Month: April 2015

Ninety 90’s Songs: Canadian K.D.’s Constant Craving

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Oh, the nineties. After the fun, excessive decade of the 80’s which featured innovation stacked on top the also over the top decade of the seventies, things became more subdued. Men sang about their grungy emotions, stopped wearing make up, and women starting to take center stage as moody gravitas-bearing muses. Even some of them stopped wearing make up, too. It wasn’t all Cyndi Lauper and her party anthems anymore. No, this was the decade of serious women. And more black and white videos.

#52 “Constant Craving” by K.D. Lang. Released in 1992, and then again in 1993, this song became a major hit. Unexpectedly, K.D. won Best Female Pop Vocal and Best Female Video awards (Female Video? Videos have a gender? Don’t they mean Video by a Female?).

Whether you identify with it’s lyrics due to feelings you have towards someone you like, or perhaps a vice you can’t shake, and those may very well be the same thing, it’s not difficult to imagine why this song was so popular. We tend to crave the things that are bad for us, don’t we? Knowing we shouldn’t indulge only makes those cravings worse. And more constant.

The video features a stage production of “Waiting for Godot.” The themes (pick one, many have studied it and there are several) were meant to complement the themes of the song. Is K.D. craving the return of a currently absent yet soon to return Godot-esque figure? Maybe she is just craving a chance to play a role in a production that famously features only men. Regardless, having her sing backstage while we see the play performed mirrors how our deep longings continuously rack our minds behind the scenes, while we put on a mask to the world that we are just fine.

While I usually rag on the choice of so many 90’s videos to go black and white, the choice here provides a bleak and stark effect that magnifies the light and dark shades of emotion depicted in the song and video. The song deserved its acclaim, which makes it sad that we still don’t hear this song as often anymore, despite being featured on music-recycling powerhouse Glee.

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Crush or Squish?

We all have little crushes every now and then. Occasionally there are those big ones that seem to consume us with desperate longing and poetically appropriate heartache. Growing up and struggling with being gay, I had more than my fair share of these episodes ranging from brief flavor of the week types to years long infatuations.

I kept these feelings to myself and the process became a deeply personal way of reconciling my sexuality. Eventually, when I started my arduous process of coming out, I began to share these feelings with close friends which allowed me to open up to act more confidently on them rather than shy away. 

Flashforward to now, and I am in a relationship that is mature, long term, and absolutely real. No fantasies.  No unrequited love. No pining away for someone distant.

Having been with my significant other for almost three years now, that other part of my mind has been dormant. It’s not really a necessary component anymore, is it?  My boyfriend and I still share pictures with each other of celebrities we think are hot (Hello, Dan Osbourne!). We even mention coworkers and acquaintances whom we find attractive or otherwise endearing, but in a completely honest and non-competitive way that stands as an example of the trust and respect we have for each other.

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We are both men who like men, and finding beauty or quality in men is something we have in common, but our committed relationship is the foremost thing we have in common.

Having said all of that, very recently I have found that old mechanism in my mind waking up and operating in a way I have never experienced before.

It started at a Halloween party for work. This particular party was hosted and organized by my department, but had company wide attendance.  I happened to chat up a younger guy who had the cleverest costume. It was simple, but geeky and humorous.  Honestly, I had written off that experience as something to share with the boyfriend and that was that. 

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Cute guy. Cute costume. Introductions and chatting with not even a whisper of flirtation. That was enough for me.

A few months later this guy joined my department. He learned quickly, advanced appropriately, and even now is ready to take a leadership role. In my time working with him during our meetings throughout the week, I found him to be friendly, professional, and courteous. He was confident, but still humble, and he proved to be a popular and pivotal member of the team.

Were I ten years younger, I thought, he would totally be the type I would crush on. Then I realized, almost horrifyingly, I had actually developed a crush on him.

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Having not had a crush in so long, I was out of touch with how this worked.  I had a few panicked moments when I wondered if this signified a problem with my own relationship. It didn’t. I thought that maybe my feelings would go away as I got more familiar with him. They didn’t. Maybe I would learn something about him that I didn’t like. I didn’t.

