Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Brief History of My Celebrity Crushes, Part 2: Jack Noseworthy

This crush started out in the same way as the first one, oddly enough. It started when my dad dragged me to yet another movie I had no interest in seeing. I was 14 years old when U-571 came out and, like most teenage girls, I had no interest in Nazi submarines.



But my old man and I were movie buddies, and this flick had transitioned to the discount $2 theatre so I was invited to tag along. I knew who Matthew McConaughey was, so why the hell not?

I was mildly interested in the film until this happened.

"I play zee quiet, sexy, underrated, German-speaking radioman. Adore me to a sick degree, vy don't you?"

WHOA, be still my pubescent heart! Suddenly my eyes were glued on the screen, not wanting to blink for fear of missing a moment of the already slim screen-time of Seaman Bill Wentz, played by the newest love of my life, Jack Noseworthy. Look at those luscious puckers. Dayum.

I made my parents drop me off at the cheap cinema two more times to see the movie. I’m sure they thought my teenage fangirl interest in a World War II film was odd, but they let me obsess over whatever the hell I wanted. Good parents. And hey, I was probably the youngest person ever to know what depth charges were.

It should be noted there were many nice faces in the film, apart from the obvious McConaughey. Also a part of this rag-tag group of sub-dwellers were Jon Bon Jovi, Tom Guiry, Erik Palladino, plus others that weren't too hard on the eyes. Harvey Keitel anyone?

Knowing what to do since my crush on Ewan McGregor had become a part of life, I took to the prehistoric internet to search out all photos and videos publicly available. This was pre-YouTube, so that shit was hard to find! And it took five hours of downloading to watch one tiny clip. Five hours on the old-timey internet that used the phone line. 

90s hotness overload
Mr. Jack got his own school binder devoted to him, his printed photos covered in modge-podge and toted around school with pure love and devotion, to the utter confusion of my peers who were busy fawning over, ummm… actually I was too detached and in my own world to know who my peers gave a shit about.

I did the habitual pilgrimage to West Coast Video, armed with my internet print-out of Jack Noseworthy’s filmography, and got to rentin’. My dad looked at me with severely arched eyebrows when I brought titles to the front counter like Breakdown starring Kurt Russell and Barb Wire with Pamela Anderson.

Bless him, he let me rent whatever I wanted, no questions asked.

At one point I discovered that my Jacky-poo was actually a song and dance man, and being the Broadway nerd I am, I just about messed my pants. Once I found a clip of him rehearsing for Pippin, singing Corner of the Sky, and I proceeded to download the song (on Napster, I’m old) and listen to it (on a burned CD on my discman) until my ears bled. That’s how obsessed I can get with things.

During the height of my obsession, I faked sick at school so I could go to the mall and buy U-571 on VHS on the day it came out. That was a miss-school kind of occasion for me. Geez, I remember trolling the internet for HOURS trying to find somewhere to watch/download an episode of The Twilight Zone he was in. I was fucking dedicated.

At one point it was take-your-kid-to-work day and neither of my parents were able to participate. I went with a friend to her mother’s government office job for the day, and my pupils blew wide when I saw the industrial sized colour printer. I proceeded to print off this bad boy right here, in massive poster size.

Look at that fuckin' smoulder. Rawr.


Hell, the girls who loved N’Sync had NO trouble finding merch to paper their bedroom walls, but poor little me with my not-so-mainstream interests had no options! Fuck it, I’m gonna use government printer ink to give me something to swoon over.

Then I stumbled across a piece of Noseworthy media that would actually have long reaching effects in my life. I discovered the music video for Bon Jovi’s song Always, in which Jack is super sexy, albeit kind of an asshole. I watched the video a bazillion times, and then decided I loved it for more than my crush’s presence. This began a lifelong love of BJ. I know how that sounds. I’m not correcting it.

I’ve seen Bon Jovi in concert twice (both times I was the youngest person in attendance by at least two decades), and I have Jack to thank for his influence on my musical tastes.

