Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Developments

So I gave this blog a title...about three hours ago. It's been sitting in my tabs on my web browser during that time while I surfed the net for cute blogger templates to use instead of their boring options and watched Up In The Air. Loved it, for those who are curious. It's not one of those pretentious Indie films, like all of Michael Cera's films (which, I'll admit, I love despite my snide remarks towards its genre). But it's independent enough that it isn't nauseatingly cheerful at the end nor is it super cookie-cutter. The acting was spot-on. And to all those George Clooney nay-sayers (I'm thinking of my own father, here), he did a brilliant job. I'm working on watching more of his films, such as Syriana and Michael Clayton, both of which are in my Netflix queue. I don't think I've actually seen a film where I wished George Clooney wasn't in it. So I have no idea why my father has such a hatred for him...maybe he's jealous of his combination of old age and great hair. I'll never know.

The title of this blog has nothing to do where I'm going with this. I was going to talk about the fact that I stumbled upon some really good fortunes. For one, I have a car. It's a late 90's Honda Civic. Dusty blue in color. 4-door. 6-CD player in the trunk. Broken lock on the driver's side. Cruise control. Power windows and locks. 140k miles. Oh, and did I mention it's a manual? Those of you who know me know that I have been forced to learn stick shift this summer in anticipation that I don't find a car and have to drive around my parent's truck to get around. Well, good thing I learned since the car that I've acquired is a stick. Why not get one without one? Why did I get this particular car? The color. I love dusty blue. It's so...dusty. No. That's not the real reason. It's because it was free. A family in my ward gave it to us. Nice deal, huh? But it has a few things that need repairing, so I'll eventually be paying $700-800 on it. But still, it's a great deal. I just can't go driving around without someone in the passenger seat, otherwise I panic. I need that support system, even if it means enduring criticism. I fear killing the engine and never getting it alive. Blame my parent's truck for that fear. It's happened in that car. *shudder* that's my biggest fear now. I'll take needles over a dead car. But then again, maybe not. Needles are still terrifying.

Good fortune #3 (there wasn't a #2, I was just too lazy to correct my typo and found it amusing that I'd rather write an explanatory sentence than correct myself): I have a second job. My first is at Bob Evan's as a waitress. Yep. I'm back at Bob's. The second was something that literally fell into my lap. Well. Into my ear. It was a phone call from someone who was in my ward previously. Someone at his work broke their ankle and they needed a new employee just for the summer while the person recovered. It's a custodial job at the Mizzou Recreation Center from 9-noon M-F. 15 hours a week. $8 an hour. Not bad, eh? I just had to swallow my pride and deal with the fact that I'd be a janitor for three hours a day. Money is money, though. And I'm not too picky on how I acquire it. So yeah.

Now that I don't need to save money for a car, I'm planning on buying a camcorder. That's my first priority, more so than the repairs on my car. And I have two options: A Sony 80GB HD Handycam Camcorder or a Canon FS300 Flash Memory Camcorder. Here are pictures:

This is the Sony.
This is the Canon.

Pretty, eh? The thing with the Canon is that it's file extension is .MOD. Neither PC nor Mac read that immediately. For PC, you have to convert it to .mpeg whereas for Mac, you really can't do anything. So with the Canon, you're pretty much screwed. That's what I read from my research. Though the official website tells you differently. This is also the cheaper option, and Canon just has a reliable sound to it. The Sony has GREAT reviews and when I went to Best Buy earlier in the week, I loved handling it. It was the perfect size, had nice zoom capabilities. I really liked it. But it's more pricey and doesn't come with accessories, which is annoying. But it's compatible with both PC and Mac, which is a plus, and it has an amazing memory. 80GB built in! That's not including memory card capabilities. Gosh. I loved the camera. I just need to justify the price and it's mine.

Anyways, I'm tired of waiting for this template to download. Stupid .zip files. Do any of you have tips as to getting a pretty template for my rather boring blog? It's not like I NEED it. But it could get me motivated to write in it more. Though I've done pretty well recently. Blame it on the endless free time. I have way too much. All I do is sleep, watch episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Instant Netflix, eat food, play the piano, guitar or violin, and then look up camcorders online (it was cars, but now I have one, why do it?). And on occasion, I venture outside and wish the humidity wasn't so thick. It's only going to get worse from here. Goody.

This blog was productive. I was just killing time while this dumb template downloaded. Now that it's not showing any more progress, I'll leave it here. Thanks for not reading. Or reading. Or glancing. Or whatever it is people do nowadays to blogs.

