Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The resurgence of British humor

The rude and crude British humor is coming back. I was never a big fan of Monty Python, but I enjoyed Fawlty Towers. But this time around, Ricky Gervais and Sacha Baron Cohen are comic geniuses.

Borat is my favorite character. Look for some of his sound clips here. Visit the Unofficial Borat Homepage for more laughs.

It takes an ingenious comic to come up with silly questions like "What's barely legal?" and "Would you ever nuke Canada? There's the element of surprise."

When asking astronaut Buzz Aldrin (erroneously referring him to Buzz Lightyear) "Do you think us humans will ever walk on the sun?" Buzz replies patiently, "No, because the sun is too hot." Ali G then asks, "What 'bout in winter?"

Asking a DEA why some drugs are outlawed but not others, Ali G inquires, "Why not outlaw Pringles cuz they say 'Once you pop you can't stop?'"

Also after introducing Boutros Boutros Boutros Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Ali G asks "Is French the funniest language?" and the former UN Secretary General answers, "Arabic might be funnier."

The list goes on...the important thing was Ali G was the commencement speaker for Harvard undergrad this past June. Now you know how influential this guy is! Check it.


Monday, August 30, 2004

Even trapezoids have attitude...

I feel like I'm Tom Robbins. Yeah, when trapezoids starting having an attitude, you know it's one step closer to gender equality. What's a trapezoid? It's something bigger than a square.

This is surely gonna make me sad and sentimental, but life goes on. All I have to say is this was a famous Olympics. I loved every minute of it (even beach volleyball on second thoughts because I liked their hugging afterwards). Now we're stuck with bad TV again.

250,000 protesters in NYC, great! I'll try to catch the Republican Convention as much as I can, even though I know they'll piss me off.

Six Flags were great yesterday. I didn't perform though. Who said I was gonna?

I was on Da Gator's show on WPFW 89.3 this Saturday by accident. Rick Bolling ended up interviewing me for 30 minutes. That was a miracle! Support this station for it's the only one that plays jazz and blues in the nation's capital.

The New York Daily News has an excellent article about the "Garden Club," a term describing those who are affected by the film Garden State and connect with other individuals are also moved. I don't think I'm a Garden Club member quite yet - Though I was deeply moved by the film, I haven't found anybody who's willing to connect with me yet. It's easy to say that their reasons for liking the film is different than mine. But that's an escape device.

It's also easy to label yourself as an "alienated, angry twentysomething" on the verge of exploding cynicism. But that's not it either. It's easier to read someone's blog or Friendster's profile and say "He or she's gonna be my soulmate" and when you meet them in person they are either silent as a bird or just don't agree with you on abortion.

Sometimes you think you know the person but they close their doors on you. There's nothing more unfortunate than that in life.

I hate to be preachy on my blog but this is the time, place, manner to do just that. If you are a self-proclaimed Garden Club member, listen up. Zach Braff quips, "What Garden State's really about is how short life is. And how we get caught up in so many entanglements and insecurities and worries and obsessions and trivial arguments while life races right by us shaking it's head at how seriously we take ourselves."

Life is short. So open up and embrace life and the people around you. Don't focus on what you don't have; focus on what you have.

P.S. Girls who have nice legs should wear skirts more often.


Friday, August 27, 2004

Bad photos, good publicity...oh well

I'm psyched, as I'm featured in Citypaper's Pop Quiz today. Yehhhh!!! Can't really complain.

Also, I just found out I'm playing with Clarence Turner Blues Band at the DC Blues Festival this coming September 4. Pretty exciting stuff. When I kinda gave up the hope to play in this year's festival, I got a call. Life's always full of surprises. Last year we got a couple of standing ovations. Let's hope we'll do it again this year.


Thursday, August 26, 2004

What's a NOVA vibe?

I know I'm blogging more than usual these days, but I want to try to get this idea out.