My dear Jack also introduced me to Event Horizon, which has remained to this day on both my fave sci-fi and horror movie lists. Check it out, it's scary as shit. Hey, remember Idle Hands? My boy was in that too. How about Alive, the one with the plane crash in the Andes? Yup, that too.

After watching this demo reel I feel that old familiar spark reigniting, and I think it's time to catch up on his filmography.



I have just now, right this moment, discovered probably the only problem with modern, fast, comprehensive internet. All this research just forced me to learn that Jack is gay, and a nostalgic piece of me has died.

Twenty-nine-year-old Adelaide can handle this new information (and might even be into that), but it's a good thing that 14-year-old Adelaide never came across that nugget of info otherwise she woulda cried into her pillow and lamented the fact that she was for real never going to marry J. Nose.

Suddenly my "song and dance man" comment is making more sense.

Either way, I wouldn't trade my history of celebrity crushes for anything.



UPDATE!!!

THIS HAPPENED

 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fallen Down a Wikihole: The Collyer Brothers

Have you ever looked up something on Wikipedia, then gotten sucked into the "see also" section? And then on and on you travel from article to article until you're reading about quantum mechanics when you had initially been trying to find out Billy Ray Cyrus' birthday? I have. And it happened the other day. It's called a Wikihole, and although you can blink your eyes and seven hours have gone by, they can be super fun and informative.

So you know how shows about hoarding are all the rage on TV nowadays? Hoarders, and Hoarding: Buried Alive, and Hoardmeister: Throw Some Shit Away, etc. You might think that the disease is relatively new to humanity, but it just isn't so. It's been around pretty much as long as humans have decided that owning things is fun. In fact, I'll bet some neanderthals had caves full of shiny rocks and animal skulls and crap they just wouldn't throw away.

"Og, why you keep so many bones?"

"Quiet, Glurg. All bones different! Og might need one day!"

Okay this has seriously gone off the rails.

The other day while getting lost in the see-also-abyss of Wikipedia, I came across a super-interesting article, and since I learned about this, now you're gonna hear about it.

***

The Collyer Brothers were two Manhattan bros infamous in the 1940s for being "those guys" in the neighbourhood. You know... the ones the kids make up stories about, the ones you hardly ever see and so rumours start a'swirlin'. "What are they up to in that brownstone?" "I heard they worship Satan and have a portal to hell in the living room."

Langley Collyer, c. 1942

Homer and Langley both died amongst their hoard, roughly 140 tonnes of stuff! Apparently they hadn't left the home in twenty years and had created an elaborate system of tunnels through their collections that they used to navigate the mess. They even set up booby traps, one of which actually killed Langley. Yikes. That backfired, didn't it?

The images of their home are absolutely bewildering.


An anonymous phone call in April 1947 brought the police around, and they were shocked at what they found. Apart from the filth and the hoard of weird items, they found that the two men had died about ten feet apart, hidden in the junk



The most interesting tid-bit in the Wikipedia article has to be the contents of the house.

"Baby carriages, a doll carriage, rusted bicycles, old food, potato peelers, a collection of guns, glass chandeliers, bowling balls, camera equipment, the folding top of a horse-drawn carriage, a sawhorse, three dressmaking dummies, painted portraits, pinup girl photos, plaster busts, Mrs. Collyer's hope chests, rusty bed springs, the kerosene stove, a child's chair (the brothers were lifelong bachelors and childless), more than 25,000 books (including thousands about medicine and engineering and more than 2,500 on law), human organs pickled in jars, eight live cats, the chassis of the old Model T with which Langley had been tinkering, tapestries, hundreds of yards of unused silks and fabric, clocks, 14 pianos (both grand and upright), a clavichord, two organs, banjos, violins, bugles, accordions, a gramophone and records, and countless bundles of newspapers and magazines, some of them decades old."


Holy schnikies! Human organs? Fourteen pianos?  Yeesh! Well, needless to say, the excavation of their house became widespread news, and brought on many onlookers. In this time period hoarding was very misunderstood, and sufferers were looked upon as eccentric and strange. Nowadays we know it's a mental disorder and a therapist is always brought in with the cleaners.

I highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article on these brothers, as I found it fascinating.

