Well friends, I’ve finally done it! I’ve officially started my roller derby journey! I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time, and I am so excited that it is finally happening.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t very sold on the idea of roller skating. I had a hard time staying balanced on quad skates and roller blades, and spent most of the time figuring out how to get back up once I had fallen down for the millionth time. You would think that skating on a blade 1/8″ of an inch thick would be even more difficult, but for some reason ice skating came A LOT easier than roller blading. I started playing when I was four, and kept going for another 23 years (in fact, I’m still playing!). Over time my roller blading skills did improve, but my street hockey days were far behind me and I never gave roller skating much thought.
Enter roller derby. I used to watch banked track derby after school, and always found it to be pretty badass. I mean, they skated around and knocked the crap out of each other–how cool was that? I had no concept of the rules, but it always seemed like something that could be awesome to play. Of course, hockey was my life at that point, and I didn’t even KNOW anybody that played derby in real life (i.e. outside of the television), let alone know of any leagues I could join. I largely forgot about derby after that, and spent the rest of my high school and college years playing hockey. Luckily, a friend and former hockey teammate of mine happened to be Maxwell Schneider, AKA The Smacktivist, an awesome skater who opened Next Level Skate Shop in Columbus a year or so ago. I saw them post over and over again about their practices and bouts with the Ohio Roller Derby team (a flat track derby team in Columbus) and was bitten again by that roller derby bug. Schneids fielded my dozens of questions and pointed me in the direction of Burning River Roller Derby in Cleveland, and the rest is history!
I picked up my pads from Amazon (mostly because I had a few Amazon gift cards collecting dust that needed to be put to good use) and grabbed an old hockey helmet for my noggin, but the most important things (AKA my skates) came from Next Level Skate Shop. I picked up a lovely set of quad skates along with a set of outdoor wheels and bearings, and they are so comfy! Max was incredibly helpful and answered any and all questions I had about the skates, and even gave me a quick demo on tightening up the different pieces and changing the wheels. There is no where else I could see going for derby gear and advice. (Thanks again, friend! :D)
I hit the skate park (and tennis courts, and a little bit of a trail!) with a fellow new skater today, and it was awesome. I honestly was not sure how I would do with the quad skates after growing up on roller blades and ice skates, but it wasn’t as rough as a transition as I was expecting. For any hockey player looking to get into roller derby, I would say the most difficult thing to get used to are the toe stops. Doing anything that involves tilting my foot forward in skates has always been a huge NO NO, so it was a little weird to have to push past that and realize that it is sometimes necessary. I was surprised by how well crossovers translated to the quad skates, and I am going to experiment more with backwards skating the next time I go out.
I will officially be starting practices next week (at the behest of my hockey teammates, I’m going to wait until after Nationals this weekend so that I don’t potentially injure myself before the tournament!), and I really can’t wait. One of the things I’m looking forward to the most is the community that this sport seems to have. Everyone I’ve met seems super helpful and welcoming, and the level of support I’ve seen is overwhelming. All of the skaters have a part to play on and off the track, and I cannot wait to become a part of it.
Skate on, friends! 😀
So, I found this list ranking the Pixar movies from Worst to Best, all fourteen films.
Naturally, I nerd raged pretty hard about it.
I will admit that it is extremely difficult to create a ranking of any movie series or company that everyone (or even most people) are happy with. For one, there are a ton of different ways you could do it. Do you rank by style? By special effects? By emotional punch? By storyline? By character development? By voice acting? Who knows! I could probably come up with a million different rankings based on each category.
For me, the most important part of any movie or TV show doesn’t lie in the special effects, or beautiful scenery, or even the style. All of those things can change over time, getting better or worse, but it is the strength of the story that I remember years after the initial viewing. The story, the characters, their journeys-all of that stays with me and plays heavily into any review or top ten list I create…as you can probably tell from my Inside Out review.
So, bearing that in mind, I present to you:
Allie’s Pixar Rankings
Allie Puts Toy Story in it’s Rightful Place
Disclaimer(s): I have not yet seen Ratatouille or Cars 2, so they will not be on this list. I will get to them eventually!
Also, keep in mind that I love ALL (ok, most) of these movies. Even the worst Pixar film is still a great cinematic experience.
All right. Here we go.
13. A Bug’s Life. This was a sweet movie, there is no doubt. Everyone can relate to the story of an outsider trying to prove that they belong, or someone who possesses a boatload of talent and ingenuity that just can’t find the way up. At the end of the day though, it really held no emotional punch. I felt bad for Flik, and I hated Hopper, but you were supposed to. Everything was very black and white in terms of the villain and the good guy, and in terms of the story. It was forgettable, and that was the problem. Most people forget that there even was A Bug’s Life until you remind them of it…which is not a good representation of the strength of the PIxar name.
12. Cars. I will admit, I once had Cars at the very bottom of the list. In fact, I did until I went on my cross country road trip in January. I drove on the interstate that stole the business and life blood from the historical Route 66, and I suddenly understood and connected with the pain the characters in Radiator Springs were feeling. However, that did only bump the movie up one spot. I felt bad for the plight of the people in Radiator Springs, but I still didn’t really care about Lightning or even his love interest. Yeah, he sees the error of his ways and ends up the good guy….alright. A nice story, but still…predictable, and the only people (cars?) I really cared about were the ones playing second fiddle.
11. Monster’s University. It actually feels kind of weird to have this movie so low on the list, because I really liked it. Monsters, Inc left the story pretty much finished, so they really couldn’t do a sequel. Likewise, it was tough to imagine any sort of prequel because Mike and Sully seemed pretty set where they were. Where could they go? I thought the movie did a really good job laying out the issues each character was struggling with in a way that I really empathized with. Mike is brilliant and has the drive to be a Scarer-but he just isn’t scary. Sully possesses a naturally scary-ness….but he just doesn’t have enough brains or drive. I know a million people in the real world like this, and to be honest I see a lot of myself in Sully throughout this movie. The most relatable part of this movie was the fact that, in the end, they fail. They don’t end up graduating with honors, or getting offered jobs at the top scaring company–they get kicked out of school and have to start at the very bottom. Seeing as they do end up at the top scaring facility and Sully becomes the top scarer in Monsters, Inc, it leaves you with the pretty simple message of “don’t give up.” They knew what they wanted, faced some set backs, but still worked hard and made it happen. You don’t leave the theatre as moved as you do at the end of Monsters, Inc, but you don’t leave entirely unhappy, either.
