Tuesday, January 31, 2006

As I Walked Out One Evening

I now have a new favorite movie. (I still love I Heart Huckabees and The Matrix, of course). Before Sunrise quotes one of my favorite W.H. Auden poems, so how can I not love it? Even if only two stanzas:

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time. ...

'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

There's a scene where Jesse and Celine are talking about God, and Celine says something to the effect of God existing in the space between two people talking and getting to know each other. That appeals to me.

I thought I could watch the film in the background while balancing my checkbook and doing laundry, but I found myself drawn into it. Seriously, I like it so much I can't even begin to critique the plot or character development. Basically the film is about life and existence and love and philosophy, and I'm a sucker for all that. But more than anything, the two characters are so young and idealistic and complex and real. It's their authenticity and honesty that is so compelling. I can normally find something --anything-- to critique, but I can't here. Wow.

Waiting for the sequel to arrive.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Comfort food pho sho'

I now like pho. I didn't before, mainly because when half your high school is named Nguyen, you're fed pho a lot by your friends' mothers when you go over to their house, so it's nothing special. But lately, it's been growing on me. It's probably the weather and the fact that I don't have time to make my own soup.

And I love Pho Cyclo, the new cafe a block away from me. Their layout and lighting is brilliant. They've managed to make the place really light and inviting during a gray, wet Seattle winter. And they're inexpensive.

Talofa ma le manuia!

My HS mascot was the Seahawk, and we're older than the city's football team.

It is slightly embarrassing, though, that I have never been able to understand the rules to American football. Though I've read about games in various encyclopedias, I've only been to three games (one in high school, and two in college, where my friends the international students were also clueless.) Also, I think my dad made me watch some biopic of Knute Rockne as a kid. If that counts. Drunk people can remember the rules!!! Why can't I?????

But it's a hometown pride thing. I have to root for the Seahawks on Sunday. I just won't understand if they're doing well. . . .

Besides, half the Samoan players in the NFC are Seahawks. And the predominantly Samoan church that my mother and sisters attend is practically shutting down in support.

Voldemort Can't Stop the Rock!

As my MSN Messenger handle attests, I like JK Rowling's books. And on Sunday a friend introduced me to Harry and the Potters. They're cool! Even looking at a short song list is hilarious. We even "researched" them heavily and found this article; apparently the HP-loving duo are brothers and the eldest went to Tufts. That's so awesome!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


C'mon, Kerry, do it!

Monolingual Sadness

Lost in Translation was the first video to arrive from Netflix, and I finally got around to watching it.

Why did everybody think I would like this movie? I didn't. It was boring and slow-moving. What exactly was the plot? Two jetlagged people stay at a hotel, meet over drinks, see the nightlife, eat sushi, then leave. How is that a plot? It happens all the time to travellers. You meet cool people in places like hotel bars, hostels, etc. Sometimes those people are the types you would've have ever met or hung out with otherwise. You have fun with them. You get to know them. Sometimes you hook up with them. Sometimes not. And you're all either jetlagged or tired or touristed-out.

I just kept wondering what the point of the movie was, and when something would happen that would move the story along. But there was no story.

Maybe I really do have ADHD.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Knit One, Purl Two

Also excited about Needed Knitting. (M-N, you should meet the FG, who was knitting all during the Patriots-Broncos game last weekend!) I, for one, haven't picked up knitting needles since I was 11 and my mother made me, in a fit of panic about the public schools doing away with mandatory home ec for girls. I made a very bad scarf.

And home ec would'n't have helped me learn much in the kitchen, either!

The Hands of Fate

Just really, really excited about the Torgoland debut. Dude! It's about time!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Match Point

I fully admit that I saw Match Point because it starred Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (it's winter, I'm that shallow). So I knew nothing about this movie going into it! In fact, I thought it might be a romantic comedy involving tennis players. OOPS! It was a rather heavy drama. The plot resembled an opera. The soundtrack was almost entirely opera pieces.

Overall, it was a good film. Not great, but good. I found it lacking in terms of character development; who is this lone Irish guy with no family or friends, a former tennis pro who starts out with nothing and ends up in the echelons of wealthy society? To me, there didn't appear to be any chemistry between JRM and Scarlett Johansson, which is kind of awkward if their affair is supposed to drive the movie. And I wanted to know more about her character, too!

There were moments I wish Woody Allen would've explored more. The recurring theme throughout the film is luck. But Allen only takes it as far as mere incidents in life. Given that both the poor Irish bloke (get it? luck?) and the unlucky American girl are central figures in a privileged setting, I thought the film might touch on issues of class. The most fascinating scene of the film started with the phrase "I think faith is the path of least resistance" over a dinner conversation. The scene had so much potential for a commentary on luck, faith, and class. But the scene ends abruptly with the spoiled rich girl brushing off the topic as too unpleasant, and the characters then discuss trivialities.

But I know Match Point isn't supposed to be a philosophical discourse. It wasn't a Greek tragedy (though Greece features semi-prominently); there was no fate or destiny involved, just "luck" and the individual. (Although I did keep thinking that half of the things in the movie described as "luck" can actually be explained quite easily by math and physics and social science.) It was very much an opera, with characters wrapped up in the moment.

