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The Public Ineffectual

For entertainment purposes only.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Fantasia Round Up

I concentrated on the Korean offerings as usual and walked away with the impression that this year's films were not as tight as in previous years and perhaps the state of the industry (or the festival) is reaching a plateau. (It could just be my selection, of course.)

Please Teach Me English
Korean romantic comedy is as strong as ever. The lead female is a well known cosmetics spokesmodel with the most dewiest skin ever but she pulls off being 'plain' because she's also a total kook. Goofy, fun flick that I probably would never have seen if it was in English because there are no talking animals in it.

Another Public Enemy
Riding on the success of Public Enemy from a couple of years ago, they stick the winning formula in terms of plot points but sap the edginess out of it. The original protagonist was a dirty cop; a man with significant moral failings who goes after a man with no morals at all. This time around, the main character is motivated out of white hot righteousness (his weakness is being cheap) to bring down the sociopath fat cat who has all of the advantages of social status and no social conscience. Competent performances all around which made it even more frustrating to watch them be let down by the story. I got a kick out of the fact that this and Please Teach Me English both had third act cameos by the same actor.

Silmido A true story of absurd cold war politics, Korean-style. As improbable as it sounds, a group of hardened criminals were given a stay of execution in exchange for submitting to being trained in secret to be a crack commando squad for the purpose of killing Kim Il-Sung. Dark melodrama and homosocial bonding; a reminder that even today, one of the few paths to legitimacy for anyone who has done any kind of time is through the military.

Some This film does for Seoul what Lost in Translation does for Tokyo. The city looks like itself without relying on too many of the Big Asian City cliches. The main drawback to this film is the insipid female lead (that some might actually consider to be characteristic of Asian film generally though I disagree) who seems to have been given ample opportunity to actually shape events but walks around in a general haze instead.

Survive Style 5+ Japanese film and just amazing. A new high watermark for set and costume design. The story has an Altman-esque interweaving plot but with an outright surreal edge. This woman pictured is murdered repeatedly by her husband but she keeps coming back from the grave. They're seemingly doomed to be in this destructive cycle forever until they finally learn to live with each other. The dark humour surprisingly gives way to a humanistic ending and escapes its own nihilism. Really impressive work, see it if you can. Weird title!

Ghost Talker's Daydream The best thing about this anime was my dishy viewing companion. 'Nuff said.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I'm Just Here to Help

Hemispheres - the inflight magazine of United Airlines - sponsors an annual Faux Faulkner (write-alike contest) and this year's winner is Sam Apple with his spoof of the Bush Administration. Bush takes the place of "the idiot" in Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" - Condi, Rummy and Dick also make appearances. Hemispheres claims no political bias NOT publishing this year's winner in said magazine, according to a report by AP, claiming they decided to publish it on the web only to promote the web site and calls any allegation of censorship unfounded because they've made it available to "millions of people".

Now, I'm a blogger and not a journalist so I'm not going to track down any original sources or do any fact checking or any such due diligence; I'm going to suppose the above is all true.

And I'm not a web designer but I do know that their sites is one of those annoying ones that doesn't give specific urls to pages so you can bookmark them.

If you wanted use this draw attention to the web site, why would you bury it in your web site with no more fanfare than your obligatory masthead? Making it available to "millions on the web" and making it available to the [from their web site] "400,000 monthly copies...read by 1.5 million people on United flights all over the globe" who are "an international mix of English-speaking global business and recreational travelers who are among the world's most sophisticated, affluent, and educated professionals" is hardly the same thing. But I'm not a marketing professional either, so what would I know?

And WHY, oh WHY, is the link to the article broken on Hemispheres own web site at the time of publishing this post? I'M SO CONFUSED!

And since I'm happy to be here and just wanna help, click above for a link to the Faux Faulkner winner "The Administration and the Fury" by Sam Apple since Hemispheres web and marketing people seem unable to get it together to promote their site themselves. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Go for Baroque...