10. Up. Yeah, people are gonna hate me for putting this movie so low on the list….but it is what it is. Now, I will say the opening ten minutes of this movie showing Carl and Ellie’s life together made me sob uncontrollably for a good five minutes. It was so beautifully done, and you don’t need to watch an entire movie on their relationship to understand within seconds how much they meant to each other. This ten minutes alone is worth it being in the top 5. However, after that, the movie kind of lost some fire for me. I liked Carl. I liked Russell. I liked the talking dogs. The villain was okay. Overall, though, it was just too fantastical for me to really lose myself in it. Carl’s mourning Ellie and worrying that he didn’t allow her to live the adventurous life, his bonding with Russell–all of those things I would rank pretty high. In fact, if the movie was set in a more realistic avenue, I am pretty sure I would have Up much higher. However, when the elderly man can all of a sudden climb effortlessly up the side of a blimp…you kind of lose me. Again, sweet movie and wonderful opening, cute ending….meh the rest of it.
9. Toy Story 2. I adore the Toy Story series, and putting any of the movies lower than 5 is a little bit of a bummer. However, when you stack the second installment next to the others, it is clear that it falls a little short. Woody definitely goes through a pretty rough time, but it essentially mirrors the plot of the first movie: Woody, used to being top dog, is upset that he is no longer Andy’s go-to toy. In the first movie he fights back, in this one, he mopes around until an outside event (the yard sale) lands him in a situation where he seriously considers jumping ship. While I understood where he was coming from, it was still kind of a bummer to see the charismatic cowboy ready to roll over and retire just because Andy was no longer focusing all his attention on him. The rest of the toys bounding together to rescue their friend, the sweet story of Jessie the yodeling cowgirl, even the painful abandonment issues of Stinky Pete–all of that was great. Overall though, it never possessed the same emotional connection with the audience that the first one did.
8. Brave. I thought this was an absolutely sweet movie, and the first movie to really dig into the mother/daughter relationship (at least, in the Pixar universe). Merida fights throughout the movie to throw off what is expected of her and establish herself as her own person. She doesn’t want to be forced into a marriage she doesn’t want-she wants to be free. This struggle is brought on partly by her tumultuous relationship with her mother. What I love about their relationship is that BOTH characters have to grow to repair their relationship, not just one. The whole “mending” thing was pretty heavy handed, which is the reason this movie does rank lower on my Pixar list, but its still an emotional and uplifting journey that I didn’t mind experiencing. I did not emotionally connect with Merida and her mother the way I connected with, say, Marlin and Nemo in Finding Nemo, but the family aspect of this film was still very strong and memorable.
7. Wall-E. I have this movie MUCH lower on my list than the one I used as my reference point….in fact, it is listed as number 1 over there.
I have nothing against Wall-E whatsoever. In fact, I found it to be a very cute, adorable movie. Little Wall-E, despite being a machine without a strong vocabulary, is still incredibly endearing. He doesn’t even need to speak to make you understand how lonely he is, and he doesn’t need to be alive to be completely head over heels in love with fellow robot EVE. Likewise, when he loses his memory at the end of the film (for a brief time), EVE’s pain is clear as day as you watch her try desperately to make him recognize her. In between, though, the struggle the humans are going through (while interesting) is not nearly as endearing. It is easy to see how they became complacent, and it is great to see the Captain buck the system and fight back against that complacency, but I didn’t care nearly as much about him as I did the two little robots.
6. The Incredibles. Not only one of my favorite Pixar movies, but one of my favorite superhero movies as well. This movie was great in so many ways. I loved the idea of the superhero family trying desperately to blend into a world that forced them out. Even without the superhero aspect, though, the core strength of the movie is in the strength of the family. At the beginning of the movie, the family is struggling to get along. Dash is acting out, lacking a proper outlet to channel his energy. Violet is shy and lacking self esteem, keeping herself invisible without even having to use her powers. Mr Incredible, once a powerful man who saved hundreds, is now working at a soul sucking job where he doesn’t feel he really makes a difference. His struggle actually reminded me very much of one of my other favorite superhero movies: Unbreakable. David is working a job where he is trying his best to help others, all the while knowing that he is not doing what he was really born to do. Both he and Mr Incredible can only break away from that depressing monotony by embracing who they really are. The same goes for Violet and Dash, and Mrs. Incredible. It is the real emotion of this movie that really gets me, though. There are so many moments when Mr. Incredible could have been the macho superhero that takes it all on himself–but he doesn’t. When he believes that his family has been killed, he gives up. Even when he has a chance to strike back by killing Mirage, he doesn’t. He can’t even hold his head up. At the end of the movie, when he tells the others to run and stay safe while he takes on the danger alone, it is his wife that finally gets him to break down and admit that it isn’t just them he is worrying about-it is himself. He knows he can’t survive without his family-he’s not “strong enough.” I’d never seen a character in a superhero movie break down like that, and I rarely see it now. It really stayed with me, and is one of the big reasons this movie is ranked so high.
5. Monsters, Inc. It is a movie about the monsters in your closet harvesting your screams to power their monster city…and I love every minute of it. Mike and Sully are the bro-est of bros, and their life appears to be going great. However, it only takes one small little girl to change all of that. Not only does she make them re-think the entire basis for their life, she gives Sully an emotional connection that he never had outside of Mike. However, the Mike and Sully relationship is just as important as the one between Sully and Boo. They’ve gone through life together, always depending on each other and never thinking for a second that the other wouldn’t be there. Boo wandering into their world has disrupted more than just the power in their city–she’s messed up their very friendship. Is this little girl really worth risking their freedom-their lives-for? In the end though, they face it like they’ve faced everything else-together. The movie ends on one of the sweetest, open ended notes I’ve ever seen in a kid’s movie. You don’t even need to see Boo and Sully reuinte: all you need is the sweet, little girl voice and the pure joy on Sully’s face. It still makes me cry.
