Birthday Bliss Blogging Hangover.

Whew, ducklings, this has been a voraciously active week of Birthday Bliss; i am in need of some serious tea-drinking and eye-mask-wearing.

I cannot thank Becca Clemens enough for her hysterical guest post on Tuesday; it seriously is one of the funniest things i’ve ever read, and i’m so flattered she consented to publish her genius here! We both had such a raucous time swapping blogs that i feel secure hinting at another blog swap in the future!

Additionally, much gratitude is due to ALL of you who entered the giveaway. Your tweets, tumblr likes, and comments were both much appreciated and spread cheery nerd-love across the waves of cyberspace. Congratulations again to all the winners – you should be getting some mail from me in the next two weeks! Most especially, congratulations to yesterday’s winner, Hattie for tweeting the link to yesterday’s blog about JK Rowling! Thanks to everyone else who entered – may you find the book in another way!

However.

I may be a full endorser of a healthy competition and learning how to lose with dignity (blah blah, etc, etc) but … i also like to be inclusive. (And i happened to have accidentally ordered 100 of the “nerdy and i know it” postcards). So, to thank you all for your sweet comments and kind insights, i am pleased to say that ANYONE who entered into the giveaway and did not win will still receive a postcard from me!

Yes. Not lying. I’m going broke on postage for all of you, ducklings.

Should you like a postcard from me (with a love note, naturally. i’ll even spritz it with perfume like they did in the golden days, if you like) email your mailing address to lizziemcmizzie@gmail.com with the subject line being “Postcard Giveaway” and you’ll also get a singular “nerdy and i know it” postcard in the mail sometime in the next two weeks! It’s because you’re a shining golden star in the night sky, loves.

But for now, i’m going to crawl under the covers, weeping for the fat stack of papers needing writing and readings needing consuming. College. Unending agony done out of a place of passion. As Ron Weasley would say in Trelawney’s class circa his third year at Hogwarts, “You’re going to suffer…but you’re going to be – happy – about it.”

See you on the other side, folks. Thanks for reveling with me.

current jam: “could i leave you?” performed by julie andrews, written by stephen sondheim. 

best thing in my life right now: nerds.

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The Eleven Desert Island Film Collection.

Okay, so i know if i’m in fact stranded on a desert island the chance that there would be a way to watch any sort of films would be about approximate to my chances of being elected to the Scottish Parliament this year. And were i to make a new home in Edinburgh, tottering about with piles of legislation to enact, the likelihood that i’d remain deserted on an island with plasma TVs would be, well, next to nil. Unless, of course, that desert island had parties where goodie bags were filled with 50-inch plasma screen TVs.

Inigo Montoya is not left-handed.

I digress.

The point of such questions – what five movies would you take with you on a desert island and the like – are meant to uncover one’s comfort movies, favorite-for-all-time movies, and (most important of all) employed on first dates to see if you’re future daddy/mammy material. Let’s just be real, okay?

So when i consider my Desert Island Movies, i have to be very clear: this is not an exclusive, “favorite movie” list. In fact, i find the “favorite movie” question to be (no surprise here) really hard to answer. I mean, there are the movies that make me think and stay with me in ways reflective in the every day – but aren’t necessarily movies i want to watch more than two or three times (like Children of Men or For Colored Girls). Then, there are movies that i just find comforting; movies i want to watch when i’m sick or feeling miserable, like Mary Poppins or The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney version, obviously). And how could i neglect the movies that i love for their political and social connotations – the kind of titles i like to drop at fancy academic cocktail parties to glean approving nods for my brainpower, like Iron Jawed Angels or Cry, the Beloved Country. Naturally, how could i exclude films that make me laugh? Pirate Radio and Bridesmaids have earned their places on my shelf-of-favorites.

Yet desert island movies rest in a special category: they are the movies that are, simultaneously, ones i can watch over and over again without growing tired of the plot twists and character developments. There are movies for sickness, movies that will never leave you, movies that cover the breadth and depth of your cinematic tastes and personality. It’s a well-honed list; one subject to change, but unlikely to.

