Sunday, April 29, 2007

Okay, things are not that bad

Despite my Terminator fueled apocalyptic imagery, my life is not a burned-out ruin.

A good thing that happened this week was my discovery of "Coffee Break Spanish". Check it out. It is a spanish language instruction podcast, with Scottish accents. It's fun for me to practice things I've already learned and learn a few new words (seems to be based mostly on Spain Spanish).

Still working on some stuff, still needing to keep my eyes on the prize, but for now, things feel a lot better than they did yesterday.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I'm trying to measure my words carefully which is resulting in silence.

I think I was right before and wrong before, but at times which were opposite of how I had described them in the past.

At this moment I am looking forward, ignoring the fact that I'm walking on the bloody wreckage of the rest of my life. The body parts under my feet may shift and squelch, but the only way out of this open-air abattoir is to keep my eyes on the horizon, and walk.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Laugh Out Fucking Loud

Man, it's been a strange day.

Without going into the gruesome details, here is my horoscope for today, which is pretty damn funny to me right now:

Not quite sure some changes are really worth the hassle? Stay focused and keep up your spirits (and your current momentum). Very soon, you'll soon see developments that'll convince you otherwise.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gwoemul (The Host)

Last night bf and I went to see "The Host". I had heard nothing specific about this film, only that it was "great" and won some accolades at Cannes last year. Saw the trailer during previews when we went to see "Lives of Others", and it looked enjoyable, if difficult to place in a genre.

The toughest part of watching the film was how it moved through the genres of Horror/Comedy/Family Dramedy - it was a funny film with scary parts and a great big freaky monster (which looked amazing throughout the film but disappointed at the end), and some really cool family stuff in it as well. But the mood shifts were not always welcome, and the pacing felt a bit clunky in parts when the tension wasn't kept up.

Family, I've noticed, is a big part of the horror from Asia that I've been watching the past couple of years. Considering it, I see it as a part of non-Asian horror as well (and acknowledge non-family plots in other films I've seen), but there is a pretty big strain of family-related films. Oh, but I realize that it's mostly Mother and Child films... Just off the top of my head (the films I can remember without hurting myself or looking back at blog entries): The Ring (one and two), The Grudge, Dark Water, The Red Shoes - all big mother and child films, but not "family" per se. There is a social and familial disconnect in those films.

The family in The Host is concocted for both maximum comedy and pathos. Eldest brother is a dimwitted single father (beach bum couture and a nearly-grown-out bleach job perfect the character) to the much loved only grand-daughter/niece in the family.

Youngest brother is an unemployed college grad (the first in the family) who is jaded, bitter, and annoying. Youngest sister is a national archery contender, but foiled by her sloth-like speed. Father runs a food stand along the river, and harbours secret regrets which direct his actions today. In more than a few instances, I suspected a scene was a send up of contemporary/traditional Korean culture, or a commentary on the recent politics in South Korea, but I just don't know enough about the culture or recent history to know if I was "getting it" or not.

The film begins with a scene foreshadowing the disturbance to come, and promises to be a pretty standard grim horror flick - a promise which is definitely not fulfilled.

On one hand I was a bit disappointed at this - I could have used a taut, well paced horror flick last night to wind me up. On the other had, I really enjoyed the slap-stick-ness of the film and fell hard for the heartwarming family storyline.

[In a way I needed to watch this movie because of an incident over the weekend. It boils down to this: while watching the god awful "Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift" on the new HD TV at bf's place, his roomie started telling me (during a scene with some bad guys) how he didn't find Asians "intimidating", or "scary", because they were "so small" among other things. I was, as I am wont to be in these situations, at a complete loss for words. And I was, as I am wont to be in these situations, pretty worried that if I *did* attempt to speak, I would say something really nasty or at least phrase whatever I did say poorly. So I didn't say anything. As my complete silence fell in the midst of an animated conversation, it was probably apparent that I was not in approval or agreement of his comments. I could put a the disclaimer many would make that I don't think he *intended* to offend - I do think he was just saying what he thought - but his intent isn't the point. What seems terribly difficult to explain is actually really simple: if you see a group of people as varied as "Asians" as an easily dismissed bunch of people, you are not seeing them as PEOPLE. I see and hear this so often - that "they" are not as "us" and therefore are easily dismissed. Most of the time I can ignore it, but not when it comes up and slaps me in the face.]

