Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Summer of Gatsby No. 3 - Trailer comparisons -

I just thought it was cool to do this, to see them side by side.
And BTW-- I'm not sure if this is the "official" 1974 trailer... any feedback on others that may be floating out there (that were not created for AP English) will be appreciated.

It's kind of interesting to see how changes in videography / technology have changed movies.

My comments on the new vs. 1974 version will be coming soon...

1974 Trailer with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow

2012/ 2013 Trailer with Leo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan
(this isn't the trailer you see the most often, but I do love it.)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Summer of Gatsby--All things Great Gatsby, old Sport! - No. 2

Welcome old sport!

Welcome to all things Great Gatsby: chances to explore, chances to learn, and chances to win.

What's all this about? Read the intro to Summer of Gatsby here...

Whether you've read TGG in high school and are revisiting it or rediscovering it for the first time, enjoy our discussion. And warning--HEREIN BE SPOILERS!

So pull up some bootleg hooch, put on your Charleston shoes and we'll get going.

Today is a lighter look, and while I'm sure we can all go to spark notes and talk about all the deep things with Gatsby, here's the plot in a nutshell. 

While this isn't my favorite Gatsby spoof/ cartoon/ rendering, I do love Jordan's manic face when she says: JUST DO IT! And dude, why do so many of them have an English accent. Except the mechanic, who is definitely Southern. I guess they figure if someone's brandishing a gun it would be someone from the South. Very stereotypical (and yet, as a Southerner, I must confess, somewhat true...)

My favorite is when Jordan is introduced and there's a big SYMBOLISM floating up there....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer of GATSBY -- No. 1-- Why I am obsessed with this book and you should be too.

Welcome old sport!

Welcome to all things Great Gatsby: chances to explore, chances to learn, and chances to win.

What's all this about? Read the intro to Summer of Gatsby here...

Whether you've read TGG in high school and are revisiting it or rediscovering it for the first time, enjoy our discussion. And warning--HEREIN BE SPOILERS!

So pull up some bootleg hooch, put on your Charleston shoes and we'll get going.

Why I am obsessed with this book and you should be too

So many merely look at this book on the surface level: unrequited love, excess, materialism, booze, lust, ambition, booze, adultery, and did we mention booze?

What Gatsby epitomizes so clearly is not so much the excess of the Jazz Age (though F.Scott does a great job of that as well) but the timelessness of human nature--the desire to want more, not just for greed's sake, but for the sake of love. It also centers around that most American of traits--reinventing oneself. Jay Gatsby seems to be almost a biblical warning to those who would gain the world but lose their souls. For me, what is entirely heartbreaking, is it shows the deep, insatiable love/lust he has for Daisy. While Gatsby's business ventures cannot be justified as ethical, we all wonder what our Daisy, or "green light" is? Is there something you want so bad that you would sacrifice everything for it--but in the process lose yourself? And is this something worth having?

While I do think Daisy truly loved Gatsby, I think perhaps what she loved more was the IDEA of being in love with him. When it came time to make that commitment, dump Tom (who by the way, what the bleep were you thinking on that one, girl,) she goes back to what is familiar.

This underscores something I have said my whole life irt relationships, particularly less-than-ideal ones, when given a chance between change and familiarity, human beings tend to gravitate toward the familiar, even if that familiar isn't what is best. I think it may be geared in our DNA, I don't know.

But hey, don't take my word for how bleepin' awesome this book is, check this out,
Five Reasons The Great Gatsby is the Great American Novel.

The movie is out. Gatsby guys and gals, make your voice heard:

Coming next: Gatsby cartoons.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Introducing: THE SUMMER OF GATSBY at The Year of Writing Dangerously-- May through July...with PRIZES, old Sport!

I realize I have absolutely NO credibility since I have YET to see the remake (but it's on my schedule for this week. I promise.I could go on about how I've been out of the country and at a writing retreat, but let's face it, that's no excuse where my beautiful Gatsby is concerned.)

So for this SUMMER,  this blog is dedicated to all things Gatsby! I'll have links to cool Gatsby stuff, Gatsby cartoons (by me and other authors), video clips! poems! reviews! A chance to win original artwork! bootleg hooch in my bathtub! A chance to rig the next world series! Not all of these are true!

But some are fun, and some are silly, and some are just--dear God, how awesome can this book be. I'm hoping my writing buddy RJ will let me post his poem about the Great Gastby here (hint, hint,) and I'm even thinking of doing a book of poems inspired by TGG (calling all my poetry homies.)

First, an introduction to the GREAT THREAD FOR THE GREAT GATSBY on Goodreads. Join our thread. Have a bit of bootleg hooch (prohibition be damned! ) While there are few folks on this group who have commented, but the ones who are on there really know their stuff about TGG and have some wonderful comments. We welcome everyone.

