Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Artists need some kind of Myspace

Or you know, like a gig tracker...but for artists? Recent frustrations in trying to find out artists' exhibits has been annoying me. I mean, there's gotta be a way right? Besides the usual, like paying attention to what exhibits are at museums, what about people who have shows at galleries? Maybe you have to be like...in the know or know the artist or something...

Monday, January 28, 2008

My mom's memories

I like making my mom talk about stuff from when she was young. I feel like I need to buy a voice recorder and just have her talk so I can remember all the stuff she tells me. Maybe I'll get to do that since family issues has me going back home in a bit.

My mom has three phantom siblings. Her oldest brother, the genius, who could read all the Chinese characters on the drawers of their elder uncle's Chinese medicine shop. He died at the age of 7 from a bee sting. There was the older brother born between my surviving uncle and herself who died of pneumonia while the family was on the run during the Korean War. This left a nine-year gap between her and my uncle. Then there was her younger sister Haesun, who died at the age of five when my mother was seven.

Being the first daughter in a long while, my mother was spoiled. Even her notoriously gruff and hot-tempered elder aunt loved her the most because she had only one child and the child was a boy. Her elder aunt is a story all her own. While my mother's family was a historical family (My mom's branch of that particular last name has it's own Wikipedia entry! I found this out recently by accident.) and her elder uncle a renowned Chinese-style physician, having even studied abroad in China, his slightly withered left hand made him undesirable as a husband. My elder aunt was brought as a bride in waiting. Young girls brought in at a young age and raised by her future husband's family until she comes of marriageable age. She came to the house at 13 and had a son at the age of 18. She was strong as an ox with a loud voice who scared even the shaman she'd invite for 'gut' ceremonies with her own raucous voice and dancing. My grandmother, a born-again Christian, bumped heads with my mother's elder aunt a lot. When my grandmother would show up at the house during a ceremony, my elder aunt would tell her to go away because "You Jesus lovers bring bad luck." In turn my mom forbade my mother from participating in any shaman or Buddhist practices. When my mother's elder aunt took her to visit the temple where the woman who refused to marry any man other than my grandfather went to become a monk, my mother would run away when asked to bow and pray. She'd tauntingly stay out of reach declaring to her frustrated elder aunt, "My mom told me not to!"

My mom admits she was a bratty and ill-manner kid. She'd start fights and rip at the hair of her more than 20-years-older-than-her "Big Brother" (her elder uncle's only child). When all the children bowed for the Lunar New Year to get money from the adults, she refused to do it and would throw a temper tantrum and would get her allowance later on anyway.

"Why didn't you just do it?" I asked.

"It was embarrassing," she said. "Here I was this unruly tomboy, and the way girls had to bow all wilting and delicate...I had a reputation as a hellion to uphold."

My mother told me how when Haesun died, in her own twisted kid logic she thought to herself, "I'm the only girl again! Everyone will pay attention to me!"

However, as the years went by she missed her little sister more and more. And in middle school, she started wondering where Haesun was buried. She learned that her little sister was buried in a small cemetery behind her school she was haunted for a while by the thought and hope that Haesun wasn't really dead. That she'd just gone away for a while and was coming back.

"I kept thinking that one day, I'd come home and open the door, and she'd be waiting for me. Or one day I'd turn a corner and there she'd be."

My grandmother almost went mad after the death of Haesun and that's when she converted.. My mom remembers how she could her my late at night grandmother sobbing as she'd sing hymns to herself and my mom said it repulsed her.

"I thought my mother really had gone mad."

But my grandmother was famous for being a patient and kind woman. A small, slip of a woman with pale skin, she was intelligent and strong but kind and quiet. To this day my mother's friends remember my grandmother fondly as a saint.

My mom has three phantom siblings but one older brother. Growing up he was the smart one, the nice one. He had his poetry published and went on to own a publishing company. My mom wasn't the bad one, but she was the loud one. The ill-tempered one. The troublemaker. After my grandparents passed away, my mother resented him for marrying my aunt and my uncle disowned her for marrying my dad. They spent awkward years of silence punctuated by rare strained phone calls. My uncle told people who asked about my mom that she was dead. It took my uncle's financial ruin and brain aneurysm to bring them back together. The first time I saw my uncle was when I was 15 through the car window as I sat in the backseat waiting for him and my mom to talk about the situation (before the stress of being swindled and facing legal repercussions though he had committed no crime lead to his brain aneurysm).

They're talking again now, but I feel sad for the years they spent not talking to each other at all.

