writing365

Driving...

Had a conversation with a friend recently about driving long distances and I just realized that while I do drive often, I don’t often drive very far. I think the furthest I’ve ever personally driven is I think Mountain View, which is only about 35 miles away from where I live. Obviously I’ve been to places a lot farther than that, but I was never the one behind the wheel. The only place away from the Daly City area that I can think of that I’ve driven to a lot is San Mateo, mostly because I went to CSM for all those years. I think part of the reason I don’t drive very long distances is because I drive a van and let’s face it, vans don’t get very good gas mileage. Anyways, my friend was saying that I should make it a goal to take a long road trip and I think that’s a great idea. Maybe over the summer I’ll finally take a long distance road trip… and actually be the person behind the wheel for the drive.

Sometimes I miss you

Day 23: Some days, some feelings. Some people. Some things you don’t forget. Ever. No matter how bad the aftertaste, some memories are just so good. They now and then tend to resurface. Sometimes it’s not even fair but this is the way our brains are wired. Sometimes I miss you. Quickly I have to remind myself of all the pain, but still sometimes I miss you. But just sometimes.

Shoottttttttt

So I shot a basketball for the first time in months and I can’t tell you how unbelievably gratifying it was. Right from the first shot I literally had a stupid grin on my face. Thankfully there was no one else there haha. Despite not having played in such a long time, my shot actually felt a lot better than I thought it would. Obviously not nearly as good as when I used to play damn near everyday, but still pretty efficient. I also ran for a little bit to see just how out of shape I was and yes, I was out of shape. My ankle actually gave out on me before I lost my breath if that’s any consolation (which it’s not lol). I really ought to make an effort to exercise more often because the stress of school is really killing me and we’re only entering week 4. That and fixing my diet so I don’t feel like a complete piece of crap all the damn time.

The train tracks on The Wire...

*Note: This post contains no major plot spoilers for The Wire*

The creator of The Wire, David Simon, has publicly stated that no critic has ever gotten the reason why McNulty and Bunk drank by the train tracks correct and I just wanted to throw in my two cents. I haven’t really read any critic’s take on the train tracks so this might have been said before and much more eloquently, so here goes…

The ultimate message of The Wire is about institutions and the way that nothing ever seems to change on a grander scale. There are always people who are benefited by the system and choose to back that system up instead of advocating for better.

How does the institution tie into the train tracks? I see the train tracks as the system itself. No matter what anyone who rides the train does, they cannot sway from the path that the tracks leads them to.

There’s a scene in The Wire where McNulty stands on the train tracks as the train heads towards him. The only two options he has is to move out the way or let the train kill him. Either way the system to continues on or the system kills him, there is nothing he can do to prevent the system from continuing the same way as it always has.

Another big theme of The Wire is how life is cyclical. Similarly, a train essentially only goes around in circles or follows the same path. It is impossible for a train to travel anywhere that its tracks does not take it. The path that it takes is firm, rigid, and set in place, there is no other alternative. Trains are orderly, exactly the way that many institutions in America are.

The railroads in America go so far back that they predate the ban on slavery. The railroads were built on the blood, sweat, and labor of immigrant and slave workers, the same way that the very same institutions running America today continue to exploit not just minorities anymore, but the working class. The common man and woman serve as nothing but tools to keep those in power in control. We don’t have slavery anymore, but in a way we are still enslaved to those who run the system. What greater representation of things not changing is there than the railroads of America?

Anyways, that’s just my theory on the train tracks. I really ought to look up some critic’s views, because this show is just endlessly fascinating. I finished the series months ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it/discussing it with people I know. If you haven’t seen The Wire, I would highly recommend that you do whatever you have to do to watch it. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Exercise!

When you can take your jeans off without unbuttoning and unzipping your pants, it’s probably time to buy new pants lol. I’ve talked about the weight thing on here a few times before and it’s an ongoing thing. The last… I’d say 4-5 months have been relatively stagnant for me on the exercise front. Now that I’m a few weeks into nursing school I’m not so sure how I’ll be able to fit in time to get in better shape. I say that I don’t have time… but I do have a little time and I need to do my best to manage it. I’m just trying to live healthier overall, because the past two weeks have been kind of hectic and I’ve felt pretty crappy for most of it due to my poor conditioning. Just need to get my body to start going on a regular schedule and keep to it.