4. Toy Story. This movie is a classic, in so many ways. For one, it was the first full length Pixar film, and thus the first one to use the effects and technology that we now find normal for any Pixar movie. Secondly, it is just a wonderful, funny, emotional story with a great cast of characters. It is the strength of this story that makes me still cherish this movie, even years later. The effects are no longer as cutting edge as they were in the early 90s. You will find better landscapes in Cars and Brave, better animation in the fur on Sully or the ocean in Finding Nemo….but this is Toy Story. The story that challenged our imaginations and made us wonder what happened to our toys when we left
the room, or when we lost interest in them. It made us run home and pile all of our toys on the bedspread, so that they understood that they were all loved (ok, maybe that was just me). I empathized with Woody’s struggle to stay relevant in the life of the little boy he loved, and Buzz’s devastation that he was not the superhero he always thought he was….and I loved that their initial animosity become such a strong friendship. The supporting characters were hilarious, the story was sweet, and it was timeless. This is a classic, regardless of the year.
3. Inside Out. I know I just saw this movie, and I know it is still new, and I know I am fangirling pretty hard over it right now…but I can’t help it. I adore this movie. I went into pretty great detail in my review of it, so I won’t go too far into it here. To summarize, this movie was wonderful because each of the emotions were so powerful and driven to do one thing–protect Riley. There are no villains-just struggles for them to over come. The movie pushes the message that it is alright to be sad and admit you aren’t okay. You don’t have to fake happiness because it is was everyone expects-because you can’t last long that way. Riley needs all of her emotions to interact and work together to make her into the person she needs to be-and it takes a while for them to realize that. It is such a sweet, emotionally turbulent movie and I think it will take a long time for me to get over the punch it packed.
2. Finding Nemo. This was the first Pixar movie that I can remember honestly feeling like my heart had been ripped out within the first ten minutes. The opening scenes tell you so much about the dynamics of Marlin and his family in that perfect way only Pixar can do. He was once so happy and carefree with his lovely wife….until tragedy devastates him and changes his entire outlook on life. When I first watched this movie, I watched and loved it for Dory because she was hilarious, or the side characters because they were so silly and entertaining. I didn’t pay much thought to Marlin, or even to the deeper side of Dory’s character. As time has gone on, I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for how the writers handled the struggles of both characters. Marlin is depressed and plagued with anxiety, and doesn’t realize that his attempts to protect his son are only driving him away. Dory is suffering from short term memory, but still manages to find joy in life. Seeing her breakdown when faced with the idea that someone she cares for is leaving her forever is heartbreaking–simply because she brings so much joy and happiness and encouragement to the rest of the movie. This was the first Pixar movie that really made me understand that these films are going for a much wider audience than just children and pre-teens: these are the emotions and thoughts of adults that they are trying to pry their way into….and its working.
AND THE NUMBER ONE PIXAR MOVIE ISSSSSSSS
1. Toy Story 3. There was nothing I did not like about this movie.
I’ve tried so many times to put into words how much I loved this film. Part of it, I admit, is nostalgia. Andy is growing up and going to college, leaving behind his childhood and moving on into the adult world. The first Toy Story came out when most of us in the audience were young children, still creating these imaginary (and yet so real) worlds with our toys. Now, grown up and sitting in the theatre, we are in the same boat Andy is in. We are growing up, moving out, moving on in life and leaving our childhoods behind. What happens to the things you love, when you leave them behind? The toys struggle throughout the movie with the painful truth that Andy no longer really needs them as much as they need him. They love him, but they know that it is true. While it is painful to watch the toys struggle with this, it is particularly painful to watch Woody deal with it. He has loved this kid since day one, and his pain feels all too real. He loves Andy, almost too much to let him go. He is willing to let his friends move on, just so he doesn’t get left behind by his owner. Yet, he still risks that future by going to rescue them and even abandons that future all together when he makes the choice to let Andy grow up…and moves on himself to a life with a new owner.
Everything about this movie was perfect. The villain, though evil, had sympathetic roots that the toys could easily connect with. Spanish Buzz was hilarious, and the conclusion to the Buzz/Jessie will they or won’t they dance is finally reached. But in the end, its the emotion that makes this movie the strongest of the three Toy Story installments, and my number 1 pick.
So, there you have it. Allie’s Pixar Rankings. Not to hate on any other lists out there, but I’m pretty happy with the end result.
…Toy Story, at number 8? psshhh.
I haven’t done a movie review in forever. Well, probably since college. But I’ve been recently motivated to get back into it, so here we go!
I just came back from seeing Disney Pixar’s Inside Out. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for MONTHS, so it is no surprise that I would need to jump on seeing it the moment it came out.
The basic plot of the movie is this: a young pre-teen girl named Riley moves with her mom and dad from Minnesota to San Francisco and has to deal with the new challenges it brings. The kicker, though, is that she is never the main character–her emotions are. Before the move, RIley’s head has been dominated by Joy–but when things start to go wrong, Joy is left struggling to pick up the pieces and remind Riley of the happy kid she used to be.
All of the months I spent building up this movie in my head did not go to waste–I adored this film and everything about it.
Why this movie made me so HAPPY:
Riley plays HOCKEY. This is actually a BIG thing for me, not only because I am a hockey player and think hockey is the greatest sport on Earth, but because moviegoers FINALLY get to see a girl taking over what is usually deemed a more masculine activity. I can’t tell you how ANNOYED I was when the movie adaptation of My Sister’s Keeper hit theatres and the filmmakers had changed Anna’s passion from playing hockey to wanting to be a cheerleader. I don’t know if they thought people wouldn’t believe it, I don’t know if they thought people just wouldn’t connect with it…I don’t know if they just didn’t want to bother finding an actress who could skate. Whatever the reason, it was a bummer (that movie was a bummer for several reasons, but that isn’t the point). In Inside Out, hockey is such a pivotal part of Riley’s life that it even has an island in her mind (for those who haven’t seen it, the islands represent the most important parts of her life: Family, Friendship, Hockey, Goofball (silliness/happiness), etc). Hockey was (and has been) that when I was her age, and it is awesome to see a movie finally show a girl playing such a kick ass sport.
