Monday, March 12, 2018

My Favorite Genres for your Goodreads Book Challenge

Every January I take up the Goodreads Book Challenge to read a certain number of books that year. Last year I crossed the finish line mid-way through December.  I attribute my procrastinate behavior and lack of urgency to knowing that literally nothing (except perhaps defining myself as a good-for-nothing blank page) would befall me should I fall short of my goal. The remaining two weeks of 2017, I earmarked for exploring the benefits of a completely sedentary existence. Pajamas all day every day while my mother doted on me with home cooked meals and effusive praise for my generosity and ability to outperform my sister at every turn. In a moment of quiet self-reflection, she would admit to me that I am her favorite child. Sadly, my mother didn't have the chance to share her truth. I was forced to trade relaxation for deterioration as my body fought valiantly against the severe cold, graciously donated by my father.

Once my mobility and overall desire to live were restored, I set my new Goodreads goal of 50 books for 2018.  So far I've read twenty nine books. Twenty ahead of schedule. Normally my diligence would warrant applause but quick math affirms that these numbers are the rightful cause of my dwindling social prowess. Rest assured, not all twenty nine books are substantive. My completed list contains the occasional foray into the romance sub-genre called "Mommy Porn." A genre comprised of the same story told in every sexual position known to man and animal with each version a different take on the oozing sex appeal of toxic masculinity. Just as porn grossly distorts the act of sexual congress for young men, mommy porn distorts healthy relationships for young women. Still read them though. Why? Probably because emotions are a hard pass for me and I much prefer to read one-note romances that reinforce my life decision to avoid intimacy. Plus, they're filler reads.

Besides books that count towards my PHD in descriptive words for "orgasm", I delve into true crimes and historical non-fiction. My love for true crime is a consequence of my first childhood crush, Encyclopedia Brown. He solved neighborhood crime with a panache that blew my heart up. Had Encyclopedia existed, I would have followed him Felicity styles to college and become a bona fide badass in ill-fitting pantsuits dodging bullets and nailing murderers on Forensic Files. To cope with his non-existence, I stay at home on Friday nights discontinuing friendships while devouring stories of creepy dudes that I find oddly attractive. If you look at Pablo Escobar objectively, he is quite handsome. Something about putting together puzzle pieces that slowly identify the big picture is quite satisfying. Murderers can be extremely sharp but they always mess up somehow. Discovering their slip-ups reassures me that most don't get away with it.  Mrs. Scarlett in the billiard room with the knife!

More After the Jump!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Oscars So Worthless?

Does anyone really care about the Oscars anymore? Clearly not, as the 90th Academy Awards were the lowest rated in its history. I'm not surprised. Perhaps it's because the Oscars is just the last of about 100 self-congratulatory award shows with the singular purpose of reminding audiences of how brave thespians are to act like normal people. It's an extraordinary gift, I tell you, one that is so vastly underrated it needs to be applauded and acknowledged over and over again to drive the point home. Real life teachers, soldiers, doctors and activists are great and kudos to them but pretending to be one in front of the camera? That takes guts.

In an era of #MeToo and "Times Up" this year's Oscars felt more tone deaf and self-serving than usual. Do viewers want to hear lectures about inclusion and gender equality from an industry that continuously fails to practice what it preaches? And when it does attempt to right its wrongs, albeit sporadically, fails to show an ounce of humility, preferring to boast of its progressiveness by calling the first step a revolution as opposed to what it really is, a planted seed that has no guarantee of baring fruit. Black Panther and Get Out are still the exception, not the rule, but you wouldn't know it by copious amounts of pats on the back the room gave itself.

This lack of awareness was also readily apparent when Kobe Bryant walked towards the stage to accept his Oscar in the midst of a standing ovation.  How quickly Hollywood forgot he was accused of raping a 19 year old in Colorado years ago. The audience greedily applauded his dig at the insults thrown at LeBron James while willfully dismissing the serious accusation he never accounted for. Hollywood also seemingly dismissed the allegations of abuse made by Gary Oldman's ex-wife. You know, the one where she accused him of beating her with a phone as she tried to call 911 in front of their kids.

At one point the ceremony honored the men and women who served our country by showing clips of military films. The montage was introduced by a Native American Veteran who proudly stated he served in Vietnam before asking the audience, "did you?"I would like to think he was actually only asking one person, Jane Fonda, aka Hanoi Jane, who visited the Viet Cong during the war to protest the military's treatment of Vietnamese citizens. To many veterans her actions were an act of treason. If you caught Ken Burns' 10 part documentary series on The Vietnam War, it would be hard to argue that it wasn't. And yet, when Jane Fonda walked out on stage later during the show, she received a standing ovation. One could argue that this is a customary greeting for living legends. Sure, but on the heels of an American Vietnam Veteran who fought and lost brothers to the very men Jane supported it seemed disrespectful, or at a minimum off-putting.

Hollywood has always survived on smoke and mirrors, directing audiences to what they wanted you to see and believe. When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, those mirrors were shattered and all that was left was the truth. A truth that exposed the systematic hypocrisy of the industry. To ignore this reality, as Hollywood has done with every award show this season, is to stubbornly hold steadfast to the belief that audiences are willing to disregard what's right in front of them in exchange for the privilege of seeing celebrities bathed in glamour and glitz. What used to be an escape from our tedious life now feels frivolous and unnecessary in the face of serious issues plaguing our country. Hollywood no longer holds much currency with Americans, but instead of owning up to its deficiencies and admitting they're just as fucked up as the rest of us, the industry doubles down with equal parts sequence and condescension. This inability to accept accountability and "read the room" as they say will further erode the relationship between the viewer and the artist making award shows like the Oscars something to skip entirely.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

A Note

My Christmas gift from my parents two years ago was a writing class. I took one a couple of years ago at UCLA and enjoyed it immensely. I gained skills that would have been incredibly useful had I actually used them on something. Anything, really. Even a FB status update. But alas, lack of motivation and what I would argue was an incorrect dosage of my anti-depressant compelled me to set aside my writing learned-ness for a the more useful skill of figuring out how to share my sparkly-eyed, face-tuned Snapchat image on Instagram. That activity right there practically took me a year to master. Now, two years later I'm finally cashing in on my parents' thoughtful gift. By thoughtful, I mean listed in order of rank on a curated Christmas list I send out to my family every year. Honey, take your shade elsewhere 'cause my list is highly anticipated by my family for its humor and genius.

I start my writing class at the end of March and am truly excited. I figured in the weeks leading up to it, I should take down the cobwebs inundating my blog and practice by writing a couple of words here and there. While practice makes perfect, that's not my goal here. Besides, perfect can only be applied to Timotheé Chalamet's (pronounced Tim-o-tee Shall-amay) performance in Call Me By Your Name. And you know I ain't playing friends if I'm rooting for him to win the Oscar over my #1 man of all time, Gary Oldman, playing my bae Winston Churchill. No guys, the goal here is to bust out the old "voice" again and perhaps entertain the two people and 15 Russian bots who visit this blog sporadically. Please note that I do not vouch for my rudimentary understanding of grammar nor my ability to be cohesive. You've been warned.

So check back in from time to time this month for new content that I'm sure you could live your whole life without knowing exists. Could even possibly make you angry for wasting precious minutes of your day that you will never get back.

till then,


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