Category: what i watch

Lost Book Club: House of the Rising Sun

September 15th, 2014 — 9:24pm

(Lost Season 1, Episode 6)

I think Sun and Jin’s “character reveals” are two of the most surprising on the show. Do a little mental comparison of the following:

  1. who you think they are when you first meet them
  2. who they were when their love was young
  3. who you think they were right before the plane crash
  4. who they really were right before the plane crash
  5. who they become after the plane crash

…Simply put, they are extremely dynamic characters. The writers do a great job letting out such a tiny trickle of information that you constantly have to go back and revise your assumptions about both of them. I know they do this about most (all?) of the characters, but Sun and Jin’s story somehow seems most striking to me.

This episode has been hard for me to write about. It’s really interesting to get a look into such enigmatic characters—to get that first glimpse of the slow back-story trickle—but their story is so depressing. How different would things have been if they had just eloped to America like Sun wanted to in the very beginning? When Jin explains to Sun that he will work for her father in order to earn the money to get married, Jin remarks, “It’s the right thing to do,” and offers a conciliatory, “I have to. It’s temporary.” But it’s far from temporary. It’s painfully permanent. In an effort to do things the right way, everything goes horribly wrong. Jin inadvertently destroys their love, their relationship, not to mention his integrity. The island gives them the unique chance to clear the slate and rebuild a relationship. But I still wish they had just eloped to America in the very beginning.

Moral(s) of the episode: it’s not worth the diamond, don’t go into business with family, and beehives don’t always live up in trees (poor Charlie).

3 comments » | what i watch

The Lost Book Club: Pilot (Part 2)

July 13th, 2014 — 10:54pm

~ This post is the second of an ongoing series in which we blather on about our weekly re-viewing of Lost. You can find the first post here, at Russ’s blog, and the next post after mine here, at Bryant’s. ~

Yay for Lost! Can I first say, I’m excited to be doing this! When we sat down in front of the TV a couple weeks ago and heard that eerily familiar dissonant chord gradually fill the room, I could hardly contain my excitement.

So. My task is to write something about the second episode: part two of the pilot. I’m not worrying too much about making this eloquent (as you can tell), so here comes the word avalanche—I’m just letting the thoughts all spill out.  (And I make no apologies for plot spoilers! If you haven’t watched Lost yet, well then… honestly I don’t know what to do with you.)

If I had to rename this episode, I’d call it “Culture Clash” or something more clever that gives the same idea. As I watched it this time around, I noticed tons of instances where the writers pitted one character’s “normal” against another’s. And now that I think about it, part of what makes this show so wonderful isn’t just the crazy plot. It’s the characters. And even then, it’s not just that the characters are interesting (which they are); it’s that they’re so different. The writers have crammed lots of interesting people from diabolically opposed worlds onto one little island in the middle of nowhere, where no one’s “normal” is actually still the norm. And it’s fascinating.

Here’s a list of some culture juxtaposition from this episode:

  • Jin tells Sun to button up her cardigan while Michael asks in a panic if they’ve seen his son. It’s not just the language barrier that makes things awkward here. It’s the dramatically different focus of each of the men (though to be fair, it’s because of the language barrier that Jin doesn’t know there’s a more pressing issue than Sun’s neckline).
  • Shannon and Claire sit on the beach next to each other. Shannon: rude, curt, wealthy, skinny, working on improving her tan. Claire: kind, chatty, poor, VERY pregnant, worrying about how she hasn’t felt the baby kick.
  • “Dumb redneck” Sawyer fighting it out with “terrorist” Sayid with “lardo” Hurley caught in the crossfire. It’s kind of a disaster in the heat of the moment.
  • The awkwardness Hurley feels as he tries to bridge the culture gap between Sayid and himself. While seeking for common ground, he realizes his “buddy who fought over there” in the Gulf War was actually fighting against Sayid, not with him.
  • A scene cuts to Kate bathing on the beach, out in the open, looking nearly naked in a skin-colored bra. Then the scene cuts directly to Sun, standing on the edge of the beach hesitantly, still in her buttoned-to-the-top cardigan sweater—not at all immodest by our standards but scolded for being so earlier in the episode.
  • Jin’s sea urchin meal is comically rejected by Hurley. “What, that?  What, eat that? Dude. Dude, I’m starving… but I’m nowhere near that hungry. No. No. No thank you! No way. No.”
  • Claire grabs Jin’s hand to feel her baby kick (miraculously, after eating the food Hurley rejected). Clearly, this is not comfortable for Jin, but the joy of the situation helps ease the awkwardness. Both Claire and Jin stepped across their cultural comfort zone here: Claire when she ate Jin’s food, Jin as he felt the baby kick.
  • Walt and Locke playing backgammon. Old white man. Young black boy. How do they become such friends? (And as a side note, when you first watch this scene, you think the emphasis Locke puts on the light and dark playing pieces might be an allusion to their different races, but it turns out it’s a foreshadowing of Locke’s complex relationship with the island. He’s one crazy complex dude.)

