Monday, March 30, 2009

굳세어라 Euna Lee & Laura Ling

I have been following the story about two American journalists that were detained in North Korea.

Notice the word American.

They are both women and both American, born and raised. They work for Current TV, whose homepage contains titles like "Simpsons mock the bailouts!!! LOL" and "Deleted "Twilight" Sex Scene." I don't see any mention of the fact that two of their employees are being held in a notoriously tight-lipped Communist country. That fact infuriates me.

Euna Lee, a Korean-American, and Laura Ling, a Chinese-American, traveled to South Korea and China with the goal of reporting about North Korea. They were at the border between North Korea and China at the time of their capture. The Korean Central News Agency, through the AP and the BBC:

"The illegal entry of US reporters into the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements," the KCNA said.

It said "a competent organ... is carrying on its investigation and, at the same time, making a preparation for indicting them at a trial on the basis of the already confirmed suspicions". [sic]

There is still some confusion as to exactly where the reporters were arrested.

South Korean television station YTN and unnamed diplomatic sources said that North Korean guards crossed the Tumen river into Chinese territory to arrest the journalists.

Pyongyang says the reporters crossed its border illegally.

They don't even know where these women were. No one will confirm and pinpoint a location. The United States' diplomacy is completely useless here. I mean that.
The US state department said a Swedish envoy acting on behalf of Washington, which has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, had visited the journalists for the first time over the weekend.
So ... let me get this straight. At the time of this BBC article, at 3:34 GMT on Tuesday, March 31, it is being stated that the journalists received their first diplomatic visitors over the weekend. Let's say that happened on Saturday, March 28.

The women were taken into North Korean custody on March 17. They didn't see anyone from their country until ELEVEN days after they were detained?? That utterly baffles me. How can they let two people sit in some North Korean detainment center for ELEVEN DAYS and not even send anyone post-haste?? How is that possible??

But, you know, it's going to be all right:
The United States says it is pursuing all diplomatic means available to secure the release of the two American women.

We know how well North Korea responds to diplomacy. They are some well-behaved diplomats, those North Koreans!

Reuters and the New York Times provides another angle to this story:
Peter Beck, a Korean affairs specialist at the American University in Washington, said the issue over the reporters could provide a means for Pyongyang and Washington to talk to each other.

Beck said he expected Stephen Bosworth, Washington's envoy for North Korea, to be dispatched in the weeks after the rocket launch to secure the release of the two women.

"After the test and some hand wringing, we (the United States) will grope our way back to table. But we really don't know if the North is serious about negotiating at this point. It looks like they aren't," he said.
Now the journalists are just pawns in the issue over the North Korean rocket launch? They're an excuse for Pyongyang and Washington to talk to each other? Why doesn't that disturb people?

I have heard so much about Chris Brown beating up Rihanna. I have seen several websites today talking about how Josh Hartnett went to the hospital. Many posts about Gisele and her feelings towards her new husband's ex-fiancee and baby.

Why isn't anyone talking about these two women that are being kept in North Korea? A country that, historically, has no qualms about killing whenever they feel like it?

I feel sickened and disheartened that these women have now been in custody for two weeks. I hope that they are not too frightened, that they are alive and well. I hope that they don't lose faith in their country, because that would just make their hours crawl that much slower.

Are these Americans being treated as "Americans"? Because they aren't white with blonde hair and blue eyes? Because they perhaps look as though they belong 'over there,' in the Korean peninsula or in China?

In this day and age, are there still second-class American citizens?

And does this mean that I am one, as well?


You Know You're From L.A....

...when you get your lunch of lemon chicken, rice, and vegetables and you don't recognize the chicken because IT STILL HAS SKIN ON IT.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Baseball? What Baseball??

Since apparently the Korean men want to continue disappointing me, thank goodness at least one Korean woman is stepping up and getting it done.

Kim Yu-Na (김연아) won the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships tonight (Saturday night) here in L.A.

Big, big congratulations are in order for the 18-year-old (!!), as she broke a few records (best short program score, first woman to break 200 points with her combined short and free skate scores) and took the gold with a huge margin over second place, over 15 points.

She is most definitely the favorite for next year's Olympics, and I can't wait to watch how she does. 18 is a tough age, when things are very much in flux, so I'm hoping that 19, 20, and beyond prove to show an even better, more mature skater.

I am working so much lately that it's all I can do to make it through a couple hours of TV, which, when watched on a DVR, is about an hour of a half of TV. I wanted to watch the Worlds before someone spoiled it and told me who won, so I came home and watched, my mother providing always entertaining commentary. (Mom thinks Mao Asada has the weirdest earlobes ever.)

On a side note, it really bothers me that 연아 spells her name "Yu-Na," which looks as though it should be pronounced "Yoo-Na." Scott Hamilton, Bob Costas, Michelle Kwan, and Dick Button were all calling her "Yoo-Na." Her name is pronounced "Yeon-Ah," and even though it may seem like a subtle difference in English, it's quite a pronounced difference in Korean.

Please don't call her "Yoo-Na," because there is a famous Yoon-Ah already, one of the (forty-seven) members of Girl's Generation (소녀시대), and I really don't like her. I'm not even going to get into how she was the most hideously miscast character in a Korean drama that I almost loved (almost because she RUINED it), "2 Outs in the 9th Inning" (sometimes called "9 Ends, 2 Outs" 9회말 2아웃).

Lip-synching drama-killer: Yoon-Ah.
Figure skater that could win Korea's first Olympic medal: Yeon-Ah!

I feel much better about Korea taking the silver in the World Baseball Classic now.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Top Model: Elimination #4

So Tyra continues on in the same vein- totally flippin' crazy.

Seriously, is she on some sort of drug that makes her think everything's a dream and none of the stuff she says/does/wears will be heard/seen by other people?

I watched this week's episode with my mother, which is AWESOME (maybe even Aussie-some). She is scathingly critical, which I absolutely love, and she manages to butcher the girls' names in the best ways possible. (Toccara guested and my mom decided that her name is Soccora, then insisted that she had watched the show the season that Toccara was on.)

Very lackluster episode- the "lesson" was idiotic. I don't find Benny Ninja interesting or even good at his job. His poses are always sharp angles with a deer-in-the-headlights face. Is that really what the girls are supposed to be learning? If so, kudos, Benny Ninja. You are the most un-ninja person I've ever seen, but whatever.

The challenge was funny, since a pose-off is almost as good as a dance-off. The challenge was made even funnier because Natalie, the girl whose face looks dead and squished, won her round (there were two heats, she and Celia won) and then almost fell off the runway in the final round. Almost fell multiple times.

The photoshoot was intensely, intensely dull. Really, immigrants at Ellis Island? Really, Benny Ninja as a husband to a woman? Really, small children everywhere? Nothing rang true. Even Jay Manuel looked bored while he was directing the shoot. Snooze.

The photos were uninspiring, but I did think that Tahlia had the best one, which means I actually agreed with the judges for once:

HOWEVER. Tahlia and her incessant crying, complaining, whining, sniffling-- SHUT UP. She's gotten to the first step (admit you have a problem) but she is completely stuck at that step. She won't stop talking about how she knows she needs more confidence but she just can't can't can't muster it up and how difficult it is for her because it's difficult and she has burns and scars from the burns and OH JUST SHUT UP.

The way Tahlia talks, with her lips all puckered out, the way she always has her right eyebrow raised, the way she always leaves her eyes half-closed? EVERY SINGLE THING about her pisses me off now. I hate people that moan about everything but just sit there. DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING.

Celia totally sold Tahlia out in front of the judges, tattling that Tahlia has said multiple times that she wants to go home. I don't blame Celia for doing it, because I feel like Celia wants it the most out of the all the girls and can't bear to see someone who's so miserable to be there. Tyra got all pissy and told Celia to can it, then sent Kortnie home, as planned.

I liked Kortnie- she's the kind of girl I can imagine going bar-hopping with, playing pranks on, and having a good ol' time. She's not really a model, though, and I didn't think she was going to win, so I wasn't surprised she got axed.

