I wrote a novel in the month of November for NaNoWriMo! :-)
Aarrun and I were in such a rush to leave, we literally just threw clothes and shampoo and batteries and Kleenex into the suitcase, forced it closed, and sped out the front door.
The drive was 18 hours, and after about 12 of them, I began to wonder why we had rushed at all. The road trip was equal parts freeing and imprisoning. Nowhere to go but the front seat. Nothing to do but talk, read, and jam out to the soundtracks to Dr. Horrible and Avenue Q.
When we reached Vegas, we zombie-shambled to the hotel lobby, drained of all ability to gyrate our limbs, it seemed. The hostess was jovial enough amid the incessant blare of happy electronic slot machines sporting the Prince of Persia and Genie in a Bottle. Two keycard scans and a trip down a few maze-like hallways and we had made it to our hotel room.
It was when we tossed the suitcase nonchalantly to the floor that we heard it. Faintly at first, then growing louder and more insistent.
“Mew. Mew. MEW.”
One look at each other and we were both fumbling desperately to release the suitcase lock. The lid flew open and a clump of compressed clothing burst forth. Underneath a crumpled plain white t-shirt was a fragile ball of silvery-grey fur with pointy ears.
“How the hell did THAT get in there?”
We were heartbroken. The feline was quite obviously malnourished and near death, and only just a kitten. We both vainly attempted to nurse the poor animal back to health, only to watch its life slowly slip out of our grasp.
And then…I woke up. Shrugged off the inevitable brutality of the dream. Brushed my teeth. Got dressed. Jumped into the Jeep to head to work. Turned on the radio.
The first thing I heard was this: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/09/162553953/kitten-in-engine-survives-car-trip
In real life, the kitten was saved! The coincidence of my dream and the news story is still a bit fascinating to me, my lack of superstition notwithstanding. At the very least, I’m glad to hear that, in this case, reality trumped the dream for a change.
Timeless blend of spice, timeless tunes spiced up. That’s Zahatar! An explosion of flavor for your ears. Zahatar is an acoustic string band that performs most often with No Co Artists, 501(c)3 in Fort Collins, Boulder, and Denver, Colorado. Like our page on Facebook - we just went electric!
—The Banks of the Barrow
The Banks of the Barrow - traditional Celtic air
This is another air that I learned early on. This is a rough cut of my embellishments. The tune always reminds me of what I imagine the cold, misty, sad barrow-downs in The Lord of the Rings to be like.
“All other considerations secondary. Crew expendable.”
As these green, glowing letters flashed across movie theater screens in 1979, a new hero was about to be born. Or rather, heroine. This was the turning point for the character Lieutenant Ellen Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver in the movie Alien, directed by Ridley Scott. It was also a turning point in movie history. There wasn’t going to be a man hanging around to flex his biceps and save the day. Ripley had to do it herself, and she didn’t need sheer brawn to accomplish the task. Through smarts and unbridled frenzy, she managed to be the sole survivor of a doomed voyage, destroy a $42 billion spacecraft, harpoon a murderous creature, blow it out the airlock of the escape shuttle, send it into deep space by punching the boosters, and let’s not forget that she took time out of this busy schedule to save the goddamn cat.
And thus, a new feminist celebrity role model was born.
Sigourney Weaver celebrated her 62nd birthday on October 8th. It has now been more than 30 years since we were introduced to her iconic character Ellen Ripley in the first of four Alien films. Time flies, as they say.
And so we come to the development of the female action hero, which has now seen many iterations and has included names like Milla Jovovich of Resident Evil fame (remember that gem she appeared in back in the day called The Fifth Element?), Linda Hamilton, better known as Sarah Connor in Terminator (bad 80’s hair notwithstanding, no one else could have delivered the line “You’re a terminated fucker!” with as much aplomb) and Terminator 2 (better hair, bigger biceps, and giving Arnold Schwarzenegger a run for his money with a sweat-soaked pull-up routine), Angelina Jolie as the smarmy British bombshell – literally – in the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider films, and if I kept going we’d be here all day.