Sitting in the theater last night it felt good to see Korean people and culture through a (fairly) non-self conscious lens. I had a similar thought when bf and I watched "The Red Shoes", more specifically about how nice it was to watch a film with Asian women in it who weren't being objectified as "China dolls" or "Geishas", or any of the more 'subtle' frames (brave iconoclast/cowering wife or daughter/cold manipulative beauty) we see.

I had a lot of fun with this film, despite its suffering from a slight identity crisis. I can recommend it, but you have to be aware that it is not a non-stop fright fest (in fact, although I let myself get involved, it's not all that scary).

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hey, it's the 6 week slump!

Well I'll be . Just realized today that I am experiencing the same thing in Spanish 2 that I experienced in my algebra class last summer. I have forgotten A LOT of Spanish. Can't remember basic words. It's maddening. Right now I am supposed to be studying, but I'm not.

Okay, that's it. I have to do well on the next exam. I'm going to write out huge "cheat sheets" and tape them to the living room wall.

Beginning with basic verb conjugation, moving through the preterite and imperfect.

Then the vocab (technology and cars) that I haven't learned.

Bah. I need a tutor.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Red, red, red

This was an enormously lazy Sunday.

So much so that I never even got around to showering!

There was the requisite afternoon nap, the watching of two documentaries,
ice cream and an eventful walk at Olbrich Garden.

I've been feeling angry lately, which, in terms of my mental health and my depression is actually a very good thing (feeling it as something which is not internally focused). I just need to figure out how to feel angry when it's more useful for me.

Lastly, I picked up a new bottle of fire engine red nail polish and I'm totally digging my red, red, red fingernails.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

What Scares You?

Sometimes the text of an email strikes me as perfect blog fodder. The following is just that, an email I sent off this morning. Not overly personal (especially for me). I'd sent bf a link to an IMDb review I wrote, which prompted the first fright mentioned.

One of the things I find most frightening is talking to someone who is very knowledgeable on a subject about something of which I "know" little - not if I'm asking to learn from them, but if I am saying "I know this". I figure talking to you about movies fits in that category very neatly.

Spiders scare me too, sometimes. Now I've intellectualized things so I don't *immediately scream* when I see one. But I still remember D bringing home a book about 'amazing' spiders (bird catchers, trap builders and the like) and being unable to read it because of the pictures (those eyes still haunt). I remember learning last year that the fear of creatures such as snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlies is an evolutionary thing.

When M was a baby I used to dream of him drowning, or at least, being lost in murky water while I tried to look for him. I can't swim, you know, so the dreams would incorporate that as well - couldn't find him, couldn't properly look for him... I was, for a few years, always afraid that he would be gravely hurt, that I would be. In hindsight I seems I just transferred all of my insecurity about my life to the question of his safety. Because he was actually fairly safe, but there were treacherous waters *I* was in. Writing this I realize that I haven't had a dream like that in a long time.

The idea (the mere idea of it, I tell you) that I might be failing to achieve perfection when pursuing a goal- that still puts fear into my heart. No matter how hard I try to ignore it. Pushing through that wall of sheer nervousness actually feels really good (Speech class was a great crash course in pushing through the largely physiological part of that reaction). I feel stronger when I do.

What scares you in life? What makes you feel strong?

I've got a million things on my mind, not the least of which is the huge list of tasks I've planned for myself this weekend. The house has been ignored too long. A few weeks ago I decided that the Summer of 2007 would see the reemergence of my being 'house proud'. For now I'll still have that ugly green 70s flooring in the kitchen, and other potentially shame inducing inadequacies, but I am going to make things as nice as I can afford to, and continue cleaning up 5+ years of detritus. So as dawn settles into day, it's time for me to get up from the computer and begin cleaning (kitchen first, I think).

Friday, April 20, 2007


OMG, it feels like summer! I have no plans for the weekend! There is beer in my fridge! Am seriously considering doing all the necessary house/yard work and painting while drinking beer. This could lead to 5 half done projects and some extended napping, but honestly, one could hardly tell the difference with me!

