samedi 19 janvier 2008

slight trace of hope

Still feel pretty shitty for declining the TA position especially when I thought that it'd might be my last chance to work with the both of them. TA Jason will probably be gone next year, and Prof. Holmes sometimes goes on sabbatical, so if I ever wanted to work with both of them this was my chance.

And then I thought about how abominable this past semester was with the university strikes and that they might very well happen again this semester because, of course, this is France.

The only thing French related that made me happy today was when I went up the street to buy groceries, and this guy was playing the accordion in front of the Franprix, and a jolly fat man smoking a cigarette across from him had his arms out and swayed to the music. That was the only thing. That and the sun shined for a good half hour before it was covered up again by the clouds. And then I thought that maybe if I checked out the soldes (there's only 2 great sales of the year, it's now and then one in July), maybe I'll see something I like and then that'll make me happy, but I worked so hard not to go down that path again. Nothing material will ever make me truly happy. And now that I've passed that, happiness is so much harder to find. I've been so used to looking for it in stores.

Then I got an email from Prof. Holmes. She said that her and Jason will miss be, but how happy she is for me. She wants to put me in touch with a film friend she has in Paris and asked if she could give my email to her. I'll tell her yes. It's always nice when your teachers do recommendations for you or talk good things about you with other people. That's when I know I've done good. And when you want to do something like film, you need people to talk good things about you. Last summer, my screenwriting professor showed my recommendation letter for his tenure to "someone in academia" who said, after reading it, that I was a good writer. I couldn't stop smiling for a week.

So there is some hope.

vendredi 18 janvier 2008


I just found out that class is canceled next Friday. That means I could have left for London on Friday instead of Saturday giving me one more day to have fun. Oh well. Maek, my cousin who I'm staying with, sent me a text message to see if we could communicate. I've heard others having problems using their phones in other countries. We'll see what happens. I just can't imagine not having a cell phone anymore. He's meeting me at the train station with the wifey so that'll be cool. And I'll get to meet their baby Jaiya! Jaiya Papaya, they call her.

I got an email today from one of my former teachers, Prof. Karen Holmes. Her and my old TA Jason (who is an amazing teacher as well and hilarious) offered me a TA (teacher's assistant) position for a 310 class this spring. I literally wanted to cry. You have no idea how much this meant to me.

I would have taken it in a heartbeat. I loved 310 class. That's film production class. I worked my butt off in that class because I loved it so much. I'd stay in the computer labs till they closed to edit my work. I worked hard because I wanted to be memorable. I wanted my name to conjure good memories and thoughts for them, and it worked. Hard work doing something you love brings results. The fact that a professor and graduate student that I respect considered me to work with them just amazes me.

It feels sort of depressing that this is the only bright, shining thing that has brought me happiness today. It wasn't French class, and it wasn't doing my French homework. It was this email about a film class back in SF. I read that email, and I imagined myself teaching those bright eyed kids how to load the Bolex camera, I saw myself reading over their film treatments, I saw me and Prof. Holmes and Jason walking to class together. And then, and then this is so pathetic that I'm revealing this to you, but I started to cry because I knew that it wasn't going to happen. This was the first time I ever really wanted to go home.

I have to remind myself that everything happens for a reason. I have to stay hopeful. This is just that post-Christmas slump that they all talked about, warned us about. I'm a good kid, and I'll get another opportunity like this.

jeudi 17 janvier 2008

4 months is not enough, stationery, and undercover habits

Went to Mayflower last night for a framboise which I have not drunk in ages so yay for me and limiting my alcohol intake. David was there and looked kind of busy and annoyed. They can do that here. I mean, waiters don't have to be nice to you because they don't work for tips. Customer and worker are on the same level. So if you have a condescending douchebag that won't get you water because his girl just broke up with him, that's just too bad. Then when it wasn't so busy, David came by and asked how we were and if we were doing okay. So that was cool. Nayo and I discussed the new Micefa kids who just arrived here for the semester and those who just left.

I think it's absolutely ludicrous to stay here for one semester. There's no way you can pick up anything really substantial in that amount of time. Nayo said that by the time you leave, things are finally starting to progress. It's so true. If anyone reading this is planning to study abroad, make sure it's for the whole year. Trust us. It's worth it, and you won't regret it.

Was online last night searching for places in the US to buy the type of stationery and paper they sell here because I am in LOVE with Clairfontaine paper. Mostly their notebooks. I love French ruled paper too because it looks like graph paper but busier. Don't get me wrong, I still love my Moleskines, but when it comes to paper for school and notebooks--Clairefontaine. It's smooth, thick enough to use fountain pens that bleed a little, and eco-friendly. And no paper cuts! Rhodia notepads are cool too. I heard Francis Ford Coppola uses them.

