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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Do You Remember?"

Today's question comes to us courtesy of the thoughtful Sid Faiwu. It sounds like he'd have the name of a great magician doesn't it? Maybe that's how he's able to whip up the magic when it comes to TITMT ideas!

Both Sid (and myself) want to know...

What is your earliest memory(ies)? and adding my own personal touch, why do you think this memory has managed to hold such significance over the years?

Ironically I almost forgot to ask this question. Luckily I remembered it at the last minute. Which by the way, if you have any good TITMT ideas, don't forget to email them to yours truly at

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Write Back Weekend "It Was the Best Of 365 Days, It Was the Worst 365 Days"

For the record, I tried to post this yesterday, but Blogger was just not cooperating. :(

Last week's Razzie nominations inspired me to ask the question...

What do you think were the worst performances of the year? In the name of expansion this could be the worst movie or acting in a movie, worst TV show or even worst album or song. Feel free to write as little or as much that comes to mind.

As usual with loaded questions like these, thinking up the question poses no challenge, having the time to actually answer it is another matter entirely. I can't help it. I take my TITMT answers seriously. I can give you any old answer here, but I do try to give thoughtful ones. So when I have to dig deep to think of the worst of the year, I have to really dig deep. I just want to be so careful not to forget anyone, ya know? Still, for brevity's sake, I decided to pick just one choice for each category. Also, for my own sanity's sake, I've decided to go with the first thing that hits me. I'm sure there were better (or worse as the case may be) but this is my story and I'm sticking to it...for the purpose of this post anyway.

Worst Popular Album of 2007

Lost Highway- Bon Jovi Being from Jersey and all I might take some heat for this, but I just don't get the new Bon Jovi. He's all countried out and mellow. What's up with that? And by the way, when I say new, I really mean the last ten years or so. I dug his solo, Midnight in Chelsea phase a bit and It's My Life grew on me after the zillonth time. But nothing, and I do mean nothing, holds a candle to classic, full on hair band eighties rock days of Bon Jovi's heyday. Nothing.

Worst Television Show of 2007

Going with my knee jerk reaction here I have to choose ABC'sCavemen. I'm not even sure if it's still on the air. Then again, is anything really these days? I hate this show and although I've never seen it, I know enough about it to know I never need to, ever. It's a show that was born out of lack of originality. It's like that guy you knew who took a joke that was mildly amusing at a party once and just dragged in on for years and years. I mean I love the Burger King commercials, but even I know I need not add plot and 20 more minutes the mix. Duh.

Worst Movie of 2007

Again, so hard to choose just one here but I'm going to go with one I saw this time around. After careful consideration I think I'm going to go with the train wreck of a film, I Know Who Killed Me, which appropriately starred Lindsay Lohan. This is the story of a girl who gets kidnapped, or does she? She loses her mind, or not. She has a twin, perhaps. She lives, she doesn't. Basically it's all very confusing. It's premise is so ridiculous it's one of those you have to see it to believe it scenarios. Suffice it to say that it's akin to the accidents you pass on the road. You want to look away, but somehow you just can't.

I could go on and on, but considering this is late and I'm very tired, I'm lucky I got it up here at all. Plus talking about all of this suckage makes my brain hurt. Must. Move. On.

Here's to hoping 2008 will be better. Stay tuned...
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Ashes to Ashes. We All Fall Down.

I have to say, I didn't see myself ever writing this post. Then again, blog worthy events, as with life itself, happen while you're making other plans, or in this case, writing other blogs.

Yesterday, along with the rest of the world I was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of actor Heath Ledger. For those of you who didn't know who Heath Ledger was he starred in such movies as Brokeback Mountain, The Order and my personal favorite, 10 Things I Hate About You. He was only 28 years old young.

Just writing about Heath Ledger in the past tense sends chills down my spine. Sure death is sad, but something about it becomes so much more prolific when it is the death of someone young. When someone older dies there often isn't an element of surprise. After all, we all know we are going to die someday in someway. But when someone dies unexpectedly and in their prime, their past presence takes on more meaning. It doesn't matter that in theory we know this can happen at any time. Suddenly it becomes not about what that person accomplished in their short lives, but all the things they never would since that life was taken away.

