Monday, June 26, 2017

On John Wick II, Language, and Hoosiers

After diligently checking, I watched John Wick 2 and was rather amazed at his foreign language abilities (not to mention his ability to get hit by a car, punched a million times, get shot in the actual kidney and still go on to kill like, literally 400 people).  First he meets a Russian gangster and tells him, in Russian, Let's have peace, this feud is over, etc.  Then, an Italian guy shows up in his house, and they converse, in Italian, about having coffee and becoming an assassin again.  THEN, I shit you not, there is a deaf assassin in the movie, and he starts talking to her in ASL.

I finally took an ASL course this year - something I've been wanting to do for many a year.  It was great to finally get started.  Obviously I'm nowhere near fluent but I want to keep practicing (there are some great tutorials online - try these if you're interested).  Speaking of languages, one of the best things I've read this year was The Idiot, a hilarious book about, amongst other things, the connection between language and thought, something that's been occupying my mind a lot recently.  Little did I know that John Wick, of all things, would continue to pique this interest.  Without a word for "assassin", for example, would John Wick have ever become that thing?  Naturally, I wanted to learn all the dirty words in sign language but that is an on-going education.

Here's a funny story:  My parents came to visit this weekend and I mentioned that, God forbid, if anything ever happened to M, I would most likely never love again, with the possible exception of my cheesemonger. "Due to his kind nature or something else?" asks my mom.  "Due to his knowledge of and access to cheese!" I said.

Mom tells me an old family friend loves talking about "Hoosier Go-to" and when asked to explain she said, "Oh, you know, who you would go to if your spouse died."  And I said, "Well, do they have to be a hoosier?" and then there was some confusion until I finally understood that she was not saying "Hoosier go-to" but rather "WHO'S your go-to" to which M shouted out, to general hilarity, "WHO'S EAR?"  A joke, I suppose, only Hoosiers will understand.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


We watched this really wonderful documentary on netflix called Twinsters - it's about this American girl who was adopted from Korea as a baby.  She grew up in New Jersey, but now lives in LA and is an actress.  She did a webseries, and some guy in France watched it and thought the girl in the video was his friend, Anaïs,  He shares it with her on Facebook.  Anaïs messages the American (Sam) with her birthday and birth city.  Sam's is the same.

It's through the miracle of social media that these two find each other, despite Sam growing up in New Jersey and Anaïs growing up in France (then college in London), and it's through social media that they build their relationship - they skype right away (first talk=3 hours) they WhatsApp constantly (they even nickname each other "pop" - that little sound of a new message coming in).

It's amazing to me how utterly compatible they are right from the beginning.  It's Sam, the outgoing LA actress and budding filmmaker who has the instinct to record their initial meeting and ultimately make the documentary, so you see the amazing progression of this incredible story, yes, but more importantly you see the beautiful and immediate connection these two very sweet, loving girls form.  And, not only do the two girls fall instantly into sisterhood, but their adopted families immediately love and accept the other girl and her parents.  I just couldn't help but think, if I found my identical twin on the opposite side of the planet, she'd probably hate me and I'd think she was a jerk, and no way would our families get along.  Maybe that's just me because I'm a cynical, cold-hearted person?

The two girls eventually go to Korea together and attempt to find their birth mother.  They do find the women who fostered them for a few weeks before they were adopted out, which is so sweet because Anaïs tearfully says that she never really felt that her life began until she was arrived in France with her adopted parents - but was so overwhelmed to find that she really was loved and cared for as a baby in Korea, and that the woman who fostered her remembered her still.

Although the doc doesn't really get into the politics of international adoption, there's a lot of food for thought there.  It does get a bit into twin studies, as these two are a goldmine as identical twins who were raised apart.  To tell the truth, I'm real "Nurture" person when it comes to the whole Nature v. Nurture development debate but this film really blew apart some of my ideas.

Anyway, if you're looking for something to watch, it's utterly charming and has really given me a lot to think about lately.  As someone who really aches to be physically closer to her sister, I hope those two twins find an opportunity to live closer to each other soon.

Monday, November 02, 2015

old news: The Martian

I saw The Martian when it came out a few weeks ago, and wanted to write about it, but had a hard time putting it into words until I saw this by the great Sarah Mccarry (her blog is The Rejectionist) who writes, "who doesn’t love space, idiots is who, but what was missing from that movie for me was a sense of wonder, of joy, of holy shit guys we’re on Mars, look at the crazy nonsense human beings get up to for absolutely no reason: art, poetry, flying around in spaceships, discovering the secrets of the universe. For a movie in which things are constantly happening there is next to no interiority, so little joy or emotional truth, and so ultimately it’s boring."  Yes.  So much yes.

I liked The Martian but it sort of felt like a morality tale that was basically: When something bad happens, just figure out how to resolve it and get through it, dummy.  Which, whatever, that's fine.  That's a fine lesson for school children but is it a great movie?  Not really.  The whole time I'm wondering, doesn't Matt Damon have a family on Earth?  That he misses or even thinks about occasionally?  He's supposed to be out there alone for 3 years or whatever.  And even if he doesn't have anyone, why does he want to live anyway?  Like, take Gravity, an amazing movie - Sandra Bullock's daughter is dead, all joy is lost from her life, for some reason she goes to space, everything goes to shit, but you see her decide: Actually, I do want to live!  Simple - "emotional truth" that's exciting and beautiful and touching.