Thus, with no further ado, i give you:

The Eleven Films Lizzie Would Take to the Dharma Initiative Desert Island

(And, yeah, i know. Eleven. I’m bad at cutting things out! SORRY GEEZ).

#1. The Princess Bride: I feel as though this goes without saying. If ever there were one singular film that i think everyone who has an abounding love for a good story should see, it would be this one; there’s a dashing hero, a bewildered princess, conniving villains, revenge, and sweepingly fantastic comedic lines worthy of being quoted and re-quoted for generations. As you wish!

#2. V for Vendetta: When asked for a favorite film of all-time, this ties with The Princess Bride, despite the enormous and obvious genre and stylistic gap between the two. I will say, though, both films are abrim with brilliant one-liners (my favorite from this film: “Because behind this mask there is more than a man; there is an idea. And ideas are bulletproof!”). I first discovered this film at Governor’s School (2008) and have since been filled with an inexplicable zeal that the whole of the world will never be right until we all sit down and watch this film, after which we engage in a radical conversation about violence in our societies. Also, the references to Twelfth Night peppering the dialogue is enough to make my Bard heart swoon with delight.

#3. Sense and Sensibility: The Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet/Alan Rickman version from 1995, naturally. To satiate my hapless romantic sensibilities with the beautiful and dashing words of Jane Austen. Also, to look at Alan Rickman. Yeah, that too.

#4. The Sound of Music: On a rainy day in the third grade, my teacher decided to keep us inside during recess,  putting on a movie to keep us entertained in the absence of dirt-eating and monkey-bars-playing merriment. It was love at first sight; within a week, my hair was bobbed and the soundtrack at home in my CD-player, where is was spun no less than twelve hours a day. I sought out hills to spin in circles on the top of and wrote fan letters to Julie Andrews like it was my job. Nothing could ever come between me and this film; it taught me to love to sing, comforts me when i’m down, and such true love lasts a lifetime.

#5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s: For the mean reds. Also, to prance around pining to be as classic as Audrey Hepburn. And the kiss with the cat in the rain. Those are the best kind.

#6. Stardust: Pirates in a dirigible boat, Neil Gaiman-written adventures, and a good-old-fashioned adventurous love story. It’s simple escapism with a dash of whimsy added in for good measure!

#7. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King: Okay, choosing just ONE from the trilogy was nigh-on impossible, but i could not pass up the most epic Eowyn moment of all time in the battle for Gondor (even if it meant losing some of my favorite Merry-Pippin sequences). And, you know, that heartbreaking song Billy Boyd wrote for when Faramir is leading the charge on Osgiliath. Makes me cry every time. While i may not profess my love for Lord of the Rings quite as much online (perhaps because it is a little older (but i imagine once The Hobbit comes out, this will change)) i can, quite literally, quote the entirety of The Fellowship of the Ring verbatim along to the film. I had “one ring to rule them all” that i never took off my finger for about three years in a row, and stashed in the back of my closet are two of my favorite full-length posters of Legolas. No judging. He was hot stuff  when i was thirteen.

#8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II: I feel like this needs no explanation; i saw it in Africa, sobbing like a baby the whole way through. Harry is forever for me.

#9. Moulin Rouge!: In the vein of epic romances comes in this film, overflowing with beautiful appropriated music and the lavish, brilliant direction of Baz Luhrman. I love everything about this film; its weirdness, the quirky cult following it has acquired over the last ten years, and its bohemian praise of truth, beauty, freedom, and love.

#10. Into the Wild: It seems in cinema, as in literature, i am endless looking for my Alaska. Few movies moved me the way this artistic interpretation of Chris McCandless’ journey did – and, as a grown-up-Haulden-Caulfield, i need to keep what’s not phony nearby.

#11. Up: Unquestionably my favorite Pixar film in every element – the dog, the curmudgeonly old man, and, most of all, the redefinition of adventure. I’ve never made it through this film without sobbing like a baby (perhaps to the unnerving of all around me…alas. I swear i don’t cry at any other film except the ones mentioned here).