Of course Heath is not the only actor of his kind to die so soon, or even, so recently. In fact, just last week, lesser known actor Brad Renfro died from an alleged drug overdose just a few days shy of his twenty-sixth birthday. Although Brad was younger, somehow his death wasn't nearly as shocking. In his short life, he was in and out of trouble with the law and involved in problems with drugs and alcohol. Sources close to Brad said he had been making attempts to stay sober, but perhaps the price of fame was just too much to take.

The death of both Ledger and Renfro reminds me of a day back in 1993 when talented actor River Phoenix died at only twenty-three years old. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was fifteen at the time and since River was only seven years older, I, like many of my peers, identified so much with his sudden death. It might sound silly, but that was the first time, or at least the most profound time, that it hit me--death could happen to anyone, at any time. Back then I was naive enough to also be shocked that Phoenix, a teen heartthrob who made multiple appearances in anti drug campaigns was not being true to his word. See, I didn't understand that actors weren't only good at pretending to be other people on screen. Often times they were "acting" in real life, too.

I've grown up a lot since my early years of disillusionment, but that doesn't take anything away from those who lose their lives, especially those who seem on the surface like they have so much to live for. But whether it be Heath Ledger or Britney Spears, it doesn't change the fact that something somewhere is seriously wrong. Say what you want, but young Hollywood today did not seem to learn a thing from the pitfalls of those lost child performers. Instead the public continues to build these people now, more than ever. Think about it. The paparazzi today is 100 times worse than it was ten or twenty years ago. They are stronger in means and in numbers. Does this excuse erratic behavior and the actions of overgrown children who don't know how to behave? Of course it doesn't. But it's the chicken or the egg scenario. Are these people lost because they lead a life of debauchery or are they leading a life of debauchery because they are lost?

We might never know what category Heath Ledger fell into. All we do know is that he now and will forever on be remembered as one of the many who was taken from us far too soon.

When I think about River Phoenix's death and the troubled lives of those who have come after him, a popular song from that time period haunts me to this day. This song is called Amazing and it was sung by Aerosmith. At the time the lyrics reminded me so much of the news of River Phoenix's untimely passing but as the years have gone by, it's become much more than that. The song hints at the promise of change, but to me the "light" also could be construed as the light to the other side. I'll leave it up to you.


I kept the right ones out
And let the wrong ones in
Had an angel of mercy to see me through all my sins
There were times in my life
When I was goin' insane
Tryin' to walk through
The pain
When I lost my grip
And I hit the floor
Yeah,I thought I could leave but couldn't get out the door
I was so sick and tired
Of livin' a lie
I was wishin that I
Would die

It's Amazing
With the blink of an eye you finally see the light
It's Amazing
When the moment arrives that you know you'll be alright
It's Amazing
And I'm sayin' a prayer for the desperate hearts tonight

That one last shot's a Permanent Vacation
And how high can you fly with broken wings?
Life's a journey not a destination
And I just can't tell just what tomorrow brings

You have to learn to crawl
Before you learn to walk
But I just couldn't listen to all that righteous talk, oh yeah
I was out on the street,
Just tryin' to survive
Scratchin' to stay

Desperate hearts, desperate hearts

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Razzle Dazzle Them"

This week the infamous Razzies released their list of nominations. If you don't know what the Razzies are, simply think of the Oscars on opposite day. They honor the best just like the Oscars do, only in the Razzies case, they honor the best of the worst. Which leads me to today's question...

What do you think were the worst performances of the year? In the name of expansion this could be the worst movie or acting in a movie, worst TV show or even worst album or song. Feel free to write as little or as much that comes to mind.

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Write Back Weekend "Blog Unto Others, As You'd Have Them Blog Unto You"

This past week I asked what might be seen by some as a cop out question. I asked for some brand new blog suggestions. How it was perceived I simply cannot control, but further clarification I can surely give.