I've had a little debate with some of my female friends lately. Stephanie and Maura try to defend themselves from having a NOVA vibe. There are generally three types of vibe in the DC metro area: DC, Northern Virginia (NOVA), and Montgomery County (MOCO) vibes.

The DC vibe is the coolest, even though still four months behind NYC, Paris, and Hong Kong. They dine at Raku, shop at Urban Outfitters, practice Yoga, and go to Black Cat Wednesday. The extreme ones discuss existentialism at Kramerbooks or drink Lassi at Teaism and pretend they don't see people holding hands in Dupont Circle. Their conversations usually revolve around politics (esp. why Ralph Nader is a shameless bastard) and gossip (whether Martha Stewart is in love with Keanu Reeves). Sadly, DC people may think they're hipper than they truly are.

The NOVA and MOCO people have overlapping styles. Girls in their late 20's look like they are in their mid-30's mainly due to frequent visits to tanning salons and excessive smoking. They also hang out a lot at the so-called hip hair salons and give mean looks to girls who are less tanned or have a less smoky voice. They're mean. And some of them hang out at Ozio's or Dragonfly on Saturdays and pretend they belong to the DC vibe.

MOCO people have a certain white trash quality about them. The guys hang out at Hooter's or Polly Esther's and ride Harley-Davidson bicycles and have fading tattoos on their arms. They think Bethesda's cool! MOCO girls wear rolled up jeans and dine outside of Parker's or Jaleo's and have curly blonde hair. When guys approach them, they start talking like Britney Spears and say "Fuck off, scum!"

NOVA girls hang out at Tyson's Corner and dine at Maggiano's or Daily Grill. They either wear high-sole shoes and shop at Anthropologie or wear black hip-flops and shop at Old Navy. They either have a Coach or Kate Spade handbag. They, too, have curly blonde hair or brown hair with blonde highlights. They think Tyson's the coolest place in the world. Better than Pentagon City Mall big time! NOVA guys are just non-stylish: slick back hair, tucked-in dress shirt, impatient look on face waiting for their girlfriends to finish up their shopping so they can go home and watch "The OC."

So what kind of a vibe do you have? God, how I love generalizing people!!


Late nights in DC

Jeff said "I hate DC. I hate DC people." Point well-taken, and I understand why. But if I were ever to leave DC, I'd have a nostalgic feeling. How many footprints have I left in the capital of the United States? The best thing about DC is its late nights. And of course, Ben's Chili Bowl first comes to mind. Frankly, they have the greasiest, fattiest food you'll ever have in your life, but it's soulful and delicious. And it's been in the area since 1958. My favorite items are the chilly burger and cheese fries, and I don't even like chili. Lou Donaldson once said, "Not everybody can play the blues. You can practice all you want, but you've gotta eat the right food." I believe that's the "right food" Lou's talking about.

Once you have eaten in Ben's Chili Bowl, you'd want to skip pretentious places like Bistro Lepic. What's the point? Would you rather chill out with brothers and sistas who understand human suffering or the uptight corporate types who stare at you partly because you wonder what kind of avant garde dish they're ordering and partly because you're Asian.

Soul is what late nights are all about. You can't find a whole lotta soul in the daytime. Plus I'm usually working.

U street is also the epitome of soul in Washington. Starting from left to right: U-Topia, Black Cat, Bar Nun, The Islander, 9:30 Club, Bohemian Caverns, Sparky's. Of course, I always miss the greasiness of Ledbetter and Cafe Toulouse.

Sometimes people and joints define more about the place than the place itself. To some, DC might mean the White House, Lincoln Memorial, National Gallery of Art. To me, Ben's Chili Bowl defines DC. That's what DC is all about.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Amores Perros

Love is a bitch. There I said it.

First, Ed was crushed. And now this guy. And I'm somewhere between the devil and the deep blue sea. I don't know if I should link it because I don't want to publicize someone else's misery. But I want to excerpt several enlightening sentences:

I can't say I hate her, because she's done a lot for me. She's made me feel like a whole normal person, and made me believe in myself and that I can make it. She's taken care of me, and she loved me, whatever that means to her. She's been good to me. She's not a terrible person.