Bf is going to be interviewing a muscian this weekend - I'm proud of how his writing is becoming more noticed and paid for as well. Besides that, I don't know of any other plans between the pair of us. It's shaping up to be a well deserved lazy Sunday, but Saturday is definitely going to be busy for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Two link post

On my radar today - I am tired and present these without comment:

Take My Uterus, Please

Giving Offense

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

By extension

So much better...

A talk and a walk with BF, then shopping for and having dinner together was just what I needed. Back on earth, no longer spooked, and realizing that despite our weekend bickering, we are still in love.


Now I'm off to the dentist. Hooray!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Non better

[post title is a tip o the hat to a gramatically incorrect liquor store in the Chicago neighborhood a couple of my friends lived in for a few years. Much like we would say "these cookies are malicious" in a Mike Tyson voice, we'd say something was really good as in: "These cookies are good - there are non better!"]

Sometimes, when I am in the midst of a romantic relationship, it occurs to me that I have NO IDEA how to be in a relationship.

I know how to get into them, and I know how to get out of them, but being in one>? A far trickier proposition. For now I will assume that the mistakes I make (and those of my guy) aren't uncommon and chalk them up to human error.

Several months ago something happened which caused my bf to think we were done for - it was in his head, this 'doneness', and I was kind of freaked out by his strong reaction, because I didn't think it was such a big deal. We all have triggers which set off deep down anxieties, and this one was his. This weekend one of mine was set off and all I wanted to do was RUN. Fast and far. I still feel skittish.

I hate this feeling, being frightened by my own shadow, but I get the feeling it's my own shadow I need to be looking at right now. The stuff inside I'm hiding from.

I'm going to spend some time right now considering my fear and what to do with it.

And later I get so spend some time with my fella - there are non better.

Monday, April 16, 2007


Just filed my taxes.
Although it is not much fun, at least being poor (but working) has a couple of tax advantages. However, one must be pretty broke to get the benefits.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

There will be NO preview

Luckily none of you are counting on me writing a preview of the films I'm going to see at the Wisconsin Film Festival (which is half over today). Because it is not forthcoming.

What will be is a review of the festival offerings I watched and the festival overall.

My first post will be about the Charles Burnett (which is an American and possibly neo-realist - not sure about how to name the genre) film "Killer of Sheep", which I enjoyed very much.

Yesterday I saw a great documentary from Mexico, "Muxes: Authentic, Intrepid Seekers of Danger", which I also enjoyed very much.

Today we see three films (possibly four if I can talk bf into it and get tix at the door): "Cinematographer Style", "It's Happiness" & "The Cork & Bottle String Band at Ken's Bar" (not sure about the title for that last one).

Just realized that they are all docs (I know the last two are Wisconsonian, not sure of the origin of the first), as is the fourth film I'm hoping to see, "King Corn".

Tomorrow we've got three films on tap, all from Europe, all drama/comedy.

It's going to be a fun weekend.

Right now I've got to shower and get dressed as our first film of the day is nearly upon us!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No baby bear chair

I think it's being just a little bit sick with a cold, or maybe it's the mid-April blizzard we're having, or perhaps it's the intense 'break through' therapy session, or the onslaught of thought about sexism and racism brought on by stupid Don Imus (which makes me start believing that all men hate women and all white people hate black, which I know isn't true, but what if it WERE true? It would look a lot like the world in which he is "scolded" for saying those things, but the relative 'truth' of his words isn't questioned, because secretly they are agreed with by his defenders), but I've been having trouble finding that 'just so' place.

My words are too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft, too angry or too appeasing.

I'm looking for real life conversation and connection on it but I am actively avoiding bringing it up with my white friends. It's really crazy. Today I was talking with my Anthro prof and a couple of other faculty member (who I'd rather not talk to but they are always there and it's impossible to get this guy to meet me outside of school), and one of them brought up some article about how "they" are always looking to be offended, and me and the Prof just got quiet. For my part, I just wasn't in the mood to teach this guy, and too angry to say anything anyhow.

More on this when I've had some sleep (I should have been in bed hours ago), and links to new favourite blogs.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Moody: Blues

I am feeling really sad! I don't like this one bit.

Wait five minutes, it will change.

Busy week ahead. I really will get posting on the WI Film Festival.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Flan, mark II

I made another flan yesterday, and while it was technically more perfect than the last (in a flan ring, for one thing), it was not as sabroso as the one before.


