samedi 12 janvier 2008

LA story

A beautiful day. There's an outdoor artisanal festival outside my door lining two streets that lead up to my street. They're playing music. They really like Supertramp here. Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger". Probably made famous by the film Magnolia. I know this, because I have the soundtrack. I prefer "Logical Song", especially for karaoke. They've played Supertramp every day of the festival. It's kind of funny.

I love this video because it's quintessentially LA, and LA is home. And these guys just have a really funny presence the same way you can look at David Cross in "Arrested Development" and crack a smile. How can you look at him and not smile? Whenever people ask me where I'm from, I say LA because it's easier than my own humble city that's located smack between LA and Orange County. Technically, I am in LA county. I never say OC. God...the OC. Blurg. Nothing's wrong with it, it's just the connotations and that stupid tv show.

Anyway, after watching this video, it really made me miss LA. I just feel really lucky and blessed to have grown up there. If I lived in any other city in the world, I wouldn't be who I am today. Dad used to work for the city of LA, fixing air conditioners in city owned buildings like libraries, firehouses, and police stations. He'd tell great stories about the people he met, he'd take us to all these great hole in the wall restaurants. He'd drive us around, and I'd sit in the back starry-eyed at this city 30 minutes away from my own, hoping, someday, to live in a quaint dump that was close enough to a crappy (but a good beginning) job so that I can bike it. He'd know shortcuts, the best public building to take a crap, the best burritos, and the best fried chicken. Yum.

And it's the metropolis of filmmaking. People come here to make it big or serve dinner to people who made it big. I, myself, have several brushes with celebrity which I will brag about right now:

1. Sean Astin: Right after the first LOTR came out. Was on my flight from Portland to LAX. I yelled, "GOONIES!" at him from across the terminal, and he kindly waved. He also helped my friend with her suitcase at baggage claim.

2. Jamie Lee Curtis: At California Adventure. I ran past her, turned around, and walked by her and said, "Hello" as my friends watched in complete astonishment. She said "hi" back.

3. Mike White: You probably don't know him, but he was Jack Black's roommate in School of Rock. He also wrote the film and is an accomplished screenwriter. He was on my flight from LAX to Heathrow. Sidled up behind him like a ninja when boarding the plane and told him how I thought the film was pretty funny. He seemed kind of nervous.

4. John Gulager: Director of Feast at CineGear 2007, which I'll be missing this year!! Boo.

5. Laszlo Kovacs: Cinematographer for Ghostbusters, Easy Rider, along with a slew of other films. Also at CineGear 2007. He signed my book that I got on his work. This meeting was really special since we talked a little about film school and his love for San Francisco to which I told him he should go back to my school and have a workshop. He past away a month later.

4. Various Production Crew: On my numerous flights from SF to LA, I've met a computer designer that makes creatures for films and video games. I've also met some guys that just worked on the last Star Wars at Lucas's ranch and were returning back to LA for a premiere. These people are just as important as screenwriters, directors, and actors, and they're celebrities to me too. Wow, I've been pretty lucky at airports...

So yeah, pretty cool. People always talk about the "move to LA", what a big change it'll be and so forth. But I think I've been spared the orientation since LA is home.

vendredi 11 janvier 2008

there's hope for you yet, young one.

Still feeling crappy, but it's going away. Almost wished it wasn't going away so quickly because I like it when my voice is sort of phlegmy. It just sounds more serious. But, I do get to use the excuse, "I'm not feeling well" when my friends ask me if I want to come out and play. Oh how lucky I am to have friends here, to have people who want to hang out with me, who call me up to get something to eat or drink, who invite me on their outings. I am probably the most closed-off person you would ever meet. I'm kind of French that way. We can't share the same fondness for hot chocolate and then expect to be chummy. You and I, we have to share something together, something deeper. With me and my friends, it's this year abroad.