But she also pretty much destroyed me. She's taken all the belief and hope I had in humanity and totally crushed it. She's made me doubt people, she's made me feel like I'm worthless, and she's totally turned the past year and then some into a giant lie. She made me feel like I can't believe in anyone anymore. And that includes myself. She's ruined all my hope for the future. I never wanted to fall in love with her (emphasis added) , and when I did, she tore my heart out of my chest and stomped on it. And the worst part is, she never meant to hurt me. She never did anything to intentionally destroy me. And that's the cruellest cut of all.
It all sounds like a Woody Allen movie, or that Cat Stevens song (with a remake by Rod Stewart) "The First Cut is the Deepest, Baby I know." Yeah, sing along! But in a city like DC, we create our own problems. The truth in Brian's eloquent monologue sounds oh so familiar. I once wrote a minor blues called "I Wanna Be Good To You" with a chorus line as follows: "I wanna be good to you/It's not cuz I love you/I just kinda like you." Yeah, and that's the troooth.

We've all been in the garbage can before, and we know how much it stinks inside. We kinda have to go through this shit to understand what life really means. Ed has given up, and I wish Brian all the best. How much heartache does it take to find the right match?

Now you guys know why I play the blues.


One-liners in broad daylight

There's nothing more humiliating than when someone de-Friendster you (tho' it has never happened to me befo').

My favorite website now (the one I check compulsively) is this.

Carly Patterson is my new hero. She always has a nice smile on her face, unlike the Russian broad Svetlana Khorkina, who looks so pissed off and bitter about the world all the time. The judges saw that and only gave her a silver medal.

Patriotism plays a big part in the Olympics. I cheer for China and am happy when the USA basketball team loses.

I heard the American national anthem more times than I ever have in my entire life.

They should cancel beach volleyball because it looks so stupid! Instead, they should have hot-dog eating contests.

How many athletes truly have sportmanship in this Olympic tournament? Is it more a personal honor or an honor for their country? I wonder.

What's your favorite sport in the Olympics so far?


Monday, August 23, 2004

Male hormones aren't necessarily evil

It's time to have a heart-to-heart with my readers again.

Ed wrote me something insightful this weekend:

so living a life without a love for a woman requires strong friendships and a rich social life with an artistic vision that drives you to insanity.

it gets lonely without a woman cause it's in our genetic code.

but it is the contradiction.
the love for a woman inspires our work as well as tears us down
I've been thinking, and re-thinking. You've gotta give credits to gay men and monks and (some) priests because how can they do it? I'd like to think celibacy is a choice for all men, but not quite. Some of my female friends are tired of looking and want to settle down. And it turns out that some of the male friends want to settle down too. But the thing is, it's not exhausting to just look. But once you've picked someone, it's exhausting trying to work out little details with them and see if they're compatible with us.

Again, it all comes down to luck. You can achieve certain things in life by working hard. But you can't win the heart of a woman without a bit of help from Mr. Fortune. Janine mentions that relationship is a little bit of luck and a little bit of what our unconcious brings to the situation. I'm privileged to know people with such wisdom. After all, I am a deep believer in the right situation will emerge when you are least expecting it.

The hell with CBM, the hell with the holiday season, love is in the swimming pool.


Friday, August 20, 2004

"O" for Olympics

I'm hooked by the Olympics! It's just all so exciting. My favorite events are women's volleyball, swimming, gymnastics, diving, men's basketball, women's soccer, etc. I want to see more of ping-pong and track & field (I guess it hasn't started yet). The best moment was men's swimming relay when Keller beat Thrope by 0.33 seconds. Simply amazing! How could those girls get so flexible in gymnastics. I can't even ride a bicycle.

[This paragraph has been slightly altered due to the G-Rated nature of this blog.] I find this quite interesting. Well, I bet some atheletes just use them to make water balloons, but you can't be so sure.

