Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly = Totally French x Totally Awesome x Worth the $14 I paid to see it

I have a bad habit when it comes to seeing movies. If I say that I'm going to see a film, I've pretty much just said that I, in fact, won't be seeing said film and instead will complain about how I haven't seen it yet and then will never ever rent it on DVD.

When I was still in New York, I made a pretty good effort at breaking this habit. At one point, I was going to the movies maybe twice a week, sometimes on every day of the weekend. It helped that ticket prices aren't majorly expensive in New York, and I was lucky enough to have every amazing movie in the world being shown on my door step. However, in the past couple of years, there hasn't been a movie I've wanted to see as much as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Jean Dominique Bauby's story has interested me since I first saw the film's trailer back in August 2007, and it's taken me until now to FINALLY see the movie.

I was in the midst of packing and moving when the film was released in New York. Then while in Oklahoma City, I learned it was going to be released...the day after I left for Sydney. The film finally had its first showing last week, and I made it to the theater by Friday. And I have to say, it was totally worth the wait.

First off, if you haven't read Bauby's book of the same title, I suggest you do so before seeing the movie. However, the movie is still good even without knowledge of the text. I found the book allowed me to fill in holes that the film couldn't possibly explore, and let's face it: the problem with every book adaption to film is that the director can't possibly cover ever tiny detail that is featured in the book. For one, my favorite line was cut out (I'll get over it).

I don't want to go on and give a synopsis of the film because I want all my readers to actually go out and see it. For those of you writing it off as bourgie French film, you're right...BUT IT'S SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT! I believe I'm in a phase of my life where I'm finally getting perspective on things, and that is exactly what this movie is about: perspective. Both literally and metaphorically.

Also, I'll have an Internet connection at my new home starting Thursday, so expect more frequent blog updates! Yeah!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Old people are slow, regardless of region

In an earlier post entitled "A few observations since I left America," I made the comment that old people in Sydney are marginally quicker (as in speed of walking) than old people in America. Well, shoot that theory in the foot because I was dead wrong.

I did a bit of research yesterday. I noticed that my earlier hypothesis of old people being a bit more sprite here might have been premature as I had begun to notice A LOT of old people moving VERY slowly. How could this be? I had just seen the oldest man alive pedaling a bike uphill at a relatively fast speed only weeks ago! I had several ideas, so I did a mini survey while I walked across the bridge at Darling Harbor on my way home.

Some of you might find it weird to go up and ask people for directions even when you know exactly where you're going, but I had a plan. Maybe these slow geriatrics are tourists. Maybe AUSTRALIAN old people are still quick and lively. Well, after polling about 15 different couples, I learned that my initial forecast was wrong: Old people are slow the world over. The Italians in particular are a slow group, but I'm thinking that's because they prefer to stroll. It's the Bulgarians we need to watch out for: Those people can't walk fast even when they TRY. My god, can you imagine getting behind a Bulgarian grandmother in traffic? For Christ'd be there for days!

And for those of you that are thinking that I'm mean for judging old people, you're probably also right when you secretly hope I'll be a slow old person. I'll tell you right now that the minute I turn 70, shuffling will be my only means of transport. In a hurry? Tough shit. Just try to get around me and my walker.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Grimace is Godliness.

You might remember that a couple of posts ago, I wrote that I would be crafting an apology note to the McDonald's Corporation. As promised, here is that note:

"Dear McDonald's -

Since the autumn of 2004, I have said some negative things about you. I'll fully admit that I fell under the spell of Morgan Spurlock and his documentary "Super Size Me!" But in retrospect, this is what I have to say now: "Super size this Spurlock!" (insert image of me flipping the bird).

What has Spurlock ever given me except a deep fear of eating at a restaurant that can argueably be called the most convinient place on Earth. Has anyone ever been to a city that didn't have a McDonald's? Have anyone ever gotten a meal as cheap as your clientele have from McDonald's? Who cares if the chicken nuggets technically have to be called "chicken" nuggets. First off, "nugget" is a fun word and I think most people would agree with me when I say that just saying "nugget" brings a smile to your face. Secondly, should we really be that picky about whether it's chicken or "chicken"? It tastes like chicken, it looks like chicken...just let it be chicken folks. Stop overanalyzing everything! So McDonald's, thank you for that.

I am currently in a major adjustment period as I have just been transferred to Sydney from New York because of work. Some might call it emotional eating, but what harm does it do anyone if I indulge in a McDonald's soft serve ice cream cone that only costs 30 cents when I'm tearing up due to homesickness? According to the ads on television, that's the same price from 1993, so not only is that cone economical, but it helps drive home the message "keep your chin up kid." Once again McDonald's, thank you.

