Not Lost! On an Adventure.

A collection of travel and life related neurotic ramblings by yours truly.

Happy New Year

It’s official- it is January 1st, 2014, and I am probably slightly to severely hungover which is why I wrote this two days ago. New Years Resolution: think ahead!

2013 has been great in some ways and really rough in others. I graduated, but I had to leave Jordan (again) and now it’s been a little over a year since I’ve been there or seen my friends. I struggled to fit in back in America and haven’t really managed to find my place here. I got to see my cousin get married and my little sister will get married in 3 days- I was and am so excited for them. I found a job but it isn’t something I want to do forever; like all my other jobs it’s been a bit over 6 months and I’m itching for something to change. I got to move back to Denver and managed to find a job, pay rent, and mostly take care of myself in the meantime. I stayed close to a few college friends, dated a couple jerks, and found a really nice guy who has made me laugh for almost 3 months now. In probably the biggest news I’ve bought a plane ticket back to Jordan- one way. I leave January 20th and will be staying with friends over there until I can find an apartment and a job which hopefully occurs soon after my arrival. I don’t know what I’ll be doing for sure yet. I’m applying to graduate school as well (abroad, of course) so whatever happens I hope to be traveling and learning for a couple years.

To all of you who have faithfully followed this blog, asked me about my adventures and been receptive to what I have to say- thank you. You make writing about my adventures twice as fun! This is farewell for now- the effective ‘retirement’ of this blog although it will inevitably live on through the glory of the interwebs forever.

In better news… go check out http://www.happilycaffeinated.wordpress.com, a new blog I have started chronicling my life post graduation. It is much different than this blog but go check it out and see for yourself!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you- I hope this year goes better than ever before.

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Rain, Rain, Go Away

Every time it starts to rain in Seattle a kitten dies. Fact.

While that might not be true, a little bit of the remainder of my happiness decreases with each raindrop that hits the window. It is almost July, for God’s sake. IT NEEDS TO STOP.

The thing that really sucks? It doesn’t get better. It keeps raining. September through May, it is gray and gloomy and it doesn’t go away. ‘Summer’ is a pseudo season where, on occasion, the sunshine will poke through and people can pretend like they’re warm for a couple days until the clouds inevitably descend once again.

Seattle is a direct representation of depression.

For some people this totally works- they thrive with the clouds, the cool, the ocean. They like the rain and freak out when it is sunny for ‘too long’ (in Seattle terms, approximately 3 days). They love the green that comes from constant precipitation and can deal with the fact that moss lives on everything.

If this city had a word it would be ‘moist.’

Yeah. Ew.

I can’t. I can’t do it. I’ve been in Seattle for 11 days and I can’t. Washington is a beautiful place- there are rivers and mountains and valleys and fields and forests and oceans and lakes. I grew up here, my family is here. The community I grew up in still cares immensely for me and there are people that I really like being around here. But I can’t.

Denver gave me sun and Jordan gave me an increased sense of what my life was becoming. Those places made me smile, made me energetic, made me independent. Coming back here has taken a lot of that away and while it has the potential to be short-term, it is still unpleasant. I want to be here for my family but I also want to preserve the things I created for myself over the last four years- happiness, confidence, and community being a few of those things. It sucks to come back to a place that used to be home and realize that it isn’t anymore; this is a natural transition and I am glad for it, but when others haven’t made that same transition it gets awkward. When you move around every 3-5 months nowhere is home and that kind of sucks.*

I have no solutions. I have no answers. All I have is a deep hatred of rain, an intense need for coffee, and my fat dog who desperately needs to be walked.

*The months I lived in Jordan constituted the longest I’ve ever lived continuously in the same city since beginning college.

 

 

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Livin’ the double-wide dream

Days are long (sooo very long…) and life is simple in this small town. I dropped my grandma off at her volunteer gig at the local thrift store (where everything in there can be traced back to someone you know) and tootled around town- the truck my parents had given me to drive conked out with a faulty transmission something or other a couple miles from town the other day approximately an hour and a half into me driving it for the first time, so that was unimpressive. Transportationless again. Curby the Love Truck had potential, but it was no Herby the Love Bug as far as durability or speed went.