The casting is SPOT ON. The movie has fantastic performances by Amy Poehler (Joy), Phyllis Smith (Sadness), and Richard Kind (Bing Bong, the imaginary friend from Riley’s childhood), and an excellent supporting cast made up of Mindy Kaling, Lewis Black, and Bill Hader. Each actor was perfect for their role: it is hard not to get carried away by the exuberant bubbliness Amy Poehler brings to Joy, or get riled up by Lewis Black’s exclaimed frustration as Anger. Together, the emotions keep the film bouncing from joy to sadness and help guide it to a bittersweet and lovely conclusion.
BING BONG. The inclusion of Riley’s childhood imaginary friend could have been extremely annoying. In fact, when he first comes on screen I nearly rolled my eyes. What could a elephant/dolphin/cat/cotton candy hybrid have to do with getting Joy and Sadness back where they belong?
Thank goodness I got over that knee jerk reaction. Bing Bong not only became one of the most important characters in the movie, but was also responsible for one of the most heart-wrenching (while at the same time heart-warming) scenes. His love for Riley is emotional and real, and leads him to protect her even at the end, when he is no longer a part of her life. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried real tears.
There really is no bad guy. In a lot of kids movies, there is usually some big bad villain the hero has to defeat in order to come out on top. However, Inside Out has no such character. It would have been easy for the movie to make Sadness or Anger or Fear into a character that Joy needs to kick out of Riley’s head and heart forever–but real life doesn’t work that way. Even Riley’s parents, who take her away from the life she loves in Minnesota, are not painted as bad guys–they clearly love and cherish their daughter, and while the full reason for their move is never explained you never believe for a moment that they enjoy the strain they are putting on their child. In fact, the moment they become aware of it is one of the sweetest scenes in the entire film.
The emotions all play their part. Part of the reason there isn’t any bad guy in the movie is because there really aren’t any bad emotions in Riley’s head. Even when Anger, Disgust, and Fear are essentially making a mess up there, they are only doing so because they think it will help bring her back to Joy. Likewise, Joy does her best to tamp down on Sadness, thinking it will make Riley unhappy–unaware that all the while Sadness has been a part of Riley’s life and needs to be just as present in order to make Riley who she is. Joy spends most of the movie not understanding this lesson, and it is easy to see why–who wants to be sad when you can spend your life ridiculously happy? But that brings me to my next point…
Inside Out shows that it is OKAY to be SAD. For most of the movie, Joy is trying to keep Sadness away from the running of Riley’s head. When Sadness becomes involved, there are tears, Riley’s upset, and happy memories become tinted–why would they ever want her involved?
But people and hearts are much more complicated than that. When you are young, your emotions are very black in white: something makes you happy, something makes you sad, something makes you angry. As you grow, you learn that these emotions often blend together. While Joy remembers the happy memories, like Riley’s teammates and parents supporting her, Sadness remembers that it was feeling responsible for losing the big game that prompted the outpouring of love. Riley’s sadness is what brings the joy back into her life, as her parents comfort her in one of the most bittersweet moments I’ve ever seen in a Disney film.
I could probably talk for hours about how much this movie made me think back on my own life and my own experiences. The moment where Riley’s emotions are “locked out” is the closest I’ve ever seen a kids’ movie (besides maybe Big Hero 6) come to explain how it feels to deal with depression, something I’ve dealt with for years. The scene where RIley admits to her parents how upset she really is and explains that she tried to hide it in order to give them happy daughter they wanted brought me to tears. Sometimes the happiest people carry the most sadness, or rage, or fear–they just don’t think people want them to show it.
You need all of your emotions, not just Joy, to get through life. Perhaps the scene that shows this the best is Riley’s final hockey game, where the emotions have been given a brand new control board with room for all of them to participate. You can’t play a good game of hockey without a little anger, a little fear, a little joy–and you can’t live a good life without them either.
Go see this movie. It is joyful, it is sad, it is bittersweet-and you won’t regret it.
Then go play some hockey.
So, I’ve blogged a lot (well, okay, a few times. I don’t think I update enough to consider it “a lot”, really) about dealing with depression and anxiety. How sometimes it drags me down into the black and its hard to make it back up or make myself care about any particular person or thing that could possibly make it better. Its like lethargy injected into my bones; I don’t want to to move, I don’t want to breathe, I don’t want to be. It can get pretty crushing and incredibly frustrating.
But something that is also frustrating (though maybe not equally so) is the opposite end of the spectrum. Sometimes I get in these moods where I just can’t calm down. I giggle like a maniac because everything is hilarious. I scream into pillows (because screaming out loud in your apartment with thin walls is bad for the neighbors). My heart pounds like I’m incredibly excited for something, but I never get to see what it is. I feel like I’m plugged into a live wire and I can’t turn it off. My ankles twitch, my knees bounce and knock things off coffee tables. Everything I hear or say or think some how becomes incredibly vibrant and hilarious and I have to share it with everybody. Its a wonderful high, but one I don’t remember going for.
Well, why is that a bad thing? You might think. It is awesome that you are so giddy and happy, especially for how often you posted about how shitty you felt even one year ago! Lighten up, kiddo! I know you might think this, because in those plateaued middle grounds between the highs and the lows, I think it.
But the highs never feel bad, until they aren’t highs anymore. When you are up at 3 am, bopping along to Don’t Stop Believin’ and diving into that Star Wars fan fiction you suddenly had the urge to write right now, it feels awesome. Look at you! Look at you gettin’ work done and feeling great!