My friend said off the record, "Well, I think they deserve it after months and years of intense training." I'm sure he's only referring to the water balloons.

Stay tuned and enjoy; it's only once every four years, and it doesn't often happen in Greece.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

More on Garden State and other random ramblings

First thing first, boycott Bistro Lepic!! Don't trust those who tell you this is the best French restaurant in DC. Uptight, snotty, overpriced, small portions, bad service, BAD FOOD!!!!! I can't believe we paid $65 for literally manure that didn't fill our stomachs. And you call that gourmet food? I think it's time for us to teach these overrated restaurants a lesson. Trash your Zagat! Use your head, senses, and taste buds. Be real to yourself. Don't let the decor and the table cloth's color fool you. If you don't understand what the waiter says when he introduces the specials, chances are he doesn't know what he's talking about. If you want real food, there's Maria's (Hong Kong style western food) or Mosaic (yummy waffle sandwiches) in the new Congressional Mall that'll knock your socks off. And much cheaper too.

I'll probably see Garden State again. Superfans may call it "the film of our generation." That's an overstatement. I think it's this year's surprise hit. Some people point out it resembles Ted Demme's 1996 sleeper hit Beautiful Girls starring Timothy Hutton and guess who? Natalie Portman. There's no coincidence Zach Braff picked Portman for the role of Sam. I want to write more about the movie because it gets stuck in my head for a couple of weeks now.

But there's nothing to write about. I just need to be there when it happens. It's happening.

I remember I once wrote an article about "campus cult figures" at Cornell. It was a hit! And I became a cult figure and then a fading politician until I joined the Model Congress in the spring of my senior year and chaired a conference with some really bright high school kids. Then I realized there's something that keeps my engine going. I gave a moving speech at the end of the conference regurgitating cliches like "I once was lost but now am found" and got some well-deserved applause. It was a heartfelt speech and I meant every word of it. And then life went on.

Sometimes a relative's funeral does it. Or a high school reunion. Or just seeing beautiful things happen at the blink of an eye. Old people playing chess in gardens, young people playing solitaire admist blowing winds. Street bums yelling and screaming the blues like Big Joe Turner. Someone playing Joni Mitchell-esque guitar singing like Joni Mitchell or trying to sound like Ani Difranco without realizing she's out-of-date and no longer a symbol. Someone playing a Bach fugue or a Vivaldi variation on a cello making an old lady reminisce the old days when she used to hold hands with her lifelong husband while viewing falling autumn leaves...or snowflakes, cornflakes, people who behave like flakes...

For me, it's a damned Model Congress conference.


Monday, August 16, 2004

Anti-Semitism is anti-everybody?

There's an interesting campaign in New York City against anti-Semitism by the Anti-Defamation League that has created some controversy in the city. The above posters are distributed on several hundred phone booths in the city. But why single out Jewish people? Why not have a campaign saying "Anti-Christianity is anti-me" or "Anti-Asian is anti me?" Read more about the campaign here and its opposition letter and judge it for yourself.

Also, my imaginary protege Dyske has a thought-provoking article about a similar topic. His thesis is that anti-Semitism will be greatly reduced if Jews stop treating themselves as a special breed: "Anti-Semitism will never go away as long as there are people who insist on pro-Semitism or anti-non-Semitism."

I think at this critical stage of political turmoil, we should unite together to re-defeat Bush in November, rather than having some gratitious campaign over whether something you say might offend a three-year-old Asian kid because he has the potential to be Jewish. Well, I say things that offend people all the time. Am I anti-people? Like I once wrote in my "Jewish Woman Blues" (which is now my anthem), "Why can't we all just get along?"

Please post on this issue because I want to read your precious views and see where I am on the spectrum. Long live Ali G and Sammy Davis Jr.!


Saturday, August 14, 2004

The artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince

The symbol still works. Yeah, that weird one.

