January in Review

I know, it’s 11 days into February and I’m just now reviewing January. Gotta problem with it? SEE YOU IN COURT.*

With the absolute storm of bullshit surrounding U.S. politics, my January has been focused on two things: pointing out the corruption of the United States government, and de-stressing from pointing out the corruption of the United States government. Let’s focus on what helped me do the latter!

Books

I read 3 books in January, and I’m on track for my 50 book challenge so far, as well as my “No White Guys 2017” challenge.

  1. Pluto 001 by Naoki Urasawa – a graphic novel about robots and AI that I read to start my year’s reading off gently. Post-election I was not feeling like doing much of anything but screaming, so jumping directly into a big novel wasn’t going to do it for me. I actually read the 3rd book in this series last year before realizing it was a series, and I’ll probably be reading the rest in the future because it’s just SO GOOD. The art in it is particularly wonderful, it’s all framed really well, like a storyboard for a gorgeously-directed movie. Author info: Male, Japan
  2. The Birds by Daphne du Maurier – again, couldn’t force myself to pick up anything too daunting. This was an audiobook production with a full cast that I checked out from the library’s online catalog, and it was pretty good. I’ve seen the Hitchcock movie, so nothing was too big of a shock, though this book does a much better job of setting the slowly-moving, ominous tone that makes the birds seem otherworldly and eerie, as if the reader is only getting half the story, whereas the movie feels more like a traditional horror. Author info: Female, UK.
  3. The 14th Dalai Lama by Tetsu Saiwai – I bought this in Seoul about 7 months ago, and it’s been on the very top of my to-read pile since then. I knew absolutely nothing about the Dalai Lama before reading this, and I think that’s the way I’d recommend going into it, as the story leads you through his life from the time he was discovered as the 14th reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, to the present, where he is still in exile fighting for the freedom of Tibet. It’s a fantastic short dive into his life and the history of Tibet, and the art is sooooooo lovely and clean. Definitely recommend.

Movies

My goal to watch 50 movies is going even better than my book goal,

  1. Exit Through the Gift Shop
  2. The Shining
  3. Amadeus
  4. 13th
  5. Being John Malkovich
  6. Zoolander No. 2
  7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  8. Sing Street

I think I’ve talked about some or all of these before on the blog, so I’m not going to review them all, but The Shining and Amadeus have quickly made it into my very favorite movies of all time (the January 2017 watching of Amadeus is the third since early December.)

Other Favorites

  1. Steven Universe – I finished watching the first two seasons of this show FINALLY. Just like Over the Garden Wall, I found myself slogging through the first few episodes, not really connecting to the character or voice. But sometime in the middle of the first season, I realized that I was remembering all of the character’s names and personalities and getting involved in backstory, and it all kind of unraveled from there. This show basically is my new My Little Pony Friendship is Magic, which I marathoned a few years ago, and which basically acted as TV Xanax for me.
  2. Youtube Art Videos – I think I’ll do an entire post about my favorite youtubers, but I’ve been absolutely obsessed with watching artists on youtube lately. It’s so calming and inspiring to just relax and watch someone paint while you’re painting. Some favorites are here, here, and here.
  3. Speaking of painting, arts and crafts! – I have always been a crafter, but recently I’ve really been pushing myself to produce creative products on a regular basis! I’ve been trying out traditional painting, polymer clay and papiermâche sculpting, some wood working (building shelves and things), cardboard crafts, and other random stuff. As I said in a previous post, staying extremely busy helps me to control this creeping horrible anxiety that’s been plaguing me recently. 🙂 Plus my house gets more and more decorated. Win double win.
  4. Okra. Weird favorite, but this month I decided to go meat-free! I’ve been considering it for a while, and then I had a few different long talks with a few different friends and realized that I just want to do it. I’m not planning on becoming a vegetarian or vegan spokesperson, as I think there are a LOT of factors that go into someone’s dietary decisions and it’s not my job to tell you what to eat, but I felt like I needed to regain some control over my impact on the environment and on my own body. This is a long paragraph that’s basically saying: don’t come for me with ur anti-veg vibes because i don’t give a shiiiiit. But yeah, I’ve been eating SO MUCH OKRA recently and it’s been great.

That’s a wrap! Up. Next time I’ll try to make it before halfway through the next month but if you’re coming here for consistency you’ve only screwed yourself.

W

*Real talk for a second to Americans reading my blog who would prefer me to be less political: If Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or any other real political figure had tweeted “See you in court” after going to court and losing, they would be laughed out of office. If you treat Tr*mp as “not that big of a deal” or “just another politician” or anything other than a giant anti-American stain on an already-foul reputation, you are showing a deeply-rooted ignorance of the American government and the idea of democracy in general.

If you are not speaking out against evil, you are siding with evil. If you stand by as the government destroys the rights of its people, bans government offices from spreading facts, restricts its judiciary branch, and disrespects the power of the country, you are just as at fault as those actually signing the laws. When your taxes raise, or your school systems crumble, or your roads go unmanaged, or your libraries close, or your national parks become oil fields, realize that you had a chance to stand up for basic human decency, and instead you decided to be *uncontroversial*. I pity you, but I will never forgive you.

