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There are a lot of “classic” movies I haven’t seen. A disturbing amount, even. It doesn’t help that this list is continually growing, as evidenced by Empire’s 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. I felt more and more like a pop culture failure with every click through the list. So in honor of summer, and awesomeness, and doing something fun, I am creating “Shady’s Summer Cinema Challenge.” It is not 500 movies long (I have a job to go to), nor was there any rigorous criteria in making this list. I chose these movies based entirely off of what I wanted to see the most. It should be noted though, that I have not seen any of these before. So if your favorite movie didn’t make the list, it may be because I’ve seen it already. Also, I left off any movies that have a book that I intend to read.

I’m requiring that I finish all of these movies before Labor Day and, on top of these films, I must also fit in all the most highly anticipated new summer movies, as well as summer television. Also I’ve made a similar list of summer books to read. And I just started taking Tae Kwon Do. So we’ll see how much fun I’m having with this list in two months. I’ll provide updates to my progress, as well some thoughts/reviews along the way.

If you see a movie on here that you just can’t believe I haven’t seen, please shut your mouth. Your incredulity will not undo the past. These are listed in no particular order.

Casablanca
Some Like It Hot
The Seven Year Itch
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Guys and Dolls
Gone with the Wind
Godfather (I & II)
Reservoir Dogs
Pulp Fiction
Ben Hur
Jailhouse Rock
Brick
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Rebel Without a Cause
Enter the Dragon
Le Doulos
Dog Day Afternoon
Akira
The Lost Boys
To Have and Have Not
The Double Life of Véronique
Hard Days Night
Do the Right Thing
Mean Streets
Kids
Cabaret
Natural Born Killers
Predator
Some Like it Hot
Bugsy Malone
Citizen Kane
Trainspotting
Scarface
The Misfits
The Exorcist
Bride of Frankenstein
Dirty Harry
2001: A Space Odyssey
A Bout De Souffle
Blazing Saddles
Rear Window
Annie Hall
The Graduate
It’s a Wonderful Life
M
Boogie Nights
Sophie’s Choice
The Red Shoes
Cool Hand Luke
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Animal House
Rambo: First Blood
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Field of Dreams
Taxi Driver
Dr. Strangelove
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
The 400 Blows
Dolce Vita
8 ½
Lawrence of Arabia
The Outlaw Josey Wales
Midnight Cowboy
Flesh
Amélie
National Velvet
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Strangers on a Train
39 Steps
His Girl Friday
Woman of the Year
Bonnie and Clyde
The Way We Were
Jules Et Jim
The Seventh Seal
Fatal Attraction
All About Eve
The Gold Rush
Maltese Falcon
American Graffiti
Roman Holiday
Pandora’s Box
Funny Face
Rebecca
Das Boot
THE GREAT ROMERO TRILOGY
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Wicker Man (original)
Die Hard

We here at the Seven Bedroom Suite do not have what you would call a large audience. In fact, the only person I know of who regularly checks for updates is my mother (hi, Mom!!!)

Thus, I feel comfortable addressing more personal issues, since my mom already knows everything there is to know about me, right down to the fact that I am willing to sit in a 10th-avenue Dunkin Donuts for two hours straight just because my friend said he saw Andrew Garfield eating a bagel there recently.

Andrew Garfield looking like his sexy self

What I wouldn’t give to watch this man put a bagel in his mouth.

Unfortunately, I have other mental irregularities that are much more serious and much less charming than my need to stalk beautiful celebrities. It’s always been a bit difficult for me to accept, but since my teens I’ve been affected on and off by depression.

Now, one of the biggest problems I’ve had with this (apart from the fact that I seem to be stricken with every possible adverse side effect that anti-depressants have to offer) is my inability to get my family and friends to understand what exactly depression means. To my parents and sister (who are seriously the most loving, attentive, and forgiving people anyone could ever ask for, do not get me wrong), it was always my acute emotionality that was the red flag.

Yes, I was your basic teenage girl nightmare. Crying in my room, being quick to anger, screaming, throwing things, cursing like it was going out of style, writing freeform poetry in my diary about how i was alone in the middle of a storm-tossed ocean—to my comparatively placid and generally more logical family, these were signs that something was just loose in my hormone-soaked brain.

Loki is just misunderstood.

