Friday, January 31, 2014


Literally an hour or so after I put up the post about my messy living situation with unbearable roommates, I got an email from housing announcing my move to another building.

I screamed, jumped up and down, called a friend, and started packing.

It was a rush, but today, things took a turn for the crazy. Because it's Friday, Carla could only rent a car for one hour, and I found I was locked out of both my last building and my new one (we get into the residency halls and most facilities by swiping our IDs). I couldn't check out a dolly and my roommate and suitemate were present as Carla and I dashed through the doors and unloaded my stuff into the rented car.

It was a mess. I was bombarded with questions (apparently nobody noticed me packing yesterday), I met an easily annoyed staff lady at my new building, and my poor new roommate only showed up after I had scattered my possessions everywhere. Nonetheless, she's super nice, and a writer, and a psych major, and has so many cute decorations, and our bathroom is clean, and I can use most of the fridge, and IS THIS REAL LIFE.

Apparently she'd been alone for three weeks till I was moved here. Her last roommate ended up getting a job as, I kid you not, a Disney Princess in Orlando* and had to move out just as the semester started. I guess no one picked the building I was in because I just filed my reassignment thing a few days ago and then got shoved into this place. I mean, I'm super grateful, but it's so weird. What's so bad about this hall? It's nice, it doesn't have a mandatory meal plan, and it's in the same street as most other good dorms. Is it because it's technically off-campus (right across a street) and the only thing connecting it back to it is a sketchy-ass walkway collectively known as "Rape Tunnel"? (Somehow, even my mom knew of that nickname. She was all "You're not gonna cross that thing at midnight, right? @_@ DAYLIGHT IS YOUR FRIEND.")

My roommate also warned me that it might get noisy because we're right next to a bunch of clubs. Which, as much as I complained about the level of noise my old roommates did, I don't mind the sound of urban life just outside my building. It actually makes me feel calm. I love listening to buses, taxis, music pulsing faintly against the sounds of the streets. As long as no one in my immediate vicinity blasts Bad Girls Club for eight hours straight, seven days and nights in a row, I am good.

I've been pretty much bouncing on my feet all day, texting and calling my parents, texting Silvia, texting Giselle, and speaking with Carla and my new roomie. Only bad part is that with the craziness, I ended up missing a meeting for the Kudzu Review. I sent my editor an email explaining the situation, but I'll probably text her sometime next week if she doesn't reply. I gotta make sure she won't stab me in the kidney or (worse, ohdeargodpleasedon't) kick me out for this. I know it's just one day, but we're still just starting with the magazine. I don't want to disappoint anyone.

Aside from that, it's been a pretty good day!

Now, I'm not counting down the weeks till I can graduate from Spring semester. I just needed a place to feel calm in, so now everything is clicking together perfectly.

Oh. Except for the stupid peephole. I can't reach it!!! If I stand on my tiptoes, it hits me in the middle of the forehead. WHY? THIS ROOM IS DETERMINED TO MAKE ME FEEL SMALL. (Seriously. All my clothes fit in two drawers and half of a tiny closet).

Okay, I'm just being an idiot. So happy now!

Here's to a good semester :D

*I know. I am never gonna be that cool.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Good god...

This has not been a good first couple semesters. My summer roommate? She was amazing. I miss her and hope she's doing great.

But fall and spring?

I'm realizing a good chunk of the reason I hate college so much is because of my living situation. A shitty day would be infinitely better if I could just come home to a place I'd feel safe and calm in.

I don't know what to do. The mess has gotten out of hand and the noise level is driving me insane. There were already problems last year, and half the time it feels like I'm not going to have anyone stand on my side.

I mean, I'm not crazy, right? This isn't an acceptable level of messiness, right?

As of this writing, there are two more boxes of pizza
This is pretty much her side of the room

No, none of this stuff is mine.
I have plenty more pictures--of this year and last, but I can't even bring myself to post them without wanting to gag. And I have a list of all the spoiled food she left on the fridge till the end of the semester--a fridge she stocked so much that I had to get a second one, and yet now she's just left it empty and hasn't cleaned it for over five months.

I would take the mess level if she wasn't constantly blasting bad reality tv or music over the speakers every waking hour. I don't play a single thing when she takes sporadic naps throughout the day, but heaven forbid I want to go to bed before 1 a.m and can't stand the noise level. And if I ask her to put the volume down? Angry glares and annoyed grunts--and then the noise goes right back up not long after. I need to get out of here.

One day I'll look back on this and laugh. But that day is not today.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

30 Week Blog Challenge - Week 3: Favorite TV Shows

EDIT: It is so not fair that I started watching Attack on Titan a few weeks after I made this list D< It deserves to be included. Like, TOP THREE Spot included D:<

Now Playing: Amarante - The Manic

I keep thinking that song is called "the maniac." I'm so off.

It was originally featured in the webshow, The Autobiography of Jane Eyre in probably one of my favorite episodes of the show. It didn't hit me till three weeks ago why it fits so perfectly with the narrative.

