Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Love, My Outlandos D'Amour

The memory is one I cherish. Mainly because I don't have many vivid childhood memories. The time frame for this one is somewhere between 1978 and 1984.

That puts me somewhere between four and nine…

Here's the memory:

Some neighbors from across the street were having a yard sale. We went over to peruse the junk and found great treasure: two reel-to-reel tape recorders. One was larger than the other. The smaller of the two was "portable" because it had a black plastic strap by which it could be lugged around. My parents bought both of them, one for me and one for my brother.

At the time of our tape recorder acquisition, my older brother Jon had borrowed Outlandos D'Amour from a friend's cool, much older brothers. It was already on heavy rotation in the Kapica household.

Keeping everything ultra hi-fi, I decided to record Outlandos onto my new tape recorder—right from our record player's one crackling speaker.

With my tape recorder, I would close myself in my bedroom closet and listen to The Police. My favorite song? "Be My Girl (Sally)." I would listen to this song over and over again, repeating as best I could the spoken word part-- British accent and all.

There I was, a small boy in a closet, singing a song about a man who finds love with a blow-up doll.


Regardless of the memories, Outlandos D'Amour is a great album. Every time I listen to it, I feel like a kid again. Whenever I teach William Carlos Williams's poem, "The Danse Russe," I mention Outlandos. The poem is essentially about those moments of joy (and horror) that we experience when there's no one else around. Williams writes of enjoying some "alone time" in the wee hours of the morning ("Who shall say I am not / the happy genius of my household?").

Whenever I listen to Outlandos-- alone at home, really loud-- I dance like a bloody fool.

And it feels good, and right.

The album is full of great, fast and furious tracks. A majority of the songs deal with typical rock themes of unrequited and spurned love, but Sting, a school teacher turned rocker, was always more literate (and pompous) than the usual bounty of rocker-wanna-be-poets (take that lizard king!). I am particularly fond of "Born in the 50s." True, it speaks of a different generation, but I have always been encouraged by Sting's assertion "We were the class they couldn't teach / Because we knew better."

I'm getting too old to dogmatically remember every song lyric of every album I purchase, but there was a time when this was simply the norm. I can sing-a-long to every single lyric on Outlandos -- while waving my shirt 'round my head nonetheless!

I'll end with this:

Outlandos D'Amour is one of those rare musical finds that will always reduce me to a singin' and dancin' fool.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why does eveyone have to be so harsh?

So I found people that like the movie “The Kingdom” just as much as I did but I also was very shocked at the number of people that I found who didn’t like this movie at all. I loved it for its great action and its tie to current war situations, the awesome characters and their roles, and overall I was just amazed at the whole plot but I guess everyone didn’t get the same joy out of this film as I did. One of the Topic Critics by the name of Terry Lawson from the website Rotten Tomatoes says the “The Kingdom is a smart picture with much to say. But in the end, it elects not to say it.” I was completely shocked when I read this because I thought that the movie said so much about life and it sat back and posed lots of questions on the way different groups of people go through and decided to live their lives. Another man by the name of Lou Lumenick says that “it is an overblown, revenge-driven action thriller that exports the Rambo mentality to the contemporary Middle East.” I can’t believe all the negative things people had to say about this movie, there were defiantly more negative than positive things said. On a lighter note a man by the name of Tom Long says that The Kingdom was “From a literally explosive beginning to its high-octane end, The Kingdom is rocking-good mainstream moviemaking: painfully topical, edge-of-the-seat thrilling and totally engrossing.” Now that was what I felt when I say this movie, it was incredible fast paste and was completely overwhelming with amazement. Overall I know that everyone is entitled to their own interpretation about something but was just taken back by the amount of disgrace that people felt with this movie, I loved it and I think that everyone should see it if you get the chance it will totally be worth it!

