Pulled In Many Directions

Not-so-daily rambings about my life and my thoughts

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Extra Mini Movie Review: Rent

Watched Rent tonight. Thankful for living alone as I had forgotten how soppy that movie makes me. Very cool they used most of the original cast members, though 9 years later. (I guess if you know your dream, you'd spend all that time anyways trying to fulfill it.) Spent all the time looking at the actress who was playing Joanne, knowing I knew her from somewhere, only to find out well after the movie ended that the actress is also on Cold Case, one of my favorite shows.

I now am under the delusion that I, too, can sing, and have been yodeling through Seasons of Love, as best as I can remember the lyrics. Once again, thank God for my Fortress of Solitude. I remember seeing this on stage in 1996, and how big a deal it was then. I loved Seasons of Love and No Day But Today. I loved the answering machine messages Mark's mom left behind and loved Maureen's avant-garde performance piece where she clanged on a cowbell and spoke of how the cow that jumped over the moon performed the definitive Leap of Faith.

Have a strange feeling that life is going to be mine in a few months. La Vie Boheme. Minus dancing on tabletops. Ha. Though it'll be in L.A., not New York. I have to do it. Still not sure how, but as a friend of mine recently asked me, "Isn't it great to not have a plan?" Maybe she's joking. :)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Decisions Decisions

Still am unsure how to proceed. Wonder if any amount of money would be ever enough to go to California (Car, decent housing, job, good social life). Wonder if I'm taking too easy a road by heading back to Boston.

But then maybe going back there will let me enjoy it more. I can see myself comfortably going into the Middle East or The Paradise (if they are still there, that is) to check out a band on my own, because I'd feel so comfy there. I know of a lot of the good places to grab food (maybe not individual shops, but definitely the neighborhoods would still have to be there.), and where to hang out...but of course I'll need the money to do that and I so sure as hope to hell I'll have made some good friends to do all those things too.

I want to have the idea that all these obstacles in my way of going to California (reacquainting myself with a car and driving, playing an invigorating game of Beat The Clock in terms of finding a job and housing) would be prime "character builders." Something in the back of my mind tells me I'm really not going to know where I'll be for awhile now. I just have to keep socking away money, and see where I am in 5 months.

Maybe I won't be stalking Brandon Routh for awhile, if at all. Heh. And I'm sure he, his girlfriend, and my nose are quite thankful for that.*

*Note to any weird police people possibly browsing this, this is a comment made in jest only. Thank you for understanding and not raiding my place at 3 a.m.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


I want to see a sequel to Castaway. We know the guy gets rescued, realizes life has gone on without him, and then is given a literal choice between which fork in the road to take. How does he acclimate himself to a world he left behind, something once so familiar to him, now like a foreign country? How does he get by with all the little things that must have lapsed while away, like his credit report, his friends, his family?

If I am drawing a parallel here it must be with a yellow highlighter, eh?

If I am really going back to nothing then I can go anywhere I want I guess. What a thought though. Nothing.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mini Movie Review: Elephant

Yeah, yeah, don't read it if you want to see it.

I'm not really sure what to write about a movie whose main premise is about a school shooting. I'm not even sure what to write about myself, who knew full well what the movie was about and decided to rent it anyways.

The movie takes place in an unnamed Portland, Oregon high school, and while the location is different much of the film echoes the events that happened in Littleton, Colorado on April 20, 1999. But then again, it doesn't because with what happened at the Columbine school, we only got to know the students in news reports made after they were killed. Here, in much of the 80 minute movie, we are treated to the days in the life of different high schoolers, who came to school originally only worried about being teased during gym class or completing an art assignment well, or how many calories were in the half banana they had for breakfast anyways.

I think this is what makes the movie so chilling, is how you get to meet and get to know a lot about the students, their dreams and their motivations. Lots of the students talk about the future, as a better life is all within their grasp -- they just have to graduate next year and leave town to do it. It's chilling how normal everything starts out, until the middle of the day, when the two boys Alex dressed all in black, and Eric (and yes it is a strange coincidence but Gus Van Sant decided everyone on screen would play characters who shared their name for the most part) having practiced his shot on an internet computer game storm the hallways looking to pick people off. Alex warns a boy he knows to get the hell away from the school and go home, much like what happened in Columbine. One of the first rooms they go into to start their carnage spree is the library, much like what happened in Columbine.