A few weekends ago I finally made the time to update my links accordingly. It's probably the longest time I've let my links go unattended. At any rate, that's how I discovered that a good many of them were defunct. I swear I had to delete at least 20. I wish I could say the purge was comforting, but in reality it was actually more discomforting. This is because all of those people in somehow, someway had a small part in my AOGB life. Now without explanation they are gone from the blogosphere. Some are still around and like I said, decided I was no longer worth linking to. That's painful on a different level, but it's the blogging life and it happens. Thanks to Lightning Bug's Butt for once again deeming me worthy enough to grace his blog's presence. I don't know what I did wrong last time, but hopefully this time around you'll see fit to have me stay. By the way, he was never gone from my sidebar links. Just because someone doesn't link to me, doesn't mean I always don't link back and vice versa. Janet don't play like that.

The second part is where YOU came in. Since I forcibly had to drop many of my links, I decided I was in the market for a few good blogs. Unfortunately from the responses I did get, it seems that all of you are in the same boat that I'm in. Needless to say, my desire to write a post about all the great blogs I discovered here kinda went bust. And this in a sense connects to the bigger problem I've been having. Most of my old blogging friends are out of the game and I find the new breed of bloggers that I run into to be somewhat of a snobby bunch. There I said it. I say this because when I didn't get many blog recommendations from y'all, I took matters into my own hands and decided to visit some of your blogrolls on my own. I don't know how many blogs I visited and commented on, but as of today, not ONE of those people visited and commented back. Nice, right? Whatever happened to blogging etiquette not to mention curiosity or wanting to meet like minded bloggers. I tell ya. Bloggers these days. Not sure what they're in it for exactly.

But a promise is a promise and as a result, I intend to highlight what I did find, no matter how few and far between my travels took me.

Lindsay of Blood, Guts & Melodies has been coming here awhile now with thoughtful comments and frequent TITMT participation. Since I'm a teacher, certainly the TITMT points would serve as extra credit, and yet I was sadly remiss in adding her link to my life. It's not that I didn't visit Lindsay's blog and like what it had to offer, I just had been lazy in terms of linking, a process I once was so diligent about. So, when it came time to recommend a blogger Lindsay recommended herself, and with good reason. She's a blogger after my own heart because she doesn't write about any one thing. While themed blogs are nice from time to time, I also like the unpredictability of clicking through and not knowing what you're going to get. This is the kind of blog Blood, Guts & Melodies is. But don't take my word for it. Go over and tell Lindsay AOGB sent ya!

Loyal AOGB visitor Sharkbait recommended I knew I had heard of this site before, but when I visited I found you couldn't leave a comment without registering. Me don't likey that. So I went back over to Sharkbait's place where she informed that they charge a one time $5 dollar fee but that it's worth it. While I'm sure it is, I'm slightly squeamish about registering to read ANY blog. Plus what I'm looking for is to make a blogging connection, not unlike Chuck Woolery did with love back in the eighties. Buying into a big conglomerate of a blog makes me feel like I'm no longer supporting the indies. I do appreciate her exuberance though, especially since she turned around and asked her readers to recommend blogs to her. I'm going to do that right here, right now. Sharkbait, meet Lindsay above. Lindsay, meet Sharkbait.:)

Life of Marty's Marty threw a recommendation into the ring that I'm not going to repeat here (not that you can't do the slightest detective work and find out on your own, but still). A lot of people have endorsed this blog before and as a result, I have visited this blog before. But this blog is only one blog that serves as an example of one of my blogging pet peeves. I don't want to single said blog out though because by no means is it this blog's problem. It's more like a growing epidemic. Like I said earlier, a blog need not link to me for me to link to them and vice versa. But, and this is a big BUT, I do like to know that me and/or my blog matters to them in somehow, someway at some point. There are exceptions for instance like say I visit a writer's blog or someone famous. I know they don't have time for little ol' me.

Yet a lot of times, bloggers get around visiting other bloggers by commenting to them only back via their blog. I do that sometimes, but I always visit their blog, too. Not only do I see it as blogging common courtesy, I think that it's rather presumptuous to think that every person who comments on my blog is going to come back and read every comment I make. If you have the time for all that, God bless ya, but for the most part, I don't. I refer to this as half assed reciprocation. If I have to be Angela Lansbury to find out an answer to my question or create a conversation about a topic, for the most part, I'll pass.