Between Sandra the oblivious (girl can't dance or pose to save her life), Tahlia the girl that WON'T STOP CRYING, and Natalie the walking corpse with dead eyes, I'm finding the show harder and harder to watch.

One of those three better get the boot next week.

(Episode 1 recap here, Elimination #1 recap here, Elimination #2 recap here, Elimination #3 recap here.)


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Red Carpet, Red Tape

Anyone who's watched Korean news broadcasts, listened to Korean radio, visited a Korean website, or opened a Korean newspaper in the past few weeks has heard/seen many, many things about the rumors circulating around the suicide of Jang Ja-Yeon (장자연).

It's been reported that Ja-Yeon was blackmailed and bribed into having sex with older, influential men in order to land roles (prime example being "Boys Before Flowers (꽃보다 남자)," hugely popular and hugely popularizing its stars). She supposedly wrote a list and lengthy statements describing everything that she'd gone through. In detail. Naming names. Pointing fingers.

I applaud the late Ja-Yeon for her attempt to bring about some form of justice. I really do. The whole casting-couch thing is so stupid, so cliché. Must we still see instances of it? Why are the young too dumb to learn from the mistakes of the past? Being young doesn't make you invincible, not by a long shot, but seldom do we (as a race) acknowledge that. At least Ja-Yeon tried to do something to right many of the wrongs she saw. I can appreciate that effort.

BUT. (There's always a but.) Ja-Yeon would have served her community and herself so much better by speaking out while alive. She would be able to bear witness to those that had abused her and she would be here to answer the seemingly endless questions. She had the wherewithal to document the sins of her sexual attackers but not enough to see how much turmoil the documentation would cause?

This is where the Korean code of morals and ethics kicks in, in its most unattractive form. The shame that would come to Ja-Yeon and her family would have been immense were she here today. There's no shame now, but only because she's dead. This is literally the Korean pack mentality. No one, not her family, her hairstylist, her dogwalker, or even her 90-year-old granny would be exempt from the hyper-critical scrutiny. If she were alive now, the public humiliation, the relentless attention, the complete invasion of her privacy would probably drive her to kill herself. Ironic, no? Being savvy enough to realize that particular part of the inevitable series of events, Ja-Yeon beat a hasty retreat, right into an early grave at the age 26.

I admit, I have that same neo-Confucianism running through my veins, into both my heart and brain. But that does not mean that I will not stick up for myself no matter what public opinion is. I suppose in that sense, I'm very American- the truth will prevail, the truth will make everything RIGHT.

The worst irony of this whole thing, in my opinion, is that the RAPISTS are protected. Their names have not been released because of their "right to privacy," something that Ja-Yeon and her family would not have had if she were alive. THIS PART PISSES THE HELL OUT OF ME. I am willfully refusing to think about what might happen if the names of the RAPISTS are never made public. I can't allow myself to believe that such a miscarriage of justice could happen.

From across the Pacific, when I look over at Korea, I see people that can turn from adoring fans into rabid naysayers at the blink of an eye. Even with Ja-Yeon dead, netizens are posting plenty of negative comments, things like "she deserved it" and "she was asking for it" and "how could she be so stupid?" and so on. It's ... amazing. I don't quite know what to even say.

I hope the slimy guys that used Ja-Yeon in such a horrible way get the punishment that they deserve (although I doubt that they will). I hope that Ja-Yeon's family gets some sort of resolution to the death of their loved one. And I sincerely hope that the younger generation pays attention so that none of them repeat these mistakes- any of the mistakes committed by any of the involved parties, not just the accused but also the victim.

I also hope that the younger generation realizes that fame? Not worth this amount of heartache. Don't get the painful plastic surgery to become a famous and rich but sexually abused Barbie. Keep your small eyes and flat nose and be a happy son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother. Please.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Past. Present. Future?

I started working in visual effects in May of 2003. That's right, almost six years ago. Oy gevalt, I'm old.

At that first job, I worked on commercials, videogame cinematics, a (memorable) music video, the USA Pavilion's film for the 2005 World Expo, television graphics, a ride film for Busch Gardens, and lots of other small projects ("small" being smaller than a movie).

They were chaotic, exciting, very full two years (just shy of two years), constantly working on multiple shows. I worked hard, I played hard, and I had the zeal that only a green newcomer can possibly maintain. (During this job is when I went through a very long tequila phase.)

Then came the movies. I actually worked my way up, starting with made-for-TV movies. I have never worked so hard in my life. I worked more than 100 hours a week (all I did was work and sleep) and I lost that effervescent energy that I'd managed to maintain for the two previous years. I mourned the loss of my innocence, I do remember that. (Mourned with ... more tequila.)

I ran away from those endless hours and ran to feature films, where I have been ever since (August of 2005). For the most part, it's been enjoyable and rewarding to be in this line of work.

Every now and again, though, I can't help but wonder what my life would be if I had chosen a different field. Would something be different? Would I live somewhere else? Would I have different friends, a different car, a different outlook? How would I be a different person?

Because of all of these incessant questions that I keep asking myself, I am now thinking of pursuing my career somewhere other than in L.A. I've worked exclusively in L.A. (well, different parts of L.A.- Hollywood, Brentwood, Marina del Rey, Culver City, but it all boils down to L.A.) and would like to know what it's like outside of this strange city.

I never thought that this was a weird place until I started paying attention to what's going on outside, in the real world. Now I feel like I should experience for myself what other cities are like, perhaps what other countries are like.

Nothing might come of this. I might never leave this city. I might always work in this particular business in this particular area. That's all fine, as long as I do not have doubts and regrets at the end of the day.

I have been talking to some companies other than the one I am currently working for, and one of them is in a different country. If they offer me a job and everything works out (timing, money, project, people), then maybe it was meant to be.

No regrets no matter what.


Wingstop Car

On my way to work this morning, saw this strange car:

Why did they put stripes on the car? Do stripes make me want chicken wings more? It's so not a food-y looking vehicle, yet it is plastered with Wingstop propaganda. Bizarre.

Notice the hideous smog off in the distance. This is the true L.A., not the glorious post-rain clouds I took tons of photos of. Gross.

... I'm still not over it.


Monday, March 23, 2009

WBC 2009: Finals. Anger. Rage. Tears.

I'm glad, on one hand, that the World Baseball Classic is over. Because I will no longer have to wait, on pins and needles, for THE CRUSHING LOSS THAT WE JUST SUFFERED.

I don't even want to get into it. Because seriously, at the bottom of the 9th, I was sure we were going to lose. And then we managed to get-- FORGET IT. WE LOST.

Korean team, good effort all around!

Hey, second place ain't bad. First would have been nice, but that's what we have 2013 for!


Overheard in My Car

Not overheard so much as just heard:

Me: [blah blah blah] Australia would be fun!
Sister: Australia would be awesome.
Me: Yeah, and--
Me: ....
Sister: [laughing hysterically]
Me: ... I have ... no words ... to express how appalled I am right now.

My sister makes me laugh every day.


Make Me A Supermodel: Elimination #3

Oh, my.

The models are getting frisky on "Make Me A Supermodel." By 'frisky,' I mean 'RUDE.'

Amanda is just ... irritating. I'm so over her and her strange reaction of blushing when Gabe grabs her in the kitchen for a quick dance. She has a CHILD, she needs to stop pretending she's an innocent lamb.

Gabe, stop wearing disgusting clothes that even Abercrombie models can't pull off, and start putting some more clothes ON. I don't need to see your underwear every week, and I certainly don't need to hear your explanation about why good underwear is essential. Ick.

CJ, snap out of it. I get that you're shy or whatever, but it's getting old. Also, try to stand up straight so you don't look like you have a linebacker's neck. It's supremely unattractive.


Karen got the boot last week. Her runway look is above. Doesn't she look scary?? Then she did this pose at the end and looked at the judges ... and I could see the whites all the way around her eyeball. I didn't notice her before because she was just sort of blah, but I definitely noticed her this time.

She and Gabe were in the bottom two, and I wish Gabe had left. I have a feeling he and Amanda are going to start some drama, which I don't want to see, and he has way too much attitude. Tyson did say that this was Gabe's last chance, so here's hoping.

