When I worked in P.T., I’d try to help patients leave feeling better than they walked in.
When I couldn’t, I’d subconsciously take their sadness home with me. Since I had a lotta pain of my own to deal with, by the day's end I wasn’t about personal edification, talking to anyone, or helping any additional humans. My reality consisted of feeling badly when I couldn’t help someone and feeling worse when people who had ish far worse (like cancer) handled it far better than I handled my bulging discs and a 9 to 5.
To tune out the mind misery, I’d flip a switch and let the High Def I.Q. reducer wash over me. A funny Faris flick, some standup, and a Workaholics marathon from bed made for an excellent weekend itinerary.
So, it was no surprise to me when I was reading this article about another chick working in P.T. at Belvoir (‘cept she was – ya know – a real doctor) who described the same sentiment – needing to come home, silence the phone, and zone out to canned laughter.
“Compassion fatigue”, she called it.
The chick mentioned helping wounded vets coming back from war who were dealing with PTSD and severe injuries. Then, she recounted meeting this one kid called Kai who liked movies as well. Kai suggested a specific one to her (which she thought it was gonna be an excellent antidote to the compassion fatigue). It ended up being a Nazi tale.
Overall, the article was excellent.
Really excellent – till, of course, I was Rickrolled by this bit:
"...looking all around."
Holy sniper rifle.
It makes sense though. And I couldn't come up with any better of a response than she did. When I was younger, I didn’t get why my dad dropped into a mid-distance gaze when we'd talk about war or why he’d wake up in a panic at the cacophony on Independence Day night. We even teased him about his reaction to firecrackers.
Now I feel like a total asshole about that.
Like, as in, I can't aptly describe what an asshole I feel like. He detailed once, the story of his buddy dismantling projectile style into the foliage above them after an explosion. Because he conveyed the event with such emotional detachment, I couldn’t make sense of it. Now, I sorta can.
I mean, I don’t think you can go through a brain rape like that and come back with intact sanity. It’s inconceivable to me.
There’s this thing that happens in grown men who seem otherwise confident, secure, or even arrogant - if you ask them about what happened at war. They’d sooner talk about their daddy issues on a couch or tell the truth about that time they cheated on their wife than answer and emote honestly after an open-ended question about Vietnam or Fallujah. If you watch, you can see it happening - something perceptibly dies in their eyes as they cross their own cognitive dissonance, discarding all the horrifying imagery that branches tandem to the word “war”.
They are hunting for the plausible but false answers they wish were true.
And that’s what they'll tell you instead.
In a totally, totally different way, it’s how I imagine astronauts feel returning to Earth (bear with me) - I mean that paradigm earthquake of perspective that rocks your idea of the rock we live on. Be it placid like the cosmos or violent like Vietnam – once you’ve seen a whole 'nother world, you must realize how meaningless the charade everyone agrees to believe in is.
I guess this is why many soldiers forced to fight a war they don’t believe in it - return full-on patriotic. Once stuck in remote location and subjected to the bowels of inhumanity, camo inculcation hits quick. But it’s probably welcome by that point. As humans, we need to make moral sense of things.
And if causing pain lacks purpose, how can we live with ourselves?
But where baby boomers complied with urges to return and reemerge with the 'murican dream like a piece of Play Doh, modern soldiers are less likely to shoe away pain so seamlessly. They may not break out the Kleenex, but they're understandably reluctant to pretend they haven't just touched down from some parallel universe. They stay connected to it - even if just by relating to the familiar horrors of a Hollywood creation.
You could go to a land where your buddy's decapitated head remains agonizingly animated. Or you could rocket somewhere that reminds you we’re all forged outta the same fucking stars – not so separate as we think. Either must make you wonder “how can I go back to that make believe life?” Do you return to the fake game? Become a revolutionary? Sit on the sidelines like some pensive sage wallflower?
After observing eternity or depravity alike, the whole political floor show, dazzling idols of Hollywood, and rapidly evolving Idiocracy… it has to be nauseating. Because any such event is an event horizon. You pass. You never truly return.
And you go mad wondering which life is real and which is the dream.
Remember that time Jesus turned water into alcohol?
