Monday, January 31, 2011

Recap Roundup

These are the last few films I watched at Sundance:


Hmmm... so this is a movie that I should like. I liked the ideas and the images and the landscape and the message and everything. I liked the concept. But something was missing. And I just found Ben Foster....just... distracting. I kept picturing him as this kid:

and this kid:

Yes, that was Sisqo. And yes, I did own this movie soundtrack. And don't forget Ben Foster's contribution to Freaks and Geeks!!!:

Anyway. He just didn't seem to fit into this movie.

But I liked it anyway.

I want to go to Armenia.

The Convincer

This movie was kind of funny, and then there was a distinct, and violent change of tone. Like you start out laughing cause it's kind of goofy and then your laughing cause you're like, shocked and your reflexes don't know what's going on

Crime After Crime

This one really touched me, especially because it seems I have quite a few friends who are in law school/preparing to go to law school right now. They are the ones who can make a difference! Pretty much everyone I spoke with told me they teared up while watching this movie. If you want to find out more, you can go to this website. Also, if you want to help out now, you can text the word DEBBIE to 50555 and donate $10 to the organization.

So thank you for the movies Sundance. See you next year!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Disconsolate Desolate

I saw these movies on Tuesday while I was volunteering.

Little Birds

Let's do a slow clap for Elgin James.
This is his first film, and it is good. 
But I don't plan on ever seeing it again.
It broke my heart.

This guy went from homeless to Sundance. Cool. 

I want to learn more about this Salton Sea, where the first third of the film is shot. This is what I found out so far. Thanks wikipedia:
The Salton Sea is a  saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault in California's Border Region. Like Death Valley, it is below sea level. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamo rivers, as well as agricultural runoff drainage systems and creeks. The lake's salinity, about 44 g/L, is greater than the waters of the Pacific Ocean (35 g/L), but less than that of the Great Salt Lake; the concentration is increasing by about 1 percent annually.
The creation of the Salton Sea of today started in 1905, when heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused the Colorado River to swell, overrunning a set of headgates for the Alamo Canal. Over a period of approximately two years these two newly created rivers sporadically carried the entire volume of the Colorado River into the Salton Sink. The lack of an outflow means that the Salton Sea is a system of accelerated change. By the 1960s it was apparent that the salinity of the Salton Sea was rising, jeopardizing some of the species in it. The Salton Sea currently has a salinity exceeding 4.0% w/v (saltier than seawater) and many species of fish are no longer able to survive. Fertilizer runoff combined with the increasing salinity have resulted in large algal blooms and elevated bacteria levels.
Chris McCandless visited the lake in the early 90's, which was featured in the 2007 film "Into the Wild".  

The director said that 

fish would basically suffocate from the algae 
and die. 

Then birds would eat the fish,
get sick,
can't fly. 

Hence the name of the movie.

I've always been drawn to desolate, abandoned places. I think that began with my weekend trips over the salt flats to West Wendover. 

Sometimes we would go on walks through the rocky hills behind my house. You could find seashells hidden in layers of sediment leftover from the ancient sea. My dad said guys from the air force would throw parties in caves in the hills during World War II. They left behind shells too. Bullet shells, that is. 

If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front

Another version of desolation. 
This movie was mildly interesting. It traces the history of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and their classification as a domestic terrorist "organization". I think in the battle between people and trees, the trees will eventually win.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chimp Champs

I saw "Project Nim" on Friday. It's about this. I wish I could write you an insightful review and tell you about it, but over the past few days, my brain has turned to mush. I have not slept enough or studied enough. I skipped five classes already. FIVE. Not the way it should be. 

And I'm trying to keep up on my jogging mileage. Luckily I have the most beautiful paths right outside.


The director, James Marsh, directed "Man on Wire," which won for best documentary a couple years ago. I got to meet him, as well as Bob and Laura from the film. Cool.

The movie reminded me of this episode of Radiolab. 

My one complaint is the use of the word "Nim" in the title. It reminds me too much of this movie:

I guess they are sort of connected. They both deal with experimentation on animals.
Did I tell you that I listened to this book on tape the beginning of last semester? Except it's true title is "Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh". And it isn't half as creepy as the movie. I highly recommend it. 

And that's it for now.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sundance First Glance

It's official. Sundance is upon us.

First off was a little training session about a week ago. I got my vest, gloves, a beanie, a water bottle, and ...mascara? 

I guess that's a subtle suggestion for us to look our best. I don't know if you can read it, but the package says it will "millionize" my lashes. 
Andy got this tube that has a rollerball thing at the end that you are supposed to swipe under your eyelids to help you feel/look more awake... what? They are obviously really concerned with the state of our eyes.
I love it. 
Bring on the swag.

