Friday, November 24, 2006

What's crazy about standing toe to toe and saying "I am"?

Anyone who's been to the movies recently probably recognized this line from the preview for the upcoming (and final?!) sequel to the Rocky series - Rocky Balboa. I haven't watched any of the movies yet. But this line, said quietly and simply, with no airs or arrogance, makes you wonder where it's coming from and made me, at least, want to watch the movie(s).
More than that. It made me wonder when was the last time I felt strongly about something and made a difference by asserting that feeling. Made me wonder if I've lost that ability to be passionate about issues.
It made me wonder why I haven't been successfully able to stand toe to toe with anyone or anything and say "I am".
I tell myself that I'm a pacifist and a believer in non-violence - what if I'm just too wrapped up in myself to truly care for a cause or for beliefs that make me want to shout them out from the rooftops or maybe even hurt someone who believes otherwise?
I tell myself it's flexibility - how do I know it's not cowardice in the false garb of flexibility?
I tell myself it's being open-minded - how do I know it's not fear of committing to a course of action, good or bad?
I tell myself it's my laidback, relaxed attitude and it makes my life less stressful - now I wonder where and who I could be if I did pressure myself, and others, from time to time (in a healthy, non-paranoid way!)
In my own small ways I do occassionally get up from my cushioned seat, peer down from my ivory tower and whisper in the middle of the night when nobody's listening, "Hmm..I guess I am...maybe...sometimes...".
That, apparently, is not enough :) I need to find myself some opinions, beliefs, and peaceful means of asserting them...and quickly, lest I fade into ignominy and complacence and forget my power to make a difference.
Thanks Mr.Stallone, for being the most unlikely reminder I could ever have imagined :)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Oh Ohhh S'heaven!!

No prizes for guessing what the highlight of my weekend was! Casino Royale, in the grand tradition of 'prequels' was probably one of the most anticipated James Bond releases, and I admit, the only one I have seen in the theater so soon after the release.
To set the record straight, I am not really a James Bond fan. Doesn't mean I detest the genre or contraire, I quite enjoy watching attractive men wear tuxedos and save the world from bad guys. Just that I have seen only maybe three or four of the movies. None of the new ones with Pierce Brosnan. So coming from an almost-novice Bondie like me, this must mean a lot: THIS MOVIE ROCKS!!!
The aura surrounding James Bond - the mystique, the raw masculine attractiveness, and beyond all, the sheer style he embodies - comes wayyy alive in Daniel Craig. Talk about pleasant surprises! When I heard about him as the choice for the new (old) Bond, I cringed...I was rooting for Jude Law. But man, oh man...was I wrong! This guy is s-e-x-y!! Tight coiled spring, classic v-shaped body, tall, maybe not dark and handsome in the traditional sense, but well, hot :)
Okay, I'll stop gushing over his hot bod...I won't even mention his 'perfectly formed arse' (direct quote!) or the famous gasp-worthy swimsuit scene.
I'll point out some other non-Daniel-Craig things I really enjoyed about this movie...(baby spoilers ahead...nothing major)
- The fabulous first action sequence involving parkour. I first saw a parkour video about 2 months back and was amazed...this is an urban extreme sport which seems to slowly be taking the world by storm. The terrorist Bond chases is actually a famous parkour artiste, Sebastian Foucan, credited with creating 'free running', another parkour-like activity. There's literally thousands of videos online, but here's the scene directly from the film.
- The cool references to some Bond signatures - the way they introduce the Aston Martin, the impatience with the 'shaken or stirred' question, the way they almost reveal M's name.
- The first scene, which establishes him as a "Double 0" agent.
- The refreshing toning down of the 'item girls' and the bizarreness of the bad guys without making it completely boring. After all, what's a James Bond movie without beautiful women and strange but worthy opponents?! I loved the way Vesper Lynd pays him back when he suggests she wears something that distracts the card players from the game to her neckline. I also liked the slightly spooky bleeding eyes of the villian.
- The fact that this was definitely early Bond - work in progress. M is constantly angry with him, he does seem to kill more easily and efficiently than any of the others, not so sure about the sentimentality, but it marks his vulnerability and makes him real. Before he becomes a suave, wisecracking international spy with gadgets and girls galore.
- The poker games. I don't know this game well, but these were well orchestrated.
- The fantastic last line...what we'd been waiting for all along, delivered perfectly.
There's a couple of things I didn't understand. I noticed a few times there were references to a number 378...any idea why? Didn't quite get the CIA involvement - it seemed to disappear as soon as it appeared. Also, no Q?
Oh well, never mind. No need to analyze it all to death. All I can say it, this movie left me shaken and stirred :) Enjoy!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Shedding skin

Last evening I did something I haven't done in perhaps fifteen years. I fell down and scraped my knee. Picture this: rain, slippery pavements, boots too sexy (and smooth-soled, as I discovered yesterday!) to wear often, dark alley in downtown, running to prevent a parking ticket, skirt (so uncovered knee), no sense of direction - dramatic, huh?!
So I fussed all day today, 'worked from home', didn't get out of my shorts, got some reviews and other stuff done that I couldn't do at work, and generally enjoyed my lazy day as an invalid. It got me thinking - maybe some shed skin isn't all that bad (other than the unholy mess it's left my knee in! I told someone that it has progressed from a crater of redness to a brown pothole!) Snakes shed skin all the time, and we worhip them don't we?!

Another story to support my point. My colleague's father recently burnt parts of his body including his face, in a freak yard accident. It seemed for a day that he was in serious danger, because he had lost sensation and they feared it had affected his nerves.
Turns out he's ok. More than ok, even. They grafted some new skin to his face, so this sixty-something year old man has brand new baby-smooth skin, and it feels much better than his beautiful daughter's expensive-lotion-pampered skin now!

While I don't recommend either method described above to shed some skin, I've been thinking how it must be to be able to shed some other kinds of skin, metaphorically, and wake up with brand new baby skin. Metaphorically, of course!

The skin of habit, of the past, of repeated patterns, of beaten paths, for one. How gut-wrenchingly scary and hard to give up a habit, whether it's smoking or TV or even chatting with a good friend everyday. In fact, giving up something like that last one might not even seem like a necessary thing. And those are the hard habits to break. The ones you don't have to. The ones that are not societally condemned or obviously bad for you. But think of all the friends you're not making or not talking to, when you talk to the same person everyday. Think of all the paths you haven't discovered yet, by traveling the same path again. Sure, you'll get lost, scared, run out of gas, out of time, bored, rejected, dejected...but isn't it so worth it the one time you find a new route, make a new friend, spend a delightful evening with a stranger, discover some new music, eat a new kind of vegetable, ride a new car, stumble upon a new bookstore or find a new art form?

The thing is, I don't know, I have been too wrapped up in the double layered skin of habit and fear to find out. I'm thinking of ripping part of it out...slowly. In hope of a new layer, a new identity, a new relationship, or, at the very least, a new story.