And there you have it! The desert island collection, or whatever. It seems, as i reflect on the eleven films chosen, i have an affinity for terribly sad or moving epic adventure stories with love being the central lesson. Call me a sap. Or in the wrong universe/time period.

Comment Question: What are YOUR desert island films? Or at least one or two of them! (Rules for the giveaway are here if you need a refresher!)

Yesterday’s Winner: Kate Farley, for following the blog! Congrats, Kate!

current jam: “my favourite things” from the sound of music (obviously).

best thing in my life right now: i’ve just been cast in the 25th annual putnam county spelling bee as “vice principal panch” at mount holyoke!

My Hair: A Podcast.

Click below to listen the podcast-al style blog post for the day!

Yesterday’s Winner: Mary Day Saou for commenting on the post!

Comment Question: What is the worst haircut/hairdo you’ve ever had? (Also, as a side note, what do you think of podcast-like posts? Want more of them? Never want another one?)

A note on the giveaway: I realize now this may not have been crystal clear, but i wanted to clarify the rules now! Each entry into the giveaway (be it by following on twitter or subscribing to the blog, etc) is good only for that day’s prize! The slate is wiped clean at the end of each day, so if you’re hell-bent on getting these postcards you have five chances a day. Hope that helps! Thanks friends!

current jam: “hair” lady gaga

Captured and Imprisoned Again: A Lefty-Trombonists Tale by the Sawktrombone.

Captured and Imprisoned Again:

A Lefty-Trombonists Tale by the Sawktrombone.

I am not Lizzie McMizzie, and this is a hostile takeover of Wandering Writes brought to you by the Socially Awkward Trombone.

OK, so it’s not really hostile. In fact, I was invited here in what was probably the biggest mistake Lizzie has ever made…

Now you’re wondering who I am and how the heck I know Lizzie McMizzie. Well, it’s a long story, and I can’t tell you how tempting it was to just turn this post into a long and embarrassing story about Lizzie and Her shameless childhood antics. Alas, I will spare Her the humiliation and give you the cliffs notes (I’m saving the REALLY crazy stories for Her wedding).

Lizzie moved to my neighborhood when we were in the first grade. We rode bikes and built forts and put on plays like all normal children who have ambitions to stage Les Miserables and Jesus Christ Superstar at the age of 7. I was a crazy child, but Lizzie was unusual. In that sense, She was (and still is) way more outgoing than myself. Yes, I loved musical theater, but did I want to act? No freaking way. Hide me under the stage please.

I have watched Lizzie grow through the years. I stood by as She tested out dozens of middle school names. I watched her go from a fashion disaster wearing rainbow ensembles and one opera glove to a fashion pioneer (AKA unintentional hipster). It was this sort of outgoing nature that made me positive that Lizzie was going on to great things. She never has cared about what people think of Her, and She remains grounded in Her beliefs. This brings me to why our friendship is so unusual.

Although I would admit to sharing a pretty strong moral foundation with Lizzie, as well as a love for old British men, most of our views do not align. In many aspects, we are polar opposites. Yet somehow, this friendship works. We have chats on all subjects, and I am probably the only one who is allowed to make fun of the fact that Lizzie is enrolled in an all girls school. Why? Because She knows that no matter how many times I joke about Her sexuality, I support Her in Her efforts to become an enlightened and cultured individual no matter how much it makes me laugh.

I also think it my job to bring Her head from the clouds by being as horrible and ignorant as possible to remind Her of the real world. But let’s face it, I’m a completely harmless goofball. So will this blog be a parody of McMizzie? Absolutely. I will shamelessly poke fun at Her (as a matter of fact, I already have).

That intro was way longer than preferred. Whoops. I shall now jump into my area of expertise. My blogs are generally about socially awkward situations that I mix in with music and trombone players. Today I will be diverging a bit in honor of Lizzie’s blog. I will be writing about trombonists and music, but it will be a kind of tribute to Lizzie’s style. I mean, just look at the title.

The Oppression of Left-Handed Trombonists

 Dearest friends/readers/ducklings,

 It is with a heavy heart that i alert you to an injustice that will affect you, dear reader, in no conceivable way.

