Is my English horrible? Not extremely. Do I make a lot of mistakes if I don't think about what I type? Very much so. I am the first to admit my English is pretty awful at times. I often use incorrect word tense and I spell words according to how they sound to me, instead of how they really spell. When I make silly mistakes, I like to call them "Humperism". It takes some people years to fully understand them.
Do you think you can decode Humperism?
Me: Guess what???!!!
Him: Hey. What?
Me: TOTORO CAME LAST NIGHT!!! The acorns, they sprouted!!!!!
Me: I just finished my run, I walked passed my pot where the acorns are, some of them made it through the winter and sprouted!!!!!
Him: Oh wow. Well, life finds a way.
Me: Yeah! Apparently, not all of them got invested with lavas!!!
Him: Invested with lavas?
Me: Remember, I brought them back from Barrington.
Him: "Infested with larvae". Got it. Figured it out.
Me: YEAH!!! Those words!!! I'm going to have acorn trees!
I've been having a minor knee injury for the past few days. My right knee started to get sore after runs, and after my 24km run last Saturday (and doing laser tag and bowling after) it was noticably injured. Instead of pushing myself to try to run the following few days, I caved in and gave myself a break. It was tough to tell myself to stop, as I really wanted to stick to my training schedule of running 5 days a week, but during my internal conflict I remember what my friend Tamara told me when Scott and I broken up: "it's okay to be not okay". I know these two are complete unrelated topics, but I see myself acting the same way – trying to act like nothing happened but in fact I'm lying to myself, things are not getting better.
The ability to forgive yourself for not able to always perform your best is important. At rough times, we are allowed to take a step back, slow down and take care of a very important person – ourself.
My most anticipated game of 2013, which actually was supposed to be my most anticipated of 2012 but got delayed, is finally releasing! I've pre-ordered my copy since August last year and could not wait for it to be in my hands! I mean, Studio Ghibli (My Neighbour Totoro, Spirted Away, etc) and Level 5 (the Professor Layton series), how can they fail? The graphic and the music is just so stunning in this trailer!
Just a few more days... hopefully my Wizard Edition of the game will arrive!
I've been too many Cirque du Soleil shows. Too many that I start to think that I should pull a @Blogography and start a new section in my blog to talk about them, just like he does for Hard Rock Café. My love affair with Cirque started when I worked for them one summer. See, back when I was dating Michael, his security company had contracts with Cirque du Soleil's Alegría and Quidam. At the end of the one month job, they treated us to watch a dress rehearsal to thank us, and I instantly was memorized by their stunny stage, artistic performances and athletic abilities. Therefore, each time when they come to town, I always try to go see them, even though they can cost quite a bit. So far, I've been to (in the order that I've seen them) Alegría, Quidam, Varekai, Corteo, Kooza, O, Kà and on last Thursday, I saw their newest show Amaluna.
To be honest, I was a bit hesitated to see Amaluna. First of all, Cirque du Soleil and I had a very weird relationship. When I went to see Quidam, Michael had just recently broke up with me; I had to pushed myself to find someone to watch it so I didn't have to go alone. Varekai was part of Scott's birthday present back in 2006, which he fell in love with Cirque and bought many souvenirs, one of which is the few things I kept from the relationship: a leather mask in the shape of the sun. Therefore, last December when I was in Vegas, seeing O and Kà was a breakthrough for me as they were the first shows I see Cirque again. That said, going to the Big Top to see a travelling show is completely different... the location, the memories, I wasn't sure how I was going to handle that mentally. Moreover, like I said, I already saw 2 shows in less than 2 months already, as much as I love Cirque, it's a little bit too crazy, even for me. At the end, after some thoughts, I decided to get the ticket anyway, mostly because I know I will regret for not catching it, especially the chance of me being in the same city the show is going to be at is rather slim.
I am so glad I went.
The moment I walked close enough to see the Big Top, my feeling of worried and panic was swept away by all the happy memories I had with Cirque: the people whom I used to work with, the popcorn, the music, the happy times when I was with Scott. Everything rushed back in at the same time. I just love these guys! Then of course there was the show, what Cirque du Soleil is known for, and boy did they deliver. Being freshly seen O, arguably their most polish show, I wasn't sure if Amaluna can impress me like O did, after all, I waited over 10 years to see O and with that much anticipation it still didn't disappoint. I can safely say Amulana was unique and different enough for me to completely fell in love with it. Without putting too much spoilers out, let me write down a few of my impression of the show.