There's plenty of other stories, and talking to my mom sometimes it's like a ball of yarn that keeps unraveling. Indeed, must invest in a voice recorder.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Yesterday was a good day. I didn't even have to use my AK.

I had dim sum with Helen at Jing Fong. That's always fun, chasing down the ladies with the carts and trying to talk to them about what the unidentifiable food item in the basket is, then biting into said unidentifiable food item.

We tried out Red Mango and tried to come up with a compare/contrast for it.

I found the awesomest shoes (mine are actually more of a pastel aquamarine or pale turquoise) at Urban for ONLY 19.99. Seriously, Urban Outfitters can get on my last damn nerve about a lot of things, but I swear to God I've been awesomely cheap shoes there so many times, it more than makes up for it.

I had an awesome time watching "Persepolis" with someone.

All in all, a day well spent.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Last bit for the evening, I promise.

But, OH MY GOD, will the Newseum open already??? I can't believe this. Sure it'll open in 2008, it says, but SERIOUSLY? I really want to go and I wish it'd hurry up and open while I still new people down in DC I could crash with so I can make a weekend of it and like...like...look at ALL the museums or something. Like spend a whole weekend just living in the museums. OPEN ALREADY!!!

Mystery music clip

There's a 23-second-long clip of a song I have had since college and I don't know who or what it is. I desperately want to hear it in its entirety and it's driving me nuts. The worst part is entirely instrumental (so no lyrics to plug into Google). The only identifying information is that the file is called "subway." That really doesn't help. It's been driving me insane for years and I wish I could figure it out and listen to the whole song. Someone please help. I'll even send you the clip.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I watched Cloverfield

Yes, yes, spoiler alert if you didn't watch it and all that. Let me just get on to talking about it.

I finally saw it this past weekend. I was warned by Lucy that she had motion sickness after the end of it. Being the type of person who is generally immune to motion sickness I wasn't that worried, but about 20 minutes into the movie, even I was pretty happy that I had not eaten breakfast.

The worst part was, thanks to my wonky right eye that has exponentially worse eyesight compared to the left, I was also starting to get mild eyestrain that felt like someone was mildly tugging at my optic nerves. I had to close my eyes a couple of times and do a little massage over the eyelid to try and relieve the pressure.

Overall opinion. I liked it. It was a decent monster movie. They were true (for the most part) to the aesthetic that they wanted. I think I couldn't really join in on the backlash since I didn't pay attention much to the intial hype anyway. I thought they set out on doing what they wanted to do and did it. And it was pretty fun except for the feeling barfy with an eyeball about to fall out of an eye socket.

Truth be told I saw some of the monster design sketches that leaked out to the net...My first thought was "I hope that's not it," because I was still mildly hoping that the theory that it was about Cthulhu coming to earth heralding the coming of the Elder Gods was just so attractive.

Anyhow, I was mildly hoping it wasn't going to be just a monster movie for some reason, but I wasn't really disappointed. But things that did irk me:

The plot device of the guy going back for the girl. Stupid. No, really. Like try to give it some compelling back story, that he'd been in love with her "forever" and they'd been good friends forever, but quite honestly. No. Did not work for me. It would've made way more sense for me if they had been newlyweds or newly engaged or something. The idea of him going after a beautiful rich girl (living in flippin' Columbus Circle. Gag me with a spoon), was just so utterly annoying. And it just made no compelling sense for his other friends to follow him to their tragic deaths. All it did was make the main love interests very unattractive and you did not want to care for them. Annoying, young, prissy New Yorkers tarted up with a thin veneer of humanity because "omg~ he lurrrrrrrrrrrrrved her." Bitch, please. You know I just think it was bad writing really. This "she was my best friend, I loved her forever, and we finally slept together but now she's seeing some other guy?" thing could've been handled differently as well I suppose. But how it was done in this particular incarnation? Ugh. It wasn't enough to make me hate the movie, but there were definitely times I just wanted to punch everyone the main guy and the rich girl in the face.

Also, I was disappointed we stayed with one point of view like that. I was sort of hoping at the beginning when you had the two different videos, before I learned it was just the main guy's brother, that it would be a sort of "Where were you when the monster and his body lice attacked?" type of thing.

Really awesome? When the gang first runs into the army. That scene was amazing. In fact, I thought the confrontation scenes with the creature and the military were some stunning pieces of special effects.

