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.