Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lyrical Flashback

And so came the day when my defunct car charger forced me to rediscover radio and shattered any of my straggling illusions of youth.

Recently my one and only car charger (formerly known as the 'cigarette lighter') decided to go on strike, effectively leaving me with a much narrower scope of music options. Generally I plug in my iPhone to a radio adapter that allows me to play my own music through my radio. As a result of advancing technology, I have three CD's in my car: a 'Best of Led Zeppelin' CD that only spins in the player when it damn well feels like it (uh, like every twentieth time...otherwise to my great fury it doesn't spin at all), a comedy CD that I have listened to more times than I care to admit and the third is scratched beyond repair. As a person completely incapable of sitting with my own silences, I clicked on over to the radio.

"...you got to bet on yourself now staaaar, cause that's your best bet...."

"...Paint myself in blue and red and black and gray. All of the beautiful colors are very very meaningful, Gray is my favorite color, I felt so symbolic yesterday, if I knew Picasso, I would buy myself a gray guitar and play.......Mister Jones and me...!!"

Yessssss! Thankfully my antenna picked up my old standard Radio 104.1, a bastion of amazing music in an often dreck-y sea of mainstream pop and unintelligible rap. I cheerfully sang at the top of my lungs. Lyrics that still rattled around in my head and will probably take up precious brainspace until the day I die were actually being put to proper use! Synapses fired and neurons connected, my brain a flurry of activity!

"....and every time I scratch my nails down someone else's back I hope you feel it...well can you feel it! Well, I'm here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away....."

And then it happened. My crazy neurons demanded that a sense memory be paired with that particular lyric. All of a sudden, a swimming image was rapidly uploaded to my minds eye. Large, nearly empty 2 liter bottle of Mountain Dew in my hand. My friend bouncing over to the chunky black boom box at my shoulder. A flash of MTV News from a distant sleepover of the past....oh god Kurt Loder was hideous even then....the vague recollection that the year was 1995 and Alanis was up for 'video of the year'.

1995?! Hold up. I turned 13 years old in 1995. I'm 27 now. I have known the words to that song for more than half of the time I have spent on this earth.

Kids that were born in 1995 have never seen a kick-ass, mind-blowing music video on MTV (I know, because I check and the caliber has plummetted my friends. Gone are the days of puppets and clay-mation.) Sadly, these kids have never known the joys of a cigarette lighter in a car or even a life without facebook. I'm sure they have no idea who Alanis Morrisette even IS!!! OMG, they probably don't even know who Kurt Cobain is!

Realization - I. Am. Officially. Old.

After a small pity party in my car, I slowly came to terms with my newfound knowledge. I told myself that with age comes discovery of great music. A refinement of what one will grow to embrace and invite in as a part of one's life and soul. When I was 13 I was blissfully ignorant to the greatness of Nina Simone, the Ramones, Phish and David Bowie, among others.

It heartnens me to think that there is infintely more music to discover and to be made. Maybe I'm 'old', but I am certainly not deaf. Far from foiled by the situation with my dead car charger it has encouraged me to unearth my old CD collection and stock my car with old favorites. Reliving my youth is almost more fun the second time around.

Because now I know all the lyrics.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Amputation, Dehydration, Hiking and Hope - 127 Hours, A Review

After seeing the movie '127 Hours', I had one thought.

I must drink copious amounts of water as soon as possible.

The film did leave me with other lasting impressions, most of which I will share with you here. However, if you take nothing else away from this post, please know to bring a large bottle of water with you to the theater.

As trapped hiker Aron Ralston, actor James Franco gives a striking performance where he so convincingly portrays the effects of hopeless dehydration that I thought I might just be dying of thirst during my scant 90 minutes reclining in my cushy chair. Not really. (Kind of.)

In fact, Franco is the main and principal character in the film. At the start of the movie, Franco's Aron Ralston frolics effortlessly through the first twenty minutes of screentime. During this time, everything on screen is subject to his flirtatious and coy nature. He mugs for both his handheld camcorder and digital camera, charms a duo of females he encounters on the trail, and continually skirts the edge of danger.

His dashing smile and endearing quality embue him with a sense of sublime confidence. However, the inevitable happens. His arm becomes pinned to a large boulder, and the clock starts ticking. Aron enters 'survival mode', and the audience takes that journey with him. Grimly introspective 'real-time' moments are puncuated by historical flashbacks with a somewhat disjointed and schizophrenic feeling.

As a viewer, I rooted for Aron to free himself. To defy the odds and cut that damned arm off. Once the amputation became reality on screen, I cringed, buried my face in my popcorn bag and wondered out loud if I would have the fortitude to do the drastic and unthinkable. However as skilled as Franco is, I believe that more could have been done with the script.

Franco does a convincing job of making the dialogue spoken to a rock face enclosure and camcorder ring true, but we never actually witness him fostering a deep human connection. Therefore I felt somewhat unconnected to him. I left feeling more that the character is a unique wonder of the human spirit, like something to be observed in a museum, rather than a lone individual who embodies the strength every human has within them for greatness and survival. The film left me wanting to know more about Ralston's life, and motivated me to click on over to amazon.com after the ending credits and place the book that the movie was based upon in my cart.

So, should you see the movie? In a word - definitely. Franco's raw and lived in performance is worth the price of admission. For young men in Hollywood, I would argue that his talent and versatility is rivaled by few others. For the faint of heart, I would suggest an extra large popcorn to hide your eyes behind.

And, of course, don't forget the water.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Potent Quoteables - Now With Peppermint!

I was idly minding my own business last night, feeding gas into my car when my breath became visible for the first time this season. While I proceeded to make a fool of myself by attempting to create frozen breath smoke rings, the first strains of 'Jingle Bells' found a way through the rest stops PA system. My frozen breath conquests abruptly ceased and the air around my face became still.