Speaking of which, I'm going to cheat on this list. It says "Favorite TV shows," but since there's no seperate list for "favorite webshows", I'm gonna include them here anyways. (Explanations here will also be very brief).

Original challenge!

Week 3 - Favorite TV Shows

1) Firefly
The show gets a lot of things right--all the characters are three dimensional, the drama and comedy are balanced out, the science fiction element is strong and perfectly meshed with it's western style. I think a lot of people can go on and on about why this show is so important and so masterfully put together, and I will always agree with them.

Even though it might be pretty cliche, what makes the show for me are Malcolm and River, my favorite characters. River is not easy to describe, but I think she's a fan-favorite for good reason. I love that she reacts to the world like a child, but her broken thoughts make her perceptions twisted but insightful. Objects in Space is my favorite episode because River's complexity is explored in a bit of a subtle way. She's not exactly easy to understand at times, and her reactions can throw most people off, but whether she's sweet or deadly, she's just easy to love.

Malcolm ties with her because he's the type of hero I wish I could write. His morals are never shaken from him, but he's not a Knight in Shinning Armor. His humor makes him likable and his intimidating nature balances him out.

I remember Randy Pausch talked about the quality of "leadership" in his famous Childhood Dreams lecture. Though he was talking about Captain Kirk as an example, I think Malcolm sort of embodies the very definition of a leader to me. Without him and River, I don't think Firefly would take top spot on this list.

Also, I don't really ever cry on tv shows, very few movies, and even less in books. Despite that, there is one scene in the show that always makes me teary-eyed. It's not a sad scene exactly, but it hits me really hard every time I see it. It's the last scene in Out Of Gas, but I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. Just rest assured, it makes me a mess, so I'll never watch that episode with other people in the room.

2) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
The main reason I've always liked James Cameron as a writer is that he can usually write great female characters. Writers who can do that earn like one hundred brownie points from me. That said, I never really got into the Terminator movies. I liked the first two because of Sarah Connor, but I didn't quite think the sci-fi side was explored very much.

To me, sci-fi at its best explores the human condition. It pushes what it means to be human, what our relationship to the universe or even to technology is, etc.

Great sci-fi is almost existential, and tells us a lot about the nature of humanity. I think that's what Terminator did great--particularly with Cameron and John. I think my love for fiction involving artificial intelligence pretty much started with this show. Plus, it was watching this that made me want to write Redemption. In some ways, I'm sad that this show didn't last more seasons than any other show on this list. Yeah, Dollhouse and Firefly should have been given more time on the air, but Terminator: TSCC really had the best character development and it made its A.I's fully realized individuals without truly making them human.

And I absolutely love Summer Glau. Her acting here is incredible, and Cameron is probably my favorite character in television history.

3) Dollhouse
Ghaaa, I love the concept, and I love the acting, and I love two out of the three love subplots (Victor x Sierra OTP! Bennett x Topher!! And bleh on Echo's love for Ballard and vice versa.)

I really love that Dollhouse is one of those shows with Grey and Gray Morality. And I'm always happy to have kick ass women in television.

Echo is just a delight to see. Admittedly, I sometimes feel like the show went a little above and beyond in trying to make her badass. It started treading the line of Sue-ism a little too much by the time the first season was ending. But she's still very, very cool. And the acting in this show is kind of impossible to rival. Especially with Victor and Sierra's actors. Oh! And Alan Tudyk's acting--seeing him in particular was kind of a big shock.

Sometimes, I make the mistake of getting really into the concept of a story that I don't really step back and look at the work as a whole. I usually get hit with frownyface when I realize the concept ended up being better than what was actually executed. This is one of those rare times where the concept works perfectly and the execution follows through.

That said, the twist involving Boyd in the end did not make me a happy camper. I think Whedon admitted that he wrote it because he needed to end the show in the second season. And...yeah, I get that. He got screwed over by the network and kind of got backed into a corner. But still ):< Surely there was a better way to go through with things!

Despite my disappointment with that little thing, it's still a great show. With epic fight scenes. I'll always watch Whedon stuff if it involves insightful sci-fi, clever writing, and/or petite women taking down men twice their size.

4) Game of Thrones 
EDIT: Given what happened in later seasons--especially regarding Sansa in episode 6 of season 5--I removed this show off the list. It's sad and frustrating and disappointing--but at least I'll always have the books.
I ended up watching the show before reading a good chunk of the series. The reason why Game of Thrones works in both television and print is one thing: diversity. No
one's a true hero or villain, and even the most wicked and disgusting people have their own complexities, own moments of fragility, etc. But it has tough characters, and moral characters, and petty characters, and weak characters, and small, insecure, cast-off, loyal, important, unimportant, idiots, geniuses, badasses, and so. Much. Character. Development. Eep! And, and, and it has some of the best written women on television, so that earns it major brownie points.