But come 6am when that alarm goes off, Journey tends to sound a little Justin Bieber-y and that fanfiction a little less Star Wars Extended Universe, a little more 50 Shades. Your head hurts, your eyes hurt, your body aches, and you can’t imagine how stupid you’ve been to let yourself get so carried away you forget to sleep. You rant and rave about the days left until Star Wars 7, make your silly jokes and corny one liners and giggle like a little kid amongst your co-workers without any shame or abandon, only to spend hours staring at the ceiling after questioning why the hell you let yourself act so juvenile and ridiculous in front of people you are supposed to be working with.
I feel like any personality I really have ought to lie somewhere in the middle, between the highs and the lows, somewhere in that plateau. But it is too flat, too boring there. I’m either on extreme or the other, and neither is very satisfying for very long.
So, I am thankful for all of those out there who deal with me at my extremes. You are the kind of people I need in my life right now and you are wonderful.
Now that I am officially in my mid-twenties, I’ve come to realize how brilliant and well adjusted I actually am, all thanks to these awesome life tips I’ve picked up along the way. Want a successful, happy, and profitable third decade? Just follow these guidelines and you could be in my shoes!
FOR YOUR HEALTH
Drink Ridiculously Large Amounts of Coffee Right Before Bedtime. Because nothing gets you more jazzed for bedtime than a hot, steaming cup of raw sugar and French Vanilla creamer.
Be Sure to Eat a Balanced Breakfast. It’s hard to goal tend on an empty stomach, so take advantage of those sprinkles.
Don’t Forget to Add to Your Workouts with Snacks and Alcohol. You just played two hours of softball or got your ass kicked in HNA? Celebrate those burned calories with an extra large burrito and a margarita.
Never Dress to Please the Mother Nature. If you wear pants and a coat in November, she wins. And don’t let her scare you with that 90 degree heat and high pollen count.
Trust Your Athletic Ability! Instead of doubting your body with stretches and training runs, jump right into that Tough Mudder with nothing but sheer guts and determination. Your muscles will thank you.
There Is Always Time for a Nap….if You Are Dedicated. If you can’t fall asleep on a pile of shoes in the corner of a hotel party, clearly you aren’t sleepy enough and should keep partying.
IN YOUR SOCIAL LIFE
Be As Weird As Humanely Possible. You will never need to sign a card, claim a present, or volunteer for anything if you project all your weirdness to your peers. There will never be any doubt when you’ve had your hand in something.
Don’t Be Afraid to Be Obnoxious and Immature. It only highlights your mature moments when you do have them.
Learn to Accessorize. But make sure your accessories aren’t considered “weapons” that are “unsafe for high school dances.”
Keep Your Fridge Well Stocked for Visitors! Nothing says “welcome to my home!” like a beer and mozzerella cheese.
Dress to Impress. If you choose a vibrant and classy wardrobe at home, it will increase productivity and energy!
Learn How to Talk to Cops. It limits the anxiety and overwhelming urge to burst into tears as a defense mechanism when they inevitably pull you over.
Embarrass Your Siblings As Often As Humanely Possible. You are only preparing them for the real world. You’re welcome, kids.
IN THE WORKPLACE
Get Irrationally Excited About Everything. Nothing will prove that you are a full fledged, fully professional employee like skipping down the hallway singing about Crispy M&Ms being back.
Snack on Candy and Cookies to Keep Up that Sugar Rush-and Don’t be Afraid to Share the High with Your Fellow Employees! Nothing will perk up their frustrating day like endless jittering from their cubicle neighbor.
Keep Your Workspace Stocked with the Essentials. Pens and pencils are a must, but many people forget that its the little extras that make the day go smoother.
And I Can’t Stress this Enough, Guys….Balanced Breakfast.
There you have it, folks. The secrets to my success. Copyright me.
Allie (Waitforit) Mackerty
123 Panic Over My Future
Fluctuating Somewhere Between Mania and Bonecrushing Sadness, OH
The Ohio State University
Major: Waking Up Before 9am
Minor: Getting Lost on Campus/Learning to Like Natty Light
The Real World
Focus: Acting Like an Adult/Paying Bills Before the Late Notice
Debate (Focusing on Picard vs. Kirk, Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Book vs. Movie Adaptations)
Fighting with People on the Internet
NASCAR in the Prius
Ability to Over Think and Obsess Over Every Social Situation I Have Ever Been In
Incredible Sharp Memory (Remember that time six years ago when you said “Hi!” in the hallway and I wasn’t sure you were talking to me and had a panic attack because I was afraid you thought I was ignoring you and that I hated you and that we would no longer be friends? I do.)
Extreme Loyalty and Dedication to Fictional Television Characters
Making Coffee that Actually Tastes Like Coffee
Can Quote and Weave Movie References into Business and Personal Conversations with Ease
Can Open a Can of Spaghettios with Nothing but a Spoon and Sheer Determination
Can Hide Under Multiple Viewings of The World’s End to Avoid Dealing with Real Life
I guess I can type, maybe?
AREAS NEEDING IMPROVEMENT
Operating the “Traditional” Can Opener
Speaking at the Speed of A Normal Human
Fully Functioning Ankles
Training Before Intense Bouts of Physical Activity to Avoid Injury
I like to drown myself in fiction.
On Facebook, I was tagged in one of those “post 15 movies that have changed your life” or “15 movies that were most influential on your life.” I posted my list, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I got lazy and threw some TV shows in there (partly because I think they are just as influential and partially because I was running out of time on my break), and thought I had a good list.
Of course, fifteen minutes later I realized I had forgotten three incredibly important movies. I also realized I included movies that weren’t necessarily the most influential or life changing, just favorites. Plus, I didn’t really get a chance to explain exactly why these films have branded themselves in my brain. That’s what you get for trying to do deep thinking at work. On a Thursday. During the last five minutes of your break.
So I am going to fix it. I’ve done some thinking (a whole two hours worth).
So, here you go.
The World’s End.
