Tuesday, July 26, 2011

That's Bombastic!


I am disillusioned by college. Maybe it’s all the apocalyptic fiction I’ve been reading, but it all seems so obsolete. The courses, the tests; the stuff we’re required to remember, the stuff we’re supposed to write. Especially within the English major. Remember when I was all doe-eyed and excited, sure I’d spend the next four years reading and discovering and discussing all the beautiful fiction in the world? And now…now I’m just so terribly bored.

I’m not usually one to insult my favorite subject. But this major is becoming tiresome. I’m stuck, treading through the same sludge year after year. And I’ve discovered something: my entire major is pretty much covered in just three courses. We have British Lit, American Lit, and then Writing about Lit. That’s 9 credit hours. It’s not even one full semester. And yet that’s everything. The rest of the 80+ hour program is mere regurgitation.

Let me illustrate: In your first semester, you take a course called “Introduction to British Literature.” There you talk about everything from Beowulf to the WWII poetry of the 1900s. Then you just start churning through your other requirements to which that class was a prereq. That’s right: every upper-level class you take in the English major uses at least one of the aforementioned three as a prerequisite. Everything, and I mean everything, uses that as a foundation. Which would be fine if it was just some basis to draw upon while discussing OTHER literature. But, no, that’s not how it works. For every one of those basic courses you have to take at least two more just like it. For writing about lit, you have the basic introduction in 251 (or 252—I’ve never really understood the difference), then you take 295 which is the same thing, only they change the title to “Analytical Writing." It’s still the same concept: you write about lit. I signed up to take this from the same professor who taught my 251 course…. She used the same syllabus. Literally. I compared them.

But that’s not all. No, then you have a 300-level class; another something about analytical writing while considering fiction. And for both British and American Lit, you are required to take two more dedicated to more specific time frames, like “Modernism,” or “Victorian Fiction”—all stuff you went over in your introductory class. Plus, you’re required to take a Shakespeare course. And maybe that would be fine too, except you also have to take 12-credits-worth of electives, all of the topics revolving around more historic readings. Sometimes you hit the jackpot with a Lord of the Rings course or some feminist class taught by a refreshingly crazy liberal. But, still, it’s all just the same stuff, the same ideas, the same conversations over and over again. Each class is just another trip through Groundhog Day. And it’s a doozy.

 The entire department is caught in this surreal neverland where nothing ever changes. It’s all so…lackluster. They’re so entrenched in the classics, in the “cannon” of literature: nothing new comes in, nothing is ever take out. They stick up their noses at new literature, they roll their eyes when someone disagrees with the popularity of Joyce or Whitman. It’s like they tell you to think for yourself, but only if those thoughts align with theirs. Aren’t I supposed to be blazing a new trail, taking the road less traveled, scoping out a new horizon? Are new ideas so terrifying? To the English department, yes. Forgive me, but most of them are pretentious pricks who look at the current world as some vile tainting of their precious past. I feel like screaming at them, ranting about how their precious “cannon” was created by elitists who felt like they had to further divide the poor from the rich. It’s the same people who decided to base English grammar off of Latin (two completely different, entirely unrelated languages) and look what that got us: a bunch of illiterate’s with no one really knowing quite how to explain it. But they’re so entrenched in the classics—in what someone else decided the classics should be—that they don’t see anything beyond it. We’re asked to spend four years with them, putting on airs, discussing why our definition of good literature is so much better than the rest of the world. Then we graduate and—what? No one cares. It’s not applicable unless you plan to be a professor or a historian, and even then graduate studies will mean so much more. Here, it’s just the same thing over and over. Like a skipping tape lending itself to a headache that won’t die.

The sad thing is there’s so many interesting things going on with literature. Maybe new lit isn’t equal to the past, but it’s something new. It’s something that matters now. We spend all this time looking at the rise and fall of different eras, and yet we ignore our own changing culture. There’s a whole future happening right now. Can’t we spend some time looking at that? Knowing where Oscar Wilde is buried doesn’t matter to me. That I’m expected to care more about Shakespeare’s love life than his effect on literature today doesn’t make any sense. You know what would be interesting? Even possibly useful? A class dissecting Twilight and wondering at its popularity. A course looking at the influence of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Or even something like Harry Potter versus Lord of the Rings. I want to discuss female writers today; how Austen and the BrontĂ« sisters have been replaced by beach-reads and chick-lit. There should be a class about how the process of writing has changed—how Woolf gave herself panic attacks worrying over a new story to how, now, people churn out entire series in only a couple of years. There should be a class on literary bullying, how fiction has become an instrument for defaming cultures, positions, even people. I want to take a course on the digital culture and the way fiction styles and formatting are evolving for the shortening attention span.