A Pespective on Amy Winehouse

Finding a source that spoke about Amy Winehouse was not especially difficult. She has been all over the entertainment headlines not only for her music, but for her often bizarre behavior. However, Christian Hoard describes her as "nervy" and "witty" in her newest album entitled Back to Black. He also supports my claim that her Motown sounding music has a universal appeal to variety of people. He states that some of her songs from this particular album "don't hold up." I definitely have to disagree with this statement. Winehouse's album is one of few that I can listen to from start to finish. She covers a variety of emotions and situations in her lyrics. Even her most depressing songs have an upbeat quality to them. Hoard also brings up two of her most controversial songs: one that describes an ex-lover and "a wistful gem in which Winehouse chooses weed over a lover." I thought it was interesting that he, of all songs, highlighted these two. While I also believe that these are great, interesting songs, I think that there are better on the album. I disagree with his use of controversy to draw in new listeners. There are songs that are more pertinent and just as interesting that he could have easily used.

Monday, March 3, 2008

So What Do I Do Now?

So, I know she is in a better place now, but why am I mad at her? Why do I feel like she abandoned me? I mean, she is with my grandpa now, but not with me. He left me whenever I was only six and did not understand, but now I am eighteen, and I understand, but I just not why. So, help me.. I mean, I know she was sick, but I mean, she could have gotten better if she would have went to the doctor a year or so earlier. I mean, every time I think about graduation, she was always out in the audience with my mom and dad, being proud of me for graduation. And she was there for my first day of college, and my wedding, and everything. But that is because she has always been there. She has lived beside me all of my life. All of the holidays were celebrated there, you know, the major ones like Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. And well, what am I going to do this year? It is going to be odd not going there, it is like a tradition. And I mean, we can still go there, but she will not be there. And well, she has always been there and now she is not. And well, her house is still there, but she is not. And I do not know what to do. I mean, whenever I needed something, she was always there. She was always there for me to complain about my parents or my brother and sister to. She was always there for me to just talk to. She has just always been there and now she is not and I don’t know what to do. My school work has been slipping, and all of my relationships have fallen by the wayside, and I just do not know what to do besides cry anymore. I don’t really sleep anymore either, I just lay with my eyes closed and drift. Because maybe I am asleep, and this is all just a bad dream?
So now that I have written about so many different things over the last six weeks I am going to just take some time to write about me and how much I greatly dislike writing! I do not feel like it is one of my stronger points in life and I am really glad that I went on and got this class over with, no offense Mr. Kapica it isn’t your fault. I have never been an English fan even through high school I would much rather take a Math class over English class any day. In math there is almost always one right or wrong answer, no personal interpretation and thinking critically to form a unique answer; and most of the time in math you can go back and check yourself to know whether or not you got your problem right before you actually turn something in. I also think that I am way to ADHD to be a writer, as soon as I sit down at my computer to type something up I automatically get on the internet or play games to put off what I really sat down to do. I start typing and get stuck so I tell myself well I’ll just play one game to clear my head and end up playing for like an hour and never accomplish anything. I also know that I don’t have that cool way of saying things that actually makes people want to read more, I just don’t have that graceful way of talking. So in conclusion I think that I am just going to stick to Math and Science, my two favorite subjects, and try to avoid writing anything that someone might actually have to sit down and read so I don’t make them want to stick an ink pen in their eyes!

Some Family

I really hate my family. I have a stepsister that is fifteen and she is as fat as a house. I also have a little half sister that is four. Both of them are the biggest brats that I know. They get everything they want and the can do what ever they want when they want and don’t have to ask. I’m nineteen years old and god forbid if I breathe without asking first. My step mom has a big problem. It’s not just the size of her lard butt, but the fact that she spends all her money on stupid shit and buying her kids shit that they don’t need and every time I turn around she wants money from me. I bust my ass of for all the stuff that I have they do nothing to help me. They always think that I owe them something. They play the card “ well we did get you that car for graduation” yeah they sure did now I’m in dept 13,000 dollars. Some graduation present. My whole step family is a bunch of two faced red head b*tches. That is putting it nicely. The only thing that I have to took forward to be seeing James. He is the only one who knows what I have to put up with. When we first started dating my step family said that I would have a baby by the time I graduated. They were so wrong. They are the ones you have kids and married. It just makes me so mad that I have to work so hard for everything and have nothing to show for it. It gets kind of depressing. James is the only one that I can turn to. He is the love of my life and I don’t care what my dad thinks of him. If I could I would stay with him. It is pretty sad that I am nineteen and can’t do what I want. It sucks to be to some extent.