I saw this movie ten times in theatres, if that tells you anything about how much I love it. I found it extremely funny (in that snarky, British way), I’m in love with Simon Pegg, and I absolutely love the storytelling and directing abilities of Edgar Wright (also Simon). The same goes for their work in Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead. But more than that, I found the character Simon plays (Gary King) to be painfully relatable. I don’t want to spoil any movies in this list, so I won’t go into too much detail, but suffice it to say that Gary is not what he appears to be on the surface. He hides a lot of what he deals with and tries to mask his pain when people call him out on it. After I saw it the first time, I had to watch it again and again to pick up on the signs that I missed (both in the story and from Gary). There are very few movies that I do that with….so the ones that strike me hard enough to spend $100 at the cinema aren’t ones I am likely to forget.
I felt so strongly about this movie that I got to write a blog about it for TWLOHA (To Write Love on Her Arms), a site advocating support for people suffering from depression and addiction. Check it out, if you like 🙂
The King’s Speech.
This is my runner up movie in terms of movie going excursions…..nine times. It is a wonderful story of a man overcoming his disability, even more extraordinary when you think that he had to do this in a high position of power during the outbreak of a World War. But again, it was the fact that Bertie was so relatable that burned this movie into my mind.
Speaking is difficult for me. I slur some of my words, either from getting too excited or stuttering. It makes me nervous, which makes everything even worse…and I don’t even have to protect all of Britain. This guy wants nothing more than to go back to a life in the limelight and just find ways to avoid dealing with his problems…but he can’t, and so he doesn’t. It is one of the most inspirational stories I’ve ever heard, and still makes me cry when I watch it.
A brief break from my compassion for angst ridden leading men….this one is a classic. Its a space odyssey, an epic adventure, a dazzling love story with an awesome soundtrack and a lot of awkward family reunions. This one speaks for itself.
But Star Wars has also been an awesome base for my friendship with my best friend in the entire universe. Our first conversations were about Star Wars. Our nicknames are our Jedi names. We can talk for hours about the characters, the awfulness of the prequels, the depth of the story….or we can drool over Ewan McGregor and bury pictures of him in the backyard in our Jedi training club house. There is no limit. (Love you, Elle-Day!)
Aaaaaand right back into my angsty fictional friends. I didn’t appreciate this movie when it came out, and it took repeat viewings for me to understand what kept me wanting more from the story. David Dunn is a hero who is not doing what he needs to be doing. Elijah Price calls him out on it, forces him to realize the sadness he feels every morning waking up and knowing that there is some greater calling out there for him that he is just not hearing. He does, at the end, and you can only hope that he keeps going with it.
“Do you know what the scariest thing is?,” Elijah asks him, “To not know your place in this world, to not know why you’re here.” I can’t stop thinking about this. It is incredibly true. I know that I have things that I am good at, and I know that there are things I enjoy doing. But is that why I’m here? Do I only exist to bug people for money at work and post witty Facebook statuses? I will be honest, that scares me sometimes…the idea that there is something out there I SHOULD be doing, something that will set my soul on fire and bring true joy to my life, but I don’t know what it is. I hope I find it.
American History X.
This movie is pretty raw, emotionally. It is terrifying, at some parts. What killed me about this movie was the end, that the character could come so far and still not win in the end. That, and this quote by Danny Vinyard: “Hate is baggage. Life’s too short to be pissed off all the time. It’s just not worth it.”
I waste so much time hating on this, hating on that, worrying if someone hates me for this or that. I need to stop it. It is exhausting. To a point, I have, but not always for the right reasons. It takes away time from the beautiful things in my life, which are way more worth the effort.
Thanks for Sharing.
This is a movie about sex addiction. (No, I’m not a sex addict, so don’t start) It is also a movie about a group of people struggling to overcome this addiction among others, and it struck a chord. I saw it last year when things were getting really rough on me, emotionally and mentally. I started doing things that I thought would make me feel better, but really only made things worse and worse.
The people in this film struggle with their addiction in all sorts of ways, and have their own ways of coping. One buries himself in helping others, at the expense of dealing with his own problems. Another laughs and tries to make everything a joke to avoid admitting that he has a problem. A third avoids everything and everyone in a effort to maintain sobriety….only to realize that he never really made any progress by avoiding life and not dealing with it. Some of them seek therapy, some white knuckle it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Life goes on. Yay, relatable movies.
The Darjeeling Limited/The Royal Tenenbaums.
Wes Anderson makes some awesome movies. I love the stories in these movies, the emotion that the characters try to hold back, the angst in their breakdowns. The look of his movies is just gorgeous, though I don’t know the film lingo to tell you why.
But characters are what really do it for me. The relationships between the brothers in Darjeeling and the family in Royal Tenenbaums are strained, but hilarious and poignant. The scene with Richie in the bathroom (not going to spoil it) and the flashback to the father’s funeral in Darjeeling are emotionally raw…and I could only replay them over and over in my mind when I finished watching.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
Fantastic writing, fantastic villain, fantastic characters, epic ending. Without a doubt the best movie in the Star Trek series and a great show case for all the characters…plus, it was one of the first times I remember bawling my eyes out at the end of a movie. You don’t forget that.
Spock sacrifices himself for his friend, for his crew. He does whatever he has to do to make sure his friends are out of danger and can live full lives, without a thought of what it does to his own. That always gets me and will always get me. Kirk’s closing monologue with the Tale of Two Cities quote is haunting and beautiful, and made me want to start reading that book…which I now love.
I love Star Trek and I love A Tale of Two Cities, and this movie had both. Swoon.
The Green Mile.
This one belongs more appropriately on the book list…but I saw the movie first, so here we are.
This was another one of those movies that truly shocked me because the good guys don’t really win in the end. As with many of Stephen King’s books, the ending is bitter, although excellent and perfect for the story, but young and impressionable Allie was not ready for that. So she bought the book, and wrecked herself all over again.
