jeudi 17 avril 2008

a quick one while she's away

I won't even get into what a pain doing all those apps in triple time went. I should get first dibs in all those classes. My first choice was Cinematography, second Editing Film Projects, and third Directing. It was ballsy of me to even consider Directing, but I feel ready. More than ever. Whenever I've directed, I've always asked people how they felt about me as a director and the whole experience, from my director of photography to my actors, and I get pretty good reviews. I think Hollywood is due for a short Filipina director, don't you?

So, as you know, I'll be gone for a good two weeks to Italy. Expect little to no interweb updates--I'm going to be too busy having fun/eating food/getting a tan/being awesome. But I thought of some things you should do while I'm away that, maybe, you haven't done in a while or maybe ever. This is specifically for the people back stateside, especially my stressed out/"I don't have any time" friends in CA. You need this. Just one Saturday or a free day you have. Give it a go.

--Have a picnic
--Go to a museum
--Go for a walk in the park
--Sit in a cafe for hours reading or writing or people watching
--Go to the library and get 10 books on that one thing you were always interested in but never bothered to learn about. Skim those books and learn the basics.
--Don't use the interwebs
--Write a letter
--Opt to use your bike or your legs to get somewhere rather than your car
--Eat a tasty meal with someone you've been meaning to hang out with for a while

This trip feels like The Darjeeling Limited. Just me and my two other girl friends. I love it. I think I'd be Jack Whitman since I'm short, and I like to write.

Be safe and well.

this has never happened before

I am at the eye of the storm, where I am. I see this chaotic mess around me, and I'm at peace. This never used to happen before, I used to get so stressed out over stuff, but it happens rarely now. I have living here to thank. I have 3 film apps to fill out by tomorrow morning. I've just finished one. They're pretty curt, but pretty intense. One just states: "List the films you have made." Do you know how intimidating that can be?

I'm thinking of directors that didn't go to film school, and that somehow puts me at ease. I want the degree, I mean, of course I want the degree, but I don't want to be in school longer than I have to. I shouldn't have to "sell" myself on these apps to get into these classes that can only fit 18 students. I've heard horror stories of students not getting into ANY of these film classes. They just have to keep waiting. God, we all should get the chance.

If it happens, if I get in, then I get in. If I don't...I'll take it from there. Back to those apps.

Also, I just got off the phone from Mom and rest of my fam. My phone convo with all three of them lasted a total of 8 minutes and 35 seconds. And I only speak to them, mostly Mom and Dad, about once a month. Is that normal for long distance familial relationships? It doesn't seem normal. My family isn't normal anyway, but that's besides the point. The point is, we are so comfortable being away from each other because what counts is that we have each other in our hearts. Gosh, that was cheesy. But I do live in a country that doesn't think 3 fromageries within 20 paces of each other is the least bit excessive.

Speaking of family, I just started a Tumblr dedicated to my hilarious Dad. It's called "dad quotes". I have this ever growing collection of dad quotes and dad stories, and I thought I could store them on the interwebs for people to enjoy. Also I wanted to try the quick blogging Tumblr experience. No complaints yet. Enjoy dad quotes!

mercredi 16 avril 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is Mom's birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!One time, I was out with my Mom, I don't know where. We run into one of her old co-workers from at least 3 years back. Mom's co-worker recounts a really cute story to me that more or less went like this:

"You know, before I met your Mom, I could never steam broccoli correctly. It always came out mushy. My children hated eating it. Your Mom comes to work with steamed broccoli, and I asked how she steamed hers. She boils the water then at boiling point she turns the stove OFF--I never did this--then puts the broccoli in! [I might have the actual steaming broccoli direction wrong, but that's not the point] Now my children will eat my broccoli. They love it."

It's when I hear little stuff like that that reminds me, time and again, that I have the best Mom in the world. Just hearing from other people how great my Mom is makes me smile, makes me feel so blessed and lucky. Not only is she a great Mom, she's a great Lady, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Friend, Co-Worker, Neighbor, you name it.