Even if we have to look at the past, can’t we at least see it through the lens of current fiction? But we’re trained to look down on new literature. We’re taught that Shakespeare was the epitome of great writing and we can’t top that. We’re expected to consider the cannon closed. But why? Why can’t we have an ever-changing cannon constantly under scrutiny, with new ideas, new pieces, new anything. One where there is no right or wrong—because who can really say?—but just opinion. In fact, that should be a course: creating a new cannon where you decide what comes, what stays, what goes. There should be a best seller’s course, a class where you only read the just-published. Or look at the classics through modern fiction. Compare the two. Make things interesting. Already, I’ve read Frankenstein FOUR times. No one should have to do that. There are so many great books in the world, long gone unnoticed or just coming out. Literature is still alive.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the classics, I do. But I want to take my love of classic literature and see it expand through the present, preparing me for a future where words—new words—still matter. Everything in this major is…stagnant. I’m treading water right now, swimming indifferently through the same stuff. I feel myself lashing out, fighting it. Like a teen rebelling just because she’s bored. I’m sick of hearing about the same things, and so I pull away. I let myself hate them. I escape into modern fiction. I defame the purists. I write cynical papers. I rarely do my reading (because I’ve read it all before). Every comment and every paper is recycled—like the materials, the conversations, the professors. I’m becoming more and more lazy; the original fire and passion is fading. There is nothing new to sustain me. The English major needs rejuvenation.

Science, math, history; dance, photography, art; women’s studies, human development, sociology—everything else keeps changing, discovering, adding. Why is it that the English major, the one so hazy, so hard to define, is the only one stuck?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Crockpot Escapades

I have a 4 quart crockpot. I also have a bad habit of HAVING to fill it when I use it. And this weekend...I used it. Twice.

See, I (finally) went to the grocery store this past week. And I got real food (read: no more pasta) I had high plans to make jambalaya in the crockpot on Sunday because 1) Sunday is always the perfect day for crockpot and 2) I don't have church till one so I wouldn't even have to wake up early to get it ready. But, come Saturday, I was home alone and super bored. So I decided, hey, I'll make dinner in the crock pot. Just for something to do. I chopped up some strange medley of vegetables--whatever was in the fridge--and put it on high for four hours and ate it. Was it good? Not exceptionally. But I ate it. I ate loads of it. Because I was bored.

So. There I was with four quarts of food (minus a bowl) and plans to make another four come morning. And I did.

To be fair, the first concoction probably wasn't a full four quarts. But Sunday's...I actually didn't think it would all fit. It was a delicious recipe of 1 lb. chicken, 1 lb. sausage, 1 pack of shrimp, 1 onion, 1 bell pepper, 1 cup of chicken broth, 1 cup of celery, 2 cans of tomatoes, and a whole lot of spices. It was literally to the rim. And that...that was super good. I probably ate like a quart of it just--BOOM--right then and there.
As in after it was cooked for 6 hours. 
Not right when I chopped it all up/made it. 
Cuz that would have been totally nas (read: nasty). 

And all the stuff used for my meals--it pretty much exhausted my supplies. Now I just have one piece of bread, barely enough PB for one sandwich, a couple potatoes, a box of cereal. And no milk. So I have no food, really, and no money till Friday. It's good, then, that I have something close to SEVEN QUARTS of leftovers. Because that's what I'll be living off of.

All. Week. Long.

Also, I literally ran out of tupperware. I had a huge one (which I think is something like two quarts), a smaller one (probably half) and then a trio of small ziploc ones that held like one heaping cupful.

I mean, I even ended up having to eat another helping after two bowls just because there was no way to store it.

At least that's what I prepared to tell my roommates should anyone dare question my voracious appetite. Truth be told, it was just dang good. Dang dang good.
(dang dang. That's fun to say)

So now I have five things of leftovers stuffed into the fridge. My roommate even opened it and sort of gasped. Ah well. She's just jealous. Cuz I've gots me some goods!