My heart went into my stomach during the movie, and I swear I was able to taste it. No explanation, save for a scene where Alex is shown being a spitball target, is given. The boys talk about killing themselves once they have completed their task, but the ending scene is not one where we see them off themselves. There's no scene where the police are called in or the kids are apprehended. The movie ends where one of the boys with a gun finds two students hiding and as he waves the semi-automatic at them and taunts them with a children's rhyme usually reserved for who will be "it" in Tag, decides who he will kill first. The movie ends just as he finishes the rhyme. Horrifying.

Curiously there is a scene that happens right before the end where Alex and Eric meet up in the cafeteria and after exchanging small talk, Alex catches Eric off guard and shoots him. Strangely enough, I can handle Gus Van Sant telling me that there's no point in asking questions about the killers killing in this movies, and yet I am still wondering about this one scene, and why it happened the way it did. Was Alex caught up in the thrill of killing? Did he feel weird about a previous kiss the two boys shared (and yes, that also happened in the movie)? There had been theories ages ago (now since disproven) that Dylan Klebold had in fact not pulled the trigger on himself as they figured a right hand shot would put the gun up to the right temple, and not the left. But then later it turned out that Dylan Klebold was in fact left-handed so there went that theory. But still completely intriguing and unsettling to think about someone's ego getting so big that they decide they want to kill their own partner in crime.

I still remember that day like it was yesterday. I was sitting on my boyfriend's bed and we were watching the news and saw what was happening in Littleton, and I remember just feeling so helpless. Not having been out of high school for very long, I understood what a harsh terrain high school could be to navigate, but could not understand, still don't understand and probably never will understand what made those boys decide they had to kill as many people as possible before taking themselves out.

I think at 80 minutes, given what Gus Van Sant wanted to touch on here, the length is just right. Towards the end of the movie, you can't imagine it going on for very much longer. But lucky for you if you wanted to, you could turn the DVD off and make it all go away. Unfortunately for students who lived not only in Columbine but in Paducah, Kentucky and Jonesboro, Arkansas, among other places, the memory of their school shooting probably still haunts them to this day.

I'd recommend if you want to see this movie, see it with a friend, someone you care about, because you will be left redundantly wondering why and how. You might actually need the support of that friend as the terror unfolds on the screen. It's not a happy feel good movie of course, but certainly worth viewing if only because it makes you think, and yet wish that there could be something you could do to prevent this from ever happening again.

I knew this movie would be a downer so not only did I watch it in the early afternoon, I rented a more upbeat film to follow it: "My Date With Drew." If it's worth mentioning, I'll mention it later in here.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

First Day of School! First Day of School!

So today was the day I met the littlest children I'd be teaching this term, the 3 year olds of the NC class. In record time (maybe about just under five minutes) a little boy cried himself sick. It was a day where I seriously considered bringing in earmuffs for the next week.

Still, there are some cute bright kids in the class. One girl took to me right away and we played a good game of throw and catch. I was amazed with her coordination and just how confident she was. There was a boy who I swear I had seen before at another one of the schools in my neighborhood, but his nanny told me when she came to pick him up, this was his first time ever at the school. He's another happy boy, he gave me the biggest grin when I helped him turn around on his Monster Bike.

There are some kids who are fearful of me, but I guess that's only to be expected as there aren't too many people in a three year old's world who are walking around Hong Kong with blue eyes and blondish hair spouting gibberish.

And then there is another girl who has been at two of the other schools in the neighborhood before landing here. I wonder if next she'll go to another school in another area. Poor thing hasn't left the level she started in maybe a year and a half ago.

