Thursday, February 26, 2009

Oscars 09- (Belated) Post 3

I know, I know, I know. I’m late. I’m always late these days. But I wanted to finish what I’d started and write about the movies I had forgotten I had seen (and the one I saw after I wrote the first two posts.) Here goes:

The Dark Knight

The nomination (and win) from this movie went to Heath Ledger for his performance as The Joker. I thought that it was a brilliant performance. From everything I’ve heard, Ledger came to director Nolan with a head full of ideas about how to play this Joker. I have to state for the record that Tim Burton’s Batman, with Jack Nicholson as The Joker, was one of my first favorite “non-kid” movies. And while they are very VERY different, I do like both Joker performances.

Unfortunately, I do not think that anyone will ever know if Dark Knight was a success because of our morbid fascination with Heath Ledger’s death, or if it would have been just as successful without that event. Just as I’m not sure we’ll ever know if Ledger would have won this Oscar for this performance if he had not died before the release of the film. I also wonder if there wouldn’t have been a deeper discussion of Dark Knight’s themes of privacy vs. surveillance, certainty vs. chaos, etc, if so many people hadn’t been focused so closely on Heath Ledger’s performance, viewed posthumously. So I’m not sure if it deserved to win outside of its current context, but I do think it was still a great performance and great film.

Tropic Thunder

I was pretty surprised that this movie was nominated for any of the main Oscars. So to see Robert Downey Jr. nominated for Best Supporting Actor was pretty surprising. Especially when he was “the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude!” One of those dudes being a white Australian man playing an African-American man. From the beginning, I had a weird feeling about the “black-face” aspect of Robert Downey Jr.’s performance, but, when the movie came out, I just couldn’t pass up what I was hearing from everyone was a hilarious satire of both war movies and the Hollywood movie-making system. I even went with an African-American male, who seemed to enjoy the movie a great deal.

I would say that I would like to submit a few new categories to the Oscars. One is stolen from a friend, who suggested that there should be a special category for people playing real people in biopics. Often these actors and actresses are nominated in the general category. But I think that there is a difference between measuring how good Marion Cotillard is as Edith Piaf (for which she did win Best Actress 2008), when she has recordings, writings, and pictures of the woman, and how good Julie Christie or Ellen Page were in their films, when they don’t have those things. In some ways, it is harder to play a real person, not just to look like them, but to act, move, talk, etc, like them, while still seeming real. So I submit that there should be a “Best Actor/Actress portraying a Real Person” category.

I also submit a “Best Cameo” category. There would be a limit to the amount of screen time that an actor/actress could have to be considered for this category. But I have heard of several instances when someone put in a performance that was amazing in a pivotal role that gave them very little screen time and other were upset when they got nominated for “Best Supporting Actor/Actress.” It is often thought that those nominations should go to people with more screen time, who put in “more work” on their movie. Thus, the “Best Cameo”. I’m bringing this up in discussing Tropic Thunder because, if there was a category for “Best Cameo”, I would have nominated Tom Cruise for his role in Tropic Thunder. He is all kinds of greasy, fat, smarmy, and gross. He plays the role with his whole heart. And anyone who can dance like that, like no one is watching, when in reality millions will see it, should get some kind of an award.


I bought this movie for my mother for Christmas and watched it with her. I thought that it was an incredibly cute, animated, good for kids, but has something for every age group kind of movie. It was beautifully realized. It had positive “female” roles, ones that weren’t just a princess or a girlfriend. It was also a message movie where one can take the message to heart or just enjoy the movie, unlike, say, Happy Feet, which annoyed even this liberal-commie bastard. I would recommend the movie for a light-hearted night but, while visually stunning, I’m not sure it ranked for screenplay or any of the big categories.

Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

These were all very interesting. I went with a man I met recently, we’ll call him “White Shadow.” He told me that, during the Oscar ceremony, the filmmaker of one of the shorts said that he had worked four years for that fourteen minutes of film. Some of these short films are really a labor of love. A filmmaker has to tell a complete story in a very small amount of time. I think the most fun of the nominated shorts was “Oktapodi” about an octopus using the terraced seaside of Greece to rescue his/her mate from a truck heading to a restaurant. It was brightly colored, fast-paced, and cheerful. I also really liked “This Way Up”, about a father/son funeral home workers who go on a very strange journey just to ensure that their client gets to her rightful resting place. Strangely, though, it was the other animated shorts included in the collection, the ones that got “highly recommended” but not nominated, that I liked the most. There was one about a man who was ?not? hit by a meteor, resulting in his conscious and visible body being 90 cm. away from his physical, able to act, but invisible self. Yes, it sounds weird, but I totally dug it. I think it was French. That would explain a lot, huh?


Ok, so I actually didn’t get to go see Milk like I had planned. I had intended to take Obsedian (a young woman I’ve been dating recently) to the film, so that I could ensure that these young folks get some education in Gay History. But we ended up going to see something else. Which brings me to…..

Rachel Getting Married

This was a very good movie. Not for everyone, granted. It is shot with hand-held digital cameras, in everyday settings, with no added music. It is just the story of the weekend of Rachel’s wedding. Well…actually… it is the story of Rachel’s sister, Kym, getting a weekend-long furlow from rehab so that she can attend her sisters wedding. Now because she was in a movie about Nazi’s and the Holocaust, where she was naked much of the time, I can understand why Kate Winslet won Best Actress. But, of the performances that I’ve seen, I think that Anne Hathaway’s raw, emotional, expressive performance should have won. Honestly, I would not recommend this movie to anyone having difficulty dealing with an addict because, to me, it hit so close to home. The character Rachel states over and over again throughout the movie how Kym has made things all about herself, which, in my mind, is just typical addict behavior. The biggest example of this is that the movie’s title is “Rachel Getting Married´ and yet the main character is Kym. I think that this has been my favorite of the movies that had major Oscar nominations.

Oscar Show

Ummmm…..Well, I kinda didn’t watch the show. Usually I will flip back and forth between the show and something else. Usually I am alone and at my own house where I have control of the remote. I did get to see some of the acceptance speeches. Overall, I’m fairly happy with winners. But, honestly, I enjoy seeing the movies a great deal more than I do watching the awards show.

Let me know what you think about any of the movies you have seen, or just any opinions you have. Nighty, night, kids.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oscars 09- Post 2

First things first. Yes, I have seen Heath Ledger's Oscar nominated performance in Dark Knight. I thought it was amazing, as was the movie iteself. I'll write it up soon.

But the gauntlet has been thrown down and I have been challenged to give my opinion on who/what should win and who/what will win. I don't think I'm particularly good at things like that, but I have been reading Entertainment Weekly for....forever so I know what it looks like. Here goes:

Best Picture

The Nominees are: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (seen) , Frost/Nixon, Milk (gonna see Saturday), The Reader (seen), Slumdog Millionaire (seen)

Who should win: Unless seeing the other two movies changes my mind, I think Slumdog Millionaire should win. It's a great fairy tale, well-shot, heart-warming.

Who will win: Slumdog Millionaire. It also has a great, almost didn't get distributed insider story.

Best Director

The Nominees are: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (seen), Stephen Daldry for The Reader (seen), David Fincher for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (seen), Ron Howard for Frost/Nixon, Gus Van Sant for Milk (will see Saturday)

Who should win: Obviously, unless seeing the other movies changes my mind, I actually think that David Fincher should win for Button. I think he brought a singular vision and visual style along with an impecable eye for detail to a unique story. Didn't like the movie itself- too long, narrative dragged, didn't like the narrative framing- but I did like what I consider direction.

Who will win: Danny Boyle

Best Actor

The Nominees are: Richard Jenkins for The Visitor, Frank Langella for Frost/Nixon, Sean Penn for Milk (gonna see), Brad Pitt for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (seen), Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler

Who I think should win: I think that Penn or Langella should win, even though I didn't see those movies yet, because, even just in the commercials, one can see that they really try to embody these real people.