A few of you may be surprised to learn that the trombone is an uncommon instrument, but it is more likely that you are momentarily leaving this page to search Google images for a trombone.

Now do you know what it looks like?

Good. We shall continue.

Historically, the trombone has never quite fallen into the category of “sexy”. Yes, there is a fair amount of innuendo that follows the trombone, but upon close inspection, one realizes quickly that the trombonists are the reason their instruments are seen as awkward.

Trombonists are awkward. In past blogs i have made it clear that anyone who decides to pick the trombone has been born with an awkward gene, or has had their childhood poop jokes suppressed due to the socially unacceptable nature of poop. But of course, if you like poop jokes you probably have been born with some sort of genetic predisposition to be awkward.

Poor genetics can be considered a disability right?

Let’s consider the genetic disbility that brings about red-green colorblindness. People with this disability are having new technology developed to make it easier to live in a world that is missing color. Trombonists born with awkward genes are left to fend for themselves in a world where avoiding eye contact is social suicide.

Life is hard.

Society enjoys pushing unpleasant things out of sight. For starters, trombonists are placed at the back of the orchestra. Not a big deal right? Trombones are loud. But did anyone stop to wonder why the trombone is loud? Maybe it’s because trombonists had been trying to get attention for years and when one of them got the bright idea to start playing loud for acknowledgement, the government placed the trombones in the back. All the government needed was a cover excuse that wasn’t “they’re too awkward to be seen by paying customers” because the media would have reported that as discrimination.

Government? you ask.

Yes. Government. It’s a conspiracy. The amount of awkward people on this Earth is regulated by a government that acknowledges the need for awkward people to play the trombone. If there wasn’t a need for trombones in every orchestra, all of the awkward people would have probably been exterminated by now.

The awkward people are kept in cells under the basement of every orchestra hall in the country. It is here where they are trained to play trombone and encouraged to speak to other “Awkwards” to improve their social skills.

Trombonist 1 (1): “I play trombone.”

Trombonist 2 (2): “I play trombone”

Trombonist 3 (3): “I play trombone”

1: “You play trombone?”

2: “I play trombone.”

3: “I play trombone.”

1: “I play trombone.”

There is rarely improvement.

When the need for a trombonist arises in an orchestra, a member of the stage crew, with the help of a uniformed official, reluctantly picks a person to place into society as a trombonist.

Now the real question is how the “awkwards” get captured in the first place.

Basically, if a child decides to pick the trombone of h/is/er own free will, s/he is doomed. After high school or college, anyone who picked the trombone as a child is whisked away and hidden under an orchestra hall. Even if the kid quit the trombone after a year, s/he is doomed to the same fate because s/he had the initial attraction to the instrument. Picking the instrument means you must have the awkward genetics.

One will occasionally find people who escaped the relocation. They keep their history under wraps, but it is difficult. Basically, if you know someone who is awkward, that person managed to avoid the government kidnapping by choosing occupations with limited social interaction. All of them played trombone at some point in their lives. I beg of my readers to PLEASE not turn these people in. If you know an awkward person, be friendly and accommodating. No one should have to go through what most trombonists suffer at the hands of the stage crew that poke through the cell bars under the theater. But of course, i don’t expect you to be accommodating. Go ahead and pander to the color blind. Throw the “Awkwards” under the bus.

It is now time to address the second part of this post. Lefties.

If there was ever a group that was oppressed, it was the lefties. Just a few years ago they were seen as the devil incarnate. Children who were naturally left-handed were forced to learn to write with the right hand. This often required school teachers to use razor wire to tie the left hand behind the back of the student as they learned to write with the opposite hand. Razor wire was used in the hopes that if the student couldn’t learn with the right hand, the left hand would be sliced straight off. This left (haha punny) the kid with no choice but to use the right hand.

Today, our society is just as bad as it was when there were frequent hand lacerations, but it manages to hide prejudices better. The world is still tailored to right-handers. For example, walk into any classroom. Most, if not all, of the desks are for the right handed. If there are any left handed desks, they are shoved to the back in hopes of keeping the devil people as far away as possible. Most computers are for right handed people, as well as most musical instruments.