Right now I am enjoying a glass of so-cheap-I'm-a-bit-embarassed merlot and thinking "oh, I should eat dinner, shouldn't I?"

This afternoon I had a wonderful hour of massage from a classmate. She is really talented! I love how she knows about anatomy and how everything fits together.

In other news, I am filled with thwarted desire (oh, were that it was the wine talking), but all is well.

Yes, it's obvious, I need to sup before I drink anymore wine!

Coming soon: Yet another film post. This time I will tell you about "The Lives of Others" and preview the Wisconsin Film Festival schedule.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Chocolate Jesus

Jumping on the chocolate Jesus bandwagon. Found this little tidbit this morning:

Tom Waits singing "Chocolate Jesus".

Hmmm. It's interesting that when an artist creates a life sized statue of Jesus in chocolate it's some kind of abomination, but when a candy company makes Jesus candy, it's okay. You think it's the penis that drove them over the edge?

Monday, April 02, 2007


Although I've seen a country ton of movies in the past few weeks, I want to write about the one I saw last: Tideland.

Go rent this movie. It contains tons of themes that might disturb you, but nothing in it is horrible (okay, if you have problems with dead bodies, even fake ones, you might not like this film, but it's not a horror flick or anything).

I don't want to say anything about the story for fear of spoilers - the film centers around a few days in the life of a 9 year old girl (played by then 9 1/2 year old Jodelle Ferlund). The actress in the main role delivers a positively luminous performance. She does this by giving us a character in which we can believe even in the midst of insane circumstances - I think I described her to bf last night as just feeling so honest. It's simple yet amazing.

It's a Terry Gilliam film, so it's marvelous to look at. Although they are very different films it might be fun to watch this and Mirrormask as a double feature on a rainy Sunday afternoon. And then take a nap, and dream.

Lady of the Ring

My new ring, which has somewhat mollified me*.

*And why, you might ask, would I need mollification? I didn't...not REALLY. But it was lovely to get it, even if it makes me feel a bit tricksy. I saw it at the Spring Fete yesterday and made a point of the woman selling it to mention to bf that I liked it. When we met up later he pulled a little red bag out of his pocket and gave me the ring.


In Spanish class we just finished up a unit on food, and we are starting a unit on celebrations. Flan has come up about 1,000,000 times so far in class and in our study materials, and I just had to make some.

Here is a picture of my flan:

I couldn't find my ring (that's because it was in a box in the basement, I found it this weekend), so I made two small rectangular flan, which turned out quite lovely. The recipe I used was a great beginner recipe, although not as decadent as the flan I've had in the past. It came from the backside of the label from a tin of condensed milk.

Vanilla Flan

3/4 cup white sugar
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Have your oven-proof cooking dish ready. You will need a baking dish or roaster big enough to hold your dish or dishes, and some water heating in a pan or kettle.

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, heat sugar until melted. Stir constantly. This should take no more than 4 minutes. Quickly coat the bottom and (and up the sides if you are quicker than I am) of your cooking dish(es) with the caramel. It is extremely hot and remains so for longer than you'd think, so be careful!

Mix together the remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour into the caramel coated dishes and place in larger baking dish/roaster and fill with water until flan containers are at least 1/2 submerged in water. Place in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.

Cool on wire rack and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Loosen custard by going round the rim of the container with a sharp knife and inverting it onto a serving plate.

I think Flan tastes best when it's been given a chance to approach room temperature.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Meet the new post

Same as the old post.

Yesterday bf and I cleaned my basement - it's about 1/2 way done, and it looks amazing (don't know where I'm going to stack up the 15 garbage bags full of junk until I can get a dumpster). Some of the stuff was 7+ years old in boxes I really never looked at since packing them before my little one was born.javascript:void(0)

At the moment I need to run and dress - 7 year old and I are meeting bf at the Polish Heritage Club's Spring Fete. Bf just called me to say "bring money". Hmmm.

The weather is a bit glum, so the springy skirt I was considering might be a bit too springy. Hmmm, again.

And eventually I want to post about the "get married or live together sans marriage" discussion bf and I started last night. I thought I knew my mind, but honestly, I have no idea what I think about it this morning. Estoy muy confundida.