May 2010

05.28.10

Today I'm going to blog exclusively about the "movies watched while inking."

Since I last blogged about the movies, I found myself picking a theme for the next few film selections. I decided to go with movies about inspirational teachers who turn terrible schools and students around. There were three movies that I watched that fit this category: Lean On Me, Stand and Deliver, and To Sir, with Love.

Lean on Me: I was actually shown this movie when I was in 6th grade though I don't remember why, but I always suspected that it was because the school I was attending at the time was in dire need of straightening up its student body- maybe the teachers just needed some hope that things would turn around. As for me, I couldn't stand it anymore and I transferred to another middle school for the 7th and 8th grades. My 6th grade year was so awful that I even fessed up to my parents that I was miserable there. Thankfully they were on the same page and Los Angeles started doing open enrollment (where one could choose to go to any school in the district rather than your neighborhood school) anyway, so all was well. Anyway, this is a nice feel good movie based on a true story and Morgan Freeman shows who's boss.

Stand and Deliver: This is a dramatization based on a true story about a math teacher, Jaime Escalante (who passed away recently in March), who challenges his students at Garfield High (located in East L.A.) to a higher level of achievement. He offers an AP Calculus class, which was previously unheard of there, and ends up having 18 out of 18 students pass the Advanced Placement exam. This movie was only ok- I felt that it was very unfocused overall but the general message was good. It's too bad Garfield High has slipped in its educational standards since the 1980s. It seems that the school made some poor decisions when it came to organizing their educational departments (like many schools it seems) and that good teachers are still hard to come by.

To Sir, with Love: This is a British drama film starring Sidney Poitier (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) and also deals with social and racial issues in an inner city school. I would rank this above Stand and Deliver and somewhere near Lean on Me- whether you rank it above or below probably depends on how much sentimental drama you like (something I think Lean on Me has more of) or which decade's culture you can tolerate more: the 1980s or the 1960s.

After my thematic movie watching was over, I watched Nell, which was about a woman (Jodie Foster) who made up her own language after pretty much being isolated from other people for her entire life; Love Object, a pretty decent horror/pscyhological dramedy about a man who becomes obsessed with a girl at work and his real doll; and Up, which I've already seen but wanted to see again because it's, in my opinion, probably one of the better movies Pixar has made. The climax of Up is a really great metaphor for how people should see and live their lives. I personally thought this climactic moment was beautfiul, but I know some people didn't see it that way and just interpreted this scene as getting from point A to point B. My advice is to watch it again (if you didn't see what I'm talking about the first time), and to consider what it actually meant for Carl Fredricksen to get his house back up in the air. You know what else makes this movie great? It makes you want to cry within the first 10 minutes. That's some powerful writing and character development going on!

Off to Kansas City (first time in the Midwest!) to a wedding. Congratulations Lisa and Scott!

Jen

05.25.10

Eesh, another birthday!

Now if I'm ever found dead in a ditch somewhere they're going to describe me as a white female (b/c they probably won't pick up on the fact that I'm half Japanese) in her late 20s. Two more years 'till 30. Wow.

This weekend Edouard and I were in the Dominican Republic. We were there for various reasons but one of them was for my birthday. It was a nice trip and my first time to the Caribbean, although we actually didn't spend a lot of time at the beach b/c we were in Santo Domingo, which doesn't have any beaches. Even still, we had a lot of pool time and that was good enough for me!

The other thing that made this trip interesting was our canceled flight! We were supposed to get back in Sunday but due to mechanical problems with the plane, we had to wait until yesterday evening to come back. JetBlue gave us vouchers for our transportation to and from our all inclusive resort in Boca Chica (also paid for by them), which was like 10x better than the place we were staying before (it even had its own beach!). Thanks, JetBlue!

Even though a billion people looked at my passport yesterday, no one wished me a happy birthday! =( Oh wells.... I came home and had lots of birthday e-mails/facebook messages so all is well.

Jen

05.24.10

Sorry about the lack of update yesterday. I was stranded without internet access!

Jen

05.9.10

Happy Mother's Day, mom. I will call you later.