Who I think will win: Mickey Rourke. Hollywood loves a come-back

Best Actress

The Nominees are: Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married, Angelina Jolie for Changeling (saw tonight), Melissa Leo for Frozen River, Meryl Streep for Doubt (seen), Kate Winslet for The Reader (seen)

Who I think should win: Either Meryl Streep who I think gave an excellent performance in Doubt or Anne Hathaway who I hear gave an excellent performance, which I really want to see.

Who I think will win: Kate Winslet, because everyone knows you get an Oscar when you are in a movie about the Holocaust.

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees are: Josh Brolin for Milk (gonna see), Robert Downey Jr for Tropic Thunder (seen- oh crap forgot about seeing that movie, gotta review that too), Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (seen), Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road

Who I think should win: I kinda think Heath Ledger. Not sure how much of that is swayed by his death, but what the hell. He'll never get another chance.

Who I think will win: Heath Ledger.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees are: Amy Adams for Doubt (seen), Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Viola Davis for Doubt (seen), Taraji P Henson for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (seen), Marisa Tomei for The Wrestler

Who I think should win: I personally really liked Viola Davis' performance. I hope she wins.

Who I think will win: I really don't know. Maybe Amy Adams???

Best Original Screenplay

The Nominees are: Dustin Lance Black for Milk (gonna see), Courtney Hunt for Frozen River, Mike Leigh for Happy-Go-Lucky, Martin McDonagh for In Bruges, Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon for Wall-E (seen)

Who I think should win: Black for Milk. Maybe it's just because I know about the backstory of his writing of the script. He wanted to make a movie about Harvey Milk. There was already a book, The Mayor of Castro Street, about Milk's life and the rights to that book were already owned by a film studio, stuck in development hell. So he did the legwork, source materiel research, interviews, etc, to write the script.

Who I think will win: Black for Milk

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Nominees are: Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire (see), David Hare for The Reader (seen), Peter Morgan for Frost/Nixon, Ever Roth and Robin Swicord for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (seen), John Patrick Shanley for Doubt (seen)

Who I think should win: Roth and Swicord for Benjamin Button. I saw that because, considering the short story that they had to work with and what they came up with from it, well, I think it's kinda amazing.

Who I think will win: Probably Slumdog Millionaire, just because I think that movie is going to sweep every category it is in.

And there you have it folks. My opinions on the biggest categories. We'll see how close I am come Sunday night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oscars 09- Post 1

I am a big fan of movies, as many of you know. I think to call myself a cinephile might be taking liberties, however. I have taken a few film classes, which I loved, but I don’t feel like I’m well-“viewed” enough to be a cinephile. I do try however. I have seen many classic “classics” and have a ton more on DVD and even VHS waiting to be viewed. I also try to watch new classics as they come out. For the past two years, I’ve taken advantage of AMC’s Oscar movie viewing promotion. You pay a flat fee to see all the movies in a row in one day, and get a large popcorn and large drink to boot. It’s a good opportunity to see all the movies at one time, but no one ever wants to go with me and it’s always crowded with people. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem seeing a movie by myself. In fact, I’ve done it quite often, especially since I see a lot of weird movies that no one else I know wants to see. But going to see five movies all by yourself in a crowded theater when almost everyone else has at least one companion can make for a long depressing day. And that isn’t even counting how depressing the films can be, though they do always seem to put the most fun, comedic movie last- Little Miss Sunshine year before last, Juno last year.

This year, however, I just couldn’t do it. I do want to see all the movies. That isn’t in question. What is in question is whether or not I can deal with a dozen hours alone in a cramped theater with loud strangers. I’m even more anti-crowd and anti-social these days than normal. I don’t think I can. And I don’t want to waste the money on something I bail on after only one movie. Also, as it is all day on a Saturday, I would be giving up one of the few days that the people I know, most of whom have regular Monday thru Friday day jobs, can hang out. On the other hand, I can catch the movies over a period of time during a weekday, or on a weeknight when I’m not busy. Oh, and, I really don’t think I could sit through all three hours of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button again right now.