Oh speaking of body lice. Yes, I buy that it's body lice. I think that's way more compelling than seeing the little things were the creatures babies. I mean come on. Do we ever *really* think about the implications of a monster creature attacking? It's a wild animal thing. It's nasty. It's not just walking around eating and breaking shit, there's gotta be some other consequences like, oh yea, it's got parasites, pathogens we've never dealt with before because we've never dealt with anything like this before.

Overall, I liked it, and it was fun. A new way of looking at the traditional monster flick.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I need more days like today

After a veritable sleep glutton and lazy ass bastard I've been the past couple of weekends I had the first weekend without something hanging over my head so I decided to actually wake up in the morning and do something with the weekend. On Saturday I got up, made breakfast, ran some quick errands then went to a knitting party.

Today I got up bright and early at an amazing 10 am and woke up, Katya (my new Holga camera. I name things.), to come on a walk with me. I bought myself a nice brunch (a BANGIN' banana cream cheese-stuffed french toast) and a delicious passionfruit mimosa. As I sipped at the mimosa I realized, "Wow, the world does stuff before noon on weekends..."

As I took Katya about her paces, I saw some things, and for once I actually paused and enjoyed what I was looking at. It was nice. I need more Sundays like today's. I think I'll make it a point to do it every Sunday or at least do it twice a month or something. And now that I have a Holga I can really explore or something.

Ha, another ad that I love

People sometimes see that I'm up at around 3 am on Sunday evenings/Monday morning and ask me, "What the hell are you doing up??"

I answer, "If I go to sleep, it's going to be Monday."

"Yea..." they say. "That's kind of what I mean. Don't you want a good night sleep before Monday?"

Then I explode into a rant: "No...n...NO! What the hell? Hell, no! That's the point. If you sleep, that's more time spent unconscious and THAT means Monday comes faster because you're not up enough for Sunday night. I'm pushing Monday back! I'm holding it at bay! I'm going to milk the last few hours as much as I can! The last thing I need is to fall asleep then after what feels like 5 minutes open my eyes to daylight and get ready for work. No! I'm not going down like that!"

Some people don't get this, so finally, a visual representation:

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The foundation to keep aging Hong Kong actors from making fools out of themselves

...wait, seriously? Dragonball? THE MOVIE?...no, really, you're joking right? Oh, hell no...

You know what? I honestly gave up a long time ago. Hollywood will continue to make fucking shitastic adaptations of things that have no right being adapted into movies, but you know what? I can deal with it. It's not my duty to stop them or anything. But seriously? WTF CHOW YUN FAT?

No, I seriously need to ask Chow Yun Fat "What the fuck, man?" Homeboy was my hero.

Oh my God, one of my most formative moments in childhood was watching "A Better Tomorrow II" and the final shootout scene where the shoot a house full of baddies THE FUCK UP, but then they all got shot and injured. The cops are closing in on them, so they just kinda go "Aw, fuck it" and wait for the cops to get them as their bleeding. That moment, with the three of them sitting in chairs in that carnage calmly awaiting their fate like it was ain't no thang...I cried. I did people. That shit was fucking epic. I was practically pumping my fists going, "FUCK YES! Some punks start some shit your homeboys? You fucking take them OUT, son. No matter WHAT!" I'm such a damn sucker for that whole brotherhood and loyalty stuff. It's pathetic to watch me blubbering while watching something like "Band of Brothers."

(skip to around 6:11 to see the verklempt-inducing moment I'm talking about, but try to watch it in it's entirety to get that build up)

(and in case you're curious about the body count in that final shootout)

Why does he keep doing this? I really don't get it. It just makes me so damn sad seeing these legends humiliating themselves in these endeavors to break it big in the States or something. And you know what's even worse? That in the end all the Rush Hours and Romeo Must Dies and Bulletproof Monks just make them laughing stocks. I mean, let's just say it. They must being doing it for the money, right? If they are that's totally fucking OK. Really. In fact, I'm so OK with it, I want to start a nonprofit. I want to get some money rolling in so we can pay Jet Li and Jackie Chan to just stop. STOP.

"Hi...this is 'Dragonball.' It's a movie that is coming out soon. Do you recognize this face? This is Chow Yun Fat. Him, and many others like him, are making really bad American movies.'Well, what can I do?' you might ask. You can do a lot, for just a little. For just the price of one coffee a day, you can keep a respectable aging Hong Kong actor from tarnishing his legacy. Start giving today and you will receive a letter and a picture from your adopted actor...please help, there are only so many licenses that can be shit on..."