At the end, I always end up thinking about Paul Edgecombe. He outlives his family, his friends, and the miracle of the story. It is heartbreaking, and honest, and just so….depressing. He is left thinking of all his old friends, wishing he could be with them but knowing that he has a long way to go before he reaches the end of his Green Mile.
There ended up being only 10 movies I could think deep thoughts about, which is fine with me. More might come up as the days go on, and I’m sure I will write about them in the future. But I would rather put 10 thoughtful ones out there than cram 15 without any substance.
Look out for the book list. Toodles.
It’s hard to explain the joy I get from running to someone who doesn’t run.
When I ran in high school, it was to avoid boredom. Hockey season was over, I had nothing to do, and a friend suggested track. I had never run more than two minutes at a time before, and my first practice I needed to run a full mile. Needless to say, it was awful and I’m sure my coach had serious second thoughts about letting me on the team. But, as the season went on, I went from running a ten minute mile to a 6 minute, 38 second mile. Compared to most other people, that still isn’t very good, but for me it was amazing. People had told me I was crazy for doing it (seriously, a GOALIE with flat feet and bad knees running track?), but I had done it, and had gotten better.
The same thing happened with cross country the next season. Seduced by the great group of people I met during track season (and promises of pasta dinners on Friday nights), I went from running one mile to a few. My knees took a bad beating and I ended up sitting out most of the second half of the season, but finished up one of my last appearances with a 12th place finish and a pretty ribbon. Not bad for that flat footed kid who used to get winded walking to the mailbox just a year before.
Unfortunately, I took a hiatus from running after that. My knees and my ankles reminded me every step how NOT built for running they were, I was deep into hockey, and time just got more and more scarce. I would run here and there with friends, but nothing more than a 5K with several breaks for water and Chipotle. I forgot how powerful I’d felt crossing that finish line, how I loved the feeling of my blood pulsing in my ears as I pushed myself to the limit.
Luckily, I remembered.
I ran my first half marathon in Disney World, January 2013. I’d torn up my knees just months before running a five miler in my hometown, and spent the next several weeks regretting my life decisions as I packed my bags, boarded a plane, and picked up my runner’s bib at the Disney Expo.
You are such an idiot, girl. I thought miserably. Your knees are going to swell up and you are going to pass out and you are going to make a fool of yourself. I’d taken a break from running in those final weeks before the race because of the sharp, akin to be stabbed in the kneecaps with a rusty knife pains that had been killing me since age sixteen, and I had serious doubts that I could really push myself that full, 13.1 miles.
But I did.
Part of it was the awesome insoles I found at the Disney Expo just days before the race. They certainly took some pressure off of my knees, though not all of it. Part of it was the awesome friend that had come with me, who trained with me for months and spent the night before distracting me with a list of fun things to do during the race to take the edge off of the nerves that were shaking my confidence. But a lot of it was me.
The race came days after some pretty shitty weeks I’d been going through, emotionally, mentally, and physically. Some people had been supportive of my plans, but others told me I was insane, that I would hurt myself, that I hadn’t trained enough and I was going to do terribly. Being the paragon of self confidence that I am, it totally didn’t bother me at all.
(I really hope you caught the sarcasm there).
But come race day, I got my feet moving and kept going. The night before I had stayed up, devising strategies to make it through the race alive (run 3 miles, walk one? power walk the the middle miles, and sprint the last one? collapse at mile seven and catch a ride with the medical team to the finish line?), but the day of, I didn’t think about any of those.
I crossed the 5 K mark, and kept running. I thought about walking at the 10K mark, but my knees (only aching mildly at this point) told me to go on. I turned the corner, and found myself in Epcot. People were screaming and clapping, Mickey Mouse was jumping around on the sidelines, fans were holding up signs proclaiming “You’re half way there!” (ha, ha, ha), and I crossed that finish line the same way that I crossed the starting line: on both feet, running.
Remember that scene in Legally Blonde, where Elle Woods talks about endorphins? Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy (and happy people just don’t kill their husbands). I had never seriously thought about that line until that first half marathon. I understood the science of it, it makes total sense. I’d even felt it happen playing hockey, the sport that will always come first and foremost in my heart.
But I’m confident playing hockey. I’m confident that when I step on the ice, I know what the hell I’m doing. Running? Not so much. I know that my physical limitations make it extremely difficult for me to do something that most other people can do with ease. I know I’m not fast. Once, I asked a track coach what I could do to make my starts faster. He clapped a hand on my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said, “Allie….some people are just fast.” Believe me, friends, Allie is not ‘some people.’
So, running that half marathon, the last thing I expected to feel was happiness. My knees ached, my shins were sore, I had blisters on my feet the size of quarters….but I was happy. Tired and in desperate need of a nap, but happy. I had done something that most people thought I couldn’t do, and that most of them can’t do. I had done something that I myself thought I couldn’t do. I had pushed my body to its limit, and then kept going. So much of running is a mental exercise, an area where I am unfortunately not the strongest. Being able to push aside the pain and fatigue and thirst for 13.1 miles and finish something that I thought I never could do did something for my confidence that few other things have done. I felt strong, I felt powerful, I felt like a fucking BADASS….because in that moment, I was. Everyone who told me I couldn’t do it, and every shred of self doubt I’ve ever had melted away, even if for just that brief week in Disney. Depression and anxiety still lurked in the back of my mind, but for a minute I had silenced them. It felt awesome.
That is what running does for me. That is why, only months later, I signed up for the Cleveland Half Marathon, and beat my Disney time by over 20 minutes. Its why I signed up for the Rock n Roll Half in October, and pushed myself through heat and hills for another time that beat Disney. It is why a year after that first half, I took to the Disney track again and this time pushed myself through 26.2 miles.
Just over twelve hours ago, I finished half marathon number four. Again, I beat Disney. My legs hurt, my knees are absolutely killing me, and I’ve spent the last several hours laying on my bed, eating Chipotle and marathoning Supernatural because I have little to no motivation to stand up. But I finished, with my second best time ever.
I also watched my little brother push himself to cross that finish line, even though his knee was killing him probably as much as mine used to. He was sore and and little limpy at the end, but he did it, and I am so freaking proud of him.