I just have a feeling I'm gonna get really sick of it by the end. I'll probably be shoveling it in while simultaneously crying. Weeping, even. Groaning and moaning and begging for mercy, the food falling out of my mouth mouth as I numbly try to remember how to chew.

Like in Matilda with that last piece of chocolate cake. That'll be me come Friday.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Dirty Mind

Do boys in suits make me swoon? Does a well-cut tux make me sigh? Is there something about a chiseled man in a speedo? Or a polo with a popped collar? Maybe. But, see, I have a thing for bad boys. At least dirty ones.

Too far? Let me explain.

I was walking to work today, running late as usual (stupid mornings), and there was construction on campus that hindered my usual shortcut. So I was going around this truck and all their tools, men and machine alike, when, suddenly, I saw him. The clouds parted, the sun shined, the birds sang, but all I saw was his face. Love at first sight? Hardly.

He was a pretty pretty boy, but he was oh-so-dirty.

As in physically, not mentally. I mean, he might have been mental, but I don’t know. And that doesn’t really matter. Because I’m talking about the Law of Physical Attraction here, not anyone’s mental state.

Except mine, maybe.

Anyways, this boy was dirty. Like roll-in-the-mud-hang-to-dry-and-repeat dirty. His hair was dusty, his face was smudged, his pants were caked and his shirt was sweaty. And he had a huge chain draped around his neck. Why? I haven’t the slightest. Actually, I do. See, he was on a chain gang paying his dues to the community.

Just kidding.

He was one of the students working on campus construction. And he was walking down this sidewalk framed by a series of planter boxes. Like a runway. He even had the pouty model look. And it looked good. Especially as he dragged this chain around, gripping it with one hand where it dragged while simultaneously using his other hand to rub the kinks out of his neck.

So there. He was kinky, not dirty.

I stopped dead when I saw him. My jaw dropped and I watched as a gust of wind forced his eyes closed and he seemed to drink it in, pausing for a moment to catch his breath. And then he caught me staring. He looked me over; I did the same.

Well, I mean I looked him up and down;
I didn’t check myself out, because that would be awkward.
And none of this is awkward.

In my sexiest, most sultry voice, I whispered, “Hey, I like your chain.”

They should put that on a bumper sticker.

Of course, I'm just kidding. Most of this is a lie—or, rather, dramatized. But there was a boy, a very pretty boy, and he had a chain draped around his face and, somehow, that made him even more attractive. Because I have problems. Problems enough to drive me to dedicate an entire post to a very dirty man.

If my fantasy had played out, he probably would have stopped and stared with his searing eyes—never smiling—and said something like, “I like your face,” before sweeping me into a passionate, breathtaking, hair-raising, rhett-butler-esque kiss where we would both forget the entire world and just eat each other's faces off. And then, right there, he would take me.

To get ice cream.

Too bad, right? That’s a story I could tell my grandkids.

Monday, July 18, 2011

This is Why I'm Hot

So I was reading this new blog, and she posted this series on women who read and how freakin' awesome they are. It really stuck with me; I think we could be friends. But I loved it so much, I couldn't help but share. So it's not at all funny or anything, but it entertained me. And made me feel important. Boom.

First, the pros. 

"Date a Girl Who Reads" by Rosemarie Urquico 
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve. 

Find a girl who reads. You'll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She's the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That's the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow. 

She's the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she's kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author's making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book. 

Buy her another cup of coffee. 

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce's Ulysses she's just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice. 

It's easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by God, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does. 

She has to give it a shot somehow. 

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two. Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series. 

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She'll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. 

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she's sick. Over Skype. 

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn't burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots. 

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you're better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads. 

Or better yet, date a girl who writes. 

and then the rebuttal…by a man being (hopefully) ironic. 

"You Should Date an Illiterate Girl" by Charles Warnke
Date a girl who doesn't read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you've seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise. Let the years pass unnoticed. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind. 

Do those things because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.

Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.

Date a girl who doesn't read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement. But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.