I HATE EVERYTHING!!!!!!!

Something it took me years to understand—and something I’m not altogether sure that my loved ones have absorbed yet—is that intense emotions aren’t the problem. It’s the opposite that you really have to watch out for: the gray, static, sludgy condition of just not giving a fuck.

While you’re screaming and crying and flailing about, you’re irritating as all hell but at least you still care what’s happening to you. When you stop caring, though, the screaming stops. The crying stops. You don’t care how much or how little sleep you get. You don’t care if you get out of bed at all. You stop caring what goes into your mouth and you fail to acquire any food to balance out the diet Pepsi and loaf of bread in your fridge, which of course deprives you of every necessary nutrient ever and sends you further down into fuzzy apathy.

These things happen because you stop caring about yourself in general. You lose the ability to think ahead, even as far as tomorrow, because you can’t muster the strength to accept that anything you do has consequences. You lose the ability to tackle any responsibilities, because in your mind, you’ve already failed and there’s little point in confirming that failure. You eat too much or nothing at all, because your body even more unimportant than the rest of you.

And, worst of all, you stop caring that people care about you. It just stops being important. The more concern people show, the more you pull back, because they aren’t letting you exist in a vacuum. The hope is that if you let calls and messages go unanswered long enough, people will just forget they ever wanted anything from you.

person covering face

You can’t see me!

But there is one emotion that can penetrate the fog of social withdrawal, and that’s the hulking, snarling bastard known as guilt. Every call you send to voicemail, every email you leave un-clicked in your inbox, every text you stare at for ten minutes straight without knowing how to respond, every reminder that you’re letting everyone in your life down makes your stomach heave and your heart twist in your chest.

And then the longer you go without reaching out to people, the harder it becomes. How, you think, can I possibly answer this e-mail now, when I’ve gone for two weeks without answering it? I can’t possibly explain this. I can’t possibly deal with this. I’ll do it tomorrow. 

The guilt overwhelms any action, and the cycle continues, while your family wonders what could possibly be so damn hard about letting people know you’re still alive every once in a while. They implore you to remember that they care, that they think you’re talented and can still do great things, and they don’t understand that their belief in you is what makes you so afraid of them.

So why write any of this down? To make the whole thing seem manageable, I suppose; put a thing in writing, name it, and you have greater control over it. I don’t want to let shame and stigmas keep me from getting help anymore, and I don’t think anyone else should either. If my patient mom or my supportive dad or my amazing sister are reading this, I love you and I will do everything I can to not hurt you anymore.

If by some miracle some stranger ends up reading this (welcome to the blog, we normally write really funny posts with cute guys in them, I swear), don’t fall into this trap. Don’t ghost out because it’s easier to pretend you don’t matter. People give a shit about you, whether you like it or not, and it’s time to start living up to that no matter how scary and impossible it is.

The Doctor believes in you, and he is very rarely wrong.

It’s a classic story. Girl meets boy. Boy takes girl out on a few dates. Girl sleeps with boy after date number 3 because that’s the acceptable amount of dates to wait to put out and also girl has had a few drinks. Girl turns into A CRAZY PERSON.

Some straight-up Jack Nicholson shit.

You ladies know what I’m talking about. After you break the sex barrier, this dude and sex and sex with this dude is LITERALLY all you can think about. You’re in class or at work and you know you should be paying attention to what you’re supposed to, but you just have a craving for penis and you can’t stop thinking about it. You think about texting him every seven seconds just to see what he’s doing, and your brain is constantly devising new excuses for you to see him so you can jump his bones. Of course, you can’t show him that you all of a sudden turned into a pathological sex fiend, and this makes you even crazier because you have to bottle all of these feelings up inside. The only cure for the sex crazies is more sex, and that just restarts the whole cycle.

Well ladies, let me tell you that there is an actual physical hormonal reason for this! You see, there’s this amazing hormone called oxytocin. It’s called the love hormone – and with good reason! It’s released at some very special moments in your life. Oxytocin is the driving hormone during labor – it’s what makes women push that baby out and then forget how damn much it hurt later so that they keep having babies. It’s there a little bit when you first hold hands with someone. It’s there a little bit more when you kiss someone. And it bursts out in all its crazy hormonal glory when you do the horizontal mattress mambo.