She's great at telling stories--editor of her high school newspaper, yeah!
She cooks amazing Filipino food.
She dresses well.
She smells good, and her skin is soft.
She has a great smile and laugh and a charming and unforgettable sense of humor.
She's a great hostess and party thrower.
She lights up any room that she walks into.
When I walk into a family party, people come up to me saying, "Hi! How are you?...Where's your Mom?" Then beeline for my Mom.

Oh, how I long to be Mother with her soft skin and hairless arms. To have people naturally gravitate towards you with smiling and laughing faces, probably reminiscing in their heads a lovely memory of you. How to steam broccoli, perhaps. Oh that charm, that wit. That smile that puts everyone else at ease. Can all this be genetic, somehow?

Oh no no no. It's all you, you lovely lady. Maybe some of it came from Grandma. Some of it. Happy Birthday!

i will not flip out

I was just looking at the advanced film production applications I have to fill out before I leave for Italy on Friday, and I'm trying not to flip out. This is my last college year--I have to make the right choices. I have two days to decide what's a priority. Cinematography? Directing? Screenwriting? Editing? Everyone else gets two weeks to get this stuff done, but I've got two days because I'm going to Italy. Oh sacrifices...

A walk down memory lane might calm me down:

At Skywalker Ranch with film friends
My Oscars...I mean George Lucas's...

My first 2 reels of 16mm...

At Entertainment Post in Burbank to get our film color corrected and telecined (transferred from film to DV so that we can edit digitally). We got the guy who did Pulp Fiction.

mardi 15 avril 2008

i lurve you

My Wes Andersonian escapades made the Rushmore Academy front page again. Woot!

Sidenote: I'm super updating you guys since I have the time, and I will sincerely miss you during my two weeks in Italy.

love love love,

aah! the socialists are trying to get me

Cute blond Socialist called me last night, and like an idiot, I answered the phone. If you don't know who I'm referring to, please read this post. I thought it was Melissa calling me from her house phone. She had been texting me earlier about one of our assignments from her cell, but when she calls it's from her house phone since her cell gets bad reception.

Anyway, it was HIM, and he was trying to recruit me to come to one of the meetings. It went like this, in French.

Him: I want to know if I can get you to come to either the Thursday, Friday, or Saturday meetings.
Me: I can't. I have classes.
Him: Saturday?
Me: I'm leaving on Friday.
Him: Where are you going?
Me: Catania. Sicily. Italy.
Him: In French, it's Catane and Sicile.
Me: Okay, thanks.
Him: How long?
Me: Three weeks. (lie)
Him: You're gonna miss the big meeting on the first of May.
Me: (silence)
Him: I'll call you again for the next meeting.
Me: Great. (lie)
Him: Have a nice vacation! Ciao, Hélène.

That "Ciao" he said got me, I almost laughed out loud. They say that here in France, but just in the context of me going to Italy made me laugh. I threw the "Ciao" back at him with some sarcasm.

God, I'm so mean to these Socialists, but they are persistent. But I almost cracked when he said my French-ified name. God, that always gets me, when a nice, cute boy says my name in a nice way. I think everyone likes hearing their name from someone cute. Gosh, I would totally be into this if he was in some sort of cinema club or something, and not politics.

I should have just told him that I'm not coming back. I saved the number now as "The Socialist" so now I'll know not to answer whenever he calls. I'll just not answer any calls anymore that I don't know, how about that? Yay. Done.

Whenever I talk in French or have a conversation in French, it feels really trippy. Like, "Is this really happening?" kind of stuff. It's just unreal. I'm not that great of a conversationalist in French or in English for that matter. Anyway, I got that feeling right after I got off the phone. That actually happened.

I'm gonna be that person that understands, but can't speak. Like the characters in the Ocean's series. They understand Amazing when he speaks Chinese, but they talk to him in English. That's me. I'm Danny Ocean. But I'd much rather be Brad Pitt's character.

musical abstinence

My favorite band, Thrice, has a record out today, "The Alchemy Index: Earth and Air, Volumes 3 and 4".

And I can't have it.

At least, it doesn't come out in France until April 28th, and even then I'll be in Italy. Probably won't get it until May. Anyway, I'm going to "abstain" from downloading or even listening to it on their MySpace because, hey, I'm crazy.