Movies I Watched in January

In keeping with my 50 Movies in 2016 challenge, I made an effort to watch more movies than usual this month. I usually have a habit of bingeing on tv shows (and I definitely did that too), but for some reason when I sit down to watch a movie I just get so easily distracted, no matter how good it is. Sometimes I’ll have to pause it and come back to it after surfing the internet or getting something to eat. What can I say? I’m a product of the digital age– I like constant, ever-changing stimuli.

Even so, I managed to watch 5 movies this month, and all of them new-to-me! A pretty good start to the challenge, I must say.

The Propaganda Game (2015) – Propaganda_ 3Poster_creditsA4_3Documentary. Longer review posted. Really enjoyed this, though I don’t think it added too much to a genre I already am pretty well versed in (North Korean ‘what it’s really like’ documentaries).

 

 

 

 

 

The Ghost Army (2013)71h29bvzqcl-_sl1500_Documentary. I’d heard about the book with the same title, and checked this out because of some good reviews, and it was wonderful. It’s about the, well, “Ghost Army,” if you hadn’t guessed, the troop of military personnel used in World War I that served in a non-combat division of the US army that specialized in diversion and deception. Artists, sound engineers, and other special forces were banded together to impersonate army battalions using fake weapons, tanks, track marks, sound effects, radio chatter, and all sorts of other tactics. Really, really interesting– more interesting than the actual war, to be honest. Definitely watch it.

 

“American Experience” The Poisoner’s Handbook poisoners_postervf-lores3-660x977(2014) – Documentary. This is a PBS documentary on the invention and rise of forensic science in Jazz Age New York. I love a good poison study, and it featured some really excellent reenactments (which is cool, because many reenactments are just garbage.) I’d say, watch it if the subject’s in your wheelhouse, or if you were planning to time travel back to the early 20th century to murder someone. Otherwise, skip it.

 

 

 

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013) the-kingdom-of-dreams-and-mDocumentary. Behind-the-scenes for one year as Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli work on The Wind Rises, and discuss animation, storytelling, and how Miyazaki’s political views and personal history affect his storytelling. It was, at times, incredibly slow, but it was supposed to be. Much of the film focuses on Miyazaki’s creative genius, and how he takes the time to think, and breathe, and enjoy nature, and take care of himself, amidst all of the hard work he does. He came off as a somewhat grumpy old man, a little sad about the world, nostalgic, and ultimately hopeful. It was a really peaceful film, and it gave me an interesting insight into Japanese creative life (at least, one Japanese creative life), that I will keep in mind on my visit. You should watch it, but only after you’ve seen at least two or three Ghibli films, as otherwise it’ll be a bit dull (though still really interesting/calming.)

 

Howl’s Moving Castle (2014) howls-moving-castle I’m still catching up on all of the Ghibli, and this is one that I hadn’t watched, for fear of it not being my thing. How. Wrong. Was. I. This movie couldn’t be more my thing. I LOVED IT. I loved it. It was, of course, absurdly beautiful, visually. The colors, the landscapes, the character designs, all stunning. Howl was strangely leaning towards anime, which at first kind of threw me off but I ended up liking. The plot, though. God. As I write this it’s currently 4:59am, and I stayed up after finishing this movie at 4:00am, just to make sure I included this movie in my post. I don’t know why I always doubt the magic of the Ghibli I haven’t seen yet, especially when they always end up leaving me speechless. I love Howl, I love Sophie, I love love LOVE Markl, and Calcifer, and the little dog Heen reminds me of Ned so much I can barely stand it. I’m glad I watched this one after seeing Miyazaki work in The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, it really made me pay attention to the details of the animation and dialogue and themes more than I may otherwise (Miyazaki= very anti-war. I think he and I would be friends). I’m hoping to catch up on a few more Ghibli movies before my trip to Japan!!!

 

 

Not a bad start to my movie watching for the year! At the time of writing I’m also halfway through Casablanca, but I paused it in favor of Howl’s, and now, well. Of all the gin joints in all the world… this one’s not open at 5am.

Here’s looking at you, February.

 

W

Filmspiration

Ok. I’m a shit blogger. Whatever, I think we’re both cool with it. 

This is why I’m here: I’m trying to make a movie. Maybe not a movie, more like… a short? A video? Many videos?

All of the above. I’m not sure what my plan is, but I’m just in the mood to make things. So that’s what I’m going to do. 

Right now I’m “teaching” myself about film. This mostly consists of watching random Youtube videos and checking off boxes on my ever-growing list of ‘classics’. Wanna learn with me?

I thought you might. 

Today is: CryBaby

use1 use2 use3 use4 use5 use6 use7 use8 use9

 

(I don’t know how to structure these posts but see previous ‘whatever’ and remember this blog is obviously being run by a preteen girl in the mid-90s. I am totally going to write about this in my Lisa Frank notebook with my gel pens, that is going to be all that and a bag of chips.”

 

W