Monday, December 14, 2009

"Deadwood" Showdown

While I wait for "True Blood" to return I've gotten caught up in the HBO Old West showdown known as "Deadwood." Loaded with raunchy language, brothels, muddy boots, handlebar mustaches, whiskey shots and all sorts of murderous mayhem, it's definitely my kind of show. My roommate got my boyfriend and I season one for Christmukkah, swearing that it's the best written show in television history, and while the dialogue is entertaining and historically accurate (f***ing profanity and all) I'm not quite sure it takes the prize.

Now some may laugh at my suggestion that "Gilmore Girls" is one of the most expertly written shows ever to have aired, but never before has there been such a unique voice as writer Amy Sherman. Each line spoken has so many levels of meaning, intent and reference that you have to watch an episode three or four times (dictionary in hand and google at your fingertips) to get all of the humor. Crafted - that's the word I'd used to describe both her characters and her dialogue. (As a side note, "Six Feet Under" and "The Golden Girls" are runner's up in this catego

No, I love "Deadwood" not for dialogue but for the ambiance - that mixture of fear and excitement and adventure and freedom that the Old West conjures inside of me, as it did for pioneers, cowboys and scoundrels of ole. Now that the world has been mapped down to the square foot and we can google spy on every street in America, there's no more frontiers to explore. The unknown doesn't exist any longer. And maybe it's better that way, since as a race, we human's explorations tend to lead to bloody battles. But still, I can't help but sigh for a part of our history when life had possibilities out West and that by just stepping out of your wagon or saloon or homestead every morning, you were bound to have yourself an adventure.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Scrabble - More Than Just a Game

If there's a rep from Hasbro reading this blog right now, I have a suggestion. Why just market Scrabble to hipster couples and empty nesters when you can market it to counselors and psychologists everywhere? Having played the game with family, friends and boyfriends, I can tell you that nothing in this world brings out the heart of a relationship (whether it's red or black as coal) faster or more effectively than a friendly game of "I-know-more-words-than-you", otherwise known as Scrabble.

You're not following? Okay, here's some examples:

1.) When I used to play with my mom as a kid, most games ended up with me feeling bitter and defeated. The woman is a wordsmith. At the time, I thought she was being mean. 'Wipe that smug smile off your face!' I wanted to say. But now I see she was just putting me in my place. What better way to show your child who the authority of the house is than to kick their butt at Scrabble? Really, it's a phenomenal parenting tool. You get to teach your child spelling while also showing them who's boss. Pure genius.

2.) My best friend and I used to play Scrabble after she got off work as a bartender. We'd play right there at the bar and, because I was always ahead in points, guys would stand over her shoulder trying to give her advice. This was the point in the game where we'd draw up our feminist sleeves and give them the what for, ultimately bringing us closer as friends and making us stronger women to boot. It also revealed to me her good character. As a tutor to her in Spelling in Elementary school, there really was never a chance she'd beat me at Scrabble, but she always tried and always gave it her all. Now that's what I call heart.

3.) Perhaps the best way for Scrabble to be used in the mental health community is in relationship and marriage counseling. Just put two people in front of that Scrabble board with its pink double word scores and blue triple letter scores and watch the gloves come off. If you're going to last, you can play without demeaning each other or crying. Or, if you two are passive aggressive, the game will help to bring your issues to light so you can work on them with your psychiatrist. Heck, I even think priests and rabbis should get in the mix, using Scrabble during their pre-marriage counseling sessions. I mean, why pussy-foot around when you can rip open wounds within fifteen minutes? Nothing like a handful of vowels or a word challenge to bring out the best and worst of humanity.

My boyfriend and I play all the time, and although he won the last game I don't hold any resentment. Honest I don't. Okay, well maybe a little... But that's the beauty of Scrabble. Just like any relationship has its ups and downs (romantic or otherwise), so does the game. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you win. But if it's a strong bond, you keep playing the game and hope that in the end, it will all just even out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Oregon Trail

Ladies - Do you have a man with marriage and kids on the brain? Does the thought make you break out in a cold sweat? Then, boy, do I have the answer for you. Download the old school computer game, The Oregon Trail, on your boyfriend's iPhone and for hours he can play out his male provider fantasies without the harmful side-effects - horrid white dress, stretchmarks, dirty diapers, college tuitions.