Edouard and I picked out our wedding invitations yesterday. We were originally going to look around on Etsy (which is where we got our Save the Dates) to find a designer, but we found that someone there isn't necessarily much less expensive than going to a place like Kate's Paperie, which is where we ended up ordering our invites. Additionally, I thought that even if it did cost a little more to go to Kate's Paperie vs. someone at Etsy, it would be fine since dealing with Etsy designers can often be a longer process than one would like. Plus, at least at Kate's Paperie, I can see samples of all the different kinds of papers and typography right away.

My friend Andrea got married last year and she told me that her wedding invitation consultant told her that picking an invite is a difficult and overwhelming process and that she would probably need multiple appointments before she ended up picking the design that she wanted. Andrea picked out the second invitation she saw.

Edouard and I weren't quite as efficient as my friend, but we were pretty fast about it (we only looked through two books of samples), and as I learned while sitting with the other soon to be wed couples, some people do indeed take multiple appointments before they choose their invitation. I guess they want the entire look to be cohesive and perfect, but it is my belief that the invitation selection process is a huge trap in terms of getting brides to be to become totally obsessive-compulsive over little meaningless details. No one is really going to care that much that you chose the thicker ribbon over the thinner one. In fact, it's probably going in the garbage as soon as the invite is opened (this is why Edouard and I don't have ribbons on ours, though I admit that I love invites with ribbons).

Anyway, it took us 2 hours to pick our invites, wait for our consultant, and give her all of pertinent information required for printing. I paid half the balance, and we should be getting digital proofs on Wednesday.

Easy as pie.

Wedding planning is actually not too difficult in general, by the way. It's all a matter of keeping your priorities straight, being organized, and not getting obsessed over the details.

Movies watched while inking: While last week I seemed to have revisited my childhood, this week was a week of disturbing violence and gore (perhaps to balance out the saccharine sweetness of An American Tail). This week I saw a movie based on a book, which in turn was based on a true life story about a girl who was locked in her aunt's basement and totured by her aunt and her cousins. It was called The Girl Next Door and it was very very disturbing and hard to watch. It's the kind of movie that makes you hate humanity and leaves you completely disgusted knowing that there are people in the world who are that hateful and low. After that, I decided to bone up on my French so I watched a some French movies. I started off with Crimson River, which was an O.K. movie about cops trying to find a gruesome serial killer. There were parts that were good but I felt that the movie lost its drive once the old cop and the young cop start collaborating on the case- it was a little cheesy. After that, I meandered back to the depressing (a lot of French films are depressing), and saw Le Secret, which was about a boy who discovers his family's WWII secrets. It's not a gruesome film in any way, but it will leave you feeling quite sober and contemplative. After Le Secret, I watched La Pianiste, which was based on an Austrian book called Die Klavierspielerin. The book and the film focus on the life of a masochistic piano teacher, who lives with an incredibly overbearing mother. It's an incredibly depressing story and the movie was difficult to watch at times. There are some acts of violence that are disturbing, but it's even worse to see the protagonist's psychological problems get darker and more out of control. I definitely do not recommend this movie to my parents- my mom would find this movie especially horrible to watch.

Jen

05.9.10

Happy Mother's Day, mom. I will call you later.

Edouard and I picked out our wedding invitations yesterday. We were originally going to look around on Etsy (which is where we got our Save the Dates) to find a designer, but we found that someone there isn't necessarily much less expensive than going to a place like Kate's Paperie, which is where we ended up ordering our invites. Additionally, I thought that even if it did cost a little more to go to Kate's Paperie vs. someone at Etsy, it would be fine since dealing with Etsy designers can often be a longer process than one would like. Plus, at least at Kate's Paperie, I can see samples of all the different kinds of papers and typography right away.

My friend Andrea got married last year and she told me that her wedding invitation consultant told her that picking an invite is a difficult and overwhelming process and that she would probably need multiple appointments before she ended up picking the design that she wanted. Andrea picked out the second invitation she saw.