My report of this one internet café town the other day is unfortunately incorrect- we are now a no internet café town, as the lovely little restaurant that formerly offered wi-fi now does not. It still has delicious food and great coffee, but I am sad for the decrease in browsing and other web wanderings that I now have to rely on my little phone for. Oh, the technology! Oh, the first world problems…

Grandma and I have attended the last high school graduation party of all my cousins (woo, we all made it that far!) and my cousin’s wedding shower, both of which were a lot of fun. I haven’t seen my family since January and am still waiting to visit a few of them. In the meantime I am attempting to keep busy, which is hard when there isn’t really much to do and going outside involves gale force winds and mosquitos the size of nickels. That might not sound that bad for those of you from places where mosquitos could be considered the state bird, but they are leaving silver dollar sized bites on me which I do not appreciate in any way, shape, or form. No. As much as I agree with the idea that pesticides and chemicals are genuinely bad for us and should be used sparingly, I am going to advocate for the total and utter annihilation of the mosquito population of Eastern Washington right now. Nuke ‘em and make my ability to garden outside so much more pleasant.

I did manage to survive the wind and clean a few of the outside windows today, something that does not get done often, but by this evening a sheen of dust has already settled on my pristine handiwork… kind of like Jordan, the dust blows here all the time- except in Jordan I never even pretended to clean!

Last night Grandma and I watched The Bachelorette which was hysterical. I don’t really enjoy most of the shows on TV, but watching with her cracked me up. Despite our age difference, we really are just two single ladies. Haha!

Also- if any of you have seen the trailers for the movie World War Z, I am telling you to go read the book and then see the film. I could not put it down! It is unique and you cannot be on my zombie apocalypse team without having read it.

The End.

I will try to have more interesting stories in the future, but don’t count on it. I’m still applying for jobs and trying to plan my imminent journey back to Denver but it’s at least 3 weeks away and time is going about as fast as a comatose turtle.

 

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Adios, Colorado…

As many of you know (as I’ve written about it before) I am terrible at moving, packing, or otherwise motivating myself to change locations when I do not want to. This time, however, despite the continued lack of motivation to move myself from my beloved Denver to the despised state of Washington, the packing and moving process was accomplished without any tears/ mental breakdowns/flinging of my belongings across the room at those attempting to help me. Look, world! I’m growing!

I was still very sad to leave- I am missing graduation and all the accompanying celebrations, which is why I’ll avoid facebook and friends’ pictures for the next week (it won’t be hard- I’m in a one internet café town). My last night in Denver was spent creating a mess my roommate gets to clean up while I cooked massive amounts of food to feed my friends, who kept me company and made me laugh even through the rainy night. Yes, it poured rain my last night there. Cool, Denver.

I slept most of the way through Colorado and Wyoming on our way to Boise, Idaho. 14 hours in the car with a parent you haven’t seen in 6 months? Sorry I wasn’t the best conversationalist, nor was I the happiest of campers… and our AC broke halfway through my nap on the Utah/Idaho border. And we were driving into the sun. It was miserable. I felt like a baking potato. I could smell myself. That was not nice. Aside from that the ride went relatively quickly and it was nice to see my friends in Boise for the evening. Shaadi cooked a delightful Arabic meal that puts my attempts to shame.

We made it to Eastern Washington yesterday afternoon and unpacked the few things that will stay with me while I take care of grandmothers and do wedding things with my cousin. My life has no plan and I exist simply on the whim of others for the next month.

Gah.

I made it about 10 minutes before I burst into tears (I hate not having my own space to go back to, my own kitchen, my own little niche, my friends) and 5 hours before I began applying for jobs and looking for apartments back in Denver.

