samedi 5 janvier 2008

tummy ache

Woke up and worked out for what seems like the first time ever. What followed was the most horrible tummy ache that I have ever had. Blurg. Had two cups of tea to make it go away, but it only made it worse. Felt like going back to the good old days, so I started watching episodes of "Batman: The Animated Series". So good and cinematic. I'm starting to get into Batman, after watching The Dark Knight trailer. Been going on Wikipedia and reading about all the characters and story arcs.

Didn't feel like eating lunch (only more tea) but forced myself, and it only made it go away slightly. Went out to buy more tea and also stopped by the kind grocers to stock up on veggies and fruits. This time, carrots, zucchinis, clementines, and bananas. Almost 7 euros. I like the carrots here. They're sort of sweeter than the ones in the States. One more cup of tea and clementine later, I felt better. Maybe my body is taking revenge on this new fangled diet and exercise thing.

Was up late last night reading Why We Write, a blog started by writers in TV and film. Each essay is written by a writer on why he/she writes. It's pretty cool. They were accepting submissions, so I wrote my own. It felt good to write it, I don't even care if they publish it or not. But it would be cool.

Going out tonight for Kristin's birthday. She'll be 21. Turning 21 feels uneventful here since you can pretty much drink as long as you look 16. But I have a feeling her birthday will be pretty eventful.

vendredi 4 janvier 2008

already a good start

Why is Christian Bale on this post? Well, it's because of him that this year has already started on the right foot.

I watched the trailer for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, the next Batman film featuring the hot Welshman Bale. And, I swear, it blew my mind. It looks so much darker than the previous Batman film, and I lurve it. I just got so excited, like really excited, and not just for this film, but for the future of film in general, and just being a part of it, someday.

There's a shot in particular, that I LOVED. Bale is sitting on a chair in his Batman suit, and his mask is off, and he looks tired, and he's sweaty, and all the Batsuit accoutrement are just on the ground leading up to the chair that he's sitting in. This beautiful shot just evokes the fatigue and loneliness of being this hero. And he looks like what any working man looks like when he gets home from his job, he throws his shoes off, (for Batman, it's that crazy utility belt and that grappling gun), and he sits in a chair and takes a breather. It's lovely and sad at the same time.

Anyway, Christian Bale is a dedicated actor that I'd like to work with someday and a true inspiration. When I learned that he gained almost 100 pounds of muscle (after being underweight for The Machinist) to play Batman, I was shocked, that's just truly unbelievable. And these actors, they have to do this stuff, put their bodies on the line, because their livelihoods depend on it. And seriously, what guy doesn't put on some muscle to play Batman? What I'm leading up to is that if Christian Bale can gain 100 pounds of muscle to be Batman, I can lose some 15 pounds to save my life. You know, it really doesn't sound so bad, losing 15 pounds. If I have to pretend that my livelihood depends on it (and in a way it does), if I have to pretend that I'm playing Batgirl (that would be awesome), then I'll do it. I can do it. Christian Bale, take me to the gym, I'll be your spotter.

Walked around my neighborhood and St. Germain for two hours. Didn't spend any money today. Had 4 cups of tea. 2 in the morning. 2 after my walk. Ate a variety of fruits and veggies for lunch. I'm feeling better already. And am getting tons of stuff done like uploading pics to Photobucket so I can delete them off the hard drive, writing post cards, looking over my financial records, cleaning, reading, studying. I just got to keep it up all year long.

jeudi 3 janvier 2008

"No, Jules, you've decided to be a bum." -- Vincent Vega, Pulp Fiction.

Walked out the building today to find the guy who sometimes sells used books in front of our building brushing his dog. Toto was lying on his back on top of our recycling bins. It was cute until book vendor makes a joke and says he can brush my hair next which was poofy under my hat. Haha, very funny. I say no thanks and continue on.

Okay, so I look like a bum. Big effing deal that I don't want to cut my hair because I want it long, even though it's current state is beyond weird. So what if I don't spend more than 5 minutes in front of a mirror applying stuff on my face other than sunscreen. Paris is so good at making me feel unpretty. After that encounter, I felt like every female that passed me on my walk dressed better than me, looked nicer than me. Me with poofy hair. Me wearing faded baggy pants from 7th grade. Me in the wool jacket with three missing buttons. Crap. It's all because of what that book vendor said!

