Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fight over.

I defer to the awesomeness that is part 10 of Matthew Gray Gubler: The Unauthorized Biography, which was actually a really really cool surprise, OK, I was just kidding earlier. Watch the opening montage and check his dance moves and you'll see why we're still together. The rest, of course, is just the price of long-distance sort-of-but-not-really dating a star. I'm sure he feels the same way about me.

So, OK, I might still consider becoming the Gubestress. He should know, though, that he's got some competition:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Why I'm Mad at Matthew Gray Gubler

Alright, so a few days ago I posted about my torrid on-again off-again relationship with Matthew Gray Gubler, also known as Dr. Spencer Reid from the hit TV show Criminal Minds. Well, shortly after I made that post, Gubler began hinting, via Twitter, that a "humongous surprise" was coming to placate grief-stricken fans of the show (predictably, I was not mentioned by name). Here, I'll quote them:

First, on Thanksgiving, of all days:
Perhaps a humongous surprise coming today.

This so-called surprise was subsequently delayed until Black Friday, when he said:
Ahhhhhhhhh meltdown! Super secret suprise delayed until Monday. Sorry
Until finally, one hour later:
Fistfight with technology. What I am trying to accomplish won't be physically possible until 2010 I am told. Sorry, surprise cancelled
So yeah. First the Gube refuses to call me on one of our most important national holidays. Then he promises a surprise and takes it away!

I don't know, you guys, this might be the end for us. I never thought it would be this way. I always imagined that he would be the Gubler, and I would be his Gublette. Or that he would become the Gubester, and I would be his Gubestress. But lately that dream is starting to crumble. I may even have to rethink my dual citizenship with Gublerland. I'll keep you posted, as always.

At least Andy Swan, Matthew's nemesis, has posted part 10 in his masterful (if spite-filled) Matthew Gray Gubler: The Unauthorized Documentary. And lucky for you lot, I am just angry enough to link to it:
Click here to watch! Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Matthew Gray Gubler is my boyfriend. And Thomas Gibson is my INSPIRATION.

Feel free to spread both of those rumors.

So, OK, yes, I know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. But the thing is, my family already celebrated Thanksgiving like two weeks ago, so I don't really care what "mainstream America" is doing tomorrow (though I am grateful for the day off work, even though I feel kind of ironic saying that since I genuinely believed I was fired until Monday afternoon and it was a sad time for me). So instead of writing some "things I'm grateful for" post, I'm just going to talk about TV and stuff. It's more true to my character, anyway.

So as of the last few months, I am completely obsessed with this show Criminal Minds. Tonight was the 100th episode. I cried and cried and cried. I would still be extraordinarily depressed had I not discovered the following two things:

1) Matthew Gray Gubler's Twitter feed

2) Gublerland

Gublerland, in particular, is pretty freaking cool. I'm even considering immigrating, though I can't decide if I want to choose a passport picture (and if so, if I want to be Benjimum, B-day Face, Zippy from France, or Doogan Gooseberry) or just draw my own. Though obviously we all know that I will decide to draw my own, and then my passport will be flagged going through customs due to excessive awesome (didn't think you could get barred from a country for excessive awesome? Well, of course YOU didn't!) (ZING). Really though, you should check out the movies he's made (especially the music video for The Killers, which I just discovered). They're pretty great.

Other Gube stuff, while we're on the topic (DISCLAIMER: These are on something called "You-Tube," which might be essentially Evil. Click one, and you risk losing several hours of your life before you really know what happened. Plus they are both available on Gublerland anyway.):
Matthew Gray Gubler: The Unauthorized Biography. This is an excellent behind-the-scenes look at the real MGG. Or so I'm told. There are five parts, including one with James Van Der Beek that made Me in 7th Grade pretty happy.
And then The AUTHORIZED Biography. Featuring Anton Yelchin, whom you might know as Chekov that Russian guy, I don't really remember his name, from that Star Trek movie. You know, with the aliens? That one.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that Matthew Gray Gubler is my boyfriend, or that if he isn't, he really really wants to be. I'm having a hard time getting him to commit, though. For example, he won't admit publicly that he's infatuated with me. I keep trying to figure out what the problem is. Maybe he's mad at me because I haven't seen 500 Days of Summer yet (IT IS IN MY NETFLIX CUE, I SWEAR), or maybe he's one of these people who likes to have met you and talked to you and become generally aware of your existence (consciously, I mean, not subliminally in love with me like everybody is) before taking that kind of a step. Psh, whatever.

Maybe if I watch the movie I'll understand. Netflix thinks I will give it a 4.9 (which is impossible since Netflix doesn't let you give partial stars to things, but that's a rant for another day).