Me neither. But I hear it was pretty cool. I mean, the people who actually saw the Copperfield Cabernet action were impressed enough to scrawl it down in every language. And if you're an attention seeker like me and desire that sort've adulation, you can do it too…
...with the help of Palcohol.
Palcohol is a fun innovation Bacchanalian-ventor Mark Phillips came up with after thinking something like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if alcohol came in powdered form?”
The answer is: Yes. Yes it would be cool. In theory anyway.
So far, six flavors of the stuff are available; rum, vodka, cosmopolitan, mojito, margarita, and lemon drop can be easily slipped into your beverage of choice (be it water, soda, juice, etc.).
And while they say to add a powder pack to five ounces of water, somehow I prognosticate that people desperate enough to get soused surreptitiously will desire a higher molarity for their mojito.
Indeed, furtive intoxication is the appeal of Palcohol. From airplanes and concerts (where spirits are reduced to doll toy proportions) to church (where the dude in a robe Bogarts the booze and makes you gaze on in envy as he guzzles from a goblet), the powdered EtOH is the ideal workaround.
Naturally, the people who own the establishments pushing Pinot at $12 a glass (cut to sideways glance and smirk at every booby ‘n booty club I’ve ever patronized) aren’t a fan of this idea. Likewise, locales like movie theaters don’t need any drama beyond the silverscreen's Platonic Hollywood puppet show. Joker wannabe and his movie massacre were bad enough. So was the dude who suddenly decided the only logical way to deal with someone text messaging during the previews was with a firearm.
For those who wanna use it in church though, I totes have your back. Especially the church I left long ago because it was too effing stuffy. Get some Ethanolly Spirit up in them folk and you’ll see me there this Sunday, genuflecting and taking notes.
As for the junkies who grow a supernova glow at the words “powdered drug”, I wouldn’t suggest insufflation. I mean, you can, but it’s gonna burn because they added a buncha junk to it.
But (and sorry to burst your champagne bubble) nobody needs to worry about inconspicuous intoxication just yet. In a random turn of events, the product got green lit when it wasn’t meant to be. Even Phillips himself was shocked. Yesterday, they admitted that it's not approved - that it was an “error”.
We all know you slipped Palc in their cappuccinos on decision day, Mark.
I’ve heard of people taking video games seriously, but…seriously?
Football is just a game.
And World of Warcraft (or whatever Treyarch MWXYZ is) is also just a game (a game where grown men and ten year olds alike verbally revile one another online in sweet anonymity - protected from anything other than invectives).
But take an ex-football player who has settled for playing online video games after having left the pigskin clique, and what do you think he’s gonna do?
If your first answer was “launch expletives at fellow players, record it, and then upload it to the internet”, then you’re right. But only half right.
The rest of the story is that he would… ahem… attack trees.
At least that’s what this one guy from Ohio does. This NFL (that’s Natural Forest Lumberjack, not – ya know - genunine NFL player) pine-backer goes by the “Human Axe” because he runs straight into standing trees and makes ‘em fall using sheer shoulder force.
His reason for the arboreal attacks? Because the video game he plays had some sort of a glitch. And the best cure for butthurt is a distraction – like ramming your rotator cuff into the miscellaneous and majestic manifestations of mother nature.
But don’t be fooled.
These aren’t living trees as he’s claimed in some uploads. They’ve been long gone for a while and remain upright in name only – hollow and full of fungus – kind of like this story left me feeling.
Ya know, this is one of those tales where I felt more fascinated by the sheer stupidity of it than the actual capacity to topple a bark coated corpse of what was once a sweet unassuming oxygen architect.
Even better was Sir Tree Tackler’s description in his original online video.
Maybe you can read it for me. I’d say it was mostly a masturbatory reminiscence about when life was still carefree beer bonging, Varsity Blues, and blowjobs. But to be fair, my brain-lungs started passing out after the one-millionth comma:
Or maybe Paul Bunyon’s finally taken to felling all the still-living trees and I’m just not getting enough O2 up in here anymore.
I hope homeboy finds some inner peace with his new lot in life.
Outrageous Acts (Axe?) of Science indeed.
I remember the first time I saw 127 hours.
And the second. And the fourteenth.
