29 November 2010
I don't know what I believe when it comes to life after death. Hell, there's a whole world of things I don't know. But what with the thought of fiveawesomegirls ending so soon, I felt I had to tell you this. I guess that this is as close as I can really get.
I never had the chance to speak to you or connect with you. I really regret never reaching out to you, but there were a lot of things keeping me from doing it. Mostly, it was because I was selfish. My best friend died when I was twelve years old and I have spent every day regretting not saying certain things to him or not spending more time with him. I could not imagine losing someone that I loved that much again. Knowing that someone so young, yet with so much life, would not be in my life anymore was too much. So I read about you online, watched your videos, saw you spend time with my friends. And somewhere along the line, I found myself attached to you. Without even trying, I felt like we were friends. But you were already gone and I could never tell you how much you inspire me or how clever and witty I thought you were.
A few weeks after you passed away, I got a text from Lauren Fairweather saying something along the lines of how you really liked me or how you looked up to me. I honestly lost it. The next few days I walked around hating myself for never saying anything to you or telling you how much I cared about you. But eventually it just hit me that you wouldn't want that. You would want me to take advantage of this world full of mysteries and explore what it has to offer. To learn. To grow. It was then that I decided to change my major to something that scares me, but challenges me. Something that, I hope, will make me feel like I am making a difference and helping people.
I know that you were an avid 5AG follower and that makes me so happy. It's so brilliant to know that we have the ability to inspire people who inspire us so much. What with it ending, I just wanted to thank you. You are one of the reasons that we kept up the energy on the channel these last few months and you definitely keep me making videos. There are days when everyone, including people on the other end of the computer screen, seem to want to bring me down, but hearing about you and thinking of you always reminds me of how lucky I am each and every day.
You are a beautiful person and I am so thankful to have had you in my life in some way. I wish you could be here for the final month of 5AG, but just know that each and every video we make, we think of you. I'm sure that wherever you are, you're not forgetting to be awesome. I love you, Esther. xxx
28 November 2010
All that being said, I cannot hide my excitement for the season. I can officially break out my Christmas owl tshirt, Disneyland Christmas sweatshirt from 2007 and unashamedly blast my Christmas playlist on the way to classes. Our tree is beautiful and larger than I think it has ever been. I have some great gift ideas in mind and, admittedly, a lot of anxieties as to what to get other people. But hey, wouldn't be Christmas if there weren't a few of those, right? And I am so excited to be going back to London. It blows my mind how quickly this quarter flew by - it almost feels like I was just over there. Almost. I'm going to be doing some pretty fun things while there, among them being a trip to Edinburgh to FINALLY see the city of my hero and to see Liam, seeing Matilda: The Musical in Stratford Upon Avon and spending a day with Adam! Also, just booked tickets to see The Glass Menagerie, so that should be wonderful.
---Just accidentally closed this page. Thank goodness for Blogger autosave!---
Anyway, I don't have much else to share. One more week of way too much work and then I'm off. So here's hoping I don't fail everything between now and then, right? Hope you all had brilliant Thanksgivings and starts to your holiday seasons! Hopefully I'll write before I leave, but it's not entirely likely what with the manic stress I am feeling at this moment. xxx
16 November 2010
Let me start off by saying that I do not want people thinking that this review has any sort of political meaning or ties behind it. Honestly, I am not really going to comment on my opinions on the events and will try to have no bias regarding the people portrayed and what they did.
That being said, those of you who have no idea what the film is about may be a little lost. Let me give a brief history lesson. Back in 2003, an ambassador named Joe Wilson wrote a New York Times op-ed entitled “What I Didn’t Find in Africa” claiming that the Bush administration had manipulated facts and evidence in order to give justification for an invasion on Iraq. Who could forget the weapons of mass destruction, right? As a result of the publication of this article, Joe Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, was outed as a CIA operative. That sliver of American history right there is what Fair Game, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, is based on.
I have very vivid memories of sitting in the kitchen, eating breakfast and hearing information on this story every day for weeks, maybe even months, when I was younger. While being familiar with the story, I did not know too much about it—I was only eleven when it occurred, after all. It was with much enthusiasm that I entered the cinema with my history-buff father the other day and Fair Game did not disappoint.
Let me start by saying that I have, shockingly, never been overly impressed with Sean Penn. I’ve seen his acclaimed films, Milk, I Am Sam, Mystic River…I was just never impressed. I have never felt like he did better than someone else could. To be honest, in retrospect, I think that Liam Neeson would be a better Joe Wilson. Or maybe he just reminded me a lot of Neeson in his portrayal. Anyway, point is, I do think this is my favourite thing I’ve seen him in and he did impress me. As for Naomi Watts, I had never seen her in anything and she was fantastic. All of the supporting actors were fantastic, especially David Andrews, who played a brilliant Scooter Libby. I definitely left the cinema cursing him as much as the filmmakers wanted me to. This film was very tasteful, considering the subject manner, and Doug Liman’s directing was really great. Especially in comparison to Jumper.
