I was hoping that with vacation here, that everyone would be updating more, especially Dave, who has no life when he’s at home, but on the contrary, no one has been updating much at all. Strange. Brian Lee, however, informed us that he would no longer be doing a thoughts page, and then proceeded to update his thoughts page in 3 consecutive days.
Adn as you may have noticed, Simon Yun has joined jack.html. The page so fmaous it’s been used as a verb by Eric Mao among others. Anyway, it always fascinates me what people call their thoughts pages. Clara’s is characteristically poetic. Sam Lau’s, like most of his entries, is bizarre. Simon’s heading is “The Naked Mind.” Interesting. Irwin’s used to be The Midnight Scribe.
So. No updates because Jieun was here last week visiting, left on Tuesday morning. I don’t think I’ll say much about that, but everyone loved her. I’m not joking. My sister’s boyfriend’s mom, who has no connection to her whatsoever gave her 2 Christmas presents. Tina Park insisted that she spend one night at her house. She was well loved here, and we had a lot of fun.
Also, right before she left I got sick, and I’ve been sick since. So I’ve been sleeping a lot (even more than I would have normally) and haven’t done much. But it’s down to congestion and a cough now, so that’s good.
So here’s what’s been up, what I’ve done and thus what everyone else should do. I saw Any Given Sunday last night, the new Oliver Stone football flick with Al Pacino. Good movie. I was entertained throughout. Kind of hyperenergetic and noisy, but I came away feeling good about it. Much better than I did after seeing Toy Story 2 or The Green Mile.
About Toy Story 2 – everyone loves it but me. I don’t understand it. For some reason the humor just doesn’t jive with me the way it does with everyone else in the world it seems. But I felt the same way about it as I did with Toy Story 1. Pleasant enough, but it just didn’t click with me.
I was more surprised that I didn’t really like The Green Mile. Maybe I have to see it again, I wasn’t in the right mood. But it just didn’t do it for me either. It felt long. I say it’s surprising because The Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie, and the movies share the same source (Stephen King), and same screenwriter / director (Frank Darabont). I don’t know, I just didn’t get it. Weird.
It affirmed to me though that Shawshank is the ideal movie. It’s a long movie, but every single scene seems vital and not out of place. It belongs there and is essential to the movie. And every single scene is just so well done. Gosh I love that movie. There are so many things about it to talk about. So many great lines, great deliveries, great scenes. I love the camera shot where Hadley is about to throw Andy off the roof, and the camera starts from a birds-eye view and you see the height of the building, and the people down below, and it come down to a side view. Just a great movement. There are a lot of great shots.
Anyway, I bought the shooting script to Shawshank on Amazon and it’s enlightening – they didn’t have the hugest budget for it so they actually had to make sacrifices in scenes and such. And I think it’s a good idea that they did.
If you hear about the Green Mile though, Darabont would spare nothing. The shooting went weeks over scheudle, and he insisted that he had to have it be the 3 hours + length that it is. This is just my opinion, but I bet if he had the same constraints that he had for Shawshank, The Green Mile would be a better movie. It’s just sometimes we work better when we have constraints than when we have total freedom. In fact, sometimes that’s when we do our best work.
Like A Christmas Carol was written really quickly by Dickens because he needed money. I think Casablanca came together really quickly also. I don’t know, I just think that’s an interesting phenomenon.
I’ve also been reading a lot. Newsweek, the best weekly news magazine, came out with this year end double issue that is really quite good. There was one article on race that was very very enlightened. Just about how race trends are changing, how in California, very soon the predominant race will be Hispanic, not white. And how California is generally the forerunner of trends around the country.
Anyway, it points out that most of these forecasts can’t be true because it assumes the races won’t intermingle, and that’s obviously false. Another interesting thing it points out is that what it means to be white constantly changes. For example, in the past, “white” meant only west European. Like Britain, France, whatever. It excluded Eastern Europeans because they were of supposedly inferior stock. Nowadays, someone would consider a person of Romanian background for example as white as anyone else. So an interesting thing that happens is that the notion of “white” changes with time.