Finally, frequent TITMT contributer Sid Faiwu reposted the question on his blog. His recommendation was AOGB which was nice. Again though, he only got one response given to him and it looked like it was from somebody who already visited there. The attempt was an admirable one, but it looks like one we all made in vain, apparently.

So there you have it. Unfortunately it was a rather dismal turnout to the TITMT this weekend, but I think this is a larger issue that deserves deeper exploration. I also feel that while like minded bloggers seem to be fewer and farther between, that doesn't mean bloggers should give up fighting the good fight completely. If you have any thoughts on the matter (or last minute recommendations) feel free to leave them in the comments.
Thursday, January 17, 2008

Slip Sliding Away

Everyone has something or someone they have admired from a distance. Some people play air guitar to their throngs of simulated friends, legends in their own minds. Others play Xbox games where they can be a football star or the next Tiger Woods.

Well, when I was growing up, I always admired figure skaters. I loved the way they made gliding along the ice, something I have still never tried myself, look so darn easy. I watched in awe as they would skate through the air and make numerous jumps, dips and flips. Once I even had figure skates for my Barbie doll. On a card table, I placed aluminum foil to simulate the rink. It was a makeshift attempt, but it did the trick, at least figuratively. There's only so much you can do though to recreate that double axle with a leg that just won't bend.

The early 90's was a time that for me, will always be synonymous with the ice skating craze. Maybe it was just on my personal radar, but those are the years I finally feel skating began to get the credit it was long over due. Not only were many skating championships televised on multiple stations, there was even a movie, The Cutting Edge, that came out in 1992. I hearted that movie sooo much. It took my two favorite things at the time, chick flicks and figure skating and rolled it into one. It was awesome. Before that all the figure skating world had was Ice Castles which was also a great movie, much more depressing in comparison.

Since I started getting into watching skating more and more in 1991, when the 1992 Winter Olympics came along, I actually had a stake in who made it to the Olympic teams for each country. Although I watched my share of pairs and women's championships, my favorite were the men. I can't tell you why, but for some reason, the men skating by themselves were the most interesting to me. Pairs could dazzle you, and the women singles were talented, but it seemed like in the men's group, at least at that time, there were a few skaters who were trying to go outside the box. They were breathing new life into the figure skating genre which made me sit up and take notice.

I have many figure skaters I have liked over the years, but three of my favorites have stayed with me over time. My first, all time favorite is Scott Hamilton. No matter who comes after him, or who skated before him for that matter, I think Hamilton is still the best skater I've ever seen or will see, period. He did so many hard moves with what looked like such ease. If you knew anything about his childhood and the health difficulties he had to overcome, both then and now, you'd appreciate his talents even more. I once read his biography and did a report on him for school and I learned so much. All I have for that man is mad props and tons of respect.

My other favorite skater was Kurt Browning. A Canadian skater, I think I initially got into watching him because he was so darn cute back then. But the more of the routines of his I watched, the more I realized how much fun he brought to the ice. I never would have predicted that he would end up looking more like Scott Hamilton than Kevin Bacon as the years went on, but hey, time does funny things to a man.

My third favorite male figure skater of all time is Christopher "the Showman" Bowman. A child actor turned skater, Bowman knew how to turn on the charm. Chris Bowman looked innocent, but don't let his looks fool you. Out of the three men, he was the youngest and therefore the closest to being someone I could relate to. But it was more than that. His skating had a fearless quality to it. He would attempt moves he knows he shouldn't have, both in and out of competition and pay the price because of it. No one could deny how talented he was, but the reality was you only got to see a fraction of that talent due to his erratic behavior. Rumor had it he never put his heart and soul into the rigorous training that many skaters dedicate themselves to. In theory, his "half-assed" attempts could still skate cirlces, no put intended, around the competition. Imagine if he had been all in at any point. That's what his coaches and peers felt, too.

Bowman himself was well aware of his reputation and pretty forthcoming about being the self imposed "bad boy" of the male figure skaters. Back then I considered him the Robert Downey Jr. of the skating world. Both extremely talented and charismatic, but also both of them were amazingly self destructive. It seems Downey has finally got a hold of his demons (knock on wood) however Bowman wasn't so lucky as he died last week in a seedy hotel room, supposedly of a drug overdose.