I love it. The jangle of different cultures and the common ground they find. I’m excited to watch for more as the show goes on.

Continuity question:

Kate took off her cuffs on the plane while she reached for the oxygen mask, right? But Star pointed out that she was rubbing her wrists as she walked out of the jungle, as if she had just removed them. Is that weird? Doesn’t it make it seem like she got them off in the jungle? No? Maybe her wrists were just still sore? Did she not get them all the way removed in the air?


Importance to story: 5
Importance to character development: 5? 4.5?
Overall enjoyability: 4

3 comments » | what i watch

found and Lost

July 13th, 2014 — 2:10pm

No one else really notices the dates of posts (or let’s be honest, no one really notices these posts period), so it’s really only me that feels awkward about a 2+ year gap in writing.  I could just dive in and start writing again, and my little blog would churn back to life just as quietly as it stalled out.  But it’s too shocking for me to jump back in cannonball-style, without dipping my toe in first.  So this is my toe-dip, for my benefit only.

It has been a life-changing, joyous, tragic, triumphant, busy, and even sometimes boring two years.  That’s where I’ll leave my summary for now.

I’m not sure how much personal blogging I’ll get back into, but at the very least, I’m going to be blogging for a new project of sorts.

Star, Russ, Bryant, and I have started a “Lost Book Club.”  Russ described the concept beautifully: “It essentially replaces ‘reading’ with ‘watching TV.’ I’m not sure why this hasn’t caught on sooner.”

We’ve all seen Lost, and we all love it enough to watch it again.  Each week we’ll watch an episode, and each week one of us is commissioned with the job of writing something about it.  Russ kicked off the party with this awesome inaugural post.  Now, nearly two weeks late, I’m about to write something for the second episode.  Stay tuned.

Comment » | bloggish, what i watch

big sister knows best

April 13th, 2011 — 10:21pm

I’m pretty sure I’ve loved everything that my big sister has ever recommended to me. Music, books, food, movies. You name it. She knows what’s up.

Her latest good advice: Downton Abbey.


Holy smoke I’m addicted to that show. Even Bryant—who normally only watches shows like this when he’s trying to get something from me—admitted that he liked it. He walked in halfway through the third episode and then stuck around for the whole fourth.

I’ve just finished watching the first season, and I’m close to mortified that there’s not a second season yet. I don’t mean to wish away the summer when it is just barely making its entrance, but gosh, I’m looking forward to the fall now, too.

Stream this sucker on Netflix. You will thank me… and Fara.

PS. No idea who all but two of these maids are. They must’ve just scrounged up some extras to fill out the picture.

3 comments » | good things, what i watch


April 7th, 2010 — 8:54am

Absolem from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

So this might be considered old news, since the movie’s been out for more than a month now, but this past weekend, Bryant and I went into Seattle and saw Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. It was wonderful. I’m totally enamored with it. You all probably already knew how awesome it was because you’re not weird like us and wait a month to go see the movies that look good. But if you haven’t seen it yet, go now!


We saw it in 3D, which was fun, as you can clearly tell by the expression on Bryant’s face.

In other news, we finally got Washington plates and new drivers licenses, so it’s like we’ve officially moved in. (Though, technically Bryant is still waiting on his.) The thing is, having Utah plates kind of felt like a protection—a valid disclaimer. When I was driving someplace new, it was almost excusable to be driving like a lost soul, pausing a little too long before turns, driving just a touch too slow to figure out where the heck I am. Or anytime I did something stupid on the road (unrelated to being new, just related to being a bad driver), I would say, “Sorry! Utah driver!” and I felt somehow justified and protected from ridicule. But now it’s official. We live here. No excuse for driving slow or crazy. I’m supposed to know where everything is. Supposed to know what I’m doing. Feels kind of like taking off the training wheels.

Moving Out

8 comments » | for my amusement, pictures, travels, we live here now, what i watch

i met a cartoon’s dopplegänger today

November 4th, 2009 — 5:51pm

I substitute taught today. I was a chorus teacher for lots and lots of hyper elementary and middle school kids.

It was a pretty entertaining day. If I had to pick the most amusing highlight from the whole experience, I’d probably choose meeting a fifth grader who, I swear, was the real-life version of Russell from the movie Up.

up russell

The face; the body; the quirky, insistent, do-gooder personality; even the way he moved… everything fit to a T. And he seemed like the kind of boy who had already earned his fair share of merit badges. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Pixar’s animators know this kid. For real.

(And by the way, I love that movie. Looking for images of Russell made me want to watch it again. Right now.)

