Marshall & Julie: Day 4

31 07 2010

Another reminder (mainly so the “Marshall and Julie” graphic will fit nicely into the post): these posts are not in real time.  They were all written at a previous date.  So there.  Now, enjoy.

Day 4: “Hacking the Marrow Out of Life” / “Hacking the Marrow Out of Movies”

Before I start this entry, I have a confession to make. I didn’t actually do this reading on day 4. I was really sleepy and put it off until day 5. If you want palpable evidence of the effects of junior year, look no further.

Now that I have that off my chest, on with the show.

Julie spends a great deal of time talking about the workplace and how she has been pinned up inside a cubicle at the government agency in charge of future building on Ground Zero (for those who need chronology, the project starts in 2002 when the site was still empty). She started on as a temp but eventually became permanent. This isn’t a decision that she entirely regrets, though she wishes that she were doing something more interesting than answering phones. Julie’s worst fear is that she has resigned herself to becoming nothing more than a secretary. Her description of her work only reinforces the need for the Julie/Julia Project.

My paid working experience is limited to filing for my mom’s business and supervising kids at a summer camp at my middle school. The latter virtually amounted to me mooching off the cooking class and knocking out my summer reading. I bet you were expecting a comparison to junior year, right? For once, you are wrong. Complaining about the workload is acceptable but complaining about the work environment would not be wise. Plus, if I had to do this work somewhere, better where I am now than somewhere else.

After Julie’s parents sojourn ended, she returned to post on the blog for the first time in a week, only to be greeted by a comment from someone that said, “Oh thank GOD you’re back! I thought you were dead!!! I missed you SO much!”

Thankfully, I don’t have a similar story to offer. I post, at the very least, a random factoid elaborating on my obsession with movies to make sure my readership is fully convinced that I don’t mess around. So no one is going to catch me off guard, unless of course they catch me on one of my really stressful days and notice that the factoid might say it was published on one day, but it actually hit the site the next day. Some might call it deceit, but hey, I have to keep up my looks!

That’s not to say I haven’t had a fair share of creepy commenters. One person left some very insightful remarks in response to my post “Mindless Moviegoing.” He attached a link to his own blog, so I figured I would take the time to give it a gander. His favorite movie of 2009 at that point was “(500) Days of Summer,” so I figured he was probably harmless. Upon further investigation, I discovered that this person looked like an aged, bloated Jimmy Smits that was actually a woman. After I was done shuddering, I noticed that he had also included on his comment that he thought he looked “young for 33.”

The main focus of the chapter was Julie’s quest to find a calf’s bone. She needed this obscure trinket to garnish a steak with the marrow of a calf, which would have to be extracted from the bone. However, she soon discovers that this bone is a tough find even in a city as mammoth as New York. Julie sends out her husband Eric and her brother Heathcliff, now lodging at the flat because he got a job selling lotions made from the milk of cashmere goats, in search of the bone. It takes several days, additional manpower, and strategic coordination, but they finally obtain it.

When Julie finally cuts into the bone and beholds the marrow in all of its pinkish glory, she couldn’t help but feel like she had violated something private. But after the initial shock wore off, she began to feel somewhat exhilarated by the sight on her cutting board.

So, here’s a stretch comparison relating to the passage. I am a very personal blogger, and by that I mean that I lend my readers a very large insight into the very core of who I am. I do this mainly through the random factoids. For example, in Random Factoid #6, I told those who would read:

I have to watch movies from the beginning. If I don’t, I get stressed out think about what I’ve missed rather than focusing what’s on the screen. The best way to show the way I can be is a scene from “Annie Hall,” which I am having trouble finding on YouTube, but the dialogue goes like this:

Annie: So do you wanna go into the movie or what?
Alvy: No, I can’t go into a movie that’s already started because I’m anal.
Annie: That’s a polite word for what you are.

But I have never refused to go into a movie that has already started. I saw “The Iron Giant” twice in theaters; once I missed the first half, the next time, I missed the first ten minutes.

Where should I draw the line? What is too personal? I don’t mean related to privacy and security but more along the lines of revealing so much of myself that a random stranger could be redirected through Google and know as much about me as I do. The blog was meant to be somewhat of a self-discovery project, perhaps revealing why movies are so appealing to me. But while I discover myself, to what extent do I want other people to discover me? These are tough questions, ones that I don’t expect to definitively answer any time soon. But I will rue and ponder.

On a brighter note, the chapter concludes with Julie analyzing where she has a leg up on Julia Child at the same point in their lives. Although Julia didn’t have to deal with subways, bureaucracies, and cubicles, she had not met Paul Child, the love of her life yet. Nor had she discovered the sumptuous taste of beef marrow, Julie also points out.

So where do I have a leg up on Julie Powell at the beginning of our blogging careers? I don’t have any stalkers, and even my creepiest of commenters only bothered to leave his two cents once. I have received recognition from one of my heroes of the movie world, Roger Ebert (more on that later). I have managed to update my blog on a steady schedule, which is something that is nice to help any serious readers adapt. I don’t have to sit in a cubicle all day and listen to sobbing client after sobbing client; although some would argue that sitting in a desk for seven hours a day is worse, I would take my situation over Julie’s any day. A substantial list of potential advantages, I’d say. I sure hope that if Julie ever reads this, she doesn’t think I’m a huge a-hole. Her list about her advantages over Julia is half as long as mine over her.

This list has been a nice confidence booster for me. My biggest hesitancy when I started blogging was that I didn’t have a specific project or goal in mind like Julie and that a lack of focus might doom the blog. However, in spite of that, I think I have quite a bit going for me.

Thanks, Julie.



One response

8 08 2010

If you want a creepy stalker, I can fill that void. 🙂

Though as I type that, i have the blog’s last 6 or 7 comments, and I’m only halfway done. I just haven’t been around very much, i swear!

Being too personal is always a question that a movie blogger has to ask himself. But that is one of the things that seperates us from actual movie sites that do it mostly for business. We aren’t as versed in the world of movies, so we try and become more connected with the audiences to make up for it.

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