Things I Love: June 2011

I spent much of June actively trying to consume as many movies and books as I could, so this post is going to be insufferably long. Or awesome.

It's been good though, hasn't it, June? All of it. Everything we did. You were brilliant, because you brought me...

  • rereading Coraline and seeing that Neil Gaiman is brilliant at children
  • Bella

  • Never Say Never and Justin Bieber, who is just SUCH. A GOOD. KID. I maintain that you can't watch this movie and actively dislike Justin Bieber.

And I swear in that moment we were infinite I wanted to pick up Justin Bieber and spin him around and give him a bear hug and read him a bedtime story and embarrass him by taking lots of pictures of him and his date before prom. (...Evidently, I'll perv all over Taylor Lautner when the age difference is 17-to-19, but the Biebz clocks out at 17-to-20, which elicits some kind of insane maternal response that makes me want to clutch him to my bosom and run through multiplication flash cards with him and feed him milk and crustless sandwiches made from cookie cutters in the shape of vehicles and celestial bodies.)

  • writing in a Moleskine
  • scrunchies
  • baby bok choy
  • tripe
  • going home to pick out some of my old children's and YA books
I can vouch for every single one of these being fantastic books, except for that one paperback that's hidden in shadow that I fetched for my cousin to read, and Les Mis, which I haven't read.

TOP TO BOTTOM: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry; The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden; 2095 by Jon Scieszka; Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe; The Not-So-Jolly Roger by Jon Scieszka; The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy by Jon Scieszka, Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh; From the Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L Konigsburg; some unimportant book hidden in shadow; The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; The Magic School Bus inside the Human Body; The Magic School Bus: at the Waterworks; Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

  • The Phantom Tollbooth SO HARD, because only upon rereading it did I realize how much Norton Juster's wordplay has influenced my writing, and for Milo, Alec, and King Azaz. (My seven(?)-year-old opinion still stands: Dictionopolis over Digitopolis any day!) You can have Lolita and Everything Is Illuminated! Forget anything I ever said about them because this is hands-down my favorite book Of All Time, even if that makes me seem like an emotionally stunted, culturally bankrupt, overgrown child.

"Culturally bankrupt" is such a wonderful phrase. I stole it from Jessie.

  • stewed ox-tail with carrots and potatoes
  • Spenser and his family

  • Doctor Who, which I'll be pining for until it returns in September
  • black sesame ice cream
  • sweet baguettes
  • chocolate-covered ginger
  • Indian food (samosas from heaven! vegetable korma! dosa!)
  • sweating
  • scoring 5030 on Word Bubbles

  • lemonade
  • food preparation with my grandma
  • The Little Prince (as translated by Katherine Woods) because of the little prince, the narrator, the fox, and the rose
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near —

"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."

"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you..."

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.

"Yes, that is so," said the fox.

"Then it has done you no good at all!"

"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields."
"You — only you — will have stars that can laugh!"

  • airports
  • The Cricket in Times Square (I LOVE ANTHROPOMORPHIZED ANIMAL BOOKS! Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH! Bunnicula! The Grand Escape! The entire Redwall series (especially Mossflower, Martin the Warrior, The Pearls of Lutra, and Marlfox)!)

  • totally watching Supernatural in a restaurant and being entranced by the muscular half-naked men even if I couldn’t understand a word they were saying over the noise of the diners

  • baggy t-shirts with strategically placed graphics for enabling bralessness
  • The Pacific so far
  • eel fried rice, sea bass with eggplant (hhhnnnggghhhh)
  • digging through my cousin's old clothes to the tunes of Justin Bieber
  • Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett, for Agnes, Perdita, Oats, Vlad, Lacci, and British humor

  • baba ghanoush
  • lamb tajine
  • Tater, my cousin's Corgi
  • Sherlock so hard, for Steven Moffatt's plotlines, the relationship between Sherlock and John, Benedict Cumberbatch's handsome alien sociopath face, and Benedict Cumberbatch's "jaguar in a cello" aka Alan Rickman voice
I wish there were a cooler picture or GIF or something to include here, but tumblr is failing me because apparently more people watch this show so they can ship Sherlock/John than because they like the twisty Moffaty plots and suspense and the way text overlays are used. Ah well. I highly recommend this regardless, because it's a lot of fun.

  • I Love You, Man because UGH GOD PAUL RUDD HAS BEEN CUTE SINCE CLUELESS and I love watching bromances and WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS MAN'S FACE WHY DID HE LOOK SIXTEEN EVEN THOUGH HE WAS ALMOST FORTY WHEN THIS WAS FILMED? Also it's convenient that I like Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg's faces. Actually I like Andy Samberg's face so much I want to lick it, but that's besides the point.

