Sunday, April 30, 2006

Crunch time

Resolved: to try going to the gym in the morning, before work. Otherwise I won't have time this week.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Rightside Up

I rarely truly hate movies. I dislike a few, I don't understand some, and I find a handful too boring or basic. But otherwise, I like most movies, even after over-analyzing them.

I hated Sideways.

I finished it a few days ago, but it took me three sittings and several days. First of all, the wine metaphor was waaaay overdone. (Besides, the two main characters didn't age well; they were childish, overgrown, immature, middle-aged men.) The time reminders were likewise overdone (the text flashing the days of the week got annoying after a while). There was no real character development; there was just character revelation, and none of it very good. The protagonists were barely likeable.

I laughed once: when the naked guy runs out of the house and chases the car. I think I laughed because it was unexpected and absurd.

So yesterday I re-watched I Heart Huckabees. Now there's a movie I love. . .

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Reach for a Lucky Instead of a Sweet

I've always admired masters of spin, whether or not I agree with their ideology. There's something admirable in the artful manipulation of language, a brilliant semantic accomplishment to be recognized and lauded. Because, of course, in the so-called "progressive" nonprofit and advocacy world, spin is just renamed "messaging." But it's the same consistent phrasing of ideas, the same red herrings tossed in, the same re-shifting of dialogue. Sometimes all that is called propaganda --your attitude just depends on what side of the words you're on. Which might explain why (since for most of my life I've spent curricular, extracurricular, and income-taxable time dealing with "messaging") I remain suspicious of anything less than brutal honesty.

So of course I loved Thank You for Smoking. There was the underlying topic of cross-sections of government, media, and capitalism. But the overall it was a homage to spin and its role in the great American marketplace of ideas.

Had the Soy Sausage Instead

I had no idea Cafe Flora was a vegetarian place. I got slightly irritated when there was no bacon as a side dish, and a friend kindly enlightened me. Oops! Of course, now it's sort of implicit in the name ...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Bad History, Good Fun

Watched National Treasure last night. Implausible plot (ancient treasures from Egypt! India! China! Buried in New York! Hidden by the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who btw were totally broke and needed to fund the Continental Army! There's an 18th-century ship in the Arctic!) Those mysterious and devious Freemasons are behind everything. Meanwhile, the Declaration of Independence is dragged from DC to Philly to New York. Boston gets a shout-out. The metaphors and cheese dripped and dripped.

But I liked it. In fact, I really liked it. It was a really, really fun movie! I would've loved it as a kid -- it seemed like one of those adventure stories you make up, with all your favorite characters from movies or books, but it's totally anachronistic because Indiana Jones and Anne of Green Gables and The Three Investigators and Prince Valiant couldn't possibly coexist, but you want them to anyway. Or, uh, maybe that was just me. Anyway, the movie reminded me of imaginary plot lines like that. Good times!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

It's Been One Week!

I feel like Charlie Brown. I killed one of my plants. It was not premeditated.

Good grief! They were only given to me last weekend!

My sister, mom, and one of my mom's friends all think I drowned it. I watered it twice! I thought you were supposed to water plants about twice a week. I didn't know I was drowning it...

The Gem State Meets Alexander Pope

Last Thursday I finally watched Napoleon Dynamite. Everyone told me not to over-analyze it, and to just accept it for its dorkdom. I can do the latter. But hello, what was one of my majors? I can't not do the former.

First off, I loved the opening credits, with the different plates of food. Oh, the symbolism. But then the movie itself started. It is quite possibly the weirdest movie ever, and while I can't come up with one succinct interpretation (yay, polysemy), here are a few things that were over-the-top obvious:

  • Race goes largely unmentioned, but affects most of the lives of the characters in Preston, ID: Pedro's presence, the "Indians #1" sign at the school, Kip's black girlfriend, the dojo, Napoleon's dance video.
  • Images of sports are pervasive --but the usual glorified heroes are absent: football, karate, even tether ball.
  • The Idaho scenery is gorgeous: mountains in the background most of the time.
  • The timeline was wonky: the fashion, music, and techonological developments didn't match.

Other themes seem to be:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • "Difference," in various forms
  • Community

Even with all that in mind, there's really nothing concrete to say about Napoleon Dynamite. The West is a wonderful melting pot? Beware of living up to perceptions of perfection and standards of attainment, because they don't exist? Latino friends and black culture bring happiness? Nostalgia for high school years overlooks the awkwardness of adolescence? Maybe it's all of these, maybe it's nothing.

I didn't love the film, but I found it fascinating.

In an odd homage, the Idaho state legislature passed a resolution hailing the film. To me, it was more hilarious than the movie. Which makes me fear for Spokane...

In other news, last Friday I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I loved it. I thought it was incredibly brilliant and creative. And of course, it had the well-placed thought-provoking quote (full work available here).

But suffice it to say that I had to try and find simple, happy cartoons on TV after the movie was over.

Come Down Now!

ARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!! Just saw an M&M's commerical, which had "Such Great Heights," my favorite song by The Postal Service.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Not another manic Monday

Excellent way to start the week!

1. Got to go the Westside, even if it was for a doctor's appointment.

2. Free Thai food at work.

3. Awesome happy hour at Contour with a fellow commie.

4. More Thai food at the JACL Exec Board meeting, where everyone voted unanimously to co-sponsor the local march and rally for the April 10 day of action for immigrants rights. Something I reallyreallyreally wanted to do for work but couldn't.

5. James Blunt concert. (One small observation: when the singer announces he's going to show a video from Kosovo, and then sings "No Bravery" ... though the typically overly serious Seattle crowd will largely fall silent, there will probably be four or five obnoxious teenagers who whoop and cheer intermittently --and hopefully accidentally-- during the images of bombed-out villages, graveyards, and soldiers with guns. The joys of all-ages shows....)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Lilies, meet bromeliad... bromeliad, meet lilies

I now have three living, breathing things to take care of! (I've had one for about two months, but it's not doing so well...) They're brightening up one of my shelves.

But my record for caretaking is not good -- freshman year in college, I got a tamaguchi as a gift and it kept dying on me. And sophomore year, my roommate and I killed our neighbors' cactus plant while they were gone for two months.

This article on Tuvalu was really interesting. It was supposed to be about global warming, and how Tuvalu might disappear under the Pacific because of it, with the local form of cricket as the metaphor. But it ended up being the opposite: really, it's about the Tuvalu form of cricket and its dwindling popularity, with the global warming issue on the side.