thought-provoking movie quotes

Someone should start a blog about thought-provoking movie quotes . . .

Movies. I love them. An original plot, a few strong actors and/or actresses, fitting cinematography. For me, that’s a good movie. But I can’t forget the movie’s ability to provoke thoughts. Thoughts I’ve maybe never had before. Issues I hadn’t seen the other side of. Ideal movie viewers must ask themselves the very questions that the characters are faced with.

I recently watched the movie Never Let me Go, which is based on the *novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains of the Day). By way of summary, the movie is about three young adults who’ve grown up in a British boarding school that serves a very distinct group of people: clones created for the sole purpose of donating their organs shortly after they become adults. After the fourth donation, these individuals “complete,” in other words, die. The movie follows not only the coming-of-age of these three characters, but also their romantic interests and confrontation of their inevitable deaths.  

One scene in particular, I watched over and over again. In this scene, one of their more caring teachers decides to tell them outright what is always hinted at in the boarding school but never stated: that they were born to die. Here’s her speech:

“Do you know what happens to children when they grow up? No, you don’t, because nobody knows. They might grow up to become actors, move to America, or they might work in supermarkets, or teach in schools. They might become sportsmen or bus conductors or racing car drivers. They might do almost anything.”

The teacher goes on to explain that they’re not like normal children. Since before they were born, their fates were chosen for them. The mystery of what they will become has been stolen away from them.

Doesn’t it make you think? Doesn’t it make you wonder what the children you know will become? Maybe they’re always playing with toy cars, or reading books about insects, or playing teacher. But the great mystery of children is what they will become, and only time can solve it.

*I originally thought the name of the novel was Remains of the Day, but that was a different novel by the same author.

small victories: accomplished every day

Dear readers, as you know, my last post was about small victories, those little steps we take in overcoming our fears. They may be small (thus the term “small victories”), but they really do help us grow as people and give us a reason to celebrate. Since then, two pretty big small victories have been attained by me and one of my close friends.

This good friend of mine is quite terribly afraid of a certain plant. Of course I cannot explain why this is, any more than I can explain most of the things I’m afraid of (with the exception of getting my hair cut, and spiders). But in the spirit of bravery, he decided to consume a dish containing the plant, and guess what! He actually liked it!

When he shared the news on his facebook status, he received an overwhelming amount of support and congratulations. Comments ranging from “I’m so proud,” to “You’re a legend. I will tell my children of this day,” to “Conquering and victorious!” Isn’t it amazing how much a small victory can mean?

Well I, too – dear readers – decided it was time for a small victory. I’ve been growing my hair out for over a year now, for the sole purpose of donating 10+ inches of it to Locks of Love. I faced the music, and for me it was a huge small victory, because as you remember, I am terrified of getting my hair cut! So, here it is . . .

Here's my hair before the cut. I had a ponytail longer than 12 inches.


This is me just after I got my hair cut. Surprisingly, the lady beside me in the salon flipped out more than me.


Wala! The new hair.

small victories

Someone should start a blog about small victories . . .

Everyone’s afraid of something. It’s an obvious statement, but it’s sometimes a very comical thing to think about. I, for one, have some very strange fears.

I have tonsurephobia = a fear of getting my hair cut. Now, the only reason I hesitate to say that I have said phobia is that phobias are considered “irrational” fears, but I believe I have very logical reasons for having a fear of getting my hair cut.

It’s quite simple, in my mind, why I have a fear of getting my hair cut. It’s because I’ve had one too many ridiculously embarassing and distasteful hair cuts. Some, to be sure, were my own fault (I once cut my hair when I was very young, and when Mom found the hair in the trashcan, I said I’d just done a little experiment with Barbie.). But the large majority resulted from trips to the traditional place of hair cutting: the salon.

I’ve done so much in my power to prevent bad haircuts, I really have. I’ll take pictures of the exact haircut I would like to have. I bribe the hairdressers with money. I hold my head as still as possible and make no sudden movements. I pray to Aphrodite (for beauty, not love). But still!

Now, it was recently brought to my attention that I should try going somewhere a little more upscale, and maybe that will remedy the whole thing. But I’m still afraid. It’s time for a trim, and even trims get me all nervous and anxious.