Did some studying grade school style while watching cartoons, "Batman: The Animated Series", which is so amazing. It's cinematic, the dialogue is great, I just love everything about it. Am reading more French than ever before, this time with the help of my interests. Bought Premiere magazine and Glamour. The Premiere is also for my brother since it has his girlfriend, Natalie Portman, on it. There are so many cool looking movies coming out in Paris this year, most of them American, but I love my American films!

mercredi 2 janvier 2008

2008 is THE year.

Am still feeling the strange, lingering effects of my existential breakdown/epiphany or whatever it was from New Year's. I want to feel what I felt that night without thinking that I'm crazy. Other people can think I'm crazy, I don't really care about that anymore. I love the equilibrium between these brief moments of epiphany and long periods of seemingly calm normalcy. Peak, then flat, peak, then flat. Is that normal? I can't really tell, but I love it. Back in SF, life used to be mostly flat.

Looking back on this year here, I can't believe how much change has happened. I'm positive that I've done more growing here than from freshman year of high school to senior year, or even from freshman year of college to my junior year. August 24, 2007 to now--that's all it took for me to question myself, my future, my beliefs, what I want of this world, and what I want to give back. I wished that everyone studied abroad. You learn so much when you remove yourself from your tiny world: your home, your family, friends, your school, and job. All gone. Who are you now? Really? Who are you without all that other stuff that defined you, that you used to define yourself? If you take a plane halfway across the Earth, try to learn another language, and limit your connections with family and friends--you will find out who you really are.

Okay, enough of this heavy stuff...Went to Montmartre with Lucia today since she's never been to Sacré-Cœur. I wanted to visit the café where they filmed Amélie nearby there, so we made a whole trip out of it. This time we walked up all the crazy stairs, kind of like Nino's run following the arrows. Then we walked to the café, Café des Deux Moulins. Crowded as heck, not a surprise. It looked nothing like the movie, but that's movie magic for you. We got a booth, like the vultures we are, after these tourists left. I got café and crème brûlée to share Amelie-style. Here's video of me cracking it: Fun, fun. Then we walked to Pigalle and even passed the porn shop where Nino works! That was a bonus, I didn't really plan that. Lucia was all, "Let's go to Tuileries and take pictures at the metro station!" At first I was, "What?" And then I realized, "That's Paris, Je T'aime! But we can do that if you want."For dinner, we went to this small eaterie nearby Museé D'Orsay that Lucia knew about. She said they had really great sandwiches. She shocked me by saying that they use slice bread. I'm so used to a baguette sandwich! We shared their club sandwich which was damn good, and fries. Yum. We discussed how full our tummies get and how much better small portions are. Then off to St. Michel because Lucia wanted to look for gloves. She bought gloves, a sweater, and a necklace, and I just eyed all the lovely, pretty things. We ambled aimlessly around talking about whatever, then went our separate ways. A nice day.

We both agreed that 2008 was going to be a great year. We didn't know how just yet or what we thought would happen, we just knew because of the numbers. Lucia's favorite number is 8, and mine is 28. Just put 200 in front of hers and two zeros between mine, and BAM, a lucky year. But it's true...2008 is the year. I can feel it.

mardi 1 janvier 2008

new year clarity*

New Year's was...interesting to say the least. First...while getting ready to meet my friend, I couldn't find my wallet. I called her saying I don't think I'll be able to make it, I lost my wallet. Then I turned my studio upside down looking for it, tearing my bed apart, looking through last night's jacket's pockets. There was this rage inside me, like an assassin who's been double crossed by her handler, but I felt calm, composed. This can be fixed. The night before I had switched wallets, using my smaller one, because I didn't want to carry a purse, and I only put the bare essentials in it. A 20 euro bill, my carte bleue (atm), and my carte de sejour. All three can be replaced. It was a shit wallet anyway. Wallets shouldn't cost more than the money in them.

