31 August, 2010

In which I prove something definitively.

David and I have an ongoing debate that will likely never be resolved. The debate is thus: which of Christopher Nolan's movies is better, the Dark Knight or Inception? I vehemently argue for the former, my brother for the latter.

This might make me some enemies in the online world, but frankly, I do not care. I liked Inception, but I did not find it the mind-blowing experience many other people did. I predicted the ending when I read a review of Inception on Slate--which isn't to say that I'm especially smart, just that the ending was that predictable.

Also, I am getting sick and tired of Leonardo DiCaprio's furrowed brows. He is going to look eighty years old in a few months.

Conversely, the Dark Knight is not only comic book-licious, it has Heath Ledger in the role of a lifetime. Also, Christian Bale in button-down shirts. Some actual surprises. And characters who are actually memorable instead of just "Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a vest" and "the girl from Juno playing a student of architecture."

To indicate how precisely my thumb rests on the pulse of American film, I found this email that I sent to Bob in February when I was sick. I have no memory of this dream or of writing him this email, so I must have been REALLY sick.

"Today I went to sleep and I had this CRAZY dream in which I had CRAZY dreams and worried that I was maybe CRAZY (in the meta-dream). Then I woke up five hours later and Facebook was different and my fever had broken. Maybe I am better now??????"

So basically, I and everybody else already knew Inception existed before it did. Ergo, Dark Knight is better. Now all I have to do is show this to my brother.

Also, this is a cool song about a dream. I have dreams about my future children as well. (I assume that is who they are.)

29 August, 2010

On weddings.

I used to dread my own wedding. I am not much one for "special days," if that makes any sense, mostly because of the added pressure for everything to be perfect that often leads to everyone freaking out instead of enjoying the special day, which was the purpose of the special day to begin with. I always assumed that weddings cannot be fun--at least not for the bride and groom. They are usually too tired and stressed and stretched to the limit to remember anything, let alone enjoy it.

However, last night I went to my cousin's wedding, and I remembered why special days are actually kind of nice. The bride and groom actually seemed to be enjoying themselves.

She looked beautiful. He was wearing a suit. Everybody in my family was there and dressed up and sitting together. Another cousin read a poem. Another made a drunken toast. We ate hummus and dolma and feta cheese and did a Turkish dance in a circle. Everybody got drunker and drunker and danced more and more stupidly (including me, though I was not drunk) and it was just a big, crazy party.

I know I have been writing a lot about how badass and gorgeous and fantastic my family is, but that is because it is true.

Also, I am TOTALLY playing this song on my wedding slideshow.

23 August, 2010

These are my 10 favorite movies.

Fact: I have been working on this list since March. I was going to add a critical analysis of each movie explaining why it is good but the truth is, I don't have to explain anything to you. These are my ten favorite movies, and that's that.

1. Drop Dead Fred


This child was me. High voice? Check. Vivid imagination that got me into trouble? Check. Issues? Check.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I have pretty much turned into the adult version of Elizabeth as well ... before her cool transformation. I suppose now would be as good a time as any to become hot and confident, though, right? What do you think?

1. Harold and Maude


When I become old, my goal is to be EXACTLY like Maude.

Also, this movie has the best and most subtle comic timing in the history of comic timing.

1. Little Miss Sunshine


I like movies about families.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


I like movies about people falling in love. That are not cheesy.

Also, you know that scene where Jim Carrey tells Kate Winslet that she's not ugly? That scene is my favorite scene in movie history. I tried to find it but alas, I could not. Go watch it.

1. Love Actually


I like movies where people's lives overlap in interesting ways. Especially British people.

1. New York Doll


I like movies that touch on the subject of religion without slipping into cliches.

Fact: this is the best Mormon movie ever made.

1. X-men


OMG I LOVE COMIC BOOKS. And Hugh Jackman. And Patrick Stewart.

1. When Harry Met Sally



I really like movies about friends who fall in love. Unfortunately.