Edouard and I weren't quite as efficient as my friend, but we were pretty fast about it (we only looked through two books of samples), and as I learned while sitting with the other soon to be wed couples, some people do indeed take multiple appointments before they choose their invitation. I guess they want the entire look to be cohesive and perfect, but it is my belief that the invitation selection process is a huge trap in terms of getting brides to be to become totally obsessive-compulsive over little meaningless details. No one is really going to care that much that you chose the thicker ribbon over the thinner one. In fact, it's probably going in the garbage as soon as the invite is opened (this is why Edouard and I don't have ribbons on ours, though I admit that I love invites with ribbons).

Anyway, it took us 2 hours to pick our invites, wait for our consultant, and give her all of pertinent information required for printing. I paid half the balance, and we should be getting digital proofs on Wednesday.

Easy as pie.

Wedding planning is actually not too difficult in general, by the way. It's all a matter of keeping your priorities straight, being organized, and not getting obsessed over the details.

Movies watched while inking: While last week I seemed to have revisited my childhood, this week was a week of disturbing violence and gore (perhaps to balance out the saccharine sweetness of An American Tail). This week I saw a movie based on a book, which in turn was based on a true life story about a girl who was locked in her aunt's basement and totured by her aunt and her cousins. It was called The Girl Next Door and it was very very disturbing and hard to watch. It's the kind of movie that makes you hate humanity and leaves you completely disgusted knowing that there are people in the world who are that hateful and low. After that, I decided to bone up on my French so I watched a some French movies. I started off with Crimson River, which was an O.K. movie about cops trying to find a gruesome serial killer. There were parts that were good but I felt that the movie lost its drive once the old cop and the young cop start collaborating on the case- it was a little cheesy. After that, I meandered back to the depressing (a lot of French films are depressing), and saw Le Secret, which was about a boy who discovers his family's WWII secrets. It's not a gruesome film in any way, but it will leave you feeling quite sober and contemplative. After Le Secret, I watched La Pianiste, which was based on an Austrian book called Die Klavierspielerin. The book and the film focus on the life of a masochistic piano teacher, who lives with an incredibly overbearing mother. It's an incredibly depressing story and the movie was difficult to watch at times. There are some acts of violence that are disturbing, but it's even worse to see the protagonist's psychological problems get darker and more out of control. I definitely do not recommend this movie to my parents- my mom would find this movie especially horrible to watch.

Jen

05.5.10

Ooops! I accidentally wrote "than" instead of "then" in today's comic- I committed my own personal grammatical pet peeve. My bad!

This is the kind of stuff that happens when you're juggling a million balls and not getting enough sleep!

Jen

05.1.10

Happy May day.

Sorry it's been a while since I've written in the blog, but the last two weekends have been crazy busy. I was at two different Egyptology conferences: one at Princeton and the other one in Oakland, CA. The Oakland Egyptology conference was the big annual event that most Egyptologists go to. It's hosted by the American Research Center in Egypt. This was my first time I attended the big annual meeting, and it was not only educational and useful to my dissertation research, but it was also a lot of fun. It's nice to throw back some booze with various professors and famous names in the field.

The meeting up in Oakland was also neat because my family drove up from Los Angeles to see me. We went to Alcatraz, which was everyone's first time there. They make you do an audio tour, which made me groan at first, but it was actually pretty good (and interesting for once)... and if you get tired of it, you can always just turn it off and walk around freely. If any of you are going to the bay area, I recommend going to Alcatraz and getting some lunch at Fisherman's Wharf (sourdough bread bowl clam chowder soup!) afterward. Nothing like going to a former high security prison to rev up your appetite!

Edouard and I also got our first wedding gifts from Crate and Barrel! How exciting! A formal thank you will go out as soon as I get my stationary!

Movies watched while inking: Ira and Abby- I really didn't like this movie. It pretty much encapsulated all of the bad things about New York City and New Yorkers. It's also incredibly cynical about love and marriage even though it's very clear that the title characters didn't really take marriage that seriously anyway. Then I watched What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, which I liked a lot more. It's a slow going character driven movie, a genre that I enjoy a lot. After that I decided to revisit childhood and watch Follow That Bird! which features all of the Seasame Street characters. I forget that Edouard didn't grow up with Seasame Street so I had to explain who everyone was and sing him the theme song- totally weird. I continued my walk down memory lane by watching An American Tail, which I actually think I appreciate more as an adult, and also An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, which is basically as bad terrible as I remembered it to be.

Jen