Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Today is my 28th birthday.

For those of you who know both me and my brother well, you know that of the two of us, he is the more nostalgic of the two of us by far. He journals diligently, puts together beautiful compilation books of his images and sentimental items, and makes wonderful lists which summarize his activities or favorite things.

I'm generally suspicious of sentimentality. It leads otherwise intelligent people to accept the flagrant lie that things used to be better, to see the past as a golden age where everything was simpler or somehow more moral. Observe. Furthermore, the high-schoolish mentality to divide into warring factions based on musical preference, fashion sense, or even age (or school year) has always seemed pretty dumb to me. Sentimentality needs to be kept in a safe box, defining us and giving us our own signature set of preferences and ideas, yet not unnecessarily balkanizing us into hateful clans.

Every once in a great while, I indulge in uncharacteristic sentimentality. I made myself deviled eggs this morning because I wanted something that I had fond memories of, but which I hadn't eaten in a long time. I wanted to post something today about health care reform, Glenn Beck's offensive CPAC speech, my annoyance with the organic foods movement, or give a book report on some books I've read lately (Wingnuts by John Avlon is fabulous, by the way). After making a list of documentary films for my friend Lina, however, I've been in a list-making mood. I think I'll keep things friendly for my birthday, following a tradition my sister often follows on her blog, I'll include a list of things that I love, rather than only things that are wrong with the world. Today seems as good a day as ever.

Here's a list of my favorite movies from the last decade:
20. The Village
19. Volver
18. Amélie
17. Snatch
16. X2: X-Men united
15. Children of Men
14. Unbreakable
13. Bourne Identity
12. Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
11. Spy Game
10. The Hours
9. Once
8. Goodbye Lenin!
7. Wall-E
6. Brick
5. Royal Tenenbaums
4. Spirited Away
3. Mean Girls
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
1. Fountain

Other favorite movies that weren't mentioned above (sorry Lina, this isn't as artistic of a list as the one you provided):
The Man Who Planted Trees
Run Lola Run
The Seventh Continent (warning: Haneke films are prone to bruising your soul)
The Incredibles (The best family movie ever)
Meet Joe Black (no snide comments, please. I realize that you probably think this movie is boring, but I still think it's one of the most beautiful films ever. So there.)
You've Got Mail (best romantic comedy that doesn't have Audry Hepburn in it, in my opinion)
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
The Trial (Franz Kafka + Orson Welles = delicious)

I don't think it's possible to have favorite books, since they are so contingent on when you read them, what state you were in, and what they've done for you. Even still, here's a list of books which either are, or have been influential on me, and that I still have a love for:
Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander
The Beach by Alex Garland
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Slaughterhouse Five by Vonnegut
Welcome to the Monkey House by Vonnegut
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky
Blood Meridian by McCarthy
Atonement by McEwan
A Clean Well Lighted Place (short story by Hemmingway)

Other random things I love, and which may or may not shine light on who I am as a person:
Rodin's The Gates of Hell
Giving food for people I like
Talking politics
Grocery shopping
Editing (it's convenient for me that Amanda's getting a PhD in English)
Cooking, esp. crepes, Indian food, and desserts
Angel food cake (if I knew what to do with all of my extra egg yolks, I'd probably cook myself one twice a week)
Mocking stupid movies
Public speaking
I like both Chicago- and New York-style pizzas. In my view, they're totally different foods which should not be compared.

Random things I don't particularly like (you knew I wasn't going to be able to keep it positive the whole way through, didn't you?):
Pictures of myself
Spiders (The Burrow had brown recluses, which did not a happy Daine make)
Plain pickles. I can eat relish on hot dogs, tuna, or in deviled eggs, but I never eat pickles plain. It's one of the very few foods I don't enjoy.

All of this is probably far too much information to post publicly. I've got to go change all of my security questions, lest someone try and use this information against me. In the meanwhile, however, I've got an angel food birthday cake to bake. . .


direfloyd said...


Petra said...

Well, happy birthday.

And I like these lists. I can comment more on the book list than the movie list--obviously--but so far as I can tell, you've got pretty good taste. Or, at the very least, we can join high-school-ish factions together.

For books, that is. I think our different opinions about "Heat" will keep us forever disagreeing about movies.

Dave said...

Happy Birthday Daine. I hope all your wildest dreams come true on this, your special day.

I'm a fan of the lists - gave me a few movies/documentaries to add to the queue. And there are few recommendation-ers I can trust.

Hope all is well.

Amber said...

happy birthday dainer!!! did you know that dave LOVES pickles?? i enjoyed the list... and whoa, dave beat me to comment (he never comments on my blog.)