And btw, you'll notice on this blog I take things a bit tongue in cheek. I welcome all comments on this blog (or at the thread, where I hope y'all will join us) but please, play nice with others.
BTW, I also welcome any high school students who are doing research/ papers/ reading TGG--and no, we are not going to provide cliff notes, but I have a master's in English, and TGG literary elements were the focus of my comps paper, so any opinion I have will be an educated opinion (at least, that's what the piece of paper says :)

And --more coming--- leave a comment and you'll be placed in a drawing to win:
--a free copy of one of my books
--original, hand-drawn bookmarks inspired by TGG
--small unframed piece of art inspired by TGG.
-- copious amounts of alcohol (just kidding.)
--copy of TGG.

More to come, old sport, including:

-- The brilliant literary devices of F. Scott Fitzgerald and what you can learn from them.
--Daisy and a the South--what you might like to know from a Southerner's perspective
--My Asheville "connection" with Zelda Fitzgerald
--They're tearing down the Gatsby house? Noooooooooo
--Top quotes from The Great Gatsby characters
--F.Scott and me at the Water Park
-- Leo vs. Robert--- the low down on the leading men.
--Why Daisy is a witch with a capital B.
-- Religious implications of the Great Gatsby
--Little known facts about about the 1920s
--Links galore
--My poem dedicated to Jay Gatsby
-- My secret, intimate connection with F. Scott Fitzgerald  (warning--may be slightly embellished)

Looking forward to a summer that is the bee's knees.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Tar Heel in the UK: Strangers I have spoken with...

Of course, the saying is that a stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet (I HATE that saying. There are some strangers who have remained strangers for a reason....but you get my point)...

I feel so sorry for my friends who have to be so patient with their ultra-extroverted friend.

I'm not sure why but I have always been interested in talking to people I don't know who are culturally different from myself. While this has served me well in my former profession as a newspaper reporter, it has also served as a source of (select one) fascination, amusement, horror, embarrassment, pride to my travel buddies.

So to continue this travel in the UK series, I present the next photo series in:

Random people Dawn had her picture made with while she was in England

Random Stonehenge person (see earlier post)

Random Boat Ride Hawker at Cambridge (not sure why the photo
is so wonky. It's fine on my camera...)

For lack of better words, we'll just call this dude the Scottish
version of Wayne Newton. He was awesome!

Can you find the tourist here? I was obviously not ready for
the camera. And it was VERY  WINDY!!!
We dubbed this guy in front of the Sherlock Holmes Museum
Constable O'Hottie.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Unusual Things I Learned About Stonehenge--and the person I met there!

This is a series of short travel articles concerning my recent wonderful trip to the UK.  Three things you need to know about me when reading these articles:
1-- I would talk to a tree. Seriously. I think one of the great things about travel is meeting new people. And of course, I would listen to the Brits read the phone book for an hour. So you'll see me and some random people.
2-- I like to try to find the unusual. To learn about things that are off the tour map (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.)
3--- The camera is not my friend. Seriously. I am neither this short, this overweight, or this dorky (well, maybe I am this dorky. But at least it's hip to be square.)

At Stonehenge on Salisbury plain in England, I'm not going to talk about what everyone has told you-- how did they get the stones there, how the stones are in perfect alignment with the stars, etc. After all, you have National Geographic specials on Netflix from that.

Here are a few things that fascinated me:
You can't see it too well on this one, but there were holes in the rocks where some
type of bird had evidently throughout the centuries dug a nest, or made a nest
out of a hole that had appeared in the stones. There were several birds flying in and
out of the stones. I've never seen that mentioned in something before.
Strange stuff seems to happen at the stones, even from folks that are normally not
easily persuaded by the paranormal. Our tour guide told us of one time, when a member of her
group got close to the stones, the hands on his wristwatch started spinning. When he backed away from
the stones, the spinning stopped. Movie crews who have filmed there have had their
equipment inexplicably start/ stop. There is definitely some type of magnetic energy of some kind
going on there-- static electricity or polar magnets or any type stuff Sheldon Cooper would
drool all over. 

Okay, the person in the picture at left was named Siloban (I'm sorry, I can't remember how to spell his/her name). Let me note that S was NOT a part of the display/event/ tour. Anyway, Siloban was not a druid or Wiccan or of any New Age religion that I was familiar with, but S and I had an interesting conversation about perception and matter. Essentially, what I think we were both talking about, but using different terms to describe, is how perception shapes reality, etc. etc..  Notice my eyes widening as I'm trying to piece things together that he/she is saying. Essentially, I think we were both talking about Einstein's Twin Paradox. I have some video of him / her that I'll try to's a bit long, so I'd like to edit it down a bit, but it was very interesting.

And FYI, I'm using he/she here because Siloban told me he/she was biologically either/or, and I think was technically registered with the government as a female.

I'm not posting it to be like "hey, look at this funky dude," but just to show that, if we take time to talk to people we don't know, we learn interesting things about them.

And btw, S told me the goat on the cane was a reference to her zodiac sign of Capricorn.

I understand that S. is out there quite a lot. Anyone else who has been to Stonehenge met her?