It’s dumbfounding how a movie like this can be so captivatingly entertaining when it is centered on a single dude, stuck in a canyon. I mean, the only interaction the protagonist has the whole time with other human beings is when they’re doing the whole character development thing and showing what an ego driven badass Aaron Ralston is. That, and during his daydreamy delusions when dehydration slowly sets in and cruelly makes the Franco character temporarily believe he’s escaped or that rain is on it’s way to relieve him of his parched torture and float him to safety.
Part of this movie was awesome because of the cinematography.
Part of it was (obviously) ‘cause Franco portrayed Aaron.
And I'm obsessed, so that counts as a factor.
But, namely, Danny Boyle’s dramatization of what would seem like “So the eff what?” events in your or my every day life (like dropping a tool) were perfect and appropriate – especially given that the dude’s arm was lodged in between rocks and he was running outta water double fast.
Inevitably, when I watch flicks like these, I can’t help but relate to the character. What would I do if I were in that situation? Pontificating on how we'd handle the sitch were it us is part of the fun of survival style films.
But it’s really just an exercise in frustration -and no better than shrieking at Jamie Lee Curtis to look behind her. We never truly can know what we’d do, can we? I mean, you n’ me – we’re just sitting here in a temp controlled home with our bodies full of water and synapses chattering like usual. There’s no brain fry to bar logic.
Thus, when I came across this Bear Grylls Discovery quiz about whether I’d survive in the desert or not, something bothered me about my surprisingly above average score...
Try it out, if you like.
Results are in. I'd only ten percent get dead in the desert.
Let's see if you are any better 'n me:
The answer is B. Or 2. Shelter from the elements. It’s just as cold at night as it is boiling by day in the desert, so protection from the sizzling sun and hypothermic chill alike are of utmost importance. As you can see from the still, Franco is super committed to his newfound shelter.
You thought it was snakes, didn’t you? Nope. C - Dehydration’s the answer. That and heatstroke is the shit you’ll die from first, most likely. Unlike Virginia, where we’ll drown just by breathing the sticky August air, desert heat is super dry and hits quick.
Alright, shit gets weird here. So, the answer’s A – The head – ‘cause that’s the thermostat of your body. But, my whole thing is, the answer actually given on the site goes on to say, “to help cool down, improvise a sun hat. If you have a T-shirt, tear open one seam, urinate on the material, then wrap the damp cloth around your head, turban style.”
What did I expect? That’s Bear’s answer for everything. He’s not happy till you’re in your own urine.
Answer? At the base of a canyon, in the middle of a delusional dream sequence about a swimming pool. Actually, the answer is the base of a canyon - specifically “or rock outcropping, where you'll also find shade and vegetation”
The answer is: None. Send some bitches in to scout it out for safety, like ovary filled canaries. But I guess C- throw rocks in the cave – is your next best bet. You throw rocks in so that any current inhabitants will know that’s their cue to GTFO. It’s your home now. Once you die of dehydration, THEN they can come back and have both a home and dinner for a week.
False – because they eat living things, they can get water from those. But insects are apparently a good sign that water’s nearby. Unless you’re, ya know, stuck between a rock and they start crawling on you just ‘cause they can.
Answer: Cook up some heroin and shoot it into your arm to make the snake taste better – which you should also cook before eating, by the way. Nada like a bad bout of reptilian bestowed parasitic diarrhea to speed up the whole dying process.
(The next question is the insect question, which we already answered. If you’re not stuck in a rock and you hear ‘em rustling, there’s probably water in proximity to your lost ass.)
Answer: Try this face:
If that fails (and you're not already dying of a poison snake bite because I'm pretty sure it will fail), then stomp your feet. They’re not a fan of the vibes and will about fang in the other direction.
Give up. That, or keep following it. It might lead to water – especially if you see vegetation around. Good sign that you shouldn’t lay down and let the winged squawking gargoyles have atchya just yet.
Take it off. Take everything off completely and leave it behind.
Slow down, Texas Chainsaw. Take a joke. Answer is: NO. Bring that ish with ya. If you read the cave answer from a billion questions ago, you might have inferred it’ll be pretty important to have clothes later on when temps descend.
Yep. C’mon Franco. You’re gonna need that mouth spit later when your arm’s leaking vital fluids onto a boulder. Gryll’s says your grill had better stayed covered. It slows how fast dehydration happens (which incidentally happens from merely breathing). Covering your mouth with a bandana helps too.
