Q: what has two thumbs and is the leading candidate for first victim of the zombie apocalypse? A: this chick

Shannon and I have decided that we’re sick of being fat bastards and have implemented a fitness regime into our already pretty groggy lives. Shannon’s going to be a doctor one day, so I understand her desire for general health. Me, however, sometimes I feel like I’m a write-off, but sometimes I fantasize about being able to run for a minute straight without keeling over. (This fantasy is of similar only-in-a-parallel-universe status as my fantasy about singing with my imaginary band in some seedy club and doing it well enough to impress John Cusack – who just happens to be in the audience – so much that he invites me over for a drink and a marriage proposal. Yup. File it under “Not Only Never Going to Happen, But Also Probably a Sign of Mental Health Issues.” [Further subnote: Peter Gabriel’s ‘In Your Eyes’ just starting playing on the radio as I write this. Oooh, chills.]) So, Shannon and I started running a couple of weeks ago. We’re doing the Vancouver Sun Run training schedule, where you start running for thirty seconds, walking for four and a half minutes, then slowly work it up, so that in thirteen weeks, you’re running straight for almost an hour. We are currently on running for a minute, walking four minutes. Personal best. Go us. Roommate powers activate.

We also run through a graveyard. Exciting, I know. Mountainview Cemetary is only a few blocks from our place, and runs for several city blocks. It’s fantastic. I love it. Is that creepy? It is, I know. We spend our runs going through the cemetary, zig-zagging around the small roads that section off the graveyard. It’s quiet. Peaceful. Lacking in other (living) people and creepy drivers who leer at you as they drive past you jogging. I know they leer. Every one of them. I know when I’m driving past a jogger, I always look at them. I find that far creepier than a cemetary, thank you. I mean, it’s not like we’re running over top of the graves…. right? On Wednesday, we were finishing off some work, so we ended up going for our run at about eight o’clock at night. The sun was just setting as we came over the crest of the hill into the cemetary, which goes on for several blocks – far past your line of sight. A lovely endless field, full of… I don’t know how to end that sentence without feeling I’m disrespecting the dead. And it was dark. From a distance it looked as if the sprinklers might be on. I asked this question aloud, to which Shannon so aptly replied: “If they put a sprinkler system in here, wouldn’t that mean they would have to, er, dig things up?” As we got closer we realized that we were running through a fog-cloaked graveyard. In the dark. We were two giggly twenty-something females, with our iPods plugged into our ears in what would be a perfect commentary on the ironic juxtaposition between literal zombie attackers and figurative zombie victims.

Since I am so precariously located on the precipice of disaster when the Zombie Apocalypse engulfs humanity, I promise I will post a Twitter update from my mobile as the first horde of zombies closes in. My last action before joining the Legion of the Undead will be to warn you all:

ashleighrajala OMFG! #zombieapocalypse RT @kanyedouchebag i’m gonna let you get right back to eating my brains but i just wanted to let you know, beyonce is way better at jogging through graveyards
2:06 AM Sep 18th from mobile

Okay, why did I reference that stupid Kanye West thing? I’m getting so sick of reading ridiculous parodies of that crap. Get over it, people. I guess it was just too easy. Also, it’s quarter-to-four on a Friday afternoon and I’m tired, damn it. Too tired to think of anything original.

the good, the bad, and daniel day-lewis: my latest cinematic exploits

In my never-ending quest to work for free, I caught two press screenings for Press+1: Whiteout and The Informant! One was fantastic and the other was terrible. I’ll leave you to guess which is which. It’s been nice. Seeing films. I haven’t seen anything else since, rented, theatrical or library-loan or anything. Actually – I lie. I borrowed St. Trinian’s from my parents last night. Decent. You have female anarchistic rebellion for the women in the audience; Emily Strange’s School Days for all the kids and goths; and sexy schoolgirls for the guys. Roommate Shannon made me watch Scorsese’s Gangs of New York with her. My review in a few short thoughts: lose Cameron Diaz, as I can’t think of any film that was actually improved by her presence; Daniel Day-Lewis was fantastic, but what I really saw was a character ripe with the mind-blowing awesomeness that would become Daniel Plainview; and, just like I said with Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, somewhere in there – somewhere over that muddy, top-hatted rainbow – was a good film.

too busy to overthink trivial things so i thus must underthink the extremely important

So I’ve been hectically planning for Filmtoberfest, which lands in approximately three weeks. I’m on schedule, but I can’t help but be stressed to the hilt. Even as I write this, with full intention not to recapitulate the minutia of details about what exactly I need to do, I can’t help but feel as though I need to list everything. But I won’t. There. I’ve stopped myself. Good.