And now there is Matthew Goode to think about.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


It's official, I'm addicted to TV. While on the floor, dying from going to the gym, I managed to grab the remote control. You've Got Mail was on; I saw it when it first came out and didn't like the end. Most of it was cute, but what grated on my nerves (aside from Meg Ryan) was the fact that, in an anonymous flirty penpal relationship, the male is the one to learn the female's identity and so has a mental advantage., and then starts to play mean mind games. It's based on The Shop Around the Corner, which I saw back in high school. (And incidentally, Meg Ryan's bookstore in YGM is call TSATC...) But even as a teenager (who would later write a letter of complaint to the West Seattle Big 5 for having sexist display sections), the original Jimmy Stewart film ticked me off for the same reason --the guy has the edge all the way! What is up with that??!!

But then it is a film about the art of writing, independent stores vs big corporate chains, public personas vs private personalities, and books. All of which are themes I love. That's why I couldn't get up off the floor, and watched the whole thing again. Although I did manage to crawl to the leftover box of Christmas choocolates....

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I succumbed! The first of my movies came in the mail today. I blame the new 20" TV one of my oldest friends gave me for Christmas/Hannukah/New Year/housewarming. In the not-quite-a-week I've had it, I've seen:

Down with Love -- I forget what cable station played this, but I caught it right after the tail end of Shakespeare in Love, which I love and hadn't seen in a while. It drips cheese, but I'm a sucker for retro-60s films and Ewen McGregor. The film had a ridiculously complex plot twist at the very very end that reinforces what a friend once said over a 1:00am breakfast at Beth's: "Men are dumb, and women are evil." But the movie, though somewhat anti-feminist at its core, is good fun all around.

Project Runway -- such crap, but I got sucked into all the drama, as well as the creativity of the designers. In the episode I watched, they had to use the clothes on their back to make a completely different outfit. It was kind of captivating to see what they designed.

Bliss -- OH DAMN! That is all I have to say! Seriously, what else is there to watch at 2:00am? And it's good! They, uh, also have clips on their website. Some of those clips are a lot better than others. Or... so I hear...

This is more TV than I've watched in a while. And it's only been 5 days! I'm doomed --doomed!

And Colin Firth is the guest today on The Tonight Show.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Polly Wanna Tattle?

Tuesday morning monotony broken by a story about a guy who found out his girlfriend was cheating on him because his pet parrot kept repeating the other guy's name.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

No Rest for the Weary

The Blue Scholars are awesome.

First heard "Southside Revival" on KEXP a couple months ago (initial reaction: "Wha? KEXP plays hip-hop this time of day?") Immediately got excited about their Seattle-centric, political lyrics. I think I got excited because besides Sir Mix-a-Lot, Seattle doesn't really have a hip-hop scene that goes beyond a local buzz. The Blue Scholars' lyrics have familiar locales and events (as opposed to the standard LA/Chicago/NYC hip-hop base) -- and this Chief Sealth alum can relate!

Seattle's image has changed so much in 15 years -- it's now the pre-eminent latte-drinking, uber-cybersavvy, enviro, literati portrait. I say that with no judgement, as someone addicted to caffeine and the internet who once worked for PIRG and loves to read. But I also say that as someone who's seen Belltown evolve from a neighborhood known for its soup kitchens, not its sushi and boutiques; as a proud product of an underfunded school district in a city experiencing a tech boom.

All cities have different sides to them, and I'm glad that Blue Scholars lyrics remind me about the blue-collar roots of the Emerald City, of the Boeing-employed and union workers who still have a necessary if now largely unrecognized presence, of the vastly different worlds of growing up in one town and of choosing to come back as an adult and live in it in its new incarnation.

Now own both their albums, and have emailed peeps in five states about them! Their lyrics are nowhere online, but my faves are "No Rest for the Weary," "Southside Revival," "Burnt Offering," "Evening Chai," and "Commencement Day."

Atticus Finch, where are you?

Confederates in the Attic came highly recommended from multiple sources. Tony Horwitz travelled through all the Confederate states, visiting Civil War sites and getting to know the people who keep it alive in various ways.

I made it through three chapters! Three whole chapters, which took me from the Introduction, through North Carolina, and half of South Carolina.

It's not that it wasn't well-written (Horwitz is an excellent writer). It's not that the subject matter is boring (I'm not all that interested in the Civil War, but the book isn't about the War, it's about the contemporary ways it is remembered). It's not that the idea of keeping the Confederacy alive has undertones of racial disharmony (Horwitz does a good job, in the first three chapters, of crossing the street frequently to talk to black folk and ask what they think of DAC celebrations, the flag debate, and memorials.)

Honestly and ultimately, it was overdue at the library, and someone else reserved it so I couldn't re-check it out. =) And I am not about to rack up the library fines! Again.

