Sunday, February 22, 2015

Oscar Predictions (and Blunders)

Oscar time? Okay!

So, I'm going to go down the awards that I care about or feel like I'm okay talking about and then I'll tell you what I think should win. Got it? Okay.

Best Actor: Benedict McCumberbuns(The Imitation Game)

If The Imitation Game isn't going to win Best Picture, then Sir Sherlock Holmes is bound to win this award. Why? Well, he plays in a Biopic set in WWII about a guy with a mental disorder who happens to be gay.

This is just pure Oscar Gold, isn't it?

Real Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal(Nightcrawler)

What? Were you expecting me to keep to the nominees?

Well, I'm not. One of the weird things The Oscars keep on doing is overlook a lot of special achievements or at least the things that are more interesting. And Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler? It's nothing quite like anything else. Granted, the script helped a lot of this performance, but there isn't going to be anything quite as fascinating as the performance Gyllenhaal gives.

Best Actress:....

Honestly, this is kind of a toss up for me. Meryl Streep isn't here to ruin everything this time and, honestly, I've only seen one of the movies in this line up.

Real Best Actress: Rosamund Pike(Gone Girl)

Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl was something else entirely. She gives this weird, creepy effect that's not dissimilar to Gyllenhaal's performance, but also not quite like anything else.

I won't give away anything for those who have still not seen it, but you really should!

Best Support Actor:....

Yeah, kind of at a loss here as well. I've only seen Boyhood of all these movies and honestly.

Real Best Supporting Actor: Dave Bautista(Guardians of the Galaxy)

There was only one actor this year who could deliver the line "Never call me a thesaurus" and have it be the best thing ever.

Honorable Mention: "I am groot!"

Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep(Does it matter which movie?)

I'm not as confident in this prediction, but let's just see what happens.

Real Best Supporting Actress: Rosario Dawson(Top Five)

Weirdly enough, yet not too unsurprisingly, The Oscars came up pretty short when it came to racial in, there isn't any. The only reason why Selma made it as a nominee for best picture was probably because The Oscars were starting to realize how white the whole thing was looking.

Anyways, Top Five was a special kind of movie and Rosario Dawson really made it her own here.

Best Animated Feature: Some movie that isn't going to be The LEGO Movie

Real Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Movie

Maybe The LEGO Movie proved to be a little too critical of everything to make anybody feel comfortable putting this in as a nominee. But, of all the things that make me not respect The Oscars as much as people think I should, this one is it.

Best Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Holy crap you guys! He made the movie look like it was all done in one take. Unbelievable!

Real Best Director: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

Yes, I'm a Wes Anderson fan. Yes, not everyone is going to like his style. But, damn, even with all of the Wes Andersonisms in his new movie, there's still just isn't anything quite like it.


It's really hard for me to pinpoint just one thing as being "The Best" Sometimes, there are some things that make me go "Yeah, this is the one" but a lot of times I'm more like "Damn, guys, it's all good"

But there's nothing quite like The Oscars giving a nominee to American Sniper for...anything.

Like, best Editing? Are you serious? Did we watch the same movie? Find any kind of generic action flick and you'd still have one that was better assembled than American Sniper.

Oh, it's up for Best Picture now?


I've written a review for the movie, but I'm holding off on it until the damn movie has done any real damage.

Best Picture: The Imitation Game(Maybe)

I'm not in the biggest crowd for this prediction. Anything I have to say about why I'm predicting this movie has to do with what I said back when I talked about Benedict CumberMcHandy.

Others are predicting Birdman or Boyhood.

Boyhood seems more likely, but we'll see.

But, man oh man, if they give it to American Sniper....

Real Best Picture: The LEGO Movie

Nothing, nothing, is going to be as big and as bold of an achievement as The LEGO Movie. Usually, when I talk about best picture, I understand why my favorite movie isn't going to get mentioned.

I guess it might be too much for me to expect anything like Scott Pilgrim or The World's End to get more "professional" recognition outside of certain cult followings.

But, damn, The LEGO Movie? Not even up for best animated feature? Only gets a mention of that one catchy song?

I just dunno.

Anyways, yeah, as you might expect, The Grand Budapest Hotel would be my choice if I was restricted to just choosing the nominees but I think the most important film to win would be Selma.

Wouldn't that be something?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What do you sound like?