Amaluna was a very fast pace show, compare to all of the other ones I've seen. Most Cirque shows has distinguishly slower sequences at times, but almost the entire first part of Amaluna was fast pace acts accompanied by rock n' roll music, which I was a total surprise. Even the aerial contortion act were fast pace! It was also a very female oriented show, where both the plot and performers were predominately females, yet you don't find it being too "girly", if you know what I mean. The story was very easy to follow and the comedic relieves were mostly on point. As for the show stealer act, I can't speak highly enough of it. As I recall, there were many acts from different shows of Cirque that I love, but only a handful of them had my jaw dropped: Alegría's power tracks, Quidam's statue and Kooza's wheel of death, and I have to add Amaluna's "balance goddess" into the list. I can't emphasized how amazing to watch the talented Lara Jacobs creating an art piece right in front of you with nothing but herself and pieces of woods. It was so simple yet out-of-the-world difficult, slow but heart-pounding. If there was one act that gets your money worth, it was this. Of course, every single segment of the show was fantastic, but I will always remember how zen it was to witness Lara ending her piece.
Overall, Amaluna is definitely amongst the favourites of all Cirque's shows I've watched. I love each of the show for very different reasons and one day I'd like to explore more about them, but for now, I highly recommend Amaluna to anyone who has yet to see Cirque du Soleil live or to those who are veteran sun followers.
A tragic lost of one life spurred many fountains of life; a difference of one life changed the people around him forever. We often think we are too small to change; we often think we are too young to do something. Never underestimate what one wish can do; never underestimate one life can do. Two videos, two stories; equally inspirational.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~Lao-tzu
To say that I'm not a potato kind of guy is an understatement. I am pretty Westernized in most parts, compare to a lot of my Asian friends who were born outside of North America, but when it comes to my diet, I can not be more Chinese. I enjoy the occasional steak and hot-dog, but if I haven't had rice for a few days, I can physically feel that my body is missing something. In Chinese, we call this missing "rice-chi" (飯氣), basically means lacking the energy of rice. What worse is nothing can replace this craving, I have to have actual rice! In Chinese we have a slang called "rice bucket" (飯桶), referring to people who are idiots. As I'm a literally a human "rice bucket" with the way I consume rice, I often get called that.
When we talk about non-Asian food, I am pretty much not a fan of potato and bread, which, funny enough, are the stable carbs in the Western diet, just like rice for Asians. Pasta is okay though, but similar to potatoe and bread, I can only eat so much before I find it way too stuffy and unhealthily filling. This extend to almost all potato and bread-based food like chips, fries and biscuits, with two exceptions: McDonald's fries Calbee potato chips.
Like many kids with similar background as I do, going to McDonald's was a huge treat when we were growing up. And despite many American Chinese restaurants has deep fried items on their menu, traditional Chinese food hardly have anything that is deep fried, so having McDonald's fries were exotic enough for me as a kid, that even till now knowing they soaked their fries in tons of sugar and vinegar, I still like them a lot. Calbee chips, on the other hand, I had quite a bit while growing up.
In Japan, Calbee is one of the biggest snack manufacturers. Their shrimp cracker sticks (kappa ebissen) were what made them well-known. In their selection of snacks, my favourite has always been their chips, in particular their BBQ flavour chips. As I recall, it might have been the first chips I've ever had. Compare to regular chips in North America, it has a slightly stronger flavour yet way less salt, so you can taste the chips better. They call it BBQ but to be honest, it taste more like roasted or baked. Nevertheless, like my stable diet, rice, whenever I have craving for chips, I just want these Calbee chips as they are pretty awesome.
Up until very recently, I thought this is their standard flavour, as when they introduced Calbee in the 70's Hong Kong, that's the only flavour they offered. However, I found out this flavour only exist in Hong Kong and Sigapore market! (On their website, they listed a flavour called "Sapporo Barbecue Flavor" that was introduced in 1974. I've never tried it, but maybe that was the origin of the BBQ flavour known today.) Apparently, they have different type of flavours for different market; that is why when I tried to locate them in Austin, Texas, I can only find all other exotic flavours like Seaweed and Salt but not my favourite BBQ kind!
Anyway, on a night I'm slightly bummed out that my right knee is a little sore from training too hard, these Calbee chips with a can of Pepsi is making my life pretty darn good.
I went to the store today to pickup some much needed grocery for the week. I was at the cashier and just when I was about to finish the transaction, the old Chinese lady behind me mubbled something. Then the gentlement behind her said "do you need something, how much more do you need?" and he looked at the cashier and said he couldn't understand her as the old lady was speaking in Chinese. It turned out the lady had a pack of fish paste that was $3.78 but she didn't have enough money to pay for it. To defuse her from the embarassment, I told the cashier to just add the thing onto my bill. I then told the old lady "Happy New Year" and refuse of taking the remaining change she had on her.