1. Star Trek


I want to marry this movie. I just love Sci-Fi so, so much.

1. Return to Me



On the other hand, though, sometimes I just want to watch a girly movie with babies and romance and nuns and old people.

1. Beauty and the Beast


All nerdy girls love this movie. Belle is OUR Disney princess.

If you disagree with me about these movies, know that I am extremely on edge this week and may scream at you. That is all.

20 August, 2010

A Continuation of 2010 Books


The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Part of my "banned books" series. I am surprised that I had never heard of this book before, considering how famous and controversial it was in the 1970s (it was even made into a reportedly mediocre movie). This was a really great read, but I could also see why some parents would get their panties in a twist over their teenagers reading it. It's got violence, corruption, bullying, masturbation, loss of innocence, all that bad stuff you think your high school-aged children know nothing about, but actually do. The ending is a Cormac McCarthy level of downer. Highly recommended for misanthropic mood days.


Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

So I read The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen not too long ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This was before I learned that every Sarah Dessen book appears to be the same. Read one, and you've read them all. I kept getting distracted throughout this book (which is about a girl's addiction to drugs and her abusive boyfriend ... serious stuff) by deja vu. Upper-middle-class, gorgeous girl who is successful to the point of obsession? Check. Elusive sibling? Check. Dark, dangerous love interest? Overbearing, irritating suburban mom? Masculine, idealized father figure? Quirky, free-spirited best friend? All check. Seriously? Why bother to write another book? You know how annoying it is in movies like Orange County when someone gets touted as a great writer but really he's just fictionalized all the quirky folks in his life and not created anything original? Yeah. That. I think I have a pretty decent handle on Ms. Dessen's life.

The thing that really upset me about Dreamland is that the subject of domestic violence is really important to me and I want there to be lots of believable, empowering literature on the subject for women and teenage girls. But this one fell so short that it mostly just pissed me off. Also, how often do real people actually brush their hair out of their faces? According to Dessen everybody does it like every three seconds.

If I'm way off and her other books are really good and super original, please let me know.



Peter and Wendy (AKA Peter Pan) by J.M. Barrie

To balance out how disappointed I was by the previous book, this book was everything I hoped it would be and more. I deeply identify with confused, motherly Wendy. I was just like that as a little girl. I am still like her, actually. And I love how dark and dangerous and totally-not-for-kids the storyline is. It feels exactly like how I imagined the world as as child--dangerous in a way that no adults truly understood. Read this book.



Escape from "Special" by Miss Lasko-Gross

Speaking of suburban teenagers, this was much more likable than Dreamland. Melissa "Miss" Lasko-Gross wrote this autobiographical graphic novel (isn't it cool how those two words echo each other?) about growing up as a misunderstood kid that everyone perceived as "different." Of course, many of us different kids grow up to be writers. She also chronicles the loss of her faith and her relationship with her parents, who seem pretty cool. If you haven't read a non-fantastical graphic novel before, this would be a great introduction to the genre.



Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer

Yeah, yeah. I decided I wanted to read this after I saw the (hilarious) movie. Mostly because I wanted to see if the kissing-Jacob scene was any good. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Her writing makes me cringe in a way that only Ms. Meyer and Sarah Palin can (stay tuned for me review of Going Rogue ... I am clearly a glutton for punishment).



Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

There are a couple of defining childhood books that I missed out on when I was actually a child. Since I am out of school and planning to be a teacher (of children) I figured now is as good a time as any to catch up on some of those aforementioned books. Also, NPR did an interesting podcast on Laura Ingalls Wilder a while back that piqued my interest.

This book was OK. I am definitely not going to read the nine or so other books in the series. I can see why they would have appealed to me as a kid, reading about the mundane happenings in the life of a happy little girl. She lives in the woods and churns her own butter and loves her parents. Anytime you think anything exciting is going to happen (a bear in the front yard!) nothing ever does. Everybody just ends up safe and snug in their little house eating maple syrup. Again, I can see how that would have been sort of comforting to a young child (I think a second grader could easily plow through one of these books in a week or so) but at this point in my life I don't find it very enthralling.



