Did you catch the Oscars last night?

The show was okay, the presenters still green. I am usually disappointed by the lack of entertainment at the Academy Awards. There always seems to be five movies or so that dominates across the categories. What was exciting for me last night was the set. I haven’t found any images online to show, but if you watched the show, I hope you noticed how insanely gorgeous the set was. I read somewhere that they updated the award envelopes. Here are some other great graphics for the biggest night in Hollywood:

One of the best acceptance speeches of all time:

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“Here, there, and everywhere”

I have decided that graphic design is the way to go. Advertising will probably make more money, but I’m pretty sure that I hate it.

If you had to choose between a life a simplicity and contentment, and a life of climbing the white tower for better successes, which would you choose? I know that might not be a fair comparison, but just humour me. Can’t I have both?

Don’t you just love Sundays, or rather, what Sundays can be? I’m having a mellow one. It’s almost 2pm, and I’ve been eating waffles and watching Glengarry Glen Ross.

NSFW video. Great lines. I highly recommend watching it.

I just picked up the bag the people at my summer internship made me. Check it out:

Starting one’s own business is a bummer.

So, if you have been following my past posts, you will know that I’ve been trying to start a postcard business. Actually, at first, I naively thought I could just make a few illustrations, stick’em on cardstock, and see if anyone would buy them on Etsy. Sounded easy enough, but the question of “how” remained. The more I researched, the more planning, effort, and expense, I realized was needed for my summer project. I am beginning to have doubts of whether or not it would be worth it for me to spend so much energy on selling postcards when my ultimate goal is to earn a living as a graphic designer. Sigh. Perhaps what I should really be doing with the month-and-a-half that’s left of my summer vacation is to brand myself as a designer.

My research has included artists and designers I stumble upon on blogs, and a book called, “The Four-Hour Work Week“. The title sounded appealing enough. The writing is done as a narrative, and shows the author as a young man, possibly in his early to mid 30s, who is a little smarmy and very smart. Basically, the book talks about how to have your cake and eat it too in the most efficient way. Who doesn’t want to do that? I have never been much of a business person, and there are parts in the book that I found useful. The author’s age and tone of voice, however, makes me second-guess his idyllic results from cutting corners. And, how can the book have a successful affect on the reader if the reader is distrustful of the writer? What I will take from it, is the advice to ask people who are thriving in the field I want to get into their stories.

I dreamed of murder

Last night, I dreamt that I went on a killing rampage. The faces were blurry, just as the motivation was. Naturally, I got hungry after all that physical activity (killing is hard!), and I was eating stewed radish in the kitchen, carefully dividing the piece with chopsticks, when my parents walked in. And I knew that they knew what I had done, but no one was saying it. Then, my beloved aunt walked in, and she was very suspicious of me. I put on a dumb face, and was afraid that she would stop loving me if I told her the truth.

After I woke up, I called my aunt long distance. The connection was poor and she thought I had murdered someone in real life, and it made me wonder what I would do if someone I loved told me he/she killed someone. I think I would try to believe they had good reason, and that faith would allow me to continue loving this person unconditionally.

In other news, I’ve been racking my brains for a logo and name for my postcards. What do you think of: Bookstore Girl? I can spend an amazing amount time in one. It’s not entirely creative though, is it? “Strange Creatures”? I have used “Creamy Dreamy” in a past blog, but it feels more like a name for a dessert franchise, or a stripper. Hm… Any suggestion would be helpful. As always, you don’t need to sign up for wordpress in order to leave a comment, so go nuts!

For all of you Ghibli lovers, there is a new movie coming out. Here is the trailer for The Borrower, Arrietty:

Thought I was done, didn’t you? Last thing I want to share is a great summer recipe that takes minimal effort and time to make. There was a recipe in the LCBO magazine for goat cheese on radishes, which had too much of a kick with the spiciness of the raw radish, and pungent cheese. The other day I replaced the vegetable with sliced cucumbers, and, what do you know, it was heaven. Cucumbers have very little taste, but are very refreshing, which is a nice balance to the heaviness of goat cheese. Next time, I might add a bit of dill or some chives on top. How are you coping with the heat?

*update: I found the perfect name: Akaboshi (Red Hat)! Final draft of the logo will be revealed in the next post.

Cirque du Soleil & Shutter Island

Spoiler alert!

Yesterday we went to see the Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria with my boyfriend’s family. The tickets were a Christmas present from his sister. The show opened with a short clown sketch, involving the audience that sat right next to the stage. I’m not a big fan of clowns, so I’ll just skip that part. It was followed by a trapeze bit. The man was amazing. I was blown away. Not only was he an incredible athlete, his form was beautiful and really added to the performance.  On top of the gorgeous man flying through the air with the ease of a bird–which I think was the theme of the show–was the explosive voice of a live singer. The 18th century costumes, the myriad of lights, the trapeze artist swinging midair in auditorium in beat with the whimsical, slightly creepy circus music fully sucked me in and I felt myself becoming a believer.