So, why'd getting 90% of these right bother me? I guess the thing is that I know in the desert - once the panic set in of being lost, followed by rapid onset dehydration (and a princess mentality), I know I wouldn't have my wits about me enough to remember any'a this ish.
Or a director to yell “cut!”
I never listened to the whole “Do What ya want wit mah baaawdy” song, but I get it now.
‘cause Vogue and then Versace did exactly that – what ads do best – retouching her “baaawday” and eradicating blemishes until homegirl was unrecognizable.
I’d ask why we all keep playing along and trying to emulate what's fake. But I can't.
For two reasons:
1. I’m still totally addicted to some sort of cream n powder masquerade myself
2. Well, I suppose we all know why.
Playing dress up can be enjoyable -like an accent to beauty that’s already there. But it got confused as a commodity along the way. Hair and makeup went from an accessory to a demand that we all transmogrify our identity daily. For some reason, it becomes the demand from people we know, too.
What we are not is what’s expected. And what we really are is some hideous monster exiled to a moldy basement until it can pull its shit together and behave like the other boys and girls who hate themselves as they're supposed to.
There was this Pantene ad back when I was a wee bit. The model in it had dark brown hair and she was the most gorgeous chick I’d seen. Retrospectively, it was likely because I made a connection – that she looked a lot like my cool older sister who I adored. For a while, I admired every brunette Disney princess and movie protagonist. Then, later, I’d be told how much more attractive blonde was than dark hair. I wasn't blonde. Yet.
And ad after ad would fortify this lie with avidity.
It was initially really confusing.
But the idea of “subjectivity” was completely absent from my abstract concept catalog as a kid. Beauty was being defined one way (by changing everything about myself) one moment. Then I was hearing “beauty’s skin deep” the next. This Odysseyean schizophrenic influx of opposing information was an evenly mixed potion of lies and the truth.
And it all but quarterhorsed the organ in my head.
Was I wrong about what was beautiful? And if so, then why wasn’t I born gorgeous? Did reality make a mistake? Isn’t external beauty what gets hoisted out of the crowd and promises to free us from our daze of malaise to be adulated by all?
Gary Zukav said something similar recently. Before getting hooked on the old firewater, he felt like something was missing. He even went off to war because always thought being a soldier would make him more macho - and he always thought he needed to be like "The Marlboro Man".
It's interesting. Smoking the cigarettes didn't make Gary any more Marlboro man than lipstick made me a chic ska frontwoman. The promise failed to deliver while the desire remained.
I stopped wearing as much makeup recently (again: “as much” not “all” of it).
Too goddamned inconvenient for a daily routine. And ya know what? So long as I’m not a dick queef to the people around me, they generally haven’t any shits to offer about it. When they do, I magically haven’t any to offer either.
Don't get me wrong. There's still the monthly tress molestation. I spend an hour of my life force-fcuking the mousey brown outta these follicles. If you’re a chick still living in this faux-ciety you never chose to join, it’s tough not to cave into consumerism sometimes. The familiar drivel feels safe somedays – whether it’s overpriced coffee or retail research (euphemism for window shopping).
It’s bullshit, but it’s comfortabullshit.
So I can’t chuck it all at once (until planet Kepler is open for bizz).
In the end, beauty perception is like any acquired preference – we build opinions that resonate from early associations. Then we spend our lives reinforcing them or branching off as new memories form parallel to new sensory input. What shapes the primary perception is the mindset we were in when we first experienced it.
I love Motown because my dad would blast it in the car when church finally ended. I liked the model because she looked like my sister. I wanted to be a slut because Hollywood showed sluts getting attention. And attention looked like love. And love was earned through having beauty. And beauty and love alike were just words whose wrong definitions I'd come to believe wholeheartedly.
Remember your kid-era experiences with beauty?
The ones you felt before aligning them with external ideals? That's what's beautiful to you. Not what you like out of lack perceived.
Everyone loves a big fat lie because the vain anxiety of the perfection quest is comfortably familiar too. Even the "Seat of the Soul" author wasn't exempt from the Marlboro Man's charm.