After looking in the last possible place, I stood in the middle of my tornado-hit studio, and went back to the jacket I wore the night before. In the effing SLEEVE of my jacket was my shit wallet. There's a lesson in this somewhere.

Was livid and sober the whole night at Kathy's who lives near the Arc de Triomphe and the Champs Elysées. It was nice of her to open her home to us since she lives nearby the Tour Eiffel. I was having a good time, but I can easily see from the outside that it did not appear so. I was offered wine, rum and coke, but I only took some coffee. I didn't want to get shitfaced or anything, I just wanted to be awake enough to watch everyone else get drunk. People kept asking me if I was having a good time, and I said yes I'm just so happy I don't have to express it physically.

People were wondering where to go for New Years, Eiffel Tower or stay at the Champs? Without thinking, I said that I didn't care. Even if we didn't make it, it didn't matter to me. I could hardly believe the words coming out of my mouth, me of all people saying this with my list of things to do in Paris, my must-see-this, must-go-to-that. "But it's Paris!" they said. "But it's New Year's! How many times are you going to be in Paris for New Year's?" I said, you have a point. But in my head I still didn't care. This deranged psycho in my mind that has never made an appearance had this urge to destroy.

I wanted to miss it. I wanted us to be lost at the stroke of midnight, hearing the screams of celebration from far away, and seeing the highest reaches of the sparks of fireworks above dark and vacant buildings and never the whole, glorious explosion. I wanted to see disappointed faces and people make excuses. "We got lost", "we didn't leave early enough", "it's no big deal". But it would be a big deal to them.

I thought about this, staring intently at a rug as a plate of cheese was being passed around, and I felt a smile forming on my face.

I stepped into Kathy's hallway to get some air. Be cool. Don't go crazy. Don't make a scene. Fake everything if you have to (I couldn't). I didn't know what was wrong with me, and I hated myself for thinking these things. It could have been the rage I had at "losing" my wallet. It could have been the fact that I was reading Fight Club currently and Tyler Durden has poisoned my brain. Where did this source of destroying come from?

The wallet, the calm panic, the unimportance to me of doing something extravagant because it's New Years and it's Paris...this all meant something. And I'm still not totally clear what, even as I walked from the Marais to home this morning trying to think about what it meant, I can't grasp it all.

We made it though, even though our group got separated. We were at Trocadero with the full view of the Tour Eiffel, and without a countdown, at midnight, it sparkled bright and clear and fireworks went off, and that's how it should be--no countdown--ever since I was a kid I've hated the stupid countdown and everyone shouting 3, 2, 1, and it was as perfect as I had believed everyone had wanted. I was happy that everyone else was happy and that their night had not been ruined. Afterwards we waded through throngs of people, of police, we walked on the streets in front of cars because everyone else was doing it. We dodged tourists, shouted the bass line of White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" 'cuz French teenagers loved that, and were in search of a bar. Kathy and I decided not join the trek for a bar so I went to her place after walking for an hour of seeing no bars or expensive ones and crashed there.

And at the end of the night, I no longer cared about perfection, about being complete. About crossing of my list of things to do in Paris. Being here is more than that, goes beyond that. I didn't even bring my camera to Trocadero to document it all. I was there; it happened. I saw it with my own eyes. I no longer felt that I should have evidence to show people back home, to boast in their faces, "See what I did? See that?" That wasn't important anymore. It should not have been.

But this, this post, this blog, the act of writing (or typing), the hour or so I spend a day my fingers pounding on the keys or my pen on paper, that's important. Has always been since the beginning, and it was always for me and never for you, although I know you want to think it's for you. This won't stop. You will always find me here.

[*NOTE: Posting this post might have repercussions, but it's the truth, and I care about the truth. And if you were there last night, now you know what was up with me.]

lundi 31 décembre 2007

New Year's Resolutions

1. Do more: Read more books, the news, see different movies. Listen to different musics (totally unrelated, but Modest Mouse in nice to listen to coupled with the winter setting here. "Neverending Math Equation" is perfect for going down my street. And Arcade Fire's "Wake Up" is good for walking up it, but you have to start from the door of my building. Try it! And do it when the vendors are out and it's sunny). Go to more museums. Learn more.