Obligatory list of my favorites: Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Ned Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister (after season 2), Brienne of Tarth, and sometimes Margeary Tyrell, Olenna Tyrell (Redwyne?), and Daenerys Targaryen. (I named my bike Khaleesi because the Dothraki are kind of cool, so yeah... >.>)

5) Avatar: The Last Airbender
This is probably the only show on the list that I love for a really unique reason. The world is perfect. The mythology, the culture, the struggles of the nations are all well crafted. I've never been the type of person to go, "I wish the Harry Potter universe was real," or, "I wish I could live within a Disney movie." Usually world building is always lacking in a lot of works of fiction, and I don't tend to mind it too much. But there's something about the world of Avatar that always felt fleshed out to me, and the reason it was one of my favorites as a kid.

That's not to say I don't like the characters. I feel like most of them are incredibly likeable or interesting, and it has a really good balance between a fantasy epic and a childlike adventure tale. It has probably one of my favorite season finales, because even if some people felt a bit disappointed at the resolution, I never had a problem with it. I thought it was beautifully done and I was really into it the whole time.

It's also strange just how likeable Aang is as a main character. I love almost everyone in the show, but Aang and Zuko are the ones I cared for the most. Watching them grow and struggle feels very much like growing up alongside a close friend or brother. They're the reason season 3 is my favorite of them all--just watching them interact alongside, as friends, made the writing and situations perfect.

6) Cardcaptor Sakura

To me, this show represents childhood nostalgia. It was my very first anime--appropriately a super pink magical girl shoujo with new cute dresses almost every episode. Despite the fact that I was hellbent on being a tomboy as a child, I never questioned my adoration of this show. Which is strange, because I questioned a hell of a lot of things about me back then. (I know: wut).

Cardcaptor Sakura is the one show I will always hold dear. This one and Avatar: TLA are the shows I really relate back to my childhood, and seeing how Avatar was more of a pre-teen thing for me, so Cardcaptor Sakura wins as my ultimately childhood anime. Sakura was brave in her own way, quick-on her toes, and pure and goodhearted to the core. I adore her so much.

I love anti-heroes, but sometimes you just want to see a good person do good deeds.

(And did you know I can sing the first season theme song--in Spanish--all from memory? No? Well you do now!)

7) The Autobiography of Jane Eyre
There are a number of reasons I don't regret starting college during summer semester. Among them is that I may not have taken a very particular Global Literature class, and so I may not have gotten the chance to read Jane Eyre at the age of seventeen. I think it's easy for me to go on and on about why I love this book so much. Jane's the type of heroine I wish I could write--brave and bold, spiritual and moralistic. The fact that she's a girl of around my age (in the novel) is difficult to process. I mean, yeah, times were different, but it's still strange. And I wouldn't have forgiven this webseries if it hadn't done the book justice--but it did.

I think what I love about this webseries is that, even though it doesn't start the strongest, the very DIY feel makes it easy to connect with the characters. They've done a lot more with its modern setting than the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and no insulting sexist undertones have appeared so far. (Thank god).

I really like this show's portrayal of Jane. I like that she's soft-spoken but vivid and sweet. I like that she expresses her emotions and is deeply thoughtful. And yes, she's still brave.

Also, someone pointed out something weird about the show. Even though Jane's actress, Alysson Hall, is a very pretty girl, it's like she becomes more beautiful to the watcher as the episodes go by, almost as if we were seeing it through Rochester's eyes. It's eerie, but it's awesome.

8) Nostalgia Critic
Does this count even though it doesn't have a linear narrative? I hope it does, because I'm putting it on the list anyways.

What really makes me appreciate the show is Doug Walker himself. When he talks about sexist stereotypes, common archetypes, annoying narratives, the explorations of characters, or even when he was going on about the meaning of Christmas and the merit of Santa Claus, I feel like I relate a lot to his thoughts and point of view. And even when I don't, I like listening to his rants and opinions. Passionate people are extremely fascinating and sometimes even admirable--so his passion for film makes him fascinating and admirable to me.

And yes, it's also really funny~

9) The Guild

I have a bit of a problem with this show's final season. For some reason, I didn't think it was a strong ending. Even though technically Codex had reached a place of growth and happiness, the writing of the rest of the season was not particularly my favorite. In fact, both Season 5 and 6 are my least favorite. I was...dissatisfied in a lot of ways. Except maybe for Tink's storylines... She's probably my favorite character--even if she can be a bit of a sociopath.

That said, I can't help but admit that The Guild puts me in a happy place. And I really admire Felicia Day for all the writing, acting, directing, and producing she's doing. I know it must not have been easy for her in the beginning, but she really pushed on. This show always makes me laugh and makes me feel quite glad that I'm a gamer. I watch an episode or a couple if I'm in a bad mood, and it brightens up my spirits immediately.

And that's all!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

30 Week Blog Challenge - Week 2: Favorite Movies

Now Playing: Laundry League - Holiday Haunts

Funny thing about that song--it's composed by an old middle school friend of mine named Danielle. I haven't spoken closely with her in ages, but I have fond memories of our time together in art class during 8th grade. I know she's on her way to becoming a great musician and Holiday Haunts is one of my favorite songs from her.