So let’s be here all day, because, hell, let’s face it, empowered women rock the universe. Angela Bassett in Strange Days. Michelle Yeoh and Ziyi Zhang in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass. Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight and Cutthroat Island. Zoe Saldana in just about anything. I’m sure you could help me out and list about a hundred more.
But let’s re-focus on Sigourney Weaver, since she was by far one of the leaders of this intimidating pack of femme fatales. Sixty-two years old and still trucking along. She even manages to land some action roles to this day. But a strange phenomenon seems to be surfacing. The idea that she – or, more pointedly, her characters - are expendable. In the past three years, Ms. Weaver’s characters have met their untimely demises in at least four films. In Avatar, she takes a bullet wound and withers like a rose in the frost. In Paul, she is crushed like a soda can. In The Cabin In The Woods, her skull is split in two by a hatchet-wielding Fran Krantz. In Red Lights, she practically dies of unknown causes, off-screen, and her body is found by a distressed Cillian Murphy, later to be cremated at the film’s halfway mark. Now, I have not yet seen The Cold Light of Day or Vamps, so if her characters die in those, you can add two more tick marks to the body count.
Why all the dying? Is it because she can only be bothered to take walk-on roles these days? Or does it have more to do with her age and Hollywood’s take on women in action roles?
Let’s dissect this. When was the last time you saw Betty White karate-chopping Adam Sandler? Oh wait, that was Bob Barker. How about all those times Judi Dench cried, “Yippie Ki-yay, Motherfucker!” Oh, yeah, sorry, Bruce Willis said that. And still does. Get my drift? Hollywood LOVES men. And furthermore, Hollywood loves the same men playing the same tired action roles into their sixties. But when it comes to women, for the most part, Hollywood can’t fathom the idea of a strong, smart, kick-ass female action star…in her fifties or sixties.
Perhaps the one shining exception to this is the exquisite Helen Mirren in the film Red (although in my opinion she is hugely under-utilized). Here, she would have you believe she invented covert ops. And the way she wields a gatling gun reminds us that retirement is for sissies. But where are the rest of our lovely silver-haired geriatric heroines? There are certainly plenty of male counterparts that fit the bill. Take the Expendables films, since the word “expendable” seems to be the prevailing theme of today’s blog. Sylvester Stallone: 65 years old. Dolph Lundgren: 55 years old. Eric Roberts: 56 years old. Chuck Norris: 72 years old. Bruce Willis: 57 years old. Arnold Schwarzenegger: 65 years old. All have had action hero status in the past, and all are still carrying the torch in one hand and a walking stick in the other.
And now, we hear of a studio green-lighting an all-female version of the Expendables. Hurrah! Finally, justice for the women of Hollywood that led the feminist charge with strong roles! Film news sites across the board quivered with excitement at the prospect of seeing the likes of Weaver, Hamilton, and Jolie kicking ass once again! Yet, now it appears that studio execs are focusing on young women for the action hero slots in the rumored “ExpendaBelles” (I know, yes, it’s horrid – please don’t shoot the messenger). Really, Hollywood? The old guys can have all the fun, apparently, but we can’t have a slightly saggy-boobed yet perfectly support-bra clad older gal high-kicking evil in the schnauz? I vote for embracing the older female action hero, and denounce the ageist and sexist view that a woman needs to be young, unblemished, and a sex symbol in order to land the role that the script describes as “incinerating all creation with a four-foot-long flamethrower,” or “going all martial arts on Bad Guy #1’s ass and kicking him into next week.”
Let’s kick Hollywood into the 21st Century and get these gorgeous, still bad-ass older women the kudos they deserve.
It’s important to remember Randy
As anxiety strangles the brain
Immunity shields from ill
The curse and the blessing of MS
Your beauty is eternal in its fragility
Your eyes belie your youth
Your mind a terrible thing to waste
Will MS take these things away?
I wish you health
The marvels of love