Saturday, November 27, 2010

Big Fat Liar

I was flipping channels this morning and found this movie. It was one of those OMG moments where you suddenly remember something you haven't thought about in a long time. I loved this movie when it came out in 2002 and it's still funny now.

Frankie Muniz is a 14-year-old named Jason known for telling little white lies. His summer relies on one essay...if he doesn't get it in on time, he has to go to summer school. When he gets hit by a horrible Hollywood producer Paul Giamatti's limo on his way to school, the story he wrote for school falls out and soon becomes the next new movie everybody's talking about. No one believes Jason is telling the truth when he says the guy stole it and turned it into a movie. To clear his name, him and his friend (Amanda Bynes) run away to Hollywood, messing with Giamatti until the truth comes out.

They put blue dye in his pool, orange dye in his shampoo, super glue on his headphones, they steal his planner, send him to a kid's birthday party instead of a meeting with a network executive, rewire his car so the brake becomes the horn and the turn signal plays the song "I'm Blue." So funny. I really like that they didn't try to add romance to this and make the two kids get together.

Big Fat Liar was produced by Dan Schneider, the king of preteen TV. He produced All That, The Amanda Show, Keenan and Kel, Drake and Josh, iCarly, Zoey 101, Victorious, and What I Like About You. Every good live-action Nickelodeon show of the last 15 years. For anyone who has seen Better off Dead, he played Ricky the next-door neighbor.

I laughed when I found out he was Ricky.

Anyway, Big Fat Liar. Good movie.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Let's talk about faith?

I was always afraid that if I questioned my belief in God, I would go to hell, so I never did.

I went to Catholic school for the first nine years of my literate life. Nuns who wear habits and live in a house on the school ground, statues of saints next to the playground, crucifixes over the chalk boards in every room, and Hail Mary every morning before the Pledge of Allegiance...who would think to question it? I was the best guilty Catholic, the best grace-saying, Jesus-loving, hell-fearing child that Sr. Ann and Sr. Mary Theresa could have hoped to have in their religion class. I learned that all I had to do to go to heaven was believe in Jesus.

It took a while to adjust to non-sectarian high school. No Bible readings, no Thursday mass, and the teachers don't start each class with a prayer. Strange. I met atheists for the first time. Stranger. Atheists have no problem talking about God as a belief instead of a divine entity, something I was never comfortable with. I would push those thoughts from my mind for fear of going to hell, but as I became more comfortable thinking about it, I realized my religion was a matter of tradition, not faith.

Why am I Catholic? I don't agree with the Bible. I don't agree with the Church. I definitely believe there is a higher power, but how do I know it's the God I learned about in school all those years, exactly the way they taught Him in the Bible? Do I even believe in Heaven? I don't know. I don't know what I believe anymore. Without someone to tell me what to believe, I can't decide for myself. There are too many options.

I want my religion back. I want to be a good Catholic girl again because I want to believe in something again. I want to believe in Heaven, but to believe in Heaven, I have to also believe in Hell. Instead of Heaven or Hell, is it better just to believe that when you die, your life ends? You won't know you're dead. Logically, it's better to believe in Heaven because, if you're right, you will go to Heaven for believing in it. If you're wrong, you will never find out. That thought doesn't comfort me. I had to write an essay in sixth grade about what I thought Heaven would be like. My description did not include the possibility of knocking on the door and no one answering.

Even writing this, I'm afraid. I'm so paranoid that I heard my mom calling for my dad down the hall, but he wasn't answering, and I thought of the possibility of something bad happening to someone I love just because I'm thinking about this. The strongest part of my faith that remains is my fear. Even at times when I think that God was made up by people looking for answers and guidance in their lives, writing the Bible to give others the same sense of direction and purpose, I walk carefully down the stairs in fear of my punishment.

Believing in God just makes sense, more sense than anything actually. Without God, there would be no absolute truth and nothing to rely on to always be there. God is the answer to everything, giving guidance, direction, purpose, meaning, hope, and simplicity to a complicated world. Maybe God doesn't do those things, but maybe those things are God. Maybe God is just the presence of all those things in the lives of people who believe it. We can never prove God exists just as the religion believe, but in the end, does it matter? What if God is a myth? That doesn't make Him any less real to those who believe.

I could go on with this train of thought. I need to go to sleep now, but unlike I did when I was little, I can't just recite my little prayer before bed and feel assured that everything will be okay.

"Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. May angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light."


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gossip Girl AKA The Chuck Bass Show

If this isn't the most obvious statement of the day or even if it is, I love Gossip Girl. There is something about the combination of pretty and evil that is totally alluring.

Don't they look like vampires here?

Basically, this show is about a group of pretty teenagers (well, they're in college now) who live on the upper east side of Manhattan and come from extremely wealthy families. Almost all have been step-siblings at one point, and almost all have slept together. Everyone does horrible things to each other, and the victim and the villain manage to change every episode, always unexpectedly. An anonymous person that goes by Gossip Girl sends mass texts and updates to a blog about the events in the lives of this group, so everyone always knows their business. I actually say "oh man" out loud to the TV while watching this show.

I saw these ads on billboards in LA a few years ago

The main attraction of this show, however, is the amazingly manipulative, brilliant, and invincible Chuck Bass.

Ed Westwick is a British dude whose voice makes any scene of this show instantly intriguing. His fake American accent is better than the real one. Despite his character's weird preppy outfits and the nerdy way he gels down his hair sometimes, this guy is still sexy as hell. His character is *the* OMFG character, the "hedonist everyone love to hate." The one guy that is never boring.

This whole show is pure sex.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Bell Tolls

Sometimes I forget that life is a temporary condition.

My grandpa died from a heart attack when my dad was 17 and he was only 56. When I was too young to understand death, my parents told me that he died because his heart just stopped. I believed that death was a random and unexpected occurence, something that could happen to anyone at any time. I would constantly check to make sure my heart was still beating, and I remember being scared in the car because I couldn't feel my heartbeat through the vibrations.

When I was little, I thought about death a lot. When I was very young, probably even younger than six, I believed that dying meant falling asleep and not waking up. I thought that every time you went to sleep at night, there was a chance that you wouldn't wake up in the morning. I was so afraid that my parents wouldn't wake up the next morning. When I was too young to understand death, I understood the unpredictability of life and that everyone I care about could disappear in a moment.

I remember sitting in the corner of the kitchen on the floor in my old house, which means I was definitely younger than 7, listening to talk of some natural disaster on the news. I sat there hugging my doll (which I had a major attachment to--it's still in my room) and thinking about how I can't ever let go of her because if the world ended, I would want her to be with me. I thought that everyone else can run, but my doll needed me to carry her.

I don't think much about death anymore. Now I know that your heart doesn't just stop. I know that sleeping and dying are not the same thing. Whether it be my own or anyone else's, and it's hard for me to even imagine until a real, unexpected, heart-just-stopped kind of death makes me think. A healthy 16 year old girl died unexpectedly. I didn't know her, but all I could think about was how her parents, her brother, and her best friends must feel. It made me think about what I would do if I lost my best friend like they lost her. I can't even imagine how that must feel, but it was enough to make me cry a little. For them and for her.

Now it seems so easy to take everything for granted. You don't consider the possibility that everyone you love may not wake up tomorrow. You don't think about that probable day in the future when your best friend is no longer your best friend, when your relationship is reduced to awkward generic conversations on holidays. Over something as simple as geographic distance or as serious as the difference between life and death, you can lose someone who means the world to you.

When life disappears, love stays.