You could also check out the book Ghostly Men: The Strange but True Story of the Collyer Brothers and My Uncle Arthur, New York's Greatest Hoarders (An Urban Historical) by Franz Lidz. Although the title is a mouthful, I bet it's a great read. It's on my wish list, but if you beat me to reading it, please send me your thoughts.

Have you ever found an awesomely random Wikipedia entry?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Brief History of My Celebrity Crushes, Part 1: Ewan McGregor

I've always been a bit boy-crazy, I'll admit, but my crushes have always tended towards the... how shall I put this... odd. Maybe slightly age-inappropriate. Definitely not the dudes my peers were crushing on.

I shall now take you on a journey documenting some of the men that were responsible for my sexual awakening, the confirmation of my heterosexuality, and the definitive life-long label of quirky.

*********************

First and foremost, my heart belongs to Ewan McGregor. I mean, just look at this shit.

Let me rub my face against your face. Please.

That doesn't seem so odd for a 29-year-old celebrity crush, amirite?

But in 1999, when The Phantom Menace was released, I was 13. I sat in the theatre beside my Dad who had essentially dragged me there to see it I and swooned at the appearance of Obi-Wan Kenobi on the screen, a then 28-year-old McGregor. Suddenly the movie I had begrudgingly agreed to see became interesting. And I saw it three more times in theatres. (And fuck all of you, I liked Jar Jar and I don't care who knows it.)

You know what they say about a man with a long padawan braid...

For comparison, my friends were teen-lusting for things like this. JT was 18 in '99.

JT to stylist - "Make my hair look like Ramen noodles please."

Once I was introduced to Ewan and his older man charms, plus that exotic sexy Scottish accent, I was done for. I went on the primitive 1999 internet and scoured it for his filmography. I typed his name into Mama.com (this is before Google was king of the web) and saved every damn photo I could find to my special folder on the family PC. 

Oh, this was also in the ancient time when logging onto the internet sounded like BRRRRR SQUEEEEEEEGRRRRRBBBBBZZAAABBZZOOO! And you couldn't use the phone line at the same time. I'm old.

I printed off every Ewan pic I found, in colour! My parents were mad. My allowance didn't cover the cost of colour ink cartridges. My current salary still doesn't. I modge-podged them onto my school binders in beautiful Scottish collages. 

I used to spend a lot of time enjoying this particular photo

My parents took me to the local video rental place and I'd search and search and beg the staff to get more of his titles. Who knows what Mom and Dad were thinking when they let me rent Trainspotting.


The movie was gross and Ewan was gross in it, but there was nothing that could stifle my hormonal mania over this man. Not even watching him take a disgusting heroin-withdrawal shite and then dive into it.

My parents DEFINITELY had not read up on Velvet Goldmine before letting me rent it. In it, Ewan plays a glittery gender-bendy rockstar, and I got to see his peepee. That was a big deal. At that innocent stage in life you want to kiss and hug your crush and totally get married, but genitals were not something you really ever thought about. At least not just yet. And this wasn't some quick, tasteful silhouette of male full frontal. This was a pants on the floor, jumping up and down, floppy in your face peepee. It was a lot to absorb. (I'd absorb that peepee any day... HEEYOOO)

That movie also introduced me to some other... ahem.. things... that I wasn't quite ready for at age 14. ("Ewan, what are you doing to Christian Bale's bum?! NOOOO!") But there you have it. I was determined to watch him in anything and everything.

This movie has a phenomenal soundtrack, P.S.

A Life Less Ordinary was one of the ones I found at the old West Coast Video that I watched over and over again and enjoyed for reasons other than my main man being involved. I still watch it once a year or so.

The film was another collab between Ewan and Trainspotting's Danny Boyle, one which defied categorization, being a dark comedy, a rom-com, an action/adventure film, and a fantasy story all in one. Naturally, being different, critics hated it.



But I loved it, and I think any movie buff should see it for its originality. Plus my man sings in it. Of course he does. I curse any film that doesn't utilize his beautiful voice.

