Wednesday, February 27, 2013

There Will Come a Time

There will be days when you wonder why everyone gets a mother and you don't.
Days when you'll look up at the sky and wonder what it was you did to make God do this to you.
You'll hear other kids talk about how great their mom is or what awesome job their dad has and a little part of you will die.
You'll go home depressed, and maybe lay alone in your room and cry,
Pissed that she abandoned you, asking yourself why he never took the time to say goodbye
And everyday going over the last time you saw them,
The eternal question playing in your mind.

Why didn't you say that you loved them when you had the chance?
Why won't they come back and hug you one last time?
Why won't they tell you they love you more than life itself?
And why, more than anything, did they have to leave?
Was there something you could have done differently to make them stay?
Could you have stopped the cancer?
Convinced her to stop drinking?
Begged him to stay, told him you would be better?

The answer is no.
Because her death and his walking out have nothing to do with how many dogs you walked or four leaf clovers you picked.
Falling asleep in church didn't cause the cancer and crying over spilt milk didn't chase your father away.
And even though you get a lump in your throat during that one part in Mars Needs Moms, you couldn't have stopped fate.

There will be days when you feel like you're drowning in depression,
The dark sea only spitting you out long enough to fill your lungs with enough happiness to keep you from dying.
But remember even when you're underwater you're on your way
Sometime and it may be soon or far away, you'll graduate from all of this
From the school of survivors, with a class of human more understanding than the rest.

There will come a time when you realize you've tasted death and how valuable life is
So even though you get scared at night during thunder storms and no one comes to tuck you in and hug you until its over, you'll make it.
You will find people worth filling the hole in your heart with.

There will come a time when you can be happy again.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The 85th Annual Academy Awards: The Oscars

Every year around this time a wonderful season known in Hollywood as "award season" happens, the highlight being The Oscars. This year, just like every year, had its ups and downs, and I, Alexis, aim to bring you all the details on what happened, along with some snarky/witty commentary because I am in no way unbiased.

Where shall we start? Hmm...let's start with the host. This years host was Seth MacFarlane, famous for creating Family Guy, providing the voice of Ted, and after tonight, being the worst host of an Academy Awards show since James Franco and Anne Hathaway in 2011 which is saying something since it takes a lot for me to even dream of criticizing Anne Hathaway. But Seth MacFarlane definitely took the cake because if I didn't know he was a complete misogynist before tonight I sure know it now! I don't have time to make a list of his super sexist jokes, but lucky for me, The Vulture already did it! His hosting had me wondering the same thing that William Shatner asked in his completely cheesy Star Trek appearance: "Why can't Tina and Amy host everything?"

Moving on, I guess you guys want to know about the people who won and stuff. Obviously I haven't seen all the winning (or nominated films) but I'll do my best with this. Okay here goes!

You thought I was kidding, didn't you. 
In the category of Best Picture, "Argo", directed by Ben Affleck, took home an Oscar which was accepted by The Beard Band as I like to call them. You may call them Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, and George Clooney.

In case you didn't know, "Argo" is a film about a fake film. More specifically it's about the Iranian Hostage Crisis back in the 70's(?) and from what I hear and have seen in previews it is absolutely fantastic. "Argo" also picked up awards in Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Daniel Day-Lewis made history as the only actor in his generation (and his generation includes Marlin Brando) to pick up three Oscars in his lifetime when he won the Best Lead Actor Oscar for his role as Abraham Lincoln in "Lincoln" (Directed by Steven Spielberg). I was completely happy with this decision because the person I would have wanted to win, Suraj Sharma, who played the title character in Life of Pi, wasn't even nominated. But I digress. Anyways, I'm completely okay with Day-Lewis's win, but not with his speech. I personally think he missed a golden opportunity to use the phrase "four score and seven years ago..." as the opener to his acceptance speech. I mean come on, Daniel. You played the guy, how did you hold that back? "Lincoln" also received the Oscar for Best Production Design.

In other slightly more important news (at least in my book) Meryl Streep presented the award for Best Actor in a Lead Role and with that won Best Presenter as she was the only presenter all night who didn't fumble with the envelope. Further proof that whatever Meryl does, she is the best at.

And then comes one of two awards no one knew who was going to win. Best Actress in a Lead Role. There were two actresses who were head and shoulders above the rest of the nominees, nine year old Quvenzhane Wallis (kwah-venn-ja-nay) for her work as Hush Puppy in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (directed by Benh Zeitlin) and twenty two year old Jennifer Lawrence for her work as Tiffany in Silver Linings Playbook (directed by David O. Russell). From what I hear Quvenzhane has maturity beyond her years when it comes to acting and Jennifer Lawrence is what I just call a "damn good actress". JLaw won the award and possibly the most memorable moment of the night when she fell on the stairs as she went to accept the award. That's not emotion in the photo, Lawrence, ever so quirky is embarrassed because, well, wouldn't you be? She later followed with the statement "you guys aren't all standing up because I won, you're standing up because I fell and that's embarrassing." You doll.