2. Try harder: No brainer. In school, in my own personal projects.

3. See at least one other European city: I'm going to London, yes, but I have to see at least one more European city even if it's only for a weekend. I will scrimp and save. No more pints of framboise or Monaco on random days! Leader Price brand--that's the generic brand they have here for foods--only!

4. Lose weight/gain muscle: The reason has stopped being "to look good for my brother's wedding". It's not just that, and it's not a beauty thing. I used to be pretty big in high school, but I lost a lot in college, and I am 14 pounds away from being my lowest weight which I achieved my sophomore year. And just remembering how I used to be when I was there...I felt invincible. I was taking kung fu and jogging, and people would ask me to open their pasta jars, and I ate less (and saved money), and I'd take the 12 flights to my apartment and beat the elevator that my roommate would be in (no joke!) and I felt strong like I can beat anyone up, even guys, and I was in my own personal fight club without the cuts and bruises but only the pain of my muscles getting stronger, and I felt so alive and energetic and full and in tune with my body, and I want to be back there again. And I want my physician Dr. Hur to be proud of me when she looks over my health records, and I want the girls who made fun of me back in high school to be jealous at our high school reunion. Okay, I'm gonna stop before this gets longer. 14 pounds...I can do it!

I think that's a decent list. Sorry I went overboard on number 4. Yikes. Happy New Year's everyone! Don't know what my plan is tonight. Will probably just hang out with my friends, and we'll see where the night takes us. All I know is that we want to be out for the countdown. Yeah!

dimanche 30 décembre 2007

my first nightmare

Had my first nightmare since being in Paris. At least, one that I oddly remember so well. I'm with some friends who are film majors also, and we're talking to these industry people to help me get my film made. The industry people wanted my film to get made, but, they said, the only way I was going to get this film made was if I film some scenes and pretty much put on this whole show for the "corporate people", and that's totally not my style. I said that either they like it or not, they give me the money or not. I'm not going do some stupid dance for them so that they can give me the money to make my film. It would cease to be my film when all those corporate people have all the money and can tease me with it and just as easily make it their film. The setting ceased to be room where I was pitching my script, but this gaudy, monstrosity of a set that I did not envision for my film. It was a wedding scene, and we were in the middle of this church that was all decorated in flowers and white everywhere. There was this band to one side, the corporate people on the other, the industry people in the middle of the aisles, and my friends giving out direction for me because I was too numb to do anything.

And it was getting out of hand, it was not what I wanted.

And nobody wanted to do it my way, and nobody was listening except for my friend's brother Dan (fake name), also in film and in real life a bit older and wiser about working in film, who I've only met twice and very briefly. At first, he was gun-ho, thought it was a good idea, but when it was getting out of hand, he started to see. Of all my friends and the industry people, my friend's brother who I've only said 3 words to in our time together in real life, he was the one who understood. And in the middle of this circus-like fiasco, in this elaborate show to impress these stupid suits, he came to me at the altar and without saying anything, he hugged me. It was comforting at that moment, but it wasn't enough. That's when I woke up. I'm not even out of film school yet, and I'm having this nightmare. Can you imagine what terrors await me when I'm finished with school?

Other than that, a cool day. Hung out in front of Shakespeare and Co. while Nayo and Sarah were inside. I was sitting right on this bench writing some ideas down in my Moleskine:When this European guy trying out his French comes up to me with a book and asks if I'm the one selling the books. I smiled and told him, in French, that he can go inside and pay, and I point to the store. That was like the best thing that happened to me today. Being mistaken for a bookstore owner. Sarah said, "How does writing in a Moleskine warrant you as a bookstore owner?" I said I didn't know but I joked, "I should have taken his money...But what if I didn't have any change to give him?" And then this line of people behind him would form as I played the bookstore owner. The Shakespeare people are really trusting to leave all those books outside their store.

Met up also with Susie and her bf Andy, and we tried to figure out dinner. Andy suggested calling for take-out since Susie didn't have any cash, and Andy had a credit card. Susie was all, "But I'm scared!" It's funny how something so simple like ordering take-out on the phone can feel so daunting in a foreign country. I'd be scared too. They ended up getting pizza.