Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Weekend

So, the movie "Bottle Shock" is amusing. And makes me want to learn more about wine.

Also, I learned today (after 4 years in this town) that small towns' limited resources for nights out FILL UP QUICKLY on weekends. Especially in college towns.

And last but not least, I refused to conform today. Was it a significant resistance? Not really. Was it worthy of my efforts? I should like to think so! I resisted changing my facebook profile picture to that of a shark simply because someone deemed this week shark week and said that I could not partake in said shark week unless I changed my picture. I did not change my picture. A small victory, but a victory none the less. Cherish the small things.

Aha, and ONE more thing! I survived sitting through "Dear John" in its entirety! I was fading fast for a little while, but I endured. It has come to my attention that Nicholas Sparks is the Thomas Kinkade of literature. Just a little gem of wisdom for ya.

A happy weekend to all, and to all a good night!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday

Friday has arrived. That blessed moment when I'm finished with my last class of the day and the weekend is before me. Yet, I'm still stuck in the thickest parts of the week.

They're dead and gone, done, in the past, yet still lingering. In a bad way. How do you shake that stuff? And by stuff I mean how do you convince yourself that worrying doesn't accomplish anything and that what's in the past can't be changed.

Well, you may believe both of those things, but that doesn't make them any easier to put into practice. It's sort of like seeing the reasoning in your parents wanting you to wait til after dinner to eat your dessert but not really wanting to. Or something like that.

Moving forward from past hurts is never an easy thing to do. It hurt. If something was powerful enough to hurt you, it makes sense that it's hard to shake. It could be something as deep as emotional scarring that will be with you for the rest of your life or something as simple as a bad test score. But the point being, they effect you in a negative way. And for some reason the negative is always easier to remember.

So here I am: Friday. I want to enjoy the weekend. I want to shake the burdens what weighed me down throughout the week and look forward. Again, easier said than done, right? For some situations, it's a time thing. Pain needs to heal. For a scrape, a band-aid and kiss from Mom should do the trick by this time tomorrow. For a bad test grade, just convince yourself you'll do better next time or plead with the professor. For other situations, it's a life-long process that's never fully realized until new life begins.

Either way, I'm right here right now, and somehow I have to reconcile that. The more joy I can find the better the ride's going to be. And easier. I don't want to get into a mindset of simply enduring this life til I get to the next, or making it all about what's going to make me happy, either. Though, you may be surprised by what does truly make you happy. More often than not it involves other people:).

God put me here for a reason. If I view my existence as something to survive til I get to move on it seems like I'm missing something.

So, today is Friday. Today my joy is going to be going out with wonderful roommates and celebrating the fact that we were born (literally, it's a combined birthday outing). That, at least for tonight, will overshadow the burdens from the week and remind me of a few of the countless reasons I have to be happy:)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Film Review: "Up in the Air"

When asked for an opinion on air travel, the average person might respond somewhere between flaming disdain, placid enjoyment or subdued indifference. The long hours, cramped spaces and miniscule food selection generally seem to turn people off and rarely generate any sort of excitement.

Not Ryan Bingham. On the contrary, Bingham feels more at home in the air than in any one place he’s ever called home. He prefers hotel rooms to home, frequent flier miles to friend, and practically “doesn’t exist” to his family, in the words of his own sister.

Bingham works for a company that sends him all over the country doing the dirty work of bosses that don’t want to do their own firing, or, letting go, as the rehearsed line goes. He “makes limbo more bearable,” he tells a coworker.

Bingham insists that his job is to help people transition; he’s supposed to be their shoulder to cry on once the deed is done. This, he insists, is the benefit of firing in person. Dignity. Funny thing is Bingham never sticks around long enough to be of that much use to his clients or to anyone else

The idea of internet firing, a more efficient and cost-effective method, is proposed by an ambitious young college grad, Natalie, who presents a driven if not na├»ve and slightly cold approach to taking away peoples’ livelihoods.

This new approach not only threatens Bingham’s entire way of life but earns Natalie a round-country trip with Bingham to witness his work and life philosophy. Both have their agendas resisted and eyes opened in the most unlikely ways, including from a fiery blonde business woman named Alex whose philosophy may actually be worse than Bingham’s.

Writer/director Jason Reitman has created an understatedly realistic portrayal of relationships between three incredibly genuine (if not always honest) characters, making this film easy not only to enjoy but to get lost in. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in one of these people, or somewhere between all three.

The humorous and often painfully ironic screenplay teamed with the marvelous performances of the three lead actors are the key to its success. The scenes alter between hilarious, touching and heart-wrenching, all strung together with the stories of how these people affect each other.

George Clooney’s embodiment of Bingham was a refreshing contrast to his superstar roles. The honesty and vulnerability of his performance invites a likability that encourages us to bear with him.

Anna Kendrick is electric as the bright-eyed ambitious youngster Natalie with agonizing ups and downs. She provides wonderful contrast to Clooney’s character and both are perfect vehicles for forcing the other to see things differently.

Not until Bingham witnesses Natalie’s sorrowfully sympathetic reactions to face-to-face firing does he really start caring about making people feel better, Natalie included. Not until Natalie has to live in Bingham’s world does she realize that maybe there is some dignity in the face-to-face. Bingham’s family visit for his sister’s wedding is especially touching and telling in his transformation.

Vera Farmiga is perfect as the on-and-off again mirror image of Bingham’s playboy lifestyle and unintentional source of his soul-searching. Her staccato presence is both sharp and fast-paced, keeping Bingham and the audience on their toes, creating colorful intervals throughout the film.

This film weaves these people, among others, together to show the importance of connections. Your life is not your own. No man is an island. Not only are you affected by other people, but you affect them too, in ways you’d never imagine.

When asked about my opinion of flying, I’ll usually say I love it as long as I don’t have to do it alone. While a good chunk of that reasoning is because my paranoia of missing a connecting flight will be eased if I have someone to help me, it also comes from the enrichment of other peoples’ company. Airplane company, granted, can be a major headache, but at least it’s interesting. An affirmation I felt walking out of the theatre is that people are worth the risk.