As a strapping pioneer my man protects me and our three beautiful children - Isabel, Greydon and Anderson. And guess what? I don't have to do anything because my gorgeous, dusty counterpart does all the mothering for me. It's a win-win! Of course, two of our children were snatched by bald eagles and the third died of typhoid, but the beauty with the Oregon Trail is that you can always start from scratch and get a whole new set of adoring faces to feed and keep safe from angry natives (who I really don't blame for axing off my arm the other day. I mean, they were there first.)

So, ladies, remember, if wedding dresses make you itch and small children frighten you (as they do me) then take a hint from Blackheart and download The Oregon Trail today... It won't keep him satisfied forever (you can only rebuild so many tornado struck wagons trains before you just give up), but at least it'll buy you some time while you take your biological clock in for repair.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Oooooh, that smell. Can't you smell that smell?"

The band Lynyrd Skynyrd said it best in their lyrics, "Ooh, ooh that smell. Can't you smell that smell? Ooh, ooh that smell. The smell of death surrounds youuuuu..." And my god, does it surround me. About one month ago, my boyfriend and I woke up not to the smell of coffee brewing... oh no... no Folgers in our cup... no, we woke up to a horrific stench emanating from our heating vents. So far we've tried everything.

1.) Turning off the heaters, which was fine until the temperature in Music City dropped to below 20 degrees at night.

2.) Pest control. Just a few weeks after the smell set in a mouse appeared in our house. We thought, "that's it!" The same thing happened to me in the Santa Cruz dorms. They had to pry the mouse corpse out of the wall and soon things returned to normal (i.e. the smell of dirty socks, cheap perfume and marijuana.) Turns out, however, that our Nashville mouse was a fluke. We did manage to catch some possums living under our house (they were set free elsewhere for all you animal lovers) and my cat, Jade, will never forget the day her stuffed mousy came alive and scuttled across the room (don't worry, we set that critter free, too.)

3.) We recycled that gigantic collection of molding glass in our laundry room (you have to take it to the recycle plant), but all that did was give me more room to dance as I fold clothes.

4.) The plumber thought we may have a sewage leakage somewhere. Nope, we don't. And that theory sounded so good!

5.) We had workers clean up and attend to the mold growing on the ceiling in my bathroom. Nope, not the source either.

6.) Ignore it. This is the step my boyfriend and roommate have now implemented. And I don't blame them. What else can we do? We live in the stinky house now. The one people make excuses not to come over to. We buy candles (the plug-ins just made it worse, yuck) and burn incense and try not to gag. "Oh no..." we tell friends, "it's not our house. It's the construction down the street. Open sewage line." Hell, maybe it is. Or maybe it's a haunting. We haven't tried an exorcist yet. Does anyone have a good number for one? I'll try anything once.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Well, I did it. Yes, ma'am. I wrote 50,000 words of a novel entitled "Anchor Them" in one month. I took the National Novel Writing Month challenge and came up a winner. You know what lesson I garnered from the whole experience? What gem of knowledge was left behind in its wake? What deep insight I learned about myself and my place in the world?... Well here it is...

I don't like writing novels.

There you go folks. I've always pondered in my mind what it would be like to be a famous novelist. To hole up in a cabin by a lake somewhere and pen my memoir. Or rent a villa in Tuscany to hash through my latest best seller. But now I know. It's not for me. I'm a screenwriter at heart. I like to write telling dialogue and to tell a whole universe in one frame. I don't like to bother with in depth description. Bo-ring. Grab the heart of the matter, the soul of your character, the core of your message, throw it up on screen in the most concise way possible and relish in the fact that you did it all in 120 pages.