Now, though, I have to talk about Thomas Gibson. And yes, I know I've been going on and on already. But you guys, Thomas Gibson is amazing. His work in the show tonight was unsurpassable (or insurmountable, whichever of those is a real word). I am not joking about this. Hotch is easily one of the most compelling, interesting characters on TV right now, and that is all Thomas Gibson. There's a team of people writing him things to say and do every week - trust me, I recognize that - but you don't get that extra layer of magic without a truly magnificent actor in place. What a brilliant episode, too. I don't want to give everything away, but there was a section of near-silence during which I was literally inches from my TV screen. It was incredible.

(Note: there is a very loud movie geek in my head who is bugging me to rewatch The Third Man so I can see one of the original, great cut-the-music-to-build-suspense scenes. I am ignoring that person, for now.)

This show...if you don't watch this show, then you need to be watching this show. It can get straight-up horrifying at times, but that's all a part of the experience. Seriously, great writing, great acting, great direction...tonight's episode was, in a word, triumphant. And deeply, deeply sad. So, you know, great.

(Click to enlarge the photo. Also, Gublerland is officially on that link list over there ---->. You see that, Matthew Gray Gubler? That, right there, is called "publicly acknowledging someone else's existence." You should try is sometime. xoxo, ME.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sitting with Cats

“That’s what people do when tragedy strikes. They come over, and sit.” – Lars and the Real Girl

I’m sitting on my bed with my cat. Her name is Tiger. I named her that when I was five years old, and she was a kitten. She was born here, in the room right underneath the one I’m in now. Sometime today, or possibly tonight or tomorrow, she will die here.

Tiger is lying on her side, more or less the way my brother found her earlier this afternoon, except by now I’ve moved her into the quiet and relative dark of my bedroom. When we found her outside like this I sat with her while my mother wrapped her in a baby blanket. We brought her into the kitchen and laid her on an old couch cushion. When she mewed at me plaintively I took off my sweater/pajama robe and placed it on top of her blanket. After a while the light and noise of the kitchen seemed too much for her, so we retreated to my room. Now we’re sitting on my bed, a space heater trained on her and her two layers of blankets, and we’re waiting.

Every now and then she half wakes up and calls for me. I give her a dropper full of water and stroke her neck until she falls back asleep. She’s getting more peaceful all the time. And in a weird way, so am I.

I’ve had a lot of contact with tragedy this year, much of it oddly remote. 2009 more or less began with a short series of deaths I had to hear about by phone – a suicide, a removed breathing tube, my beloved dog’s sudden heart failure, and so on. When you aren’t near the incident and the world is spinning by so quickly it’s hard for any of it to settle in the way that it needs to. You hear about something, you sit on the floor for a moment, but before you know it you’re back to work or school or social commitments and it’s hard to believe that anything really happened. When you sit and think about it you might notice a dull ache somewhere in your chest, but it abates slower and ever slower until the day you can actually come home and notice the empty place in the kitchen, for example, or the strange absence of a sound you didn’t notice you’d been taking for granted for so very long. That’s when it’s real. That’s when you can hurt in the way that you really need to hurt.

This is the first time I can remember being near the tragedy while it happens. All my life someone or something has been in the way, helping me pretend that the world isn’t changing. Now, instead, I’m sitting in my room, and it’s quiet, and most of the time I’m just watching a dying cat breathe. I’m staying peaceful so that she can be peaceful, because 18 years is more than long enough for a cat and she deserves to go out so softly that she barely notices the transition. And I’m staying right here because no matter how much people like to say that you’re born alone and you die alone, I know that’s frankly not true. You were born with someone there to hold you, and that’s why you’re alive today. I really don’t see why we shouldn’t try to always live – and die – in more or less that same way.

So I’m sitting. And right now, sitting feels right.

Edit: Tiger died peacefully in her sleep at approximately 6:20 PM today. She will be missed, but only in the best of ways.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Four O'Clock

It’s 4:00 in the morning, and I am awake.

Let me clarify: it’s 4:00 in the morning, and I am still awake, sitting on my bed with my back against the wall, the dog who is my bedfellow having decided to commandeer my pillows while I was out of the room getting a past-midnight snack. I know I’m being a Great Big Pushover, letting her stay there while I take the less comfortable position, but at least she’s using the pillows for their intended purpose; namely, sleep.

I, on the other hand, am still awake.