Righties enjoy significant discounts when it comes to buying golf clubs, baseball gloves, and other sports equipment. All of the lefty stuff is priced way higher.  Hot water is on the right, cold on the left. People are better when in their “right mind”. When people are correct about something, they are “right”. Instead of saying “OK”, the word “right” is often substituted.

“Left” has bad connotations.

I “left” my stuff there and it was stolen.

S/he “left” the party too early and missed the goodie bags filled with 50 inch HD TVs.

Sandy was “left” at the cemetery to fend for herself among the awkward dead people that tried to kill her with trombone music and ghostly flatulence.

So where does this leave the trombonists that are left handed? Well, it’s funny, the awkward gene must also tie in with left-handedness. The percentage of trombonists who are left handed is higher than average. Still, they are a minority.

The left-handed trombonists tend to be the last people released into society. It would just be too dangerous. They get “left” behind so to speak. When a lefty trombone is released to an orchestra (as a last resort) they are embedded with a GPS locator and are essentially put under house arrest. They can play in an orchestra, but they still have to live in the theater. When the orchestra goes on tour, a trumpet player is assigned to the lefty trombone. This trumpet player is in charge of keeping the lefty out of trouble.

Trumpet players love having power of over people, so they enjoy being the babysitter of the lefty trombone. Usually the lefty is forced to stand perfectly still on snails and trumpet spit while the trumpet player alternates between blasting in h/is/er ear and playing the “Pictures at an Exhibition” excerpt over and over and OVER. No one could possibly imagine a worse torture than this.

There is one particularly terrible result that comes out of monitoring the lefty-trombone individuals.

You know those crazy people that think a chip has been embedded into their arm by the government? The ones who hide when planes and Nazguls fly overhead?  You probably just thought of them as homeless psychos in need of ostriching (ostracization), or John Nash.

(it should be noted that this had to be drawn with my right hand, as the mousepad was designed for right-handed people. prejudice.)

Wrong.

Listen to these people. They are escaped left handed trombonists. Somehow they managed to leave the side of their trumpet lord, and the GPS locator chip means that they are constantly being chased down. Help them stay free!

This is the end of my societal rant. I urge you all to help free the trapped trombonists as i am destined to be one when i graduate college.

Thank you for pulling through to the end of this. It should be noted that Lizzie did a guest post on my blog while I did a guest post on hers. So if you are now missing the McMizzie, feel free to hop over to socially-awkward-trombone.blogspot.com.

Lizzie: Thank you for allowing me to guest post today. I hope the reputation of your blog will not fall into the depths of Mordor after this. I wish you well, and I shall never forget your 4th grade offer to house my dark-haired family should there be another Holocaust.

-The Socially Awkward Trombone

Comment question of the day (see rules for the giveaway if you need a refresher!): What is the most awkward family event you were ever forced to attend?

Yesterday’s Winner: Morgan, for sharing the link on Twitter! Congratulations, Morgan, i’ll be mailing you the postcards next week.

A side note about the giveaway: if you choose to follow this blog as an entry into the contest (thanks!) you must let me know in an additional comment! This is so i can keep track of all of your beautiful faces. Or icons. Whatever. 

Cartes Postales (Task #13: Completed)

On my list of fifteen tasks to accomplish before May of 2012, i seem to be making some decent headway. This, being my fifth accomplishment of the fifteen that i laid out before me, is easily one of my favorite things to do. These particular postcards are from the same collection i used when last blogging about sending postcards – the 100 original Penguin Book Covers box set.

I’ve mentioned before I collect postcards, but i think i neglected to say how despairingly crippling this addiction is. It’s hardly possible for me to go anywhere without stocking my pockets full of thirty-three cent souvenirs. It is even less probable that there is room for them on my wall. But, since i can’t seem to just send postcards – i have to paper the room with them – i find myself living inside a collage of all of the places i’ve traveled to in the last year. Verily, i did voyage to five countries in 2011 and twice as many quirky in-country destinations, so they make for quite the juxtaposition.

acquired at the london transport museum.

found at the genuine 221b baker street!

from the cathedrale nôtre-dame de montréal gift shop.