I also secretly hope one day I'll get back in contact with her and she'll give me permission to direct and edit a music video for her. I mean, she's gotta let me, right? She's a future successful, professional musician. I am a future mediocre, semi-professional writer. We both dyed our originally dark and wavy hair blonde and neon colors. IT'S LIKE IT'S MEANT TO BE.

But anywayssssss, on to the blog challenge! Original here!

This one's difficult because narrowing down my favorite movies is always a pain. To challenge myself, I picked the Top Ten! :D


EDIT: Before we begin, I gotta say--after some introspection, I realized I really should have put Pan's Labyrinth on this list. It's such a beautiful movie, with incredibly elements of fantasy and some great female characters. (And a terrifying villain. Who's also subtly misogynistic, if you notice). There are aspects of it I like more than others, but it deserves a spot here. 

Actually...this list is soooo incomplete. I'd add so many other movies--like the 2012 Dredd film or Kill Your Darlings or a ton more.

Ever changing favorites.

1) A Clockwork Orange
There was a period of my life were I was oddly fascinated with this movie. I knew it was terribly violent and that the main character, Alex, was a rapist, a criminal, a degenerate, a teenager, all kinds of horrible things. My dad had seen the movie and knew about the book, but would not let me see it no matter how much I begged. He told me I could see the movie all by myself when I turned sixteen. So of course, the second my sixteenth birthday came around, I dove straight in.

The thing to note is that I'd read the book about a year earlier--it'd been gifted to me by my friend Silvia on my fifteenth birthday. In a way, I was expecting what was to come. And I ended up loving the movie even more than the book, all just because of Kubrick's directing and Malcolm McDowell's acting. I still gasped or freaked out at things that I knew were coming.

This is one of those movies with an uncomfortable but captivating atmosphere, especially because of the long takes (and, yeah, the content). I think it can be a life-changing story because it questions the meaning of choice, goodness, freewill, and so much more.

(And I love Kubrick's directing. He's probably one of my favorite filmmakers. And I love Malcolm McDowell too--he's like 90% of the reason I sat through most of Caligula >.>)

2) Kill Bill
Much like A Clockwork Orange, this movie had a big build up for me. I remember watching the trailers for it when I was very small and being intrigued just because it had this kick-ass music playing alongside footage of kick-ass women. I wanted to see it, but I was not allowed, for obvious reasons, and so I waited years and years till my parents relented.

And it was not what I expected. Knowing next to nothing about this movie made it so much better. I didn't even know what it was about, especially because the trailer I'd seen as a child didn't explain very much. And while I agree with most people that Pulp Fiction or Inglourious Basterds are Tarantino's best movies, Kill Bill will always be my more personal favorite, and the reason why I'm such a big fan of him. I don't think there's a single scene that I don't love--in either part one or two--and it has some of the best action scenes ever directed.

I can't even properly talk about this movie without turning into a fangirl. It's got a great soundtrack, great characters, great segments, and I love, love, love it so much!

3) Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
I knowwww--cliche obvious choice. (Then again, I would say a good chunk of this list is cliche :P)

I'm certain Star Wars became a great phenomenon because of the world and mythology. It's like this great epic western/sci-fi world with elements of fantasy--a great mix of it all. And while I do like the world, Star Wars would be nothing to me without Luke, Leia, and Han. I think my favorite scene is when the siblings talk right before Luke has to leave to confront Vader. The Force theme plays against the backdrop and Leia comes to know about her connection with Luke and Vader. I can't even say why--it just makes me want to watch the original trilogy all over again, in one sitting, to see these characters again and connect with them.

Whenever I think back on a movie, I wonder a lot about other people's opinions and the things they've said about it. I like wondering about the impact it's had on people--whether negative or positive. But I never feel that way about Star Wars. I don't care what other people think about it or what they love or hate most about it. All I know is that it's always been important to me, and even if there are things about it that don't work perfectly, or even what happened to the franchise later on, I'll still always love the first three, especially Return of the Jedi.

And oddly enough, I can't wait for the day I can share these films with my kids. (Well, the original trilogy).

4) Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke (Tie!)
I didn't want to have to chose between these two, but I wanted to keep the list brief so I sort of just shoved them both into one spot. And that's because I will always be grateful that I grew up on Miyazaki films instead of any other kind of animation.

Spirited Away was the first movie I ever saw from him, and I loved the world and Chihiro's bravery. I'd never seen anything like this movie. The visuals are incredible, as is the mythology. It has one of my favorite dragons of fiction, and the greatest little heroine ever written.

For the other, I feel like Princess Mononoke captures the feel of an epic fantasy film in a genuine way. I love the subtle romance in the film, and the fact that it has basically no antagonist. Watching it for the first time was unexpected. I didn't expect the violence after seeing some more child-friendly Miyazaki movies, but I also didn't expect to be so invested in all the conflicting sides.