What did happen, however, was a change of my feelings over time. I never truly had any deeply romantic feelings, such as  us running off into the sunset together. Nor was there anything sexual sparking, even if I noticed occasionally that his hair was coiffed in a particularly handsome way, or that certain pairs of pants fit quite well in certain areas.

Furthermore, I’ve never been into younger guys, and it was obvious that the world was his oyster. With everything in his exciting future ripe for him to pick, surely there were better things available to him besides some (slightly) older guy pawing after him. Besides, I had that happen to me when I was younger, and it was exhausting despite being a bit flattering. I am no chickenhawk (look it up), after all.

Then again, maybe it’s because I’m older that I feel I could be able to provide him insight or any other kind of assistance as he navigates his early twenties in a way I wish I could have had.

I did feel something, however, I just didn’t know how to classify it. Thanks to Urban Dictionary, an increasingly useful resource for a late twenty-something like me who spends time with some younger people, I was able to find this term:

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I instantly identified with this. The desire to get to know him, perhaps become friends, is something that racks my mind. While building a friendship is not something that may be prudent or professional at this time, at least I have deciphered my feelings enough on the matter not to feel so alarmed.

Perhaps our paths will run parallel to each other for some time yet, but when they diverge, I hope that it’s for the best for both of us. We may not be the next Xena and Gabrielle with something romantic implicitly growing between us, but whatever is between us will have to suffice at a platonic level.

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The lack of a romantic component doesn’t make having a squish any easier, but I can’t help but wonder if knowing about the difference between a squish and a crush while I was growing up would have saved me from much drama and torment.

Who am I kidding? The torment is still there.

Interstellar: A Review

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Released in 2014, Interstellar, a film by Christopher Nolan, is an epic sci-fi adventure in the vein of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Featuring award-winning special effects and a boundary pushing plot, Interstellar is sure to baffle the uninformed and enthrall the willing. But is it the kind of epic sci-fi film I would go for?

Let’s see.

• Special Effects

While I wouldn’t consider myself a slave to my vision, presentation is still important. Furthermore, if one is going to utilize computer graphics and other enhancements in film, they must look good. Nothing ruins the experience worse than poorly blended textures and rushed models. Interstellar earned its Oscar. The effects were beautiful, and the depiction of that black hole, at least the outside of it, was gorgeous. The real world settings used for the different planets still managed to look foreign, so nice work there as well. This was a feast for my eyes, which I didn’t realize were hungry.

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•Characters and Acting

The film was decently cast and well directed for the most part, but this movie wasn’t just about selling character drama. The astronauts all seemed scientifically professional if a bit too stoic when faced with new and frightening space phenomena. Anne Hathaway was a standout, but that’s no surprise. I wasn’t put off by any bad acting, but a few roles could have been enlivened so I wasnt immediately guessing who the background characters or the eventual casualties were from the get go.

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•Plot

This is where the movie suffered under my scrutiny. First of all, the pacing was off. While I admired that the very beginning showed us a deteriorating Earth rather than straight up telling us, I wish that same caution has been exercised in other places.

Having said that, some exposition was needed in places considering the highly conceptual science incorporated into the plot. That science was fun to see explored in a story like this. However, I felt the attempt to explain relativity and it’s effect on time was over-explained and lessened drama associated with its effects.

Furthermore, it was obvious to me that the that there were two main plots competing for screen time. One was the exploration of space, work holes, relativity, time dilation, ecological disaster, etc.

The other was Huey Lewis’ favorite: the power of love.

Yes, love.

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Love can cross time, space, worm holes, black holes, and plot holes.

Love can make future men seem like ghosts or monsters.

Okay, I get it.

I appreciate the attempt to fuse the themes of human nature with high science, but it just didn’t work for me here. Just when I thought the movie was over (and a decent ending that would have been), the love story took off and my disbelief was stretched more than spacetime at an event horizon.

Still, the actual ending want terrible, I just want expecting the movie to tear my focus from its attempt at pure logic, to a non sequitur shift to pure emotionalism. Interstellar isn’t the next 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it is a fun ride with a dazzling, if sometimes brutally blunt dash of science thrown in.