Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Save me, Sabrina fair, you're the only one who can.

Hmm, what have I been up to?

- Traveling: Though it's just been to home and to visit friends, I've been on the road quite a bit. Two weeks ago I went up to San Jose for the weekend to visit my friend Matt and his fiancee Sophia. That was quite nice as I hadn't seen them in a while, and there was much to celebrate since they had just gotten engaged. (Oh no, I'm already getting that old, aren't I?) We had fantastic Mexican food and a delicious cajun spicy shrimp dish that Matt cooked himself and which I desperately need the recipe for. In addition we spent some time in San Francisco, rode a subway whence I was shocked the signs were all in English, and encountered an eight-tier mall complex with an amazing digital map. I was a day late home because of the weather, and two days later I had to fly out again for Las Vegas and Thanksgiving. Dinner was good this year; it was just me, Schuyler, Chase, and my mom, so there was quite a bit of food to go around. Organic turkey was delicious, as was the stuffing, and the candied yam/marshmallow casserole we rescued from the towering inferno it became inside the oven. While I was there I caught up with high school friends, saw Beowulf which was good, and got to spend time cheering up my sick dog. All in all it was a very fun Thanksgiving and relaxing too, which leads me to my next point...

- Work: Has been incredibly busy, but I find I'm liking it. It's really not a chore as long as I throw myself into my work and adjust to this hectic pace. Since it's my first "real job" I enjoy what I'm working on and putting effort into my day to day work feels good. I don't kid myself that I've reached anywhere near Nico's level of workaholic-itude yet (new word, not quite sure about the i preceding the "tude") but for a boy who's always been afraid of hard work, it's refreshing to be enjoying it.

- Japanese Dramas: I've shifted modes again, and am off of anime for a while and onto J-Dramas again. New surprise - Bambino. This series follows a young boy named Ban, an amateur chef from Hatake who travels to Tokyo to work in a top-tier Italian restaurant on his college break, and finds it immensely more challenging and rewarding than he could have dreamed. The series gets bonus points for dealing with relationships and emotions realistically, avoiding cliches, and generally being fantastically written. Plus it's about cooking, and I think kitchen drama is enthralling to watch. (The show really does a great job of having the perfect pacing and camerawork to show the intense and hectic pace of working in a professional kitchen.)

- Film: Aside from Beowulf, I've resolved to up my cinematic tastes. I've been getting into Michael Haneke, and The Seventh Continent was a revelation. After reading a Harper's article on his films I decided to watch them chronologically and The Seventh Continent was his first. Set and filmed in the late eighties, it depicts the true story of an Austrian family with a normal, happy life who decides to destroy their house and belongings before all committing suicide. The story is told through some masterful camerawork that shows the mundane routine of everyday life as isolated moments which become unique as they are consistently blasted at us without an injection of plot or perspective. I don't mean to say that there is no plot, what I mean is these images are presented to us plain and simply, and gradually build up throughout the film to portray a gilded cage of consumption and routine that the family has to break out from by the most extreme of methods. This is all Haneke's conjecture, as the family left little evidence to the reason behind their suicide. I took these isolated shots to be a beautiful way of drawing the viewer into the film as a character. The close-ups of hands reaching for toothbrushes, shopping, cooking felt as natural as my own physical perspective in my life. It was so engrossing that I actually felt a distancing at the eventual appearance of the characters' faces on screen. It was a very shocking effect, and one that proves Haneke had immense talent from the very start of his career.

- Food: Green tea is still delicious, as is a bowl of pasta after a long day's work, or the occasional salad. Still struggling to stop myself from eating out so much.

- Music: I've been bathed in a wealth of music recently, as Evan can attest to, and some recent gems have been: Cassette Boy, Pelican, Calexico, and Electric Light Orchestra. Hmm, reminds me I need to go check Daytrotter...

Farewell!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Dreams are all you have, Dreams have held you back, Dreamers never live, only Dream of it

I just had the most amazing split pea soup from the Coffee Table. It's smooth and creamy with a bit of extra pepper and these awesome slices of ham in it, then it comes with these big, thick toasted, buttery sourdough pieces on the side to dip in. It was fantabulous.

The caramel wafers slightly less so; though I doubt anything can live up to the memory of caramel waffles outside the Musee d'Orsay...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cantilever, Under Finger

Wow. I have been busy! Between work and extracurricular activities I've been going non-stop.

- Working on three campaigns at the moment with a possible fourth in the works. X-Files is proving to be a bit difficult to handle, as there was a big upset with the huge boxset giveaway we were working with Ain't It Cool News. Hopefully I've got that resolved, and the P2 campaign is halfway over. It's a lot of work but it's still fun at M80.

- Friday went out to see Vince play at The Treehouse. That was a lot of fun; his show was Vince to a factor of 10, him in his element, which was very fun to see. We rampaged as no robots have rampaged before! Nor shall hence! Dancing in the rave room was a blast. I forgot how much fun that is and I need to go again soon.

- Went to PMX yesterday, this little anime con down by PMX. I got a new movie, some decals, saw this breakdancing group who had a panel there, and then got to translate for an interview with a famous Japanese voice actress! A friend from my club runs this review site called Anime Diet, which is apparently much much bigger than I thought, and they were able to secure an interview with Yukana. At the last minute they found out they wouldn't have a professional translator on hand, so they asked me to step in! She did know some English, so she was able to handle some of the conversation, while I picked up the slack and did the occasional translating as needed. It was fantastic and a big step! Currently trying to figure out how to work this into a resume...

- Hung out with my high school friend Leif and his sister last night. Dropped by The Cocaine and saw The Murky Water District, which were very awesome and a band after my dark little heart. Also saw Smile Brigade which were an interesting, energetic, unique act from Seattle. You could tell they had definitely perfected a sound all their own.

- Ended up watching I'm a Cyborg But That's OK today with Evan. It's the latest from Chan Wook Park, who's this star director out of Korea, and known for very dark, violent revenge films. (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Lady Vengeance) I'm a Cyborg But That's OK, his followup to his Revenge Trilogy, was a fantastical, adorably dark magic realism film about a girl who's put in a mental hospital because she believes she's a cyborg and needs to shock herself rather than eat to survive, and the boy there who fixes her with his magical powers. It was cute, happy, and weird. So very weird. And I loved it! I'm a big sucker for magical realism, and this was quite possibly the most spot-on realisation of the genre I've seen. Bless the Koreans.