Halloween and trick or treating is completely dead in my neighborhood. It’s 8 PM and I don’t think our doorbell has rung even half a dozen times tonight. What happened to all the trick or treaters? I remember my block used to be HELLA crackin’ with hundreds of kids roaming the streets. Now there’s barely anyone out, it’s so sad! My mom has a funny head piece on and she’s sad that there aren’t any kids coming to our door because she bought a good amount of candy. Has the paranoia of parents ruined Halloween or is trick or treating not cool anymore?

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I had of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly constantly within film circles ever since I really started to get into film. It’s a 2007 biopic that has been praised to the high heavens by most who have seen the film, basically calling it nothing short of a masterpiece. I’m no different, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a truly stunning film. The story of this man’s life is simply amazing.

Jean-Dominique Bauby at the age of 42 has a stroke that leaves him with a rare condition called “locked-in syndrome,” which essentially paralyzes him from head to toe. He eventually manages to communicate through the use of his one good eye, speaking to others through morse code by blinking his eye. He then dictates a book on his life and living with locked-in syndrome.

This film is simultaneously a gut punch and a shining example of the possibilities of life. It captures so poignantly the tragedy and beauty of life, showcasing our struggles and our ability to overcome monumental odds.

As someone who watches movies constantly, I always give a film credit when it does something new and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly feels so unique in its approach and filmmaking. The first person perspective and inner monologue could never fully replicate the idea of being “locked-in” but it shows the immense difficulties of the condition and hints at the true terror of it.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is a the kind of film that I love the most, equal parts entertaining and profound. It shows the lowest depths that our lives can take us to and also the moments that make life worth living. I would highly recommend that everyone seek this movie out and watch!

Watching movies and how we experience them

I’ve gotten into discussions about this with several friends recently and I think it’s fascinating the way that watching movies has changed over time.

Back in the day the ONLY way to see a movie was at the movie theater. There was no such thing as home video, Netflix watch instantly, Redbox, etc. Movies tended to stay in theaters for longer periods of time and even had rereleases.

Now? We have so many outlets to choose from. We can go to our local movie theater, watch on our flat screen TV’s at home, on our laptops, and the ways we can do it have multiplied. We can buy movies, rent/view from Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, there are so many ways to watch movies.

What has been gained and what has been lost in the recent technology boom? I’m all for the ability to gain access to a wide selection of movies. The scope of films you could see in the past were much more limited, whereas nowadays you can see almost any film you damn well please. It is also just so much more convenient being able to watch a movie on your laptop, iPhone, or whatever.

In a way though, the movie watching experience has been degraded with the advent of technology. When you watch something on Netflix watch instantly on your laptop, how often do you pause the film to take a break, check your email, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.? The same goes for when you watch a movie at home versus the theater. And watching a film on a 15 inch screen, or even a 60 inch television, is a much different experience than watching a movie on the big screen, and it seems like filmmakers/studios are starting to cater to the home viewing experience over the theater one. It’s cool that you can watch a movie on your phone, but is that really any way to seriously watch a film for the first time?

Filmmakers back in the day made their films for the big screen, there was no concept of a movie being seen on a small screen. I think that you inherently lose some value when you watch a film on a smaller screen. I’m all for advancing technology to improve the movie going and home theater experience though. Very soon we are probably going to see all content become digital. If you want to watch a movie you’ll just turn on your TV, find the movie through a service, and click play. However, until we get full HD, subtitles, audio tracks, bonus features, etc. in online streaming, I think that I will still prefer watching on Blu-ray/DVD for the full home viewing experience. Not saying that I don’t love Netflix watch instantly, but it doesn’t offer much aside from merely seeing the film, which in all honesty is enough for most movie watchers. 

I wonder just how much the experience of watching a movie will change in the near and distant future. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I LOVE watching movies and I’m curious to see exactly what the future will bring.