...add an extraneous VOWEL to your name. How do you like "Obliivia"? Two eyes are better than one! Only on "Wheel of Fortune" do you need to buy vowels - they give them out for free in the real world! Plain old Alex is on my phone as "Alekx" - soooooo much cooler. Why the hell not? The French do it. Go on! Do it! Belt tightening, rationalisation is a thing of the past.

Dooooo iiiiiittt! HOT DAMN THIS FEELS GOOD!

Call Me "Dr. Mac" II: The Quickening

Sunday afternoon, just after the previous post, I sat at a cafe with my fellow air con hogs and I once again had massive hard drive failure. I toyed with the idea of getting a new iBook altogether but I couldn't buy a whole new one without trying something to breath life into this faithful machine. And I thought that maybe I should save my pennies for a newer generation of iBook, say, next year. You know, um, since they announced they'll be using Intel chips and all that. (My charming naïveté made Boris laugh.)

So I went to MacClinic and they described the noise emanating from my hard drive as "The Click of Death". Michel had already copied all 20GB of my hard drive and one nervous afternoon later and Michel returning the contents, I'm back in business with a 40GB hard drive!

Click the link above to see Michel's shiny new photoblog. Again, hats off to you!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Call Me "Dr. Mac"

Owing to his years of experience as a graphic designer and his wielding of the Mac as his weapon of choice, Michel has become an impressive Mac autodidact.

Last night, my computer crashed and when I tried to boot up again my 'puter gave me a grey screen and an icon with the Mac OS face alternating with a "?". (What is up with "?" signs popping up right now?) This is an "oh shit" moment. I've been working on a piece of writing that I hadn't backed up because I've been staring at it almost constantly for the last two weeks. In the back of my mind I thought, "I will only have to do the same tomorrow...and the day after....and the day after that." This is true of course and this is typical of how the procrastinator's mind works. And, now, as a result, it appeared that I was set to lose a solid 20 pages of writing. In lay parlance, that is the equivalent of forgetting your baby on the bus. I was so upset that I bought myself an ice cream.

I did what I usually do in these situations: panic. Then I called Michel who calmly and sympathetically said, "It seems that it can't seem to find your system folders. It looks like your hard drive is corrupted." [*heart stops*] When I brought over the computer, the first thing Michel did was try and boot up in "safe mode" which didn't take. In fact, it booted up in normal, functioning mode which made me look like an alarmist idiot though I didn't care. I was pleased to be given this chance to make a back up. Then Michel did all sorts of diagnostics, disk repairs and spoke some Mac jargon gibberish that even his lovely wife Jen looked puzzled at.

My new mantra is, "If it is worth producing, it is worth making a back up copy."

Thank you so much Michel. I am ever so grateful. I promise to back up faithfully from here on in.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


I'm at the library where the air is dry and the temperature is a constant 21 degrees or so. Nothing like outside. I don't actually mind humidity - its wonderful for the skin but slows the cogs of my brain.

You can click the link to the library where I'm working today. Its a really nice acheivement for the 'nation' of Quebec. (You read that right.) Some wonderful inclusions are bank of computers designated for job seekers and sponsored by the relevant Quebec bureaucracy, ambient wireless (can't IM but its for the best) and lots of multimedia thingamajigs devoted to the children of course. However, when they decided to entice the children, they didn't take into consideration just how the whine of a four year old carries in an open plan with lots of concrete and glass. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against kids and don't begrudge their resource sucking. They're an economic necessity and I accept that.

Literacy is very important. So is inside voice, kids, so is inside voice.

I find myself quite short tempered lately. Closing the gap between knowing and feeling is generally a good thing but I wonder about how rational I'm being. Hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

KNOW THIS: The right to terrorise civilians...

...is reserved by the government.

Do NOT click the link if you have difficulty with images of police bruality, blood and the sight of a guy who appears to not be able to get up thanks to the sharp end of a policeman's riot shield to the neck. It seems that some of these confrontations are the result of *union demonstrations*.

(via Hedonistica, of all places.)

