Sunday, January 30, 2011

what the world gave back

So my last post WORKED. ie, the world heard my cries and responded by getting all my friends and family to send totally awesome amazing stuff in the post. Check out the following, which arrived during the VERY WEEK after I sent the universe a youtube clip of Buffy whinging. I recommend trying it at home!

Batman singlet.
boutique dark knight.

massive james dean.
Even massiver JA.

ROBOT necklace. JaydusBoBaydus has one the same but in reverse colours. Aww.

A surprise gift from a friend! the second in lewis' scifi trilogy. ahhsome.

Uma, Wayne, Mariah and Cormac. Does life get better. All in a package from my Dad.

Some gifts which arrived a bit earlier for xmas, but were so awesome I needed to put them up!
beautiful melbourne notebook - Another suprise gift from a gf in Oz. BEST!

Mum saw this and "thought of me." Do I have the best mum or what!

Dexter Bobble from my Bro.

Not to mention all the letters, emails, skype calls and love that the rest of my family and friends have sent. Feeling lots of Aussie love in Edinburgh right now - HEARTS RIGHT BACK AT YOU!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


So because watching so much TV lately has totally sucked the will to live from my brain and also made me feel totes crap about myself (THAT’S RIGHT, the difference between Jtul and a Stanford student is that they don’t binge out on supermarket  apple crumbles and watch whole seasons of bad CWB tv shows in one sitting) I am taking a month off watching ANYTHING. Admittedly I forgot this the last few nights and made my way through 2 eps of the BBC Pride and Prej. But who can feel guilty about breaking a TV ban when Darcy is there to glare and saunter around looking arrogant and amaaazing!

The supernaturalz are hitched.
Moral is I’ve been trying to procrastinate all day by blogging but have NOTHING TO SAY. Which is lame coz I’ve been reading my butt off in lieu of TV binging so I should have something literary to say about all that but I can’t because all my literature magic got used up today writing bad paragraphs about the narcissism of American culture in 1980s Knoxville.

The. Best. So hardcore in leather jckt! 
So whatevs – I could default and write about the Supernatural boys but I think that’s bad for a number of reasons including a) its not good to obsess over famous married people but more importantly b) as if they truly compare to Rupert Giles from BTVS. (That’s right folks, MR FLIPPIN GILES, the baddest librarian of all time who also turned out to be an unlikely father figure, a likely magic rehab sponsor, a gay rights advocate and evil-fighting fiend. It’s interesting to note his development over the 7 seasons of the Buff, from Englishy-stuttery guy in S1, to turtle-necked-slightly-cooler-has-gf-and-plays-acoustic phase, through to over all cool-magicky-returned-prodigal-father type deal at the end of s6. Didn’t we all get goosebumps when that happened?)

What I look like now. Almost.
And tell you what now my regrowth has been showing for way more than a year I’m looking more and more like Amber Benson aka Tara from Buffy every day. Which isn’t such a bad thing considering her amazing duet with Giles in Once More With Feeling, listen to it here, couldn’t find the clip! Most days I think Tara should’ve gone straight and had babies with Giles. But of course that would muck up a buttload of plotline up so I never wrote in about it. (BESIDES Amber is an AUTHOR NOW so we're bascially twins.)

Also, If anybody cares I’m on day 2 of this caffeine-free meat-free alcohol-free fast and my head feels like Giles just took it with a library book AND a cross bow so yeah, less coherent today than usual. So on top of being tv-less I also have the withdrawal symptoms from helaware AND have nothing but a carrot to eat (literally: my organic fruit and veg box didn’t get delivered though I have been going stir crazy waiting at HOME ALL DAY.)

SO THAT’S RIGHT: GIVE ME SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT WORLD. My head hurts but on the plus side my brother sent me a Dexter bobble head all the way from Australia so sometime the universe just sends it all back to you Oprah Style. (you know I don’t really believe that Oprah crap btw. But I do love how she asks every single interviewee if they’d made peace with God, including JK Rowling and Cormac McCarthy). Cereally, who can focus on their lit thesis when they could be writing about totally awesome supporting roles such as Rupert Giles from Buffy and can’t even have a cup of coffee? Now watch the clip and think of me!!! Apart from the whole dying and coming back to life thing of course!

PS. I really am a happy person :) I just wanted to write about Buffy but without coffee iz hard :(

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

how does peter pan grow up into uma thurman?