I loved what Laury did on the runway- her last pose was aMAZing:

But through the week, Laury's attitude and cockiness were unbearable. She's bossy and holier-than-thou, and I don't have the patience.

I don't have patience in general lately, which explains why I watched much of this episode while fast-forwarding. I don't care about any of them (Colin, maybe, but that's just because he's like a little puppy) and I'm not emotionally invested in any part of the show except the last five minutes.

The judges are fantastic. I love them.

Catherine Malandrino wasn't there, so Tabatha stepped in for her. They have the same sort of brutal honesty with no regard for a person's feelings, so it was a perfect swap-out. Jenny Shimizu is so funny, trying to keep some sort of compassion while the people around her are just ready to slash and burn!

Also-- cannot believe that Jenny is 41. FORTY-ONE. The woman looks ... indecently young:

Good for you, Jenny! Now, please stop wearing a full-out leather (WHITE leather) motorcycle outfit. PLEASE. You would be so much more attractive in ... clothes.

Back to work for me.

(Episode 1 recap here, Elimination #1 recap here, Elimination #2 recap here.)


WBC 2009: Going to the Finals!

Korea kicked Venezuela all over the field on Saturday, easily winning to advance to the finals. The final score was 10 - 2.

Honestly, I thought Venezuela would put up SOMETHING of a fight- I mean, it was the semi-final! Fight to the death? No? Disappointing game (I ended up watching a total of probably 2.5 innings) but a satisfying score.

I was holding my breath yesterday, hoping and wishing that the U.S. would take out Japan.



Terrible. Terrible!

The U.S., with its many multi-million-dollar players, limped to a 9 - 4 loss to Japan. I'm still not over it.

Which means ... the final tonight will see Korea pitted against Japan.

I would recommend staying far, far away from Koreatown tonight. The Koreans will be out in full-force, drinking to celebrate (YAY!) or drinking to drown their sorrows (boo!). Either way, lots of rowdy Koreans are going to be out and about, I think.

I don't know if I can watch. I will be inexplicably angry if we lose. That's all I'm saying.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Golf Balls, Pebbles, Sand, and Beer

One of my friends sent me this in an e-mail recently, and I happened to see it today:

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 beers:

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.”

“The golf balls are the important things--- your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions--- and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.”

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else--- the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or golf balls.”

The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first--- the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled and said, “I'm glad you asked.”

“The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend.”

I am definitely doing well with about two of the golf balls in my life. I am neglecting some of the other golf balls, though.

I am doing well with the pebbles.

I am not doing well with the sand.

I am doing horribly with the beer. I really need to see my friends and revive my social life.


2008 Visual Effects Oscar

I found an old picture taken just over a year ago.

Since I am a lazy blogger and being at work on Saturday is making me feel drowsy rather than productive, all I'm posting today is that picture:

This particular Oscar belongs to the man in the photo, Bill Westenhofer, who was the supervisor of "The Golden Compass," which won the visual effects category last year. I worked with him on the film, and he was nice enough to let all of the team share in the glory with him.

Maybe someday I'll win my own.


Friday, March 20, 2009

WBC 2009: Semi-Final Seeding Game SUCKED!

Korea lost 6-2 to Japan last night in the Pool 1 seeding game.


아이구, 머리 아파...

The good news is, Korea's first semi-final is against Venezuela rather than the U.S.

The bad news is, why are tickets to the WBC so effing expensive?!?! We're in a recession, those suckers should be $8! The nosebleed seats are $45. I bet the stadium won't even be half full.

If Korea beats Venezuela tomorrow and Japan beats the U.S. on Saturday, Korea and Japan will meet AGAIN. I hope hope hope that the U.S. kicks some serious butt on Saturday. And of course, Korea better beat Venezuela. Otherwise I will write off the WBC and will have wasted several posts for naught.

That is how upset I am. I'm using words like NAUGHT. Which rhymes with DISTRAUGHT which is WHAT I AM.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Meanie Greenie

I was reading a sticker that's placed on every paper towel dispenser here at work and a whole train of thought hurtled through my little brain...

I read in an article that South Koreans recycles 85% of their recyclables, compared to less than 10% here in the U.S. In that sense, Koreans are definitely eco-friendly.

But Koreans aren't really green; they don’t do the whole “organic food” thing and they don’t really worry about using products that are “green.” I have never seen a Korean cosmetics company advertise their new organic line. Koreans don’t care if their shampoo has sodium lauryl sulfate in it. We clean with heavy-duty cleansers that contain heavy-duty chemicals. Korean women use tons of products that have tons of incomprehensible compounds in them.

My mother is most definitely one of those Korean women. She doesn’t worry about zapping Tupperware in the microwave, she doesn’t care about the particles that her non-stick wok might be leaking into the food, she thinks it’s funny that I only use organic shampoo (skincare is a whole different thing- I am not ready to give up hard-working chemicals that make my skin what it is).

My parents are great about being eco-friendly, though. My mother composts, she grows a lot of her own vegetables, she doesn’t waste anything. My dad … he takes the trash and recycling out.

They aren’t green, though. Not in the way that crunchy, granola-y people are (I think they used to be called hippies but are now just … green). The parental unit doesn’t care about pesticides on their fruit- once it’s washed, who cares? They don’t try to refrain from buying things in plastic containers- they’re going to recycle the plastic, who cares? They don’t take their own bags to the grocery store- they’re going to re-use and the recycle the bags, who cares?

I am leaning more and more towards becoming a greenie, with my love of organic fruit and vegetables and my growing distaste for plastics and Styrofoam. I’m becoming a mean greenie, though, which I think a lot of green people are: they are like born-again Christians, loudly evangelizing that their way is THE way, not letting anyone get a word in edge-wise. And like born-again Christians are for all the quiet Christians out there, mean greenies give the rest of the greenies a bad name.

I wasn’t always a greenie, mean or otherwise. I didn’t used to read the packaging on my hair products; I smelled them and if they smelled delicious, I bought them. (Herbal Essences was purchased solely for its smell, and I have to say that I quite miss the fake scent of tropical paradise.)

I used to buy bottles and bottles of water. I recycled those bottles once they were empty, but I certainly did not think about the footprint that my plastic usage might have. I was in the stage that my parents are in now- sure, I’m using plastics, but I’m recycling them, so who cares? I now have a Kleen Kanteen and a ceramic mug at work, rather than bottles and paper cups. I assume my parents will get to where I am now in about six months to a year, since that’s how much lag there is between my changes and theirs.

A lot of my change in viewpoint came about because of the very industry that I work in. VFX, for all its flaws, definitely promotes being green. Sony, the entire corporate entity, uses recycled paper towels and makes sure to provide their employees with recycling bins and coolers of water, rather than bottles of them.

I actually didn’t used to recycle very often because of the sheer inconvenience of it. Rhythm + Hues, where I worked before, changed me in that respect. I started recycling while I worked there, and the habit became ingrained. I actually worked with someone that would yell at me if there was an aluminum can in my wastebasket, regardless of whether or not I had thrown it in. I guess the reason I really started recycling was because I didn’t want to hear the hollering and I certainly didn’t want to be criticized (lemming behavior at its very best!). VFX people are passionate about their likes and dislikes, and saving the earth is high up on the list of likes (thankfully).

The entire city of Cerritos, where I live, recently (last year) gave all their residents new trash cans. THREE new trash cans: a black one for trash, a green one for compost, and a blue one for recyclables. It has made it much easier for my parents to recycle. (It helps that I live with them and torment them when they don’t recycle.) With just that small change, our trash has decreased to the point that we only leave the trash can out for collection once every two weeks, sometimes once every three weeks.

I don’t know how much of a difference my few changes will make in the long run, but I do know that I feel a little bit better about myself. And I feel like if people as set in their ways as my parents can change … why can’t everyone else?


Top Model: Elimination #3

Oh, Tyra.

Every time I watch the show, Tyra does SOMETHING to make me wonder why this woman is on TV for at least six hours per week.