I know, I know. I'm sure I'll be able to hear your loud, not-totally-unfounded protests from here. Those of us that revel in Christmas joy hear it every year. "It's not even Thanksgiving yet! GAH! Why do I have to hear about Christmas already?" To you Christmas-haters I say, "BAH HUMBUG!" Although, this response will probably get you riled up even more as I am coming back at you with a popular Dickensian Christmas insult, but I digress.

What that errant snippet of Jingle Bells got me in the mood to talk about is Christmas movies. In a previous post a few months ago, I hyped my favorite 'quoteable' movies. However, I neglected to consider all of the holiday/Christmas movies that qualify in this category.

Here is where they get their due.


Quoteable Moment: "Buddy the Elf, What's your favorite color?"

I seriously considered answering my phone like this for awhile, but saying 'Rainey the person' didnt quite have the same ring as 'Buddy the Elf'. Also, I am clearly not Will Ferrell. Second quote in consideration is where Buddy belches for about thirty seconds of screen time, but I don't quite know how to put that inhuman noise into type....

Bad Santa

If you are an adult with a slightly twisted sense of humor, I would place this in the category of Don't Miss. A depraved Santa who drinks, smokes, and commits larceny with the assistance of a foul-mouthed elf meets a roly-poly young kid. Cue bouts of debauchery and redemption.

Quoteable Moment: "Want me to make you some sam-wich-es?" says the kid who constantly offers to make 'Santa' a meal.

A Christmas Story

Quoteable Moment: "You'll shoot your eye out kid!"

Personal Quoteable Moment: I'm a sucker for characters who pronounce things in an unorthodox manner, especially as I then am prompted to use that pronunciation as my new official way to say that word. When the dad does some ogling of the crate that holds the most highly sexualized lamp in cinema history, he coos "Frah-giiii-lay". I urge you all to try out this word at the post office when you ship presents to far away places this year. Fun!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 TV Version, natch)

Quoteable Moment: "....his heart was two sizes too small."


My favorite 'Christmas Carol' adaptation. Probably because I border on an unhealthy obsession with Bill Murray, but also because the Ghost of Christmas past is a raucous horndog of a fairy, and the Ghost of Christmas Present is a chain-smoking cabbie. Are we seeing a pattern that I'm tickled by breaks with tradtion?

Quoteable Moment: Frank Cross, talking about the Ghost of Christmas Past: "The bitch hit me with a toaster!"

Mixed Nuts

This is my favorite Christmas movie of all time. In a movie that plays more like a stage production, a motley crew of misfits gather in the apartment of a financially strapped suicide hotline on Christmas Eve and hijinks ensue. Steve Martin, Rita Wilson, Juliette Lewis, Anthony LaPaglia, Liev Schreiber, Adam Sandler, and the divine Madeline Kahn round out the cast. And oh yeah, there's an awesome blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Parker Posey and John Stewart.

Quoteable Moment: "Gracie and Felix have turned the dead landlord into a Christmas tree and we're all going down to the boardwalk!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Relics of the Past

Oh blog world! Can I ever be forgiven for my frequent absences?

I am so sorry for my recent hiatus. I want to thank certain posters for sending me lovely comments and e-mails regarding my whereabouts. Suffice to say that to fill you in on all the sordid (read: relatively boring) details of my life since June would basically be a bullet point list. I don't believe that this type of post would get me back in your good graces. Perhaps later on in future posts. But right now, there's only one thing I want to talk about.

The buried swing set.

Let me step back for one minute and explain. After moving in April, our house had some interesting quirks. Something I never mentioned on this blog was that our backyard was a veritable trash heap of items that were left by the previous tenant.

In the month of April, we hauled away a complete weight set and freestanding pull up bar, four tires, a dilapidated dirt bike, six garbage bags full of various trash, a rusted out iron headboard, two road signs, a mold sodden mattress, three full paint cans, ant-encrusted wallet with ID and credit card and oh dear god so much more. If the previous tenant had been one of the Clampetts, she would have been living in high style.

Spoiler alert. I live in Connecticut, not the alligator backwater of the 1950's deep south. And the negligent biatch who lived in my house before was certainly not a Beverly Hillbilly.

So it came as no surprise to me that while clearing a path for the Wall dog's electric doggie fence I found some more lovely treasure.

Yep. The swing set.

Tromping around in flip flops in the woods is not a good idea. Especially not when you partially impale a flop on a shard of rusted monkey bar. Thankfully the metal only bit the plastic sole, and not my vulnerable flesh. So instead of screaming to the doctor in a tetanus-panic-fear, I stood back and began to yank the offender out of the damp ground. What eventually materialized was a pink and burgundy swing set, complete with requisite slide.

Oddly enough. during my hiatus from blogging, my mind strayed towards the swing set. Once the source of so much joy and adventure, now a forgotten relic exiled beyond my property line. Perhaps someday it will be resurrected, only to be curiously mulled over and quickly reburied.

I don't want the fate of the swing set to befall my blog. If I do nothing, 'Rainey With A Chance of Sunshine' will be relegated to the annals of internet memory, only to be dragged out in tangentially related google searches for....well...for the eternity of mankind. Because that's how the Internet works. Nothing ever dies. See here. Embarrassing? Yes. Makes my point? Also yes.

So here I am. Dragging my somewhat rusty blog out, trying to fill in the gaps and oil the joints to make it functional again. A place where I can continue to play with words, scrape out the crazy from my brain and document it here for all to see and muse over. In a more current and up-to-date fashion.

So as I have too much respect for this blog to let it end up like my high school website, here I am.