I thought that was interesting. It might be that the majority white may absorb other categories to remain in the majority. Does this make sense? So in the future, maybe Hispanic will be considered white. I don’t know.
Anyway, the article talks about what it would mean to be white and whatever in an increasingly multi-ethnic society with many mixed race individuals. And it makes a bold claim that if Brazil is any indicator, those who are more white not in blood but appearance will still have advantages. Bold. But interesting. I highly recommend reading this article.
In fact, the whole issue is quite good. Except for one article, David Gates on irony. It’s entirely unreadable. Total waste of paper.
Another good article is on predictions about 1999 from 1899. As the article astutely points out, these predictions tell as much about their time as it does of the time they attempt to predict. Everyone predicted we’d be flying around instead of driving, except for one – H.G. Wells. Other interesting things as well. One person nearly seemed to envision the Internet, which was amazing to me. A good article. Way better than anything Time could put out. Or the Robb Report.
Anyway, since Jieun was here and I got sick, I didn’t have time to write any Christmas cards this year. Yeah, I suck, but I just couldn’t. Plus, I had no addresses with me, so it would have taken way more effort to write any this year. I’m very sorry about that, if you’re reading. It’s the first year I haven’t; hope you can cut me some slack.
At any rate, Christmas cards this year have been fascinating to me. That is, who I’ve gotten them from. And that is, no one. Well, a few. And it’s those few that fascinate me, because they are not the people I would have expected at all. There might be several waiting in Palo Alto, but I suspect not. Anyway, it’s just amused me. Seriously, it just totally fasinates me who I got cards from.
Anyway, my serious dropoff in Christmas card reception this year is inevitable and expected. 1 – I’m not an undergrad anymore. 2 – There was no directory for FiCS this year, and I would not be in it regardless. 3 – I make nearly no effort to keep in touch with people. This is really bad. But I am really really really poor at keeping in touch with people. I cannot overstate this. I suck.
Also, I extremely lazy. Both Henry and David say they’re lazy but my bold claim is I’m lazier than both of them. I could easily justify this statement but I’d probably get in trouble if my mom ever found out.
Tina Park introduced some of us to this great game called Compatibility. I guess she heard about it when she was in New York and hung out with Chris Min et al. Anyway, it’s a great game. What happens is, there are 6 identical sets of cards, about the size of playing cards, and they have various words or pictures on them. Someone rolls and picks a topic card, which determines the topic for that round. For example, “crafts.” Each of the 6 then pick like 5 cards from their deck which they think most deal with that topic and order them.
Then, each team (a team is 2 players) shows their cards. If there’s a match (They both have the same card) they get one point. If it’s a perfect match (same card, same position) they get 2 points. So you can get 10 points per round. The winner is the first to progress to the middle (you progress according to how many points you get).
That’s not exactly how it works, but the general idea. Anyway, it turns out to be a lot of fun, as you want to prove yourself compatible, try to read each other, and explain your choices. It’s just highly enlightening. Someone buy this game. It’s only available online, and I have no idea where, but it is a good game.
Another fun game we played was Trvial Pursuit – Star Wars Special Edition. It’s all questions about Star Wars. It’s actually a surprising amount of fun. Scott Kim bought this game for Tina Park.
Anyway, if anyone can get these in time for the FiCS ski trip that would be great. I’m going and what the heck am I going to do there? Talk to people? I’d rather play games where there’s something diversionary to do so you can have fun and ignore the fact that you don’t know each other well. Someone get Compatibility!
This has been an utterly useless entry, but whatever. I’ve been using my dad’s laptop at home, and it’s running Korean Windows. I absolutely hate it. I can’t understand anything! And it replaces random sections and letters with Korean characters. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so darn annoying.
But the interesting thing to me is how so much of Korean is just the Koreanization of English words. Like computer, or network, or telnet. Couldn’t they have thought up of korean words for these, instead of using the way it sounds in English? Also, the recycling bin on the desktop is “hyoojeetong.” Is there no recycling in Korea?
I was going to write about this best junior high jazz pianist nonsense that people say about me (untrue) but I’ll save that for next time. Have a Merry Christmas and be careful of terrorists this New Years. Especially in big public places, like the Rose Bowl.