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fantasia is back!

Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

"Arahan" is the first of a number of movies I will be seeing this year. This is a fun flick but don't take the description of "chi masters" from the Fantasia catalogue as "people blessed with extraordinary talents and supernatural skills" too seriously. Chi is a universal life energy that some are more able to access than others. The massage I was getting in Korea was from a chi master and trust me, this guy was no superman.

Much of the humour and spirit of this film comes from the way these chi masters are muddlers just like us guys; they're not having existential crises, they're mostly trying to figure out how to pay the gas bill...until this badass chi master shows up one day. The emphasis is away from instant transformation (part of the reason why I find superhero films so one-note) and toward dedication and understanding one's right motivation. How's that for a take home message!

The girl character, Eui-jin, is very cute for those who are interested in such things...but has the flattest ass I have ever witnessed on celluloid. She's the love interest and there is definitely some tension but there is no kiss, there is no love awakening. The villain in this film has that Ahn Jung-Hwan (soccer player) pretty boy look, pimped out. He looks like he could be a bass player with a Stone Temple Pilots soundalike. Judging by her reaction to the incredible but such a huge-downer-it-could-only-be-a-Korean-film "Musa the Warrior", Roomie T would like him, I'm sure.

Coming up: "Please Teach Me English" and "Another Public Enemy".

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Who Would Do Such A Thing?

The Writing on the Wall....er, Door.
Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw this on my front door yesterday was the fact that I lied about being "in love" last Saturday. I don't usually lie about these things because a) you usually want to fill the void as quickly as possible and it tends to fill up with the truth, and b) a lie usually has to be followed by more lies and thus tends to be the path of most resistance. I was in avoidance mode and I was feeling unwell and slightly weak.

I think its crayon. What is this? Who? What? Why?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Placeholder (in lieu of a title)

I wrote an email the other night; an emotionally draining, long and difficult email. I wrote to someone I care deeply about because I was having trouble concentrating on the task at hand. I thought it might help to say what was truly on my mind.

It wasn't one of my prettiest moments - I brought up issues we've danced around forever and I hope against hope that I was coherent. I cross my fingers that I didn't hurt or offend. I fear I haven't represented myself well and will later be asked to defend myself. Something possessed me to think that he ought to have this insight into my life; even if I show nothing but strength in vulnerability. It was a voice of sincerity, tinged with sadness that I dare not show - we are both incredibly stoic. It felt like a leap of faith, an act of abandon which made me wonder in turn, "when did the stakes get so high?".

I realised that such a moment - not in spite of but because of its flaws - would be of value to someone whom you are determined to have in your life. Those whose intimacies are worth securing even at the expense of your own false pride can only be nurtured through exposition and dialogue - not telepathy. They say that if you have the courage to state your wants and needs, you truly stand a chance at having them. This is a theory worth testing.

I hope my dad writes back soon.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I feel the heat...

Break in the Weather
Originally uploaded by Oblivia.

...the heat between me and you.*

In chronological order:

I spent a public holiday at the Grand Bibliotheque Nationale (public library) and I'm proud of it.

I carpe diem-ed this pic and I'm proud of it too.

I got caught fluffing my hair like one of Charlie's Angels (guess which?) by roomie C and I'm not ashamed of it.

I realised that some grown men look like teens to me even when they're objectively Man Sized.

I can only joke with Setare about certain things including those things that cause us to publicly "sexy dance".

I vomited water, stomach acid and some citrus pulp (?) ... and I'm less proud of that but slightly fascinated as well.

I stopped pretending to read and just watched the pretty coloured lights change in the fountain in the park.

I lied and told a stranger that I was "in love" but when he asked me, "for how long" I stuttered and stammered like I was Katie Holmes.

I ate home made bulgogi and home made kimchi for sunday dinner. Wow!

I should write my PhD in self-sabotage, "Self-Sabotage: Personal Discourses of Extreme Negativity and the Denial of Satisfaction".

When Doves Cry - Prince.