Don't date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold. You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Take That, Coco Chanel

Walking to church in Provo is sort of like joining a trek. We march en masse towards our places of worship (i.e. The Wilk Center, basically a cafeteria). We swarm across streets and parking lots, regardless of rules or lights. We talk loudly. Like we're EFY students. Sometimes we even hold hands and sing songs.

Just kidding.

But my roommates and I were laughing, caught at the tail end of a light. So we paused, chatting effortlessly.
I bet you can guess about what.
It involved me clicking my heels
and clapping my hands in excitement....
It starts with H and ends with -arry...
yeah.
But we were there, just minding our own business, when, suddenly, this guy behind us sort of groans--you know, one of the deep-throated moans that turns into a sigh? He makes that (uncomfortable) noise and then says, "Oh, man, you girls smell so good."

Emphasis on the "so."  

We stop talking and turn back to look at him, our eyebrows stretched incredulously. There was this split-second of silence and then he sort of blushed and ducked his head and we laughed--kindly, of course. We struggled to say thank you and he struggled to say that he hadn't meant to be creepy or anything, but he just thought we should know. So we laugh back something about how we try and it's good of him to notice. And then we laugh to ourselves and struggle to go back to our past conversation. And I find myself suddenly very self-conscious about the way I smell. Like what if I was the sole one who didn't smell good?! How mortifying.

Meanwhile, this guy is still behind us. The whole way. we even took this secret door. And he, with his buddy, followed. But they weren't talking to us. They were just following. And even when we went for the elevator, he followed. Only his buddy yanked him back, nodding towards the stairs. And that was that.

At the elevator, we kind of laughed uncomfortably again. "Remember that stranger who just said we smelled sooo good?" Yeah. Yeah, I do.

But I should be grateful. I mean, we don't lather on lotions andwalk through clouds of perfume for nothing, right? So it was nice of him to notice. To let us know our hard work paid off. I think it was just awkward with the groan and the "sooo" part. And the fact that he was a stranger. And he didn't speak to us ever again. About anything normal. And we're just a bunch of giggly girls who laugh cruelly and give incredulous stares.

Luckily, though, we're a bunch of giggly girls who just smell sooo good.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Harry Potter Breakdown Update

Everything around me is revolving around HP. It's INSANE. I just like...catch myself thinking about it and I want to cry, and then I want to laugh at myself for being so crazy, and then I angrily tell myself that I have every right to be sad.

So. It's driving me nuts. Literally.

I thought I had it under control, though. I mean, sure, I turn on ABC Family any time I go in the kitchen, just to catch a couple minutes of the movie marathons. And I think about it all the time. I've watched the trailer at least once a day for a week. Sometimes I finger through the books and think about reading them all over again in the next three days. And every conversation somehow turns back to it. I mean, I hate the movies, right? So why should I care so much now? I'm falling inexplicably in love with them, suddenly caring about the actors and all of it. But it's like I told my sister: It was easy to hate the movies when I had them and the books, but now it's over and I'm just latching on to the most tangible part. Good or bad, they represent the books. And now...it's all just ending. A PART OF ME IS DYING, PEOPLE!

But. I really was keeping my emotions in check, just trying to roll my eyes at myself whenever I found myself getting too emotional (I'm like a schizophrenic now). And then my little sister had to go and blow that little bit of self-control out the window when she told me to watch this video. And I have to share it. Like I can't fight it. Two Potter posts in a row? It's pathetic, but my body won't let me not share this. Because I know SOME readers out there are avid Potter fans. And they deserve to know of this clip's existence. Because...well, because it literally drove me to tears.
 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Harry, Harry Potter; Harry, Harry Potter

I've become a bit nostalgic. I keep reading these articles about the actors and the final installment and all that and it's making me all depressed. I mean, I've never been a big fan of the movies (The second is by far the worst, with the rest of them tied for a close second). I think Radcliffe/Potter is awkward. And tiny. And that Bonnie/Ginny girl with him is just even more awkward. Really, most of the trio is awkward. But I love my man, Snape, and my lover, Draco. And the first Dumbledore was awesome. And the twins were pretty cool (shed a tear*). And…well, that’s about it. Yet I still get so excited with every new movie trailer. I can't help it. It's like...magic. Yes!