But I thought I’d share my thoughts on the movies with Oscar nominations that I’ve seen so far. *******BEWARE: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!********

[Saw this movie over the Christmas holiday while in the suburbs of Slightly Larger Midwestern City, after visiting my grandmother in the hospital, and just after a particularly upsetting (to me) argument with TyRoy. I wasn’t in the best mental state.]

I wish I had written about this movie right after I saw it. It was one of those movies where, once I left, I thought “mmhmmm.” I would like to poll people who have seen this movie to see who they believed.

The movie is basically a war of wills between a very conservative, by the book, headmistress nun at a Catholic school and the liberal priest who serves the congregation, ostensibly over whether the priest had an inappropriate relationship with the schools one African-American student (set in 1960s). As the movie progressed, I found myself flip-flopping on whether I believed anything inappropriate had occurred. Despite the widely-publicized priest pedophilia scandals, I initially wanted to believe that the nun was just an overzealous reactionary who wanted to get the priest to leave, by any means necessary, and who would believe any horrible thing about the priest, because of his liberal views. But, in the end, the priest caves and leaves. Is he really an innocent man who just doesn’t think he will ever be able to overcome the suspicion of this nun, or is he really guilty? While I agreed with many of the points that the priest made, especially “Certainty is an emotion, not a fact,” I still don’t know if what I think really happened. I’m sure that is the point, though.

One of the things that struck me the most was how differently men and women were treated and how women, namely Meryl Streep’s Sister Aloysius, made the most of what little power they had in their situation. Time and again, throughout the movie, Father Flynn’s actions usurp Sister Aloysius’ power, whether he realizes it or not. Actually, in most instances, he doesn’t seem to realize that what he is doing could be viewed that way. His actions are rather heavy handed ways of demonstrating his privilege. The most obvious demonstration of this is how he takes the seat behind Sister Aloysius’ desk when brought in on the pretenses of discussing the Christmas pageant. The seat behind the desk is the seat of power, the seat from which Sister Aloysius reprimands bad students. But once Father Flynn arrives, Sister Aloysius is relegated to a less seat. Also, the priest assumes that she will serve him coffee. Like a woman who waits on a man to open the door for her, the priest waits for the nun to serve him. Though she has served longer and has worked to obtain a high position, it is obvious that she will never be considered as high as Father Flynn, even if he had had an inappropriate relationship with a student. That is not to say that she is not without power, however. A schoolyard of children is silenced just with a word. The nuns demur to her opinion. Parents are at her beck and call. This position does offer her power, just as the teaching positions offer the other nuns’ power and even more purpose. But they are constantly reminded that they only wield that power within a very small sphere.

The part of the movie that shocked me the most, however, was the discussion between Viola Davis’ Mrs. Miller, the mother of the student in question, and Sister Aloysius. When the Sister hints to Mrs. Miller that there might be an inappropriate relationship between Father Flynn and her son, Donald, Mrs. Miller reacts in a quite surprising way. Basically, in her own 1960s way, Mrs. Miller says that she puts her son’s ability to get into a good high school as a result of graduating from a good private elementary school above any other concerns and that she is not sure if a relationship that others might regard as inappropriate is really all that inappropriate. According to her, Father Flynn has been the only person who has shown interest in her son, when he is in an environment that is harsh to him as the first and only black student. She also suspects that her son is gay, so any “inappropriate” relationship might actually be consensual, in her opinion. While Sister Aloysius, the most of the audience, is quite shocked by this reaction, from anyone, much less the parent of the student, I can see where Mrs. Miller is coming from, when I really think about it. If you really wanted your child to get the best education, in the most accepting environment possible, especially knowing that he was facing discrimination on two fronts (being black and, at the very least, less masculine/more sensitive than other boys), do you think you might overlook something suspicious, especially if you felt that bringing that to light would destroy his chances?

