Tuesday, January 29, 2008

O the Bob Dylanses

Last week Brian and I saw I'm Not There, the film based on the many personae of Bob Dylan. It was an excellent film that anyone could appreciate, as it studies the many personalities we all inhabit in one life time. They all give part of the truth, but none tell it in entirety. As a Dylan fan, I got many of the jokes and lyric references, but it truly is a study of who one individual is, and that various perspectives on a person never reveal the whole person. Sadly, a couple days later, the talented Heath Ledger died, but I imagine most people are tired of hearing about this. Let me merely say it moves me when anyone my age dies, and it's sad when I consider that person a talented artist, though I do not pretend that I ever knew him in any real way. Just a fan.
May the circle of life continue, cheesy though it is. I myself have inhabited a new role in my life: I am an aunt. My brother-in-law and his wife have a new baby boy. Unfortunately, he was born six weeks early after his mother was hospitalized Thursday due to high blood pressure and protein levels. He was born Saturday via emergency C-section, and his mother is in pain recovering, but doing fine. The little one has had a tough time: yesterday his lung collapsed and he had some work done. Though he's a bit small, and a bit weak, it looks as though he's going to make a full recovery. Despite concern, Brian and I are ecstatic to have a nephew. Some of you who know how I feel about babies might be a bit sceptical, but let me iterate how excited I am to spoil and love a baby that I don't have to take care of on a daily basis.

To bring a little world perspective and philosophy to this stuff, I've decided to list my Top 5 Bob Dylan songs, in no particular order:

1. With God on Our Side

This song contributed more to my personal religious and moral beliefs than any other. I recall the exact moment I heard it (at my crappy office job nearly a decade ago) and realized my most basic moral standpoint on politics and organized religion. I hope everyone, no matter their beliefs, can take something from such simple words.

2. Boots of Spanish Leather

I tend to really respect love songs with sad endings for some reason, I find them empowering. I listened to this song a lot at a time when I made one of the best decisions of my life. Oh, and I also heard a lot of Weezer's "The World has Turned and Left Me Here." Hooray for heartache and the sobering wisdom that follows.

3. Tangled Up in Blue

Off my favorite Dylan record, Blood on the Tracks, this is a love story--an entire love story from first look to the afterthoughts of the crumbling relationship. I hope Brian does not take it too personally that I love divorce albums. Check out Paul Simon's Graceland.

4. Like a Rolling Stone

You can never go home again. I don't even no where my home is. Like in "Masters of War," no one does bitter better than Dylan, but that's because he adds insight and wisdom to an otherwise complicated situation. If you can get through his mumbling, the lyrics are great.

5. The Times They Are A-Changin'

This title track is the third on this list from this album, yet I'd never say it was my favorite Dylan ablum. It's more that the songs on Dylan's early records work so well as individual poems, while his later work uses entire albums to tell a story. This is the classic that grabbed me back when I heard the Simon & Garfunkel cover during the end credits of The Wonder Years. What more can I say? The world we live in is cyclical. We can only try our best, just like every generation before us.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Top Five Reasons to Start Another Blog I Don't Need

Welcome to a pointless blog of lists which I would love for the rest of you cherish as your own. This is meant to be interactive, but since I don't like my PB Wiki much, it's going in blog format. So, why?

1. To play homage to one of my Top Five movies of all time: High Fidelity.

Nick Hornby wrote quite the kickass book, and once I saw a not-so-sweet John Cusack play a character described as a male version of me, I started quoting immediately. I'd like to think I'm not as big a jerk as Rob, but I am, just in a different way. Our love of the film turned into me and a friend of mine sending Top Five lists via email all during my trip to Europe. Oh, and it would even be safe to say the broadway version of High Fidelity is in my top five musicals of all time, but that's not saying much. I'd likely slit my own throat before Sweeney Todd had a chance if you forced me to listen to showtunes. How Rob Gordon of me.

2. As this century's lame way to keep up with people I'm terrible about keeping up with.

A certain Texan will appreciate my ending that sentence with a preposition. How are you out there in the Lone Star state? How about all those people I know from Iowa? Because I've moved way too much, people are spread all over the country, and I'm the worst technological hermit ever. This is me overcoming a fear, people. Please add your Top Fives and comment so I can at least superficially know what's up with everyone.

3. Because I love procrastinating from real work.

I have laundry that's done right now but I'm just too lazy to go get it out of the dryer. It will probably be days before I bother to fold it. Besides, if I'm wandering around my house getting things done, I can't watch reruns of The Office on TBS. Why take down my Christmas tree or attempt to find a summer job?

4. This is me pretend-writing.

Look, I don't want to knock the personal publication thing that is the web, nor do I wish to alienate my fellow bloggers out there, but this is me not doing the writing I really want to be doing. I'm like those people who are always "on a diet." I come up with all sorts of fads and gimmicks when it comes to getting a book done, like using a tape recorder to dicatate to myself, and rearranging plot point notecards--the writing equivalent of Atkins and Alli. So here I am, acting like this is how I'll get an agent.

5. Sadly, this might be my legacy.

As my life passes, my new goal is to somehow make enough money that Brian and I might one day get a house in the north woods, never to leave our land again. We will order our groceries off the internet, and our only observations of the outside world will be delivered through our Netflix account. This is beyond keeping up with people, this is making sure our cats don't eat our remains. I know we're not that old, but if we keep spending all our time on different floors on our own computers, we'll never get any exercise, which leads to blood clots, which--when living in the middle of nowhere--leads to death due to less-than-the-best medical care and at least fifty miles between us and a hospital. I'm starting to understand why my friends started playing World of Warcraft in their suburban basement. Maybe we should stay in the city.