Fall in Love all over agian

I love the movie Cinderella. It classic that has stud the test of time. This movie seems to come out about every seven years says Roger Ebert. He also said that when he first say it as a kid then saw it many years later that it had no changed much and is some ways neither had he. When I talked about the movie a spoke of more the meaning that I got from the movie. Ebert talks about the animation techniques and the use of unfamiliar voices. When I think of Cinderella I picture Cinderella and her prince charming falling ion love and living happily ever after. Ebert talks about the creation of the animals and how they help out Cinderella with everything from bathing and changing clothes to them helping her escape from her room when the men come to fit the girls for the slipper. Ebert says that the animals in Cinderella serve the same function as the Seven Dwarfs in Snow White. The animals provide moral support. Each animal has his or her on personality. Ebert said that the Disney people spent so much time in making the animals look alive like by making then wag their buttocks that is way they never but pants on them. He also notes that the second Disney animated classic that has been stretched into wide screen lost 25 percent of the original image. Disney would rather supervise its own wide format than allow projectionist to despoil the image.



My favorite piece of popular culture that I wrote about was Cinderella. Not only is it a timeless classic but it really gets your imagination going. To some people it might be just another stupid fairytale but to some it maybe like a sanctuary, a place where they can escape the hard truth of reality. It’s nice to have a place to let your imagination run wild without fear of who is watching. In real life people squish all of your hopes and dreams out of you by telling you, you can’t do something. Walt Disney said “ Why do we have to grow up? I know more adults who have the children’s approach to life. They’re people who don’t give a hang what the Joneses do. You see them at Disneyland every time you go there. They are not afraid to be delighted with simple pleasures, and they have a degree of contentment with what life has brought - sometimes it isn’t much, either.” When I was little it couldn't have pleased me more than to sit and watch the pumpkin turn into a beautiful carriage. Now when my little sister and I watch it I love to see her face light up when she sees all the magic. I can’t to see when she gets older to see how much she really got from it. Cinderella had her step family to ring her dry of all her hopes of finding her prince. When she finally got her chance yet again did they try to ruin it. It goes to show that there are people out there that just can’t stand to see others happy. This movie really inspires me to go for what I want in life. In the end it comes down to whether or not you have the strength to get through the tough times to see the brighter days that will come along.

The Kigdom; The War you dont see on the News

I just saw that coolest new movie called “The Kingdom.” It is a modern day war film referring to our war issues that are currently going on overseas. This film is about four F.B.I. agents that are sent to Saudi Arabia after a bombing in broad daylight at a baseball field on an American Army base. This action packed film has a lot of great new actors like Jamie Fox, Jennifer Garner, and Chris Cooper. I have never seen Jamie Fox in such a serious roll as not only a father but one of the heads of the F.B.I. but at the same time he somehow showed everyone humor in a situation that many people wouldn’t be able to pull off. Jennifer Garner is kicking butt again as usual but this time she is completely frowned upon for trying to make it in a “man’s world” according to the people of Saudi Arabia. Fox, Garner, and Cooper are all striving to figure out what happened but at the same time are risking their lives in the pursuit of justice. I love this movie because it shows what the government doesn’t want you see; you are shown just how shady people with authority can be to cover someone who might pose a threat to them. The attack in the movie came from men in Saudi military uniforms but the government insisted that they had nothing to do with it, so the whole movie you are trying to figure out who is behind the bombing and in the end you get a great twist that really opened my eyes to the people around me. I think that this movie is a great movie to see and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to see some awesome characters fight for justice in a really horrible situation.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Decision Making vs. Critical Thinking in Politics

The likeness between Decision Making and Critical Thinking is a lot more different than people think. Critical Thinking is when someone discerns from mistakes and thinks about how things could be done better. It's the process of getting to conclusions that are logical. Solving problems, analyzing factual information, and taking positive action based on the conclusions is called decision-making. Critical Thinking is looking at assumptions--not really accepting arguments at face value. Critical Thinking is looking for technical support when a printer is down. We use critical thinking skills with our feedback to determine if the printer can print or not. History is full of these two interlocking values getting into conflict in politics and foreign policy. Decision making is an action. It is the destination of logical and analytical problem solving which is based on fact. These main points are what the CIA use to get into your words and what you mean. They are matters of the mind. Yes, these things show that the U.S. is not able to discern things as a great nation of peace and prosperity. We cannot learn anything from the past because our decision-making has not lived up to the standards of what decisions are. Everything in today's time is not a picture of what the past had created. It is what people have decided to make us look like. Our critical thinking is still awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is all that happens in Washington today though. We predicted it with our critical thinking, yet we have not mastered the decision-making.

