Sunday, September 30, 2007

My mother on driving with me

Mom: Hee hee, today was like Miss LC's Wild Ride. Like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
Lovelesscynic: Oh, hush.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Against my better judgement

I have a cell phone now.

A short documentary on Better Luck Tomorrow and Finishing the Game

For those of you who don't know, I really like Better Luck Tomorrow. And Justin Lin's new movie is coming out in New York next week. The documentary has three parts. Watch the first one here.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Conversations from home

Mom: What's "The History of Clapper"?
Me: Oh, that's a Chinese musical instrument.
Mom: Maybe I should insert a "the" to make it "The History of the Clapper."
Me: Yeah, otherwise it sounds like a history of gonorrhea.
Sister: So can someone tell me why gonorrhea is called "the clap"? I mean I know the syphilis is called "the pox" but that makes some kind of sense. (pause) Maybe it means it feels like someone is clapping something on you.
Me: Or maybe it means it feels like someone is clapping for you.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

When the lovelesscynic has to attend bullshit orientation activities,

she gets angry. So this guy came in to teach us about different types of leadership styles. Which I'm already not into. But he comes in and uses Tibetan prayer bells to signal when he's going to end the activity. And talks about how he went to some college for graduate school founded by a Tibetan monk. (So you already know what I'm thinking.)

But then he introduces the leadership styles. And there are four, says him. Based on the directions of a compass. North=forceful, decisive. West=logical, analytical. East=mystical, visionary. South= emotional, feeling based.

Now, I had to spend 4 plus hours listening to this guy. But at a certain point, I figured something out. The Leadership Compass is totally racist! Why are the North and West points of the compass weighted towards rational thinking and decisive action. Whereas the Southern part is ruled by irrational emotions. And the mystical East, well, we all know what I think about the mystical East.

Racism and foul play is afoot. Not to mention some major cultural appropriation. There was also an Insufferable Gandhi Story. Which is almost as unbearable as an Insufferable Mother Teresa Story. I felt an overwhelming desire to read him Salman Rushdie's essay on Gandhi just to shut him up.

And this at an AmeriCorps orientation no less.


Over and out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Conversation from the bus stop

Man at the bus stop: I'm meeting my friend, we're going to sail on my yacht. Actually, it's not a yacht. It's a sailboat.
Lovelesscynic: Oh...
Man at the bus stop: My girlfriend's pregnant. She's a nurse. The head nurse, on the sixth floor.
Lovelesscynic: Uh oh. I mean, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Man at the bus stop: Well, I made it. So I'll take care of it. You have kids?
Lovelesscynic: No.
Man at the bus stop: You will. You seem like a nice kid.
Lovelesscynic (thinking): When is the bus going to come?!

Notes from job training

I dislike ice breakers. I dislike introducing myself in front of 30 strangers. People who smile all the time, and stare at me fixedly freak me the fuck out.

Jena 6

Pretty much anything I'm thinking has already been said. If you're around the same blogosphere that I'm in, you've probably heard the details. If you haven't heard about it, Vox has a nice summary and some nice editorial as well. She's also got links to petitions that you can sign. Here and letters you can send to the Louisiana governor here.

I'm glad things are finally moving in the right direction, and people are noticing and paying attention. However, I almost don't want to identify too strongly because there's still so much possibility for this all to go back down the toilet where it was headed before. Still, do your part.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some thoughts on movies

Do you ever wonder what movies are telling us? Recently there have been a series of movies about the Middle East. Now, I haven't seen most of them, because I've been watching my blood pressure lately, and I have a feeling that watching a movie about current events coming out of Hollywood isn't going to help.

I'm almost curious to see some of them. I mean, it's hard not to read movies, or more accurately, the topics of films such as Kingdom of Heaven or 300 in light, of, oh, national policy. I mean from what I hear, Kingdom of Heaven had to have a token sympathetic Arab antagonist. I'm fairly sure, even without seeing the movie, that he probably ended nobly and tragically.

The handling of movies like these, reveals a lot about how we as a nation view and interpret history. A friend of mine once said that she disagreed with our Illustrious Alma Mater's decision to valorize the Romans and the Greeks as the "Foundations of Western Civilization" since she believed that the middle ages had an even greater influence on the society that we are today. Arguments can undoubtedly be made for both sides. But what interests me more here, is the reason why people prefer the Romans and the Greeks to other time periods such as the Middle Ages. What sort of image do we see? And why do we want to emulate it?