Tyra was hopped up on some sort of amphetamine last night on "Top Model." Her speech before judging was so weirdly hyper, and she was just so overly emphatic ... perhaps she had had fourteen cans of sugar-free Red Bull? Perhaps her make-up table was lined with Pixy Stix and she accidentally snorted all the strawberry flavored ones?

Something was up.

In continuing with my opinion yesterday about how boring TV has gotten, DUDE, "Top Model" was a snooze-fest. I didn't care about the challenge (charm school, taught by Ms. J (if you're going to wear a bobbed wig, you should just wear a skirt and heels, too), and then a runway show for Jill Stuart while holding ugly, crinkled shopping bags- blah), I didn't care about the photoshoot (embody different stereotypical characters in different areas of NYC).

I realized while watching last night that group photos are just annoying. One person always ends up looking super fugly, one person ends up looking like they're way more model-y than they really are, etc.

That rich girl, Natalie, still irritates me (she won the Jill Stuart runway show even though she did an atrocious twirl in the middle and almost lost her balance). Sandra is also still annoying, though the editors decided that they love me and cut her out of most of the scenes.

Best picture:

My girl Fo's finally pulling it out. Whew.

Aminat looked great, though I don't like her glasses (they're her real glasses, I think).

They're on Wall Street and are supposed to be very fashion-forward stockbrokers (like the unrealistic career women in the now-defunct "Cashmere Mafia" or the recently-defunct "Lipstick Jungle").

Nijah got the boot this week. She and Kortnie were supposed to be artists in SoHo. They both look terrible in this picture:

I really had no opinion either way about Nijah, so I'm not crushed to see her go. I didn't dislike her, though- I do hope she figures something out. She was one of the more well-spoken girls, so I'm sure she'll be on TV Guide Channel and whatnot, being a commentator (I think one of the first winners, Yoanna, did something like this?).


(Episode 1 recap here, Elimination #1 recap here, Elimination #2 recap here.)

On a side note about TV, I have not yet watched a single episode of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon." I feel like I should...? I'm debating whether or not to record Barack Obama's guest stint on Leno tonight (my favorite thing about DirecTV is that I can set it to record something through their website or from my phone! LOVE IT).


WBC 2009: Semi-Final Seeding Game


Japan beat Cuba (Cuba, what is going on?? I expected so much more from you!!) yesterday to advance to the semi-finals of the World Baseball Classic.

That means Korea has to face Japan (AGAIN) tonight in a seeding game, the last game to be played in San Diego.


The seeding game's not (that) important- just determines rankings as the teams come to L.A. in the hopes of making it to the finals. But I think that tonight's game is going to be psychologically significant, as the winner will have a much more positive outlook going into their first semi-final game.

I'm hoping that Japan is so relieved from their win over Cuba yesterday that they'll let their guard down. And maybe they'll be tired.

Yes, clutching straws over here while crossing my fingers.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

R.I.P. Natasha Richardson

I've been reading articles and hearing news about Natasha Richardson's skiing accident since yesterday, but didn't think too much of it. She apparently had a little spill while taking a skiing lesson in Canada, where husband Liam Neeson is shooting a film.

She complained of a headache and was flown to New York yesterday with brain swelling. She was announced to be brain-dead today. Her family made the difficult choice to take her off of life support. Natasha was 45.

I am just ... flabbergasted.

I will always remember Natasha Richardson as seeming like one of those cheerful, lovely celebrities that I would actually want to meet. Although she was a 'serious actress' that was classically trained (and bred from the illustrious Redgrave bloodline), she seemed to have so much fun in movies like "The Parent Trap," "Blow Dry," and "Maid in Manhattan." She made unwatchable movies watchable, light, lovely.

I hope she was not in pain, and I hope that her family had a chance to see her, talk to her, hug her, be with her before she was gone.

Her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, was reportedly there at the hospital, so I hope that Ms. Redgrave got to see her baby one last time. I also hope that her sister, Joely Richardson, was there. I can't imagine AT ALL what I would do if my sister died.

She is survived by her husband, Liam Neeson, and their two sons.


Make Me A Supermodel: Elimination #2

I'm bored of TV lately.

"Chuck," which had previously charmed me with the adorable antics of its gangly titular character, has become far too predictable. Yawn. Plus, Zachary Levy's hair is looking way too mullet-y lately. He has a curly-haired person's version of a mullet. You're adorable, Zachary, but not with the mullet, no way, no how.

"Psych" lost me just one episode before its season finale. The episode that the actor playing the main character directed. James Roday, you're also adorable (albeit slightly less adorable than Chuck), but please don't direct anymore. That episode was the worst one ever. The season finale was better, but still not good.

I have 14 episodes of "Heroes," 9 episodes of "Grey's Anatomy," and 8 episodes of "Private Practice" just sitting on my DVR. And I have no appetite for them. I hate when this happens.

So back to the show that I actually watch the week that it airs: "Make Me A Supermodel."

I actually watched the episode a few days ago, but baseball has been at the forefront of the TV-oriented part of my brain (cannot believe I just typed that! Baseball! This proves how much I love the motherland).

I'm rushing right through my favorite/least-favorite moments:

Candy-themed photoshoot, with each model having to "embody" their candy. The weird thing was, multiple people had the same type of candy.

Sandhurt had the picture that I saw and loved:

Jordan's was good, too, but I thought Sandhurst really did superbly. Plus, Jordan was made-up beyond recognition (she was a peppermint? candy cane?) and Sandhurst had to make it work with much less make-up.

For the runway portion, they walked in pairs, with the exception of Kerryn, who walked alone. (Is it me, or does it look like Kerryn's nose gets bigger and bigger each week??)

The runway sucked. Seriously, I didn't think anyone really rocked it. Lackluster and tired. Geeky Colin did improve, though, and I still love him, even though his photoshoot (he was supposed to be chocolate) looked uncomfortable and icky.

Makeovers were given, people freaked out (on a lesser scale than on "Top Model," with crying girls that won't stop crying and then they cry some more). Tabatha Coffey, of "Tabatha's Salon Takeover," scared the holy cheese-whiz out of me, in the most delightful way imaginable. I love/am terrified by her.

Our favorite non-masculine androgynous man, Chris, just couldn't cut it. Bye-bye, Chris. Please don't even tease about your face being plastered on the side of a bus someday, because I would scream and leap in the air like a scalded cat if I saw that bus, particularly if I was standing less than 20 feet away from it.

So far, so good. I agree with the judges, for the most part.

This particular episode, I was torn between wanting Chris to leave and wanting CJ to leave. CJ is just ... a twit. She fidgets and yawns on the catwalk and always looks constipated and bored. I'm over her and her drama (she's a natural blonde and Tabatha (personally!) made her a brunette, which looks SO MUCH BETTER on her).

My dislike of Amanda grew exponentially through the few minutes she was on the show. She likes to cause drama and is going to be an "improper" woman, I can tell. She's one of those girls that gets bajiggety and likes to be in that state of ... bajiggetiness. I have no other word for her. And her Heidi Klum bangs were a mistake (even Heidi Klum had a hard time looking fab in those bangs!).

Salome-Baloney. No. Just no. Please go away. (Her picture was, unfortunately, quite good.)

(Episode 1 recap here, Elimination #1 recap here.)


WBC 2009: Going to the Semi-Finals!

The Korean World Baseball Classic team is coming to L.A. for the semi-finals!

Trounced Japan with a 4-1 score last night. TROUNCED.

The team planted a Korean flag in the pitcher's mound, asserting their dominance (and acting a bit like jerks, but let's face it, men turn into boys during sporting events. Besides, this was a huge sigh of relief for the Korean team- Japan kept on winning those decisive games early in this WBC and in 2006's WBC).

Korea's been having a good Classic this time around, and now has the best record of any national team for both Classics (11-2). Keep up the good work! 대~한민국!

The victory over nemesis (ARCH-NEMESIS!) Japan came just a day after a big win over Mexico (8-2).

The semi-finals and finals are going to be tough.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I've always loved the Irish because of their ability to drink. I like people that can hold their liquor! (One of my ancestrally Irish friends can drink more beer than an entire rugby team.)

