I realized yesterday, during my second trip to Disneyland in as many weeks, that the last month has been pretty intense. I've had very little time for maxin' and relaxin', stylin' and profilin'. And, most importantly, processin'.
So, today, outside of a few normal Sunday activities, baby, we're taking it easy.
Somewhere over some midwestern State on the flight home, I fell in love with The Suburbs. Over the years, I've become fond of saying about indie rock albums I like that there are songs that just smack you in the face and force you to pay attention. I'm not sure that The Suburbs has any of those for me and especially not in comparison to previous releases like Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) or My Body Is A Cage but, taken as a whole, this album is powerful.
It's a bear hug of mood and tone. It engulfs you with a feeling. For some reason, it reminds me of Jeffrey Eugenides's writing in The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex. It conveys that same sense of maudlin and longing and desire to break free from our semi-charmed lives.
It reminded me that I like telling stories about my life.
Unfortunately, though, those feelings of happiness were fleeting. I spent much of the next two weeks stressed and anxious, depressed about The Lady going home again and generally being in a constant state of blergh. But I kept writing and kept it moving and so we end the month with a new attitude and a new Aloe Blacc album and I am filled to the brim with possibility.
P.S. This song's title and content don't reflect on The Lady, I just like the groove. If I was talking about which Good Things track makes me think of her, the schmoop-tastic answer is that I'd have chosen You Make Me Smile.
I'm not going to spend much time talking about this song except to say that it's not the only pop music (whether top 40 or urban) that I'm enjoying a lot lately. Ludacris, Rick Ross, and DJ Khaled are also staying at top of mind. Hell, I'm even enjoying some of Snoop Dogg's latest and he hasn't really put out music worth anything in years.
Thankfully, Kanye West has been throwing out heat rocks every Friday. Pop culture is so much better when 'Ye is ubiquitous.
But what I actually want to talk about is some of the other mass media I've consumed lately. In the past few weeks, I've seen three documentaries that were informative, entertaining, and infuriating to varying degrees.
Harry Shearer's The Big Uneasy was not a comedy. A pretty straightforward look at what is essentially a cover-up in the aftermath of Katrina. What I Learned: That the Dutch are way smarter about civil engineering than we are. Why I Recommend It: Because afterwards you'll have a real reason to start your anti-government movement. Who I Recommend It To: Anybody who loves New Orleans, people who are passionate about the truth, and NPR fans.
The Cove recently aired on Planet Green. I first saw the trailer a couple years ago. It was marketed as an ecological horror movie/thriller and, damnit, that's sure what it was. Not only is it a compelling story about the viciousness and bull-headedness humans can have to the detriment of other intelligent life (and possibly our own demise) but it's a great adventure/caper flick. There are car chases, interrogations, spy gear, mad scientists, corrupt politicans, and more. What else could you want? What I Learned: Dolphins are awesome. Humans are jerks. Sea World is not the move. Why I Recommend It: Even if you don't care about animal cruelty or overfishing, this is pretty much as good as your favorite espionage or heist flick...but it's real! Who I Recommend It To: Everybody. It won an Academy Award, it's that good.
I was lucky enough to make it to my first Matt's Movies screening this week and it was for Catfish. Catfish is a facebook movie but it's not THE facebook movie. Matt said something to introduce the movie that has stuck with me. To paraphrase, even though this is a documentary, it's not the truth. The director and editor are making choices. The mere fact that there is a camera there impacts the reality of the situation. But, and this is what I find powerful about all three films, their goal is to find a truth. A truth that makes sense to the filmmakers and expose it. Entertain with it. Teach with it.
And so we have Catfish which I won't go into much detail about. We have a guy with an online relationship with a young painter that sprouts into a relationship with an entire family including a long distance virtual courtship that leads to a mystery all it's own. The end is...well, you'll just have to see. What I Learned: The best stories are often sparked by the best lies. Why I Recommend It: It's funny. It's charming. It's melancholy. It's rarely predictable. Who I Recommend It To: All of us who have spent any time trying to navigate real relationships in the Digital Age.
For all this motivational music, however, I have spent the month of July exactly as Elle.com's horoscope predicted I would. Here are two very accurate passages:
You’re all about fun and not counting pennies for the first three weeks of July. Go ahead and play, Pisces—you’ve earned the right. With Jupiter and Uranus in your financial sector since June, the money has rolled in, and you’ve got some extra cash to spare. Treat yourself, but don’t be too extravagant.
You’re not in the mood to turn down that extra helping or dessert—so just enjoy for the first part of July.
As I told a friend today, I've been spending and eating this month like both are going out of style. Thankfully, Elle says that Saturn is doing something starting tomorrow and I'll be back to wanting to take care of myself in all aspects.
We'll be doin' it again. If you think you know me, you won't even recognize me.