The Last Samurai… again

I’m not sure that I have ever watched a film with the director’s commentary, but tonight I did.

I discovered the other week, when I’d watched “The Last Samurai”, that the commentary was likely to prove exciting and valuable, and so I kept it on the list of to-dos until I had the time finally tonight to watch it… and I was right: It is spectacular.

I grew up in a world of theatre, often sitting next to a spectacular director, having him ask me questions and tell me little important tidbits about everything he was doing throughout rehearsal and preparation (and everything else, actually), and then, at other times, sitting with my mom as she worked on costuming or props for a show, and sometimes working on sets, myself…, and so I have not only an eye for many things in theatre and film, but also an extreme appreciation for what it takes to accomplish different aspects of a production.

Combining that with my experiences and understanding in Japanese culture, I found Edward Zwick’s commentary beautiful and deepening for the film’s overall power and impact… he and his crew were no surface-level group, but intentional, informed, respectful, committed, and honest workers in the task of making this beautiful, respectful, multicultural film.

Thank you, all of you, for all that you did in making that film. 🙂

Post-a-day 2018

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And a dash of Indian

I have an organized (-ish), color-filled explosion of Indian outfits on my bed and desk chair right now, and it feels, somehow, really, really good.

I’ve never even been to India, but I feel this strong connection to many parts of its culture…, my mom was Indian in her previous life, so perhaps I was, too…, or perhaps she merely passed the culture down to me in this life… ;D

Whatever the case, I’m entirely delighted about these clothes, which is why I still haven’t started putting them away, since I pulled them all out to see for the first time this afternoon. 😛

Post-a-day 2018

Think before you speak

Today, I was the forced object and false source of a race-related disturbance.

And I don’t want to talk about it.

But I do want to share that it happened.

The woman did not hear my giddy excitement as I told my mom what I had just seen while returning from the bathroom, nor that my mom asked me where I had seen them.

The woman did not hear my genuine words of excuse (or my mother’s), immediately following the moment where my pointed arm passed between her eyes and her far-outstretched camera.

The woman did not see that she was almost standing on top of my bag (to which I had just returned after using the bathroom).

The woman did not hear or see any of this – she only saw a pale, blue-eyed, blonde girl ‘get rudely in her way’.

Based on all of the angrily expelled words that were slung like swings of a bat from her mouth, she made some serious assumptions about who and how the ‘never taught any manners’ white girl was.

At first, I made an effort to calm her and to show her how unintentional the act of pointing in front of her was, and that I’d never meant to do any harm or rudeness…, but her irrational declarations and chastisements suddenly became rational, when I discovered that, for her, it was about race, and had nothing to do with what actually had happened.

At that point, I made it clear to my mom, too, that there was no use in discussing anything with the woman – she couldn’t hear us or our words… only our skin.

It saddened me that someone would believe such intense beliefs about me, and especially where we were (a multicultural event), when I am the person I am.

I have more than just friendships to show that I am not what the woman assumed of me, but it seems absurd that I even would have to defend myself on the matter… I just don’t understand why people continue to insist that things like this must be “fought”.

What good was accomplished by this woman’s verbal attack today?

I don’t believe that fighting has ever truly been the answer in history.

It was just a way to get rid of those who saw things differently, but permanently so – it didn’t actually solve problems.

… Anyway… just some thoughts of mine tonight…

Post-a-day 2018

The insignificant significant thought

Thought for the day, which can be answered easily by either asking a friend of mine or by doing some very quick research: I wonder when houses switched from having air vents be on the floor to having them be on the ceiling, and why – sure, cool air falls, but heat still rises…, so it makes sense (in a way) to have heat vents on the floor and cool vents on the ceiling, instead of just one location for both.

Post-a-day 2018

Women can, but can we see that?

It is amazing to me how, back in the time of Jeanne d’Arc, it was astonishing that she could do what she did, and especially so, – and this is the biggest part – because she was a girl, and not a man.

Rather, it is amazing to me that such a thing was seen as utterly spectacular back then, in the 1400s, and yet society still has not altered to accept such accomplishments from females.

It kind of makes me wonder what kind of accomplishments would alter society’s view of women, if such acts as those of Jeanne d’Arc fell as a mere anomaly, – even the smallest matter of her dressing in trousers or armor, or being a member of an army, let alone leading it – something that could never otherwise be expected.

Post-a-day 2018

A time to live

I have just found myself sighing in amazement at something the students around me probably would think me a crazy adult for doing – I was that nonsensical old teacher, who got all excited about nothing special, because she/he was a total nerd, just now.  Who’d have ever thunk that I’d be that person when I grew older?