V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd et al.

This and books like it are probably the reason why I didn't find Little House in the Big Woods very exciting. I am having a moral crisis trying to figure out if I like this book better than Watchmen, which is also a work of staggering genius, and now I think I love them both equally but for different reasons, as if they were my children. V for Vendetta gets into your head a little more, I think. But it's just as fascinating and surprising and character-driven as Watchmen and holy cow, I loved this book. I doubt I will see the movie, though. Especially after Watchmen broke my heart like it did. The fifteen minutes of awesome didn't make up for all that other stuff they did.


Stuart Little by E.B. White

I can't believe I never got around to reading this, especially since Charlotte's Web is one of my favorite books of all time (animals! vegetarians! baby spiders!). It was a nice little read. I liked how they put this very absurd character (an anthropomorphic mouse born to human parents) into this very idealized version of New York City and no one ever reacts like anything weird is going on. It's like Magic Realism for Kiddies. One of my favorite scenes is his failed date with an inexplicably tiny girl. How many of us have ruined a potentially perfect relationship because we were being narrow jerks? You so have, too.

Oddly, I felt like the end of the book was setting it up for a sequel, but there isn't one, is there?


Webslinger: Unauthorized Essays on Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man by Gerry Conway (ed.)

This is proof positive that I am a huge nerd. Particularly the fact that after a while, I wasn't even embarrassed to be seen reading this book in public. Also, because this book is really, really fascinating. It consists of essays written by a bunch of gifted pop culture writers about various topics as they relate to spider-man: psychology, religion, philosophy, various literary themes. It's a veritable feast of comic-book-obsession-hood. If you like that sort of thing, read it.


Matched by Ally Condie

Thank you thank you thank you Kayla for this book! It arrived in the mail only a few days ago and it was one of the most exciting packages I have gotten in a long time. Kayla and I were talking one day about how we like getting mail, and how we both like books, and she was like, "Hey! Why don't I send you a book in the mail! Then you can send a different one back to me! It will be fun!"

It totally is fun. Not only is this an advance copy of a book by an author I have never heard of (she lives in Salt Lake City so she may or may not be Mormon? she makes no mention of it in this book either way) but it was a really fun, pleasurable YA read. I read it in one day while I was doing front desk reception at a really slow office (today, actually). Matched is a dystopian romance along the same lines as The Hunger Games (which I love), but even though the plot is a little tread, Condie is a good enough writer that I was totally engrossed. It's not predictable, either. I was genuinely concerned about the characters and how/if things were going to work out. I'm not positive if Condie is planning on a sequel, but I hope she is. If she is Mormon, the book turns into a very interesting commentary on our ideas of destiny vs. agency. But either way, it's a great book.

18 August, 2010

Tom Waits Wednesday

Don't you EVER forget how awesome this guy is.

17 August, 2010

Ain't Nuthin' But a G Thang (I promise this will be the only pun)

I would like to register a complaint. If you shy away from TMI, stop reading now, and don't say I didn't warn you.


I was about to make a joke about having found out your REAL "secret," but that's a little too punny, and I'm trying to get away from that (see above). So let me just start out by saying that I am really, really, disappointed in you guys. You have broken my heart. Or rather, the upper ventral region of my torso, in general.

For years, I have been a loyal customer. I do believe I have 300-400 dollars worth of VS swag in my top drawers. Expensive bras--many of them bought on sale, but nevertheless at a much higher cost than the cheap cotton slings one can buy for 3-10 dollars at Target or Wal-Mart. I believed in your product. I believed in you. I believed that you had the best interests of us top-heavy gals in mind. That was how I justified spending all that money at your product. I do not currently own any bras from any other stores.