I mean, as my friend pointed out at the time, 300 is kind of silly, since it casts the Spartans as the "Americans" and the Persians as the "decadent Oriental empire of your choice" when commonly Spartans were autocratic and totalitarian. However, the directors of the film to force a different sort of characterization on them in the film, and of course this raises the question of why they chose to frame this historical conflict in the way that they do. Why do there always have to be "Americans" or American-substitutes in every movie? Also, why do all people from ancient Europe irrespective of region speak in a British accent?

Ok, this post really ended up pretty far away from what I originally started with. Sue me, I'm tired. I'll attempt to pick up this train of thought later, and hopefully come up with something more than just "philosophical" questions. If you've got some theories, I'd like to hear them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Surprisingly

nothing interesting ever happens on my commute to work.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hawai'i 2



Did you ever know that there were this many Rotary Club chapters? Did you know that each one HAS THEIR VERY OWN BANNER? Did you know there was some Japanese lady on the Big Island that collects them all? Well neither did I.



Just give me some black eyeliner and call me Raevyn

There are days when life seems like it consists of walking uphill into a wind blowing in the opposite direction. While I recognize the utility of putting one foot in front of the other, I sometimes wonder if wherever I end up is going to be worth the bother.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My mother on Bright Future and ageism

Me: And the director said that it's a bright future for the young people and if you think it's a bright future for the old people you're mistaken.
My mother: Well I certainly didn't think that it was a bright future for the old people. The guy died! Age traitor! Self-hating old person!

Hawai'i




Pictures from the restaurant where we had my grandfather's party.

The view from my grandparents' screen door.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Suburban Wasteland


There are a few things that are picture worthy in my town. Although, I suspect that this mostly has to do with the light.


These two pictures were taken at an elementary school playground near my mother's apartment. Despite the fact that you can probably walk there in twenty minutes, I didn't attend this school. Go figure.

The view from my mother's deck

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Kurosawa movie double feature (and I don't mean Akira)

Recently I saw a couple movies by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Cure and Bright Future. Clearly they made me think or I wouldn't be writing about them. As a brief, spoiler free, outline. Cure (1999) is about a rash of murders in Tokyo, all committed by different people, and apparently for no reason, but all cut a deep X into the chest and neck of their victims in the exact same manner. The story centers on the detective responsible for investigating the case, and a mysterious, yet sinister young man named Mamiya, who comes into contact with each murderer shortly before they commit this murder. Bright Future (2003) is a little bit harder to define, it centers on two young workers in a factory with dead end jobs, and their poisonous jellyfish, and the estranged father of one of them. I can't really get into more detail than that.

Kurosawa really has an eye for color and light. It's not that he films extraordinarily beautiful things, but that he makes ordinary things seem beautiful. It's hard to explain, but there it is. Furthermore, although Cure is a genre film, thriller/horror movie, the structure of both films are so aimless, and yet absorbing, that pretty much anything could happen at any moment. There's very little build up to important events, even murders, which makes it perhaps truer to life, but in some ways much more disturbing.

Both films also center around the interplay between two characters, in the case of Cure the detective and Mamiya and Nimura and Arita in Bright Future. In both cases, one of the characters is somewhat otherworldly, functioning by a different logic than the rest of the world. And estranged from society to a great degree. The depiction of conventional society is usually rather unsympathetic, and one gets the idea that the director himself is none too sympathetic with ordinary society. However malignant or inexplicable this character, he usually projects a great amount of self knowledge and self confidence. The other character, the detective or Nimura, is, by contrast, fundamentally not at peace with the world and faced with a dilemma that will significantly impact their life.

Both films are pretty challenging to watch, and their endings are somewhat ambiguous. Particularly Cure, by the end of it, I had no idea what the hell was going on. However, the director is very good at building a persuasive world. Which stays with you, even if the ending isn't particularly tangible or understandable.

Of the two, Bright Future resonated the most with me. Perhaps this is because its central character is a directionless 24 year old who doesn't know what to do with his life or something like that. Interestingly, my mother thought Cure starring a middle-aged detective was more accessible, perhaps it's a matter of perspective. Both films are also about events which have the potential to change the world, whether it be a meme of murder, or the adaptation of a deadly jellyfish from saltwater to freshwater. Whether they change the world for good or for worse is almost immaterial. The change is what is important.

This sculpture


had a strange attraction for people. While I was sitting there, at least three kids jumped inside it, and one grown man.

And this concludes the Japan section of the pictures. Of course in the three months or so that it took me to post all of these, I've taken pictures of less exotic places. I'll put them up eventually.