In my defense, I have gotten a little better about it. The last time I went, I didn’t flip out and yell at the mirror on the way home. I didn’t panic. I remained cool, calm, and collected, repeating my mantra, “It’s just hair. It will grow back.”

It’s these small victories that let me know there’s hope. There’s hope for me to overcome my (okay, yes – sometimes irrational) fears and, in general, grow as a person. Wouldn’t it make a cool blog to celebrate the small victories?

If you have a fear of talking to people, then maybe your small victory is to say hello to the cashier at Food Lion and then quickly run from the premises. If you have a fear of fish, then maybe your small victory is to stick the very tip of your big toe into the ocean. If you have a fear of hot air balloons suddenly combusting and falling upon you as you sunbathe in your lawn, then maybe your small victory is to cross the lawn for once and retreive the day’s mail.

Take a chance. Find your small victories. Blog about them.

how to save a dying conversation

Someone should start a blog about how to save a dying conversation . . .

When I was in the ninth grade, or thereabouts, I made an unofficial pact with my extremely comedic friend Tyler Mounce (a few other good friends were involved, too) that one day I would write a book entitled How to Save a Dying Conversation. In this book, I would offer ideas for redeeming every situation when conversation is about to take a turn for the worse, or die altogether.

You know the situations. Do I really have to list examples? Sometimes, it’s unforeseeable and inexplicable. Sometimes, the signs are all around, but there’s just nothing you can do to stop it. Sometimes, it’s natural. The longest phone conversation I’ve ever heard of someone having was (if memory serves me right) about eight hours. I’d imagine that somewhere in there were some lulls in the conversation.The dinner table witnesses these moments globally. It’s seen me strike out in my fair share of conversations.

Don't strike out in conversation anymore; strike up conversation.

I can’t accept the delusion that we’re doomed. I believe there are tons of ways to save a dying conversation. For example, having some good “conversation starters” on hand is essential. I was reminded of my pact recently as I was reading The Grim Grotto, the eleventh book in the Series of Unfortunate Events. Snicket agrees that conversation starters can be a real lifesaver:

“When you are invited to dine, particularly with people you do not know very well, it always helps to have a conversational opener, a phrase which here means, “an interesting sentence to say out loud in order to get people talking” . . . . I keep a list of good and bad conversation openers in my commonplace book in order to avoid awkward pauses at the dinner table . . . . Good conversation openers are sentences such as ‘What would drive a man to commit arson?,’ ‘Why do so many stories of true love end in tragedy and despair?,’ and ‘Madame diLustro, I believe I’ve discovered your true identity!,’ all of which are likely to provoke discussions, arguments, and accusations, thus making the dinner party much more entertaining.”

But the ideas don’t end there. What about jokes? Long stories that can keep people distracted long enough for you to think up something conversation-worthy? And of course, there’s the ever-classic: pocket-sized pets. Just pull one of those guys out at the dinner table, and no one will be at a loss for words.

There’s truly enough material to start a blog about it.

*Photo by Hannah Murray. Guest starring my friends Grace and David.

those times you wish you had a camera

Somebody should start a blog about those times you wish you had a camera . . .

Call me old-fashioned, but my cell phone is a few years old and doesn’t take quality pictures. So I find myself sometimes wishing I’d brought my camera with me. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, though. I try to bring my camera with me at all times, 24/7.

But sometimes I forget, and almost without exception, it’s in these times that something amazing or beautiful happens, and I wish I’d had my camera. Sometimes it’s a sunset, or I pass an old, abandoned house that’s just waiting to be photographed. Other times, my friends are doing the unthinkable, and I have no hard proof to use as blackmail later (not that I would, right?).

One of these moments happened very early in the semester. Someone had played the age-old trick of putting stuff in the school’s fountain, so the whole vicinity smelled of mountains, in a synthetic, laundry detergent sort of way. Honestly, I’ve been here a few years, and every time people play the trick, they believe they’re so clever and no one’s ever done it before. Let this be a lesson to us all: it’s all been done before.

Well, one of my very random and crazy friends decided it was a good idea to take my other friend’s necklace/rope thing (which happened to have his room key on it) and swing it around nearby the aforementioned mountain-fresh-smelling, bee-attracting fountain, and you’ll never guess what happened next! (Can you sense the sarcasm?) It ended up in the fountain!