Recently, I've been on the path of language learning and it's all this kid's fault. But it all more or less started when I thought I had an opportunity to go to France and Germany and I found a program that would help me learn German. Why did I chose German over French at the time? Maybe because most people have a vague idea of wanting to learn French and it's the more popular language. I mean, at least they were the good guys during WWII thought nobody thinks they really did anything(isn't stereotyping fun?).

But, the short answer is that I don't know. I have these weird inclinations to just learn things that don't really seem to help. I obsess over these weird things. It seems like everything I know is completely trivial to my every day life but it certainly helps me at trivia games.

Anyways, ironically, I think I know more French than I do German at this point but I haven't been actively studying those languages in a while though I do plan on continuing with them eventually. What I have been learning? Korean! After one arduous semester and one month of learning this language, I can officially say that Korean is my 3rd best language...though I still won't be able to hold a conversation. Half the battle was finding the right resources for learning and, after searching, I finally found a good learning site. Plus, with the help of my teacher, I think I'm going to be able to learn it fairly least slightly more quickly, but I'm optimistic.

My second best language is Spanish. Yeah, most Americans are going to know "a little Spanish" but I speak it a lot better than the average American. I'm at an intermediate level with the language and can hold a very basic conversation. It's going to be a boring conversation though which sucks because how many times can anyone talk about the weather before they realize it's the most boring thing to talk about ever?

Well, apparently, for a lot of you motherfuckers, there is no limit.

I think back to all of the things I had to talk about today and realize that my life depends on being able to explain concepts and being able to walk people through math equations or how to write an essay or how to understand biology. Then, the other part of my day involved talking about learning words and then talking about a Korean drama.

My problem is that my vocabulary is pretty limited so I can't talk about the things I like to talk about in other languages.

So, where is this digression leading towards? Well, basically, learning other languages has made me think a lot about how we speak our native language.

The first thing I noticed is that everybody is incredibly lazy at speaking there own language. And, really, why shouldn't they be? The reason why we talk in the first place is to get ideas and messages across each other. If you can say what you want in a way that makes sense even if it isn't grammatically correct, there really isn't that much of a problem.

That's why I'm not too hung up on the "there, their, and they're" problem. I honestly think it's this stupid languages fault for having 3 words that sound exactly the same and have completely different meanings. But, for those complaining, can you explain the difference between "its" and "it's"? How about when to use "who" or "whom"? When was the last time you've heard anybody use the word "whom"? It's use in grammar means that it should be a word we use everyday, but it's not because everybody ends sentences in prepositions.

You can cry all you want about it being the "death of English," but, if that's the case, good riddance. Oooohhh, you're getting sick of people misusing the word literally? We have to say figuratively now? "I just figuratively had a heart-attack" "I figuratively died when he told me that" " "My head figuratively exploded" You know what you should tell someone the next time they complain about people misusing the word "literally?" Tell them to go figuratively blow a goat.

So, even after all that, a lot of this has to do with which regions we're from anyway. We all develop a certain way of speaking. Weirdly enough, I'm a native Oklahoman, but I don't really carry that much of an accent. At least, I don't think I do. My brother tells me we have "standard" American accents and even my cousin from California told me that she couldn't really detect one on me. According to the internet, I have a Midwest accent which, apparently, is another way of saying that I don't really have an accent. However, whenever I listen to myself closely(after a get past the fact that I hate how high pitched my voice is), I do notice that the we I draw out words is a bit...ugh...okie-ish.

Not that there's anything (that) wrong with a southern accent, I just don't really like it on myself. I think it can sound decent on some people and even a bit sexy on certain people(when it sounds sophisticated, I think), but I would seriously prefer to have any other kind of accent. Even a Bah-sten accent.

Though, apparently, you do have control over your accent. That's why some people who speak English as their second language can sound more native to the US than some actual natives. Just ask this person.

So, yeah. Here was my fun thing to talk about. Next time? Eh, I 'unno. If anybody is willing to comment, watch this video I made and tell me what I sound like.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fresh Strawberries

I was originally going to talk about something more fun, but I feel there might be a couple of things I just need to finally get out there.

I've been in a weird mood lately. I'm not exactly sad, I'm not exactly happy, I'm not exactly mad, I'm not exactly wanting to do anything out of some sort of passionate...ummm, thing(?), I've just been I don't really feel things anymore, at least, not in the sense as one normally feel things.