My favourite part of the film was probably the scenes with the Wilson’s and their friends. I love seeing humanity portrayed as ridiculous as it is in real life, if that makes any sense. It was such a realistic portrayal of the dinner table seens that took place all over the country during these rocky times. People jumping to hasty, ridiculous conclusions, sweeping generalisations, acting informed when they really know nothing…so painfully real. And having Ty Burrell among that crowd certainly helped me enjoy it more. Speaking of which, this film really did not have too many big names. Outside of the two leads, the majority of the cast I had never seen in anything else. That may be a result of me clearly not seeing enough film, or it may be that they are actually relatively unknown, who knows?
Despite the general admiration I have for this film, there is one issue I had with it than cannot be overlooked. The camera was incredibly shaky. Now, this is not always an issue with me. I have seen Slumdog Millionare, Cloverfield, all of those shaky films. But never in those did I find myself averting my eyes from the screen to suppress a headache. I understood the shakiness of the camera during the shots in the Middle East, but what confused me was how simple scenes, a memorable one being when they are sitting in a car talking back an forth toward the beginning, needed to be shaky as well. Was it supposed to reflect how shaky their marriage or the situation was? Because I did not need the motion sickness to figure that one out. I hate to say it, but that really took my out of the film a few times. This may not be an issue for other people; I don’t think my dad noticed. Just be aware when going into the film that you may or may not feeling like you are on manning a sail boat on a particularly blustery day.
Overall, I really enjoyed the pacing, acting and general feeling I got from Fair Game. I may have some cinematography issues, but the film was worth it. A moment that really resonated and that I left thinking about was when Wilson quoted Benjamin Franklin telling the men and women waiting outside of the Constitutional Convention that America had been given “A republic, if you can keep it.” Our country has been through some remarkable things in such a brief amount of time. Sure, we are young, but we are powerful. If nothing else, I left this film thinking about how powerful of a country America is but, man I hate to be cliché, to (possibly) quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt (or Stan Lee), “with power comes great responsibility.” I think I will leave it there to prevent doing what I stated at the beginning that I would not do.
Let me know if you have seen this film and what you though of it. Sorry if this review seems a bit rushed, but I have a lot of work to be getting back to. Have a lovely week, everyone.
14 November 2010
For the past five years, most of my friends have lived all over the country or all over the world. I have a few close friends, but for the most part, they are scattered across this lovely-but-way-too-massive Earth. I go months, even years, without seeing some of the people who are closest to me. It never gets easier saying goodbye, but I've learned to cope with it and it is no longer the heart-shattering experience it use to be when I say farewell to my dearest, but unfortunately not nearest, friends. But it is Sunday afternoon and my friends here at university are discussing "FINALLY REUNITING" with their friends who went away for the weekend or screaming and hugging in the lobby and it sort of blows my mind. It is not that I don't have good friends here or anything, but four days is not nearly enough time for me to really miss anyone, let alone people I've only known for a month or two. It is just really surreal to see the difference between what people here consider a long time to go without seeing someone and what I would consider a long time. I am not entirely sure if this means that I am hardened to loss or distance or if my dear friends here are just lucky enough to have never dealt with nearly a year away from one of their best friends (Emilycomebacktomeplz).
I would just like to make it clear that I am not trying to insult them or say I am better than them or anything. I was (mostly) joking about that whole WEAK thing up there. It's just strange. Alright, back to work. One more month of the endless piles of work, one more month till Marks and Spencer and fairytale castles and
12 November 2010
I did not rush to the cinema opening day or cross the days off my calender till it came out. It wasn't even till I started hearing people talk about it around campus till I realised it was out. (It came out in the middle of my month of midterms, give me some slack.) Well, I saw it last weekend. I wanted to write a review as soon as I had seen it, but I knew that this would have to be a film that would have to sit with me for a few days before I could decide just how much I liked it. And it worked. Because I loved it.