It had been some years since I had given Christopher Bowman much thought, but from time to time I will still tune into skating to see whose out there and what it's all about. Whenever I watch skating I instantly would think of Christopher and what he was doing. I heard he was coaching which made me happy to hear since it seemed like maybe he had grounded himself somewhat. Even if he never reached his only personal best on the ice, perhaps he could help others achieve that goal. But I quickly learned to realize that just because he was out of the limelight didn't mean he had changed his "bad boy" ways. To the contrary. It seems he battled his demons continually and without apology the 40 short years he lived on this Earth. Hard living, reckless behavior and time left Chris looking something like this when he died.

A lot of people have said that Christopher Bowman lived the life he wanted to live and for that, he got what he wanted out of his time. But I can't imagine anyone would want to struggle with addiction and playing by the rules had they been given a choice. It's just a shame that sometimes talent and tumultuousness often seem to go hand in hand. It seems that Bowman never found what he was looking for in this life but souls like him live on somehow. If any skater could learn anything from Christopher Bowman it would be to not be afraid to take that risk. Bowman's whole life was one, some successful, some not so successful.

This clip is one of my favorite Christopher Bowman performances and has stayed with me all these years. It's partly due to his playful behavior, partly due to his perfect song choice. Even the commentary sums him up wonderfully in retrospect. It's not a perfect performance, but that's precisely why I chose it. There is another version of this routine out there which is flawless, but I felt this one better reflected who Bowman was as a skater and a person and why he will forever be missed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Step Right Up! Don't Be Shy!"

This weekend I finally had some time to do some long overdue weeding out of my sidebar links. In fact, I even managed to squeeze in a new post upcoming for this week, too! I dread revisiting the links though if only because I find out the hard way that many of them are defunct with no trace of how or where they went to. Even worse, depending on how you look at it, are the people who are still there but have decided to that AOGB isn't worth linking to anymore. Ouch.

So in an effort to play catch up and put my best blogging foot forward in 2008 I want to dedicate this week's TITMT to an AOGB, semi-annual tradition.

I want to know what links you think need to be added to my sidebar that aren't there already. This could be a brand new blog that you recently found or one that has sadly remained missing from the cavalcade of AOGB links. Oh, and if you are one of those links, speak up and let me know! Incidentally this also applies to My Space and I suppose Facebook and Friendster, though I really don't use either of those.

It all boils down to not wanting to leave anyone out really. If you are kind enough to continue to visit here I want to be kind enough to return the favor in the one small way I know how. In exchange, I plan on writing about as many new blogs as possible this weekend as my "response".

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Write Back Weekend "Don't Disturb This Groove"

There's a saying that goes, "Some people just pass through your life... others, come in, leave footprints on your heart, and you are forever changed..."

I thought of this saying with today's answer to the TITMT question only my abridged version would be the following, "Some movies just pass through your life... others, come in, scare the crap out of you and make your heart beat out of its chest, and you are forever tainted..."

Today's post is all about those movies that are so out there and disturbing that you didn't sleep right for weeks after the fact, you were that bothered by the imagery, subject matter or a combination of both. It should be said that the kinds of movies that have done this to me haven't been horror films in the "traditional" sense. That's because for the most part when you watch a horror film, it's very easy to laugh off what's going on. They are rooted in unbelievable premises and even less believable acting. No, the movies that stick to my ribs are the ones that, for the most part, have some element of reality in them. These things, no matter how outrageous, could happen. If it's real and possible, no matter how plausible, the scary factor ups a few notches in my book.

1. Deliverance- Believe it or not, I had never seen this movie until a few weeks ago. I hadn't been living under a rock though so I knew a few things about the movie. First I knew about the classic, banjo playing song that was made famous in conjunction with this film. Second, I knew it starred Jon Voight who, perhaps inexplicably to some people has scared the hell out of me for years. And third, I knew that people who have seen it say they never looked at a weekend alone in the wilderness the same way since. Other than I don't want to give much more away. I will say though that it's a perfect example of how less can be more in film making and be far more effective in creating fear in the viewers, too.

