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i have no fun quote for this entry ):

More updates in list form!

1) The new homepage is really wtf. I have no idea how to use it. So I ignore it.

2) I watched all of Parks and Rec over like a month on my phone.

3) I haven't done a lot of movie-watching recently. Or really anything other than working.

4) A new apartment has not been acquired. I am mildly unhappy.

5) I went to Disneyland last month as a late birthday present. Whooo! Disneyland!

Two weekends ago we went to the California Science Center to see the Endeavor, among other things. There were also fish and stuff :D First we played with science-y games, like balancing weights and building patterns and playing with lasers and sound pipes. You know, things they have for the little kids to do but older people like us like to fool around with. The only thing is that they give you all the answers on the little plaques so I have no idea how anyone ever sucks at those games.

Then we went through the Endeavor-related exhibits... some of them were pretty interesting, but because the Center is not built to accommodate the shuttle plus all the actually informative information it's spread out and not quite coherent. Interesting, but it's all sort of tenuously connected. The pavilion with the shuttle itself is big, but it would really be more interesting if I could see the inside or have a lot of explanation for how things are connected or function.

It's cool to look at, but not very engaging. But still cool. Let's not forget that it's cool that we have a space shuttle.

Then we wandered through some of the ecosystem exhibits and I looked at fish :D

And then we had chicken mcnuggets. And soda. And fries. OMNOMNOM UNHEALTHY JUNK FOOD.

"Sometimes sweet, sometimes bitter."

Still confused by this new update page. I am not smart enough for it.


1) New job has been acquired. I'd talk about it more, but I'm sort of talked out about it.

2) Now that new job has been acquired, a new apartment will also be acquired shortly.

3) Anime is being watched.

4) Heading to Vegas a couple of times over the summer.

Still watching movies! A couple weeks ago I finished <i>Sunrise</i>, an old black and white, silent movie (but with a Movietone music soundtrack). While the story is quite explicitly archetypal and moral, the styling of the movie and its attention to detail is actually pretty impressive, even to me. It's not a movie that gets to its point. In fact, the story is pretty stupid, simple, and straightforward. It barely contains the imagery of the film.

It lovingly meanders through slice-of-life type imagery. At first it's just tourists, then a bucolic village, then a couple spending a day together. Without watching the commentary, I would definitely have not appreciated it as much as it deserves. The artistry makes the film, more than anything else, and I don't know enough about the period of films and filmmaking to truly understand the quality of the film.

That being said, I do think the film deserves recognition for quality, but I still do not really like it. And I watched it twice, once with commentary. It's not the silence or the black and white, it's just the story. It's incredibly predictable and insipid. There's nothing complex about it, and so without appreciating the history of film, it's difficult to enjoy much else about it.

Yesterday my cousin and I went to the Getty Center for some museum fun. I wanted to view the Looking East exhibit, while my cousin wanted to see the Overdrive exhibit. As native Southern Californians, the Overdrive exhibit was incredibly interesting and very well done. It encompasses a lot of what makes Southern California unique, and explicates the creative and artistic culture that was cultivated here in a way not possible is most of the rest of the world. We also saw the Ed Ruscha exhibit and the Japanese photography one, both of which were interesting. We viewed a few of the permanent exhibits, particularly the decorative arts and European paintings.

We also spent a lot of time eating in the cafe and walking around the gardens taking pictures. Shhh, don't judge us.

How're the rest of you?

"We blew it, man."

Ahoy! Sorry for going MIA for so long ): I have totally missed you guys.

Um, also, WTF is this new update page. I don't know how to use this o_O

Things that have happened:

1) I got a new "job." I say "job" because I don't get paid. I'm hoping it leads to a job, but given what I've seen of the company I don't know if they can manage it. They will probably do something dumb with a position that's opening up that I would love. If I don't get a job out of it by the end of next month, I will leave.

2) I am looking for a new job. I need to be working full time or more by the end of May.

3) I plan on moving in June. Funny story: I was considering Echo Park as one of the places to move, then my friend's car got shot at in Echo Park, and now I'm thinking that's not such a great idea.

4) I am having a lot of fun on my NSFW Twitter and blog. That's mostly because -

5) I got broken up with.

6) Online dating is odd.

Sorry, apparently I had less and less to say as I went.

Yesterday I finished watching Easy Rider. I'd seen it before in college, and apparently I understood it better then (I found a paper I wrote on it. Crazy!). The film is not about a story, which I kind of like. Roger Ebert describes it as an invisible bird that carries the film, but you never know what it is. Much of the movie is about the relationship between what you're seeing - scenery from the south and midwest in 1969 - and the music. Hopper and Fonda's characters are just there against the background.

The camera work was quite impressive; the making of documentary included on the DVD was actually really helpful in focusing on the synchronicity of the action and the camera. Especially given the incredibly low budget of the film!