And it's not like I'm all "ohnooooooooo Dragonball is SAAAAAAAAAAAACRREED!" No, fuck that, I fucking hate Dragonball. They played that shit into the ground when I was a kid and still show reruns. I escaped to America to get away from it only to find they show it here ALL THE TIME too. I'm sorry. I'm not poo-poo-ing Akira Toriyama's contributions to the world of manga/anime/video games, but fuck Dragonball. Also I really really don't know how a good movie is supposed to be made from this, no matter who's involved. Not because I hate it, but it's just too much going on at once. Sure Stephen Chow's a producer and that man can do no wrong, and if ANYTHING, he can make it possible, but this isn't a Steven Chow movie. He's a producer. Maybe he'll have some creative say in it, but he's not the writer or the director. And if this was a full-on Dragonball adaptation Steven Chow style, with his crew, I would actually look a little forward to it. I'd imagine it'd be a bit like his film actually based on "Journey to the West," which is funny since the character of Son Goku is reference to the Monkey King.

You know what's even more amazing? Scanning through to see who else is in this. One of them is Joon Park. Why do I point this out? Because the man is also in yet ANOTHER ridiculous movie adaptation (not that I'm not going to watch it, it looks awesomely bad), "Speed Racer." Well, more like a brief appearance. "Speed Racer" has RAIN in it too. What the hell? Is it, "Get Korean popstars to star in ridiculous American movies" year? I didn't get the memo. I feel a little left out.

I mean you, know Rain, even Colbert did that whole bit about him. He's kinda like the Korean Usher?

Joon Park was a member of the Korean boyband G.O.D.

Eh, I'm not trying to hate. Good on them if they got their break with this. Just, just...thought it was interesting.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why I'm not a fashion editor

Those of you who know me, know that I love colored tights. LOOOOVE. Maybe you don't know that. I don't own a whole lot, but always have a pair around. I couldn't contain myself recently and finally bought the shiny magenta stirrup tights they sell at AA. I just really wanted stirrup tights. I remember how much I hated them as a kid, but then I remember that I actually hated stirrup pants. Those were horrifying. They were basically sweatpants with footholders. Why? Because somebody looked at sweatpants and thought, "You know what? These are just TOO comfortable. Let's add something to make it awkward."? Anyway, I loved them so much I even made a reference to them in something I did for work. Yea.

What's the point? Recently I've been thinking about how else I can wear those tights, and I think I need to buy myself a pair of dayglo Nikes, some gold bamboo earring and maybe one of those hats I see dudes sell on the side of the streets with their own graffiti-type designs on them. Yea, seriously. I wish I was joking. Well, actually, I don't know, I think I really do want some fly dayglo Nikes. Maybe I can steal one of my brother's Air Force Ones if he's still got them.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Late night/Early morning impulse buy

Oh, Lord. I can't believe I'm still awake.

So, after being beseiged by lomography this, lomography that, I went ahead and bought myself a Holga. I initially wanted a Diana+, but based on advice, decided to go with the Holga. An I don't know, it seemed like a better deal and would do what I wanted. The particular model I purchased comes with a built in flash and color filters and I really like the color filters aspect of some photographs.

I don't know, I used to be pretty happy about my digital camera, it seemed like a good a good idea. I could take a million pictures and not have to worry so much about processing it into real photos. In fact, I don't remember ever processing any of the photos I took with my digital camera. For preserving memories, it's pretty good as is. But the initial reason why I wanted to be able to take a million photos with abandon, without having to worry about buying film or processing it was because I wanted to be able to develop my ability to take some photos.

I mean, I think part of me is used to pointing and clicking enough to take careful photos now. Like I can fearlessly take pictures and can take them in a prolific manner. However, the funny thing is somewhere along the line of pointing and clicking hundreds of picture I kind of lost my sense of seeing what I was actually taking photos of. There's a lot more gut reaction of "Oh hey! Look at that! *click!*" rather than a "Oh hey! Look at that! *think, lineup, click*" and as of late I'm starting to worry that I'm beginning to lose even the "Oh hey! Look at that!" sentiment to begin with. I took a lot more pictures when I first had my digital camera, dragging it to every show, keeping it in my bag, just in case. Nowadays I forget it at home and I've started to think of it as a hassle to tote to shows.

I also used to be good about going to my favorite places to take pictures of them. That library that I love with the spiraling staircase that goes up a tower, the steampunk-ish subway stop...interesting structures and buildings used to catch my eye a lot, but not so much anymore.