2. Alive- This is the story of rugby team members that survive a plane crash, only to land in the cold, snowy and isolated Andes. One important detail that adds to its scariness is that it is inspired by a true story. It makes movies like Castaway and tv shows like Lost seem like child's play, especially when you consider there are people out there that actually lived through this. The crash itself is one scene that forever will stay with me as completely frightening and horrible.

3. Kids- Do you really want to find out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real? Well forget MTV's Real World. Check out the streets of cities like New York where street kids come of age in movies like Kids. While the movie itself was not based on real life, the cast of actors, then mostly unknowns, had a very real quality to them. You knew that if they weren't representing themselves and their own lives, they were representing other kids out there that really existed and were just like this. Kids is a disturbing movie because it portrays a generation of seekers who don't know what they are looking for. They get by with decadent drug use and extreme sexual behavior. Watching actual kids act this out was very disturbing to me since I was just about that age at that time. Even more disturbing is that it probably lost some of its shock appeal considering such shocking behaviors are becoming more and more commonplace, not less.

4. Natural Born Killers- I have to be
honest and say that I never saw this movie in its entirety. But I know enough to know that it's scary and disturbing. After all, it's written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Oliver Stone and it stars Juliette Lewis who back then was the queen of acting whacked out and weird. She has calmed down considerably, but if anyone ever needs to cast a crazy bitch whose off her rocker, Lewis is your woman.

5. A Clockwork Orange- Another one that I'm not sure I saw from start to finish, A Clockwork Orange still earns a place on this list because it is a film that has permeated culture outside itself with it's disturbing imagery. This is a film that plays with the psyche, often matching up awful images with music that evokes opposite emotions. It also needs to be said that it's a film that was made in the 70's. For me, that adds to the scary factor considering any film like this from this time period, a time period in itself which scares the hell out of me, instantly earns extra bonus points.

6. Tommy- Just like I stated above, this movie automatically scored scary points because it was an "out there" musical from the seventies. It's the story of a deaf, dumb and blind boy who becomes a master pinball wizard. It's a classic, but it's also classically creepy. I think I saw the whole movie, but one scene that has stayed with me all this time is what I like to refer to as the infamous "bean scene". It stars the actress formerly known as the prim and proper Ann Margaret presumably going off her rocker. But don't take my word for it. Watch it here for yourself.

7. The Fly- This movie is probably the least realistic one on the list and therefore breaks my rule of supposed scariness. But let me just say in my defense that the idea that Jeff Goldblum, a man who already looks like a fly without makeup, could possibly turn into one somehow, someway, completely creeped me out. Perfect casting then can be blamed for making this movie so completely scary in my mind. Oh and the fact that flies themselves are disgusting and ugly creatures doesn't help matters either.

8. The Exorcist- One of very few horror films to make the list in my mind, it's scary for all the obvious reasons. One, once again let me point out it was filmed in the seventies. Two, watching an actual little girl devolve in front of our eyes was disturbing in itself, especially considering that Linda Blair says that she has back problems to this day due to the way they flung her around back then. Nice, huh? Third, the occult and possession are very real concepts to me. Call it the unknown, but the portrayal of such possession has been attempted many times since. This one was ground breaking though and thus the one that sticks with most of us, unlike most of it's direct or indirect predecessors.

9. Crash Not to be confused with another film from the nineties with the same title, this Crash starred Holly Hunter, James Spader and Elias Koteas. What's scary and unique about this film is the premise itself. In fact, you don't even need to actually see it to know that it's wrong, just wrong. It's a movie about people who get turned on by having sex with people who've been seriously injured in car crashes. Plus, as anyone who has ever witnessed classic James Spader knows, he can creep the hell out of you with his patented smarmy ways. In fact, if any casting directors are out there listening I hope you get Spader back into that. I still feel that's the type of role he plays best.