I don't know why, but the fact that he says "on" makes this line hysterically funny to me. (Otherwise it would have just been hilarious.)

A joke this sexist should not be funny to me. But it is. I am sorry, feminism. I have failed you.

Paul Rudd can get it any day of the week.

  • Bossypants because Tina Fey is a business-class-assed goddess, and I love smart-funny
  • Anastasia On Her Own by Lois Lowry, because it's cute and funny, and I love her little brother Sam
  • ENORMOUS WALL OF WORDS: The Tree of Life because I have a weakness for Terrence Malick's voiceovers (see me flail about The Thin Red Line here and here), and because it was like watching The Discovery Channel with my brother when I was little and being awed that such wondrous things exist on Earth, if The Discovery Channel were produced by God. This movie, for the kids, for life, love, grace, nature, beauty, light, dark, brothers, fathers, and mothers. For wanting to fall down and weep. For crying, but not in a broken way. For the burning recognition in witnessing someone else's Fall. For the Book of Job. For being a living creature and a miracle of probability. For living in grace, and what that means for someone who grew up Catholic and rejected her faith because it rejected too many things she believed in.
If you watch the trailer and don't like it, I would suggest not watching the movie. If you do decide to go see it and have never seen a Terrence Malick film before, I'd warn you 1) to go alone, and 2) to expect it to be very, very, very slow and very, very, very long. That being said, this movie gets to me the same way The Thin Red Line does, although I imagine it might be less easy to swallow, because The Thin Red Line has the backdrop of war to work against, and war makes the idea of death and life much more urgent, whereas The Tree of Life works against the backdrop of one family plus the universe. I just think that thinking about war makes people think about death which makes people somber and more willing to accept whatever highfalutin message is being conveyed, whereas if you make it about something as mundane as family life or something you'd watch on the Discovery Channel, people are more inclined to ridicule it.

I'd just like to say that this movie strokes me in all the right ways, and instead of clawing its way to that part of you that understands the human condition, that part of you that knows you are going to die and wonders at the pointlessness of it all - that part of Tommy from Never Let Me Go that usually keeps him from yelling - it seeps its way in, and it wonders at the pointlessness of it all. It marvels at it. In my very humble and unasked-for opinion, there is no symbolism in this film. Only sounds and images that are meant to evoke feelings and stir memories, because the kinds of things that Malick is getting at are all parts of our experiences.

I'm not a scholar of religions, but as someone who grew up immersed in Catholicism and found herself unable to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament, this movie was fascinating and struck all these chords in me I forgot existed. This movie makes me feel so small and so big at the same time. (Like a TARDIS. Big and little at the same time. Bigger on the inside.) And it makes me feel so simultaneously fragile and invincible, and so insignificant and so important, and so lucky, and so, so happy. Maybe it's because I believe so much that "There are two ways through life: the way of nature, and the way of grace" and that "Unless you love, your life will flash by." Maybe it's because watching this movie makes me feel forgiven. (I believe, I believe, I believe (there is love in heaven / all will be forgiven).) Maybe it's because I'm going to quote myself and say that this movie makes me feel "like I am crawling back into the womb" and "like everything is divine," and it's that last thought that I could never understand about the Catholicism I grew up with. Wasn't everything divine? Every atom and every exploding star, and every life that flickered in and out of existence that could or could not acknowledge what divinity was - if there is an ultimate creator, doesn't that make everything holy? How does one live in grace unless everything is holy?

  • Merlin for Colin Morgan, Bradley James, the Merlin/Arthur dynamic, and CAMPY FANTASY ADVENTURE STORIES!
I am 65% sure that they cast this show based on cheekbone structure.


  • super buttery popcorn
  • hand-me-down clothes because it's like shopping for free!
  • fresh orange juice
  • bare skin
  • summer fruit!
  • really really good pork katsu from Delica at the Ferry Building (and the cute guy who works the counter)
  • the ocean, because GODDAMN IF IT ISN'T THE BIGGEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN, and I love being reminded that I am that kind of insignificant (the ocean always works)

  • Wilson for lunch
  • H&M because they play excellent shopping music
  • Will and mini-Will, who will definitely grow up to have a fabulous mustache and extensive collection of paisley waistcoats, bless your tiny head

  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. As a 6-year-old, what I got was that this was a story about a girl who wanted to be a writer and about friendship. Mostly I was struck with fascination by the way she observed people (and the dumbwaiter scene). Now what I get is that this is a story about a girl who wants to be a writer, but it's also about a girl who loses everything and still finds herself standing despite it all. This is also the book that started my obsessive journaling, which is why if I hadn't physically destroyed all my old journals in a house purge, I'd have written chronicles of my life from ages 6 - 20.
  • playing dress-up games with my cousin (they make me miss those days when I made KiSS dolls! I am 99.9% sure nobody who reads this will have heard of KiSS dolls, but they were like... an intersection of my then-budding interests in fashion and programming/coding.)