I'm going to be volunteering in this screening room:

It's smaller, and doesn't get as much traffic since it's out of the way. Should be fun though! Hopefully I will see some of you there. 

Wednesday we had another orientation and a staff party. 
Last night I went to my first screening! I really liked it:

It's adapted from a book that came out in 2008. The director is Richard Ayoade and this is his first movie. Before this he did a bunch a British shows that sound pretty funny. And music videos. These, to be exact:

He also directed the Arctic Monkeys "Cornerstone" and "Fluorescent Adolescent" videos. Note: Do not watch the latter if you are afraid of clowns.

NOTE: There are eff words in this video.
He also directed "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa". Another note: whenever I hear Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, I think my cell phone is ringing. Annoying. 

He did this video too:

So you know the man has good taste. The songs featured in the movie are by Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner. 

Side note: One of the guys from Vampire Weekend did the Soundtrack for a movie called "Sound of My Voice," which I really want to see. I think one of them is the director as well. But that got me thinking. There are a few sets at the Music Cafe that are "To Be Announced" and I'm betting that Vampire Weekend will be playing at one of them since two o their mates are involved with this filmy stuff. SO, go to the cafe with me. Should be a fun time.

Anyway, the movie is about a 15 year old kid in Wales and his mum and dad and girlfriend and stuff. Basically, it's what you would get if you combined Flight of the Conchords with a Wes Anderson movie. 
The woman who plays his mum is also in Made in Dagenham which I saw over break. 

Also, in doing research for this post, I discovered that it is the lead actors birthday today! Happy birthday kid!

I best get going. I'm having my first volunteer shift toniiiiiite!

Monday, January 17, 2011

This is our hope...

"With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."
- Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just a Few Recommendations

I had trouble spelling the word “recommendation” while on Facebook chat with my brother. Here are some alternate spellings I prefer.

- I watch/listen to this movie once every few months. Did you know that Sofia Coppola and Jason Schwartzman are cousins? Weird.
- I also watch this movie regularly. 
"Who says you need to buy a guitar?"...Ha. I love you, Jack White.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Do you have twenty-five minutes and thirty-four seconds?
Then you have time to listen to this track: Impossible Soul - Sufjan Stevens

I finally bought the album last week. 

It is something.

My commute (on a good day) is almost exactly 25 minutes, which means I have an excuse to listen to this song quite a bit. It is a good track to listen to in the morning. Especially with lyrics like this:

It's a long life / Only one last chance / Couldn't get much better / Do you wanna dance? / It's a good life / Better pinch yourself / Is it possible? / Is it possible? / Boy we can do much more together... It's not so impossible

Isn't that what everyone needs to hear first thing in the morning? 
One of the speakers in sacrament meeting spoke about confidence, and said that we should look in the mirror and say to ourselves "I got the magic in me," a la Rivers Cuomo/B.O.B.... But I think this track is more my style.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Nostalgia for Sale

Sometimes I forget that stores are trying to sell us something. For me, my biggest weakness is Nostalgia.

Everyone should know that Nostalgia is dangerous. It was originally known as a disease that caused death, illness, and general malaise. 
I feel I am particularly susceptible to this illness. 
Another definition of nostalgia is "a feeling of appreciation for the past or something related to the past, often in an idealized form." 
So yes. That is what I like.


In NYT critical shopper review way back in 2006, it talks about Anthropologie. I recommend reading the article, of course, but this is the part that particularly struck me. 

     "On a philosophical level, there is something about Anthropologie that is well intentioned but makes me profoundly depressed. The old bicycles, the old-fashioned Marvis toothpaste, the etched-glass candleholders, the calico pajama sets, the teacups and saucers -- all are the trappings of a grandparent's or a parent's home. But [those that] shop at longer has access to those homes.
This is where Anthropologie steps in: It helps the shopper create the illusion ... a house with European teacups and flocked bedspreads....The store's philosophy takes the colloquial and sad world of regrets and realities and wraps it up in a swath of vintage calico, tied with a satin bow."
When I go into Anthropologie, I come down with a terrible case of nostalgia. Or in the words of SWPL (note: this website is pretty awful, but it pretty accurately describes my tastes):
"You might have walked past [Anthropologie] a few times at your local mall and wondered how they crammed the interior of a late-nineteenth century barn into a shopping center that was built in 2005. It is the store equivalent of a Wes Anderson film, which certainly helps to explain its appeal, but it is also the most efficient way for white women to look and (hopefully) live like Amélie."