I tried my usual things. I watched reruns of Frasier and Top Chef and Criminal Minds until the light and noise from the television set seemed terribly obnoxious. I soaked in a bubble bath until I was bored. I read some 70 pages of Running with Scissors, which is not a great choice when you’re already feeling a little insane. I also, Facebook informs me, played 20 games of Bejeweled Blitz in 30 minutes. But my spatial reasoning skills are slipping, and at 4:00 in the morning an inability to set the new high score feels like a serious personal failing, so eventually I had to quit playing the game and turn to less intellectual pursuits. Hence the aimless blogging.

I’ve always laughed at people who said things like “4 AM in the morning,” thinking they must not want me to confuse that with the 4 AM that comes in the afternoon. It’s like when people say, “I was thinking in my head,” which always makes me wonder if they normally think in their elbows. But I would like to state for emphasis that it is now past 4 AM. In the morning.

Perhaps I should read something a little more soothing, like that James Herriot book I have lying on my floor somewhere. Or some Kafka. It is almost Halloween, after all, which is a perfect time to reread The Metamorphosis. You should try it. Everyone you know will be reading Edgar Allen Poe (hey, that rhymes!), but Kafka’s got some chilling stuff too. Obviously it’s different – it’s more “your reality has inexplicably changed, so you’d better get used to it because you have no control over anything” and less “there are body parts hidden under the floor and I can still hear the beating of his horrible heart!” – but it is nonetheless appropriate for the season.

I have shifting dreams and unidentifiable needs and a life-size picture of John Kerry. I have slightly wet hair and an implacable cough and a head that’s all full of congestion. My right leg is asleep but the rest of me isn’t and it’s going on 4:33.

I’m having surgery next week so I can breathe properly through my nose and I hope by then to have clear sinuses. For the third time in my life, I’m afraid of the dark.


That’s enough writing for me. Good night, good day, or good morning, depending on how you believe.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update: My Brain Broke

"Julie, why has it been so long since you last wrote something for your blog?" I'm sure you're wondering, all the time, relentlessly, as you compulsively check this site for updates. The greatest joy of your life has been on hold since June (when I posted something incredibly lame that was mostly pictures of designer clothing) and your summer has seemed comparatively dim and hopeless for the loss. You want answers. I understand. Thankfully, the answer is pretty simple: I just haven't been talking to anyone because I'm insane.

OK, not insane exactly. Crazy, maybe. I can't find a concrete definition for the term "nervous breakdown" - it's apparently not a real clinical condition of any kind - so I feel reasonably confident in applying it to myself. But I am now standing in the eye of my particular mental breakdown with a possible end imaginable, so I thought I'd take a moment to say hello. Hello! I've been learning all kinds of interesting things over the past few months. For example, I like having short hair. And The Weakerthans are AMAZING in concert. I've also learned many fascinating things about insomnia, panic attacks, PTSD-style flashbacks, prescription medications, crippling ennui, dog training, and how to cook dynamite pesto/eggplant/goat cheese pizza. I keep a journal sometimes now (no, you can't read it! Sheesh!), made up my own version of "Cat Heaven" for solo piano, tweaked my blog's sidebar (look to your right for evidence), and I have better mascara than I used to have. Then again, I also joined Twitter, so I can't legitimately say it's been a wholly productive time.

Tonight I am at home, mysteriously ill as I have been off-and-on for the past few days. The dogs are here with me, lying calmly on their various blankets. The crazy one is successfully ignoring my father's parakeets. My third or fourth consecutive rerun of NCIS is playing on the TV in the kitchen. I am sitting back in my leopard-print pajamas, enjoying a giant green Otter Pop. I guess this life is not that bad.

Picture above is from the fabulous Garfield Minus Garfield.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Fashion Daydream

Today, I imagined that I was incredibly rich. I was going to some imaginary coastal area to shop and have imaginary cafe latte drinks with my rich friends, and I needed an outfit. So naturally, I went over to Bloomingdale's and picked up this adorable white eyelet dress from Marc by Marc Jacobs:

So cute, right? But since as in most of my dreams I had literally nothing to wear, I naturally had to buy all new jewelry and accessories. As I hurried barefoot out of the store, I stopped by jewelry and picked up a bracelet by Lauren Ralph Lauren and a faux pearl necklace from Majorica.

Brett likes this one.

Dress and jewelry all safely in their "big brown bag", I rushed off to Saks to pick up the most glorious thing on feet, a brand new pair of Jimmy Choos.

And then, I mean, I have to carry my piles of imaginary cash in something, so I grabbed a matching Valentino bag, no big deal.


OK, not really "no big deal", because I love this bag. Like, I just - I need this bag. Sigh...

Since I was headed someplace coastal, I wanted to keep my makeup fresh and light. Maybe something skin-brightening from Smashbox, combined with a nice, peachy-pink glow from Nars. (PS: Do they have a blush called Orgasm Blush? Is there a good reason for that name? Yes, and Yes.) Simple hair - a low, messy ponytail if I imagined it was long. Imagining my own, very short hair, I kept it similarly messy and just shy of stick-straight. I looked fabulous.