Roadtrip stats:

1,219 miles driven

18 slug bugs

Thousands of cows

Instances of minor road kill= >30

Instances of major road kill= 1 deer

Song I shouldn’t have let Dad listen to but did and spent the next 2 days with it in my head- Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith

21 hours in the car- approximately 6 spent passed out

Animals decapitated and consumed in the house by grandmother’s cat in the 18 hours we’ve been here- 4

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Rednecks at Red Rocks

Last night I got to go to a concert at the gorgeous Red Rocks Amphitheater with a friend of mine to see a bunch of country/western Texas bands. I had, prior to this, never heard of any of them but was totally excited to go. Red Rocks is beautiful and I love me some cowboy hats!

Pulling into the parking lot we joined a massive number of trucks being driven by lots of rowdy cowboys and cowgirls. We sat on our tailgate (as we were also part of the cowboy hat/boot wearing, truck driving crowd), drank a beer and ate our lunch while observing the bits of humanity we were going to later enjoy the concert with. Country music blared from open doors and boots crunched on gravel as people from Nebraska, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas all piled in to watch these bands.

We found our seats and the show started. Beer flowed and I couldn’t help but laugh as my friend’s Texas accent came out in response to the sheer number of rednecks around us. The crowd roared when the bands came on and introduced themselves, as almost every band member was from Texas. A gal with a Confederate flag cowboy hat instructed one of the staff members to bring her and her friends beer every 1o minutes. Another individual walked by with a cowboy hat made out of a Coors Light box- I give props for design, but definitely not for beer choice! And I won’t even hazard a guess at the number of people I saw with American flag shirts, flags, or shorts on…

The music was great and the views, for any of you who have been to Red Rocks know, are stunning. The sun sets and we are still rocking along to fiddles and banjos; my face hurt from laughing and singing along. As the night went on and the rednecks got drunker many started swing dancing, a past time I also enjoy but couldn’t quite see myself being able to do successfully on the narrow ledges between each row of seats. I didn’t see any fallers but I did see some stumblers!

While this crowd was entertaining and reminiscent of growing up with small towns and country fairs, I am still a northerner and a liberal and don’t hold any stock in the idea that ‘the South will rise again’. I also don’t think everyone has the right to bear arms and will argue my point as voraciously as those who defend their right to be a gun-toting, right-wing, beer drinking American. I do think that the idea of Texas seceding is hilarious (go for it!) but realized that in this specific location with these people, my opinions were better left unbroadcasted… although I did whisper them to my friend, because I can’t keep my mouth shut when I want to make fun of people.

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Beautiful view of downtown Denver

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Packed crowd and lots of cowboy hats!

So! People, go to a concert at Red Rocks if you ever get the chance. I highly recommend taking a listen to the bands we heard- The Casey Donahew Band, Stoney Larue, The Randy Rogers Band. and Wade Bowen. They all have a few toe-tapping songs that certainly made me get up and dance!

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Tornado Tour

Last week I had the unique opportunity to go and visit Rachel and Sarah (of Jordan commune fame, of course!) in their hometown of Joplin, Missouri. I left Denver a sunny 80 degrees and landed a few hours later in what looked to be a hilly tropical rain forest complete with humidity and rain. Oh well! I was so excited to get to see my friends.

The Midwest, upon my entrance to the very small and barn-themed Branson airport (which smells of old people), is everything everyone has ever told me about it. It is humid, hilly, no real mountains in sight, and populated by Fox-news watching Republicans who give directions using the local churches* and some (most) of whom seem to have an aversion to exercise. Lest I offend any readers who may be from the Midwest, remember that I like to make fun of others and do not do so with the intention to harm, but rather to laugh at the stereotypes that happen to be occasionally true! These are my observations as a proud Western American…

Rachel and her brother picked me up from the airport and we drove the couple hours between Branson and Joplin. When we got to her house I was immediately attacked by the young siblings (there are 9 children in their family) all of whom greeted me by name, as they’ve all heard the stories of Jordan from their sisters. For the first couple days that I was there I was pretty sad- all my memories of Rachel and Sarah are of us in Jordan, and while getting to know the ‘America’ versions of ourselves strengthens our friendships it also makes me sad. I very much miss Jordan. They kept me really busy though so I didn’t have too much time for self-pity.