Prince delivered a dynamite, booty-shaking concert a MCI Center on Friday night, and I was fortunate to have witnessed it. I've always wanted to witness a Prince concert because he's one of the few funky mofos left in the music industry. You see I used the word "witness" because I'm not a die-hard fan of the artist and I don't know all of his songs, but his energy, showmanship, and electrifying stage performance have earned my respect. Plus, he always has a top-notch funky backing band with him, á la James Brown and Van Morrison.

This time, he features the usually reliable and remarkable Maceo Parker and Candy Dulfer on saxes, Greg Boyer on trombone, an unknown Japanese keyboardist, a funky bi-racial female slap bassist Rhonda (with whom Prince often jammed), and the super-muscular athlete John Blackwell on drums (who played magic tricks with his drumsticks).

While the backing band was awesome as hell, Prince was still a pretty charming MF. His impromptu dancing and moving on stage occasionally earned applause from the audience. His song selection was appropriate. Started off with the title track of his new CD Musicology, also the name of the tour, amd moved on to cult hits like "When Doves Cry" and "Kiss". He gave plenty of solos to his amazing band members. During the intermission, he also let the Japanese keyboardist do a Yanni-like synth solo and Maceo sing "Georgia on My Mind," paying homage to the late great Ray Charles. Prince also did an 8-song acoustic set singing everything from "Peach" to the blues. He's proficient on both the guitar and bass.

After a much-demanded encore longing, Prince, or the symbol, finished the show with "Nothing Compares To U" and "Purple Rain," ending a unique musical journey. The makeup of the audience was 50% white and 50% black. And when Prince was doing the acoustic set, a lot of the black spectators were motionless.

I must say I respect Prince for his music and who he is. He's an entertainer and he's smart enough to cater to both black and white listeners. His music is often challenging and uncompromising, though not all of his songs listenable. But as my comrade Clarence Turner puts it, he's one of the few funky mofos still doing it, and let's hope he keeps funk alive!


Friday, August 13, 2004

Not to brag, but....

...today's Washington Post has an article about, well, not just me, but Europa Lounge. Thanks Mike.


Nonsensical pillow talk

Shit, the CBM hits again.

My stereo strangely led me to put on Chet after 60 minutes of Billie Holiday and I was wondering if I was mentally slamming my guitar like Sean Penn in Sweet & Lowdown saying the bittersweet, "I made a mistake. I made a mistake." It was so good to see Rachel again tonight and it was nice to hear from Ed and Ernest and various other people. Am I an asshole or too sweet? I hear both. When you miss someone you hope the world stops for you to do just that. I should be in Paris right now because you hear Chet Baker everywhere, even on the loudspeakers on Champs-Elysses. Meredith says I should move to Paris because a hipster like me is inhibited by a limited place like DC. But DC is not limited it has great things to offer. I like it here and people are good except for the cab drivers but I don't take cabs anymore so it's good life is good.

This girl from Friendster sends me an mp3 it's so breathtakingly beautiful it breaks my heart. Time and music are the best medicines to heal wounds. But when time hasn't taken effect yet, a dosage of music can still heal temporary wounds. I miss folk music, coffee house music, music that makes me think, like Chris Shepard, Bread, Tom Paxton, Joni Mitchell...

It's that time of the year again, and soon it'll be Guaraldi season.


Thursday, August 12, 2004

Another day in American politics

CNN: NJ governor resigns, admits gay affair

Alright, kids. What an insane world we live in! Is this funnier or more shocking than cannibalism in the Philippines?

Will this have a big backlash on the Democratic Party's morale? Will Kerry suffer from this? Because you know Cheney will make a huge deal about this...



Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Insane in the membrane...

I LOVVVVEEE Cypress Hill.

What does that make me now? A chigger? A wink?



Do any of you watch the Ali G show? Now that Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Office are on hiatus, Ali G's my new favorite 30-minute show on TV. Borat is my favorite character. He's sooo baaddd that it's impossible not to laugh. And it's funny because he aims at the fact that some people take themselves so seriously.