And then I woke up. And I was in my real house. With my real bank account. My day was kind of depressing, is what I'm saying.

Note: all those images link back to their respective websites - follow along for more views and price tags and actual shopping ability and such. Go ahead and click so I don't feel badly about borrowing their images.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Commercials I Hate

I know I've got a lot to blog about, considering that over the past three weeks I've graduated from BYU, performed/hung out in New York, moved back to Oregon, and chopped off all my hair - again - this time in the style of the young boy protagonist from White Mane. That is all great blogging material. I understand this. However, I have also spent a lot of time watching TV in the past week or so, which has led to my taking in a lot of really annoying commercials. Quite frankly, something must be said.

Let's talk, for example, about Old Navy's "Supermodelquin" commercials. Firstly and foremostly, there is the fact that Old Navy seems completely confused about how FREAKING CREEPY mannequins are (1987's Mannequin notwithstanding). It's like they've never even heard the Uncanny Valley. Or, you know, considered how they might feel if all the mannequins that they were dressing, undressing, and literally posing and moving every day were to actually come to life and become capable of real thought and real emotions - emotions like hatred, for example, or sadness, or plain, simple bloodlust - but still somehow remain incapable of any kind of real action. These ad execs never gave a thought to the reality of those plastic creatures existing for years and years, their thoughts and feelings bottled up deep within their shiny, nearly-human exteriors where they fester and grow like some awful internal virus until the day comes when they can no longer tolerate the weight of their own awful repression and they finally find a way to exact revenge upon their unfeeling oppressors and puppet masters. So every couple of commercial breaks the poor, doomed executive minds of Old Navy return, telegraphing their own eventual downfall for all to see while we sit before our television sets, unable or unwilling to do anything to help...and this is somehow supposed to make me want to buy clothes?!?

That, and the commercials are generally unfunny, unclever, and annoying.

I have a similar complaint about the MultiGrain Cheerios commercial, except you have to multiply all my complaints by about a thousand because I straight-up HATE this commercial. It actually fills me with rage every time it comes on TV. Apparently this was originally a British commercial that they re-dubbed with American accents before photoshopping in a new box, which is a real shame because this commercial should never have existed in the first place. It's weird and unfunny - in fact, it's downright depressing. Look at the pale, bluish cast to the picture, leaving us with a world devoid of color or life. Then there's the constantly swinging camera, pulling in far too close to show us the grainy texture of our protagonists' sleepless skin, the hopeless look in their dull, lifeless eyes. If this were the "before" half of a commercial for some kind of prescription medication, it would all make sense. As it is, we are left with the grim vision of a couple on the precepice of divorce - or perhaps, given the way it's been inexplicably fast-forwarded in many TV versions, pure insanity. After weeks of late-night fights that have left them both exhausted and emotionally bereft, Steve and Wife come together over a breakfast of MultiGrain Cheerios. As his one last attempt at some kind of olive branch, Steve asks about the breakfast cereal. After all, he reasons, what more innocuous subject could there be than cold cereal? But his attempts at communication, as always in this relationship, fall flat at the feet of his cold, unfeeling, hopelessly insecure spouse. In the last moment, as Steve finally silences himself before she can do it for him, we peer into the hellish abyss left in the wake of this once-happy marriage and say to ourselves, "Hey, at least that cereal's low-calorie." In fact, it is the shining beacon of that oddly-photoshopped box that hovers over this entire situation, the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak wasteland of despair. It is bright, but offers no hope, creating conflict and then abandoning Steve to find his own way out. Notice that Steve doesn't even eat the blasted cereal in the end, his appetite abandoning him like every other source of joy in his life. The oft-referenced "box" remains, then, a distant and oddly malicious house deity; it is a fascinating but capricious specter that may help you manage your weight, but only by shrinking your heart. Yeah, I definitely want to go buy one of those right now.

All that, and it's generally unfunny, unclever, and annoying.

Look people, I know the ad business is hard. I've known my fair share of advertising students. I've watched that TV show with Eric McCormack and the guy who played JD's brother on Scrubs. This is tough stuff. But some commercials just shouldn't be on TV - even if they do make for really, really good blogging material sometimes.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

More NCIS Blogging

I'm going to miss tonight's episode of NCIS because I'll be in the Nelke Theatre on campus, appearing in our first round of BFA Senior Showcase performances. There will be two monologues from me and a whole show full of goodness. It will be fabulous. I will watch NCIS online tomorrow morning. That promises to also be fabulous.