OK I’m writing this real quick coz I need to finish my PhD application TODAY however I just spent all morning trying to unlock a new racing cup on Mario Kart and now I feel dizzy from overdoing it on Rainbow Road. In any case hopefully writing a brief post will help bridge the intellectual gap between understanding Bakhtin’s idea of dialogism and avoiding being blown up by Bowser.

Jack hurts Peter by becoming Hook's "son"
I watched Hook for like the millionth time last night and of course it was amazing, who can get over Rufio’s midriff shirt and the cuteness of Maggie. But while the film has snappy dialogue, detailed sets, and hilarity (Robin Williams + Dustin Hoffman = deadly combo) it was full of BOYS. (Which of course makes sense, since Peter Pan is a boy, the Lost Boys are, well, boys, and Hook and Smee are men). The original female characters from Peter Pan (Wendy, Tigerlily) have been somewhat phased out/removed, in favour of Peter’s wife Moira and his daughter Maggie. But while Moira and Maggie play reasonably significant roles in the story, they are the morally stable and consistent ones: it is Moira who remains loyal to her family while Peter gets distracted by his working life, and Maggie who remains faithful to her family while Jack gets distracted by the attentions of Hook, who convinces Jack that Peter never really loved him.  Both father and son experience a crisis of ‘belonging’: once Peter realises that his “happy thought” truly is his son, he is able to fly and rescue his kids; once Jack understand he is his father’s happy thought, he apologises for betraying his father and allows himself to be saved. (At this stage, Maggie is of course already waiting to be saved and welcomes her renewed father back with open arms, just as Moira is waiting for her family to return from Neverland and welcomes her renewed husband with open arms). Marriage and family life become peaceful and whole again and father and son realise that the most important thing is loving and supporting each other.

The film is also about Captain Hook discerning his purpose (his purpose is to perpetually fight with Pan) as well as the lost boys, who are able to find a leader/father-figure in Pan again. I think the film does an effective and moving job of working through the issues associated with working through such crises, such as the need for humility and the importance of loving people in a way which puts them ahead of your own interests.

Watching Hook though, with its overwhelming amount of boys- hundreds of pirates, a large group of boy orphans, a man-hero with a conflicted son – made me ask the question: how many action/adventure films did I get to watch as a kid which featured girls? And I don’t mean just contained a token chick, but which actually portrayed the girl as the centre of the action. The films I loved as a kid were things like Hook, The Sandlot Kids, The Mighty Ducks, BMX Bandits, Aladdin, The Neverending Story, The Princess Bride, etc. Some of these contain strong female characters, such as the Connie and Tammy, the girl hockey players in the Mighty Ducks series. But other than that, not much. Others agree with me in the crisis of the female action hero - check out this Pajiba article for an argument that sounds a lot like mine, but provides an awesome and detailed list of the Best Female Action Heros! (lets just say that the fact the author puts Ripley from Alien and Sarah Connor from Terminator at the top of the list makes the author a LEGEND in my books).

I still wana be her when I grow up.
As a kid I didn’t really think about it that much, but as an adult (and potentially a parent one day) I would want my children, whether sons or daughters, to be exposed to films that portray male and female alike as able to participate in an action adventure. Not all little girls can faithfully sit there and await their parents to rescue them. Not all little girls should grow up to sit around at home waiting for their husband to “fix” everything (indeed: some little girls will not even get married, for a whole host of reasons). If girls can grow up to be as cool as Uma Thurman in Kill Bill, they should know it from a young age and not have to wait till they’re old enough to see an R-rated film! (Meaning kids films could include broader narrative/gendered possibilities – lets not show all 3-year olds Kill Bill).

To be honest I think that at the moment, cinema is doing a reasonable job of it. Hermione in Harry Potter is great, and in those books gender has no bearing on how or whether you participate in the fight of good against evil. You also get Lindsay Lohan in the Herbie films, Alice in Wonderland (this is an oldie but a goodie) and films like Hotel for Dogs and The Spiderwick Chronicles where again, gender is not a type of set role. Even though movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and How to Train Your Dragon contain cool female pirates/dragon-fighters respectively, these girls are one out of at least 10 men: I wonder if we will ever get to a point where an action film could contain all women and not be read as a type of feminist statement, but rather just enjoyed as another possibility. I hope we get there in my lifetime.