Went to class and sat with some girls I knew. One of them is going back to the states. Somehow, we started talking about how our level of French is and how long we've been studying. When I told them I was studying for 2 years, they were astonished. Especially since the professor just handed me back my paper and said it was very good. That made me feel good. Especially since these girls have been studying for all of high school, and I pretty much started in college. I had one year of beginner's French in high school, but that doesn't really count, that class was sort of a joke.

Still, it made me feel better. And I'm all for finding some sort of happiness anywhere. This YouTube video featuring "Arrested Development's" Michael Cera has also been making me laugh. I hope to work with guys as funny as them:

Wore my new kickass boots to school. I feel so powerful and kickass in them, I love it. I got a couple of looks in the metro from puny businessmen who eyed my kickass boots and then looked at me, and I gave them this "yeah, I'll kick your ass, no problem" kind of look, and they went back to their crossword puzzles. These boots are so rugged, I love it.

jeudi 10 janvier 2008

the future aka the summer I come home

I skipped class today. I wasn't feeling well. Congested and coughing like no other. This'll be the first time I miss this class, but I figure I have a good enough reason. I feel like crap. I swear, this always happen right when I start trying to eat better and exercising. Immune system goes kaput. I'm going to start focusing on getting better before I start the body purification process again.

I can't stop thinking about the future. Like what am I going to do when I get back to California? This whole study abroad thing has just become this hiatus from normal life and the familiar. And I'm glad I had it, am having this "break." But once I get back home, I have to start up again. You know, start actually doing things. Not that I'm not doing things here. But, if anything, this past year in Paris has been like a sort of vacation, seeing loads of sights, living in a temporary situation. And I love it, but it's going to come to an end like all vacations. There's a lot to accomplish when I get back.

* Start filming mockumentary for Kuya's wedding: This might involve at least 2 weeks of shooting in July and a couple days in August.
* Get top wisdom teeth removed: I can feel them coming already and messing up my top row of teeth. Crap. I have this thing about my teeth. My top retainer even broke and Susie's bf Andy said that my wisdom teeth coming in probably broke the retainer. This kind of thing can also ruin my shooting schedule. When I got the bottoms out, I was in pain for two weeks. We'll see.
* Clean: A lot of things. Just get rid of things that I don't need anymore. Can do without it. Living here has taught me to be more simple, live with simplicity. I'm also going to clean the hard drive and possibly get another one for all the photos that I have accumulated.
* Bike: I'm going to finish what I started last summer. The Spartan. That was the fixed gear project I told you about. I bought a blue bike called "Spartan"--that was the name of the model. I'm going to turn it into a cheapie fixed gear beast as an homage to the film 300. Paint frame black with blood red details and blood spots. This is all pending if I have the money.
* School stuff: Just figure out what I'm going to do my last year of school. Should I finish the French degree? Do I even deserve it? Because I don't feel like I do. I don't even want to call myself a French major. Ugh. When I tell people this, they look at me like I'm crazy. I just can't do something that doesn't make me happy, that gives me no pleasure anymore. I know people who are studying things they don't want to study, and they're unhappy, but they're doing it anyway, and that makes them strong in a strangely sad way, but I'm not one of those people. I have to be happy.

I think that's good for now. That's a lot, actually. Shouldn't overload. If I can get all these things done throughout the summer, then I'll be happy.

mercredi 9 janvier 2008

"Je suis un solitaire, Dottie. Un rebelle." -- Pee Wee Herman.

Went to my cinema and bought this card that I wrote about yesterday. 2 euros only. And from now until I leave to go back to the States, I only have to pay 3 euros for any movie any time, the only restriction being special events. It works at the cinema I go to (Grand Action) as well as two other small cinemas that share the name Action. Amazing! Today I saw, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, which is one of my favorite Burton films, very quotable and fun to watch. In the theater were me, a mom and two of her kids, and a guy in a suit, which I thought was hilarious. When the film started, I was thinking that he'd leave thinking this wasn't the theater showing Elizabeth, but he didn't! He stayed for the whole thing. During the film I had a coughing spell, so I went outside, and the manager, a lady who'd introduce the Buster Keaton films, passed by, and she Bonjoured me which was nice. If I owned my own cinema, I'd totally say hi to people in the foyer.