10. Scanners- This movie was highly unrealistic, and even a bit humorous (intentional or not) but that didn't stop it from making the list. I think this is because of the quality of the film itself. Science fiction in nature, it's the story of a small percentage of the population who have scanning abilities that can control and kill other people. Silly in premise, yes but disturbing in it's execution? Absolutely. I decided this is attributed to late night viewing, a haunting score and the complete creepiness of actor Michael Ironside who truly takes staring to the next level. Interestingly enough, David Cronenberg directed three different movies to make my list, Scanners, The Fly and Crash. Perhaps it's the man himself who I'd fear instead of his body of work.

11. Poltergeist Series- In my mind this movie makes the list not so much for the film itself, but for the cursed events that surrounded its filming. Teen actress Dominique Dunne was strangled and killed by her boyfriend in 1982 while adorable child actress, Heather O'Rourke died in 1988 at the age of twelve due to intestinal problems. Both might have been weird coincidences, but such young and premature deaths that involved two actors on the same shoot were freaky enough for me. Incidentally, they are both buried in the same cemetary, too. This coupled with the fact that its such a legendary supernatural franchise spooks me out considerably.

12. Saw- At present time, there have been four Saws so far. I think I "saw" two of them. That's really besides the point. I've seen enough of the series to know that a horror film in nature, it's still highly disturbing. Mainly because there is a psychological element to it. It's not mindless killing that is going on in Saw. It's well thought out on the part of the killer and involves the solving a puzzle in order to survive. Of course the viewer knows the puzzles themselves are not going to be solved, but that doesn't make watching the person going through the torture sequences any less wince worthy.

13. Open Water- To me this, is like the little engine that could of scary film making. That's because it's a small film with unknown actors and a minuscule budget, and yet it proves that you don't big money or big names to make a big impact. It also should be said that this film is inspired by a true story which again, adds to the eerie feeling of the film. Simply shot, it's the story of a couple that go out on a scuba diving excursion only to be left behind by the boat that takes them there. The film in large part only follows these two actors as they stay afloat in the water, praying someone will come rescue them. Adding to the realism was the fact that the actors were actually in water with sharks during the filming and wore extra protection because of this.

14. Silkwood Silkwood is the story of Karen Silkwood, a small time employee of a nuclear facility, who begins to suspect there are safety violations at the plant she is working in, exposing workers to dangerous levels of contamination. The further she gets into her investigation, the more of a target she seemingly becomes. The subject matter itself, inspired by true events is horrific. The scenes where they are forced to decontaminate Karen are highly disturbing in nature and exceptionally powerful making me feel sick to my stomach, even more so when you think that she actually went through this scary process in real life.

15. Requiem for a Dream- Not only is this movie disturbing, it's also very sad. It's a cartoonish depiction of four different drug addicts downward spirals into the depths of their addictions. They all arrive at the same place for different reasons and their individual stories are just so overwhelming. The story of the older lady however, played beautifully by Ellen Burstyn, takes the cake. It's incredibly heart breaking to watch her destruction. Even if you know what's coming, it doesn't make the process any easier to watch.

The only bad thing about writing about all of these movies is why I wrote about them to begin with, because they are all so damn disturbing. Thankfully I finished this post in the morning and not right before going to bed. Hopefully if you read this, your timing is the same.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Do Not Disturb"

Have you ever watched something only to have it haunt you for hours, days or even years later? Perhaps it was the subject matter itself, the way a particular event was depicted or a combination of the two.

Well today, I want to know the following...

What are the most disturbing films you have ever seen and what, in your opinion, made them so disturbing?

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Write Back Weekend "Promise Purgatory"

Last week I asked the typical end of the year, wrap up type question when I asked you what your New Years resolutions were. Many of you, not unlike me, did not see January first as an excuse to change what could be changed any other day. Still, change or not change, that doesn't "change" the fact that the new year does make you think about things like fresh starts--along with the fact that 1988 was (yikes) twenty years ago already, but I digress.

Resolutions are powerful things and quite frankly, I think that's why so many of us are resistant to making them. If a year goes by and we haven't fulfilled our resolutions, we run the risk of letting others down, as well as ourselves. Plus many of us pick out of reach resolutions, things that aren't completely in our control, and then spend a lot of time beating ourselves up for not reaching our goals. Then there are the others who make resolutions just to make them and pick things that are easily attainable so that they don't have to reach that far to say they changed something.

