Starting off slow

I'm undergoing a creative depression. My blog entries have been disproportionately sparse lately, and I'm not exactly sure why.  The sentences aren't stringing together as easily as they have in the past.  The words don't flow out as fluidly.  I guess it's because I've become an active participator in my life, rather than a passive observer.  I literally told myself about six months ago that I wanted to give up on living, and take a backseat to just watch.  Surrender myself over to the mercy of humanity and try to understand it.  I was content with listening and watching.  It caused me to go temporarily insane.  I stopped trying to open my eyes and started trying to sew them shut with every needle and thread that existence would throw at me.  I've found my place, now.  I've found my 16-year-old self, and I don't hate what I see.  That's a Godsend.  The side effect is that I don't have an urge to crank out my inner workings onto paper (or web log) so it's less interesting for you.  I think I'll start taking a more extroverted approach to whatever I write.  

When you hit a cold spot in basketball, a quick fix is to start close to the basket and shoot a few lay-ups until you get the hang of it.  I'm going to restart with a writer's lay-up --- lists.  I love lists.  They're quick, easy, and to the point.  No excess, just the way it should be.  Being that it is the end of the decade, I'm going to make some lists of my favorite things from the 00's.  It's more of a warm up for me.  Oh well.  For now, my top 10 favorite movies of the last 10 years, in alphabetical order

Almost Famous
Before Sunset
Inglourious Basterds
Into the Wild
Lost in Translation
There Will Be Blood
Waking Life

Honorable Mention:
The Aviator
The Departed
Mulholland Dr.
Paranoid Park
Synecdoche, NY


Book Review/Rant : Invisible Monsters

Chuck Palahniuk churns pseudo-intellectual and badly thought out stories all the time, but, after reading his Invisible Monsters, I can attest that it's his worst.  It's supposedly a quick-witted satire on America's obsession with looks and their short attention span, but I had to stretch mine farther that I did when watching Transformers 2 just to finish this piece of pretentious garbage.

It's offensive just to be offensive, shocking just to be shocking.  Maybe Palahniuk is under the false impression that when he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about he can just throw in an explicit and usually disgusting sex reference just to wake the reader up.

Even his picture on the back cover is pretentious.  He stands in a deep brood, pondering about the darkness of the world that he's been forced into.  Please.  He cashed in on the Fight Club movie deal years ago, so now he writes like he's some modern visionary.  Even the adaption of that book, somehow named one of the top 10 movies of the 90's by some, is horribly overrated.  It's over two hours of sadistic beatings shown almost pornographically followed by a a broad social statement that barely makes sense.  Wait, what did I just watch? An allegory to society's obsession with violence and man's need for primal activity to break out of the Establishment's cage? Oh, I was under the impression that I was watching Brad Pitt and Edward Norton kick people in the face for 120 minutes and then attempt to justify it with a half thought out philosophy.  Maybe that's just me, though.

Back to Invisible Monsters.  It centers around a model whose jaw is brutally shotgunned off, and her transsexual friend who's about to become a "fully woman."  At least I think that's what it's about.  Palahniuk makes sure to gimmick it up, like always.  Here, the book will be "just like a fashion magazine."  In other words, instead of attempting to (God forbid) write a coherent novel, he's going to jump around and tell you whatever he wants, whenever he wants.  It's quite a cop-out, and does absolutely nothing to help the story.   I'm actually a big fan of non-linear story telling when it's done correctly (Pulp Fiction and Magnolia are two of my favorite movies), but here there's no emotional arc, either.  It's just go here, watch this, go there, watch that.  It has no meaning besides a pathetic speech on materialism that Palahniuk has to tack on the last page so that the Nietzsche college kids will call it another post-modern masterpiece.  Stick with brooding, Palahniuk.  You're better at mysteriously staring off into the distance than writing anything worthwhile.