I think I'm finally making it up for not being in cinema classes. You know, seeing more movies, even writing. I'm gonna try and make these 6 months here count because looking back, I spent a lot of time this past fall not being as productive as I usually am. I guess it's because I was sad for a while and the uni strikes and all. But I'm trying to be better. Anyway, there's a lot of great movies I'm going to see this week that probably would NEVER have interested me or I would have never had the opportunity to see on the screen but I've got an open mind now and the my card, and it's hella cheap: David Lynch's Wild at Heart, Coen Brothers' Barton Fink, and Francis Ford Coppola's The Conversation. And that's just this week at one cinema!

My Frye boots came in the mail. Thanks Mom! I love them. I feel like a badass gunslinger girl walking in them. I'm breaking them in, right now, and I'm going to take really good care of them. They were pricey, but I have a discount at Urban Outfitters where I got them. I think it's better to buy quality products (made in USA, yeah!) rather than settling for cheapie stuffs sometimes. I'm learning to create a wardrobe that stresses quality and fit over quantity. This means no more mindless shopping which leads to wasting money. I know that these'll last me years if I take good care of them, and I'm pretty good with taking care of things. I think I learned it from my Dad since he taught me how to take care of my car and my bike. These are good skills to have, especially when you're an independent girl. You can't always depend on guys to save you.

Speaking of guys, special shout out THANKS to Andy back in SF! Thanks for sending me a postcard! So thoughtful and totally unexpected. Not including the fam, I have only received postcard/Christmas cards from two boys, Edel and Andy, and I've never expected to get anything at all from my friends, let alone from my guy friends. It's so nice. Andy's a Cinema major like me and is going to study abroad in Australia this semester. YAY ANDY!

mardi 8 janvier 2008

everyone needs to be on an island at some point in their lives...

Last day of class for my Tuesday class. That Tuesdays! Thank you God. After class, me, Susie, and her bf Andy who's here for vacation, went to the Basilica at St. Denis. They entomb their kings and queens there. We saw the tombs of Marie Antoinette, Louis XVI, Henry II, Catherine Medicis, among many more. It was cold inside, but beautiful. Didn't bring the camera.

It can be weird being the third wheel when you're with a couple, but it's fun to observe how couples are. You can see this connection between two people that no one will ever be a part of because it's theirs and no one else's. The inside jokes, the stories they know but have to explain to others, the little tiffs that end in both of them being right somehow. It's absolutely beautiful.

Bought tickets to The Big Lebowski for next week. Will get the "Carte Cine Passion" this week too. It's for those under 26 yrs. old, and it costs only 2euros. With it, each movie ticket is only 3 euros!! Totally amazing. Wish America did that. And they're showing Pee Wee's Big Adventure this week! AWESOME! I love my cinema.

Went home, had toast while watching "Lost", and, I swear, biting into that little crunchy square was heaven. I haven't had toast since America, but I just recently bought sliced bread when I found out how cheap it was--49 centimes! Anyway, good episode, but it was pretty much filler. Hurley finds an old VW van that they fix, but you should have seen the look on their faces when they got it running. Sheer happiness. If only I can be on an island and have something missing in my life so that I can experience that level of euphoria if and when I get it again. Oh wait. I am doing that.

Everyone should be on an island at some point in their lives. Deprivation. Limitation. To finally see what it's really worth to you. To finally see what you never needed. We buy things and then we realize they have standards. "I can't wear these shoes with that dress." "This skirt only goes with these two shirts." And our homes are crowded with things we don't need but bought to impress. No more of that, I'm learning my lesson. Oh how I've come to love the island and the insight it's given me.

lundi 7 janvier 2008

back to blah

Absolute worst back to school day ever. First of all, school just re-started from two glorious weeks of vacation, so that is just blah to begin with. No student is supposed to be happy today. Second of all, and here's the BEST part, my professor extended our class that was going to end on the 21st of this month to the 4th of February, and my final exam is on a day that I'm in London.