Miyazaki is really, really good at making his characters extremely likeable. I feel like someone as good as Ashitaka should be a prototypical boring hero, but he isn't. He's very strong and brave, and his quest for peace and balance is admirable. San is a little more complex, but her hot temper and devotion to nature are also admirable.

Plus, Miyazaki isn't just good at characters in general--I think he gave me some of the best role models a little girl could have. Chihiro can't fight, particularly comparing her to action girls like San, but it doesn't matter because she's still a driving force in the story. I think that's what makes his female characters better than most "strong" women written in other movies and films--his are ones that push the story forward. Their autonomy is ever present and the story unfolds because of them rather than having stuff just happen to them.

5) Exit Through the Gift Shop

I've always liked street graffiti. In a way, when I went back to Ecuador for the summer, I was looking forward the most to seeing the art of the streets. I don't think there's tax payer money or fuzzy home/business owners who want to cover up the paintings and messages. I missed looking at them, because the art was always so unique. I don't really see much of it in Miami, let alone in Tallahassee, which makes me wish there were more art-prone vandals in the world.

And I would say, Banksy is probably my favorite artist.

I was always pretty interested in this film but didn't feel the need to watch it for a while. Finally I got the chance to see it last semester. It was interesting to know Exit Through the Gift Shop isn't just about street fact, as tv tropes puts it, it's kind of difficult to figure out what it's about exactly. A film about Banksy, or a film Banksy did about Mr. Brainwash, or just about the movement overall.

It raises questions about what defines art and if anyone can be an artist. It's incredibly funny in an oddly bitter way towards the end, and I was amused the whole way through. I would recommend this movie to almost anyone--but especially if they're into the arts.

6) The Motorcycle Diaries
I'm ashamed to say I don't know that much about Che Guevara. I know he's a controversial figure, and it's difficult to talk about this movie without realizing I'm reflecting on the story of someone who's both a hero and villain in history.

Nonetheless, I was in awe by this movie in a way I wasn't expecting. It was playing randomly on the background, and I wasn't even paying that much attention at first. But it was intriguing, the music was nice, and Gael García Bernal's acting is just so charming and captivating. He became one of my favorite actors right after watching this.

The Motorcycle Diaries is funny, thought-provoking, and even sad at times. The scene at Machu Picchu is probably one of my favorite moments in cinema. If I ever do go on a trip across the world, I want to do it how these two did--barely any money, town to town, speaking with locals and understanding the struggles of the people.

I was disappointed in my Hispanic cinema class because I often wonder how many more movies there are like the Motorcycle Diaries that I just haven't heard of. I have some trouble accepting my heritage because I haven't been exposed to aspects that I admire about it. I'm actually put off by a lot of Hispanic things (music, costumes, social aspects, even food)--and I can't figure out why.

But this movie feels very much like a reflection of South America while also having its own universal themes. Which is, I think, the mark of a great story.

7) Ghost in the Shell

I feel like a lot of the conversations and themes in the movie made me think about human nature and what it means to be human--which I'd never considered before. The film doesn't ever give an answer to the questions it raises, but I think that's whats always made it so great for me.

Honestly, as well done as the actions scenes are, what I like the most about Ghost in the Shell are the conversations. But that's not to say I don't enjoy the animation and the atmosphere, and the scene that runs along with the credits is beautiful. Particularly because it's impossible to know if that's Motoko's dream or maybe even a memory.

I think Ghost in the Shell was one of the first movies to show me the importance of pure sci-fi, and I ended up creating two very important characters after seeing it--the genetically engineered cyborg Amber Jackson and the A.I Isadora. Theirs is one of those works I hope to return to because it's a subject matter I want to explore. And I have to thank Ghost in the Shell for that.

8) Run Lola Run
I'd heard great things about the character of Lola before I saw this film in my German cinema class. After a string of depressing flicks and art house cinema, Run Lola Run was meant to give us a bit of a break. It was certainly different than the slow-paced, softly spoken films that preceded it. Most of Run Lola Run is, quite appropriately, constantly in motion, but once it reaches a pause, it never feels out of place or distorted. And the soundtrack for it is awesome--it could make anyone want to break out into a run through Berlin.

I wrote a paper about it for the class, so I spent a lot of time talking about the role of fate and chance in the movie, the exploration of the domino effect, Lola's almost cosmic autonomy, the strength and respect shown in the relationship, and even its frame as a modern fairy tale. But even without all of that, it's still a solid, entertaining movie.

I remember before we watched it, my professor said that this was the beginning of a more "Global" German cinema. The kind that was supposed to emulate stuff from Hollywood and appeal to Western audiences. And while I certainly think it's different from early German stuff, this film actually doesn't feel very American to me. I don't imagine an American director or writer coming up with something like this. Despite how fast it is, it also likes to take its time. It's both simple and complex, and works as a visual medium more than anything else. I like it for how unique it is, and how it doesn't ever seem apologetic about its style.