There are a lot of people here at work today that are dressed in green (including me, because I hate being pinched!) and I've had a chocolate cupcake topped with unnaturally green frosting. The frosting instantly turned my hand green, that's how intensely greeeeeeen it was.

Whether you're eating green food (or colcannon!) or drinking green beer, sláinte! (Good health!)

I say this from painful experience: do not go to any Irish pubs in L.A. tonight. Unless you enjoy trying to drink while pinned between two burly men that have been sloshed since 11 a.m.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Make Me A Supermodel: Elimination #1

In the premiere episode of "Make Me A Supermodel: Season 2," the model that least appealed to me for sheer physical beauty was Ken.

He had one of those faces ... heavy jaw, protruding lower-lip, pronounced brow ... and one of those bodies ... built like a linebacker. He didn't appeal to me.

So he got the boot. Bye, Ken.

The photo above is, by far, the best one I could find of him. I don't even want to think about the picture he took while dangling in a Plexiglass box ... horrid.

Ken is a personal trainer, if I remember correctly, and I think he would do perfectly fine staying one. He's definitely in shape, seems like the kind of guy that could motivate (a.k.a. scare the crap out of) people.

I watched episode 2 last night, and I am a little flummoxed. At the rate this show is going, I will dislike every single contestant in about three weeks.


World Baseball Classic, 2009

The World Baseball Classic is upon us once again, the second ever WBC (the first was in 2006, won by Japan (we were robbed!) through much controversy).

Last night was quite the match-up for anyone living in L.A.- South Korea vs. Mexico. I know, the Mexicans outnumber us by vast numbers here. Which is why I was afraid of a fight breaking out in the stands of Petco Park- we would have gotten a beat-down!

Happily, no beat-downs occurred except for the one on the field WHERE WE WON.


Unhappily, our next game is with Japan, tomorrow night. Sucks.

I'm going to hope that yesterday's momentum carries Korea to victory on St. Paddy's Day (we're better drinkers than the Japanese, I think that means we should win when playing on a beer-oriented holiday!), although I find that baseball has little to no momentum at all. Are all nine innings really needed?? Please, can we get rid of ... six? Seven?

The U.S. is doing well, and will play again tomorrow against the winner of today's game between Venezuela and Puerto Rico. If the Koreans fail, the Americans better come through. If the Americans fail (they play in Miami, so the game will happen before the Korea/Japan game in San Diego tomorrow), the Koreans better step it up! (Bracket, in case you care. By far my favorite part is the key at the top left corner, labeling the solid blue line as the "Winner's Path" and the dotted gray line as the "Loser's Path." Baseball can be so merciless!)


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Not really. Nabi on a pleasantly warmed shingle roof.

Spoiled brat won't come when she's called unless she wants attention!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Korean "Holiday": White Day (화이트 데이)

Happy White Day! It's a day for white people, y'all.

No, just kidding-- it's a quasi-holiday that was popularized in Japan and taken to new heights of marketing frenzy in Korea.

According to the English Wikipedia article, White Day was first observed in Japan in 1978. The idea came from a candy company, of course. Then Wikipedia flips out and says that a company that made marshmallows marketed March 14 as Marshmallow Day in 1977. So which is it, Wiki?? 1978 or 1977? You can't be confusing me over here!

To further confuse myself, I looked up the Korean Wikipedia article (you know, to see if the racist Koreans posted that White Day was swiped from the Japanese). Mistake. Now I have lots of conflicting dates! Korean Wiki (or 위키 for short) tells me that March 14 was first touted as Marshmallow Day in Japan in ... 1965.

(Wiki and 위키, get your facts straight. I rely on you both for sound articles! I'm not even going to bring Wiqi (French Wiki) into this, because she failed me and didn't agree with Wiki or 위키. Argh!)

Whether it was in 1965, 1977, or 1978, White Day's been around for a while. It's not at all celebrated in the U.S. (I don't know about other non-Asian countries) but is a rather big deal in Korea and Japan. We do love any excuse for gift-buying and candy-eating.

The rule of White Day has to do with the rule of Valentine's Day, different from the American rule of chaotic trading of candy and Valentines. In Korea and Japan, girls give boys chocolate for Valentine's Day and boys give girls candy for White Day.

This makes no sense to me, because I feel that as a whole, girls enjoy chocolate more than boys do. Shouldn't it be the other way around?? The part I do like is that there is an unspoken rule about boys spending three times as much on White Day gifts as girls do on Valentine's Day gifts. Too bad I didn't see anyone but my parents and colleagues today!

I've glimpsed (very tacky) candy bouquets, (even tackier) pre-packaged gift baskets, and very gag-inducing couple-y things here in L.A. around Valentine's Day and even on White Day, but just in Koreatown. I cannot even imagine what it must be like in Korea, when candy companies are bombarding the general public with pink, love-themed items.

Regardless of my trepidation, hope you had a lovely White Day!

I went to work today and wrote some exhausting Excel formulas, looked at a bunch of shots, and tried to catch up so that Monday won't be so painfully Monday-ish. Wheeee!

It's also Pi Day today, since Pi = 3.14.

(Sort of. Really, Pi = 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510.)

Happy Pi Day! I wish I had had some pie today. Yum, piiiiiiie.

There is a strange sort of comfort in numbers for me. Numbers are finite, solid, and black-and-white. Numbers very rarely fall into a gray area, especially in my line of work. Movies get made with a lot of number shuffling, a lot of money shifting hands, and there is a kind of instant gratification in that- get the money, do the work. Don't get the money, don't do the work. The beauty of numbers.

Now I'm off in hunt of candy and pie. Such an unhealthy day, March 14!

(January 14 was Diary/Candle Day, and February 14 was (of course) Valentine's Day.)


Friday, March 13, 2009

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

I never knew that "What Have You Done For Me Lately" was the name of a song (a Janet Jackson song from 1986, when she hit stardom and her hair was bigger than her entire body) until I watched Eddie Murphy Raw. (TWO Wikipedia links in one very long sentence. What did I do before Wiki existed?!)

In Eddie Murphy Raw, he wears that hideous purple pleather outfit (purple AND pleather!) and is at the top of his game, talking faster than any human being should be able to talk. It's actually really funny, as long as you're not the type of person to take offense to, you know, racism, sexism, or obscenity. Wikipedia tells me that Eddie Murphy Raw contains the F word 223 times in 90 minutes. That's a lot of cursing. (In case you care, the documentary "F*ck" holds the record with 824 utterances of the word in 93 minutes.)

The whole "What Have You Done For Me Lately" thing comes up in Raw because Eddie talks about going into the African bush and finding himself an obedient woman, and how she would become 'corrupted' by the evil forces of feminism in America. Basically, this docile bush b*tch would become a self-centered American b*tch that wants things. The audacity! She would stop doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and waiting on Eddie hand and foot in his hypothetical situation because she would meet some American women that would teach her to ask her man, "what have you done for me lately?"

Yes, I'm a woman, and I realize that this whole bit is very misogynistic. But it's meant to be funny, it's not meant to be a serious reflection of Eddie's actual thoughts towards women (I hope), so I can take it for its worth: comedy.

I started thinking about the phrase "what have you done for me lately?" in the past couple weeks. One of my friends (more like a friend of friend) sent me a message on Facebook, very casual, "we should do lunch," and asked for my e-mail address. I sent off an e-mail and replied to the message with a kind of "sure, let's do it, let me know your schedule."

I thought it was a bit weird because I hadn't talked to this person in a month, since our mutual friend's birthday. That's fine, sure, okay, I can roll with it, right?

Sends back an e-mail with ... an attachment. Of someone's resume. For me to forward to someone at my company. No real plans for any sort of lunch attached.

Two things:

1. I do not recommend people I do not know. I don't recommend very many people that I do know. I'm judgmental and harsh, and have very high standards when it comes to evaluating work performances. I really don't care if they are your favorite person in the world, if they can't get the job done, I will not budge.

2. Why the farce of a social gesture? Why not state your intentions straightaway? Save some time for all involved.

I'll pass on a resume, sure. But I sure as hell will not vouch for some dude that I've never even met. Sorry, no can do.