Rachel went back to her university in Arkansas to say goodbye to a few of her friends while Sarah and I stayed back in Joplin. We attended the baby shower of one of their Arab friends (they know more Arabs in Missouri than I do in Denver… jealous!) which was entertaining and ran around with all the little siblings being maniacs. We went hiking and kayaking which was beautiful and calm, something I needed.

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We attended Sarah’s graduation party which she held with a couple other girls from her class- and they had an inflatable bouncy house! I didn’t go in as I like to occasionally pretend I have some dignity left, but mostly because it was really hot and humid outside and I felt a bit gross. I enjoyed getting to meet a ton of new people, as I definitely stuck out in the crowd both as an unfamiliar face and as someone with a shock of blue hair on her head. Everyone was really nice!

Rachel, her mom, her grandma and I all went out shopping one night to grab a few things and they took me on the ‘Tornado Tour.’ This is what the locals call the area of town that was destroyed by the Joplin tornado. It used to be standard suburban homes- now fields and trees have taken over where the tornado ripped houses out of the ground. It was a bit weird to see (akin to my experience in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in high school) but informative to be in the car with people who were there, lived through it, knew what it used to look like. May is tornado season in Missouri (which I totally didn’t know before I went… I should probably at least Wikipedia places before I visit them) and because this marks the anniversary of the Joplin tornado a lot of people were still processing those memories.

We went to Sarah’s graduation which was awesome- graduating is super exciting and can be a bit sad, but it’s good. Sarah was excited and beautiful and getting to be there for this celebration was not something I will regret.

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Rachel and I headed off to her other grandparent’s ranch about an hour outside of Joplin to have a girls’ day with a few of her girlfriends from university, who were from Saudi Arabia. I loved getting to know these three awesome women- the understanding and speaking Arabic was also a plus! We played cards, ate a delicious meal, and ran around their cattle ranch climbing fences, dodging cow pies, and taking silly pictures by the pond. A storm was coming so we headed back to the house (they have the cutest dogs ever) and got the weather report- severe storm warnings and tornado alerts, eek. We sent her friends back to Arkansas and monitored the weather which was looking pretty freaky at that point. We’d had thunderstorms every night while I was there (something very therapeutic about feeling raindrops coming through the window with a warm breeze and rolling thunder) but this was a little more intense. We started hearing the reports about the Moore, Oklahoma tornado and it was approximately that moment that I decided that I would never like to live in the Midwest… I’ll stick to potential volcanoes and earthquakes, thank you! Haha.

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Picking roses- beautiful

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We ran across the fields pretending to be Heidi

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Rachel’s grandma played piano, but all the rest of us could do was Chopsticks. Gotta start somewhere!

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And of course I made friends with Stockings the dog.

We went down in the storm cellar after a tornado alert was given- I carried a flashlight, a couple pillows and some water while Rachel opened the hatch. No sooner had I descended the steps that I realized I was surrounded by cobwebs with living residents and that all manner of creatures that like cool, damp places were all up in my personal bubble… Ew! No thanks. Rachel got around me and cleared my path… I don’t do bugs and tornadoes in the same day. We chilled out down there for about 10 minutes before our part of the storm abated and the skies cleared up. I got out of the cellar and saw her grandfather sitting on the porch sipping his coffee, in his bathroom, dog laying contentedly at his feet. I approve of his method and resent the fact that I had to go in the gross cellar, but it gave me a story here!

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Rachel- ‘This is nothing new.’
Me- ‘I WHOLEHEARTEDLY RESENT THIS EXPERIENCE.’

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The skies post-tornado alert

I left on Tuesday, excited to be back in Denver but sad to leave my friends. It was a very busy weekend but I loved getting to know Rachel and Sarah’s families as well as laugh at the three of us in our American setting. I came back with a host of funny stories to tell as well as the ability to check Missouri off my ‘places I’ve been’ list.