I suggest watching it if you want a tense drama that doesn’t give you answers. Though you might not want to watch it with Catholics or Catholic-haters, or someone who was abused as a child.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
[Saw on a ‘date.’ Maybe not a good idea. Kinda killed any thoughts of romance, what with the whole theme of mortality.]

Bring caffeine. This movie is long. Most people that I’ve heard talk about it also talk about falling asleep during the film. Not that it is uninteresting, exactly. Visually, the film is stunning. The aging stuff is amazing, though just not-real enough to be a bit creepy to me, though I know I look way too hard. The scene late in the movie where Brad Pitt is made to look younger than he currently is…amazing. But, narrative-wise, it was a little slow. Also, I just couldn’t suspend my disbelieve enough. I wanted to know why the hell this was happening to him, what the purpose of his life and his backward aging was supposed to be.

Then it made me cry when it probably wasn’t intending to. At the end, when his body is that of a young teenager but his mind is that of an old man, when he can remember how to play the piano but can’t remember who people are, I was heart-broken. It reminded me so much of my grandfather, who, after his stroke, couldn’t remember hardly anything, but could manage to take apart anything you left near him, though he had no clue what it was, what it did, or remember how to put it back together.

Watch it at home, so you can pause for bathroom breaks, if you want to kill three hours on beautiful visuals.

The Reader
[Watched last night. Decided to watch it first since the other movie I was planning on seeing was supposed to be more uplifting.]

First, if Kate Winslet wins an Oscar for this movie, with its Nazi backstory, fans of the HBO show Extras will be laughing their asses off.


WTF? She’s illiterate???? I had read reviews of this film and they all talk about how her lover accidentally finds her again by coming to her trial for crimes committed during WWII while she was a Nazi but that that she hides an even bigger secret. Early in the movie, when she makes him read aloud to her during their affair, I picked up that it was probably because she couldn’t read, but I was really hoping that wasn’t the big secret. It was. Stating that she is illiterate would have gotten her a much lighter conviction, but she is too ashamed to say it, just like her cowardly ex-lover is too afraid to say that he has figured out that she is illiterate and talk about all the things he saw when they were involved because he now knows that she worked for the Nazi’s, though he never knew anything about it when they had the affair. So she spends decades in prison and doesn’t want to live on the outside.

Grrrrrr. I really did like the questions about culpability and justice and rule of law that the movie hints at but it was completely derailed for me by the illiteracy thing. It asks a great many questions about who should really be punished and why are the people that are being punished being punished. In the movie, a mother and daughter are the only survivors out of 300 women who were locked inside a church to sleep overnight during a death march and the six guards, who did not open the church doors after an Allied bomb hit the church and started a fire, are on trial for murder. It is pointed out that the six guards are only on trial because this book has brought publicity to this particular incident, where as the thousands of other guards at the hundreds of other camps who were complicit in deaths have not been brought to trial. In her own defense, Kate Winslet’s character Hannah, frustrated, asks the judges what they would have done in her position: Should she never have taken this better job opportunity as a guard? I think the best thing to come out of this movie for me is that I now want to know more about, perhaps read a couple books on, how Germans, psychologically, as a group, have been effected by the knowledge that Nazi’s committed atrocities, while also knowing that many/most Germans at the time were Nazi’s.

Honestly, skip it.

Slumdog Millionaire
[Second movie tonight.]

I’ve been hearing about this movie for awhile and was torn in how I felt about it. I have liked Danny Boyle’s, the director, previous films. The story seemed interesting. Most of the reviews of the film were very good. On the other hand, there has been some backlash. First of all, ‘slumdog’ is not an Indian phrase used to describe people from slums. It actually doesn’t appear to be a phrase used by anyone anywhere, except in this film. (In fact, many Indians find this made up term quite offensive.) Also, I have heard it criticized as “poverty porn”. (I’ll get to that later.) Also, I’m just a little suspicious of a white Western director making a movie centering on people of a different culture in their culture.