Now, this is sad...I don't know if this is funny, or sad. But it's definitely gross. After all, eating Ray Liotta's brain may be practiced in other parts of the world.

The Olympics is coming. Is anyone following it?

What does it take to be hip in Washington DC? It doesn't carry the same connotation in New York. In NY, all you have to do is to wear tight raver clothers, gel your hair like Sid Vicious, put on the same chains and car keys around your neck, walk around West Broadway and pretend you're buying tickets to watch a semi-artsy fartsy film in Angelika Film Center. Or work on Wall Street.

In DC, you don't get same effect by visiting Sparky's Coffee, Visions Cinema, or Black Cat Wednesday. People just don't measure you by the same yardstick. I used to frequent 18th Street Lounge and Nation, now it just gets old. Some kind of hipness is timeless, too. Case in point: Three years ago, I came back from Paris with the song "Lebanese Blonde" and promoted it here (oddly enough, it was a song by DC's own Thievery Corporation). Now it's featured in the soundtrack of the hippest movie in town.

You don't have to answer the Tower of Power song, all you have to do is to give the Bob Dorough/Dave Frishberg answer.


Monday, August 09, 2004

The epitome of twentysomething angst

What a fantastic weekend! Friday was great. Saw Garden State as planned. What a gem of a movie! It's definitely this year's Rushmore. Zach Braff has even similar characteristics and mannerisms of Jason Schwarzmann's. The writing is exceptionally strong and its humor biting. At my showing, I realized there was more laughter and giggling coming from females than from males. Individual scenes are memorable, including the clever progression from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" to "Three Times a Lady," the Vietnamese restaurant scene, etc. The ending could've been a little tighter (and I found it to be an easy way out).

However, as a first time writer and director, you've gotta give credit for Zach Braff for putting this on the big screen. Braff reminds me of my friend Ed Mattiuzzi who could have easily made this movie because of their similar experiences (down and out in Hollywood, coming back to their hometown, finding the girl they love, etc.). Kudos to Pam Bricker, for her song "Lebanese Blonde" (lead vocals of Thievery Corporation) was featured in the film. In fact, this song has been a cult lounge hit all across the globe in the past 3 years or so, notably in Europe and Japan. Pam, you should be proud.

Then on Saturday, me and my brother bravely entered the ghetto neighborhood of Baltimore and found this soulful venue called Club Paradise. It is the Baltimore version of Ledbetter and has even more soulful and friendly folks. What started out to be a night to chill out with the blues became a jam session among Big Jesse Yawn, Sonny Boy, and the much skinnier Kelly Bell after his bypass operation. I originally just wanted to pay my dues to one of the area's best blues singers, and it turned out to be one of the most incredible blues performances I've had.


Friday, August 06, 2004

McClellan: "Even the most straightforward and plain-spoken people misspeak."

CNN: Bush misspeaks during signing ceremony

This is another reason to vote this guy off. No presidents before have declared that his administration will "never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people." The scary thing is, he might even believe in what he said.

Sometimes during our speech we slip out words unexpectedly, but what we say might be what we subconsciously contemplate. Remember the "wife" vs. "life" discussion in Annie Hall? Or John Cleese's greeting "fawlty titties" in Fawlty Towers. I don't want to support a president who is constantly thinking of new ways to harm this country. Do you?


Thursday, August 05, 2004

Don't know why I didn't come....

Glad that everybody's writing again...back to blogorama! I like what people write these days. It's a chilled August mode. Sanity and warmth intertwine.

I must admit I like Norah Jones' song "Don't Know Why," as cliched as it is. It's a cute little song with lyrics that don't mean anything. Can anybody tell me what the lyrics entail? But it's melodic, and everytime I listen to it, it puts me in a good mood. Plus it's the first time I supported a Grammy decision since they gave "Album of the Year" to Steely Dan some four years ago.