Early this week, just a week after the resume thing, a friend texts me and asks if she can pass my number along to her friend. He "has some production questions that he thought you might know about."

My friend, in this instance, is reliable and won't be pimping me out to some pissant that would be an ungrateful bastard. So I tell her to send him my e-mail address, since I have not a single spare moment to sit and just talk on the phone (I've discovered that being on the phone during my commute to or from work just clues people in to how much road rage I am developing).

Dude e-mails me, and the "production question" is, essentially, "how do you do it?"

Um ... I don't have eighteen spare hours to explain production in all its intricate glory. There are so many aspects, so many variables, so many things that can (and will) go wrong. How do I even begin??

I take a day writing up an e-mail, essentially writing a line here, a line there, an equation here, a condition there (much like I write my blog posts, which is why they might seem very disjointed), until the e-mail's done. Read it one last time and off it goes.

This is all fine. I understand why I get these queries and requests (I get a lot)- out of this group of people I met at school, only one of whom I consider a life-long friend that I will know forever, I am the only person that graduated and then immediately began working in the field that we all studied and aspired to. I am the only person currently working at a large and reputable company.

(There's another group of people that I know from school, but my ex-boyfriend (who also went to this school) got custody of them in the break-up.)

I graduated from school in the December of 2002. Over six years ago. Many of my friends (including bestie) stayed to get their bachelor's degree (I got my associate's and got out), so they graduated two years after me. I had a two year head start, I ventured out as the guinea pig to test the waters. Intellectually, I understand that.

But I floundered, I struggled, I lost hours and hours of sleep while I tested those waters. I thought I would drown a lot of the time. I did love it some of the time, but even now, I can remember that feeling of hopelessness and total isolation that I used to have. Why didn't I have anyone to latch onto, to make requests to? Why did I, the youngest of my group of school friends, have to be the first lemming to jump off the cliff? And why haven't many of those other lemmings jumped, even now?

As selfish as it is, I can't help but wonder ... what are these friends-of-a-friend going to do for me? What have they done for me lately?


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Top Model: Elimination #2

I had to pause while watching "Top Model" last night so I could laugh. Seriously. My DVR has never gotten such a workout before!

There are really no adequate words to describe Tyra, so I figured I'd let her speak for herself. It was the makeover episode, and Tyra presents the "mission" to Mr. J and Ms. J on a small device, fancying herself to be very Mission: Impossible. Dressed in a trench coat and a hideously ill-fitting hat, Tyra says to the J's:

Good morning Mr. J, Ms. J. Here's your mission, if you choose to accept it:

In your hands are 12 dossiers of 12 busted-up models. I need you to transform these wannabes into high fashion, top, fierce, femme-fatalian models. And yes, I know this mission is going to be difficult.

There will be tears, there will be begging, there will be "oh, no, not my hair!"

But I don't care.

Cut it. Slice it. Dice it.

Really?? REALLY?? Oh, Tyra. You delight me.

The "dossiers" are completely costume-y, with CONFIDENTIAL: For fierce eyes only written on them. That made me laugh, but not as much as Mr. J trying to keep a straight face through the whole Mission: Impossible skit. Ms. J had no problem "getting into character."

The car that the girls get this season is ... amazing. It's a pink. plaid. stretch. SUV. limo. It's just so, so pink. And so gloriously plaid. I had to pause and catch my breath when it pulled in, I was laughing so hard.

The photo challenge was, I thought, very interesting this week. The girls got these big lights (reminds me of the thingies that air control people use) that they were to use to light themselves. Kind of cool, right? How can you not find your light when you're holding it in your hands??

Not such a successful shoot, I have to say. I really liked Celia's photo, even though the actual girl still scares the bejeebus out of me (with the platinum hair, even more so):

She seemed to be the only one that had spent any amount of time practicing in front of her mirror before coming onto the show, though her age could have something to do with it- at 25, she's the oldest (and hopefully most mature) girl this season.

Makeovers brought drama, of course. The only two that really irritated me: Fo and Natalie.

I liked Fo and wanted to continue liking her ... but she cried, and cried, and cried, and CRIED. Get over it already, hair grows back. And then she cried on set and annoyed Nigel. No good.

Natalie didn't even get a trim, but she freaked out when the posh posse came at her, combs and scissors in hand. She literally freaked out, and I hate that crap. You know you're getting a makeover when you get selected for the show, suck it up! And I still don't think she's pretty, with her squinty eyes and little mouth. She always had one eyebrow up, which just looks snotty. Ew, ew, ew. So over this girl.

At the end of the day, Miss Caliente, Jessica, got kicked out. She was way too confident over the three hours I saw her, and she looks vaguely like Adriana Lima. Do we need another Adriana? One is enough, methinks.

This group was, by far, the worst in their photos. They all look dead and uninteresting, neon Muppet fur coats or no.

Not a memorable episode (the challenge- yawn), so it better pick up by next week, or I'm going to start watching the whole show at double speed.


Top Model: Elimination #1

I'm been posting under the influence of stress and fatigue lately, and when I re-read some of the stuff I've written ... wow. Errors, anyone?

In my previous post about "America's Next Top Model: Cycle 12," I completely failed to mention who got kicked off! At the end of the endlessly long 2-hour premiere, Kelly Marie "Isabella" Falk got kicked to the curb.

The photo above was from the girls' first "real" photoshoot. The theme was playground games, a failed effort by Tyra to preserve the innocence of youth, or something other such babble. Isabella up there got dodgeball, but I think she looks more like she's curling (that crazy team sport on ice, where one person releases the stone (in a pose like Isabella up there) and other people start sweeping (?) the ice in front of the stone).

Bye, Isabelle, good luck to you and your daily struggle with epilepsy.

Posts on the first elimination of "Make Me A Supermodel" and the second elimination from "Top Model" soon...


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

200 Pounds Beauty (미녀는 괴로워)

I am so intensely unhappy about the fact that the title of this post is "200 Pounds Beauty." It aggravates me to no end that the producers of this movie did not take the time and effort to figure out that the correct phrase would have been "200-Pound Beauty." ARGH.

edit: I never did explain the Korean title. A 미녀 (pronounced mee-nyuh) is a beautiful woman, and 괴로워 (pronounced gwe-loh-wuh) means torment or agony. So the literal translation would be "being a beautiful woman is agony," in a very concise way. "200 Pounds Beauty" doesn't have any of the sort of poetic flow that the Korean title has.

**spoilers ahead!**

Anyways, getting over my animosity towards the title of this film, I decided to watch it out of sheer curiosity. It made so much money in Korea, opening in December, 2006. The movie propelled its female lead, Kim Ah-Joong (김아중), into stardom practically overnight.

It also helped that Joo Jin-Mo (주진모) was in the film, an actor with lots of credits. He most recently appeared in 2008's "Frozen Flower" (쌍화점), a historical drama about a closeted king.

Before he was a gay king that lived more than 700 years ago, Joo Jin-Mo was a stressed out record producer in "200 Pounds." (See what I did there? Dropped the "Beauty" to make the title less annoying?) He really was the redeeming factor in this romantic comedy, because there wasn't much going for it.

The studio hired an unknown to play the female lead, since she was in makeup as a 200-pound woman in the beginning of the movie that gets (TONS of) plastic surgery in order to become a 100-pound woman. While Kim Ah-Joong was fine (she did her own singing, which is good- not great, just okay), she didn't have much emotional range. A tear falling artfully down your cheek doesn't make you Meryl Streep, after all.

The plot confused me slightly- it was about a fat girl that worked two jobs: one job as a ghost singer for a famously hot pop star named Ammy, one job as a phone sex operator. Hanna has a crush her music producer- more accurately, Ammy's producer, which Ammy takes advantage of one night to embarrass the living daylights out of sweet, innocent Hanna.

After suffering many indignities at Ammy's hands, Hanna decides to commit suicide, but her plot is foiled by one of her phone sex clients, incessantly calling her. She cannot have a desperate man's voice asking for a happy ending be the last thing she ever hears! So Hanna makes a resolution to live a new life.