Anyway, the girls were talking about books for school, and I mentioned how using the audiobooks can be really helpful, whenever one finds it difficult to read the actual text of a book – it was how I managed to read lots of school books that I just didn’t like (and therefore struggled to sit down to read).  It was also how, I mentioned, I read Huckleberry Finn.  The language was written down for the story, but it was a set of spoken dialects that really weren’t written at the time.  My being from the southern US, I can understand most of those spoken dialects referenced in the book.  However, I never would read them.  They were, as I mentioned, always spoken.  So, when we read the book in school, I had to read a sentence once to figure out how to pronounce the words written there, and then I had to read it again aloud (either aloud in my head or actually aloud with my voice), so that I could hear what it was, and then I was able to understand what was written on the page.  Suffice it to say that this took way longer than I was interested in managing for an entire book.  Thus, the usefulness of the audiobook, which allowed me to understand everything immediately.

After I explained this, one of the girls mentioned how she would have found that useful for Pygmalion, the story of “My Fair Lady” that was written by George Bernard Shaw.  She said that the language in the beginning was incredibly difficult to understand, such that she was somewhat dumbfounded with it at first.

Now, that reminded me of how I keep forgetting to add Pygmalion to my reading list.  I’ve wanted to read it ever since I first learned about its existence, back when I was in high school.  But, I keep forgetting to add it to my list, and so I forget about it any time I’m on the quest for my next read.  Therefore, mid-conversation, I turned to my computer, and I added it to my reading list on GoodReads.

While there, I read the little blurb about George Bernard Shaw.  I was amazed at his years of life.  1856 to 1950 was his lifetime.  I began considering the historical events that occurred during that time span, and I was dumbfounded at how life might have been for this man, or even for any person living during that span of time, especially in the US, though he was in Ireland and England.  I then saw that he had won the Nobel Prize in literature (and refused the money, asking it to be donated to book translations into English instead), and he also won an Oscar.  And that second award struck me as odd.

He was born in the 1850s.  But when was film first an actual public thing in the world?  How do we go from the 1850s to an Oscar?  I checked.  It looked like film started to become a public thing around that 1880s.  Before that, it was the little wheel things (zoetrope and praxinoscope, the predecessors of the flip book), like the one with the images of the man riding the old bicycle, where it looks like he is riding, because the pictures are rotating so quickly, but it is just the one single loop, repeating over and over again.  (I looked quickly, but didn’t find a video or photo of that particular one, though it is the one I best remember from originally learning about them.)  So, essentially, this man went from a world with no film to winning an Oscar for a film on which he worked (specifically, he wrote the story and script).

Is that not a crazy concept?  It, I suppose, is similar to someone being born in, say, the 1960s, and being alive today, doing spectacular things in the computer industry.  (Think Steve Jobs, even though he is not actually alive today.)  Going from almost no existence of the world of the computer, to a time where one can become an expert and award-winner in the work of the computer.  Except, for George Bernard Shaw, there were also two world wars that happened, and a million other huge historical events.  What an amazing time to have been alive.  What a terrifying time, as well, to have been alive.

So, anyway, I found myself gaping and sighing and “Wow”-ing over this new-to-me information just now, as the girls likely saw nothing spectacular for me to be “Wow”-ing about, and didn’t really care anyway, since I hadn’t really shared the information with them.  But I just had to share this with someone… isn’t that an amazing time to have been alive, the lifetime of George Bernard Shaw?  It’s like “Midnight in Paris”, except that I don’t actually want to go back to that time – it’s just a spectacular concept to me, being alive in that specific stretch of time.

Anyway… yeah.  😛

Post-a-day 2018

Rocks with that?

I was reminded today of how I used to have a chunk of charcoal in my water bottle.  I haven’t thought much about that at all recently, (however, I might start doing it again) but apparently the lacrosse team I used to help coach thinks of it often.

First off, the charcoal in the water bottle is something I learned from Japan, though, via my brother before I moved there (and then it was emphasized while I lived there).  It has to do with cleaning up the water, essentially, from what I recall.  (Note: It is not drinking charcoal mixed with water.  It is a stick of this specific charcoal that sits in the water bottle, so that its pores can absorb unwanted stuff from the water.)

Anyway, so I had this stick of charcoal in my water bottle.  I carry my water bottle pretty much everywhere with me in life, so lacrosse practice was included back when I was coaching (and teaching).  Apparently, one of the girls has held on to the fact that I had ‘some kind of rocks’ in my water bottle, though I have doubts as to whether she recalls what the ‘rocks’ actually were (the stick had broken in half, so there were actually two pieces in the bottle, instead of one, but they didn’t really look like rocks).  In memory of my water bottle, in a sense, that particular girl regularly drops rocks into other people’s water bottles, telling them that it is healthy, and reminding them of how I did it.

Yes, my wonderful lifestyle rubs off in the best of ways.  😛  I guess it gives us a new meaning for ‘on the rocks’, now.

Post-a-day 2018