Can somebody tell me what's the big deal with Morrissey? None of his music is coherent. While we're at it, let's go over the Henry Chung overrated artists list: The Smiths, Ani DiFranco (is she a lesbian now?), Elliott Smith, Elvis Costello, Dave Matthews, Phish (sorry Greg, I must), Nirvana, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen, The Nighthawks, Jack Kerouac, Arnold Schönberg, M. Night Shyamalan, Kevin Smith, Spike Lee, Colin Farrell, Kevin Spacey's performance in American Beauty.

I know some of you will hate me now.


Wednesday, August 04, 2004

My mojo is gradually coming back

I know I should be talking about the Democratic National Convention, but aside from the fact that Bill Clinton gave the best speech outshining Kerry's presence, Obama's inane speech, "There's no left America, no right America, there's the United States of America" (it's like me saying, "There's no Henry, there's no Chung, there's only Henry Chung), and that Teresa Heinz Kerry looks like my office's cleaning lady, there's really nothing else to comment. Well, let's wait to see what Cheney and Bush have to say in the Republican Convention.

Heather gave a thumbs up (with a box of Kleenex) for Zach Braff's Garden State, opening this Friday in DC. Perhaps the film is this year's Lost in Translation/High Fidelity/Rushmore. I've been waiting for a film like this all year. Let's see if it lives up to its hype (well, there's no hype but critics seem to love it, evidenced by it's 96% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes).

All I have to say Zach Braff is a lucky bastard for sharing some kissing scenes with Natalie Portman in his directorial debut (that should give you sufficient incentive to become a writer/director). When I was in NYC last week, this movie was getting great reviews but my idiosyncrasy tricked me to watch the disappointing Village instead. So I have to catch it this weekend. Support the film by visiting Braff's Garden State blog, too.

I think the premise of Open Water is stupid. The actors act scared knowing there's a camera in front of them....


Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A haphazard entry

First off, a really funny website capturing the tidbits of the recent episode concerning Albert Cheng vs. Winnie Yu. Be sure to click on the e-card to have a good laugh.

My friend Ronald is getting married on August 14. I'd like to say congratulations and also regret that I won't be there to attend it since I live so far away. I send my best regards and wish him and his wife a happy future ever after. Check out his lovely wedding page (though it takes a while to load).

While I was walking in NYC on Friday, I was enjoying my solitude and thought to myself gee how much I like spending time by myself without having to listen to other people about where to go what to eat. I had the whole city all my myself for once free of encumbrances, annoyance, and opinions, and full of autonomy, joy, and liberty. Loved the city, the motion, the trendiness, the coffee, the fact that no one looks at you with an biased eye. You do your thing and not worry about paying taxes, pleasing someone, or trying to have people agree with you. You and the environment. You and the night and the music. You and your own shadow. Then, you hear music playing in the background, be it jazz, or sweet soul music, or some anonymously mediocre sax-playing street bum trying to make a living by playing a couple of Kenny G licks (though he may think he's Kenny Garrett). The city encapsulates feelings, lost souls, and certain unfortunate encounters.

You and the city two in one in a shampoo bottle.

So I'm back in town! Come get me!


Monday, August 02, 2004

The political underpinnings of The Village

Well, I never thought I'd post anything about this movie. But I saw an interesting interpretation of the film today on IMDB. OK, The Village is pure M. Night Shyamalan style - suspenseful story/plot development, good acting, but has an ending as contrived as a stale tomato. The only saving grace is its lead actress, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ron Howard's daughter, playing a blind girl sacrificing her fright for love.

The IMDB user wrote:
It seemed to me that Shyamalan was using this story as an analogy for the actions of the government post 9-11. The village elders (the government) was using fear of Those We Do Not Speak Of (terrorism) to keep the villagers (citizenry) from disobeying their orders.

This hypothesis is nothing short of ingenious. But did Shyamalan have that in mind when he made it? Or was he just being narcissistic as to fool the audience into believing his ill-conceived motifs? What about the self-indulgent directorial cameo?

What do you think about The Village, a political commentary or an idiotic cinematic experience?


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