I've started to develop these undercover spy-ish habits. I blame the movies and my own paranoia. For example, when I'm supposed to meet someone at the fountain at St. Michel, featured at the right, I never go and wait there. No, I wait at the bookstore across the street and watch until my friend arrives, and then I go there. Haha. Also looking for the nearest exit, the nearest object I can grab to cause bodily harm in case of attack, memorizing the best exits for the major metros that I frequent. Yeah!

mercredi 16 janvier 2008

free time

I now have 2 free days during the week. My oral conversation class just ended. YAY! Prof was cool and brought a tasty treat for us to enjoy: galette des rois. Or Three Kings Cake. It's made with almond paste, and there's a figurine of a king inside the cake and whoever gets it is the King and gets to choose the Queen. It's for the kids!

My classmate asked me what I was going to do with all my free time. That's a very interesting question with a lot of interesting prospects...

1. I gots my mocumentary to write up. The basic layout for the film has already been established. I just have to figure what my B-roll is going to be based on the answers from the people I'm going to interview.
2. 2 other writing projects. That's right! One of them is an idea I got here and another is an idea that I've been working on for the past year. I'm really excited for both even though one of them is not really do-able with my means since it's meant to be sort of a tv series.
3. Read. Yeah! French and English stuffs.
4. Expositions. There's a bunch of expositions I've been wanting to see including one on 1920s clothing. Come on! That's amazing. I love the 20s.

So that's the plan for the next couple of weeks when my days are free. Usually I can't write for more than 2 hours at a time so I can probably go to an expo and then go home and write, then go to the park to read, then come back home to write. God, that sounds amazing! This is like my dream job. I'm living my dream job right now while going to school. I better make the most of it. Like come home with 2 scripts and be ready to shoot the mockdoc.

Ate a lovely little snack grab thingy of Cheetos that Romina gave me on Monday, and it was delicious and brought me back to the good old days of grade school. Thanks Romina!

mardi 15 janvier 2008

Coen Brother's Day

Saw Juno last night for free at Censier where I go for Monday classes. It was...okay. It had some good parts. I just didn't see what all the hype was about. You could see the director or writer trying to go all Wes Anderson when doing backstory or extreme close-ups. And they just over did the whole music thing. Afterwards, I listened to my friends bash it--well not really bash it--but they just thought it was "okay" either. I've written this before, but I like going to films with non-film majors just so I could hear what they had to say. My experience with film majors is that they emphasis what was good over what was bad. If the story sucked, then maybe the lighting was amazing or the effects. With the kids here it's, "It sucked. Here's why..." Haha...These kids are going to be my audience someday. I want to hear what they have to say.

Seems to be Coen Brother's Day as I saw Barton Fink and The Big Lebowksi at the same cinema. First time seeing Barton Fink, and I liked it and didn't like it at the same time which is usually how I feel for David Lynch. Although I did like this better than any of Lynch's films. And I really like John Turturro. Such a great actor.

Gosh old people can be really crabby. There was this old lady in the theater who yelled at one of the technicians because the sound wasn't loud enough. Usually, minutes into the film, a technician comes out and walks around the theater to see how the sound is going but this guy didn't come in for 10 minutes and no one complained. Mostly because the majority of the audience was senior citizens and they probably didn't feel like getting up. One old dude yelled, "LE SON!!!" (the sound). It was kind of funny. Me, I didn't care because I was sitting in the middle already, and I kind of like reading the subtitles.

I've gotten into this weird habit of seeing how long I can go without buying food. It sounds really bad but I just like to see what I can make with limited groceries. Like today, I didn't have jam so I put honey on toast and it was delicious. It's very exhilarating to live like this, sort of on the edge. And, I don't know, but I like opening the fridge and just seeing the bare essentials in there and nothing unnecessary that was needed for one dish and then done. Over. Actually I do have mayonnaise, but, come on, that's a condiment.

When there's too much in the fridge I sort of freak out like, "Oh, I have to eat this, it'll expire soon" or "I need to get another one of these, it's almost gone". I get suckered into buying more at the store when I only meant to buy the one thing that ran out. I guess it all sort of goes along with the "limited material possessions" thing I've been going through. Although I did see a purse yesterday that struck my fancy, but I walked away. I walked away, thank you God for that strength. I did eat at BIA for dinner, sort of like a pre-Lebowski dealie with Sarah, Susie, Andy, and Sally, and it was really good. I had a burger. It was delicious. It had bell peppers and barbecue sauce. Yum. And I had a root beer. It felt like the best meal in a really long time. Funny how food can make you homesick.

Also, decided not to put my link up in Tourist Click because they wanted me to put up their link on the side or whatever, and I'm not down with advertising unless it's my friends' blogs or links I personally like. Word.

lundi 14 janvier 2008

thanks to Nayo for the slap in the face

No, no, no. Nayo did not really slap me in the face literally. It was more of a figurative slap in the face with truth. A truth slap. Everyone needs one of those once in a while, and I got my dose tonight.

Had coffee with Nayo, and it somehow came to her telling me to try harder. She went off on this passionate tirade, it was like watching fireworks it was so beautiful. I love it when people go off like this. It's a once in a year kind of deal to witness this stuff. I kept questioning her, and she'd quickly retort back shooting down my hopes to get out of this unscathed, without learning something of importance, without finding the real truth. She alluded to people we knew, me, my blog. She had this storehouse of this past year's memories, of everything she had observed and witnessed, and she came to a simple logical solution that's easier said than done: Try harder. Don't look back on this and find that you didn't get what you wanted. And I said, But what if I got something that I didn't know I wanted out of this? I got something I didn't expect.