She has recorded the kinky fantasies of a famous plastic surgeon, and decides to blackmail him. The plastic surgeon (played by the always hilarious, always bumbling Lee Han-Wie (
이한위)) gives in to Hanna's demands, of course. He makes her over from head to toe, envisioning his masterpiece in transforming a lumpy piece of clay into a work of art.

Comedy regarding formerly skintight clothes that are now enormous, a dress Hanna couldn't even dream of wearing before now fitting perfectly, etc., etc. The usual, the expected.

Hanna goes back to the record studio, where Ammy and her producers are frantically searching for a replacement ghost singer. Hanna auditions and gets the job (of course), but Ammy's producer decides that Hanna should release her own record, rather than singing for Ammy.

The producer, Sang-Joon, is not as hard-boiled and harsh as everyone thinks he is. He's even adopted a puppy that ran up to his house and wouldn't leave (OF COURSE it's Hanna's puppy that she had to abandon before she went in for her multiple surgeries).

Hanna is conflicted- live her life as Jenny the pop star, a woman that Sang-Joon could date? Or live her life honestly as Hanna, 95% artificial?

I followed along, followed along, kept trying to fall under the spell, followed along some more, but the movie finally lost me during Act 3, when they attempted to teach me a life lesson. I'm still not clear what that lesson is ... get lots of surgery and I'll be miserable for a while, but then end up beautiful and having everything I want? Stay 100% natural and end up with two crappy jobs, no credit for my work, and an ailing father? ...What? Really?

As far as life lessons go, this one failed spectacularly in its presentation. Still, it was a funny movie, witty at times, horribly predictable at times, silly at times, and full of music that I generally liked (especially Alex from Clazziquai- he has a lovely voice).

The song that the marketing team used as its theme was "Beautiful Girl," sung by Kim Ah-Joong. A commercial for the movie, featuring "Beautiful Girl":

They have made a musical out of the "200 Pounds" story, since the film version proved to be such a cash cow. Bada, from the girl pop group S.E.S., and Yoon Gong-Joo (윤공주), a stage-musical actress, share the leading role. ("Gong-joo" means 'princess' in Korean. What are the chances that this girl was not spoiled growing up??)

Bottom line for "200 Pounds Beauty," the movie version: flirty fun! Need a distracting little cream puff of a film for a couple hours? This is a good choice.

Certainly not worth all the hype, though.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HTML, XML, and Big Bang (빅뱅)

The HTML and XML needed to get my blog looking somewhat the way I want it to has exhausted me. Now I remember why I hated C++ class and why I hate scripting, programming, all programming languages, and Linux. (That's a lie, I usually love Linux.)

I like GUIs and easy-to-use hacks.

I've had this Big Bang (빅뱅) song stuck in my head for what feels like DAYS, so I'm posting it. To torment other people who have never heard it before. It's called 붉은 노을, which they apparently translated into 'Sunset Glow.' I think it really should be called 'Red Sunset' or 'Burnt Sunset' or something, but that's just me. They can glow if they want to.

The Baby Bang members are adorable, I have to admit, which is why I'm posting this rather than the official music video.


Monday, March 09, 2009

R.I.P. Jang Ja-Yeon (장자연)

Another suicide in what seems to be a continuing wave of Korean celebrities taking their own lives.

Jang Ja-Yeon (장자연, sometimes spelled Jang Ja-Yun) was born on December 8, 1982. She's six months younger than me, and I am nowhere near ready to die.

She is most famous for the TV role that she was in during the time of her death, the hugely popular "Boys Over Flowers" (꽃보다 남자).

Jang Ja-Yeon hanged herself in her house on March 7, to be discovered by her sister (some reports say she was discovered by a friend) just a few hours later.

She was apparently depressed because of various aspects of her job and all the harrassment that comes with sudden stardom. Her parents were killed in a car accident about 10 years ago, which probably led to all sorts of problems (she was 16, an impressionable age). She and her sister and brother had all reportedly been living together since their parents' untimely death.

It has to have been a terrible blow to her siblings. The three of them only had each other. They were the only ones that could empathize with one another. To suddenly lose one more member of their family...

How much of these celebrity suicides can be blamed on the culture? How much more blame can be placed on the media? The critical netizens? The crushing pressure to conform?

It's horrible to feel that death is the only option when there is counseling to be had, alcohol to drink, songs to be sung, family to fight with, anti-depressants to try.

The life of a celebrity doesn't seem like it's worth living lately. I wish people would prove me wrong.


Disney's Official G-Force Website

I don't know when they created it, but Disney's official "G-Force" website is up. Since I'm working on this movie, I feel the need to plug it.

I have to admit, the games are kind of fun.

A far cry from the last film I worked on, except for the slightly odd similarity in the casts: Bill Nighy, who is supposedly a really wonderful person to work with.

Movie comes out July 24!


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Summertime, but the Living's Not Easy

We're officially now in summertime here in the U.S., thanks to Daylight Savings Time. Thanks a lot. I didn't need that hour for anything. I don't need sleep. I don't need an hour of free time to relax. Thanks.

I'm using the loss of one whole hour as an excuse for this short (and lame) post. Can't help it, have to try and get some sleep before waking up at the crack of dawn. I have to be prepared and ready for a meeting that I have at 8:00 tomorrow morning.

When I look back on my life in five years, I genuinely hope that I will not be able to remember the exact emotion that I'm feeling right now. I hope that any sort of pain is like labor pain- terrible and excruciating, but completely forgotten after time passes.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Models, Models, Episode 1

Oh, man. I'm on model overload.

Watched the first (two-hour long) episode of "America's Next Top Model: Cycle 12" and the first episode of "Make Me A Supermodel: Season 2."

**spoilers ahead!**

I haven't watched "Top Model" since ... I don't know ... Cycle 8 or 9 or something, because DUDE, how many times can I watch the same ol' drama?? Tyra knows how to milk it, I give her that.

Cycle 12 started out ridonkulously. Tyra is so over the top, I don't even know how to express it. She is just staggeringly faux-fierce this season, almost painful to watch. Makes for some quality cringe-TV. Her whole goddess schtick ... I can't even begin.

Let's skip the whole first hour of pain, when there are thirty-some-odd girls that reek of desperation. I couldn't watch much of that crap, because WOW were there some crazies in that bunch.

I almost want to know where they find these "models," because I feel like they must go to a loony-bin and search for any tall, skinny girls. Some of these chickies are just nuts, some are maddeningly stupid, and some are completely soulless. That's right, I said soulless.

Here's Soulless #1, a.k.a. the girl I wish would just turn mute- Sandra:

At first, I was all, "Oh, girl's cute, she's got an interesting face, she has a lovely accent."

No. No. No.

Nothing lovely about little Miss Sandra. She's a vindictive, back-stabbing, soulless girl that took every single opportunity to criticize, belittle, and look down on the other girls. She also said, "I'm from Africa" about fourteen times, and I got over it after she said it about twice. Dude, I know you're from Africa. Stop telling me how unique and beautiful you are. Get over yourself and get fired, please. I don't even want her around for the inevitable drama that she will cause.

Then come the ones I merely don't like:

Allison, who looks like a creepy porcelain doll, with giant alien eyes and a strange face. The judges swooned over her- "she has the most amazing eyes," blah blah blah- no, don't care.

Isabella, who seemed slightly empty-headed and walked the runway like a pregnant goose. Honey, no. Please, have someone teach you to walk without making your neck look like a slinky. Isabelle has epilepsy, and I seriously thought that she was going to have a seizure during the first runway show (misleading editing strikes again).

Natalie, spoiled princess who has never worked a day in her life and is proud of that. Ask your daddy to get your lazy eye fixed, dear. If your eye's not lazy, then I assume you just look like that naturally. Pity.

Jessica, who claims she's from Puerto Rico but speaks English like a white girl with perhaps a pinch of Rosie Perez thrown in. She's cute, but looks like she should be on the cover of Maxim. She said that she's never been called ugly before, ever. Good for you.

A slew of girls I like slightly more than the batch above, but still don't really like:

London. I wanted to like her ... she's quirky, kind of hippy-dippy, seems like a fun girl (albeit one with rather a lot of junk in her trunk), but then she started talking about how she preaches on the street. How much she loves Jesus. Darling, you are the reason that people don't want to meet Christians.