UPDATE: Obviously, I got a template to work. It took more thinking than I wanted to exert last night, but it was relatively easy to do after a good night's sleep. I might change it since finding cute templates is now my new free-time filler. End update.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Explanation and Reassurance

Wow. Yesterday was...wow. I've decided against deleting the post. Mainly because it felt good to get it off my chest. And it's good for me to be open, even to a universe of strange people.

But I am doing okay. I thrive day by day and once I get my jobs (one of which I have, the other....eh, I'll get back to you) I'll have distractions and will be able to survive even better, if not completely heal. To quote the wonderful band The Decemberists, "The wanting comes in waves"...never have I understood that phrase from that rather depressing rock opera "The Hazards of Love" until now. Not that the wanting comes in waves that are too overpowering. I'm not one of those people who are constantly in need of companionship or someone in my life. I like my alone times and cherish the times that I have to myself. That was a particularly dark hour but it was also something that needed to be in the open. I have this issue when it comes to being reliant on others. But that's a whole 'nuther depressing post.

For now, I'm thriving. Slowly and surely, my friends are arriving in Columbia and my old support group that existed before going out to Utah is banding together and they will pull me through this dark time. Or they'll fail and I'll just crawl into a hole and will myself into becoming a mole person.

In all, fear not, my lovely and small group of readers. The wounds are still there, but they are healing and I'm not one to let them fester for too long. I can still put a smile on my face even when a wave hits me. I'll just run and grab an inner tube and ride the waves, enjoying what time I have in Columbia before I go out to Provo in the fall (I counted and it's 105 days. Yikes.)

Anyways, I don't really know what else to say but thanks for putting up with my hormonal posts. They tend to plague this blog more than I would like and it makes me wonder if I'm as strong as I like to think I am. Maybe not, but who needs singular strength with such an amazing group of people behind me?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Top 20 Films of the 2000's, Part II

Okay, after a wait that was me moving and changing pace, I am back with my part deux. And after the two weeks of being "absent", I've wanted to change my list. But maybe I'll save that for another post: what I should've done instead. But I'm not changing the list for the sake of my sanity. This was hard enough to come up with. So here we go, where was I?

10. Wimbledon
This is my guilty pleasure film in the list. I only allowed ONE so that this didn't become the "Guilty Pleasure Movies of the 2000's"" and thus, this list would be pointless. Anyways, there are two reasons why this film is fantastic: Paul Bettany and Tennis. Two of my FAVORITE things in the world. It's a generic chick flick, to say the least, but Paul is so charming and absolutely on top of his line delivery. There are also comical cameos from James McAvoy and Jon Favreau. When I'm feeling down or in need of some kind of tennis fix in between grand slam tournaments, I watch this film and am completely satisfied after every viewing. I can't get enough of this film!

9. Food, Inc.
Another documentary, I know, I know. And this isn't the last of them, either. Get over it. This is gonna be my major, so when you talk films with me, you'll get documentary recommendations. This one, though, is absolutely fantastic. It looks at the food industry from many different angles, all of which are disgusting in the best way, and has definitely opened my eyes to how things work. It's very interesting, entertaining, and you just can't stop watching. This documentary has done to the meat industry what "Super Size Me" has done to the fast food industry.

8. United 93
I remember Steven talking about this film when it first came out and that he was absolutely speechless after watching it. I put it on my Netflix queue on a whim (funny how most of the films I love are from random viewings) and watched it (of course). I cried and cried and, well, cried some more. Paul Greengrass, who also did the last two Bourne films, was nominated for an Oscar as Best Director (and was beat by Scorsese for "The Departed") and I kinda wish that he won. The directing was spot on and the film could not have been more tastefully done. They could've made it a complete religion bash against Muslims, but instead went a different direction. If I didn't know any better, I would think this was the real documentation of what went on those flights. All in all, not a happy film (we all know how it ends, and I have used TONS of ellipses in this section), but a powerful one.

7. Pan's Labyrinth


Foreign films are something I've developed a taste for since I started taking all my film classes at BYU. This was my very first real International Film and I saw it long before coming out to Utah. But out of the many international films I've seen since, this has remained one of my absolute favorites. The directing by Guillermo del Toro is fantastic and the acting was superb. Great script and great cinematography. Everything is premium in this film. And I always cry. Always. I have yet to view it and not at least shed one tear at the end, either from triumph, sadness, or bittersweet happiness. That is all.