If it's any added consolation, I held my second grade birthday party at the McDonald's restaurant located on Hefner and Rockwell Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Not only did I have an excellent turn out of guests (and as a result, ended up with some kick ass presents), it was one of the best birthday parties ever. And again, thank you.

As a call to action for myself, I promise to preach to the masses about the benefits of eating at McDonald's. I'm a golden arches evangelist! Praise Ronald! Give some money to that charity house he runs! Letal injection for the Hamburgler! Vote for Grimace!

From your loyal and reformed customer,
Mary Ann

"Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

First off, I by no means think my plight of trying to find a home in the bullshit Sydney rental market is anywhere near as important as equal rights for African-Americans (if you didn't recognize the quote I used in the title of this post, go back to elementary school and read up on your history). But on that same note, you don't know shit about how difficult it was to find an apartment in a decent part of Sydney, so you can go to hell. I'll be judged by no one!

As of February 21st, I will be the newest resident of Paddington. Yes, Paddington. Just like the bear. I think that automatically makes my new neighborhood bad ass. Also, it's pretty much the gayest place in the world, and I mean that literally. Picture this: liquor stores naming themselves Lick Her, shop after shop of leather gear and as many rainbow flags as your little heart desires. I'm not gay myself, but I can appreciate what I've now deemed "Homo-Villle Ground Zero".

As soon as I move in, I will post photos of me moving furniture and finally unpacking my suitcases. The entire inside of the flat is painted a salmon color, so I'll probably be making lots of fish-themed jokes in the future. Expect the word "tuna" to play pretty heavily into my vernacular.

So, when you go to bed this evening say a little prayer that something doesn't fall through and I end up homeless!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


I would really like to encourage the readers of this blog to comment as much as possible. I've had several people come up to me and say that they are a fan, but I have no idea, in regards to readership numbers, who is checking out this site.

You might notice that I have the ability to moderate comments, but the only comments I delete are ones that are blatant advertisements for products such as penis enhancers, hair growth topical cream, etc.

Also, out of curiosity I checked my rating on Technorati. And are you ready for this? My rating was "zero." So make me a favorite on Technorati.


Here is your to do list:

1. Start commenting.
2. Mark me as a favorite on Technorati.
3. Keep reading this blog.
4. Come visit me in Sydney.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A brief history of how I came to where I am (earlier entitled "Anne Geddes can go fuck herself")

I think I can pin point the exact moment that put me on the path that has left me where I am today. It was September 2003, and I was a senior at the University of Kansas. Bud Hirsch (R.I.P.) was my advisor in the English department at KU. He had worked there for ages, and he was probably one of the most well-respected men at the University. How he became my advisor, I have no idea. On this day, I was sitting in Bud's office trying to figure out how to graduate on time without having to put in much effort.

Bud suggested that I apply for an internship, and as luck would have it, he knew of an opening and could call in a few favors and get me the job. It was unpaid, but I didn't really care. I really just needed the course credit I would be awarded for completion of the internship, and that was my only concern. Bud then proceeded to make a few phone calls, and BAM! I was the newest publicity intern at Andrew's McMeel Publishing. I remember not being excited. I had interest in neither publicity nor publishing. I figured that my love of literature and reading would be enough to make it doable.

Wellllllllllllllllllllllll..."literature" is a bit of a stretch. Andrews McMeel is known for their comics publishing, such as the Far Side and Dilbert. However, they also publish the type of books you see while waiting in the check-out line at Barnes & Noble. You know what I'm talking about - those books entitled "10 Life Lessons You'll Learn From Your Dog" and "How a Kitten can Put a Smile on Your Face." They also published the work of Anne Geddes, which might be the only person to successfully turn the idea of having a baby into something I would liken to the film Rosemary's Baby.

If you aren't familar with Anne Geddes' work, I think you might be the smartest person alive. Hell, you might be part of a human sub-species that has evovled faster than the rest of us due to your ability to block out the Anne Geddes onslaught you'll experience from walking into any Hallmark Cards store in the world. For the rest of us that haven't developed a tail or an extra set of fingers, Anne Geddes is the woman that puts babies in pea pods, flower pots, coconuts, gigantic flowers and various other usually normal objects. Some people might say that she is responsible for the creepiest cheap art work in the world. And when I write "some people," I mean me. I would also go one step further than describing her as "creepy" and say that the baby that we never actually get to see in the Roman Polanski classic "Rosmary's Baby" is less scary than a group of babies dressed up in a giant pea pod. And keep in mind that Rosemary's baby is a result of Satan raping Mia Farrow. I'll take the Satan baby any day versus a newborn dressed up like a sunflower.