Tahlia, the burn survivor. Her mama left her alone in the kitchen when she was 8 months old and she yanked a coffee pot over herself, burning what looks like her wrist, her stomach, and her legs. I'm sorry, truly, that such a thing happened to you. However, you don't remember that incident, and you're using it as an excuse to have low self-confidence. Move on.

Kortnie. Doesn't the photo make it look like the photographer hates her and snapped the shot just as Kort was trying to move into a different pose? Another girl that seems fun or whatever but didn't leave much of an impression. Plus, I didn't like her hair. Please, please let her stay until makeovers and she gets a blonde Little-Orphan-Annie afro...

Also, why did they insist on dragging the fact that she used to date a Nascar driver into the show? She kept wanting to dismiss it, they kept playing clips and showing photos of her and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Nijah. I have no impression of her, other than the fact that her wearing those jeans plus those shoes for this photo makes her look like she has not one single whit of fashion sense. And she needs to give Madonna her cone bra back.

Celia. I wanted to like this girl. She seemed smart as a whip and totally drama-free (there was an incident involving hateful Sandra and the house not having enough beds), but her eyes fuh-reak me out. She's got those big stalker eyes, plus the Neanderthal brow-bone and a rather masculine jawline. I can't deal with all that.

Finally, the (very few) girls I did like:

Teyona, who was told she had a face like she was in a wind tunnel- in a good way. I liked her simply for being drama-free and seeming to take good pictures.

Fo, the "Blaxican" (her word, not mine). She was cheery without being ingratiating (London, I'm looking at you) and I loved her freckles. A bit short, though, and seems slightly big to be a model (I don't make the rules).

Animat, by far my favorite. Girl is TALL at 6'1" and very self-aware. She seems like the one that isn't going to put up with crap but won't be the cause of the drama. I also loved her fro and her attitude (confident without being snarky). Hope she maintains what she had in the first episode.

"Top Model" isn't a good show by any stretch of the imagination. I need to watch it after preparing myself for the cliches, the manufactured drama, and the crappy acting that is Tyra's trademark. Still, entertaining in its own way.

"Make Me A Supermodel" was great last season, with the single exception of Niki Taylor, who was exhausting to watch. She had the emotional range of a turnip and yet tried to really play up the drama. Please, no.

I was so relieved to find that Niki was not in Season 2. Tyson Beckford is back (passable, fun to watch) with Nicole Trunfio as his co-host. In a twist that I didn't care about, the co-hosts are not judges anymore. They're going to be mentors, Tyson to the boys and Nicole to the girls. I'm already enjoying Nicole's brutal honesty. I think she uses her accent as an excuse to be extra-mean, and I hope she makes some of the girl cry. Most of them need to be taken down a peg (or twelve).

I know that because I watched all of Season 1 I'm very attached to some of the contestants (Ronnie!), but I already feel like some of the contestants this season are just really dumb, and unattractive to boot.

I am enjoying the new judges, but with the exception of Jenny Shimizu, the international panel is very hard to understand. Marlon, the South African, is pretty succinct and therefore a bit understandable. I don't know if Perou is a permanent judge, but his English accent was quite strong (I find that posh English accents are easier for me to make out). I did love his Sergeant Pepper coat that he wore to the runway show, though. Catherine Malandrino makes beautiful clothes but has a completely incomprehensible French accent and a makeup artist that should be fired posthaste (a single shade of gray eyeshadow? All over her eyelid? Really?). Her hair dresser should also be given a good talking to.

Hateful wench:

Salome (she pronounces it so incorrectly I've decided to call her Salome-Baloney) is an annoying little twit. I'm completely over her and her "I'm so cute" act. Ugh. She also compared her butt to Jennifer Lopez's, saying her butt is like J.Lo's but on a white girl, blah blah blah. Oh, and guess what? Her mom, Mennonite. Her dad, Mennonite. She can't believe what her Mennonite mom would say about her Mennonite daughter wearing lingerie in a box dangling above New York. She has a different perspective because she grew up Mennonite. Her Mennonite dad doesn't want her to cut her hair or wear makeup. Hey, Salome-Baloney! I don't care. Get over yourself.

Not hateful but not likable:

Chris claimed he had an advantage in being the only androgynous guy in the bunch. Yeah, nice theory- if you weren't so femme that some of the girls looked butch standing next to you. You're a total girl. Please go grow a pair and come back later (or never). And stop over-tweezing your sad little eyebrows.

Jonathan, the English construction worker with a wife and kid, was gorgeous when he spoke. Lovely voice, lilting accent. But the hair (it's long, not short like the photo) and the odd facial angles just made me go "meh."

Shawn. He said something like, "I've never been in a room with so many straight people before! Be nice to the gay!" Um... you're not the only gay in the room. By a long shot. His eyes are set very close together, which I generally dislike on people- I feel like it makes them look weaselly and dishonest. Pass.

Mountaha, the Brazilian. She does not have the body (Cory Bautista said it, not me, but I agree) and she has a terrible complexion. I didn't like her or her inability to pose. She had a ton of self-confidence without much apparent reason. Bleh.

Laury. I think she's going to be trouble. She was way too flirty with Jonathan and immediately said that it was just work, they needed to put their significant others out of their minds for the photo shoot. Translation? She wants to be inappropriate with someone else's man. I thought she looked old, too, and was surprised to see that she's not 35. Seriously.

Ken the caveman. Low-set brow, giant underbite, over-developed pecs ... all he needed was a girl to drag away to his cave. He kept insisting on how he could lose weight if he wanted to because he's a personal trainer and knows how to do it, he just doesn't know if "it" is worth it. Didn't you come on the show to, I don't know, be a MODEL?

Branden. Can't walk and is so homophobic that I think he loops back around to gay. He was nervous about the photo-shoot (he was paired with Chris, Mr. Androgynous) because of the gay thing, and he's "especially not gay." Yeah, sure, honey. Keeping telling yourself that, over and over again.

The ones I'm on the fence about:

Amanda, who was impressive because she had a bikini-ready body and a 10-month-old son at home. She didn't say much and wasn't featured much, but seemed vacuous.

Kerryn, who also didn't say much but I didn't want to hear from her. I found her strangely ugly, and not in that model way where ugly = pretty.

Karen frightened me a little. She looked like she could beat up most of the boys. She also has a very severe face and looks too old.

CJ doesn't look like a model to me- she's on the short side and has a giant chest. Salome-Baloney won the photo-shoot and her prize was a go-see. She had to take another girl with her, though, and since the girl apparently cannot think without talking, she said she'd have to pick someone that she could beat. And then she picks CJ and tells her out-right, "I think you have a great body, but I think I can beat you."

After that, how could I not root for CJ? Doesn't mean I have to like her, I just dislike her less than I dislike Baloney.

The ones I liked:

Gabriel. Cute in a sort of Abercrombie & Fitch way. I don't remember him talking at all, which is probably why I like him.

Jordan. She got the ugliest dress on the runway and rocked it out. She was interesting and intelligent, and I actually enjoyed listening to her talk. Hopefully she doesn't stoop to the drama level that I know some of the other kids are going to get to.

Colin, the adorable geek. Such a cute little dork! I have nothing else to say about him- he's the most darling nerd I've ever seen.

Sandhurst, my favorite. I get the impression that he might perhaps hook up with one of the skanky girls, which makes me sad (misleading teasers could be the culprit, though). He took a fantastic photo and was the only one who looked at ease on the runway.

I have no idea if I'll keep watching either of these shows, as they both have their moments of extreme idiocy ("Top Model" more so than "Supermodel"). The antics of lots of tall, hungry people living together under one roof can be a bit much at times, and I have no patience lately. I think I managed to watch all two hours of "Top Model" in about 45 minutes.

I do love the escapism of TV, but probably won't be posting lengthy posts about the shows again. Little snippets of my favorite and least favorite and most shocking moments seem much more likely.

I know for sure I'll watch the makeover episodes of both shows- I love a good meltdown on TV!