We'll see what happens when I get a hold of the new camera in the next couple of days. I'm also very interested in film. I'm especially impressed with what I've seen of the Fuji Provia. I've seen some photos taken with it, and I have to say I've fallen quite in love with the color and saturation of them.

A part of me knows it's just another phase on what I've started to call my "ongoing mission to collect as many unnecessary skills as possible." And not to like, become good at them or something, just to know how to do it. It doesn't even have to be a skill. I'm a sucker for crap you put together. My favorite purchase from London? A paper Elizabethan Theatre. It's kind of ridiculous actually. I always have an itch to try and do something that involves some sort of making/creating in them. Whether it's my continuing farce in trying to be some kind of drawing artist of sorts, knitting, there was also a clay sculpting phase...the sad thing is my mom commented on this exact "hobby" of mine just yesterday. Oh God, and my resin model phase back in the day? I only completed one mind you. And it was very badly done as well. My mom had no idea what I was working on and walked in on me carving out miniature girl limbs and body parts and with equal parts amused and disturbed said with a sigh, "Look, I don't care what you do, just please don't let anyone see you like this. You look like one of those otaku pervs."

Anyhow, let's see what I can do with this Holga. It'll be interesting.

(Yes, yes, I'm working on the Les Savy Fav entry. It's not that easy weaving a tale, let alone recapping an evening when it took place between the hours of 2am and 7am OK? I'm getting exhausted all over again just thinking about it.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I am sore and fucking cranky

or "Not the way to start a New Year after all my fancy talk of being better, but really, fuck it"

Sore because of partying hard on New Year's? Well, I did party hard in the sense that I went to see Les Savy Fav (post on that to come). However, much of this soreness is a recent issue, since last night, my chair from Ikea tried to kill me.

It had been holding up OK since I first bought it about a year and a half ago, but for weeks now bolts and nuts and shit have been falling out of it. I'd replace them here and there, but obviously, the thing was not meant for this world long. Last night while relaxing before having to go to bed to get ready for what would be a hectic work week, I leaned back in my chair. One second I was stretching luxuriously and the next I was a confusing jumble of frightening sounds and sights, and then I found myself on my back on the floor. The back had broken off. I'm still not sure how or why this happened since I didn't check the back too closely to see what kind of damage had been done, but I'm sure it's another case of a loose screw. I had luckily landed more on my back rather than thudding my head against the floor, and I also narrowly missed impaling myself in an attaching section of the back of the chair. I ring in the new year with danger!

Also, passive aggresive note to my neighbors: I don't know about you, but with the stress of things I was expected to do this week and all that, I had a very fretful 3 hours of sleep last night. I found myself barely falling asleep only to be woken up abruptly but the tiniest sound. The last hour of my sleep I spent in a weird half sleep half awake state. So, what I want to know is, who was the asshole that decided he just NEEDED to get on the roof at 5 am, then again thirty minutes later, setting off the roof alarm. You know, I'm not going to unfairly blame my neighbors, it could've been some asshole who got into the building, but seriously, I don't know if you were a crackhead or a potential thief wanting to shimmy down the fire escape, but some people have to go back to work.

Also, to the lady who had her kids out in the hall just fucking whining and whining this morning: Yea, I know it was 8:30 am and I don't know, maybe you were thinking, "Hey, if people aren't awake already, they should be since they should be going to work." Yea, fuck you. I was waking up yes, but as much as I enjoy waking up to an alarm that I developed a Pavlovian cringe and cold sweat response to, surprisingly having your kids fucking whining right outside my door really comes nowhere near in the top five ways for me to wake up. And you just let them whine and whine for at least 15 minutes. Were you taking them to school or to the bus stop? Then what the fuck were they doing out in the hallways wandering around whining and shit? Did you just throw them outside the door and ask them to wait for you while you gave yourself 15 minutes of peace or something? Yea, I heard you lean out the door and tell them to be quiet or some shit. Really? That's what you'd rather do? That's like hitting the snooze button on your alarm 4-5 times. You just feel like you keep waking up to an eternal nightmare that just happens to be your damn kids. Is this what was happening in your brain?

[opens door] "Quiet down. Maybe if I close this door on you one more time, you little mistakes would go away."[closes door]
[opens door] "Fuck, they're still here."

Because you know, you could've just, I don't know, taken them to the bus already or something and you could've come home to a quiet house sooner rather than later. You obviously don't want to deal with your whiny ass kids, why do you think the whole floor wants to?