Tokyo UFO

Friday, September 07, 2007

It can't possibly be true, I said.

Japanese fishermen couldn't possibly have sex with manta rays. It must be some kind of exaggeration. Well, I clicked on the damn link. I can't unclick it.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

It's hard to imagine that this is the same country that came up with Hello Kitty.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Meme

Instructions:

Remove the link of the top blog and add your blog at the bottom:

Sunrays and Saturdays
VirusHead
Virtual Bourgeois
My Beautiful Wickedness
Feline Formal Shorts
Love Songs (Are for Losers)

Replace the last person’s answers to the questions with 5 of your own.
Pass this meme on to five fellow bloggers

What were you doing ten years ago? (Five things)
1. being offered my first job
2. getting ready for my second year of high school (I think, I generally forget anything 5 years out or more)
3. walking a lot with my mother
4. going to the public library every Saturday
5. trying to disappear

What were you doing one year ago? (Five things)

1. Cursing the heat
2. Teaching an insane amount of classes
3. Staying inside to avoid the heat and avoid officious old women
4. Hanging out with my friend from college who was visiting at the time
5. Eating a lot of crackers, drinkable yogurt, and fantuan from 7-11

Five snacks you enjoy.

1. The Korean style nori, that's super oily and salty, and kind of tastes like popcorn
2. Flax cereal without milk
3. Mochi
4. Cinnamon toast
5. Milk candy

Five Songs you know the lyrics to…

1. 髮如雪-周杰倫
2. 突然累了-林俊傑
3. Trouble- Voxtrot
4. 心中的日月-王力宏
5. 我的果汁分你一半-花兒樂隊

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire.

1. Invest in my parents' retirement
2. Buy a condo and use it to store all my books
3. Buy a house
4. Buy my mother several tons of birdseed and hummingbird nectar
5. Pay my sister's college tuition

Five Bad Habits.

1. Excessive and inappropriate use of parentheses
2. Telling people "Oh, I've heard a lot about you."
3. Weeping for the soul of humanity (I'm only half kidding here.)
4. Being surly, sulky, and/or uppity. (One day I will tell the story of how my 7th grade PE teacher locked me in a closet for being insubordinate. But not today.)
5. Tactless honesty

Five things you like to do.

1. Reading
2. Taking pictures
3. Looking in people's windows at night
4. Walking around the city at night (when it doesn't seem likely to get me killed)
5. Listening to the same song over and over again with the headphones on

Five things you will never wear again.

1. My parents once convinced me that I needed to have things with patterns and colors in order to be normal, I've never made that mistake again
2. Braces
3. An animal costume for the purposes of employment (No lie)
4. A hat
5. A Halloween costume

Five favorite toys.

1. The computer
2. mp3 player
3. the internet
4. rice cooker
5. Amity, the 11 year old parakeet

Five things you hate to do.

1. talk on the telephone
2. active listening
3. attend "Kawasaki" family reunions (like Hell, only with leftovers)
4. buy pants
5. argue

I tag, hm, Vox, Blackamazon, little light, factorial, and anyone else who actually reads this thing.

On yet another unrelated matter

My inner snark requests me to tell you that Larry Craig should make like Maria Callas and get off the stage of public opinion already. (And no, the Maria Callas reference was not supposed to be referencing the stereotype of gay men's love for the opera, shame on you for even thinking that.)

On a fourth unrelated matter, this was one of the worst days I've had in a while. It was really bad.

One of my pet Engrish peeves

Gay is an adjective, people. Not a noun. An adjective. Also, if you are going to make it a noun, it's a countable one.

Furthermore, on an unrelated matter, those angryasianman contests where you win stuff, I won something. I don't think I've ever won a contest before.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tokyo 3


I was quite happy with how this one turned out.

Tokyo 2


I'm not sure why I like this one, but I've decided to inflict, ahem, I mean share it with you anyway.

Conversations from the Dinner Table

I'm listening to music.
My mother: Who is this?
Me: Khalil Fong
My mother and my sister: Khalil?!
Me: I think maybe he wanted a unique name, since his real name is 方大同, which is kind of like John Smith or something in Chinese.
My sister: Or maybe he's a Uighur.
Me: HE IS NOT A UIGHUR. (a pause) Gee, I really sounded like Morbo (that newsmonster from Futurama).
My mother: You really need to stop watching that, I'm starting to sound like the Professor, and you sound like Morbo.
Me: Hey, if we have to sound like something, we may as well sound like something funny.