, and forehead kisses.

I really enjoyed the last movie pairing post I did, featuring Watchmen and All The President’s Men for their interlocking Nixon references.  Collecting experiences and synthesizing them through all the many ways they can be similar- it’s one of my favorite things to do and it’s why I love lists. So many universal concepts (or even random parallels) underlie so many things ostensibly about disparate realities.  It’s fascinating.

I recently (over spring break) watched Brooklyn (2015) starring Saoirse Ronan (today was my first day back at university and in classes. It’s absolutely dreary and wet, but at least my cat is happy to be back in the dorms and away from the annoying kittens at the homestead).  Elements of Brooklyn strongly recalled another movie I saw just a few months ago that was released about a year after Brooklyn, and that I watched in my mad dash to get through 2016’s primary mainstream film releases.  That would be The Light Between Oceans, starring Alicia Vikander and Michael Fassbender. Continue reading “Movie Pairing: Brooklyn and The Light Between Oceans”

Soap Fiend

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Get it? It’s funny because it rhymes with ‘dope fiend’ but it’s about soap?… mkay, I’ll stop now.

For years I’ve had a clear and definite preference for unscented soap, the reasoning being that I don’t want my bath products to conflict with my chosen perfume. But there’s something so pleasing about a nicely scented bath time experience (or three-minute shower, depending on the days schedule)- and I was tired of missing out on it. Besides, I often enough just end up smelling of conditioner anyway.

The pivotal soap that changed the game for me was LUSH’s Rose Jam, which I’ve already blogged about as being on last year’s Christmas stocking stuffer wish list. Well, after Christmas Eve came around and my parents realized that they had completely forgotten my stocking (Ooops 😛 ) I did get a lovely little jar of Rose Jam as compensation.  It’s so lovely I’m feeling motivated to seek out (and eventually test) other scented bath products- be they soaps, body oils, or what have you (really just soaps or body oils, what else would one use during a tubby? (just imagined a scented rubber ducky, patenting that.)) Continue reading “Soap Fiend”

Let’s Get Epistolary (Novels)

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My spring break ends tomorrow and I’ll be heading back to Yale, so naturally my thoughts are turning to correspondence and keeping in touch.  I’ve never been a dependable letter-writer, enthusiastic as I am about it as an art.  I blame advances in technology- email, texting, phone calls- that make writing (and asking people to write to you) feel pedantic, obsolete, and kind of unrewarding.
I wish I didn’t feel that way because there is something so gratifying in receiving a letter in the mail, something very grand in ‘conducting a correspondence’, and something so much more personal about handwritten thoughts tucked into an envelope just for you.
It makes you shiver, thinking of the things we stand to lose: heartfelt love letters, correspondence between great thinkers… We’ve replaced the first with sexts and FaceTime. The correspondence of Anais Nin and Henry Miller will be replaced by an endless chain of “U up?”s night after night.  We replaced the latter with… I don’t know? Tweets to followers?

And I love letters as a frame for novels. A lot of the earliest novels were epistolary and it’s a tactic that pops up every now and again in fiction (though I haven’t read many (any?) contemporary examples- hopefully I’ll get to House of Leaves soon). Continue reading “Let’s Get Epistolary (Novels)”

A Handful of Spring Perfumes Sneaking Into My Icy Winter Heart

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I’m generally feel most myself in thick and wintery fragrances- scents that wrap you up in a musky blanket or a whirl of fireplace smoke.  But we always miss out when we try to play exactly to type- and most often delightful things come to surprise you from unexpected directions…

That’s probably why my collection of bottles is neither here nor there- it covers a lot of bases, with little overlap in genre or category- no easily articulated cohesion beyond that indefinable something that makes them feel like me and like mine.
And that has a certain logic to it, but when you trust to fragrance love and the vicissitudes of perfume fate your collection comes together a little spuriously.  You end with more of some type of fragrance, a few of another, and none of a third. The classical spring fragrance- the fresh floral- has historically been poorly represented in my cabinet.
(Which is not entirely fair: A bottle of vintage Diorissimo holds the ‘fresh spring floral’ banner; beautiful, proud, and tragically alone. She could use a little company).