But I have to say that I liked the movie. It was both dark and gritty and a feel-good romance, rise up out of poverty story. It is a fairy tale in the older sense, that there is tragedy, terror, and loss for our hero on his journey, but that it mostly works out well. I personally liked how the story was told, with flashbacks explaining how the main character, Jamal, gained the answers to the questions through his hard-knock life experiences. I also think that it might behoove more subtitle-ists to look at how the subtitles on this movie are not just placed at the bottom of the screen and highlighted so that they stand out. It would help make some movies more readable. But I came out feeling pretty happy.

But, of course, there are flaws. I just didn’t get how everyone started speaking English all of the sudden. I think the audience is supposed to assume that Jamal and his brother learn it from the English-speaking tourists, but I just don’t buy that they learn to speak perfect British English from tourists, nor do I buy that they would speak English amongst themselves, other Hindi speakers, and on Indian television. Also, the movie makes me want to ask someone who has lived in India if it is plausible that the final question on a game show of intelligence would be about a French book. Finally, though I know this is supposed to be a fairy tale, with a happily ever after, I find it hard to believe that the main character’s love interest, Latika, will be able to just live happily ever after, after she’s (presumably) been raped by Jamal’s brother as a young teenager and then given to a crime boss who abused her.

As for some of the criticism I’ve read online, especially on blogs about race, well, I’m still thinking about it. Of course, the one blog that had several posts discussing it is down right now, so I can’t look back at what others have written, now that I have the experience of seeing the movie for context. Generally, I’m not sure how I feel about the issue of “poverty porn”. It seems to me that, since silent films, there have been films about people living in poverty. Extremes are inherently dramatic, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there are many movies about poor people and many movies about rich people, and fewer about the people in between. I think that “poverty porn” is viewed as bad is because it is PRIVILEGED people getting ENJOYMENT out of other people’s, already marginalized people’s, supposed misery and, especially in making it from a “far off” country, eroticizing that misery. I have to acknowledge that I’m still trying to understand this particular concept and do not know how I feel about it.

I would mostly suggest going to see it, if you don’t mind a couple subtitles.

Ok, kids, that’s it for now. I’m supposed to go see the Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films today and I’ll probably catch a couple more before the big show. Let me know if you’ve seen any films that have nominations and what you thought. Thanks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Now That It's Over - Everclear

Now That It's Over - Everclear

Yeah right!

One, two, three, four

Break down, shake for me
Nothing ever is the way you want it to be
Nothing even tastes right now that it's over
Break down, shake for me
Don't write words unless you want me to read them
Nothing really matters now that it's over

Maybe we can be friends
Now that we're older
We can have fun like we did in the early days
Now that it's over

Yeah right!

Break down, shake for me
Nothing ever seems the way it ought to be
Nothing ever seems right now that it's over

Yeah, now maybe we can be friends
Maybe we can be closer
We can have fun like we did in the old days
Now that it's over
Oh yeah...

My bad dreams just don't seem the same
Baby without you
I wish you were willing to accept the blame
Yeah, for everything you do
My nightmares just don't scare me now
Baby without you, yeah yeah
I wish that I could find the words to tell
In the best way possible, you and your friends to go to hell

Yeah right!

Whoa, breakup time is never easy to do
Nothing ever ends the way you want it to
Nothing seems to make sense now that it's over

Yeah, now maybe we can be friends
Yeah, now that you're leaving
You can be nice to me
Maybe I'm dreaming
I am a lot better now than just okay
Maybe I am just wakin' up in my own way
Now that it's over
Now that it's over

My bad dreams just don't seem the same
Baby without you
I wish you were willing to accept the blame
Yeah, for all the shitty things you do
Nightmares just don't scare me now
Baby without you
I wish that I could find the words to tell
You to politely go fuck yourself
Yeah, now that it's over...