Oxytocin is the hormone that made the Cavemen stick around after they impregnated the Cavewomen. Instant (artificial) personal attachment! Yay!

Oxytocin is regulated in your body by something called a positive feedback loop. Which means that a trigger tells your body to produce oxytocin (in this case trigger = sex) and then from that point on the oxytocin tells your body to make more oxytocin. Dudes produce oxytocin too (although not as much) and all the oxytocin in his body tells your body to make more and more and more and then you go CRAZY.

Unfortunately the only way to avoid getting the sex crazies is to not have sex, and we just don’t see that as an option. So go forth into the dating world armed with this knowledge. Science is the reason that you are crazy, not some sort of weird feminine mystery of craziness.

Stand Back! I'm super hormonal! (all credit to xkcd)

image courtesy of lifehacker

I’m terrible at making decisions. It’s an odd truth, because I’ve been told by a lot of my friends that I’m great at making decisions, and they often consult me for advice or leave the final verdict on our plans up to me.

I feel like an imposter, because in fact I rarely do make actual decisions. I’m just exceptionally comfortable with existing in a kind of limbo that makes others uneasy. When it was getting close to college graduation, I had a job lined up, but I told most people that I would just as quickly have gone home and stayed with my parents. I’m currently in a job that I intend to be with for no longer than another year, and have nothing in mind for the future and yet I’m entirely at ease where many of my friends are in a panic over a similar situation. When my friends ask me to make our plans, I’ll close my eyes and point and don’t have particularly strong feelings over whether the evening goes well or not. Somehow my pervading neutrality comes across as strong decision making skills. I basically just wait until the last minute, then just pull the trigger on whatever sounds best and roll with it as best I can. Maybe the fact that this has worked out well for me makes people think I do it on purpose, and that my decisions are well thought out.

Most of the good things in my life have fallen into my lap while I was too busy trying to make a decision, at least when it comes to the big decisions. My college scholarship fell into my lap through a series of happy coincidences that involved a random comment from a friend of mine before I took the PSAT. I chose my major in a point and shoot process, not taking much time to think about what it meant for my future. All of the organizations I got involved with were either foisted onto me by faculty who appreciated my attentiveness in class, or I joined to spend more time with friends. I’m an expert at letting time run out on the clock and just rolling with whatever comes from that. I Hail Mary the shit out of my life. In fact, whenever I do try to proactively make a decision it seems to backfire.

To my elders I appear unusually wise and self-possessed for my age. There’s always an expression – a look that passes over their faces when I say something they’re not accustomed to hearing someone my age say. It’s a mix of surprise and respect and I relish it whole-heartedly. Often times with older men that look is followed immediately by another, one that suggests that I’ve suddenly climbed the ranks from attractive child to genuine prospect. Suddenly the conversation has much more pitch and verve, they seem to take an excessive amount of joy in launching themselves into a full on conversation where previously they were holding back, sure that we had nothing in common. They find an odd maturity in my willingness to embrace the unknown.

I don’t hold back from making decisions because I’m afraid, I do it because I want to know every possible outcome of every possible combination. I want to know what happens if I make a left and if I make a right. I’ve known this about myself for a long time, but for most of my life I did what most kids do and made decisions based on what I was supposed to do. I’m immensely guarded, so any personal decisions were made in an effort to keep myself from crying. The depressed eating when I didn’t quite fit in, followed by losing 20 pounds when I realized no one likes fat middle school girls.

Now that I’m an adult I realize I have a tendency to get myself into trouble because I’ll let a scenario play all the way out, just for the sake of seeing how it ends. I fancy myself an objective third party observer to my own life and forget about that place where my life intersects others, about the weight that I can hold there. I remain as placid as possible for fear of disrupting the environment, of affecting the outcome.

Yesterday, The Pumpkin and I were on our way to the West Village when I was propositioned by a young man. He was handsome, vaguely exotic and, as we would come to find out, brash. He yelled to get my attention on the D train platform at Atlantic Avenue. I responded, embarrassed, unsure what to say to his shouting, since he had drawn the attention of the entire platform.

“Hey, DREAD, where you goin’?” He wanted to know if The Pumpkin was “my woman” when I didn’t immediately engage him. He eventually realized yelling at me across the platform wasn’t going to work, and came to stand beside me. He wanted to know where we were going. I told him Washington Square Park, which wasn’t exactly true, but it was the first downtown landmark to come to mind.