But I don’t sample much anymore, even if I do keep up a massive list (classic) of fragrances I’d like to try.  My acquisitive feelings about perfume have subsided and I feel very content with my collection as it is. But I’m lucky enough to have a few friends who look out for me and send things over, and when I travel I do try to stop by local fragrance shops: in sort, samples do somehow find their way to me.

A few of them have sort of caught me unawares, winnowed their way into my affections, particularly during this particularly cold-snappy March, when I’m most in need of a hint of spring.  So maybe I was a bit vulnerable, but isn’t so much of love finding the right thing at the right time?

That was a long-winded way of introducing these four- four underrated and little discussed fragrances this side of quirky and that side of beautiful, and sure to please you whether it’s the snows or cherry blossoms falling. Continue reading “A Handful of Spring Perfumes Sneaking Into My Icy Winter Heart”

How ‘Great Illustrated Classics’ Ruined My Life

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Okay, so that is a bit melodramatic and more than a bit unfair.

For those of you who don’t know, Great Illustrated Classics is a series by Baronet Books, a “treasury of 66 classic titles, a collection of books beautifully illustrated and adapted for young readers.” They carried a ton of them in my elementary school and my middle school. And I read a ton of them.

The problem is that they’re really just dumbed down versions of books that are great creations in their own right, true classics that deserve to be read and appreciated for themselves, without having read a scrubbed clean and stripped down outline beforehand.  I read almost all of the Illustrated Classics. I now wish I had waited a few years to read the original works or had read the original works right then and there- some of them are annotations of books that were children’s books to begin with!

That said, my feelings are a bit unfair because I’m very much aware that the Illustrated Classics, all being gathered in one place, facilitated my love of literature, particularly classics. Would I be so into catching up on the classics now if I hadn’t had those easily digestible finger foods back in the day? (To stretch this analogy to the breaking point- if an Ilustrated Classic is a Hostess Ding Dong (another thing I haven’t had since elementary school), the original books are usually Triple Chocolate Tortes- do those even exist?)
You can see the complete library of Illustrated Classics here. But I’m going to break down the ones that I read into two categories: books I wish I had waited to read in their original form and books I wish I had just read in their original form right then and there (late elementary to early middle school)- the books that my kids (Mashallah) will have on their shelves. Continue reading “How ‘Great Illustrated Classics’ Ruined My Life”

Top Films for Graphic Violence

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Don’t hate Quentin Tarantino; hate the game.

Actually that’s completely hypocritical of me; I can’t stand Tarantino’s particular brand of brutality. I made it through Pulp Fiction with only a feeling of resignation. And I think I stopped Kill Bill during the fight scene between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu.
But Tarantino aside, blood and gore aren’t things I shy away from in movies.  I’m much more likely to avoid a movie focused on overblown and manipulative emotional scenes (i.e. why I haven’t watched Room yet) than a movie that unflinchingly shows blood and guts.

The criteria for this list? The film has to actually be good. No pain porn- an excellent plot is a necessity. The violence should enhance the plot, even if it does so a bit gratuitously.
No straight up horror.  That said, horror can be hard to define.
Lastly? Blood spatter.

And a disclaimer: I don’t claim to have seen all of the graphic films the world has to offer. I haven’t seen Sin City. Or Oldboy. Or Lady Vengeance. But what I’ve heard suggests that those might be at home on this list. Continue reading “Top Films for Graphic Violence”

Disney Princess Showdown

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(Pocket Princesses, a comic I love. Look them up!)

There are a lot of arguable Disney princesses, but only a few in the Disney Princess line, which is a collection of the most elite, popular, and franchise-able characters (Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel and Merida).  But none of these people (with the exception of Mulan) are favorite Disney heroines of mine.
It’s kind of unfair, because they’re chosen for overwhelmingly commercial reasons.
So here’s a ranked showdown of all of the Disney princesses I could come up with.  The princesses are ranked on a few basic qualities: 1) born into or marries royalty, 2) has animals sidekicks, 3) sings songs, 4) inspirational/powerful.
Honestly I think Disney is a little too focused on the ‘princess’ designation- there are so many more things to celebrate about women than royal status.  I’m rewarding half points for incompletely achieved criteria. Continue reading “Disney Princess Showdown”