I also...(le sigh)...remember the days before the internet? It wasn't that long ago. Just remember when you went out to get a cd or even a tape, and you didn't have any idea what the artwork would be like or you weren't even completely sure you knew the lyrics right when you sang along to the radio, but remember that excitement when you got that cd and you locked yourself in your room, and you listened to it from beginning to end with the booklet in your hands. Do you remember that?

Because I'm starting to forget what that was like.

So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to wait. This is my favorite band in the world. I saw them when I was in 8th grade playing at Biola University for free to a crowd of twenty or thirty. I saw them play at the House of Blues the year I turned 16 to a over a thousand. I saw them play at Slim's in SF with my best friend, and we sang our hearts out and our feet would lift off the ground when the crowd swayed and surged.

I want the magic and innocence back. I'm going to wait.

the italian manifesto

I've decided to make a manifesto for the Italy trip. Dorky, I know. But here are some goals, some rules or guidelines to stand by and/or keep in mind while on this trip. They will take effect the day I leave Paris.

1. I will not wear a watch on this trip. I'm not going to be a slave to time. I'm going to enjoy and savor everything in this wonderful country and not adhere to a strict itinerary other than my plane or train departure times. Also, I think my watch needs a new battery as the second hand is acting funny, and I don't want to buy a watch battery.
2. I will not bring my planner. I will not think about my obligations waiting for me back in Paris, my to-do lists, my homework. I will not plan far ahead into the future. I will only be concerned with the present and the day after.
3. Two meals a day. Same as Amsterdam. Same as London.
4. I will write every day. I will carry notebook with me everywhere and journal whenever possible.
5. I will draw. No one knows this much about me, but I used to draw. A lot. It wasn't anything amazing, it was all just for fun. Just doodles here and there of everyday objects and of me and my imaginary friend, Calvin, the British heir to a bookstore magnate (I had a really wild imagination as a kid--I still do). The inspiration came from the illustrations from The Chronicles of Narnia. I really like those ink drawings. Anyway, I will try drawing again. End of manifesto.

So, yeah, there's that for my trip.

lundi 14 avril 2008

parisian sundays

Another lovely Parisian Sunday yesterday despite the crummy weather that came around 16h-ish. Went to church with Lucia near the Arc de Triomphe. Then, since it was sunny out, we dined outdoors at a brasserie in St. Michel. We both got formules: salad, steak and frites. Lucia had wine, and I had a Coke. The Coke here tastes better than Coke at home. It's not too strong--it's a little flat, but it still has bite to it. They also serve it with lemon.

We listened to conversations going on around us. Our favorite was this couple and the girl's guy friend happened to walk by and stopped to talk for a really long time, and her date was just emanating so much hatred for the dude. I mean, this guy friend was a total douche, just flirting right in front of her date. When he left, she apologized to him. After our food, we declined the waiter's offer to serve us coffee. We decided to get coffee somewhere else.

I love the idea of "meal hopping". Getting a meal one place, then dessert and coffee somewhere else. I've done it a couple times back in SF around North Beach. We went to my favorite café nearby Notre-Dame. I love this place because for a café crème they give you your own milk pourer thingy so you can control how much you want. Lovely. And I love the cups they use. If I find any here or back home, I'm getting some.It's touristy, but I still love it, just being surrounded by people from all over the world. The chairs are super comfy as well. Lucia and I talked for an hour or so, probably more. It's funny how much time can go by just when you're really engrossed in a conversation with a friend.

I learned some things about where we're staying in Sicily.

1. The beach is behind the house we're staying in.
2. Our beach faces the east--we can watch the sunrise.
3. The beach is ours.

I think I just peed in my pants a little. Out of excitement, of course. I'm debating whether or not to bring the video camera. I'd love to film, but I also hate the idea of being burdened by all this stuff. I'm trying to go light for two weeks, bringing only my backpack (which can hold 40 liters) and a purse. Just the idea of having the camera, the dv camera, in addition to what I usually carry in a bag already hurts my shoulders. I'll think about it.

dimanche 13 avril 2008

castle day

ATTENTION: This is a lengthy post. Grab a cup of tea and settle down. If not, look at the pretty pictures!