I'm the only foreign teacher at my school now due to reshuffling and this is making me sad a bit. I really liked working and talking with the guy who taught the other classes last year, and he's even now eating his lunch at a different school than I am. I think once everything gets back into swing, I'll be able to meet up with and talk to the more Western teachers but eating today's lunch at school made me feel silly as I was the only Westerner there and was barely acknowledged by the Chinese staff. So between that and the afternoons where it'll be just me, and the mornings where it'll be just me and then coming home, where it is just me, I'll either become very independent, develop one hell of an imagination, or go slowly crazy. But there's only six more months to go until I can understand what everyone's saying and talk to everyone I meet, so maybe it won't be so bad after all.

Also a couple days ago I got word from a very small paper in California (well maybe not small but not The L.A. Times, OK?) that while they have no real positions available right now, they might be interested in getting some CD reviews from me, seeing as they do not do them already. This is quite cool, as this happened in a case of "It wouldn't hurt to ask" and maybe something will materialize out of it. I already know what CD I want to review. I now just want to make my review count for something! Kind of scary and yet liberating that the show is all mine really. There doesn't seem to be any set guideline to follow.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mini Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean 2

I saw the preview for this ages ago during Chinese New Year when I went to see The Lion, The Witch and the Wadrobe. Both my friend (who is a real Johnny Depp nut) and I were excited to see this movie.

Flash forward about 6 months, where news of this movie destroying Superman's Return in America is making everyone sit up and take notice.

I saw this movie, and I really wanted to like it. I like Johnny Depp. I loved the first movie. But in the middle of this 2 and a half hour long movie, I started to nod off. I started calculating my projected monthly earning for my Fly Me Home Fund. I started to think about dinner.

I just could not get into this movie at all. There were some good scenes, where we find Captain Jack Sparrow has been adopted by a tribe of indigenous island people. The squid at the end is amazing. And Johnny Depp does a great job when he is on screen. He has such a lively and expressive face and the way he uses his body, like when he is trying to scamper off unnoticed whenever he gets in trouble, is an absolute pleasure to watch. He's having fun in this role and wants us to have fun watching him.

So where's the problem? The story just drags. Everything just feels flat in this movie. And I know they are chasing after Davey Jones' treasure chest but with something that sounds that adventurous, shouldn't there be a lot more adventure? My friend felt the opposite was the problem. She said there was too much action and not enough talking, where she wanted to see Johnny Depp steal the show.

I'm just really boggled as to how this movie could be doing THAT well back home. I'd suggest waiting to rent it, myself.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bizarro World

Never mind this is the country that eats fast food fish sandwiches or pasta for breakfast and thinks nothing of it. Never mind that the mini bus company sets up a day of protest for better wages by deciding to do revolutionary things like moving from a bus stop only when everyone is seated and obeying speed limits (shouldn't they do that already?) Never mind the never ending saga of my landlord who obviously wishes he had gone into banking or something like that, as he likes to charge me for repairs and yet sits on piles of money and neglects his rent bills.

Today, on the mini bus, I was apparently asked to give up my seat as a couple boarded after me and only one seat remained. But did they explain it like this to me? No. It probably wouldn't have done them any good anyways. I already have two strikes against me here in the being taken seriously department by being white and female in an Asian, male-dominated society.
Like hell am I going to be singled out as a person who won't mind or care to give up her seat just because I am single! Mr. and Miss Can't Breathe Without Each Other got on after me...THEY can take the next bus which was waiting. (OK, to be fair, in the same situation I'd of course want to ride on the same bus as my boyfriend too, but there's no way I'm going to try to scope out some poor Singleton and bump her off the bus to do that.)

But anyways. This wasn't even explained to me. You want to know how they wanted me to cooperate with them? By insinuating that I snuck on the bus somehow without paying! The attendant wanted to check my card. I wouldn't let him because A) I was insulted he thought I would have gotten on and settled in without paying and B) I only had a few dollars remaining on my card and I wasn't sure if when he "checked" it, he'd be deducting another fare from it.
and yes C) I was still mildly smarting from the sting of what seemed to be being singled out as a single female and therefore inferior to all the single men on the bus and the couple wanting to get on.

This country is too weird. No one is going to cooperate with anyone if they are accused of stealing.