But it got to be too much, after only three chapters and two states. After hanging out with the Civil War reenactors, the joint Daughters of the Confederacy/Sons of the Confederacy after-dinner trivia, and the museum curators, I got the point. The stories of the people were fascinating -- they all emphasized escapism, family heritage, and a sense of belonging as reasons why they keep the memory of the Confederacy alive. But though fascinating, it was all a little repetitive. And I didn't feel like reading the different manifestations of the same sentiments through Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and the rest of the Confederate states.

I did, however, re-request it from the library, so perhaps if I keep putting myself in queue I can eventually finish the book.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Finite Incantatem

I'll eat all foods at least once.

I finally got around to eating the last of my candy from my Christmas stocking -- Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, by Jelly Belly. I love all jelly candies, and get several in my stocking every December 25th. (Gotta love a mother that knows enough about your reading habits and candy addictions to make you squeal on Christmas morning!)

I have no idea what real Boogers and Ear Wax taste like, but the Jelly Belly versions were rather bland. Both "Dirt" and "Earthworms" tasted like a watered lawn (surprisingly refreshing!) -- "Grass" did not. "Vomit" ... yes. That's all I have to say about that. Everything else was unspectacular. Or maybe my taste buds were too overwhelmed!

My favorites: Toasted Marshmallow, Dirt, Black Pepper, Soap.

I wonder why they didn't get Acid past the focus groups?


I've discovered the sultry sounds of Rachael Yamagata. She's awesome! And it's not just because of the Asian last name!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Scots Wha Hae ...

Attended a b-day celebration at the new St Andrews Bar & Grill in Seattle, which has a cheesy-in-good-fun Scotland theme. When the b-day boy is named McDonald, it's entirely appropriate, and apparently also leads to drunken stories of Glencoe.

The food was nae sae bad (but nae sae good, either). Highlights from the menu:

Rod Stewart Onion Rings ($5) -- If you want my body, and you think I'm sexy, come on try these battered O's. Served with our special Rod sauce.

Robert the Bruce Burger ($10) -- Legend has it that this was the pre-battle meal of the Scottish king before he defeated Edward II at Bannockburn in 1314.

Loch Ness Fish 'n Chips ($9) -- These fillets are so tender, you'll think you're taking a bite out of Ole Nessie herself.

Fresh Caught Haggis (market price) -- We only serve haggis that has been humanely trapped. Due to illegal poaching and dwindling stocks, we only serve male haggis. Any haggis caught that are less than 18 months old are released back in to the wild so they may reach full maturity adn hopefully have a chance to breed. ...

Cute and hilarious! So while half of it caters to the Bonnie Prince Charlie romantic types, the other half seems like a serious pub. With a serious collection of whisky -- I think I counted 25 single malts! I've only seen that many at Chapel.

On a side note, the bar happened to be across the street from the house I lived in before the fam moved to the Westside, so of course I took a walk past it. And, like many nostalgic interludes, it was probably best not to return and stare at Time so defiantly in the face like that.

And then! I knew Aurora Ave was infamous for its streetwalkers, but I had no idea that any female walking alone on the street would be taken for one! So apparently to start an Aurora-type business transaction, a car driven by a lone male will slow down and park by the curb, and wait until said lone female either hurriedly puts on headphones, stops and walks the other way, or whips out her cell phone to make a fake call. Three different cars in the 20 minutes I was strolling around trying to reminisce fondly about the old childhood neighborhood! And no, my attire was entirely preppy (sweater, khakis, coat). Jeez.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Should auld acquaintance be forgot...

Warm fuzzies... received 9 text messages in an hour and a half, from different friends saying "Happy New Year." Sent 8 myself. Met cool new peeps at a house party and street corner.

I usually cheesily reflect on the past year -- and in going over 2005, there were a surprising number of firsts for me, for better or worse:

  • Becoming a JACL board member -- I remain incredibly proud and humbled to be part of this organization, which always does the right thing. JACLers are good people who understand what community means. Looking forward to continuing the work in 2006 with good friends.
  • Going to the batting cages -- even though I played softball in high school, we never took a field trip.
  • Visiting LA -- and getting sunburned in through a windshield, stuck in traffic for 3 hours.
  • Having the first of my friends have a baby -- and, six months later, getting the cutest Christmas card with a smiling baby on the front.
  • Karaoke -- yup, 2005 saw me go solo for the first time (previously sang exclusively in groups).
  • Visiting Austin and getting no sleep because the motel had 1) crazy, sketchy occupants who were really loud at all hours; and 2) HBO.
  • Learning uber-basics of HTML --supposedly for designing action webpages at work, but it comes in handy for blogging too!
  • Dressing up for Halloween, however badly -- being the shepherd for a middle school church social doesn't count!
  • Experiencing an election without volunteering for a campaign -- I have no idea how this happened, but it did and it's weird but oddly liberating.
  • Buying a NorthFace coat -- yes, it's the Colby uniform and yes, it's selling out. But damn, it's warm! And waterproof.

Not that other years haven't had a collection of new activities or experiences. (After all, isn't that what life is?) But I think it's still good to reflect. For auld lang syne, my dear...