I have, fortunately or unfortunately, been fulsome in the chest since I was about ten. For years, I tried to hide them using an ill-conceived combination of sports bras and big t-shirts, but when I was in college, I discovered that in some circles, having large breasts is considered an asset, one to be shared with the world. My best friend insisted that properly fitting bras can do wonders for one's figure and self-esteem, and because she shopped at Victoria's Secret, so did I.

I have been measured at Victoria's Secret quite a few times, and every time was told I was a D (in my early twenties) or a DD (later on). This I accepted without question. I was given very little information about how a bra is supposed to fit, and so accepted my VS bras without reservation.

Until last weekend. My girlfriends and I were laying about talking about our breasts (as we are wont to do) and Leah suggested we figure out how much our boobs weigh so that we can subtract it from the "weight to feel bad about" equation. I mentioned that, having the smallest breast size, mine would likely weigh the least.

Me: Isn't it weird that my bra size is so much smaller than yours?
Leah: What is it?
Me: DD.
Leah: What? No way.
Me: That's what they've always said at Vicky's.
Leah: Well, yeah. But how far do their sizes go?
Me: Up to a DD ... Oh my gosh.
Leah: (pokes me in the sternum, because that is what friends do) Um, your bra is NOT fitting you properly. That is supposed to be AGAINST your skin.
Me: WHAT?
Bridgette: It's a plot!
Leah: Why don't you try on one of B's bras. She's a G. See if it fits any better.

From my experience trying on my buxom friend's bra, and being fitted at Nordstrom (which carries bras nearly to the end of the alphabet), I discovered that I am not, in fact, a DD, but rather a G. Even the poor sap at Nordstrom, who I think must have been new, had trouble figuring out my size, but Sarah made it happen with her chutzpah and Nordstrom's measuring tape. But it's a sure thing now. I am a G.

aaa/aa/a/b/c/d/DD/e/f/G.

You bastards. I could see stuffing me into a bra ONE size too small, maybe, but THREE SIZES TOO SMALL?

Do I look like the Grinch to you?

I feel so lied to. To add insult to injury, it's not like there's a big market for used bras, even really expensive ones. I hope your water bras flood your headquarters and destroy your entire evil empire.

Also, Bravissimo, I think you have won yourselves a brand new customer.

Hs and Ks,

Elisa


16 August, 2010

Truly Outrageous

Raise your hand if you remember this show:


I don't remember it super well either, frankly. But I do remember that I had a Jem Girls lunch box. I wish I still had it ... it's probably worth money.

As it true with lots of pop music, all of Jem's songs pretty much sound the same.


The other night, my pals and I were hanging out in our pajamas, eating sugary cereal and watching 80s cartoons (you wish you were this cool). While we were watching the first few episodes of this fabulous show, we started discussing the incredible music videos that punctuate each episode. Sometimes two or three per half hour!

Bob: You realize that someone actually sat down and WROTE these songs?
Me: I can do that.
Bob: Could you?
Me: Give me a topic and I will write a pop song right now.
Bob: Before the end of this episode? [note: the episode was nearly over]
Me: Sure.
Bob: OK ... um ... the Burmese conflict!

I finished it while the credits were rolling. Thelma, I dedicate this pop song to you.

The Burmese Conflict

Once we lived in peace and harmony
in our homes and with our families
But then it became hard to be Burmese

Chorus:
Yeah, it's hard to be Burmese
out in the cold, we sob and sneeze.
Western world, we're on our knees
please bring justice to the Burmese

Once the Karens and Buddhists sat down to tea
united in our love of democracy
But then the violence of the BSPP
led to political hostility
Help our people to be free!

Chorus:
Yeah, it's hard to be Burmese
out in the cold, we sob and sneeze.
Western world, we're on our knees
please bring justice to the Burmese

I think I will drop out of school and become independently wealthy as a writer of pop songs. Don't worry, I will use my wealth to take down oppressive political regimes.