The thing about Easy Rider is that it is iconic for a generation that isn't mine. I can see how it is directly related to the end of the 1960s, a decade of incredible change and progress. But those things don't come without a price, and the film quietly shows you this against two very confusing characters. I have no idea what I'm supposed to feel about Wyatt and Billy (Hopper said they were envisioned as Wyatt Earp and Billy the Kid). On the one hand Wyatt is oddly optimistic - he praises the farmer who lives off the land, and believes that the commune will survive. Billy is more pessimistic and sardonic about both. And yet Wyatt is dark and brooding at the same time. He smiles but never seems happy. Billy is always rushing them, eager to get somewhere, and seems to genuinely enjoy himself. But Billy is the one I dislike and fear.

For a film that's easily seen as an indictment of the prevalent culture of the 1960s, this is very confusing. Billy is made happy by money, even though George (AMAZINGLY played by Jack Nicholson) insists that Billy is free. Money seems to make little difference to Wyatt, or to the people he claims to admire. What are they searching for, the viewer wonders. Their only goal is to make it to Mardi Gras, a symbol of freedom of all kinds. But they aren't happy. In fact, an LSD trip brings out the sadness, shame, anger, and fear in them, in a way that facing prejudice and murder does not.

Good and bad are relative; commentary from the actors seems to suggest that George is the one we are supposed to relate to (George is "America's own"), and maybe he is, and maybe you do. Maybe he's what's needed to ground the audience and tie them to Wyatt and Billy. Certainly the movie stops being so idyllic and scenic when he enters - and this is also because this is when the travelling pair begin to enter cities. Maybe, in the end, Easy Rider is just romanticizing the wild west, as every good cowboy movie does.

"Rejoice O young man in thy youth..."


I am exhausted by working. I want a real job ):


Finally finished Platoon a couple days ago. It was difficult for me to keep track of everything that was happening. The film was dark, both literally and figuratively, and I could not, for the life of me, keep actors separate from each other except for Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, and Tom Berenger. I know that Oliver Stone and everyone felt like each member of the platoon was unique, but to me they all blurred together in a horrifying mess.

Which is, perhaps, the most fitting way to watch the film, as order descends into chaos and darkness and anger and grays. Keeping everything straight is not what happened in the film; to ask the audience to do so would be to defeat part of the experience of the film.

I think that Platoon is experiential. Yes, Stone had a pretty clear and strong message, but at the same time it wasn't about telling a story or plot or character development or any of the pretty things we teach high school students to watch films for or read novels. Platoon spent a lot of time and money to get the actors to experience war, so that they in turn could convince us to experience it too. There is surprisingly little sensical dialogue in the film. At the beginning Sheen's character narrates letters to his grandmother, giving the film structure and something for viewers to hold onto. By the last forty minutes or so, there is no narration - just the stunted dialogue between soldiers and the sounds of battle.

Unfortunately, much of the film is lost on anyone my age or younger. The cultural significance of the film is undeniable, but time has covered the wounds of the war, even if it hasn't healed them. Our generation has our own wars to fear and our own films to force us to face them, that's all.

After the second Sherlock Holmes movie comes it'll be on to happier things with A Night at the Opera!



So pretty much I suck. And I acknowledge this. I'm just too busy and too lazy to keep up with blogging about... anything, really, on any kind of regular basis. I caught the plague shortly after the last post and haven't quite found my way back into the swing of things since then.

Sunday Andrew and I went to LACMA, which is not, in fact, a museum of modern art. Or contemporary art. It has both, which can be trippy, but they have just an absolute boatload of stuff in the 7-8 buildings of the museum.

Things that are nice about LACMA:

1) Low price. When you think about it, the $10 (or $15 if you're not a student) entrance fee is not much considering all the stuff there is to see. And $10 for parking is not bad either, especially if you carpool.
2) Lots of stuff. Seriously. Tons. Of. Pieces.
3) Location. While not the greatest area (and certainly a pain in the ass when it comes to traffic) the area around the museum is fun, trendy, and pretty family friendly. Food trucks line up across the street during the day, so you can leave the museum and try something new. There's lots of outdoor space, and there's a cute bar and restaurant at the entrance to the museum that are both open late.
4) METROPOLIS II in the Contemporary Art wing. Seriously. SO MUCH FUN.
5) Fun family and enrichment activities, like film showings, music, and dancing.


1) Traffic.
2) Poor organization. Having worked in a museum I'm now hypercritical of the way museum exhibits are organized. I'm not a fan of the "We have a lot of crap let's put it all up" mindset, which is what seems to plague most of the wings in LACMA. The Japanese pavilion makes a pass at organization, as does the American art wing, but much of the European art seems thrown together and completely random. There are also very few good descriptions to help you contextualize the art if you are not already familiar with trends in art through history.
3) The James Bond exhibit is stupid. We could have seen that on YouTube.