Have you ever been to Tabula Rasa at Trolley Square? They are your "Social Stationers". It is pretty impressive that a "stationers" can actually still exist. They have pretty paper and pretty jewelry and even pretty perfume! They also are charmingly pretentious.

I went in last year, looking for a Moleskin planner. After searching the store to no avail, I found one of the sales people. He was very well-put-together, with long hair pulled back in a pony tail.
I asked, "Excuse me, I have a question."
He answered, "Oh, pray tell".
Pray tell.
Love it.

Again. This is a store built on the idea of nostalgia. They even sell quills and ink and wax and seals. Things that are out of their place in history. 


The mecca of nostalgia.

Ok. I appreciate the past. I think it is beautiful. I hope that at the same time I can appreciate the present, and be grateful about what I have now.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I just finished reading this article from the NYT:
"Selling a Book by It's Cover"

Some quotes from the article:

“Architects build so many shelves into new construction — it adds warmth and their aesthetic stamp. Thatcher is a necessity at this point in these large homes,” she said, ticking off five projects on which she and Mr. Wine have collaborated. “I couldn’t pull off filling these miles of bookshelves without him.” For his work, Mr. Wine charges from $80 to $350 a foot...
The Maryland-based Wonder Book, then, with its 54,000-square-foot warehouse, represents the mass market. Chuck Roberts, its amiable owner, said he gets requests from developers, set designers, decorators needing 1,000 books for a holiday deadline, even wedding planners.
“We’ve had a great year — it’s broken all records,” Mr. Roberts said, noting that his book-by-the-foot business now represents almost 20 percent of his total sales. Though “earth tones” are his bestsellers, he said, last week a national builder asked for light blue and gray books to stage multiple homes. A TV news program wanted linen-wrapped books chopped in half to fit the shallow, faux-shelves of a political interview program. And on Tuesday, a Chicago restaurant called for 100 linear feet of distressed clothbound books. “Must be there by Monday!” Mr. Roberts said."
"LAST year, Restoration Hardware sold a decorative product called a book bundle. It was a fascinating modern relic, even a fetish item — a clutch of books with rough edges and the covers ripped off, stitched with twine. The company’s Web site described it rather winningly: “Liberated from their covers, stitched and bound together with jute twine, the foxed and faded pages of old books become objets d’art.”
The bundles, “rich with texture and intrigue,” were sold for $29, and evoked much ridicule from bloggers around the country. They have since been discontinued.
As of this week, however, you can find a similar product, created by an abashed Mr. Wine for Pottery Barn, though it is a bit less atmospheric (somewhat less rich with intrigue, as the copywriters might say) and priced $10 higher.
“I’m not so proud of these, but they do make the point that you can do a lot with books,” said Mr. Wine"
The now defunct "book bundle" by Restoration Hardware\

"Ms. Mack added that she was working with a decorator to “refresh” her own Manhattan apartment, and was hoping to decorate lavishly with books. She wondered if she might stack her books and turn them into legs for a coffee table.
“Then,” she said, “I can put my Kindle on top.”"
Although after looking at the slide show I have to admit that this thing is sort of beautiful, I don't think I can approve of it. 
It reminds me of this:
     "...She couldn't find him from the top of the steps, and he wasn't on the veranda. On a chance we tried an important-looking door, and walked into a high Gothic library, panelled with carved English oak, and probably transported complete from some ruin overseas.
     A stout, middl-aged man with enormous owl-eyed spectacles was sitting somewhat drunk on the edge of a great table, staring with unsteady concentration at the shelves of books. As we entered he wheeled excitedly around and examined Jordan from head to foot.
     'What do you think' he demanded impetuously.
     'About what?'
     He waved his hand toward the book-shelves.
     'About that. As a matter of fact you needn't bother to ascertain. I ascertained. They're real.'
     'The books?'
     He nodded.
     'Absolutely real -- have pages and everything. I thought they're be a nice durable cardboard. Matter of fact, they're absolutely real. Pages and --Here! Lemme show you.'
     Taking our skepticism for granted, he rushed to the bookcases and returned with Volume One of the 'Stoddard Lectures.'
     'See!' he cried triumphantly. 'It's a bona fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fella's a regular Belasco. It's a triumph. What thoroughness! What realism! Knew when to stop too -- didn't cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?'
     He snatched the book from me and replaced it hastily on its shelf muttering that if one brick was removed the whole library was liable to collapse."

We all know how ol' Gatsby ended up.

I should probably re-read "The Great Gastsby". It has been a while. Did you know that Baz Luhrman is doing a movie remake of it? That will be something.