6. Paris, Je T'aime


This is another International film, but my purpose on viewing it was not for international film purposes, but because it was a non-linear film. It's a series of vignettes that are directed by many different people (Like the Coen brothers, Alfonso Cuaron, and even Wes Craven) and have many different actors and are all centered on one thing: Paris, France. Some are funny, some sad, some scary, and some are contemplative and make you think. The final vignette, though, might just be my favorite. It was the first one I saw in my film class and what made me want to see the whole thing afterwards. I found it charming and made for all audiences because if you don't like one part, then you're in luck! It'll be over in a minute and you can wait and see if you'll like the next vignette.

5. Wall-E



This was hard. I knew I was going to choose another Pixar, but it was difficult to choose the second one. There are probably 3 that are tied for 2nd favorite, and so I had to choose which one made the biggest impression on me in the long run, and Wall-E took the cake. The writing is what strikes me as amazing. The entire film centers around two robots that only know how to say their names and yet you have so much story. It goes to show that screen-writing isn't just dialogue. It's so much more, and Pixar nailed it. The main story is so simple and so sweet, whereas the underlying story is much more: it's a political commentary on the American way of life. Much like Food, Inc., this film addresses the need to change our eating habits or else we are waddling down a very self-destructive road that will destroy the planet and the human population. But enough of my food industry soapbox, lets continue with the countdown.

4. The Cove



This is the LAST documentary, I swear! But it's also the best one I've seen so far. But I have many to get through before I can say it is the best overall. Maybe in the 2000's, at the very least. If you think you don't care much about dolphins, just watch this documentary. You'll find that you suddenly have a strong interest in the welfare of these sea mammals and that all the wrong-doings against them in Japan need to end. It's suspenseful, very emotional, and it got me so riled up that I wanted to drive all the way to Sea World and free those poor creatures. Just thinking about the film makes me so angry that people could do something like this to animals as innocent and intelligent as dolphins. Beautifully crafted, this is documentary film at its best.

3. Moulin Rouge!



Baz Luhrmann, my favorite director of all time, created the Red Curtain Series, which consist of the films "Strictly Ballroom" (which would've made the top 20 if it were made in the 2000's), "Romeo+Juliet", and this little piece of extraordinary film-making, titled "Moulin Rouge!" Indeed, Baz's directing style is not for everyone, as he has a particular fantastical way of approaching reality, but at the same time has very real themes that keep the audience from tripping out on his saturated colors and over-exaggerated scenarios. The music in the film is absolutely amazing, though many are just renditions of already-made songs, and the acting was so great that Nicole Kidman received an Oscar nomination (losing to Halle Berry for "Monster's Ball"). This is another film that I never fail to cry at, and I could probably watch this film every day and it wouldn't get old (maybe not every day...but every week).

2. The Hurt Locker



Strange, isn't it, that one of my favorite films EVER is one that passive aggressively shines the military in a bad light? But see, that's the thing about the film: it's not just about how awful the military is. It just so happens that Kathryn Bigelow used the US Military to express that war is destructive in many different ways. As I was watching this film, I never felt offended once and I pride myself in my patriotism, especially since I'm now involved in the ROTC program. I saw this film as a way of identifying yourself as a soldier, because there are many different ways one can approach a war. It was eye-opening and the last five minutes blow your mind away (no pun intended). The score is something that I remember really loving and the cinematography was phenomenal. It's a shame that it didn't walk away with those Oscars, though it did have plenty of others under it's belt (Way to go, Kathryn! Stick it to your ex!) Seriously, very great film. I need to own it.

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy



In true Lambson fashion, the Lord of the Rings trilogy gets the top spot. Not because I'm obligated, no, but because the films truly deserve the spot (but obligation definitely motivates me to keep it there). Peter Jackson successfully took on the task of making 3 different films based on 3 books who's world is as involved and intricate as the one we live in. That is quite an accomplishment, especially since they weren't just made, they were perfected and won awards. It's one thing to do the impossible, but it's a completely different thing to do the impossible and completely own it! The actors ARE the characters they play (which could've easily killed their careers, but hasn't yet, like it will for the Harry Potter actors), the sets and locations are so believable that sometimes I wonder if there aren't places like Rivendell in New Zealand. I can't even begin to describe how perfect these films are (well, I obviously did begin, but you get the gist) and they are definitely the best films of the 2000's. No argument. Don't even try to argue against it. You won't win.

And that's it, folks. I finally finished it. And now it's time to start compiling a list for the next decade. Oh boy.