15 August, 2010

Fam Damily.

Do you like MC Frontalot? I do. I especially like this song. It amuses me that I am sharing it here.


Great, yes? Nerdcore fills my soul.

So there are various genres of bad blogs, if you will, but one of my least favorites is the "album"-style blog, which consists exclusively of photos from personally significant events (usually vacations or some such) with minimal commentary, and no word-based posts to break the monotony of facefacefacebuildingbuildingSILLYfaceOMGSOBORING. Some people should just start a Flickr account, know what I'm saying?

If you think I am talking about you, I am not.

Anyway, I went on vacation last week and I regret to inform you that I am going to post some pictures now. Don't worry, though, I will also post some stories to keep things interesting.

The stories and the picture are not going to match most of the time. What, you think I need to post a photo of me white-water rafting if I am already GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT IN VIVID DETAIL WITH MY WORDS? I don't have to prove anything to you through photographic evidence. I'm not a freakin' journalist.

Ahem. Last week we had a family reunion at the Skalitude Retreat in Methow Valley, WA. It's in Carlton if you know where that is. You don't? Well, Carlton is kinda near Winthrop? Still no? Well, it's like three hours northeast-ish of Seattle. It has trees, but rattlesnakes, so it's like this weird mix of Western Washington and Eastern Washington. The retreat center had cabins with showers and electricity, but solar power and composting toilets, so it was also this weird mix of living large like swanky vacationers and being green. It used to be a commune. Also, lots of us slept in tents, so it was kind of like camping.

I should preface this by saying that my extended family is quite close, and we actually enjoy spending time together, and so a family reunion for us is something to be looked forward to rather than dreaded. I have anecdotal evidence that this is somewhat unusual.

We were there from Saturday to Friday. It was very pleasant.

David and I drove there all by ourselves like big kids.

David is driving here.

We brought Sego along with us, too. Here is a photo series about Sego's attitude on long car trips.

I get to go on a car ride? I promise to be very very good.

Seriously, we're not there yet?

We're never going to get there, are we? Not ever ever.

Luckily, Sego can't talk, so he can't complain. This is a rare instance where Kids = 0, Dogs = +1.

Volleyball

One of the main pastimes of Koler Family Reunions is the playing of volleyball. Nobody in my family is all that good at volleyball, and yet because we are as a general rule pretty competitive people, most of the volleyball tournament players are out for blood. Even myself, even though I suck at volleyball (having two eyes would up my advantages some). I like winning, and I would say the team I played on won about 50% of the time, which isn't bad. My trash talk, however, was awesome 100% of the time.

We played boys versus girls, shirts (or bras) versus skins, and random selection games. I got noticeably better at setting after an errant hit knocked over someone's beer and pandemonium ensued. Many of my family members gave me some HOT TIPS and explained some of the rules that I had never really understood, so overall the daily volleyball playing was a success. Also, there were millions of flies that landed on our bare skin and made us feel like barnyard animals while we played. They didn't bite, they were just annoying.

Fact: I am good at serving.

Here are some photos of the meadow where we played volleyball and where I walked Sego on a regular basis until I heard a rattlesnake one day and got a little paranoid about him being bitten. He basically had the best vacation ever. No leashes, three other dogs to play with, and lots of attention from kids and adults alike.


Remember that one week in August when I lived on a commune with my family and went for a walk every day in a gorgeous meadow? Yeah, me too. Also, I have since cleaned my camera lens.

Rafting and Trauma

I had never been white water rafting before, but David and my dad had been a few times (boy scouts). Two of my cousins are actually licensed river guides, so we got to go rafting for cheap and I got to be yelled at for my bad paddling form by a relative instead of a stranger. Paddling a raft is really counter-intuitive, I feel. Maybe I have just spent too much time in a canoe. I think I need to go a few more times before paddling will make sense to me kinesthetically.