Great day yesterday. A "jour du château" or "castle day", one might say. I officially declare April 12th "Castle Day". So on every April 12th I must visit a castle (or in my case to make it easier for me when I'm back in California) a famous home. Or do a picnic. Maybe next year I can do Hearst Castle and picnic. I had an amazing day. That's why I want to commemorate it.

Topher and Nathalie, the cool kids at Micefa, organized the trip. They both came up to me, at different times, asking if I was making a short movie about this day trip to Chenonceau and Villandry. Sadly, I didn't bring my video camera. But it made me really happy that they asked me about it. It's the same feeling when I "established" myself as a filmmaker back in SF, and once I started showing my films people would come up to me and ask what the next project was, if I was writing anything or if I needed crew. It's the best feeling in the world that a small filmmaker can get. At least, it's the best feeling for me.

Drove 3 hours south to the château of Villandry, a two-story home complete with a keep, moat, and 10 acres of gardens (they had a hedge MAZE!). I loved it because there weren't many people around, and it really felt like someone's home rather than a museum. There were no velvet ropes or loads of signs saying "Don't touch". You just felt like you were transported to the 18th century. And you respected it, you know? You didn't touch anything. And if you did touch something, you only did it because you were so moved by the thing--for me it was this amazing bathtub in one of the main bedrooms. After, Keisha, Lucia, and I picked a bench to have a picnic on in the gardens. It was right in front of the lake (see pic below--this is the lake as seen from the keep). Only they didn't pack lunches like I did. So they went outside the castle to get food only to find out they couldn't bring food into the gardens. So I had a lovely picnic lunch by myself. It was amazing. I know a lot of people who have a problem being by themselves, but there are some of us who eat at restaurants alone, go to movies alone (Catherine!). It's interesting. Try it sometime.So I sat on a bench/leaned against a tree that was growing oh-so-perfectly next to the bench so that I can lean my back against it in the semi-sun semi-cloudiness in front of a lake. Heaven. For picnic I put this together:
1. roasted chicken sandwich
2. hot and spicy Pringles
3. one sweet clementine
4. an 1848 white chocolate bar with whole hazelnuts and nougat (my fave white chocolate bar, the 1848 brand is really good)
5. evian water

Loveliness. A castle garden picnic. I just want to have picnics all the time now when the weather's nice. I felt so at peace. With nature, with the beauty of this castle. And I thought about the centuries of families who lived here, who raised their kids here. Even though they grew up in a castle in the French countryside, and me in the suburbs of Los Angeles, I felt that, at base, we were the same. Me and these kids. Because we had parents who wanted the best for us...It was just this feeling I got.After picnic, I laid on the grass in front of the lake and did some writing. Birds were singing. I could hear Susie, Melissa, Topher, Alan, and Taylor joking and laughing nearby. And it made me so happy. Just knowing that people were having a good time. Taylor was being really silly and ridiculous, but lovely as always, haha...

It started to drizzle, so we headed to the bus. It was time to go anyway. I bought a pack of playing cards that have flowers on them with their species name and historical figures for the kings, queens, and jacks. They're pretty cool. Saw this in the guestbook, and it made me smile:
This castle was even better. Built across the river Le Cher. Incredible.

They had a wine cellar for wine tasting, gardens, and another hedge maze! We got to go in this time on our way back to the bus.There's more history to this one, but it was much harder to enjoy since it was pretty crowded. I still liked it though. There were fresh flowers in every room, and some of the fireplaces had real fires in them! It really kept the rooms warm. At one point while we were inside, it started raining then hailing, and then it cleared up again. Such temperamental weather.

Here, I got a fleur de lys pin that looks really cool on my jacket. Keisha got one too in gold but much bigger.

On the way back to the bus, we hiked through the foresty area to get to the hedge maze which wasn't that tall, but still cool and easier to get around in. I got out last. Typical.I think seeing a bunch of smaller castles is better than going to the larger ones like Versailles. I mean, I liked Versailles, but there were too many people, it wasn't as intimate as these castles, and it was just too much for one place. But it is Versailles, after all.

All my photos are uploaded to my Photobucket, just follow the link in the Mediatheque section. Enjoy your weekend!