Sunday, January 22, 2012

This Weekend's TV Show: Angel Season 5

This weekend, during my CFS crash, I watched 4 episodes of Angel. Season 5. Emotional. Rollercoaster. Especially since I ended the marathon on what I think is the most emotionally difficult episode of the entire show: Hole in the World. I wept. When Fred calls out for her stuffed bunny and then, when Wesley asks who Feigenbaum is, she says, "I don't know"? And when Wesley reads her A Little Princess. My favorite childhood stuffed animal was a stuffed bunny, and my favorite book as a child (still one of my all-time favorites) was A Little Princess. It's like watching myself die. And then this moment:

Fred: You won't leave me?
Wesley: I won't.
Fred: My boys. I walk with heroes. Think of that.
Wesley: You are one.
Fred: Superhero. And this is my power: to not let them take me. Not me.

Fred fights so hard, and I think we like to believe that if someone fights hard enough, they'll survive. But Fred doesn't, despite her beautiful resistance. And then her last words, "Why can't I stay?" They break my heart. They make me wonder how in the world someone faces death without Jesus. Death is big and scary and sad. I don't think I could face it without the assurance that I have peace with God, that there's something good and beautiful waiting on the other side.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Emmy the Great's New Album: Virtue

Emmy the Great's new album came out this fall, but I just listened to it recently. I was nervous since her first album overwhelmed me with its awesomeness and still continues to do so, and it seemed improbable that I would love the second album as much as the first. I don't, but it does have a few genuinely great moments. The first few songs I listened to saddened me because they lacked the poetry of her First Love songs, but then, I came across "Trellick Tower." I think I might love this song more than any of her songs on First Love:

It doesn't have a music video to go with it, but that might be good because the music video from the first single from Virtue had a little girl playing with glass eyeballs and was slightly creepy. However, I do like the music video for "Paper Forest." The song is another of the high moments of the album, and I adore Emmy's facial expression--or lack thereof--in the music video. Something about the juxtaposition of a cold, emotionless face with strongly emotional lyrics touches me.

One thing that gets my attention the most on this album is the way the songs engage with religion. In the past, Emmy the Great's treatment of religion has been cynical and angry. Though I don't think her viewpoints on religion have probably changed all that much, there's something softer about the way she approaches it here. Like it has something beautiful to offer, and something that might be valuable in moments of desperation. And I like to see that softness.

So even though I don't love this whole album the way I love First Love, it has moments which remind me of why I like Emmy the Great so much. It's like being in love with a person. At the beginning, you see all the best that they have to offer, and love is a widespread passion for everything about them. Then, as time passes, you discover things you don't like about them. It's not because you love them less; it's because no one can measure up to the standards that we like to set up upon first acquaintance. But from time to time, you experience something about that person which surpasses even your first experience of their awesomeness. And that's when the love becomes deep and real.

Yep. That's how I feel about Emmy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Downton Abbey and Teaching

I've been away awhile. I've been sick, and the only thing I could think about when I tried to blog was, "I'm sick, poor me," and I don't think most people would want to hear that. But since then, I've been thinking about the good things about being sick. Like having a great excuse for sitting around and watching Downton Abbey all day. I had avoided watching Downton Abbey when it came out last year because it seemed like a wannabe show. Like, "This is a good excuse for pretty costumes and it will make you feel smart because it's set in the early 1900s and seem literary, even though it's not." Then, Ian recommended I watched it, and since he has an even lower tolerance for pretension than I do, I figured it must be good. Also, my dad stumbled across the premier for season 2 one night and we watched it together and it was good! So, I watched all of season 1 in four days, and I fell in love with it. My favorite character is Anna, but I also really like Mary and Sibyl. Ooh. And Carson. Umm . . . and Daisy is adorable. So, I guess that what I'm saying is, "Good job on the characters, Downton Abbey!"?

The semester starts tomorrow, and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do for the first day of class. My mom tells me this nervousness for the first day never really goes away, but I still feel like starting my sixth semester of teaching should mean that I'm fully confident knowing that I'll be a perfect teacher this semester. Or something like that.