Despite my lack of paddling prowess, rafting was extremely fun until the last fifteen minutes of the trip. Until then we were all enjoying the sun on our skin and watching the kids pull the adults into the water and float around in their life jackets. Then suddenly we approached some rapids that we weren't expecting and all but seven of us were out of the boats. There wasn't any time to reach the people who were in the water, so they had to just float through. Watching my eleven year-old cousin's head go underwater in a rapid two or three times scared the SHIT out of me. Luckily he was fine except for some bruises. He was actually the least panicked of all of us.

A couple of the adults who weren't as buoyant as the kids got banged up a little more. My uncle who is a doctor got the worst of it. I don't think he'll be going white water rafting again anytime soon.

Aside from the fifteen minutes of sheer terror and thinking that my uncle was dead when we pulled him into the boat and he had his eyes closed, it was a successful trip? Is it sick that I really do want to go again?

This is not the river we went rafting in, but it is a river.

We Have Angered the River Gods

So after that kinda scary day of rafting, we thought we would recover the next day by doing something quiet and relaxing in the river. Apparently, the river sprites do not like my family.

We planned to drive a couple miles up the river, park our cars, and then float down the river in rafts and inner tubes until we reached the swimming hole where the little kids and less adventurous adults would be hanging out. The only problem is, we couldn't find a place alongside the river to park, so we ended up driving a little further than we planned.

My cousin from Sweden and I were in a raft together, and while we floated along we had a great chat about pretty much everything you can think of. We had a pretty nice raft so we ended up getting ahead of everyone else (who were in inner tubes and a sucky raft, respectively). At one point, we realized that we had been in the water much longer than the two hours that we had planned, and my aunt mentioned that she and I ought to paddle ahead and send someone with a car to pick everyone else up.

Pretty soon she and I were floating in the raft alone, with no end in sight, with no food or water or other people. I don't remember what else happened because we were both delirious with the heat.

Eventually we arrived at our destination after over four hours. We were both really sick, but luckily another cousin gave us the clothes off his back (literally) and someone else brought us hummus and beer (because beer will hydrate you! wait ... ).

I do not think I will do another activity involving boating in rivers for a few months.

Aftermath

If you know me, you know that I hardly ever complain of being hot. I am almost always cold. So when I woke up at midnight the night after River Fiasco the Second because I was too hot to sleep, I knew something was really wrong. I went to the kitchen and drank a glass of tonic water, a glass of juice and ate slice of watermelon. My cousin who is an EMT came in, felt my forehead and determined that I pretty much needed to poison myself with water to make my fever go away.

We went outside and watched the meteor shower and drank insane amounts of water and talked. He pulled out a joint after a couple of hours, which made the conversation even more entertaining. At about four in the morning, we determined that my fever was gone and I could go back to sleep.

I love that there are so many people who take care of me.

That pretty much sums it all up.

05 August, 2010

An Inventory.

Tonight I did an inventory of my life. I do this when I start to feel bored or annoyed with my goals and accomplishments, which honestly, isn't super often. I don't share the whole list with anyone because it's too personal and even (especially?) those of you who love me the most would judge me for it. But, allow me to present a numerical break-down.

Years I have lived: 25
Years I will live according to this website: 105 (Word of Wisdom, biatches!)
Years I have left: 80



Goals I have:

Total: 82
Accomplished: 12



Goals that require me to be married or close to it: 5
Goals that require me to have children: 2
Goals that I can do whenever the hell I want: 63

So you know, there's that.

If I start talking a lot about Scrabble tournaments and hot air balloon rides and travelling to the East China Sea,* you'll now know where it's coming from.

*These are all actual life goals.

03 August, 2010

Poll Results.

The poll is closed, and the results are in. I am disappointed that so many of you dishonest doofuses claimed to be my mother. I only have one. Sheesh.

In accordance with the people, the picture stays the same. This will save me time and effort, so thanks.


xoxoxxoxox
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Darth Vader Quotes

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