Ewan went from a "phase" to a full-blown love affair after I saw Moulin Rouge. When the movie came out, my peers had for the most part never seen him before, probably because his movies were all completely inappropriate for our age group. The odd Star Wars fan knew who he was, but that was it.

I, on the other hand, squealed like a motherfuckin' Backstreet Boys fan (to be fair, I was also one of those) when a group of friends came over and we watched Moulin Rouge for the first time.

That movie was a religious experience for me. It was visually and emotionally beautiful, heart-wrenching, funny, and full of great songs. I was thrilled that Ewan was now a mainstream, leading man, in a movie winning all kinds of awards.

He plays an idealistic writer. My soul mate.


What I find fun is that most people are not crushing on the same celeb they were at age 13. But I'm not most fucking people!  I will probably love him forever. And I'm cool with that.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Book Report: Annihilation

Here's one of those rare instances where I could probably sum up a book report in two words. And those two words are: MIND FUCK.

Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation is unlike any book I've ever read, which can be confusing and slightly frustrating, but it's also exhilarating (in a book-nerd sort of way). Structurally, the story was told as any other, from the start of events to the finish, so the narrative was easy to follow. But where it starts to get wonky is the fact that none of the characters in the book have names. Yeah. Weird, right?


They are instead identified only by their positions on this mysterious expedition; the surveyor, the anthropologist, the psychologist, and our narrator - the biologist.


Something else I loved was that all four of these characters were women. There was some major chick power in the story!

It's hard to assign a genre to this one, but if I had to I'd say futuristic dystopian, without any real sci-fi elements. Also a bit of horror and thriller. And adventure. Okay, fine. This one defies any labeling.

So without giving away too much (almost impossible considering how the entire story is cloaked in mystery) I can say that these four women are chosen to explore Area X, a vaguely described section of the United States where there was an "event" some years back after which time it was abandoned and reclaimed by nature. The Southern Reach is a government agency tasked with figuring out what the fuck is with this place, and so they send in group after group, with no luck at all. Not just no luck, BAD luck. Pretty much everyone is fucked over by Area X in different, screwy ways.

Vandermeer's writing style is simple and concise, and the story only flashed back a few times to the biologist's home life before the expedition, so apart from that you're trapped in Area X with the protagonist the whole time, wondering WTF along with her. There are some awesome eerie, suspenseful moments, and one amazing feat on the part of the author in which he describes something that is essentially indescribable. You'll have to read it to see what I mean by that.

All in all I was hooked by the unknown in this book, and couldn't put it down because of the intense need to know more. Which is pretty much the motivation of the biologist for volunteering to go to Area X in the first place.
_________________________________________________

(Game show announcer voice) And now it's tiiiime foooooor...

Things I Learned About in Annihilation:

  • a bit of the biology of pond life
  • hypnotism and "trigger words"
New Words I Learned In Annihilation:

Eukaryotic - Used in the book to describe a mossy fungusy thing. A sciency word that a biologist most certainly would use.

"...what would have looked to the layperson like rich green fernlike moss 
but in fact was probably a type of fungi or other eukaryotic organism."

Crenellations: This word was used to describe parts of a lighthouse that is visited in the story.



"I could see crenellations that created lines of sight for rifles."

Bulwark: This word was used to describe moss on the seashore.


"They, clinging to the soil, stopped it from eroding and helped 
bulwark the dunes and the sea oats that came next."


_________________________________________________

I'll give Annihilation a 3.5. It was thoroughly enjoyable, incredibly suspenseful and spooky, and very addictive. It lost a point for me when it failed to answer some major questions that I had. I suppose that's why it's a trilogy though! Also, a half point is lost for making the strong female lead's motivation largely about a man.


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Up next on the Quirky Canuck Book Club!

Undermajordomo Minor, by Patrick deWitt

A love story, an adventure story, a fable without a moral, and an ink-black comedy of manners, international bestselling author Patrick deWitt's new novel is about a young man named Lucien (Lucy) Minor, who accepts employment at the foreboding Castle Von Aux. While tending to his new post as undermajordomo, he soon discovers the place harbours many dark secrets, not least of which is the whereabouts of the castle's master, Baron Von Aux.