But I also think it's this whole....phenomenon. I can hardly remember a world without Harry Potter. I started the series when I was seven or eight; the last book came out when I was sixteen or seventeen; the first movie was released in 2001 (I was 10...I think), and now the last one will open in exactly nine days (and now I'm 20). So it's been practically forever. My life has, often helplessly, revolved around it.  

"The Mysterious Ticking Noise" entertained me throughout high school. The only reason I survived my last college meltdown was reading the entire series over again in one week. "A Very Potter Musical" got me through the sophomore slumps. I always smile at the SNL skits and any references ever made on camera. MLIA was hilarious because it served as a HP fan base. The HP vs. Twilight jokes never get old because, oh yeah, Potter always wins. People fight over which house they'd belong to, like it defines them in real life. They even use spells and quotes from the books in casual conversation (actually, multiple people have told me the latin helped them learn GRE vocab). And every time I see an owl, hear a train, or notice a splash of red and gold I can't help but think of it. Harry Potter World is on my top five places to see. And I've had many a wizarding dream. Plus, just two words: Draco. Malfoy.

I mean, life would have been so boring without it. 

It's not just a book or a movie or a character. It's an AGE, and those outside of it couldn't possibly understand. It's this conglomerate of awesomeness and it's sad to see it ending. And "Luna Lovegood" (Evanna Lynch) said it just right: 


"I'm distraught that this is over. I've been obsessed with the books since I was eight, so I don't really know what I was before that or what will come next.”

Seriously.

For a Long, Long Time, in a Galaxy All Our Own

Laura came down to spend the weekend with me. Oh what fun! We were laughing a lot, she was sleeping a lot, and then suddenly we were watching movies. A lot.

See, I had flipping through the channels one night and the original Star Wars was showing (Number IV or however it works). And I was like, Hmm, I haven't seen those in awhile. And then Laura came and I mentioned it and she totally failed my impromptu Star Wars trivia quiz, so that was embarrassing. On her part. And then Melissa was hanging out with us on Sunday night and she is quite the little Star Wars fan (I don't get it). But, on her way out, we shouted for her to bring us all the Star Wars movies. Just on a whim. She sent her lover back with them--all six of them--and we plopped down with the first, breathlessly and giggling-ly deciding we should have a marathon.

Boom. It happened.

We watched the first (I), which wasn't bad. Even though Natalie Portman is TINY. But Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson are freakin' awesome.

And then we went to bed...we woke up...and we watched II. On fast forward, because it's probably the lamest movie ever made. Hayden Christensen should choke on his own sobs and die.

Then we went to the mall (Laura got Harry Potter glasses and they are freakin' amazing). Also, we made fools of ourselves at the little parking lot intersection at the mall, cuz Laura was pulling out but then "Low" by Flo Rider (which we'd been singing all weekend) came on and we sort of spazzed out. And there was this car of boys across from us and they were laughing and we were dancing and singing/screaming and then they went, still laughing at us. Laura was like "Why didn't they go? Fools?" And then she realized that, oh yeah, she had the right of way and instead had put on a little song and dance number for their enjoyment. It was awesome.

Anyways. We got home totally enthused and ready for our final marathon dash. We watched the III (poor Yoda has a heart attack and Anakin gets vampire eyes and Ewan uses his crying voice which is somehow so attractive). And then the IV where Laura drooled over Han Solo (which, did you know, they pronounce as hAn--as in "ham" with an N? Yeah, totally ruined my world. Han. Psch). We worked on our chewbacca noises and put in V. We ate pizza and started VI. Some things we noticed?

The graphics are more realistic in the old ones because most of it isn't actually graphics.
Movies used to be much shorter and less...immense. The new ones had so much going on while the old ones felt very fast. And simple. 
The script was better when Spielburg was involved. 
The old ones say "I've got a bad feeling about this" about seven BILLION times.
And a bonus fact? This youtube video pretty much nails the entire saga. Especially the Jaws portion (minute 2:40). It's amazing. And we kept singing it throughout the movies.

Which brings us to a sad conclusion. Seeing as I had work in the morning and Laura was still suffering from Trek hangover, we never finished VI. We got about 40 minutes into it, I think. So...marathon fail.

But it is still impressive. And my brain's still a little fuzzy from all that screen time. And I've been thinking Star Wars ever since. So...in a way...it was a success...right? In any case, it was EPIC.