In the meantime I simply must post this video just in case anyone out there has any doubt that ZIVA IS AWESOME. It aired as a part of last week's episode, and I just can't get it out of my head. Be advised that there is a 15 second ad at the beginning because CBS likes things that way. The video itself lasts about 2 minutes.

This show rocks, you guys.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Love and Death Songs

"[The] more he absorbed this principle of love, the easier he found it to renounce life, and the more effectively he destroyed the dreadful barrier that the absence of love sets up between life and death." - Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Guys, I love Anna Karenina. Like, a lot. And we just finished reading it in class. Which means I have almost no one with whom to keep discussing this book that has seized control of some pretty splendid parts of my brain. It's just tumbling around in my head, themes and concepts and ideas rattling against all the other loose objects I keep chucking into my thought processes, and as it does so all my thoughts grow in size until I can do nothing but think them. What I'm trying to say here is that I really like this book, and there's a strong possibility that I will blog about it at some point. Probably soon. Probably multiple times.

In the meantime, I would like to honor Tolstoy's thoughts on the interconnectedness of life, death, love, and faith with a short list of My Favorite Love Songs that Mention Death in Them. I think I will choose five. Here they are, in no applicable order:

Brett Dennen - When I Go
This is a little more of a Death Song that Mentions Love In It, but it's just so lovely that I can't resist it. Add in the upbeat charm of Dennen's singing voice and his catchy picking skills and you've got yourself one Awesome of a song.
Oh the thought of death has yet to make me afraid
'cause I will march right off this world into the next like it's a grand parade
but if you feel lonely just like you want to run and hide
then I'll wrap my wings around you and give you strength and I won't leave your side
and I'll watch over you
you know I'd love to get to heaven

you know I'd love to see the view
but first I think I'll stay and watch over you
Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You Into the Dark
Come on, you all knew I would choose this one.
Love of mine some day you will die
But I'll be close behind
I'll follow you into the dark
If there's no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I'll follow you into the dark

The Mountain Goats - Love Love Love
Bonus points to this song for mentioning Crime and Punishment in another verse. I know it's not so much a "Girl, I love you so good" type of a love song, since it's a bit more of a meditation on love as an abstract concept than a declaration of love set to music, but I still think it counts. I mean, just mentioning the word "love" thrice consecutively as often as John Darnielle does here qualifies it as a Love Song.
And way out in Seattle, young Kurt Cobain
Snuck into the greenhouse, put a bullet in his brain
Snakes in the grass beneath our feet
Rain in the clouds above
Some moments last forever, and some flare out
with love love love
Ben Folds - The Luckiest
I still think this might be the world's most romantic song. I really believe that I could fall in love with anyone who both played and sang me this song. It's just that powerful. Perhaps this particular mention of death only deepens its power and impact:
Next door there's an old man who lived to his nineties
And one day passed away in his sleep
And his wife; she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I'm sorry, I know that's a strange way to tell you that I know we belong
That I know

That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest
Ben Harper - Happy Everafter In Your Eyes
OK, this barely counts as mentioning death but this song is just so soft and lovely and gently romantic that I really can't stay away from it.
Couldn't leave you to go to heaven
I carry you in my smile
For the first time my true reflection I see
Happy everafter in your eyes
David Gray - Please Forgive Me
I got half a mind to scream out loud
I got half a mind to die
So I won't ever have to lose you girl
Won't ever have to say goodbye
And as a matter of fact, yes, I am a little confused about why he thinks dying is the best way to not lose a relationship; then again, maybe I just finished reading a book in which characters repeatedly consider death to be the only way out of their relationships. Whatever his thinking, David Gray's song remains one of those nearly-timeless "slow dance at the prom" songs that will always place warm fuzzies in the pit of my stomach irrespective of whether I believe they should or not. And so I choose to mention it here.

Bonus Song: The Weakerthans - Night Windows
This song is a bonus for two main reasons. First and foremostly, it is one of the more awesome songs circulating in the world today. And secondly, it isn't really clear if the song is actually about death and I'm not quite willing to look it up and see if it is or not. It's also not so overtly about love. Basically, I just like this song, so I'm quoting it. That's about it.
In the stick count for the song with knowing you're gone
Glancing up at where you lived when you lived here
I see you suddenly alive and nearly smiling
Stop and hold my breath and watch the way we used to be
But you're not coming home again, and I won't ever get to say
"Remember how I'm sorry that I miss the way it could be"
"Remember how I'm sorry that I miss the way it could be"