9) Hidden Fortress
Oh god this movieeee. The princess. The princess totally makes it. Well, her and the general. Ahhhhh, Princess Yuki and General Rokurōta~

I watched Seven Samurai first, as is tradition, I think, since that's Kurosawa's best movie. ('s either that or Rashomon. Much more educated people than I can probably debate that). I was not expecting to like this movie so much, but I doooo. I love it more than anything else he's ever made! Yes. Anything. Fight me, film buffs, I'm not backing down on this claim. This movie wins above all Kurosawa movies (in my personal, subjectively biased view).

Maybe cuz I love princesses. I know they get a lot of crap and everyone's always like "princesses are boring they don't ever do anything, the title doesn't matter." BUT I DON'T CARE. I am not above that kind of female character, not "too good" for princesses. I mean, yes, obviously they have to be done right, but the princess in this movie is just so, so great. I haven't seen Hidden Fortress for a few years now, probably not since I was twelve. But I remember being vividly connected to the characters and the fear they felt while trying to hide the gold. It makes me sort of sad to know the actress didn't become a super mega famous star, but I still adore her portrayal of Yuki.

And actually, as much as I like Kurosawa, his female characters don't leave impressions on me--and there aren't very many of them either. (He's not bad at writing them, in my opinion, it's just not his strength). But Princess Yuki is his exception. And either way, he's actually good at character depth and has some pretty incredible action scenes. I'll always, always, always love this movie.

10) Pride and Prejudice (2005)
This adaptation isn't always a fan favorite because it omits a lot of things from the novel, plus there is a bit of a difference with the way Darcy and Elizabeth behave--overall and with each other. But  this was the first time I was ever exposed to the Pride and Prejudice story, and Elizabeth's strong will and morals were incredibly inspirational. In a way, I think I've always wanted to be like her, opinionated and witty. Strong, and thoughtful, but not free of faults with her judgement of others.

The score compliments the scenery and emotion well--it has some great lingering shots of the landscapes and sets. And even though some people have criticized Kiera Knightly's portrayal of Lizzy, I still enjoy it. I feel her strength and her growth as a person, and her acceptance of her faults and Darcy's faults as they both grow.

And AHHH THE LOVE STORY. BAEORHAEOWARHEBOFAWER. Nothing comparesss. And yes, I'm allowed to get all mushy and girly at this movie >.> Greatest. Romance. Ever.

(And yeah, I still wish I had a lively, playful disposition that delighted in anything ridiculous).

BONUS: Guilty pleasure - Showgirls.
Oh good god, I have no excuse for this. I'd heard so much terrible things about it before watching it, I knew it was terribly sexist and idiotic (yet the people involved obviously thought it was empowering) and I'm always horrified that people think this is what movies about women is supposed to be. But I love it so much. I love how stupid it is, I love how over the top it is, I love how nonsensical it is. And I actually think that, when the dancing doesn't look ridiculous, Nomi's pretty good at it! Honestly, the only thing I don't ever watch is the rape scene, because that bit pisses me off, as does the resolution. But I suppose that's the charm of this movie--it just gets stupider and more infuriating as you go along.

I also find it hilarious that this crap passes the Bechdel Test. I mean, nothing beats the doggy chow/nice tits conversations >_>

Enjoy that great failure of a clip :D

Sunday, January 12, 2014

30 Week Blog Challenge - Week 1: Recent picture and 15 Facts

Now Playing: Hybrid - The Formula of Fear

I've never done a weekly blog challenge before because I'm a super lazy/distracted person. That said, I saw Swankivy/Julie was doing a 30 week challenge on her blog, and I decided to check it out and see if I wanted to do it. I think it's meant to be for Mondays only, but I'll never remember to do it at the start of the week. So it shall be a Sundayyy challenge!

For some reason, the thing that ultimately convinced me was that I realized in less than half the time it'll take me to finish this, I'll be done with Spring semester. Weeeeeeeeee!

So here's week one! Recent picture and fifteen facts.

:D This challenge is by Marie Rossiter, of Mom Gets Real.

1) At this point in my life, I secretly admire Superman more than Batman.
2) But I love Wonder Woman more than them both.
3) I am incapable of wearing jewelry without getting super-twitchy--necklaces feel like they're choking me, rings freak me out, and I don't have my ears pierced for earrings. I can't wear anything except cheap bracelets as long as they're not plastic. It has to be cloth, leather, twine, or strings.
4) Russian is my favorite language (on a purely superficial level--I like how it sounds).
5) Most of my main characters are anti-heroes.
6) My favorite thing to do in high school was going through my artistic friends' sketchbooks.
7) I love silent films.
8) I like super small towns and huge, megapopulated cities, but not the in-between.
9) I connect easily with toddlers and small children.
10) I am horrendously bad at chess and haven't played it for over seven years.
11) I wanted to be a film editor when I was in middle school and through the first half of high school.
12) I'm working on having an encyclopedic knowledge of serial killers >.>
13) I love robots in fiction, but don't actually like the mecha subgenre that much.
14) I classify my favorite music as anything that a) helps me write and b) helps me daydream about my fictional worlds.
15) With a few exceptions, most of my attempts to write realistic fiction have ended up turning into sci-fi. For example, The Way Out Is Through was originally meant to be a story called Hurricane Girls, and Valentine and Kaede were two teenagers stuck inside a high school for a day of detention, sort of like the Breakfast Club. Somehow by the time I was done, I had an A.I, a derelict spaceship, and a quest to find Earth-That-Was. (Though Kaede and Valentine didn't really change a single bit--and I still call them my hurricane girls).

