Thursday, October 30, 2008

Listen Up, People of the Internets

Dear Bloggers Everywhere,

Okay, it has recently come to my attention that some of y’all are like, putting your whole sordid lives out into the blogosphere, and I really, I just, I um, I I I, it needs to stop. Just, just please, make it stop. It’s really not okay. Back in the day, us crazy kids who’ve been around since before the internets, we bought these little books, these little empty notebooks, sometimes they were very pretty on the outside, covered with lovely fabric, and on the inside, these notebooks, sometimes they had lines, I need lines, I can barely read my handwriting without lines, but some of you prefer a blank page, that’s fine too, some of them come with blank pages, maybe you have nice penmanship, maybe you like to draw, or paste in pictures or mementos or what have you, all fine, anyway, we bought these books, back in these pre-internet times we called diaries, nowadays they are sometimes called journals so as not to seem so fourteen-year-old girlish, although I would encourage those of you who prefer the term journal to refrain from using the term ‘journaling’, because as I have said before there is far too much turning of nouns into verbs these days, anyway, some of these blank books, these diaries, they even had locks! (flimsy, they were at best, agreed, but the point, if unclear, is that one was not to open something that had a lock on it, if you were not the keeper of the key) In fact, these books still exist, in greater numbers and greater varieties than ever before. Here are some pretty pictures, you can get most of these and many more just from Paper Source.

Here's one with a lock and a mermaid - what's not to love?

Who doesn't love an uglydoll? I know I do!

This one comes with it's own pencil!

Moleskine - very popular. I always carry one with me.

Simple With Cloud

Love Who You Are - a great suggestion - maybe you could start by using this book!

In these books we called diaries we wrote our private thoughts. Private. In these books we were free to ramble about how mad our moms made us, how that cute boy did not notice us, how drunk we got at the frat party, and whatever else. In my own, it would be repeated decades of: this boy this boy this boy this boy mom this boy this boy this boy this boy I’m depressed this boy this boy this boy what is wrong with me. Trust me when I tell you that that is all you need to know about that, that is all I will ever share with you about that, and if you want to know more about that you will have to pry those diaries out of my crypt.

I am both a writer and a blogger. It’s super great and fun to have a blog on which to throw out some random stuff that interests me, and I encourage anyone to do the same. There are plenty of blogs I follow on a regular basis, from personal ones to ones on various subjects that interest me. But for me, as much as some of my stuff, fiction and here, begins in autobiography, I choose to write fiction for any number of reasons ranging from I’m just better at it to I just like it better to what’s true and what isn’t is my own damn bidness. It’s not even that I wouldn’t consider writing a memoir someday, if I was moved to. I haven’t been, thus far. But maybe what I’m talking about here is a matter of boundaries. I feel very clear, for myself, about what I would and wouldn’t write about in my blog. Which brings me to another point I think is kind of interesting. It has been said about the writing on this blog, and of my writing in general, is that it’s honest. I really hope that’s true, and I take it as a great compliment. But to me, there’s a big difference between honesty and too much information.

Do I have to read what you write? Hell, no, and I generally don’t. But for your own good, and for the love of god, if you must write every last grisly detail online, take advantage of the privacy options, and keep your blogs private, or choose a program that allows you to be selective about your readers, say your two best friends, or whoever it is that you might actually talk to face to face about these private things. You understand that employers look at this stuff, right? Maybe you were born rich and don’t care about employers. Surely, then you understand that random creepy people look at this stuff, right?

I am now done with my rant/plea for the day. Thank you for your time.

Yours truly,

Elizabeth Crane

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Austin Events

Hey Y'all!

Come to some readings and stuff in Austin!

This Sunday, November 2, 8:00 pm at the Texas Book Festival:

Austin Bat Cave
1807 W. 11th St
Panel: The Worst Years of Your Life: Writing About Adolescence
with Owen Edgerton, ZZ Packer, Andrew Sean Greer, Robert Boswell, Amber Dermont, Mark Jude Poirier

Five Things Reading Series
Friday, November 14th, 7:00 pm
2208 S. Lamar
(more info to come)

Follett's Intellectual Property
Tuesday, November 18th, 5:30 pm
2402 Guadalupe St.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

These People Cannot Catch a Break

Oh man. Ben, Lisa (visiting from Los Angeles) and I watched Pelle the Conqueror last night - arguably, an excellent, excellent movie. But never have I had so much gratitude (fine, any) for not being a Swede trying to hack it in Denmark at the turn of the century, holy toledo. Jeebus. This movie is brutal, people, utterly relentless. You can't believe this many bad things could happen in one movie. Relentless. But you know, worth seeing. Just be sure to have your Kleenex handy, and maybe take an intermission halfway through to regroup or something.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why We Don't Have Cable