Upon my return to Denver I realized that because of a few days of rain, everything was a brilliant shade of green. I walked back to my apartment through campus and while the day was stunningly beautiful, I only had one thought:

I want brown.

I want brown desert, brown dust, brown houses, brown streets, brown shoes. I want to be overwhelmed by brown Amman just like I was overwhelmed by Midwest green. I wanted mosques, the call to prayer, Arabic.

Moral of the story: I have been entirely ruined by the Middle East, and I’m ok with it. But can I go back now?

*I kid you not- Sarah and I were going to her friend’s baby shower and her mom told us to go past the Presbyterian church, turn left at the Baptist church, go straight past the Catholic church and then we’d be close.

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Colorado from North to South

SO many blog posts! I apologize for the inundation, but I have things to write and reliable internet so I’m going to take advantage of it. Plus, being unemployed (yes, that dirty word again) and cutting back on some activities has given me time to write but also have adventures to write about.

I went rafting this weekend with the Denver YoungLife crowd, a group of people I’m so excited to know. I was recruited to drive (which I do not do frequently) so I was a bit nervous about that, but once we got on the road I was good! The 4 kids in my car were awesome and we laughed the couple hours it took us to get there. I also didn’t have a rear view mirror, but we survived.

We went on a half-day raft trip through a company called Noah’s Ark located just outside of Buena Vista, Colorado. The people from Buena Vista know if you are or are not a local because they pronounce it ‘Bew-na Vista’ (insert Grammar Nazi shudder here). Despite the weird pronunciation, it is a beautiful place! We set up camp right by the Arkansas River and in view of the snow covered Rockies. The 24 of us spent the evening hacking around, playing sports and roasting marshmallows until late in the night before attempting to make ourselves comfortable and warm in our drafty and wooden-floored tents. I thankfully dropped off to sleep pretty quickly but it was a little miserable there for a bit!

012 037We got up the next day early in the morning, brushed the spiders off our stuff (eew) and ate a delicious breakfast. The water levels were really low on the river but we went anyways! Attractive in our gut-squeezing wet suits, life jackets and helmets we popped into our rafts and were off. We did about 10 miles of the river and the views were gorgeous! All the boats got stuck a few times and the rapids were very small compared to when I rafted the Deschutes River in Oregon in high school, but I still enjoyed it. The girls in my boat were freshmen or juniors and we managed to have wonderful conversations even when our boat filled with very cold water.

Oops!

Oops!

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My lovely raft companions

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Eventually we pulled out and went back to camp, sad that the river part was over but super excited for lunch. We then drove a short ways away to the Mt. Princeton hot springs which were fantastic! There is nothing better than being warm and if I hadn’t been driving I totally would have napped on the way back to Denver.

That night (after a much needed shower and load of smelly river laundry) I headed off to a small town in northern Colorado called Greeley for the birthday of a friend-of-a-friend (I have adventures to weird places!). I haven’t been to Greeley since a frisbee tournament sophomore year, but recognized a few places and the ever present smell of cow poop that lingers over the area (‘smells like money!’ my friend said). We went to an Irish pub where I met an assortment of random individuals, all of whom ended up being totally hilarious. I also tried a wonderful drink comprised of hard cider and Fireball whiskey which is now my go-to beverage of choice. SO GOOD. Anyways.

One girl who was a bit quieter was a self-described introvert who didn’t say much, but simply observed what was going on around her and made the occasional commentary or conversation. I love these people because they take in everything around them and while they may be silently judging everyone, they are also incredibly fun once you get to know them.

Then there was Juan, who promised to buy me lunch if I could think of a ‘Juan’ joke he’d never heard before (think, ‘if you’ve seen Juan you’ve seen ’em all’ kind of things- that’s a Juan joke). He was hilarious and we had some pretty hysterical conversation.

Travis was the birthday boy and Shay his adorably funny girlfriend. Travis goes to school in Laramie, Wyoming, so we had quite the mix of random people there! After drinks we got pizza at another grungy bar (my favorite) and then to the local hookah place (no Arabs to be seen, haha) where we stayed for a very long time, chatting and laughing, drinking tea and playing Apples to Apples. There are few things better than new friends, hookah, tea and board games (even if everything is a bit eau de cow poo). A few of us then drove back to Denver, tired but still laughing!