Absolute crap.

It was just this morning that I was looking up things to do in London, and now stupid France, stupid school system, and ambivalent professor has to ruin the one thing I was looking forward to this winter, my like 1.5 days I have in lovely London seeing cousin, cousin's wife, and the baby. The tickets were the cheapest, meaning they're non-refundable, not exchangeable, and 60 euros down the drain if I don't go.

But I'm going.

While professor was blathering on about the sixties revolution, I couldn't help but think about what I was going to do, what I had to fix. I've graduated from my regular freakouts (those who worked alongside me on film know what I'm talking about) to calm self-deliberation. I wrote out my options in my Moleskine along with their consequences and effects. As a student, I hate re-scheduling tests and not taking them in class with the students. As a sentient human being, I'm not going to let this stupid class ruin my chance of some happiness, a real vacation, and of getting out of this country.

I'm over working around this system, finding shortcuts, doing things their way--they're going to have to work around me. I'm telling the professor that I'm not going to be there for the day of the exam and will ask to take it at a early or later time. I hate having to take the test alone, but I'd hate losing 60 euros or 30 changing my return time. I'm not cutting my trip short or forgoing the trip at all. I'm going, and I'm going to have the effing time of my life in an English speaking country. Hell, it's England for crying out loud.

Home of this:

Birthplace of hotties:

And no one can take that from me! Also, England is home of Shakespeare and a lot of great writers and poets, and Bridget Jones, so yeah, there's more to England than tea and hotties.

dimanche 6 janvier 2008

a sore throat calls for tea and TV. and crazy.

I'm rediscovering how amazing "LOST" is. Just watched an episode. The characters are complex, as is the storyline which is suspenseful and interesting than most of the drivel on the tube. And I love the dialogue. If one day I can write dialogue as simple and cryptic as theirs...I will die a happy girl. Why, you're probably wondering, am I watching American TV inside when I can be outside on this cold Parisien day waiting in line for a museum that's free because it's the first sunday of the month?

My throat feels like someone took a cheese grater to it.

I'm sick. Must have caught it days ago and gallivanting in last night's drizzle did not help. Bugger.

It's funny how I've been spending my year here appreciating all things connected with the English language. Don't get me wrong, I love being here and learning French, but these have been the worst absolute conditions to learn French in (strikes, unmotivated teachers, me being in my own little English-speaking world once class starts, etc.). If God asked me, when I died, what was the meaning of this year in Paris, if it wasn't to learn French, I'd probably go off on an angry tirade because He'd know exactly what the meaning of this year was...

To learn to be truly alone, to feel depression and to rise above it, to ask questions of myself that would have never occurred if I was in SF, to appreciate more my love of English, to make me realize what I want of this world, to give me ideas on the next big project, to give me ideas on what I want to do with my life, to clear my head, to make friends who aren't film majors, to be lost, to be found...

And then He'd stop me and say, "Alright, alright! Jeez! I just wanted to hear it from you. I'm glad you learned something...By the way, I can't believe Diablo Cody won that Oscar, it clearly should have gone to you." And then Buster Keaton would ask me to tea with Jesus, Shakespeare, and Joan of Arc, and then we'd go play croquet or something. My heaven sounds awesome.

Anyway, what am I getting at? I swear, being sick makes me write crazy things, you should have seen the other posts before this that got thrown out. This is actually a less crazy post compared to the other ones. Okay, so I want to end this with this: American tv is pretty good, but only a handful of shows; God and me are pretty cool, we settled it all last night around 2am ('cuz I've been debating religion the past couple of months); and also I HATE my toaster because, although being shiny and beautiful, the thing is a beast and it's loud when the toast pops, and the toast is small, and it's scary when I have to stick my fingers and get it. That is all.