However, if you're sad that Quvenzhane didn't win, don't despair. She picked up the award for Best Young Actress of the Year and looked adorable tonight. So there's that. Here's hoping we see much more of young Wallis in the future and that the general public learns to pronounce her name because as she told a reporter tonight "my name's not Annie".

Anyone see "Django Unchained"? Okay well a bunch of you did. I'm not stupid. Tarantino's newest film started out the night winning an Oscar for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Well actually, Christopher Waltz did. Later on in the night Quentin Tarantino picked up an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Too bad Leonardo DiCaprio didn't get anything, but then again, that's a normal thing for him.

And the second most anticipated award of the night came in the category of Best Actress in a Supporting Role, a category that was jam packed with female powerhouses like Sally Field, who played Mary Todd Lincoln in "Lincoln" but many remember affectionately as the Flying Nun, Amy Adams ("The Master"), Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables"), Helen Hunt ("The Sessions"), and Jacki Weaver ("Silver Linings Playbook"). Normally it is easy to discern who will take home the Oscar by the number of Pre-Oscar awards they win. However, in that category the actresses were tied. So...everyone held their breath until Anne Hathaway won for her brilliant and heartbreaking rendition of Fantine in "Les Miserables". It is no secret that Anne Hathaway is my God when it comes to acting so I was more than overjoyed. Perhaps over-overjoyed would be the correct term?  "Les Miserables" also picked up Oscars in Make Up and Hairstyling (honestly I don't know they beat out "The Hobbit"), and Sound Mixing.

Big news for "Brave" fans everywhere, "Brave" won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and what a deserved victory! Honestly I don't know where to start when talking about how amazing that movie is, but I'd just like to point out that the animators created an entire new program in order to animate Meridia's hair so that it moved realistically. And then the Disney people show up to The Oscars in kilts.

"Brave" beat out "Frankenweenie", "ParaNorman", "The Pirates! Band of Misfits", and "Wreck-It Ralph".

The cinematography award went to "Life of Pi" which is really no surprise to anyone who has the visual pleasure of seeing this masterpiece of a movie. Claudio Miranda, who was the person who was in charge of that, took everything that I ever imagined when I read "Life of Pi" (By Yann Martel if you want to check it out) and painted it beautifully on the silver screen. Never in my life have I seen something so beautiful and hopefully I go to the movies and come out saying how gorgeous everything was after I leave the theater again. Seriously kids. Go see "Life of Pi". "Life of Pi" also won Oscars for best Director, Ang Lee, who was quoted as saying "thank the movie Gods", best Original Score, which I mean, thank you so much Mycheal Danna, and Best Visual Effects (Spoiler: there's a glowing whale!)

Other Awards:
Costume Design: "Anna Karenina"
Documentary Feature: "Searching For Sugar Man"
Documentary Short: "Inocente"
Foreign Language Film: "Amour"
Best Original Song: "Skyfall" by Adele from "Skyfall". "Skyfall" also won the Oscar for "Best Sound Editing".
Best Sound Editing: Also Awarded to "Zero Dark Thirty"
Animated Short Film: "Paperman"
Live Action Short Film: "Curfew"

And then what made my whole night more than anything came. Aaron Tveit walked out on the stage.
I mean - the cast of "Les Miserables" performed "One Day More" and it was amazing. I mean seriously, astounding, you think "One Day More" is good in the movie, then watch it live. Not like it sounds any different because they live sang "Les Mis", but seriously, this is beautiful. And again, Aaron Tveit.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Equal Rights ≠ Equal Treatment