One down, twenty-nine to go >:D

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Madness in the Grey

Now Playing: Beyond Two Souls OST - Main Theme and The Infraworld

So strangely enough, both my German and Japanese cinema class have started the same way. A super old silent film with added music the professor disproves of and that deals with psychological horror and the nature of madness.

Well sort of. You don't really know that about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari till the end, but that's what Page of Madness is practically about. Uhm. Sort of. I'm going with what I understood.

Because silent films in Japan had live narrators called benshi and Page of Madness was lost for like 50 years, the copy that remains is just an hour of silence as the footage plays. My professor had a copy of the movie that did have music, but she cut the audio because she said it had obviously been added after the fact and wasn't authentic. As soon as it started playing I was dying to reach for my phone, slip my earphones in, and watch the movie with music. It was terribly difficult to pay attention because of the silence, but if I closed my eyes and pretended to watch it in spinets, it was strangely beautiful.

That said, it was interesting to compare it to Caligari. That film is just beautiful and capturing, and even though it's obviously incredibly old, it has a sense of timelessness to it. It might have to do a lot with the way its stylized and how the narrative unfolds.

I think that was probably the most interesting thing to happen in German cinema. I remember when we got to propaganda movies, instead of watching  something like Triumph of the Will, my professor forced us to watch one called Hitler Youth Quex. Good god that was terrible.

I sat there in disbelief for the good hour and a half, wondering how the hell Fritz Lang's M had come out just two years earlier, and yet was infinitely more timeless. (And I don't mean in terms of content--though the story is timeless too--I mean in its execution).

It sometimes feels like visual mediums have a harder time adapting to a rapidly changing culture, but I feel like the value remains no matter how "outdated" something becomes. We find meaning in art that's fifty, hundred, a thousand years old, even if the languages change or the styles turn ancient and difficult to comprehend.

I'm not a very good student of history. Facts and cause and effects throw me off and I find it difficult to pay attention. But the actual nature of timekeeping and documenting is fascinating. It makes me feel like nothing from the past will ever be incomprehensible, and even if certain things are lost through history, some sort of invisible legacy remains.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

COLD (and food)

Now Playing: Hybrid - Enjoy the Silence

Woah. I was really angry yesterday @_@ I am significantly better now. (Even though both my lit classes have important papers due the day before Spring Break...grrr. I'm turning them in early T_T I refuse to miss my brother's birthday).

^Maybe I shouldn't complain too much. My American lit class might end up being my most difficult one, but the professor seems nice. Plus she might remember me next time, since I was apparently the one who knew Birth of a Nation was based off a book called The Clansman. (She was trying to remember "an awkwardly racist book" and mentioned the movie, so I sort of knew what she was talking about. Not that I've ever read it--though the reviews on Goodreads entertain me)

Anywayysssss, I don't have much to write right now. In fact, I really need to get some reading of The Dream of the Rood done for tomorrow. It takes me forever to understand what narrative poems are trying to say, so I should probably focus on it sometime soon >.> I've been spending a lot more time in my common room, which is a good idea until I have to go outside to head back into my building. (Salley's weird--it must be the only dorm place in the campus that has the common room and front desk detached from the buildings where the students live).

I wouldn't mind it if it wasn't so cold suddenly. I had never before experienced anything below 40 degrees, and today it was down to the low 20's. Biking around is a nightmare because I don't have any gloves and the wind freezes my fingers in place. And all my classes are on the other side of campus.

I got to see Carla nonetheless, and she lent me some gloves and a scarf temporarily. She was in like thirty layers of sweaters, and I, like an idiot, decided not to wear pants today. At least I had tights on, and two bulky sweaters covering me up. Though it was probably not very smart to wear a hoodie that has the colors of a beloved rival school >.>

But at least I was temporarily warm(er).

I think I'm gonna stop riding the bike till I get some gloves of my own...
My only upside is that I usually just had to take the blue hoodie off when I got to class. The buildings are kept infinitely warmer, and it usually feels like you have ten seconds to remove most of your layers of clothing before you get heatstroke.

I'm also starting to use the kitchen of my dorm. I cooked steak on it a couple days back, and it tastes the same as if my mom had made it. I'm kind of excited now to go back and cook more food there--it's strangely relaxing.