I feel pretty confident that I got my money's worth out of the day, and it really was a lot of fun (even with the brain explosions that happened when we thought we were trapped in European art). I don't think it's as well organized as, say, the Getty Center, but there are some interesting and iconic pieces at LACMA that make it worth the trip. It's probably not a trip I'll be making again shortly, though.

In other news, I have my fingers crossed on an awesome job of awesome. Very nervous. I want this job so much you have no idea.
Got around to finishing Titanic last week. It was surprisingly better than expected. Given the storyline I simply assumed that it would be a terribly sappy gross romance. I tend to hate romance by default; I can't stomach it and desperately want it to be more rom-com than straight up romance. Straight up romance makes me either depressed or just irritated.

The acting was very good, considering the story they were telling. Some of the story was contrived and unoriginal, in my opinion, but as a whole it came together very nicely. The special effects, even 15 years later, are still pretty impressive. As a movie it's organized exactly the opposite of Schindler's List - the second disc is hellish because you already know what's coming. "WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TITANIC."

Overall the movie wasn't incredibly impressive (I won't be thinking that it's one of the best movies I've ever seen, nor will I probably see it many times again), but it wasn't bad at all and rightfully deserves a place as an icon in American film.
Also watched The Sixth Sense today since it came from Netflix!

I haven't seen any of M. Night's other movies, but this is probably the best one. It's incredibly intricate and beautifully executed. It's at times creepy and at others incredibly emotional. Perhaps a lot of the creepiness was lost on me because it's such an old movie and I already knew what happened in it. I mostly found it more touching and emotional (I cried like you have no idea) than frightening, though they tried very hard with the "ghosts" that Cole saw.

What I loved was just how hard it must have been to film the whole thing. Anna's part had to be the hardest to play, since she was acting on two different layers the whole time. Of course, everyone else was as well, but not nearly to the same extent as she was. Putting together all the rules of the way ghosts worked and all the little clues that led up to the final reveal was also very thoughtful, and though I'm not the type to go back and watch again for that specific purpose, I could see how enjoyable it would be for some people to go back and see it again.

There were some moments in which the logic of the film failed me. For example, I seriously thought I'd missed some chapters when the time shift from visiting Kyra's funeral to the King Arthur play happened. How did that one incident fix everything else? If the ghosts used to actually hurt Cole, why did they stop? Why did they hurt him to start with? Does the fact that they "see what they want to see" explain why Malcolm seemed to understand that time was passing but other ghosts didn't?

Nevertheless, it was actually a very good film and I really enjoyed it. Plus Bruce Willis in a movie that wasn't action. Come on.
Finally managed to finish Schindler's List. Actually, by having gotten through the first disc, I made it through the most soul-crushing parts of the film. Everything on disc 2 was practically happy in comparison. Nothing really awful happens, and for that my nervous system thanks whoever decided to break the film up that way.

The first half is... the awful half. The uninspiring, soul-crushing reminder that people are terrible sometimes for no good reason. Or good by an insane kind of logic that we should all fear falling victim to one day, because by nature we are prone to it. I'm not saying that we are all prone to believe insanity; but that no small part of us fears that insanity and will cower before it. I have no illusions: I know that I would live in fear to save myself before I did something courageous at the risk of dying. And even if not all of us would do so, there's a significant part of each of us that would.

The acting is quite phenomenal. I find it interesting(?) that big names play the major characters - Oskar Schindler, Itzak Stern, and Amon Goethe are all played by pretty major actors. Everyone else, however, had what appears to be a Jewish or German last name. The storytelling is comfortably subtle. While the end is a bit "preachy" - as it has a right to be, given it's subject matter - the story flows well and isn't overdone. You don't watch Oskar Schindler have his epiphany that leads to his decision to save 1,100 people from Auschwitz. It just happens. On the one hand you question it, because we're so used to seeing catalysts in stories that spur the protagonist's development. But in this film it happens over time and quietly, such that in one scene Schindler is trying to assure Stern that he will receive preferential treatment at Auschwitz and then in the next is buying people's freedom from Goethe.

I still maintain that it is not a movie for the faint-hearted, as it is aggressive in creating anxiety and fear in the viewer, and relentless in its re-creation of violence and betrayal. I could barely get through the first disc, but once I did, the second disc was much easier.

May. 4th, 2012

I need to talk to someone who won't judge me for stupid things I may have done. I mean, REALLY stupid things. The kind of stupid where your first reaction will be, "Were you expecting anything else?" Or you'll think I'm a horrible person, one of the two.

Or both, actually.

Which is not a promising start, but hey, I'm hopeful.





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Alanna the Llama

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