Every break-up has two sides. I made lots of mistakes, huge mistakes, heart-breaking unforgivable mistakes. I won't say I fucked him over as bad as he fucked me over, but I think that it'd be hard for a stranger who heard both side, or just watched it like a movie, to say who did worse. Either we are both villians or we are both victims. But it doesn't mean that we both don't still have, and shouldn't have, a shitload of pain and anger. This song could come from either of us or both of us.

I never thought I'd be divorced before I was 30. I never thought I'd be divorced. I never thought I'd be married.


"Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final today."-Tammy Wynette

October 2007 to February 2009. That is as long as my marriage lasted. It's bittersweet.

I've been trying to pickup and organize my living space (basement) lately, a little at a time. Last night, I finally got around to putting honeymoon pictures into the photo albums I'd bought for my mom and I. Yeah, I've been either distracted or lazy for at least a year. I had put photos into albums for BT's grandmother and mother, even sent a small album overseas to BT himself, just never got around to doing my own. And I'm guessing Mom won't want hers now, but I wanted to get it done and then put away. It was nice to remember that short but amazing time we were together, the things I probably never would have done without him, but they were just memories.

I tried to get to bed early. That didn't work so well, but I still got myself up early to get ready for court. Shower. Dress. Passed up wearing the black dress slacks that I got married in. Put on a necklace and perfume bought with love by someone else, makeshift amulets to protect my heart and spirit. Make-up to cover the acne caused by the new drugs and to make myself look more serious in front of the judge. I snap several pictures of myself before I go, to see if I look different after all of this is done.

Alone, by my own choice, I drove to the courthouse, parked, found the courtroom, and a seat in the gallery. It wasn't quite traffic court. More glossy wood than that. But not quite the courtroom of "Law & Order" either. I was early. I was trembling, shaking, nervous. I'd never been in a courtroom before. Settled in with a Newsweek on top of the bright yellow folder that held all my divorce documents, the signed decree of divorce that had arrived just the day before in the mail.

The judge was an older, slim, white haired gentleman, infinitely patient with the people who's cases were before him. Very few people had lawyers. The two cases before me were uncontested cases where only one party came to wrap things up, just as mine was. Just give the decree to the judge to sign and the settlement to him to review. Take the stand to answer his questions, full names, where and when the marriage occured, affirm incompatability, is the wife returning to her former name, do you think the settlement is fair and equable, thank you. Then file the papers with the clerk and send a copy to the other party.

It was pretty easy, all things considered, easier than many folks' divorces. Probably because we are both broke and poor and don't have children together. On the other hand, I have to say I feel like it shouldn't be easier to get into this contract than it is to get out of it. Then again, hopeless romantic that I am, I am a huge supporter of prenuptual agreements. Make arrangements when you love each other, to avoid fighting even more once you hate each other.

I left the courthouse feeling slightly more free and much more settled. I have a certain amount of closure, even though I'll always have unanswerable questions. I rode back home, listening to Ani, who he claimed was just another man-hating feminist singer, in response to my distaste for the unflattering, only-good-for-sex picture that one of the musical groups he liked painted of women. *Sigh* But it's over now. Back to the life that is my new normal. Change out of my dressy court clothes, so that I can do some yard work. I have to pick up more shit. Only this shit is from the four-legged variety of dog. It's smellier, but less emotionally toxic.

Monday, February 09, 2009

To Work or Not To Work

This weekend we went to Slightly Bigger Midwestern City to see my grandmother and celebrate my uncle's birthday together. My grandmother asked me if I was applying for jobs yet. I confirmed that I was. I also told her, as I've told many people recently, that I'm trying to work extra hard to pitch in around the house and do things for my family. Right now, while my meds can impede things, I'm attempting to push through the difficulties, get used to a normal schedule, and to be more than the lump of flesh sitting on the futon. I know that if I went from just sitting around all day to working even part-time, I'd have a very difficult transition and even more tired than I usually am when starting a new job. I'm also acutely aware that all my bills are paid for by my parents, with no financial help from me. I figure that if I push myself to do what not ungrateful and not lazy people would do then I'll be seen as not ungrateful and not lazy.