I walked back to my car, sat down and started crying. It might have been coming from the adrenaline that I just had from my long run, but I had this overwelmingly sad feeling knowing that this old lady might not have enough money to afford a $3.78 pack of fish paste. I don't know her story, but the thought of someone couldn't buy basic needs such as food is something I have a hard time to digest.
I've done many charity work and fundraising over the years, and one sector I really want to get involved is to help lowever the poverty line. As much as cancer research and patient benefits is very important, I often feel that people living under poverty are often the one who get neglected by our society, twice! If our society have enough resources for these people, I feel that they could rehabilitate faster; if our society is willing to help these people by raising funds for them, they could be better off. There is of course a lot of grey areas, but it doesn't get much greyer, in life, to see people can't buy food in the winter.
It could very well be that the old lady forgot her wallet and the coins were all that she had on her, but the notion remains: the $3.78 represents a stranger who is willing to trust and do the right thing.
I was in a movie set of a 7 and a half minute film yesterday.
A couple weeks back, my Twitter friend @kudzumon mentioned someone was looking for extras for a movie in Vancouver. I thought it could be fun so I signed up. It ended up being a movie call Fade Out. Now, as I didn't check the thing they asked me to sign before going on set (for all I know I could be married to an Arabic guy right now and he's expecting 6 children from me in the next 5 years), I am worried I shouldn't be telling too much about the plot. That said, I guess I can share parts of my experience without revealing too much.
The first thing I learned on set was continuity. As movies often need multiple takes, it's very easy for the backgrounds to not reset to where it was before. I learned this in a painful way. As I foolishly picked up a piece of hors d'oeuvre on the very first take, I was told by my fellow extras, whom are mostly very enthusiastic young people in film schools by the way, that I should continue holding that piece of hors d'oeuvre until the end of the scene. We ended up retaking that scene for almost 4 hours and I got indents on my fingers from holding it for so long. As our job was to mingle and to occasionally make movements, we ended up chatting and gave this piece of hors d'oeuvre a name, Krusty (as it looks like a clown), and the highly energetic extra supervisor drew a face on the "nose" of Krusty. The above photo shows how to hold Krusty properly on set for 4 hours. My peers called it "the pinch".
I also get to do a scene where we were sitting inside a theatre. Surprisingly, they had me sitting right next to an important actor of the movie. I had a good chuckle when he fell asleep, for real, during some quiet part (he only had 2 hours of sleep apparently from travelling). I promised him I'll nudge him when they start rolling. I had about 5 seconds of acting in this scene, involving me giving eye signal with that guy. It was interesting as he didn't communicate with me before hand, but I caught on what he was trying to do so I gave my honest reaction to his signal. That was the moment I felt like "acting" the first time.
The final scene, which took place after dark, was an outdoor scene, in which I played a different character; hence I was in civilian clothing.
This was a more casual scene but as it was -3 °C last night, it was very cold for us all even with winter clothes. Gladly, we played fans getting very hyped up on the red carpet, so we get to make a lot of movements to keep us warm. I actually get to interact with the lead actress a little bit in this scene because I was at the front. When we finish the shoot, the director thanked me for my energy and said "it was amazing to see you work". She was very sincere and I was a bit flattered, consider I really don't know what I was doing, it can hardly call "work".
Overall, yesterday experience was a great one. Although I have to say, I've passed the age of finding being extra to be a "fun" activity. Yes, it was something interesting to do, but giving up 12 hours of your day mostly just waiting around for things to happen is okay for someone in their 20's, not when you have a full time job during the week. Especially when you are not planning to be in the industry. That said, I didn't regret of doing it at all, as a matter of fact, I learned a lot from observing and grew tremendous amount of respect for, not just the actors but, the crew who put these movies together. The professionalism they showed me and the quick reaction to fix things on the spot was truly amazing to watch, something I can relate to as my strength is event execution. I also get to work with bunch of younger people and when were were shooting the scene on the red carpet, we often had to create a walk way for real pedestrians, in which I coined the term "Red Sea". So every time when we have to part, I yelled "RED SEA PEOPLE!" and everyone knew what to do. The crew found it funny and I overheard someone said "we finally have a term for that!" which made me smiled. And of course, we had someone being our Moses.
Someone said the movie was suppose to be an entry to the Vancouver Film Festival, so hopefully I'll get to watch the final product of yesterday. Maybe I'll find myself in the movie if they don't cut out the scenes!