“Y’all going to smoke?”

His question drew a guffaw from The Pumpkin, and I snorted, “No, are you going to smoke?”

“Hell yeah, I’m gonna go smoke and drink. You should come with me.”

This boy was obviously a teenager, maybe 17. He would tell me he was from Carol City, Florida, and was in town visiting his aunt in New Jersey. He wore a naïve, impish smile the entire time he spoke to me, as though he was going to get into as much trouble as possible, but could easily find himself in over his head. His train came before ours, and while the train sat in the station he made one last effort to get me on the train with him.

As he called my name and waved to beckon me onto the train, I was reminded of another experience. My freshman year of college, on my first real date, waiting for the D.C. metro. A group of boys, some I knew and some I didn’t came down the stairs. My date and I struck up a conversation and before long the boys invited us to go to a party in Georgetown with them. My date loved parties. As the train waited in the station, the boys made one last effort to get my date and I on the train with them. I shrugged my shoulders and walked onto the waiting subway car.

But Carol City had yet to acknowledge The Pumpkin’s existence, and possibly for that reason alone, I said no. It’s not as though I didn’t know the little boy’s intentions, or that I was taking his advances seriously in any way. Rather it was the possibility of the unknown, the idea that jumping onto a random train with an underage hoodlum was an actual possibility. I think it’s been the goal of my indecisiveness to leave as many of these doors open as possible. As I get older, I realize just how impossible that is. Refusing to make choices just leaves me with little to no control over my own life. It’s time for me to start making decisions. Maybe I’ll be as good at it as everyone already thinks I am.

Today is Leap Day. I’d forgotten this until I stepped in the elevator for work in a shitty mood and ran into our receptionist. She was equally grumpy and blamed it on the Day-That-Shouldn’t-Exist. One of our IT guys squeezed onto the elevator just before the doors closed as I said “Oh, God, it is Leap Day, isn’t it?” His response? “Oh, that explains it.” Because Leap Day has a spectacular history of being just all around shitty. And not just because it’s Ja Rule’s birthday.

The Scottish apparently hold this day in kind with Friday, the 13th for bad luck, while the Greek say marriages during a leap year are doomed, especially those on Leap Day.

It’s quite possible that Leap Day’s only redeeming factor this year is that it falls on ‘Spaghetti Wednesday,’ as the woman handing out papers in the subway station told me. I could tell you about all of the minutely shitty things that have happened to me at only halfway through the day, but it’s not over yet so there’s a good chance I’ll have something better to write about tomorrow. So if something terrible happens today, just look up and curse the Leap Day gods, because it’s all their fucking fault.

If you can’t tell, I’m borderline delirious from lack of sleep right now. I’m listening to the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack to try and remind me of a better time. It’s not working.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear New Co-Worker,

Last week I caught you checking out Jackie’s ass as she walked past us to the copy machine. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being bewitched by the female form, but unfortunately for you, it was the nail in the coffin I’ve been building for you since the day you started.

It didn’t help that you were essentially hired to replace someone that I thought was crazy cool. He was bizarre, grizzly and walked like he had far too much bravado, but he had a two year old daughter that he couldn’t stop talking about so it made him adorable. He beat on the desk and shook the whole table but on his last day he said he was happy he finally got to see my personality. When he left I silently rejoiced that although I wished he hadn’t left, I now would have no one sitting next to me and could cruise on facebook all day without fear of judgment. But then I showed up from my long weekend of moving in with The Pumpkin to find you in the seat beside mine. You’re British, which I thought meant I was genetically predetermined to love you, but apparently you’re the exception.

I could get rude very easily, talk about how you look like a sniveling weasel who strives for mediocrity. A snitch, if you will. But that’s baseless, so I’ll be totally honest: I just don’t like you. It’s striking even to me how much I don’t like you because I am Queen of Redemption and Empathy. I love people, and letting them be who they are even if I couldn’t do what they do. But something about you makes my lip curl and I can’t find it in me cozy up to you.