The rest of the show were hits and misses. I discovered that I am not particularly fond of performances that keeps my heart in my throat, like the fire guy who lit his calloused hands and feet on fire as part of the show. But none of the performances topped the trapeze artist, which made me suspicious of my reaction to him. Was it really that good, or was it the initial impact to the start of the show? Was it the glitz and glamor that I slowly got used to?

This brings me to Shutter Island. Cinematically, it was seamless and beautiful. The artistic direction was nothing to complain about. Generally speaking, I find Scorcese’s work to be Hollywood’s attempt to capture the subtleties of Italian film making. He always seem to miss the mark by a touch. I thought he did a stand-up job with Shutter Island. It was creepy, and I love creepy movies. Maybe it was the storyline. I say the movie probably would have a bigger impact on its audience 20 years ago. I feel that our generation has been trained by the media too well that it takes a lot to impress us. We know the tricks, and I am the type to wait for a twist on top of a twist. I remember loving the movie right after watching it, then the impact faded bit by bit and I found myself forgetting why I loved it in the first place. Again, was it the superficial aspects that made an impression on me, and not the plot? If so, is it really a problem?

Am I just over-thinking the ultimate goal of entertainment? I was entertained on both occasions, but I guess I was just looking for a little bit more, something to make a deeper impression on my mind.

Review: An Education

spoiler alert!

A story set in the 1960s, the film is about a schoolgirl getting ready to apply to Oxford University, but gets sidetracked by an older gentleman, and is led to a life of glamor. Nick Hornby tells a classic, coming-of-age story, and combines it with what education meant to women of that period. The story is not ground-breaking. It reminded me of Mona Lisa’s Smile, but British, subdued, with better costumes and slightly more sophisticated writing. Carey Mulligan, who plays the main character, Jenny, is the gem of the film. She is a convincing actress, and possesses every charm in her poise and mannerisms. I think she has also won a crazy number of awards for her leading role.

The message that gets repeated in the film is the question of the importance of an education. In the 60s, women were just finding their voices, and the idea of feminism had just come into play, but the empowerment did not achieve concrete results. Women were still faced with the “glass ceiling”, possessed with every skill needed for a managerial position that was never offered. Many went to university with big dreams, only to be faced with two choices after graduation: working in academia and remaining a spinster for the rest of their lives, or, becoming someone’s wife. Even now, I don’t see the situation as much different. There remains a stigma for women who have successful careers that ultimately, they will end up alone. I understand that to be successful, a lot of effort and time need to be spent on careers that take away from relationships. But, men do it all the time. There is something innate in women that makes us stay home and wait. It’s like we’re protecting a nest, even if there’s no one in it.

Anyway, back to my original thought about education. Jenny’s plan in the movie was to go to Oxford and study English Literature. There is an interesting relationship between her and her father in the story. In the beginning, he was portrayed as a strict parental figure who tries to do everything in his power to get Jenny into university. When she is faced with a proposal, Jenny seeks her father’s advice to either marry the rich man and give up schooling, or continue on her path to higher education and a life of her own. He tells her to marry, because that is the ultimate goal in life for a woman anyway. Seriously??! I’d like to think that we, as a society, have progressed beyond that, but I don’t think we have. I was reading an article in Toronto Life a little while ago about generation Y, how we are the most educated, and yet, the least employed. What does an education mean to us these days but a piece of paper of approval?

My grandparents take great pride in being educated. It was my grandfather, actually, that inspired me to go to University of British Columbia. I know that they would love it if I was doing a master’s in something, anything, right now. And the reason why I’m not, besides from needing a job to pay the bills? I don’t know what I would study. I guess, if finances were not an issue, I would study literature at Cambridge. Of course, having financial freedom means I could just bribe my way into the registry. Or… film critique! Ancient Mythology! Anthropology! I would go back for a master’s for pure pleasure, and not much else. And that, is what an education means to me.

I Love You, Man

For the record, I was not under the influence at all when watching this movie, starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. The previews that came before it on the DVD set up the context of a predominately male target group. But, I have to say that I felt a connection with this film that celebrated bro-love, or, the special camaraderie between men., and really enjoyed it to the point of laughing uncontrollably out loud at several scenes, while my boyfriend fell asleep on the couch. I fully recognize the over-abundance of cheaply-made comedies that are upheld by big celebrity names and re-used jokes. And seriously, the release of Valentine’s Day was the bottom of the barrel, even by Hollywood standards. I can’t understand why they even bothered to include any lines being spoken in the preview. It would’ve been just as effective, if not more so, had it been a 5-second montage of the faces of all the celebrities. If the producers and directors just had a little more courage to take on new scripts that didn’t follow a template for a sure thing…  but I’m getting off topic. The point I was trying to make is, I Love You, Man did not try to sail through the plot by placing one frat-boy joke after another. The situation itself of a soon-to-be groom actively looking for a best man is funny, and very sweet. The humor was subtle, but dead-on. I think what was especially refreshing about this movie was how it wasn’t abrasive. It was about friendship and self-sacrifice. Rudd and Segel had incredible chemistry, and there was no hidden agenda. All in all, it was a light-hearted film that I recommend anyone in a mood for a laugh.

Interview with Rotten Tomatoes. Just a giggle fest all around. Even the interviewer was in tears.