But I’m also super proud of me. I still have flat feet, I still have bad knees and and I get winded and tired and achy pretty quick. There are still people that don’t think I could have done what I did, and people who still don’t think I can keep doing it. But you know what? I don’t stop, and I’m pretty sure those haters don’t have all of these.
“What we are all searching for isn’t necessarily some idea of what’s mature or what’s grown-up, it’s personal happiness, you know? That’s what our goal must all be. It’s not about settling down. It’s doing whatever makes you happy.” –Simon Pegg
So, if you know me outside of the computer, you know that I love Simon Pegg for many reasons. A big one is this quote, and The World’s End.
The point of this particular post is the quote. I absolutely adore it and it is probably one of the most honest and resonant things I’ve read in my life.
I’m reaching that point in my life where my friends are starting to go off and get engaged, married, or pregnant. They are planning for long, secure futures and working diligently to save for a house, or for a new car, or putting money aside for their kids’ college funds.
Meanwhile, this is what I am doing:
For a while, this really bothered me.
On one hand, I love being this dorky, slightly immature, quirky kid. I like the fact that I have a Lego Star Destroyer, and a full set of Stormtrooper armor. I like that I get to play hockey every day and go to midnight movies and drink bottles of cupcake wine without recourse. I love that.
But there are times when I look at my life and think I’m falling just a little bit behind. When I see my friends getting married, or moving into houses, or having kids, I always have to stop and think.
“Man, so and so is younger than me and they’ve already done X, Y, and Z. What the hell have I been doing?”
I still play with Legos and watch Disney movies. I spend even more time running from hockey rink to hockey rink playing for every team under the sun. I still spend more time reading books instead of the instructions on whatever new contraption I’ve gotten myself. I’ve only JUST learned how to make a good cup of coffee that isn’t 75 percent sugar or French Vanilla flavoring. There are bobble heads on my work desk and toys on my computer and I have more in common with ten year old boys than I do with most people my own age. I obsess over movies and TV shows and fictional characters, when others could really care less once they leave the theatre.
There are some days when I worry I’m not mature enough for where I am at in my life. That is when I think back to this lovely quote by one of my favorite actors.
We all think we have to follow these rules for growing up; that we have to be settled down near the end of our twenties, that we have to have babies to carry on our names, that we have to give up our Legos and traveling every weekend for more mundane responsibilities as we get older. But who the hell makes those rules?
Why do some people ask me why I’m single or how many kids I want, when I’m freaking 25 years old? Why do some people roll their eyes, when I talk about my Lego sets or admit how emotionally invested I am in the plot of a TV series? Who decided that a person should grow up, get a job, start a family, and follow the life plan that everyone else does?
My goal in life is to be happy. I don’t want to be a millionaire. I don’t want to play professional hockey. I don’t plan on having kids, I don’t plan on getting married. I just want to do the things that I love to do, with the people I love to do them with.
I’ve struggled over the last few years trying to figure out who I really am and what I really want out of life. Sometimes, this proved to be more of challenge than I was willing to deal with, but I got through it. My dreams and my goals have changed year to year, either because I accomplished them or because they no longer mean anything to me. But everything comes back to that same, overarching plan: be happy.
Thinking about it now, it is incredibly frustrating that it took me this long to come to this simple conclusion. It is also frustrating that I know I will be having this struggle again one day. Maybe it will be next week, maybe next year, maybe when i’m thirty. It is annoying to have to learn the same lesson over and over again and have it not stick as well as you want it to (Stats class taught me that painful truth). At the end of the day though, all I need to do is just observe the things going on in my life and put them to one simple test:
Do(es) they/it make me happy?
Yes: Party on, girl.
No: Why are you wasting your time?
Be Happy. If you aren’t, do the things that make you that way. There it is. I’ve discovered the secret to life. You are welcome.
Simon Pegg helped a little.
So, lets cut to the chase. Today, I am 25. Half way to my mid-life crisis. Officially old enough to rent a car and get a break on my insurance (though, lets be honest, we know that isn’t happening for me).
This past week, I’ve been trying to think up some clever, fun things to say about this birthday. It is pretty awesome to be able to rent a car without the extra fees, even though getting a new license was a pain in the ass. I like being able to refer to myself as a quarter century old, even though there is a pretty sure chance that I won’t be living until age 100.
But, when I realized that I did not have enough clever things to say about turning 25 (at least, not enough to fill up a blog post), I started thinking about all the things that have gotten me this far and thought that would be a much more meaningful, honest route to take.
In the spirit of being honest, I will tell you now that there were times when I did not expect to make it this far. Quite a few times in the past ten years, in fact. I’ve done things that I thought would make things easier for myself, and unfortunately a lot of those things were reckless, irresponsible risks that I really shouldn’t have taken. I beat myself up; mentally, physically, and emotionally; to the point where I was not certain that I could put myself together again and not certain that I even wanted to.
But, here I am.
So sitting here on the night of my 25th birthday, after having survived and pulled myself through some dark times that I thought for sure would drown me, I wondered what it was exactly that kept me going…and the answer ended up being suprisingly simple. It was whatever kept my heart beating.
If you want to get technical, its the blood and oxygen that keeps your heart beating in your chest. I know that. But that alone really isn’t enough. For me, it wasn’t enough that I was physically healthy–I needed a reason to be so.
So I guess, after 25 years, that is the most important lesson I have learned. Things are going to get shitty sometimes, and things may get so bad that you don’t want to push through them. Sometimes, you are going to lose, and things are going to suck for a while. It is a bit of a downer, I admit. But all you have to do is keep finding those things that keep your heart beating, and you can make it. Hockey, close friendships, softball, losing myself in fiction, running until my lungs burn and my knees ache, blowing out the speakers in my car to any song with a steady beat: those things keep my heart beating when I want it to stop. They may not work for you, but they work for me, and I’m still here.
Hear that brain? I’m still here.
So here is to the next 25 years. All I have to do is keep my heart beating until then.