Comment » | for my amusement, what i watch

religion and freedom

September 28th, 2009 — 5:33pm

I don’t understand people who claim that our country is falling apart because we don’t have religious freedom anymore. “Our children don’t pray in school.” “Our children aren’t being taught about God.” I’m sorry, but if your children aren’t praying in school, it’s because they’re making their own choice not to. If your children aren’t being taught about God, it’s because you aren’t teaching them. School is not the place for mandated prayer time, and it’s not the place for catechism.

What is this notion that prayer has been brutally stripped from the classroom?

No child gets punished for taking a moment to bow her head and say a prayer in the lunch room before she eats. No child gets arrested for saying a prayer at his desk before he takes his spelling test. That’s why I don’t understand this claim that prayer isn’t in the schools anymore. What do these people want? They want their child’s calculus teacher to start the lesson with a prayer? They want the teacher to force the children to kneel down and pray together at the end of the day? What about people of different religions? Should we ship them away? Segregate our schools by religion? I don’t get it.

And what is this notion that kids aren’t allowed to be taught about God? That we don’t talk about religion and its role in history?

I just was flipping through the news channels and stopped on Glenn Beck’s show. I usually avoid this show, but I was so fascinated with the people speaking that I couldn’t change the channel. It was some kind of “mother’s forum” where the audience members were airing their grievances. Many were complaining about how their children don’t learn history anymore, so they’re losing their identities. Er, when was the last time these people sat through their children’s classes? Because I just sat through a 5th grade class last Thursday as a volunteer, and the whole time I was there they were learning about history. George Washington. This nation’s founding. It was pretty clearly a history lesson to me.

The people on this show were saying that their children weren’t being taught about how important religion was in the establishment of this land. Er, I’m pretty sure if you ask any mildly attentive high schooler why the pilgrims came to the Americas, they would tell you that they were seeking “religious freedom.” If you asked them if the founding fathers were religious, they would know that they most definitely were. In my own history classes, we discussed many different religions’ basic beliefs. We learned about who founded what, when, and why. We had a unit where everyone did a presentation on a different early-American religious group. As an eleventh grader, I taught a whole lesson about Joseph Smith. I didn’t get sent to jail. Neither did anyone else who taught about other religions, however unique or unconventional (or mainstream) they were.

This is what religious freedom is. We don’t impose our beliefs on others. We create an atmosphere where it’s safe to learn about all kinds of people and faiths. We don’t force anyone to adopt any behavior they don’t approve of. Children are allowed to pray in schools, but they aren’t forced to. We don’t hang the Ten Commandment’s from the ceiling, but we don’t punish people for keeping them in their hearts.

We live our religious beliefs within ourselves… it’s the way we act, the ideals we hold inside, the way we treat others, the way we choose to worship in our free time. We don’t need the government or our schools to enforce our own personal religious codes. We simply create a space where everyone can practice their beliefs “how, where, or what they may.” If you feel very strongly that a more personal view of religion and God needs to be infused with your child’s schooling, then more power to you. That’s why this country allows you to home school your child, to send your child to a private school, or even to start up your own charter school. We all have options. That’s what’s so great. We all are free to choose, regardless of whether we’re Muslim, Catholic, Jain, Mormon, or atheist.

The people on this Glenn Beck show were saying that they’re tired of the government trying to make us dependent on it for everything. Then why are they so insistent that the government enforce religion? It seems to me religion is a personal issue, taught in your home, fostered in your heart, and practiced on an individual level. I don’t understand its place in public schools beyond the scope of informing our children about the different belief systems that exist in our society.

One last thing and then I’ll cap it. The people on that show were also saying that we don’t live a free country anymore. They said that “we’re only partly free,” and one woman—a black woman, no less—asserted that after the fifties, everything began to fall apart. So I guess that granting civil rights to blacks and suffrage to women were all steps backwards in extending freedom to our citizens?

I think that their assertion that we’re not quite free wedged itself so deeply under my skin largely because of the movie I watched last night.  Bryant and I watched The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a World War Two movie about a death camp, and it was still very fresh in my mind.  I think I got so annoyed at the people on that show because I felt like they weren’t taking seriously what they were saying. They’re not free? Really? Not being free is not being able to voice your opinion for fear of serious repercussions, like the torture and murder of you and your family. Not being free is having to hide who you are—your heritage and your beliefs—because if people knew the truth, you would be ripped from your home and sent to a gas chamber. Not being free is not being able to help a stranger in need without being beaten to death by the authorities. Not being free is having to agree with the government no matter what.

Not being free is definitely not a Mormon hosting his own talk show on a cable network in a room full of women passionately voicing their disapproval of the President, his administration, and various aspects of our nation. That is freedom. It may bug the crap out of me, but it most definitely is freedom. And I’ll take it.

9 comments » | if i ruled the world, politics, what i watch, what's inside

where the wild things are

March 20th, 2009 — 5:50pm

Did you know?!

where the wild things are

(Check out the stills. THIS one’s my favorite. Also, you can sneak a preliminary little video peak here.)

1 comment » | good things, what i watch

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