(Both the above and beneath postcards were bought in the boutique post-exploring the Harry Potter Exhibition at the Discovery Museum in Times Square in April of 2011).

this treasure i found after exploring fort sumter in charleston, south carolina, in january of last year. my uncle, as a demonstrator for an ohio-ian regiment, was re-enacting the first siege of the island from the american civil war.

from my day in october of 2011 spent roaming around salem, massachusetts!

And that’s not even to mention the postcards i’ve recieved. For, as much as i adore purchasing postcards and then hoarding them for my own selfish eyesight, i delight in receiving them even more.

a collection of postcards (and things) sent from the met in nyc, san diego, springfield, and north carolina.

from my beloved high school ceramics teacher! she sent me this almost two years ago and i still treasure it!

Which is, ultimately, why i love sending postcards ever so much. They are such perfect, microcosmic works of art and ways of saying that you’re on my mind. And besides, i may be an internet-age-lass, but that doesn’t mean i don’t squeal at a full mailbox.

current jam: ‘turn me on’ david guetta & nicki minaj

best thing in my life right now: stamps. and friends to use them on.

 

 

Fifteen Things in Six Months: The Challenge Revisited.

Greetings, Ducklings.

Last night, i published a rather lackluster account of my mostly-adequate attempt to accomplish ten tasks before January 1, 2012, set forth in September of 2011. I managed to do 6 out of the 10; not shabby, but certainly not stellar. As my friend Morgan commented, “6 out of 10 is passing in college, so I’ll take it.”

And while i’m glad to have at least passed my initial challenge, i am a Gryffindor. I don’t take defeat very well – not very well at all. Therefore, i am not going to lie down and let the list go undone – i am burning the boats, facing forward, and upping the ante. Perhaps not the wisest idea as i couldn’t even complete ten things, but still. Gryffindors are not always revered for their brains. And i did think i couldn’t write 50,000 words in one month, but i managed. So maybe i’ll surprise myself.

Enough rabble – to the point! I am now, hereafter setting forth, a new and revamped and more extensive list. What’s this? You already know what it is from the title?

Oh. Cut the dramatic music then.

Well, i guess here’s the list, and stuff:

FIFTEEN THINGS FOR LIZZIE TO (HOPEFULLYMAYBE) VICTORIOUSLY COMPLETE IN SIX MONTHS TIME:

  1. Go to a Broadway show.
  2. Shake John Green’s hand and tell him how Looking for Alaska saved me (melodramatic, but pretty true).
  3. Road trip to Vermont. Eat Brenna’s cooking.
  4. Get a summer job.
  5. See my brother Thom’s directorial debut – a play entitled The Pillowman, whilst never relinquishing the hand of the poor soul who winds up sitting next to me from sheer terror. (Seriously, the show will be brilliant and scarring).
  6. Go to a temple, synagogue, or some kind of house of worship different from the kind i was raised in.
  7. Apply for studying abroad in 2013.
  8. Finish the first draft of my novel.
  9. Host a live show on BlogTV or something akin.
  10. Go ice skating. Preferably on the MHC lake.
  11. Blog every single day for one week.
  12. Celebrate my one-year blogging anniversary with a giveaway!
  13. Write postcards. Actually mail them.
  14. Present a blog entirely in photographs.
  15. Watch a documentary.

Now, i do realize some of these are repeats from the last list. But! The things i’ve repeated are things i feel worth repeating – tasks i wished i had accomplished or ones i know i can do again. Big and small, these are the ten goals i aim to have completed by May 7th, 2012. Whew, that seems so distant from me now – but i am assured that, come that date, the time will have flown faster than the TARDIS.

Until then, ducklings.

current jam: ‘blink’ chameleon circuit.

best thing in my life right now: sherlock. new episode sunday! and the premiere of season 2 of downton abbey! (it’s really laughable when people call me productive. really. i do nothing but spew nonsense here and watch telly).