      I once got asked out on a date by a guy everyday for two solid months. Every day I turned him down and explained that I was not interested in him. Without fail the next day after class he would ask me out again. And when I finally lost my cool because he wouldn't leave me alone and told that we would never ever go on a date (like ever) you know what I got called? A slut. Also a tease. And a few other words that were thrown at me that had nothing to do with my behaviour at all. Because the entire time I had not been rude to him, led him on, or done anything that would allow him to call me a slut, which even if I had he still wouldn't have had the right. But guess what happened the next day? He asked me out again. In front of an audience, which meant he played on my sympathies to get me to finally see a movie with him, knowing full well that I wouldn't turn him down in front of a large crowd because normally, public humiliation is not my thing. 
      Was he in the right? No, not at all. And if our roles had been reversed, I would be labeled as the creepiest female to ever walk the streets of Omak. Because if guys obsess over a female and refuse to take a hint and move on it's romantic and cute because they persevere and in the end they will be rewarded with a female of their choosing, because men don't have to actually deserve to have a female companion in their life or even necessarily need to woo women, they just get them because they are men and that's way it works, right? Oh. Wait. That's not how it works and it makes most of them pretty angry once they realize that women, contrary to movies and television endings, are not prizes that one acquires for being manly. Women are people too! (gasp. faint. fetch smelling salts etc.)     Now I know that women have equal rights as men and such, but lets just walk out on a limb and define equal rights as "equal rights". Because women can hold the same jobs as men, major in the same things and have the same rights and freedoms, but we aren't treated the same way, not at all. When I tell people I'm majoring in English the phrase "M R S degree" is mentioned in the conversation at least once, unless I'm talking to a fellow English major or someone with half a brain. If a man majors in English he is poetic, more attractive because he is insightful, yada yada yada. A woman can be a hairdresser, but if a man is a hairdresser, or a stylist, or in the fashion journalism industry (all things stereotypically feminine) he is more likely to rise to the top and be more successful than a woman in the same industry, with the same (and sometimes maybe even better abilities) and get paid more than said woman. 
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan
     On a semi-related note: his success will have nothing to do with how attractive or unattractive he is. I can feel people rolling their eyes at this sentence (and maybe even this entire post) as I type it. Seriously guys, stop rolling your eyes, it is rude. But I'm not joking. People (people meaning mostly men but also a large group of women and I'm not saying I don't occasionally do this either) tend to decide whether or not a woman is capable of a job based on how she looks. Is that right? No. The only field of work that I'm aware of that depends on its employees being attractive is the fashion industry and then again, only the people in front of the camera need to be hot (excuse me - haute). NOT I repeat NOT in other fields of work such as law, and honestly I don't care what oh, let's say the Supreme Court Justice looks like, but apparently some folks on the internet really don't think Elena Kagan is worthy of her job just because in their opinion "This person is so disgusting and I would never trust it's opinion on anything".  Because apparently, the way a woman looks is a tell tale sign of whether or not one can trust her. I'm not just talking about jobs in the corporate or law or medical fields either. Men who are less than attractive (I'm looking at you, Mick Jagger) can become famous. Females have to be drop dead gorgeous and ready to grace the cover of a magazine at any moment or its a no go for the whole fame thing (and then again they aren't pretty enough but I'll talk about that later). Overweight male actors get to have story lines free of anything to do with their weight (think Josh from Drake and Josh).  Larger female actors don't get the same treatment. As soon as they hit the screen the self depreciating humour begins. Think Rebel Wilson's "Fat Amy" from Pitch Perfect and Melissa McCarthy's "Megan" from Bridesmaids. 
        As far as I've been able to tell, in the past 19 years of my life women have gotten equal rights, but are still looking for equal treatment. I sick of the whole "but you're the fairer/gentler sex" argument and stuff like that. Seriously? We give birth, which causes pain so traumatic that we can't actually remember how bad the pain was because the brain won't allow us to. The only way men will EVER feel that amount of pain is if they get shot. Fairer/gentler sex my foot. I'm tired of all the excuses regarding why men get decide whether or not I can have an abortion or get birth control. Why are men making those decisions? Seriously? Are they THAT worried about not being able to produce heirs? Oh wait, this isn't the dark ages anymore. I'm tired of being told that I can do anything that I want with my life in any career path but hearing the unspoken phrase "you'll never make as much as a man" because even if I get a Bachelor's or a Master's degree, I would still make the same amount of money as a man who is one degree level behind me. Lovely. 
     I mean honestly, there's a reason that women used to write under male pen names. Because whatever comes from the hands of a woman is bound to be silly and romantic. I'm tired of women's achievements being boiled down to their sexuality and appearance when in reality we're just a big group of bad-asses with boobs. I mean, take Cleopatra for instance. Everyone talks about how she was an intense seductress and only recognize her for how much time she spent between the sheets, but in reality, she was actually a great ruler who controlled Egypt, most of the Mediterranean coast, and one of the largest fortunes in the world. But why is she remembered by her sex life if she was so awesome? Because she's a woman. 
    Men and women alike need to start giving women equal treatment. Men need to stop looking at the things women do as inadequate compared to their work and women need to stop viewing themselves as inadequate because they leave the load of malarkey that "its a man's world". The world is anyone's for the taking, and women need only be given a chance to prove that they are every bit as good as men and can do just as good at any particularly job as men can, and usually in heels. Cliche's aside, I'm actually quite serious. We have lived in this world with the mentality (even if its purely subconscious) that women are second rate. Let's all work together to create a world where everyone is given the same rights AND treatment, not just either/or. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Diary of a Young Girl

Every bibliophile has that one book that will love unconditionally, that they will read until it is falling apart, worn cover slowly drifting away from the other worn cover, the spine no longer firm, random pages falling out, and yet, there is still a beauty to the book because to them it is not just any book, it is the book.

