Friday, December 25, 2009

Bullet-Point Friday: Holday Gifts

The Gift of Travel
Saw the new Jason Reitman film (based on the Walter Kirn novel) Up in the Air Tuesday evening at the Plano Angelika with the great unwashed suburban masses. I'm not sure it's entirely unfair to hate a film because you share the experience with such despicable humans. Well, I didn't actually hate the film. It simply was not the film I wanted it to be. My friend Luis called it "a love letter to America," and I can see what he meant. That part I enjoyed: the traversing of vast geographical and emotional landscapes in order to find the center-most point called "home," the very essence of the ideatum of America. But there was just too much sentimentality, amplified exponentially by the audience gasping (when the enlarged photograph blew into the water) and the constant Hmm expressed by the affected woman to my immediate right every time there was an overly poignant scene, overly poignant line, or overly poignant situation. While I was driving Luis to the airport Tuesday morning I confessed that the happiest I had been in my life was when I traveled the most, while living in Japan and spending time in flight home or on my way to summers in Europe. Or even just traveling around Japan itself, with a surplus of hard cash, loads of free time to fulfill personal goals, and creativity to spare. The best moment of the film for me, however, was when Bingham "proves" the validity of his personal philosophy, his cosmology: by crashing into Goran's overwrought domesticity, which seems to be just the thing to get him back in the air, above the things and people who would only weigh him down. Ah, what I wouldn't give (up) to reach 10,000,000 miles and be able to say, "The stars will wheel forth from their daytime hiding places; and one of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip passing over."

The Gift of Writing
Wednesday afternoon I finished watching the ninth and final season of Roseanne, a personal project I started a few weeks ago.I was a huge fan of the sitcom for most of the years it was on. And I always thought that the final episode was the classiest and most uplifting finale of all television, itself a real meditation on television, on loyalty and love, on creativity. I wasn't as sad to see it end when it went out with such style and guts. Many people have expressed disappointment over the last season, over the way it ended by rewriting itself, but I maintain that it only remained true to its original intentions by reinventing the metadiscursivity of not only the last season, the very last episode, but the entire series itself. We discover that Roseanne did finally become the writer she always dreamed of being, that she took that most difficult step of not just talking about what you wanted to do but actually doing it. Nothing is more positive or powerful. Sure, her narratives, especially from the last season, were tempered, restricted, and informed by blue collar television (i.e., wrestling, soap operas, other sitcoms, Roseanne itself), but therein lies the brilliance and humor of this most postmodern of postmodern narratives. Finally Phoebe Snow's voice wraps up the theme song and this quote from T.E. Lawrence is superimposed on Roseanne sitting on the couch we had thought was gotten rid of in the wake of the renovations: Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. I still feel like I can change the world. Or at least myself.

The Gift of Friendship
Yes, it's true: I deactivated my Facebook account. It is the most positive change I've made in my life in years. Even when compared to joining a training program and running a half marathon.

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