BUT THE COLD HAS TO GO DOWN DX. I can't imagine grocery shopping when it's this freezing! I haven't even been able to go swimming since I'm terrified I'll get hypothermia in the three minutes it takes to go from the gym to my dorm.


EDIT: JK, The Dream of the Rood was actually easy to follow and very beautiful. I take back what I said~

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Curse

Hispanic Cinema: what a lie. That class needs a new name.

So before the semester started, I dropped the online class because I knew with two literature classes, I was going to be incredibly swamped with readings. It was a little worrying, because I dropped Russian Fairy Tales last semester and I didn't want to do something like that again. I want to pick my classes and stick to them. If not, I might as well be setting a curse on myself to drop a class every start of the semester.

Despite that wish, I figured it was better not to push it. I went to the first day of Medieval Lit in translation and Japanese Cinema today, and was pretty happy with what the courses have to offer. I'm not in any fear of my American literature class tomorrow, so it all seemed pretty good. That said, I'd already read a lot of negative things about the professor who teaches Hispanic Cinema. He's apparently terribly arrogant and insults students--and that's not the usual complains people give about professors. It's usually, "he's such a tough grader," "she never teaches anything," "he doesn't listen!" Those are easier to ignore, as they're often never true and just written by bitter students. But in two different websites people were calling him arrogant. I was skeptical, but I wanted to stick with the class. It's my culture, after all, and I wanted to have two cinema classes.

And then I got the syllabus.

It is literally a class dedicated to one guy. One. Guy.

I know because of my infinite ignorance that I have no right to judge the importance of Pedro Almodovar when I know next to nothing about his films. I'm sure he represents a lot of great importance to the cinema of Spain.

But the fucking class is called Hispanic cinema. As in, all those little countries in South and Central America plus Spain. It's bad enough that often my own personal culture seems to get put in a blender with other nations--to the point where my birth nation is almost never mentioned--but now we can't even focus on all those directors and actors? This shit wasn't listed as Spanish film and only now I'm seeing it listed under Almodovar's name. When I signed up for it, the system said Hispanic Cinema, and now it's saying a completely different thing.

I got so mad I dropped the class.

Yeah, yeah, I'm down to 12 credits. I wouldn't be if French Cinema was still open--which was at the same time as Almodovar Cinema--but I didn't get very lucky in that search. This would technically mean I'd have to take wayyy too many classes too catch up and graduate when I want to, but I have a new plan. I'll graduate in Summer 2015. It'll really only be two last classes needed, and then I'm done.

The weird thing is, I'm not actually ever really attached to my culture. I don't care about my costumes, cultural expectations, food and music, etc. The language is nice, but not my favorite in the world, and it really does often feel like the umbrella term for Hispanic usually excludes a lot of countries rather than truly unite them. But I'm starting to realize how important cinema is to me, and to just have this school shove it all to one man rather than the collective individuals who contributed to it is a little unnerving. It'd be different if there was a specific class for him and another for general Hispanic cinema. But there wasn't. There isn't a choice.

Sucks >_>

EDIT: I had to add this in because it was just so perfect.

I told my dad that the class consisted of pretty much one director, and he guessed Luis Buñuel, adding "there's no one else." From his wikipedia page, this guy looks a hell of a lot more interesting than Almodovar, particularly because he worked with a) different countries, b) different genres, and c) the surrealist movement of the 20s and continued to make films till the 70s. (The syllabus for the class said we'd only be watching films from the 80's and beyond, which is not enough when studying a culture's cinema).

So I told him who it was and he said: "Carajo...pura sexualidad y amor decadente. No es tan malo, pero no es Buñ disappointing."
Which means, "Fuck...all sexuality and decadent love. He's not too bad, but he's not Buñuel..."

I laughed. I should have known my dad would know.

I'll watch some Buñuel movies chronologically to make up for it. Maybe I'll find an anthology...

P.S: I may or may not have freaked out my Medieval Lit professor. She handed out little index cards and said to write our names and a fun fact. I told her a little bit about Garavito and Pedro Lopez. I hope she doesn't think it too weird.

P.P.S: I barely even bothered to try and translate carajo. Apparently it can be anything from shit, damn, fuck, dick, bloke, and dude.
So yeah. Wat.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Resolutions again~

Happy New Years!

(I finished Beyond Two Souls like fifty seconds before starting this post, so my brain is calibrating >.>)

I wrote my resolutions for 2013 on this blog. When I go over them, I actually got a few of them down and at least half of some bullet points. But they might have been a little too ambitious or even a little ridiculous. So I want to try this again and make slightly more realistic ones.

My 2014 resolutions are...
  • Get straight A's (or with one B) in the next two semesters
  • Finish a novel before November
  • Win NaNoWriMo
  • Read over 50 books (this number should be small, but considering I haven't really been reading as much, it's a start >_>)
  • Get into an internship and/or a 4000 level workshop class
  • Do well in my school's lit magazine
Here's hoping >.>
"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.