So we (my crazy, random friend and I) decide to help our key-necklace/rope-owning friend get the key back out of the sudsy soup. We grab his legs as he stretches himself across the teeming waters and disappears into the fluffy white bubbles. At this point, we’re all laughing hysterically (including my other friend Hannah, who like me owns an out-dated cell phone with not really top quality image capturing abilities and who now has the only hard evidence of this event ever happening); well, I’m not sure I can say that my key-necklace/rope-owning friend was laughing, but we heard some muffled sounds and drew our own conclusions. He did eventually find what he went in after.

It’s times like these when I wish I had a camera on me. Of course, a blog recording such times could not include pictures (that’d defeat the purpose), which I’m very fond of. So I leave this mission up to one of you, dear readers.

real moments

Somebody should start a blog about real moments . . .

(Warning/Disclaimer/Preface: This post is highly philosophical in nature, more so than most previous posts. It is not very humorous or knee-slappingly funny, but it was something I had to write about. End of disclaimer.) 

Do you ever have those moments when life is finally so real? You realize something. You experience something. You feel taken aback. Or amazed. Or alive for the first time. All of a sudden, the shams of your “existence” don’t withstand or last or satisfy or matter. You’ve stolen a glance at a massive shiver of light, albeit through the cracks of walls erected between you and eternity.

Real moments are like spotlights in an otherwise dark theatre.

It happens when I have a late night walk with friends. Or listen to certain songs on repeat for indefinite time. Or have an ephiphany – even minor characters can have them. Or something happens that is unbelievable for the cynics and those who believe in luck or chance, or their children coincidence and accident. It happens when I’m running “late,” only to cross paths with someone, and one of us desperately needed to see the other.

Sometimes it’s felt through words on a page, in a story, on a song sheet. Today, my real moment was here:

“Sometimes it seems like the most real thing is what we can see and experience with our senses around us – this life, the tangible . . . Ideas like love, like God – these things sometimes feel more disconnected and ethereal, like that’s the ghostly realm. But what if that’s wrong, and God and love is actually what is most real, and we are more like ghosts walking upon the earth, hoping to become more real?” – Michael Gungor

Someone should start a blog about those moments, the real moments when we feel life and, even if but for a moment, become real ourselves.

all the random side jobs out there

Someone should start a blog about all the random side jobs out there . . .

Now, readers, I have a few confessions to make. Well, it’s really just one confession with different sides to it. I have noticed that I tend to write my entries on the same kinds of subjects. For example, photography, job-related things, music, photography, music, sometimes job-related things. Okay, okay – I’m perhaps being a little hard on myself. I occasionally write on random subjects (like devious carpet and protective gear for cafeteria glasses). They say the first step is admitting you have a problem. So there you have it.

There’s a reason, of course, that I tend toward certain topics. For one, I like those topics (which explains the music and photography). For another, I’m looking for a job (which explains the job-related things), and there’s a lot of funny stuff you find out during such a quest.

I’ve already shared the one Craigslist plea for “An Experienced Tree Climber,” but there’s another discovery I’ve come across. I have some strange attraction to side jobs, here being defined as “jobs that won’t pay the bills and could never provide the primary source of income, but that nevertheless pay a little bit and are usually somewhat to significantly funner than ‘real’ jobs.”

I currently have three side jobs. Yes, three. One is in our school’s writing center, one is for a local paper, and the last is for a company called The Syndicate, which promotes music and entertainment events (Arggh. I unintenionally snuck one of my other common subjects into this post, as well.). What’s more, I have two offers for two more side jobs. Why’s it so easy to find side jobs you like, and so hard to find “real” jobs you like?

But I’d like to see someone start a blog in which they attained as many random side jobs as possible and documented their experiences. I may be well on my way to this craziness. And for those of you wondering, here’s a list (not exhaustive) of random side jobs I’ve come across on my search:

  • Tutoring – Under No Child Left Behind, I’m guessing most states (like SC) have federally sponsored tutoring agencies, as well as privately-owned ones.
  • Delivering phone books or newspapers
  • Promoting events (Think LiveNation or The Syndicate.)
  • Inspecting/photographing properties
  • Modeling
  • Working on video and photo projects
  • Writing for blogs, Associated Content, or sites that match you up with writing assignments
  • Operating a photo booth
  • Being Superman (No, wait . . . that’s just our dream job.)
So maybe we can’t all be Superman, but we’ll still pass phone booths with envy.