Beringer.

Reasons Why I Like this Commercial:

1. Behold, the other Gondry.

I liked Michel Gondry from the very first time I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Then, somewhere along the way, I saw a video of how he faked solving a Rubik’s cube with his feet. I just think  he’s cool. And he strikes me as a really intelligent, clever director, which is greatly appreciated. But this isn’t about Michel Gondry because it was actually Olivier Gondry who directed this commercial (and a bunch of  other really great commercials/music videos). I wonder if artistic vision is a hereditary trait. Some families have all the talent.

2. Wine wine, so very fine!

I never used to like wine. My mother would give me sips of it at her dinner parties and I thought adults had the worst taste buds ever. But, years later, here I am. This past Christmas, Daisy brought over a really really nice (and by nice, I mean criminally pricey) bottle of wine. Daisy is this pharmacist at the Motion Picture Hospital where my mom works. She is proud, single, and independent. She reviews fancy restaurants and travels around the world in her spare time. I am certain she lives in some quaint, well-decorated apartment full of books and wine and all sorts of things that fabulously single and well-employed people have.

So Daisy brings this legendary bottle over for dinner because she  doesn’t have children and can afford to be generous with her lavish spendings. Plus, she says wine is better with company. I don’t argue with her. She pours me a glass. She hasn’t seen me since before I turned 21; I can finally pick out my own wine glass and join the party party. But I must provide a disclaimer– I am no wine connoisseur. I’m trying to refine my tastes, but up until this point, it all tastes the same to me. I swirl it around, the dark red liquid sliding smoothly against the curve of the glass. It looks good, but I’m skeptical. Will this wine really be any different? Can my common, college-student taste buds recognize quality? I give it  one last look and raise the edge of the glass to my lips.

It was the best wine I have ever tasted in my life. So I guess now I like wine.

3. Advertising art, art advertising?

I know that we live in a dangerous consumer culture and advertisers are manipulating us with clever marketing strategies and yada yada yada. It’s easy to forget since I very rarely mention it here, but the other half of my double major is Communication. So yeah, I get it. But is it possible to enjoy a commercial, even knowing its intentions? Can advertising be stripped down to art, even as it’s trying to sell you something? I don’t know if the fact that this is a commercial takes away from the fact that it is also really lovely. It doesn’t for me.

Lately, I’ve been really into this whole art movement of taking paper and making it 3D. It’s like the page coming alive. Watch this. So in the end, I don’t really care that it targets me as a consumer or that it’s a product of good advertising. My point is, this is a great commercial– for the number of times I’ve watched it, for the way I keep remembering it later, for all the things it makes me want and wonder as I watch it. And for the fact that, in my grave procrastination, I am writing an entire blog about it.

Looks like I’m sold.

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Hey diddle diddle

What to do with bad days

I come back from the dentist early this morning, exhausted and numb. I miss my class and a passing car sprays me with rain water. The stormy weather does not improve the circumstances, though it seems fitting for my mood.

I become old and bitter. My neck aches from years of bad posture and my body hangs like a heavy weight. My eyes are failing me and I am haunted by noticeable signs of hair loss. Somehow my weak legs carry me up the stairs. I immediately cast off my dripping boots, shuffle out of my coat, and change into perfectly dry pajamas. My homework calls to me; my obligations fight for attention. I turn away for the sake of sanity.

I sit in bed and read The Book Thief for the rest of the day.

Somehow I am a kid again, curing my sour disposition with literature. I love how bad days can become good.

Friends are fun.

Three days well spent. Sometimes I forget that good times are more about good company than anything else.

Being best-selling isn’t always telling (har-har)

It is 3am and I don’t know why, but I don’t feel like sleeping. This is clearly a product of bad habit, but at least I was productive and squeezed a blog entry out of it. How’s that for justification?

I actually just felt in the mood for a brief musing/rant.

I’m going to go ahead and say that my explorations through literature are relatively diverse. I certainly don’t claim to be as well-read as I should be, but I’ve pecked through my fair share of genres. I have children’s books pretty decently covered and adolescent literature has become accustomed to my presence over the years. I have some experience with the classics and I like a good amount of contemporary novels. I admit to neglecting nonfiction and biography and scholarly works, but it’s not as if I ignore them completely. So, as an average reader of a somewhat young age, I think I have the right to give my opinion.

A lot of literary blogs have been buzzing about Committed, the new novel by Elizabeth Gilbert. They’ve been buzzing, but not necessarily with the best of buzzes. Curtis Sittenfeld writes a review of the book in the NY Times. He doesn’t bash it or anything like that, but he (like all the other book reviewers I have come across) notes that despite her characteristic wit and humor, there is something off about it. It can’t compare to its predecessor.