Not only for teens, so take that Common Sense Media

I am now considered an adult. I think that people of all ages love The Outsiders. Even though it is mainly focused on freshman in high school and teenagers. As Common Sense Media says “teenagers love this book.” Well I believe myself a teenager, even though I am 18 years old. I have loved The Outsiders since I was in middle school though. So I guess I am an exception since I was a preteen or tween that fell in love with the book. The book have idyllic views of friendship, which most teens are trying to figure out, so the book sort of helps them with it. I know that whenever I first read the book, my best friend was my cousin, even though she is almost three years older than me. Well, needless to say, she is not my best friend anymore but we still do talk. I have found friends my age, aka Sarah and Wes, that maybe, do not like the same things that I like, like The Outsiders, but they like other things that I do, like music, or clothes, or movies, or something along those lines. We all like to go to the movie theaters and listen to music. We all like to go out to lunch together, and just hang out. We do not have to be out spending money to have fun either. While Common Sense Media says that it is a book for teenagers, I think that it is a book for people of all ages. Not just teens have problems with friendship, adults do too. So I think that Common Sense Media is wrong whenever it says that “teenagers love this book” because I am not really a teenager, and I love the book, and I fell in love with it before I even became a teenager. So take that Common Sense Media. http://family.go.com/entertainment/article-csm-117702-book-review--the-outsiders-t/?CMP=KNC-YahSSPFamily

Strangly enough, I didn't change my mind...

I don’t really regret picking Law & Order as my favorite pop culture, but I kind of wish that I would have narrowed it down to one of the sub series of Law and Order. Because now that I think of it, I really only watch Law & Order: SVU… and sometimes Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Don’t get me wrong, I love any and all Law & Order episodes. Man that kind of makes me sound like a loser. But, oh well! I’m a crime show junkie, I guess. I think the reason SVU is my favorite because of Mariska Hargitay. She plays Detective Olivia Benson in the show, and I’ve always loved how she handles things throughout the shows. She really seems to care about everything and everyone she deals with, and I like to think that I’d be like her if I ever chose to become part of a team like that. Her partner, Detective Stabler (Christopher Meloni), is also a great character. He’s always levelheaded and ready to do the best thing to get the job done. Vincent D'Onofrio is also one of my favorite actors, but he’s from the Criminal Intent version. He plays Detective Goren, who is a hardcore investigator. He never fails to hit just the right nerve in a criminal’s mind to get them to confess. His partner, Kathryn Erbe – who plays Detective Eames, is the perfect sidekick to him. She pays attention to the tiny details while he’s busting another bad guy. I guess what I’m trying to get at is Law & Order is a great show… because it has great characters, great plots, and everything just fits together perfectly! I like CSI, and even the new one – NCIS, too. But I’m sure it’ll never fail for me to end up watching my favorite crime show before I go to sleep. Law & Order!

Spring Fever

I have an odd addiction of searching the internet for quotes. My quotes usually come from a movie, writer of some sorts, or character. Anyway, I thought I would form a blog around a few of my favorites.

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value.”- Albert Einstein
I love this quote because I chose to write about it as the topic for one of my college essays. I think the quote appropriately defines how I want to live my life.

“I’m blonde, what’s your excuse?”- Reese Witherspoon
This quote is unique because I chose it as my senior quote and because Reese Witherspoon is my favorite actress. I especially love her in “Sweet Home Alabama.”

“Has anyone seen my shoes, I kicked them off in a fit of joy.”- Dane Cook
Dane Cook is the funniest comedian ever. I listen to his acts all the time and they never get old. It helps a lot too because Dane Cook is soo adorable.

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”- E.E. Cummings
I like this because I want to be different and to be myself. I don’t want to be pushed to give up what makes me “me” in order to become someone’s conformist picture of how society should be.

“It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”- Mark Twain
Well, it’s the beginning of March and so I thought it would be appropriate to use a quote about spring! I have been having the feeling of “spring fever” a lot lately. I really hope the weather continues to stay warm!