Maybe it’s because I’m naturally drawn to the quirks and the outliers, and people who seem pervasively “normal” give me THE FUCKING CREEPS. But the longer I think about it, the more I think there’s actually something wrong with you. There has never been an instance in my life where I’ve taken an immediate dislike to someone and they haven’t proven later on to be every bit worth my disdain. From teachers who intentionally stunt their students growth to whorish and lewd womanizers who pretend to have more substance, their facades have all dropped to reveal someone who doesn’t deserve the respect I was so hesitant to give.

It’s true that all the things building your coffin have been superficial. It’s true that you haven’t done or said an unkind thing to me. It’s true that I think you dress like you’re trying to be a part of the wallpaper of life. It’s true that I’m going to need you to control your train of thought a bit more and not stare at a girls ass while giving me direction on the competitive presentation.

Hello, followers! I know you missed me in my long absence, so I apologize.

Oh, no one even noticed I was gone? Well… that’s fine, I guess. I’m not hurt at all by that. I’ve been super busy too, you know. My life isn’t all about you people. In fact, in the weeks since I posted last, I have officially become something I have always wanted to be: a New Yorker. 

Yup, Shady and I are cohabitating. We now live in a hundred-year-old Japanese-style Victorian in Brooklyn. We rent the third floor from a cool old lady named Gloria, who didn’t even yell at us for building Ikea furniture until 2am (after dragging several boxes weighing 50+ pounds up two and a half flights of stairs, because we are badasses). The house is full of dust and clutter, everything is old and a little rickety, the radiators are terrifying, and we actually have an above-ground subway train running right through the backyard.

Backyard Train

I took this from my bedroom window. After living next to an airport for years, it actually isn't that bad.

The plusses: I live in New York now, I have enough money to last for a while even before I find a job, and I live across the hall from a friend who gets really excited when I say things like hey, why don’t we spend the whole night watching Vampire Diaries?

But then, there’s Grover.

Dumb Dog (Labradoodle)

Oh, don't be fooled. He looks fluffy and cute, but actually he's a minion of hell.

Grover used to be Gloria’s husband’s dog, and he’s had a lot of different caretakers over the years. Of course, he didn’t choose to specifically torture any of them until I came along.

In exchange for a break in my rent, I’m contracted to walk and feed Grover twice a day. It seems like a perfect deal: I get paid, and I get to have a dog, something I’ve always wanted but have never been able to arrange for myself. Little did I know that Grover would be the worst. 

I’ve walked this dog on time every day, played with him in the yard, attempted to bond by sitting with him and petting him and singing to him and telling him he’s a good boy when he (very rarely) does not-terrible things. Grover, who is an adult dog and does not seem to be suffering from any illnesses, has repaid me by pooping all over the (carpeted!!!!) dining room no less than four times, often right after I bring him home from a 45-minute walk in the snow because I want to make sure he’s had enough time to poop outside, because it’s my job and I don’t like failing.

Also, instead of eliminating like a normal fucking animal, Grover has lately begun a process wherein he sort of poops halfway, leaves it hanging out of his ass as he trots around, forces me to clean him as best as I can (eeugh), and then refuses to actually finish the whole business until he is safely under the dining room table again.

Because this animal is not normal. Like the mythical Cerberus, he is a beast that belongs not on this earth, but in the depths of the underworld where his willfulness may be tempered by the awesome power of the gods.

Cerberus and Hercules

It was probably one of Hercules' tasks to get this dog to poop outside of the dining room.

It’s just not right that this stupid labradoodle is shitting all over my New York adventures. I wanted to come here to feel invigorated, with everything new and suddenly possible, like I could learn to be the kind of person who wins and succeeds and doesn’t get run over by life every four seconds. Instead, I’m holding back tears in the freezing cold as I ineffectually beg a dog to shit properly.

I am better than this dog. I am smarter. I am locking him in the fucking kitchen today and he is going to know my wrath, because I did not come here to be obsessed with a vindictive labradoodle’s digestion 24/7. I came here to live, and to do awesome Valentine’s Day stuff with Shady (it’s gonna be epic), and to write short stories in the park, and to skip down the streets and throw my hat in the air like Mary Tyler Moore because this is supposed to by my year. You do not get to shit on my year, Grover. I own your ass.

(But seriously, if anyone in the New York area wants a labradoodle, contact me. We’ll make it look like he just escaped from the yard. Gloria might not even notice.)

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