And Miss Stephanie Germinotta may not be recognizable, but I always thought she was pretty pre-pop. Ya know... back when she was unfamous.
Bottom line: if they have to advertise it, we don’t effing need it.
Except for toilet paper. I totally need to pick that up tonight.
Goldilocks was a lucky ass bitch.
All she had to do was forage for porridge and then determine which mattress to steal for her nap. Like most self-entitled American princesses, she didn’t have to worry about stuff like “Find oxygen, water, and habitable temperatures”. In that way, we're all pretty lucky. For now. We get to breathe air. That's a pretty big goddamned deal.
But many moons from now (waves hands mystically, tracing the curve of the earth) after we’re done murdering our own home (and maybe a few moons too), finding a breathable, liveable rock to reside on will be a more important Goldilocks condition.
Obviously, the respiration issue is Lilliputian compared to other stuff...
But just for fun, let's talk about... Kepler-186f.
Discovered Thursday, this unassuming rock ball indeed met said Goldilocks conditions planet hunters desire during their telescopic quests spent scouring the celestial seas. Our cosmic cousin - spotted by the Kepler telescope - is about ten percent larger than us, while its “sun” (a red dwarf star) is slightly smaller than our own glowing globe of leaping lava storms.
So, what’s it like there?
Because of its location, it’d be totally habitable according to one astronomer who also surmised it’d be “similar to dawn or dusk on a spring day” – because the average temp is just above freezing. Eh. That’s a bit chilly for my taste if it doesn’t warm up. But the fact that the landscape is thought to appear perpetually majestic makes that less of a deterrent somehow. Plus it has water and even sounds vegan friendly. One astronomer pointed out a fun fact: “If the planet is habitable, photosynthesis may be possible.”
(Thanks for the share, Clarity Claire.)
Great. So I can do my garden on Kepler. What else?
They say Kepler-186f “probably basks in an orange-red glow from its star."
What a coincidence. I was just saying how it needs to be golden hour all day long - not just between 4 and whenever it ends (by which time I've already absconded to my apartment and drawn the shades as if expecting to become a WWII target come nightfall). There’s just something about that hospitably hued sparkling phase of day that – I dunno – churns those congenital homicidal proclivities into something more productive.
Like planning my new life on new a planet that's- Quaaa?! How far away?
Oh. Ya know. Just about 500 light years away. In miles-
-that's 3,000… trillion…. miles.
Whatever. It sounds too cold anyway.
Also, their year is only 130 days long.
Eff that noise.
Call me when they take pictures of the aliens living there.
(Light Year Trivia: If this planet blew up right now, how long would it take for us to witness it?)
So I woke up today and (of course) checked my phone first to see if anyone loves me (because I base my self worth on things like social media approval-stamping and personalized email messages).
And this’s what I saw:
Not looking at the locale (does siri just spin the globe and add a random place to the temp list?), both parts of my brain starting analyzing the information it was provided. Neither thought to read the foreign label. Half said, “oh good – I knew it’d warm up eventually”. The other said, “Wait. The birds are half-assing their wakeup whistle 'cause it's so early. It couldn’t be 102 degrees right now even if it were August.
But in the midst of this bipolar weather – some days sweaty, subsequent ones sleeting – my priority plant plans have been most hindered. The vegetable garden is a dream I refuse to relinquish until their pulpy bodies rest upon my dinner plate. Even though I dunno which plants to even grow yet.
Ahem. That’s pulpy. Not "puppy".
Anyway, while wandering randomly round the net, seeking inspiration the same way a stray teen seeks love from the smooth talking sleazy lacrosse captain, I found out I don’t have to relocate to India to grow my ish. Or need a yard, even. I can do it right here.
America! Fckk yea!
My perusal and puttering revealed that potting plants and breathing life into leafy noms can indeed be an inside job.
For example, did you know all’a this can grow in your house?
Since tomatoes are the main thing I want this season, I think I’ll start there.
And from what I’ve read, these are the major steps:
Near lotsa light. Preferably a floor to ceiling window facing south or east.
Cherry and pear types are the best bet. Also, an “indeterminate variety”will keep making fruit all season. The other kind kinds and the ones that only grow to a certain length do shitty inside.
Go big or go hungry. 5 gallons at least.