  • Thai golden bags (...does that sound dirty to anyone else? Whatever, they're delicious)

  • that for my blood test, my blood was drawn by a Vanessa who was distractingly chatty and very quick
  • the feeling of having showered recently (one of those many things I don't appreciate until I'm missing it)
  • the Emeryville Public Market because the Chinese place there has the Actual Best kung pao chicken I have ever had, and their Mongolian beef is remarkably good, too
  • facetious planning with my cousin for a themed birthday party wherein she will be King Henry VIII, I will be a toothless old wizard, her brother will be some sort of wench, and the bard is to be determined
  • when I feel prettier without makeup on
  • Steven, an inordinate amount

  • X-Men: First Class for all the comic book-esque split-screen action, and for James McAvoy's beautiful imperfect face, his lips and eyes and eyebrows, and Charles and Erik, and ERIK (there should just be a six-hour film dedicated to Erik growing up), and Michael Fassbender and the tumblr comments about his shark teeth because oh my God the submarine scene had me in completely inappropriate hysterics humming the Jaws music to myself, and for Fassbender and his man tears

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! These illustrations, by the way, are by the genius Noelle.

  • Full Metal Jacket for enlightening me as to where "me love you long time" comes from. What can I say? I didn't like A Clockwork Orange or Dr. Strangelove when I watched them (actually, I actively hated A Clockwork Orange because it made me feel nauseous), so I must not be a Kubrick fan. And while it's probably a good sign that I felt sick, pointless, frightened, horrified, uneasy, and other negative adjectives while watching Full Metal Jacket, since I think that was probably most of the point (the rest of the point being something enigmatic I am not that interested in working out), I wouldn't watch this again if you paid me. (Although as a disclaimer, a lot of it is because I don't like campy acting for topics that aren't campy.)

  • 2095; The Good, the Bad, and the Goofy; and The Not-So-Jolly Roger by Jon Scieszka, for the Time Warp Trio! Shortest reads ever, but they're such good fun and ideal for passing time on an exercise bike.

  • kettle-cooked potato chips from Archer Farms
  • being exhausted from housework

  • Moulin Rouge, ruining my expectations about love since 2001. (Lover criteria: must be willing and able to accompany me in singing the "Elephant Love Medley" at any time. Anyone other than Ewan McGregor need not apply.)
I'm pretty sure I used this or a version of this as my desktop background for two years or so.

  • Love and Other Drugs for Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal (UNGHGFHGHH JAKE GYLLENHAAL)

I don't really like movies centered around romantic relationships, but this one was all right. Especially because the conversation they had in the coffee shop (or whatever) was like one big GPOY. Minus the degenerative disease.

  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg because the sibling dynamic is SO GOOD, and I love smart kids who go on adventures

  • Anastasia, because Meg Ryan has an adorable voice, I love Anastasia's post-orphanage outfit, Bartok had me in hysterics, Fox obviously pays less attention to their female characters' hair than Disney does, "At the Beginning" is the best ending credits song ever, and I finally understand the moment from A Very Potter Musical when Harry and Ginny stop spinning

  • Eric, Jon, Robert, Ben

  • unreasonably attractive French exchange students

  • Barney's for the most bacon I have ever had in a BLT
  • attempting to play and completely failing at Epic Mafia, which has fabulously, ridiculously unintelligible lingo

  • children still in their earlier language acquisition days (♥)
  • STEPHANIE, light of my life, partner of my 61A lab days. My car, my soul. Steph-a-nie!

Matt Smith, who looks like a handsome alien wood elf or something here.

Another Matt Smith, because he looks like a really dapper, really handsome alien corpse.

Another Matt Smith, because he somehow manages to look 5 and 905 years old at the same time.


Matt Smith has a GENIUS face.

Matt Secretly-A-Handsome-Alien-Squirrel Smith

THIS JUST IN: Karen Gillan also has a genius face.


oh qurl


THIS JUST IN: Karen Gillan has amazing hair.

And to finish, because I promise next month will be less Doctor Who cast-heavy,



I wish I could say something about James McAvoy's acting because I suspect it's very good, but I've only seen him in Atonement and X-Men: First Class, and I wasn't really paying attention to him specifically in either of those.


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