The point is, there's no use in making a resolution, no matter what time of year it is, if you don't truly want to do it. The other main component is that you have to try to achieve it. This doesn't mean that you necessarily have to get it done, but it means that you really, truly want to for no one else but YOU. I tried to explain this concept to my third graders when working on resolutions in class. I found many of then went the play it safe route instead of picking things they could really work on like paying better attention in class or completing all of their homework. I guess you could say denial and slacking permeates our culture from an early age.

In order to better understand where I'm headed in 2008 it's only fair to visit where I wanted to go in 2007 and 2006. Last year my goals were the following:

1. Get paid for writing something, somehow, someway.
2. Work out more with weights.
3. Travel to someplace new.
4. Take more pictures.
5. Work on being more patient with my students.
6. Work on living in the moment.
7. Make a conscious effort to write '07 on everything sooner rather than later.

And here were my goals from 2006...

1. Get paid for writing something, somehow, someway.
2. Be more positive. Oh who am I kidding? I'll never be able to do that.
3. Read more books that inspire movies than see movies that inspire books.
4. Try not to be so sensitive about what others think about me. I think that's a good one. What do you think?
5. Travel to somewhere exotic...even if it's the international section of the supermarket.
6. Ride on a unicorn. What? I had to put something truly unattainable on there. It offsets the other five nicely, making them look much more feasible, no?

Now if you're playing along at home you'll notice there's been a pattern. In 2006, I resolved to work on six things. In 2007 I planned to work on seven things. So if I'm consistent in at least one area of my life, in 2008 I'd plan to work on (all together now) eight things.

Now that this is my third year making resolutions I've decided to rename them to works in progress considering many of the items from the last two years can easily carry over to this year as well.

1. Get paid for writing something, somehow, someway.

Technically this has happened, but it's nice to resolve to get paid for something every year, right?

2. Work out more with weights.

This also has happened, but I still haven't achieved the results I want. I'm sure this is a mix of not doing it properly and not doing it consistently. Stay tuned on this one for further development.

3. Travel to someplace new.

I'm keeping this one on year because it's going to happen this year, dammit. After all, I have a honeymoon to go on.

4. Take more pictures.

Those of you who read what I got for Christmas know that I got a new camera this year. That coupled with a few big things happening this year = no more excuses.

5. Work on being more patient with my students.

This is another one I can easily make each year but in my defense, every year it's different students, and yet the problems remain the same. Needles to say, it's an ongoing battle.

6. Be more positive, period.

This one I need to do for my health sooner rather than later. I can do it though. See? I'm already achieving this goal. Check!

7. Own my first home.

I don't know if this is something that counts under the heading of resolution, but it's also something I plan on achieving in 2008 so I might as well list it here since I want to work on getting it done.

8. Stop always treating people the way I want to be treated.

This is probably the most questionable one on the list but I'll try to explain. I consider myself to be a thoughtful, sensitive person to a fault. But year after year, I find I'm often burned by people ranging from acquaintances to close friends. It could be something really small, but it doesn't matter, it still smarts me. The fact that my feelings get hurt I can't control, but the way I treat others who treat me this way can. So I've decided I have to toughen up. Stop being so nice to people and accommodating others who don't do the same for me in return. What can I say? No more Mrs. Nice Janet.

So there you have it, my eight in 2008. Think I can achieve them all? Next yeat I get to tack on one more but the good news is the year after that, I only have to choose one thing to work on, right?:)
Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Tell It To Me Tuesday "Out With the Old, In With the New"

Before I dive into this week's TITMT question, I want to wish everyone who is kind enough to visit AOGB a Happy New Year. Going with that built in theme, today's question seemed like a no brainer...

What are your resolutions for the year 2008? If you don't have personal resolutions, what are the things you wish would happen in the world? Be as silly or as serious as you want to on this one. Have fun!

If you are participating on your blog, the rules are simple:

1. Answer this question ON YOUR BLOG and THEN link back to it via the box below.
2. Leave a comment letting me know you played along.
3. If you are interested in adding the box to your site, please visit Mister Linky.
4. If you have any questions or you're confused just ASK!



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