Remember when your ex-dealer gave you his grow lights before he went to jail? Double their function! Two tubes per one tomato plant is optimal.
5. Shake it like mama nature
Unless your house is filled with bees and winged woodland creatures that can carry out pollination for you. Shake the flowers of the plants (or use a fan if you can’t be bothered with loving the thing that’s providing your sustenance.)
6. Feed me photons, Seymour!
Play the job of Ra (or whoever the sun god is) by timing the weed lights with the sun’s rising and falling. Otherwise they’ll mutate or desiccate or grow a mouth and start demanding shit with a lisp.
Ya know, I have a great feeling about this. I mean, judging from my history with keeping houseplants alive, I’m confident I’m gonna be effing amazing at this "inner peas" thing.
I wholly adore the floral metamorphosis into moribund fallopian tubes prior to dying.
Tried to watch "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" for the second time last week.
Ben, it's not you, it's me. I'm sure it's a great film, but it's next-level inception depressing just how “it’s me” the issue is. The whole movie’s concept is the “me issue” - I gave this film a second go, and ya wanna know what happened?
I started... daydreaming.
And missed like... all of it.
I’ve always assumed daydreaming is a bad thing, because that’s what they tell you in school (AKA the acquired helplessness institute where I earned an idiocy degree). But after this one article I half read (half daydreamed through), I realized that there is such a thing as “constructive daydreaming”.
When this Einstein doc came on a few weeks ago, I thought it was lame they’d reduce homeboy's “thought experiments” to trivial "daydreaming". But, there's nada trivial about it. It’s all about where your head's at - starting with what you feed it. If you're uni-focused and lost in cyclical thought, your daydreams probably will be obsessive and result in negativity and unhappiness. But if we expose ourselves to new shiz constantly, we get new thought fodder, and a chance to relate that new input back to whatever the initial situation was we got distracted from in the first place.
There were some interesting experiments done to test effective daydreaming. (I say "interesting" because I feel like it's a nice euphemism for "bullshit-'cause-you-can't-see-my-thoughts). Anyway, these researchers gave subjects and a control group a task and instructed only half of them to daydream during it. The ones who did were more productive. In another test, the same thing was done while volunteers had to generate creative ideas for everyday things.
I like this idea of constructive daydreaming, but my issue is the one voyeurism variable.
The thing is, if people are doing something private like daydreaming, they're going to behave like quantum level particles: unpredictable when observed. If I know someone is going to be recording my progress, you can be damned sure I’m going to daydream with a purpose. The purpose of serving my ego, that is. I mean, I’ve got a lot of muh’fkkers to beat and a researcher to impress with my witty creative answers at the end, ya know?
But if I’m at home without some bespectacled lab rat to unlock my noggin and watch the chaotic vomit pour out like a fire hydrant of shame, what’s the point?
At home, I don’t have to explain to anyone that I lost an hour’s block of time to daydreaming. I don't even have to say that daydream centered on looking out the window and witnessing zombies teeming outta the woods.
Or how I subsequently glanced down at the grass below to see if the mythical ambulating corpses could climb up to my window if they pleased.
Or admit my relief upon visual confirmation that no ladders or footing existed to permit the viscera starved creatures access to my elevated abode.
Or my returned concern at the thought "what if they're like the Z-Day zombies???".
You see? Absolutely none of this ever needs to be verbally cemented into reality so others can judge me. 'cause there’s no notepad to record my neurotic entropy.
It’s interesting though. Sans researchers, I do best with these “thought” or “concept” experiments when I’m in a minimally interactive, public setting. Somebody will say or do one tiny thing and I make a tiny internal connection with it. After that, my brain's off to the races.
I can have a whole cascade of “Aha!” moments simply from a little old lady’s gait or some truculent child’s cries of protest about keeping on his shoes. Contrarily, I could sit for hours in solitude and get not shit done.
If you’re in a creative field, the only way to retain these fleeting nuggets of compressed cognitive carbon, is to do the spastic thing and write 'em down right away. None of this “I’ll remember it later” bullshit.
In the end, the whole constructive versus compulsive daydream capacity probably has more to do with location – both physically and emotionally. The latter, we modify by willingness to alter action, reaction, and what we expose ourselves to.
