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September 22, 2005

Four Perfect, Flawless Films About Childhood

Here are four movies that have meant a great, great deal to me, and have been really inspirational and influential on how I write and see the world. If you haven't seen them, I highly recommend. Two of these (the Truffaut and the Ramsay) are available on DVD from The Criterion Collection, and word has it that the other two are coming soon from the same company. I can't wait.

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FORBIDDEN GAMES (Jeux Interdits), René Clément, 1952

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THE 400 BLOWS (Les Quatre cents coups), François Truffaut, 1959

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SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (El Espíritu de la colmena), Víctor Erice, 1973

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RATCATCHER, Lynne Ramsay, 1999

Posted by at 11:24 PM | Comments (6)

September 21, 2005

I Heart Sharon Olds

Busy, busy, busy. The end of the novel is within a slippery reach right now. I think I may actually make my end-of-year deadline after all.

Thanks again to everyone who's replying to the posts here-- and if you haven't listed your iPod "most played songs" yet, skip down a couple of entries and please do so!!

One of my top-ten favorite poets of all time is Sharon Olds. There was a brief time in 1990, when I didn't know whether I wanted to pursue my poetry writing or my fiction, when I considered going to NYU, simply because she taught there. Anyone who's read the poetry I was writing back then will find it pretty obvious that I was worshipping her (one of the reasons, I guess, why I ultimately chose fiction over poetry-- I didn't feel very comfortable with my own "voice" with the latter). Anyway. Sharon Olds is in the news today, and I couldn't be happier with the reason. Seems our nation's First Lady asked her to DC for the National Book Festival. And Sharon declined the offer in a brilliantly written letter published in The Nation.

If you don't have time to read all of it, here's the end of her letter:

"...I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush Administration.

"What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.

"So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it."

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CELEBRATE SHARON OLDS! Go to a bookstore today and buy one of her emotional, precise, cathartic, lovely books of poems. Each page turned = a slap in the face of the Bushes.

Posted by at 07:15 PM | Comments (3)

September 17, 2005

Random

Here's a random list of websites with stuff that interests me:

1. Roller

2. Scent

3. Logic

4. Eden

5. Abduct

6. Reality

7. Mash

8. Moth

9. Swim

10. Sapphire

11. Stull

12. Wave

13. Vampire

14. Britain

15. Drive

Posted by at 02:20 PM | Comments (1)

September 13, 2005

My 25 Most Played

Like anyone else, I love my iPod. The name of mine is SQUID (not just because it's white, but also because that was, for a brief time, my nickname in college).

My favorite feature on it is its meticulous "song counting" feature, and the "25 Most Played List" that constantly changes. Since I usually keep my iPod on "shuffle," it's like a little contest, each song fighting it out to be the all-time most played.

I've got about 7200 songs on my iPod right now. Here are the 25 (well, actually 29, because of ties) that have been played the most--title, artist, and number of times played. (Didn't I say I was obsessed with lists?)

1. "Wonderful Combat," Jay-Jay Johanson, 40
2. "Step Into The Breeze," Spiritualized, 38
3. "Fugitive Motel," Elbow, 37
3. "Bitter Kiss," Faultline, 37
5. "Lazy Day," The Boo Radleys, 36
5. "Jewel Sky," Felt, 36
5. "Obstacle 1," Interpol, 36
5. "We Have A Map Of The Piano," Múm, 36
5. "Go To Sleep," Radiohead, 36
10. "Nothing Feels," Bark Psychosis, 35
10. "Not A Job," Elbow, 35
10. "Quiet & Still," Even Johansen, 35
10. "Museum Mile," Geneva, 35
10. "Viðrar vel til loftárása," Sigur Rós, 35
15. "In Dark Trees," Brian Eno, 34
15. "Everything's Perfect," Magnet, 34
15. "Ratts of the Capital," Mogwai, 34
15. "Let Down," Radiohead, 34
15. "Planet Telex," Radiohead, 34
20. "21 York Street," And Also The Trees, 33
20. "For You," Big Star, 33
20. "Medusa," Clan of Xymox, 33
20. "Orange Appled," Cocteau Twins, 33
20. "Drug," The Czars, 33
20. "Three Elements [Watamu Remix]," Malory, 33
20. "Leave Me Alone," New Order, 33
20. "Sennen," Ride, 33
20. "Tegan," Sing-Sing, 33
20. "The Hurting," Tears For Fears, 33

PS-- I'd love to hear your "Most Played" iPod lists.

Posted by at 12:23 AM | Comments (11)

September 06, 2005

My Thoughts Exactly

Thanks for all the nice comments. I'll address the questions individually very soon!

In the meantime...

I'm still at a loss for words about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. CNN, as always, has been really impressive in their coverage, especially Anderson Cooper and Christiane Amanpour, who go way beyond their duties as reporters.

Rather than continue, I'll just ask you to please watch this MS-NBC editorial by Keith Olbermann, which sums up my feelings about our government's response: Olbermann

Posted by at 10:03 AM | Comments (2)