I remember talking with someone who worked at Deseret Book, and she referred to the Joseph Smith series that is being released as "furniture". One of the books in the series was larger because it included true-to-life copies of manuscripts. they changed it because customers thought it looked funny. By making the book smaller, it is, in a sense, less accurate. But since it is only "furniture" (books put on the shelf to look nice, and not necessarily be read), it doesn't matter.

I guess we are allowed to do whatever we want with books...

You can highlight in them and write notes in the margins

You can lose them and let them end up in a place like this

You can burn them

Or you hook them up with this apparatus that turns the pages for you!

I think it is just good to remember that books are meant to be read. That is probably how they want to be used. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

The above post title is what Hemingway considered to be his best short story. Quite concise. And sad. I guess. Depending on how you look at it.

I started looking for more short stories on the internet, and found these:

"Goose Egg" by Jim Phelps
The townsfolk kept glaring angrily at Jack as they discussed what to do with 1200 pounds of rotting giant.

"Persepctive" by Vijayendra Mohanty
He bested the heroes, killed the defenders, overtook the world. Then he killed the narrator and he was the villain no more.

"The Boatman" by Chris Worth
"I can't see," complained the man.
"That's because of the pennies on your eyes," said the boatman.

I really like this super short story by Augusto Monterroso. Carlos Fuentes described him like this: "Imagine Borges' fantastical bestiary having tea with Alice. Imagine Jonathan Swift and James Thurber exchangning note. Imagine a frog from Calaveras County who seriously read Mark Twain. Meet Monterroso." AWESOME. Sounds like a good guy.
Here is his story, entitled, "El Dinosaurio":

"Cuando despertó, el dinosaurio todavía estaba allí."

This one is known as the world's shortest horror story. Frederic Brown's "Knock":

      "The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door..."

But I don't think you can find a more succinct and touching story than the shortest/longest story of all:

Jesus wept.
- John 11:35


Monday, January 3, 2011

Somethings 2 Look Forward 2

First, there is this.

I can vouch for a few of them.

I watched this one over the summer. I liked it:

This one premiered at Sundance in 2008, and I got to go to a screening. Some of the cast and the director were there afterward; it was neat to hear them talk about it. I think most of the children in the film are not trained actors:

I saw this when I was a frehsmen, I think. Don't remember much about it, but I'm pretty sure it was emotionally devastating:

The Helmuth Hubener story is pretty incredible. I learned a bit more about by taking a "Saints at War" class my sophomore year. I want to name one of my children Helmuth in his honor. Best name ever:

"Secret of Kells":

I've been waiting to see this one too:

In high school, we had to review an issue or something like that, and I chose this movie as my theme. It's super interesting. Apparently, there is a sequel, filmed 6 years later. Hopefully I will get to see that soon as well:

Gaudi is cool:

We watched this for my "Peoples of India" class. Bollywood at its finest:

See! There is something to do in Provo! haha. The following trailers aren't from International Cinema, but I am excited for them too.

So charming:

ohmygosh soooo cuuuuute!
Snaps to Ingrid for telling my about this:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year Mix: music for the first day of the last year before the end of the world

We brought in this new year with a bang.


My hair still smells a bit sulfuric.

Hope that your respective New Years were just as exciting and dangerous. I have high hopes for 2011. It seems that for most people I've talked with, 2009 was not so awesome. 2010 was full of possibility. It could have crashed and burned, or floated up to the heavens. We made the most of it. There was an overall sentiment of pleased wonder. "How did I get here? This is pretty awesome" is what most people were thinking. We've come so far, haven't we? We are in better places, aren't we? If you feel you can't count yourself in those categories, your time will come. Maybe 2011 will be the year for you.  It is only now, in 2011, that I feel I am really living in the future. Sometimes it is helpful to think that the world will end tomorrow. It provides a sense of urgency to help you get things done, and makes every moment more beautiful.

So let's toast to that. The potential last year of our lives.

January 2011 Mix: Happy New Year!

1. "Tonight The Streets Are Ours" - Richard Hawley
2. "Freak Out" - Tapes 'n Tapes
3. "Kites" - Geographer
4. "When I'm Small" - Phantogram
5. "Sun Hands" - Local Natives
6. "Civilian" - Wye Oak
7. "Becoming A Jackal" - Villagers
8. "Shell Games" - Bright Eyes
9. "Steady As She Goes" (Raconteurs cover) - Corinne Bailey Rae
10. "Last Nite" (The Strokes cover) - Adele
11. "Tightrope" (Feat. Big Boi) - Janelle Monáe
12. "Used To Be" - Beach House
13. "Sabali" - Amadou & Mariam
14. "Happy New Year" - Camera Obscura

Cheers to all!