In 2006, Elizabeth Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love and it became this outrageous phenomenon, heralded as a truly amazing piece of nonfiction. Oprah shouted its praises and the book managed to be one of the top nonfiction sellers even years later. And I too fell into the hype. I bought the book. Everyone told me it was marvelous and I thought it looked interesting and so I bought it. The title was catchy, the cover was cute, and the premise was intriguing. “One woman’s search for everything across Italy, India, and Indonesia.” I drooled over the thought of travel and self-discovery, and I started reading the minute I got home from the bookstore. The beginning went quickly. I plowed through Italy and turned the corner with high hopes, but I think I lost steam somewhere in India. I had to push through to the end in order to finish. It was certainly interesting. It had its moments. I can understand why people enjoy it. Gilbert has a way of writing that is very much for the masses, which is really good for her because it sells books and it clearly connects with readers.

But, to be honest, it didn’t really impress me. I’m not trying to come off as a literary snob or anything of the sort. Elizabeth Gilbert is a good writer– great, even. I read her profile of Hank Williams (“The Ghost”) in one of my classes and it was one of the nonfiction pieces that stood out to me the most. It was beautifully written and just a powerfully revealing piece of literature. So I know she’s a good writer and I acknowledge the reasons why Eat, Pray, Love hit it big.

But I still felt disappointed when I finished it. In the end, I don’t think it was the book that let me down. I think it was the build-up.

I remember because at the time, I was itching for a great read. I had gone through this string of books that were good, but nothing spectacular. It was a succession of contemporary book after contemporary book. It was The Life of Pi, followed by The Time Traveler’s Wife, and then Extraordinarily Loud and Incredibly Close. All good books in their own right, but nothing remarkable to me. I couldn’t find something that excited me. They didn’t make me want to talk about reading or dwell on anything in particular. They failed to come up in conversation and they passed without much notice through my mind. Don’t mistake what I’m trying to say– they were good books and I’m glad I read them, but they fell dreadfully short of the expectation. For being so heavily praised and widely distributed, they never really convinced me.

I think it’s getting way too late. I’ve lost track of my own intentions in writing this. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there is a big difference for me between a good book and a great book. Or maybe I’m trying to say I’m finding it harder and harder to trust the bestsellers lists or other peoples’ literary recommendations. Or maybe this is all leading me to realize that I’m terribly picky and I just need to read more.

Oh! I never really mentioned which books (for me) qualify as great reads, but I suppose that will have to wait for another time because it is far too late to start poking my head down that rabbit hole.

On another note, I just finished Being There by Jerzy Kosinski, I’m rereading Whirligig by Paul Fleischman, and I have yet to choose a new book I want to commit to for this quarter. But, as always, I’m looking for a great read so I better choose carefully.

Tally ho!

I swore this year would be different and I would write more here. We’ll see how long that little endeavor can last. I don’t really have anything of significance to write about, but it seems as though nothing I have ever written about is of any real significance anyway. And yet I’ve been able to somewhat sustain the content of this blog, so I guess not much has changed.

I feel a bit like a fraud when I go through my Google Reader because I subscribe to Neil Gaiman‘s blog, and the thing is, I’ve never read a single book by Neil Gaiman. I haven’t even seen Coraline. The most I can say is I’ve watched Stardust and I’ve read some of his short stories. And all that is really irrelevant when it comes down to the embarrassing fact that I haven’t even tried to read one of his (many) novels.

I guess I’ve found yet another (unofficial) resolution.

But anyway, the point of even bringing this up is that I really like the way Neil Gaiman goes about blogging. It’s like, he knows it’s an online blog and he doesn’t try to make it more than that. He is always sincere and it makes him seem all the more real, even with the knowledge that he’s this well-respected, largely successful author. And regardless of how busy he is, he manages to write something. Hm.

And then there’s Betsy Lerner (this crazily impressive editor/literary agent/author) who not only keeps up with her blog in spite of everything else she has going, but manages to make it refreshingly entertaining. She is unapologetic, honest, and unashamedly real.

There are many more writer-bloggers I humbly admire, but if I go on praising them, I’ll never get to where I was heading.  If they can do it, I have no excuse. I might not be nearly as entertaining or remotely accomplished, but I suppose that’s not the point. So, in my long-winded and completely unnecessary way, I guess I’m saying:

I plan on writing more.

Who knows what that entails! Cower in fear, my lovelies. Cower in fear.

Dear 2009

You were a hell of a year. Or is it, you were a year of hell? That’s dramatic and I won’t put that on you. But you were quite the little bugger, I have to say.

I can’t really decide if you were good or bad, and maybe I’ll never be able to make that call, but let’s face it, you shoved me around a bit. And I guess I survived your biting humor and your clever paradoxes. I made it through all your prodding and poking. I soldiered on in spite of your cruel revelations and your painful truths. That must mean I’ve been made better under your watch, so I guess I’m glad you were what you were.

But 2009, I’m happy it’s over between us. You were nothing like I expected you to be. I never knew a year so confusing. In my mind, I can see all the ways you’ve pained me and all the times you’ve given me peace. I can relive all our moments and retrace all our twisted paths, but I think instead, I’ll just let you go with limited reflection. I’ll just accept you for what you were and love you nonetheless.

This morning, I saw the dawn of 2010. Let’s hope it treats us well.

Yours Truly,

Booki

It was good to see the dawn of 2010. Let’s hope it treats me well.