Night windows

So that's 5 1/2 songs about love and death (I'm still not sure that the Ben Harper song quite counts) plus one bonus because The Weakerthans are cool. Tolstoy would be just so proud. I'm sure that I know many more fantastic love-and-death songs - or at least, I assume I do, since I have a deep and abiding love for songs that mix happiness with melancholy. I'm sure they're lying undiscovered somewhere in the vastness of all that music that lives only on my external harddrive (my regular harddrive having been wiped clean in the wake of the Great Computer Crash of 2009) - you know, all the stuff I'm too lazy to dig out. I mean, there's a lot of Ryan Adams and Bright Eyes to sift through there. But I said five, and I've already given you 5 1/2 plus a bonus, so I guess that's enough for today. If you know think of any good ones, just let me know (leave a comment or something!) and I'll try to add them to my illustrious playlist. In the meantime, please read
Anna Karenina, and then contact me so that WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT. Thank you.

Edit: I was going to include a playlist here with all of the songs I mentioned, but too many of them would only play in 30 second incarnations and that annoyed me. And since I've already embedded "When I go" one time in this really really long and rambly blog post, I figured I'd just add "Love Love Love" here - since it is essential listening for all human beings and I'm sure most of you have never heard it - and leave it at that. Still give me suggestions for Love-and-Death songs though, if you have them, because I like those.

Love Love Love - The Mountain Goats

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In Which NCIS Openly Admits that Gibbs is a Cowboy.

So there wasn't a new episode of NCIS this week, which makes me sad. So instead I'm sitting here on a Tuesday night watching one of the reruns on USA (the cable network, not the country) watching one of the old episodes from the first season, back before Ziva and McGee were a regular part of the show. In other words, I'm the most bored that I can be while watching an episode of NCIS. So what is a young Miss Julie to do in order to make the most of this situation? Why, reminisce about the last new episode of NCIS, of course! (Note that I'm likely to give things away, so if you want to watch the episode first, go here, or if that doesn't work just go to and find it there.)

So when I finally got caught up last week and saw the latest episode from this season, happily titled "South by Southwest," my first reaction was the following:


And not just Gibbs either, my friends. There's Gibbs, the grizzled old Sheriff whose name escapes me, and, of course, Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo, who I think came along just so he could make that Blazing Saddles reference later in the episode. Old Sheriff also openly and without irony refers to Tony as a "tenderfoot" at one point. Not only that, but we also have some stunning desert-y scenery (meant to be in the area of Yuma, AZ, no less, home of my sister, her husband, and the adorable little folks they hang out with every day), uranium paintings by a wild West hippie painter woman, and - AND - there's this part where Gibbs stands his ground, under fire, and shoots a helicopter pilot with a shotgun. The helicopter then explodes, though you only get to see that through the satellite feed Ziva and McGee are watching back at base. In other words, this was pretty much THE BEST NCIS EPISODE EVER.

Something you should know about me is that I really like horses, and I really like people who ride horses, and I have this thing where I think real, non-hick cowboys are impossibly cool. My mother grew up moving to different ranches throughout western Montana because her father was a real, chaps-wearing, ride-the-range cowboy. My dad used to catch pigs and "break" horses to make extra money; last Winter he told us the story of the time they hitched a team of horses up to a truck that got stuck in the snow on the old family farm. It's in the blood, folks. So when I see Leroy Jethro Gibbs, whom I was already convinced might actually be the coolest person on the planet, tacking up a western saddle and riding through the Arizona badlands with his usual confident ease? Well, let's just say it warms my heart to a pretty serious degree. And then when he leaps off that horse in one fluid motion, shotgun in hand, and takes aim at some passing murderer in a helicopter? Friends, I am sold. Even the sight of Tony bouncing around awkwardly on horseback made me smile, and not just in a mocking kind of way (one might be tempted to wonder what Tony is doing here in the first place. I can only assume he was chosen because Ziva might spook the horse, and the horse might spook McGee. Plus Tony has the ridiculous cowboy boots and, as I mentioned, the Blazing Saddles jokes).

My rerun is over, so I'll just go ahead and sum up. This episode was AWESOME. Go watch it now.

Bonus reason to like it: you get to see Abby's black lace parasol.

...And then I want to be fabulous enough to use it in public. The end.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

For Presidents'/Valentine's Weekend: Guys Who Are Too Old For Me.

Ah, February 14-16, 2009. A weekend during which we celebrate both Valentine's Day (the day of love) and Presidents' Day (the day of amazing US Presidents - who also happen to be old, dead men). A weekend which always falls on or near my birthday. How shall I celebrate this cornucopia of holiday delights? Why, by putting up a list of older men with whom I would be in love, if only they had been born within ten years or so of my birthday! I have chosen six, more or less at random, to honor with photos. Here they are, a not-all-inclusive list in no particular order, with minimal comment:

Jet Li
Talent? Check. Good looks? Check. Red-hot martial arts moves? Check, check, check.