I do not speak one word of Spanish. Okay, well, crap. That’s a lie. Truly, I do not speak Spanish. I speak a few words of Spanish. I wanted a punchier first sentence. I usually write fiction. Cut me some slack. Here’s a list of Spanish words I know, off the top of my head:

1. maricon (sp?)
2. conio
3. mira

(this is the point in my list where you might be figuring out that I grew up in a neighborhood with a significant Spanish-speaking population) (and also where I might point out that I am fluent in swear words in several languages)

4. ola
5. abuela
6. supermercado

So I think it goes without saying at this point that for me to watch as much Telemundo as I do is curious at best. But I haven’t had cable in years, and the truth is, Telemundo can be a hell of a lot more entertaining than some shows in languages I do speak.

Occasionally I watch the telenovelas. Sometimes I watch the talk shows. On one, there is a very animated middle-aged lady with big curled blonde hair and a push-up bra. Actually, I’m pretty sure that being a guest on this show requires a push-up bra and if you do not come prepared, it’s like going to a fancy restaurant and getting a dinner jacket – they’ll provide one for you. Guests on this show include a lot of musical acts with, in addition to push-up bras, short skirts, and very bad choreography (which may be a function of the fact that the set seems to be the size of my bathroom). Sometimes if there’s some event going on they cut away to stars on red carpet. Not speaking the language, I like to try to figure out if they’re pop stars or soap stars and frankly sometimes it’s hard to tell. Sometimes I also watch the talk shows in the vein of Jerry Springer or Maury Povich where the people have very long titles underneath with only one or two words I can catch, like “papa,” enough to surmise that someone is trying to find out which of two “papas” someone’s baby belongs to.

Plus it’s just fun to say, “Sabado Gigante!”

Mostly, though, I love to watch American movies in Spanish. It works fairly well if it’s an action movie. There’s very little dialogue, none that you couldn’t figure out fairly easily, anyway, and lots of dramatic action and expression. I watched the entirety of Anaconda on Telemundo, a movie I would never have watched in English in spite of the presence of Owen Wilson. (Although he gets eaten by the snake fairly early on. Oh, sorry, did I give too much away? People getting eaten by the anaconda?) And let me say I am no friend to snakes, they skeeve me out, and I certainly don’t like big giant ass ones.

But as films to watch in a language you don’t speak go, this is a perfect example. You have a cast of characters on a rickety boat in a swamp somewhere. Jennifer Lopez is the sexy one, Kahri Wuhrer is the other sexy one who’ll probably get killed, which we know because she used to be on MTV. Ice Cube is the black one, Eric Stolz is the weird one. Some of them don’t get along. Jon Voight seems to be the egotistic leader, which you can tell by the determined look on his face. One is as skeevey as the snake itself. They fight. It’s probably about how to kill the snake, or a money issue. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that the skeevey one eventually gets eaten by the snake.

What’s fun about watching movies in Spanish is that it forces you to actually pay attention. I’m inclined to be reading a book while watching TV, which you can’t do if you’re watching in languages you don’t understand. Granted, the very title of Anaconda in and of itself is probably as much attention as need be paid. Big snake, got it. Talky dramas, for obvious reasons, don’t work as well, although it can be interesting to watch a better movie in Spanish, to see if people really are good actors. I saw a bit of that vampire movie where Nicolas Cage eats a cockroach, in Spanish, and, you know, in any language this is not enjoyable, and makes me rethink Nicolas Cage, who I’ve liked in English.

Anyway, just to refer back to the title, imagine all the things I’d watch that I don’t need to watch if we had more channels. We had cable for three weeks when we first got to Austin and it was AWESOME – do you know there’s a whole show about throwing all the junk out of someone’s house? Think about it! There are enough people out there who have a house full of junk to warrant an entire TV show, not just a special two-part episode of Oprah. And who can resist reruns of 90210, or all-day marathons of The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency or What Not to Wear, even when I want to yell at Clinton and Stacy not to just leave the tattoey hipster be! On cable I want to watch everything and nothing. The only shows I truly cannot watch are the ones that show surgeries, real or fake, and The Hills. Thoroughly unwatchable. I do not have any idea who’s watching this show. I tried. But the conversation is like, Are you going to the party? I guess. Is Lo going to the party? I don’t know. Okay, well, I guess I’ll go. But what if there’s drama? I don’t know. And then cut to the party and the drama is about as dramatic as the pre-party discussion about the drama. Even writing this is putting me to sleep.