The QLP area of my life has generally been pretty rewarding lately. The Year Without Hockey has been accepted into the Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival in Bay City, Michigan. It’s running October 1 – 4, 2009, so if you’re in the Bay City area around that time, be sure to check it out. I contemplated going myself, but have a myriad of forces working against me. Among their ranks: lack of funds, lack of ability to take more time off work, Filmtoberfest being the very next weekend. Argh. Next time. Next time.

Since this is really exciting news, and since the partner of one of YWH’s lead actors (Dennis Thomas) is a media personality for DCTV (Deneka Michaud), Jason and I are being interviewed a la maison de mes parents ce soir. (I don’t know if that French is correct, but we’re being interviewed at my parent’s house tonight.) Should be exciting! I have no idea when it’s airing, but it should be sometime in the next few weeks. There’s a little, inflated-ego part of me that thinks, “Oh, another interview, how cute,” but that’s really not true. I’m so excited that I almost typed “super excited,” as though I were a fourteen-year-old with freckles and a lisp.

Despite all this pseudo-celebrity activity, I’ve actually felt that utter gaping hole in the middle of my soul that comes with a realization that, despite everything, I haven’t really written anything for a couple of weeks. Those XKCD comics? Brilliant, but an easy way to dodge original content or creativity. Kinda like when the teacher used to call on you in class and you’d respond by asking another question. I have also found this delightful website, overthinkingit.com, which does exactly what every other blog on the internet does, BUT WITH STYLE. I spent the better part of a Sunday catching up on Overthinking Lost. I miss my random insights into things that are absolutely not profound whatsoever. It helps me organize the thoughts I think. My thoughts are always so obscure and chaotic; so Abstract and Random, that by forcing myself to write about them literally forces me to put them in a sequential order, with concrete meaning (I’m not even going to go off on a tangent about Semiotics or Derrida, even though I could, and the randomness of my brain just connected this with a million other Structural vs Post-Structural thoughts). Writing – about anything – is how I organize my thoughts, how I make sense of the world and all its complexities. I think that’s an easy thing to say about all art… and science even. Is the opposite of science faith or art? Or all they just different bubbles on a brainstorming chart, none with priority over the others, just different ideas – with one precarious figure at the centre…

XLII

PS I’ve started rereading Hitchhiker’s

we want the airwaves, baby

What comes first, the writing or the apathy? Last Sunday I was interviewd on the Storytelling Show on Vancouver Co-Op Radio (CFRO 102.7 FM) by Taryn Hubbard, my partner in crime for the epically infamous artlit zine, Hacksaw. I managed to escape the hour-long interview without sounding like anything you’d buy at Home Hardware (read: “a tool”). Taryn asked some pretty hefty questions, to which I even suprised myself on the answers. Without restating the obvious, The Storytelling Show is about telling stories – Oops, that was a bit obvious, eh? – only the women who usually go on the show are dealing with the written word. Taryn wanted to explore the medium of film as an avenue for telling a story, and thus, there I was. In fact, here’s a picture of me there to prove it. It’s not a very flattering picture, is it? I look pudgy, but in a waxen way: like if it was a hot day and you touched me, you’d leave fingerprints on my skin; if you poked me harder, your finger would leave a little concave impression, like when you poke a cake in the oven that’s not quite ready.

Anyway, Taryn asked me an interesting question, one that I never fully considered before: When I’m writing, what comes first, the images in my head or the words on the page? I had to think about this. In a knee-jerk reaction I almost said the images, but I guess that’s what happens when I write for film. The medium is visual so that is how I think about it. (Perhaps that is part of what draws to me to film and theatre?) However, in blogs and things like this, I’m obsessed with words. I harbour secret ambitions to be able to string together a sentence with the superhuman abilities of Douglas Coupland or Charlie Brooker. I told Taryn – and it rings true – that when the images come first, whatever I’m writing ends up a script; when it’s the words, it ends up prose. I’m currently working on one epic story, and my writing process for this labour of like has been the rarest of rare. It breaks my previous patterns. You see, there were no images, no witty aphorisms that sparked my creative purge. It was a premise. A simple concept slowly expanded into the creation of an entire fictional world and fully formed characters. The plot came next. While it’s leaning towards script, I still don’t feel that instinctive grab in the gut telling me it’s a movie. I thus feel this ambivalence that it might just end up a novel? Sometimes I appreciate the lack of method in my madness, other times I just get mad.

You can hear the radio interview here, just find Aug. 30 at 21:15ish to 22:10ish.