Peter O'Toole
As seen with Audrey Hepburn in How to Steal a Million. Yes, starring opposite Audrey Hepburn does win you bonus points.

Sendhil Ramamurthy
Ah, my number one reason for watching Heroes. And, OK, maybe he's not too old for me after all. I mean, come on...

Brad Pitt
I know he's an obvious choice. I know it's kind of cliche. I know the fact that I've had a crush on him since I was about 10 is really kind of creepy. I know all this, AND I DON'T CARE.

Robert Redford
Suddenly I begin to ask myself, Do I have a thing for blonds?

Aamir Khan
And just because I'm pretty sure most of you have no idea who he is, I also present to you this video from Dil Chahta Hai (yes, he is the one in the red leather pants) (and yes, I could easily nominate all three of the stars of Dil Chahta Hai for a list such as this) (and yes, the translation in this clip is amazing):

Happy Valentine's/Presidents' Day, everybody. Feel free to leave your equivalent list of Outside-My-Age-Range Loves in the comments.

Very Honorable Mentions who would've been on this list had I not grown so tired of getting the pictures to format correctly: Adam Beach, Denzel Washington (his face is almost perfectly symmetrical!!), Hugh Grant, Antonio Banderas. And that would've taken us to an even 10, so I probably would've stopped there. Except for OH MY GOSH MARK HARMON!!! OK, then I would've been done.

Friday, February 13, 2009

In Which I Find Myself on 820 North.

Every single day, typically twice each day, I walk down 820 N on my way to or from BYU campus. I turn the same corner at the end of Condo Row, walk past the same trees and bushes and parking lots, catch the same faint scent of cooking mystery meat emanating from J-Dawgs. Every day I wait at the same crosswalks, admire the same views of the mountains, debate whether to cross the street here or later on down. It's become so routine over the past two years, this small strip of a small street in my familiar college town, that I usually have to remind myself to think anything of it at all. So it makes sense that if I were to encounter myself anywhere in the world, it would be in this small section of 820 N between Condo Row and the parking lot behind Cougar Copy.

It was a crisp, clear winter afternoon. I was walking home from class, my iPod headphones dutifully tucked into my ears. As I turned the corner by the parking lot, I considered crossing the street and decided against it. I took two steps forward and then I saw her. She was walking along the other side of the street, completely unaware of my presence. She had on my dark, slightly distressed jeans with tennis shoes. Her backpack was dark gray. We wore the same plaid jacket with the faux fir trim on the hood, except that hers was black instead of brown. White headphone cords trailed down from her ears. I looked down at my hand, where my cell phone sat showing the opening letters of a now-forgotten text. I looked across the street, where she was walking along, her phone in front of her, texting away. Presumably following a sudden whim, she made her way across the street and continued eastward, walking right in front of me. I watched my hair, a little longer maybe but the same thick, dark brown hair, textured and razor-cut into a variety of layers, straightened to within an inch of its life.

There I was, walking down 820 N, watching myself walk down 820 N.

Needless to say, I was perturbed. There's a kind of instant crisis of identity that occurs at these moments. Who am I? I suddenly started to wonder. Am I me? Am I she? Are we really independent people, or am I of some type? Just the thought that one could be interchangeable - really interchangeable - with anyone else on the planet is terribly unsettling. Now, she made no attempt to contact me, and I haven't yet noticed Julie Junior trying to take my place in all aspects of my life. She just kept right on walking east, totally unaware of me even as I turned onto Condo Row and walked away from her. But the fact that I saw myself and I never even noticed me didn't really help the situation. I found myself clinging to all my quirks in some kind of desperate bid to maintain my individuality. Yes, she looks like me, I thought, but did she catch the obvious Dostoevsky reference here? Will she go home to her apartment and listen to Ray LaMontagne and The Weakerthans and Joshua Bell and write excessively long blog posts about comic books and 19th Century European Kings?! Will she?! WILL SHE?!?!?

Because, OK, here's the thing: she might. I mean, she really might. She might be in her room right now, listening to The Eels and writing about that one time when she saw herself walking down the street and she pretending she was texting so that the (supposedly) evil her wouldn't look up and make eye contact (because that's where Golyadkin's trouble started, after all). But really, if there is another me out there - or even multiple Me's, judging by the number of times new acquaintances have told me that I am JUST LIKE a friend of theirs from back home, I mean I talk like them look like them I'm just like them!!! - is that such a bad thing? Because seriously, that happens a lot. And I had a Back Twin in high school, who looked exactly like me when she was walking away (so much so that my friends used to call out to her when they saw her in the halls), but looked nothing like me from the front. What I mean to say is, we cherish this idea of being uniquely and obviously ourselves and no one else. You are you, standing in complete contrast to all other people. You know - unique, just like everybody else. But...what if you're not? What if you're just a Storm Trooper, or a Red Shirt, or a clone, or Golyadkin Junior? Does that make you any less of a person?