We crossed the street. Was this when the fireworks ended?

I wanted to look for answers. For excuses. Why wasn't I studying hard enough? Why did I not care? I didn't want to find that..After it's all said and done, I didn't want to find that it was my fault. But it was. It is.

And the thing is, I don't want to give up. I don't want to fail. I want to get the French degree. I want that shit on my resumé. But I thought I could let it happen, let it all slip away and fall into oblivion, because I found things to blame, other places to point my finger that did not connect back to me. But I should only blame myself for not trying harder.

So, thanks for the slap, you bitch. It hurt but I really needed it.

back to works...schoolworks

So everything's settled with the exam on Monday and not being there since I'll be in London. I'm taking it a week before I leave, next week in fact, and I'm glad to get it out of the way. That way I won't be in London worrying my butt off. That would ruin the whole weekend for sure.

In cool news, Tourist Click sent me an email asking if they could put up my blog in their section of travel blogs. I said yes and was very honored. That is so cool. Thanks guys!

Saw Marty, and it was a tiny bit depressing, but a good movie. It ends ambiguously, and I really liked that. It was strangely satisfying. People usually prefer happy endings or just finality, but open endings are pretty cool.

I have 4 papers to do. Blurg. Two of them are hard and the other two are easy. Nice balance. I was going to see Coppola's The Conversation tonight, but I'm going to see Juno instead for free at school. Woot. Anyway, going tomorrow to Action to see the Coen Brothers' Barton Fink as well as The Big Lebowski. Yay for film!

dimanche 13 janvier 2008

the nun leader

I will never forget the image of an old French lady in her bathrobe and fuzzy slippers smoking a cigarette while inviting me to sit down on her couch. This kind of stuff happens in movies. I wondered if God was laughing, at that moment.

Went to my friend Elly's place to watch a movie for our class on Saturday. She's American and lives with an old French lady and a Korean American girl, Hannah, who was adopted by an American military couple who live and teach in Germany. Hannah's in culinary school in Paris. This girl speaks fluent German too. Cool stuff. Watched Le Peril Jeune and ate Estonian chocolate and gingerbread made by Maris, an Erasmus student from Estonia who's also in our class. Very cool girl. The gingerbread and chocolate was delicious. Maris brought her favorite chocolate to share which was white chocolate with biscuits and strawberries in them. Yum.

Had dinner with a large group of friends/acquaintances at Gare du Nord area. I sat at the very end of the table, and when it came time to order, the waitress was way over on the other side. And I didn't want to speak loudly in French for some reason while everyone's eyes were on me, and we had three French kids with us too. I don't know why, but I was incredibly shy about yelling my order while everyone was looking at me. Thank God Thibault, a French Epitech student heard my order and shouted it for me.

I hate it when all eyes are on me or being the center of attention. There's only one case when I don't mind it. The only time I feel comfortable, in control, and able to perform when others are watching is when I'm directing or behind the camera. It sounds weird, but that's the only time I feel okay being the leader. I remember my first project for film production class. Our TAs, who were really hot by the way and smart and awesome, made all the girls group leaders. I thought that was so cool of them to do that since there were about 4 girls in a class of 18. And when we went to film, I was running the camera and giving direction. All the guys were listening to me, giving me feedback, telling me what was working and what wasn't, and it was all going down swimmingly. We roll the take and then we cut, and behind me, that whole time, my awesome TAs were standing watching me for like 5 minutes without me knowing because I was in the zone. And they came up to me and said, "Great job. Doesn't look like you need any help." And they left. That's when I knew. I could be a leader.

Kind of felt awkward at one point in conversation because I didn't know what this "creative euphemism" meant, and someone said, "Are you serious? You know what it means". And I really didn't, and I wanted to bring up that I went to Catholic schools all my life and was a good kid, but it really didn't matter, whatever. And then I recalled my aunt telling me when I was driving her down to LA, "You weren't raised in a convent, you know." To which I replied, "HUH?!" Then she said while staring out the window, "Sometimes it's like you were." Sometimes if I wasn't in love with filmmaking I think I'd make a great nun or hermit.

Then went to Steven's although I sort of didn't feel like it. I just started Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (borrowed from Elly), and I kind of wanted to keep reading it in bed with a cup of tea. But I went anyway in an attempt to be more sociable and less bookworm. I don't know why, but I wasn't really feeling it that night. Didn't want to drink or anything. Talk or anything. I just wanted to observe and listen. I'm kind of over alcohol consumption. I feel like I have to have a drink in my hand in order for others to think I'm sociable. If I don't have a drink, then I'm boring. Snob. I wish I didn't feel this way. I wish alcohol wouldn't bring us together.

Am seeing Marty tonight at my favorite cinema. It's about these lonely people which is right up my alley.