The one book that helped them cope with a part of their life they never want to live through again. The one book that introduced them to a person (real or not) who they identified with so completely that the reader wanted them to cover for a nice cup of tea and a chat.

For me, that book was "The Diary of Anne Frank". Growing up in my house was really tough. Parts of my childhood were spent experiencing things no child should have to live through and when I entered the sixth grade and read Anne's diary for the first time I knew what it was like to be understood, and for the first time I felt completely inspired.

Obviously I was never a young Jewish girl in Nazi Germany hiding out in order to preserve my life, but I was a young girl hiding out in the nooks and crannies of my abusive mothers house in order to preserve my safety. Reading Diary of Anne Frank I felt that if she could still find hope in everyday life even when every day had the chance of being her last day spent in (partial) freedom, then I could find hope in everyday life even with knowing that I was scared of my mother, I wasn't sure if I would get dinner, and I knew going to school the next day might not happen.

I felt like Anne and I were meant to be kindred spirits of sorts, she was so rash and had a hard time controlling her mouth just like I did/do and we were the same age even. She would know what it was like to try not to make any noise at all and to wonder if life would be any more than just hiding out in cramped quarters and trying to make the best of it.

And so, as the years went on, I read Anne Frank over and over again. If I could't find something to read that was my default. I honestly think that it was the book that helped me survive that part of my life. Anne Frank died, but she left a legacy. Her diary not only helped me, but it has also helped hundred of people around the world, because we know what it is like. We understand her, and she understands us.

To me, Anne Frank is a superhero, and her Diary will be the book that I will never stop loving. It will be the book that gets me through lonely nights and boring days at work, and it is the reason that I have the never say die attitude that I have worked hard to develop all these words.

Thanks, Anne.

Friday, February 8, 2013

My Ever Growing Family

Over Christmas vacation I had the joy of visiting with my two youngest brothers, as well as their adopted mother and sister. While at first I was kind of nervous to be eating dinner with them as soon as I met up with them at Hometown I was glad I had agreed to the meeting. No one else could be a better mother to my two brothers than Sommer and Mariah is a perfect sister to the two most energetic children I have ever laid eyes on.
   The first time I met Sommer was towards the end of March and probably the time when I have felt most like a stalker in my entire life. At the time I was working at Dairy Queen and I saw this blonde child that I KNEW had to be Zachary just by his hair (if you know him, you know what I mean). I didn't want to be TOO creepy, but I wanted to make sure my eyes didn't betray me, so in what was probably the most conspicuos inconspicous manner possible, I very thoroughly cleaned the area next to where they were all seated and tried not to be obvious as I stared the whole family down. Walking away I KNEW that Zach and Tristen were there and they were so freaking cute and I was so excited I had to go back and do dishes to keep from exploding.
   But then Sommer came up to the front counter (was she asking for napkins? I can't remember it's not important to the story) and I HAD to know. So I asked if those were my brothers, hoping I didn't sound like a loon, and to my surprise she said yes. I actually had never met Tristen, so I got to meet him for the first time and let me tell you, I went home a very happy fast food worker that night. My hands shook for the rest of my shift.
L-R: Zachary, Me, Tristen, Russel, Stephenie and Mariah
     From then on Sommer has done her best to make sure that I feel like I can be a part of Zach and Tristen's lives and I couldn't be happier. I was always scared that having two brothers adopted out would ensure that I would never see them again, but Sommer does her best to make sure that we are as much a part of their lives as we can be.
   I'm so glad to be allowed to be a part of the Flores family, and I can't wait to see what the future has in store.
   I used to worry about the future of my brothers, now I see their pictures everyday and know that they are safe, and they are loved. And seeing their smiling faces in photos on Sommer and Mariah's facebooks makes my days happier. It means a lot to me for my brothers to have a good childhood. That's all I could have ever asked for from anyone that adopted them. My every prayer has been answered and I thank God for that every single day.
    Thanks again, Sommer. You're a perfect mom for my brothers and Mariah, you're a wonderful sister and a beautiful young lady. Until next time.