Now, there are Hindus who will tell you that any concept of individuality you retain is, in fact, a lie that you tell yourself. You are just a drop in the ocean, and soon you will fall and be the ocean again. Then there are Buddhists who'll say that you only have meaning insofar as you relate to others. So maybe it's good enough for there to be one Julie for every large circle of friends, as I have sometimes posited, just so that everybody gets to have a Julie relationship somewhere in their lives. Maybe all of existence is an illusion, and life is just one long moot point (to say nothing for this blog post). But it is funny, isn't it, how you can spend your whole life trying to blend in, only to respond with horror to the idea that you might be just exactly like any other random girl walking along some insignificant street in Provo, texting her friends and wondering what's for dinner later. Suddenly you realize that you didn't want to be just like everybody else at all; you want to be the first, the best, the only. And yet here you are, and you are just one of many.

Does this really have to be such a problem? Must we continually define ourselves in opposition to all other things? I mean, for one thing my experiences are always going to be my own, regardless of how eerily similar they are to someone else's. This girl might've been raised on a five-acre farm between three small towns in northwestern Oregon, but it wouldn't be my five-acre farm. She might have five siblings, but they aren't my siblings. And even if we have all the same thoughts and opinions and perspectives, even if every interest and every hobby and every item in our respective closets are exactly the same, we are two people in two seperate bodies leading two separate lives. So what does it matter? Who cares if the world needs more of me to go around? It's rather flattering, actually.

Besides, I've seen Sliding Doors. No matter which version of me ends up being the real one, I get the cute Scottish guy in the end. What was I worrying about again?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Important Facts about David Zobell

As everyone knows, I am an important blogger who blogs about important things. Therefore, it is only appropriate that I should take a moment to write a blog about a very important person. In addition to this very obvious obligation, I write this blog for 2 reasons:
  1. He told me to.
  2. I (sometimes) like to do things that cool people tell me to do.
So turn up the Sondheim, turn down the lights, and everybody let's learn about...


David Zobell is a theatre student at BYU, where I go to school. He is a phenomenal director who assistant directed the production of Dancing at Lughnasa that I was in last semester. I have it on good authority that all members of that cast came out of the experience with a boundless, highly irrational attachment to our intrepid young artiste. I personally find him to be one of the most huggable people of my acquaintance. He will tell you that he does not like to be touched, but I'm pretty sure he's lying. But did you know that David Zobell does more than just direct shows and receive my hugs? It's true! I've done research.

A few things David Zobell does exceptionally well:

  • He blogs.
  • He sings with the BYU Men's Chorus.
  • He quotes Stephen Sondheim songs frequently and with ease.
  • He watches movies by himself. As a fellow solo movie watcher, I find this habit to be associated with greatness.
  • He chooses awesome movies. Why, just the other night we watched Gremlins with some of our friends from our Children's Media class. It was immensely edifying.
  • He gives people things. Memories, pictures on Facebook, things to think about, great artistic works, monologues from Gremlins...
This is not an all-inclusive list of course. He is a highly accomplished person capable of doing a wide variety of things with panache, aplomb, and a more than adequate dose of creativity.

But wait - there's more to know about David Zobell! First of all, his name is really fun to say all together. Just try it: DavidZobell. Go ahead, say it out loud. No one will judge you. Davidzobell. A wonderful combination of sounds. Have you noticed that it's made up of all voiced consonants? Glorious.

Some other important facts about David Zobell:
  • We were in the same Freshman Ward, but we never got to know each other.
  • He's from Las Vegas, but I don't think he knows any showgirls. And I'm pretty sure he's never met a magical white tiger either. Apparently there are other types of people who live there - who knew?
  • His birthday is only one day before mine!
  • He's a Theatre 101 TA, which means he actually has to teach stuff.
  • He likes Seattle.
  • He gives people really great blogging ideas.
Wow. I could really go on about David Zobell all day long. But I hope that the few important facts I've left here will give you all some insight into this wonderful person. And if you've never met him, or you never appreciated him until this moment, then now is the time to forsake your old ways and embrace the wonder that is Zobell (not literally though; for some reason he only likes receiving awesome hugs from people he actually knows. Weird, but forgivable, I suppose). I promise you won't regret it.