And the former’s not terribly tough to control.
Unless – of course - you wake up tied to a fluorescent lit dungeon pipe against the soundtrack of distantly dripping water and start sorting through the roofie colada fog - only to hazily observe the walls are neatly decorated with easy access torture tools and bits of brain.
In that event, I’d suggest trying your hardest to constructively daydream.
Starting with an escape plan, perhaps.
And, yes. I often imagine a reality where Bates is cradling a sledgehammer in the corner and staring me down as I sit bound to my laptop marinating in the absence of creative inspiration.
Despite my dislike of celebrity deification, I grew up like lots of li’l girls – counting on landing looks like Gwen Stefani, or the ever-classic icon she emulated, Marilyn Monroe.
And then being obviously disappointed like 80% of the population who might've been happier had they just seen her more relateable off-camera snappies like this one:
(Maybe it's 'cause she's having a barbiturate barbeque by the pool, but homegirl looks far happier sans makeup, and with her dog and stuff.)
Given the many crappy attempts to channel the retro-starlet in various films (which totally missed the mark), I was kind of disappointed when “My Week With Marilyn” came out several years ago. Mind you, I liked it as a chick flick. Really. And Michelle Williams did quite well at easing into the role without coming off like a parody. Much like Williams’ husband Heath - who visibly had traces of “The Joker” persona (the lip licking and Lynchian voice) going into subsequent interviews prior to his passing (R.I.P, homie) – Michelle too seemed to carry remnants of Monroe into discussions like the round table with other big timers.
In fact, Franco kept unknowingly giving her this look whenever she spoke:
To be fair, everyone was trying their hardest to hide that same reaction.
It's to be expected, I suppose. I'm not in film, but we are what we practice repeatedly and our perceived reality is that in which we submerge ourselves consistently. For an actor (or anyone in any creative sort’ve profession), I suppose you’d better have a pretty good outside-of-work life in order to keep in touch with reality and avoid the void of cray-cray vacuuming you up.
And exactly that – reality – is my only real gripe about the film.
Not that it inaccurately portrayed Monroe (they never can perfectly, can they? Everyone has a different version). But as the tale was meant to be from the kid who played the “third” on the set - the Colin character (and meant to be based on actual events) , I had a problem with believing even the film's creators believed it. When I first saw the film, I liked the easy fluff of it, Michelle’s performance, the wardrobe, lighting, cinematography, and that it was based on a true story. But something bothered me in the content that I could neither shake nor put my finger on.
After seeing the documentary "The Prince, The Showgirl, and Me" - about the actual kid on the production, I think I know why.
A lot of "My Week With Marilyn" comes off like a reenacted lie you might tell your buddies to sound cool (“Marilyn and I had a secret sexless affair!”).
There's a phone call conversation scene that seemed contrived. Then there was the scene at the end - her showing up at the pub to say goodbye to him - that was lacking in veracity also.Then, at other points it even morphs into what sounds like delusions of grandeur (Marilyn insisting Colin show up at her house when she doesn’t know him, Colin heroically scaling a ladder to Marilyn’s room, her handlers give up on trying to unlock the door while a stranger was in the room with her).
When I finally saw the documentary based on the journals from the actual real-life Colin, I realized the kid wasn’t even some square or doe eyed English ingénue. He was far more intriguing- a pretty cheeky closet queen. To be honest, the documentary was far better and the real Colin seemed like far more fun.
But even the documentary seemed like bullshit.
I mean, he documented day after day of production and, for whatever reason, kept out all of his alleged dalliances with Miss Monroe… until the very end. The whole affair was neatly consolidated into one letter for a friend. Convenient.
None of these stories are probably accurate portrayals of what truly transpired. And no one really cares. None of this historical chronology about people made of the same meat drawn from stardust as you and I... really fckkng matter.
But, my thing is, so long as we’re gonna keep making faux-reality movies that require negative twelve percent of our brainpower to view, can we please, please keep in the snarky gay guy?
Or just do a reprisal with the kid from Glee – “My week with Britney”
Yeah. Let’s make that happen - even though I kinda feel like the whole movie’d be a peen equipped fangirl following her around like a lapdog while she makes this face:
(Yes, he's definitely right behind you.)