Anyway, this guy gets stuck on Mars by himself in a kind of Home Alone situation, and so he's like, I'd better start growing potatoes in my own shit pronto, and at the end of the movie, in case you didn't get it, (spoiler: he makes it) he talks to a group of incoming astronauts and says You Gotta Work the Problem.  And that's the point of the whole movie, I guess?

In other Mars news, many of my friends have been raving about a book called Red Rising, about a miner that lives on Mars.  So far, I really like it, although it was all too obvious the beautiful, passionate, 16 year old wife was not going to make it, and, what a surprise: she gets killed (didn't work the problem).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

There's Bears in the Pool

What I love the most about this video is how the underlying subtext of both the Mama in the pool and the Mama in the window is Will You Idiots Give Me Two Seconds of Fucking Peace? Poor Mama Grizzly holds her cub’s head in both her gigantic paws and does that thing bears do where they seem like they’re going to bite your entire face off: Will you! Just. Quit. HANGING on me. Meanwhile Mama in the window’s eye rolls couldn’t be more obvious even though we never see her face. Her toddler is freaking out: There’s BEARS in the POOL! and whining: ONE IS EATING MY CAAAAAR. The dog’s barking, the husband’s disgruntled: Well, that’s it! The pool’s done for the summa. Moma in the window is like: It’s fine. Let them play. Will you! Just.

I thought this was all happening in like, northern Canada, but it turns out it’s fricking NEW JERSEY (I hear it in the Dad’s accent now). I guess it’s true that flora and fauna will quickly take over after we leave this Earth. There’ll only be the rare survivor of the apocalypse to whine about bears swimming in our pools and sleeping in our beds and eating our porridge.

Mama in the window is trying to enjoy the, I mean, really quite astounding visage of another mother relaxing in her pool - just like we do, leaning against the edge, resting her arms on the ledge and chucking out all the extraneous detritus. She just watches as bears ransack her already ransacked yard and dirty her already dirty pool. Her children are crying and whining about their domestic goods, her husband flips out and leaves (where did he go? I mean, WHAT is more interesting than 6 bears frolicking in your own corner of the world?) She only shows the slightest dismay that her expensive floaty is getting ripped to shreds by baby bears. She’s more afraid the Mama Bear will eat the chlorine or electrocute herself. Utterly sure the cubs will be fine - they’ll follow where their mother goes and she will protect them, that much is clear, just as her own cubs are perfectly fine in their suburban home one hour’s drive from Manhattan, separated by a fence from a wilderness full of bears.

Anyway, summer IS over and what a dramatic ending: THERE’S BEARS IN THE POOL! My own realization was no less shocking as I rode my bike to the beach for my last possible weekend day there and stepped into the 50 degree waters of Lake Michigan. It was like looking out my back window and seeing bears swimming in my proverbial pool. Summer IS OVER, y’all. Get out your sweaters, hide your kids, hide your floatie, hide your porridge. There’s bears in the pool.

Monday, August 24, 2015

me, riding my bike to work

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Stuff I'm watching

I'm a die-hard Tom Cruise fan from way back.  Nothing shatters my loyalty, not the couch-jumping or the Scientology or anything.  Mission Impossible 5 (or whatever) is a fine addition to the MI movies, not as good as the first one or the last one but certainly not as bad as the second or the third one.  There's this new, beautiful (Impossibly beautiful!?!) actress named Rebecca Ferguson that does this nifty trick where she jumps up around a dude's neck and like, thighs him to death or something.  Jesus Christ if I could do that...

 Then there's the weird fact that Tom Cruise did that whole HANGING OFF A PLANE BIT FOR REALZ.  So what if he had a couple of safety harnesses OMG?????

I'm also watching True Detective which I really love but can hardly understand AT ALL.  I'm currently reading recaps to figure it out but if anyone knows WTF is going on, please let me know.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

So many movies!

I've seen a lot of movies this spring, most of them good!  I will try to briefly recap...

Last week we saw Inside Out - what a beautiful, funny movie.  I wish so hard I had seen this when I was 11.  Really applaud Pixar for making a film about emotional intelligence.  Genious.  Here's me in last 10 minutes:

Also saw Jurassic World, which was a fun, big-screen movie with the always charming Chris Pratt who is just a joy to watch and inspired zoo-keepers everywhere to create his scene with the velociraptors and provided a nice opportunity to revive all those classic Jeff Goldblum lines.  Life, uh, finds a way.  The only thing is, the movie was soooooooo unrealistic.  I mean, Bryce Howard wears heels through the ENTIRE thing?  Come on.  

Oh dear god, I also saw Magic Mike XXL which I thought was going to be a hilarious romp with a handful of girlfriends, but was more like a constant barrage of crotches shaking in faces.  For reasons I don't quite understand, the movie is getting excellent reviews.  Although I did appreciate the diversity - including women of color, women of size, and even a scene where all these straight dude strippers stood around respectfully clapping and smiling at the mad skills of these other dudes at a gay bar.  So, there's that.  

Let's see... we also saw Spy with Melissa McCarthy.  It was a fun movie that thankfully was made up of more substantial material than.... hey look at this goofy fat lady jokes.  It was smart and pro-woman and also very funny.  Mad Max Fury Road was totes amaze.  Was like, literally gripping the arms of my seat through entire movie and it was just like a pure, big-screen experience that was everything I love about going TO the movies.  Not for the faint of heart.  

I saw the Chicago premier of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl at the Music Box with the director in attendance.  We all had to physically turn off our cellphones while entering the theatre as a draconian usher observed.  It was like The Fault in Our Stars only not saccharine or manipulative.  So, if you like movies about young people dying of cancer, this one's for you!