But my mom threw me for a loop with some comments that she made on our way home. She mentioned that she had heard my comments to my grandmother about finding work, and that she had heard me say the same things the previous weekend at my uncle's house. My mom expressed to me that she was displeased that I seemed to put so much emphasis on finding a job. She pointed out that I wasn't in dire straits financially, as my parents are paying what bills I have and providing a place to live and food to eat. (Yes, somehow I now feel ungrateful for wanting a job.) But her bigger worry was that I would push myself too hard and either take a job that I liked but that I would end up losing because the meds that just settled down got messed up again or that I would take a job I didn't like that would cause me to spiral and lose that job. She would like me to just take it easy and allow myself more time on the current meds before I put myself out there too much.

It is not like I don't understand what she said or why she felt the need to say it. I'm well aware that I had what might have been a great job offer last month, which, unfortunately, coincided with when the Lexapro dropped off and the Prozac didn't pick up the slack, like it was supposed to. I couldn't even get out of bed in the morning to go to the job, much less see how bad I'd mess it up by being there. And, honestly, it isn't like I don't have a difficult time with the more mundane aspects of life. I get tired much more easily than I ever used to. Just one trip to one store, be it grocery or wal-mart, wipes me out. I also have weird... spatial disturbances.... I'm not sure how to easily describe it. It happens when I move my head to fast, either up or down or from side to side. It feels like what happens when you are just a bit drunk and you move your head too fast, only it doesn't last as long. I guess when a person is drunk, they expect it and they're already out of it enough not to care. When you are sober, it's disconcerting. In addition to the above, I still have the tremor, some times worse than other times, though the beta blocker helps. I also don't like too many people. Tend to get a little paranoid around strangers and need a larger bubble of personal space. All of these things combined, as well as all the others that I'm not remembering right now, and, now that I think about it, bad memory should be on that list too... where was I? Oh, yeah- all of these things combine to make me worry that I could keep a job, even if it was one that I really liked and tried my hardest at. Those things also tend to limit what I would even consider applying for. I probably couldn't do a job where I had to stand eight hours. I couldn't do a job where I had to have steady, precise hands. You get the picture.

I should also say that it isn't like I'm hurting financially or lifestyle-wise. I will grant that I would be someone's slave for a week if they would either fix my car or have it fixed. My poor car :( Like I said before, I have a place to live, food to eat, everyday needs met, and what few bills I have paid. I don't go out as much as I would like and tend to look longingly at books I want, but a little less consumerism could probably do us all good. And I have plenty of books and movies here to catch up on anyway.

But it brings up some questions surrounding my future employment that I've been trying not to think about lately. I worry about my ability to get and stay employed over my lifetime. I've never really been able to keep a job for a very long time, though most of my jobs have also been in high turnover, low pay, service industry jobs and some I quit when I moved to a different area. But I know that I have a problem consistently keeping a job. I also have a hard time starting a new job when I find one. I've also had long-ish periods of unemployment, especially during and after a hard time in dealing with my depression or during and just after a crisis in my life. (Wow. I sound so pathetic.) It isn't as if I am physically disabled. It isn't like my mental illness is debilitating either. It would seem that the only thing stopping me from working is my own laziness and self-defeating attitude. But, on the other hand, this has been the pattern of my whole life.

I don't want to give up on myself though. To quit before I've even started, especially now that I"m on not just a new medicine, a new anti-depressant, but a new set of drugs, who's combination, for better and for worse, have new effects. A new set of drugs that I'm sure my doctor is hoping will make me better able to live a more "normal" life. I also feel like my life can't move on really until I am more free and independent, or at least in a position where I can choose to be dependent or not, where it would be a choice for me to live with my parents, whether to save money or just to be close to family, or to live on my own here in this city or to start over again somewhere else or to shack up with a hot lover or ten.

So I'm left wondering what road is best to take. I've been trying to take life much closer to one day at a time, not have expectations but enjoy things, feel things, love while I can as much as I can, try to be good. But now.... well, I just don't know. Please feel free to give advice...