I have a whole word document full of quotes that I have found to be inspirational in some way. I love reading quotes. Who knows but maybe one day I will quote you…

The Apple doesn't Fall Far from the Typewriter.

OH MY GOSH! THE WORLD HAS ENDED! I enjoy writing. Ahhhh!! That is so crazy to say. It is all Mr. Kapica’s fault. I am going to be really honest when I say that I really like writing journals, blogs, and free writes. Well, I did not actually like having to do all that work, but after it was all over I really enjoyed the process. I had never written a blog in the past, but now I like to write blogs. They are fun for me because it is entertaining to be able to see the comments that people write about your opinions. Who would have known that the first essay I wrote for this class would be the same one I would write over and over again the entire time, but that was not so bad either. I love Sweeney Todd, but after writing this essay, I love it even more. My favorite was the free writes because I did not have to worry if they were grammatically correct or anything. I could express how I felt through writing. Wow. I could rant, smile, and sometimes cry. I know, I know it is a little corny, but I could really convey my emotions in a sentence. That had never happened to me before. My mom graduated from UNC with a major in journalism, but I always hated to write. After taking this class, she tells me “you really are my daughter!” It feels good to enjoy something that I inevitably have to do throughout my life. I am so glad I am finally able to enjoy what I thought was the end of the world. I may not be the best writer, but at least I take pleasure in the process. All I need now is a little practice.

There's no place like London...

I have read review after review about Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and most of the critics that matter like Time Magazine, Washington Post, Newsweek, and The New York Times have agreed that this movie is pretty much awesome. Normally after a movie, the top critics will have varying opinions. I mean I guess that would be true anyways considering the fact that opinions are someone’s own personal feelings on a topic, but how often do a group of people’s opinions match? Hardly ever. That just proves that this movie really rocks. A.O. Scott from The New York Times says “Something close to a masterpiece, a work of extreme -- I am tempted to say evil – genius.” Peter Marks of Washington Post states “Admirers of Stephen Sondheim who have wondered whether a riveting movie would ever be made from one of his stage musicals can put aside their doubts and worries: Tim Burton has finally accomplished it in his ravishing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The critic of Time magazine, Richard Corliss, even declares, “The movie's true lyricism is less in its score than in its visual and emotional palette, and in watching Depp rise to the majesty of madness.” Ultimately, what I am trying to say is movies like this do not come around very often. I believe, along with most critics, that this movie is already borderline “classic.” What truly makes a classic? In my mind, a “classic” is a movie that is memorable, in a good sense and pertains to its enduring interest and high quality. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will, more than likely, be one of those movies that is truly inspiring and that will never be forgotten. I am almost positive that this movie will be renowned for many generations to come.

I <3 Novak Djokovic...More Than I <3 Tennis?

I read an article recently about Novak Djokovic, number three tennis player in the world, which recounted the amazing story of Djokovic’s climb to victory at the 2008 Australian Open. Djokovic is not only an inspiration to the tennis community but also hands down my favorite tennis personality. Djokovic first caught my attention a few months ago when I saw a youtube.com video where he imitated various tennis celebrities such as Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, and Raphael Nadal. His impersonations of each player’s character were so exact that I couldn’t help but begin falling in love. Djokovic even performed live during his quarterfinal defeat of Carlos Moya at the 2007 US Open. I think Djokovic brings something to the sport that until recently has been lacking; a lovable personality combined with charm and superior tennis skills.

Born in 1987 in Belgrad, Serbia, Novak Djokovic’s past is a true Cinderella story. The story is that while Djokovic was growing up in Belgrad, he began his tennis training in an empty swimming pool. Prompted by the lack of indoor court tennis facilities, a sports club official had the idea to drain an Olympic-size swimming pool in the winter and put down a green carpet and net.

In January of 2008, Djokovic surprised everyone by soundly defeating the world’s number one tennis player, Roger Federer, in three straight sets in order to advance to the Australian Open finals. In the finals he defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in four sets to become the new champion of the Australian Open. At twenty years old, Djokovic is the youngest player to win the Australian Open championship title since Stefan Edberg in 1985. Well apparently, Djokovic is not only good at playing in an empty swimming pool.

Novak Djokovic is just one more reason as to why I love tennis.