Moral of the story: I have laughed until I cried 3 out of the last 3 days. This is a Very Good Thing. I still have my moments, but some of the stress and worry has started to go away. I am unemployed and plan-less but enjoying my last few weeks in Denver which is nice. I am taking time to both make new friends and hang out with old ones I may not get to see for awhile while reminding myself that sitting in the sun reading, blogging, or just being is not a waste of time. I got to see a lot of my beautiful state this weekend and am so glad for the people who made that happen!

 

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The art of being a stray

Yesterday, as you know, was American Mother’s Day. Despite my attempts to call both of my wonderful grandmothers I was unsuccessful in reaching them and my mother was busy watching the Mariner’s baseball team win- her favorite thing- so I went about my day (I send cards, don’t worry 🙂 ) A friend invited me over to his house for dinner with his family which I accepted, because I’m running low on groceries and motivation to run anything heat-generating in my house while it is 80 degrees outside (SO HAPPY).

We showed up with flowers and wine for his mom and I got to meet his brother, his fiancee, parents and grandmother (her name is Fran- they call her Gran Fran. Best thing ever). I was immediately welcomed as we got dinner and drinks together to enjoy on the balcony which had an absolutely beautiful view of downtown Denver as well as the Rocky Mountain foothills. Talk about content with life!

Aside from phone conversations I have had very little family contact since January and I had forgotten how much I enjoy being around people who are related to each other, for better or worse. Family stories were swapped and so much laughter happened and I honestly felt like I was sitting with my own family- swap out a few of the names and we could have been talking about my relatives. Dinner was delicious and I was so happy that I got to be a stray college kid at family dinner again.

I will be returning home in the beginning of June and while I’m sad to leave Denver I am excited to be around my family again. They crack me up and will give me lots of things to write about here (and they feed me which is nice). In the meantime I will be farming myself out to my friends’ families who live around here in pursuit of good company and many laughs!

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Noam Chomsky

Last week I had the privilege of going downtown and seeing the brilliant Noam Chomsky speak. It was located in a very large church which kind of freaked me out (I mean, come on… that pipe organ was HUGE and would totally squish me in an earthquake) but the prospect of seeing one of the world’s best linguists as well as political commentator was too much for me to resist. It also helps that I own just a few books of his.

Before the lecture I ran into a guy from my sophomore year Arabic class who I hadn’t seen since I got back from Jordan. That was fun to get to chat and catch up and reminisce over how much we all despised that year of our lives… Learning is rough, I tell you!

I found my seat high in the balcony and waited for the shindig to start. Professor Chomsky (he teaches at MIT, no big deal) slowly made his way quietly down the aisle, getting about halfway before everyone stood up and gave him a thundering round of applause. Seriously, did he ever think when he started his career that he, a linguist, would be getting standing ovations? Academics all over the world twitched with jealousy.

Punctuated by a thunderstorm occurring outside, Professor Chomsky began speaking in the crackly voice of a grandfather. His lecture had no real clear topic, but rather skirted over a brief history of the world as well as some modern pressure points in regards to US foreign policy. He spoke slowly but surely- he knows his stuff, that’s for sure. He was also surprisingly funny and just a bit sarcastic which made the two hours fly by.

I’ll spare you the details of his talk but I had a great time. I encourage you to go read a couple Chomsky books- you’ll learn a lot! I appreciate his ability to be critical of governments and societies, especially our own, with the ability to present sound pieces of information as evidence.

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Movie Night (or 2)

I haven’t been to a movie in a long time, which not only saves money in the present but keeps me from watching commercials for other awesome movies coming out in the future. If I don’t know about it, I won’t want it!

That all changed when I saw 2 movies in the span of about 10 days, therefore subjecting myself to the irresistible allure of buttery popcorn and new movie trailers. Not only do I now have 3 or 4 movies on my ‘to see’ list, but am still digging popcorn kernels out of my teeth.