The Social Network, for all three of you who haven't heard of it, is the story of the founding of the ridiculously popular social networking website, Facebook. Not a single moment of this film passed where I was not totally invested in what the actors were saying. Alright, maybe there was a brief moment where I giggled to myself about how Brenda Song, aka London Tiptop from Suite Life, could string an intelligent sentence together, but other than that it held my complete attention. I have said it before and I will say it again that I am all about characters. I would watch a film of a group of people sitting in a room for two hours if the characters were interesting (12 Angry Men, anyone?). And the actors and their roles did not disappoint. Jesse Eisenberg was brilliant. I had only ever seen him in Adventureland and that whole film is sort of forgettable, so I feel like I'd never seen him act. Andrew Garfield is someone I've seen in a few things: Doctor Who, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Boy A, Never Let Me Go (which I tried to write a review on and couldn't even be critical, it was just gushing - go see it), etc. He has a real command over every character he plays and really brings them to life. Justin Timberlake is someone I find funny and respect for his versatility as a human being--what HASN'T he done?--but never found his acting remotely compelling. But he was actually really, really impressive. Maybe it's just 'cause he is really good at being a jackass, but that's exactly what the character needed, so my point stands.
The pacing of the film I found really interesting, as well as the bouncing back and forth between Mark testifying and the story itself. I really commend Fincher for that, because other than the characters, that stylistic choice really made it for me. In fact, despite my love for Panic Room and Benjamin Button, I think this has overtaken them for my favourite Fincher film. I find the actually storyline really hard to comment on because it was mostly true and also based on a book, so the filmmakers didn't really have a hand in the plot itself besides some added dramatics and partying. However, they did have control over the ending, which many have found to be controversial. I've heard a lot of good things, hopeful things and at the same time, I've heard many criticisms of the end. I quite liked the ending. I felt it brought the film full-circle, in a way. It was not just telling the story of some lawsuits, it was telling the story of Mark's life and the reason he made many of the choices he made regarding Facebook was his desire to win Erica, his ex-girlfriend, back. Or maybe not even win her back, but at least to impress her.
Obviously there were brief moments where the story lagged a bit, but I felt that the acting made up for all of those moments. I did not really care for Brenda Song's character, that crazy bitch, but I don't know if that was because of the things the character did or if it was the acting. Regardless, I found her role in the film sort of pointless and could easily see the film getting on fine without her. Her only role, I suppose, was to make Eduardo's life even more shit than we thought possible.
Overall, I would highly recommend The Social Network to anyone who enjoys an intense, character-based film. I'll definitely be getting it on DVD and watching it again, hopefully with an actor + director commentary if I'm lucky. Let me know if you've seen it and what you thought in the comments. Have a great weekend.
11 November 2010
I recently realised that I do not own enough warm clothing. This was a strange realisation because I have lived in Seattle my whole life and it is not exactly warm here. I think it may be a result if me not really going out too much when it's really cold. I am use to going from car to inside, from store to store, from mailbox to home. I tended to not really be outside for an extended period of time. But when living in Seattle, anywhere that I go requires me to be outside. Want food? Gotta walk to the store or to the student center. Class? Across campus. Library? Gotta walk outside. Everywhere I go means COLD. I am not prepared for prolonged outside activity. (Not just 'cause I'm out of shape, but that's an unrelated factor to this story.)
Next part of this story is that I buy a good amount of my clothing from thrift stores like Value Village. Mostly because I cannot afford to shop elsewhere and especially now that I live about four blocks from one at school. So yesterday, I had some time after class and before my mom picked me up to go home for the weekend (we have a four day weekend and I had a hair appointment at home), therefore it was time to remedy the cold situation. I tirelessly tried on about twelve different funny smelling bulky sweaters, I hate trying clothing on, and ended up with three that I really liked. One is fluffy and black, one is ridiculously patterned and earth tones and the final one reminds me of something a Weasley would wear. I’ll have to show them off sometime. Fifteen dollars later, I was walking back to my room, thanking the sun for blessing the city for the afternoon, whilst still being very chilly. Did I mention I also really hate pants? That probably doesn’t help, but I do not like wearing jeans and almost always where tights with shorts/skirts.
Now I am home, it is the Harry Potter weekend and I have a sweater in every bathroom sink in our house because they all needed to be hand washed. I don’t know why, but for some reason, I find the image really humorous. I’m sitting here watching the trio get closer and closer to the Sorcerer’s Stone, typing up a blog post and drinking tea while I wait for my sweaters to soak and lose the lovely odor that comes with second-hand clothing from women I can only assume are well into their elder years*. Have I ever mentioned that I sort of dress remarkably like a grandmother? I always tell people that my style is a mix of something you’d see Keira Knightley, a hobbit and your grandmother wear. So charming…
I have sort of forgotten what my intention was when writing this. I suppose that blogging is just all about recording moments and memories and this is a rather precious memory, I guess. It does a nice job of summing me up. I better go rinse the soap out of these babies. See you around, cool cats.
*Speaking of the owners of things at thrift shops, why is it that whenever I find a purse or bag that I like, it has clearly spent the last thirty years in the closet of a chain smoker? I use to buy them regardless in the hopes of ridding it of that smell, but let’s be honest, it never goes away.