Luckily, my interaction with the Geddes' material was kept to managing my dry heaves as I entered the stock room for other less notable books. And it was for these books that I was tasked with writing news releases for.

Let me set the scene: Me sitting at a Dell computer doing my best to dress "office casual." Now imagine someone telling me that I have to include words like "precious" and "snuggly" in my news release. Now imagine someone reciting the National Anthem to me in Spanish. Yeah, you're right - I would have the same blank stare on my face. Now imagine someone saying "You could really take this to the next level by adding paw print graphics along the top of this release." What was that reader? You don't believe anyone could say such a thing? What? You think paw print graphics are retarded? What was that? You want to blow your brains out just knowing that someone would suggest the addition of puppy footprints to a professional document? All I have to say is this: Welcome to my hell.

Reader, your next question may be, if you are still thinking logically after the Anne Geddes info, is this: So why did you pursue a career in public relations/publicity if learned how weird a profession it could be?

My answer? I don't have one. Maybe it was the constant lecture of an English major never being able to get a job, so I double majored and chose Strategic Communications as the "degree that make me some money. The practical degree!" Perhaps PR had a vendetta and wanted to take me down. But right now, I'm homeless in a foreign country and I can just hear that damn paw print graphic laughing at me. Not long ago, I saw the book "10 Life Lessons You'll Learn From Your Dog" in the bargain section at Barnes & Noble. I pointed it out to my friend that had joined me for the afternoon and made an off the cuff remark about how I did the publicity for that particular book i.e. the paw print press release. I believe my exact words were "I think this book has a seat right next to Satan in hell." And now I realize that an inanimate object does in fact have the ability to perform voo doo and completely fuck up your life.

Challenge #1: Get Preggers People!

To my friends -

I'm not going to explain my intentions, but I have a plan. And I think once I tell you the reasoning behind it, you'll be pleased.

Go get pregnant. All of you. Don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend? I don't care! Get knocked up.

I'll explain everything later. At this point, I'm a little confused as to why you are still reading this blog instead of dropping your pants and getting it on.

Get. It. On. Do the nasty. You know what I mean.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The most rejection I've faced since high school...

About thirty seconds ago, I just received my sixth formal rejection from potential roommates. There have been numerous people who just didn't call me back so we'll leave those ones out of the final count.

Seriously. I've never had this hard of a time making friends/finding roommates in my entire life. I'm not going to be nice anymore. Faking enthusiasm just got tired and boring. If these people want to stereotype me, oh, you better believe I'll give them a stereotype to work with. Everyone can go fuck themselves (that last sentence was the beginning of the transformation, in case you were wondering...).

And to anyone that I've ever met that claims that Americans are judgemental of other cultures, it's amazing when the shoe is on the other foot people. For Christ Sake, I'm not a bad person just because I come from a super power country.


McDonald's Corporation, please forgive me.

As I now see myself in the middle of housing/financial crisis, I must issue an apology to the McDonald's Corporation. I realize this blog is a piss poor apology, so I will craft a suitable letter to mail (and I will also post it here). To sum it up, you might not have a place to live, you might be contemplating kayaking across half the globe, but you can always count on McDonald's to offer up cheap food. It might kill me in the long run, but nothing says "feel better lil' Mary" like McDonald's french fries and soft serve ice cream cone. Bring on the elastic waist pants!

The Latest Adventures of the Holiday Inn...

That's right. I can speak about the Holiday Inn because I now live there. Yeah, you heard me. I live at the Holiday Inn in Sydney's Chinatown.

If you're thinking right now,"Man, that's about five steps away from being homeless," then you're right. But it's more like four steps depending on how much credit you still have left with American Express.

To my friends that live in New York, I have a little advice for you:

Don't ever leave New York. I repeat: NEVER. LEAVE. The grass, in fact, is NOT greener on the other side. I repeat: NOT. GREENER. And think about it - grass requires mowing. Stick to the concrete jungle. Less maintenace. And I mean that on multiple levels.

In the meantime, please send money and good wishes my way. I don't play an instrument, but if I can find some buckets in the maintenance closet at the hotel, I'll beat on those and take up busking as a part time profession. Seriously. New low folks. All-time new low.