Now, this post might contain some movie spoilers so if you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 or the Great Gatsby, turn back now and go watch kitten videos on YouTube.

Ok!

Iron Man 3 was unexpectedly awesome. I laughed a lot and enjoyed the variety of action and explosions that occurred in addition to Tony Stark/Robert Downey, Junior’s snarky wit. What brought out my inner nerd, however, was the foreign policy allusions sprinkled throughout the film (most of which I have forgotten in the time between seeing the movie and writing this, but that saves you a synopsis of the whole movie as told by me so there you go). My favorite was the (SPOILER ALERT) villain who, upon stringing up the film’s US President on board a broken oil tanker ship, justifies his actions by revealing that this tanker spilled a bunch of oil in the ocean and the people responsible were protected from any punishment by the president, who refused to pass certain legislation regarding the environment and oil safety measures. Sound familiar?

Villains are villains for a reason, but anyone who watches the news or reads the paper (or simply looks around them) will see that sometimes villains comes from unexpected places. Sometimes they are the stereotypical baddie with the rotten past and evil in his eyes, and sometimes they are the leaders of our economy, businesses, or even our country. These people are not infallible based on their position.

In the end the president is saved, of course, but the impact on myself remained. Anarchy in this case made sense- the President allowed those in charge of the tanker leak go free while ordinary people had to deal with the very real and unpleasant consequences. I’m not saying we burn the BP executives at the stake or anything, but the punishment fits the crime.

Another part of Iron Man I found interesting was the invention of the Iron Patriot or War Machine Iron Man suit. At one point Colonel Rhodes, as the mascot for this new weaponized suit, blasts into a camp somewhere in Pakistan and interrupts a family dinner. The drone allusion wasn’t lost on me- drones that the US has flying over the skies of the world routinely kill innocent civilians in the quest for suspected terrorists. He then bursts into a garment factory where women in black burkas are sewing material- granted, he finds a blond and blue eyed terrorist in disguise there, all the while carrying on a conversation on his cell phone and trying to communicate with the women in English (I’m sorry, but if they are garment workers in Pakistan they probably don’t speak English. Can’t the Iron Man suits have a built in translator or something?). It bothered me a lot.

Movie commercials I saw and then decided ‘I WANT!’ = The Fast and the Furious number 6- more explosions, more fast cars, and more hot individuals running around driving said fast cars and causing explosions. What more could you want?!

Star Trek- no explanation needed. Just yes.

Secondly I was taken to The Great Gatsby with my friends, all dressed up and ready to revel in the ridiculousness that was the 1920s and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s raucous imagination. I had read the book in high school and still have my copy, but like most things in high school I’ve forgotten most of it as a matter of a psychological protection mechanism.

The movie itself was well made and the acting was great. The colors, music, and story line all blended together to emphasize the secrecy of life back then as well as the grandiose nature in which people behaved. Of course there were those in the 20s that didn’t get caught up in the stock market or have the ability to rely on their family’s old money to get them somewhere, but books don’t get written about ordinary people. This little piece of history was a stunning commentary on the ridiculousness of the New York area and just how much things can go wrong.

Nick Carroway, the author in the book/film who writes about Gatsby, is annoyingly observant (as writers usually are) and spends most of the movie drinking and being an awkward third wheel. All the characters, from Tom Buchanen’s mistress to her husband to Jay Gatsby himself were stunningly delusional when it came to their lives and the people around them. Everyone had secrets, and everyone was busy screwing over someone else while downing bottles of champagne and throwing lavish parties. I knew the movie was good because I walked out just as frustrated at all the characters as I did in high school with the book! The music was also interesting, mixing a blend of 1920s era jazz with more modern songs. That got a bit distracting, but I liked the effect.

Well there you go. If you haven’t seen Iron Man 3 or The Great Gatsby, I would recommend both. Until my next film watching spree I will be outside enjoying the summer sun with a good book!

 

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