Some thoughts I have can really put me down while others and sort of stabilize me. But, now, I'm just right in the middle of everything. It's not a feeling of inner-peace or zen, something that sounds really nice, but more along the lines of just feeling defeated and feeling like there's nothing I can do about it.

Maybe it's because I'm missing something in life, maybe it's because I'm finding the most convoluted ways to excuse my laziness and not have to do anything about it, or maybe it's because Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" and The Bravery's "Believe" sound completely identical to me but there doesn't seem to be a way I'll ever be able to explain it to anybody, ever...

But, the reason why I'm writing this is because I've been thinking about that one line in "Believe" So, I'm not bringing up these two songs randomly(though, seriously, the songs sound too much alike for me.)

It's not that I particularly like the song "Believe" either. I think it's an okay song. When it appears on my Pandora radio, I'll listen to it all the way through, but you won't find me actively looking it up to be able to listen to it again. But, even in a midst of okay-ishness can lay something somewhat profound. And in the case of Believe, it's this line:

"So give me something to believe, 'coz I am living just to breathe"

If there's any sort of blunt way to express how I'm feeling, there's one way.

I was once asked if I were to write a book or give someone advice of 5 things to take out of life. The person asking me came up with 5 things off of the top of her head. Granted, I doubt her list is really something as rigid and structural as she might have liked it to have been, but her ideas all had a common thread of one singular idea. So, that is, at least, something.

I couldn't come up with anything.

If I were to talk to this proverbial person who was going through life, I would say and, in fact, have said "Good luck"

Not in the sort of "Sink or swim" sense or in the condescending "I know what you're doing is stupid and I'm not hiding my attitude of that from you, so here's my off hand comment in which I'm secretly saying that you're probably going to fail" but in the sense that what ever it is the person is looking for, I hope they find it.

There was another time when I jokingly said that a website I like to read was "my religion" to my brother and my brother decides to ask me what my "religion" was. Not in the sense that I follow some sort of theological system but more in the way of what I really believe in life.

Once again, I didn't have an answer.

Let me preface by saying that I don't follow a religion and I don't even really believe in a god. There could be one, but, if there is one, he or she or shklee is not the benevolent being we'd all like to think our god would be.

I'm not here to belittle anyone's beliefs and are free to disagree with my statements. In fact, I wish I did believe in some sort of deity that would give me some sort of meaning. So, why don't I? Well, it's because I just can't.

"But it's a choice, isn't it?" Well, yeah, but my mode of thinking just simply won't allow me because it's not really logical for me. 

There was a point in the first Sherlock Holmes story where Watson finds out that Sherlock didn't know that the Earth revolved around the Sun. It's not that Sherlock believed in a geocentric galaxy, it's just that he didn't care. And, honestly, why should he? Knowing that sort of information had no effect on his everyday life. He only cared about information that was relevant to him.

And that's me and my attitude towards a god, as in it doesn't matter. Some people might have a knee-jerk reaction and tell me that I'm going to hell and, while it's incredibly rude for one to tell anyone that, it might be true. I don't think it is, but, even if it was, is there any undeniable proof? If there is, I might just adjust my life accordingly, but, until or if we discover it, it's not something I want to really want to think about because it doesn't matter to me. While the difference is that Sherlock was ignoring something that was true, I'm not going to be thinking about something that we don't even know could be true. There might just be an outside force that is controlling everything I do without me ever realizing it. Some people might believe in something like that, but since we have no way of actually knowing, what's the point in letting that affect my life?

So, what does that leave me? Well, mostly Pragmatism and Logic, two things that leave desires, emotions, and beliefs out of the equation. I've even expressed a desire for us as humans to not have emotions in the first place(because, honestly, for me, I'm not sure if my emotions are really helping out anymore) and I was surprised to hear him say, with sincerity, "That would make us stop being human." of the most confusing concepts for me.

Not in the sense of what makes people "human." In fact, I'm okay with the technical definition of what makes something a human. But that's not really how people use the word. It's used in a way to give us this "sanctity of life" in that life is sacred...but it really seems like this is exclusive to humans. There are a lot of things in this world that are alive, these things have lives of their own, but most of these things turn up as food for humans. We come up with these weird and complex reasons to justify this means of living. People deserve rights because they are human. But why is it that humans deserve rights? If cows could speak to us coherently, they might have something to say on how we treat them. And, yeah, I'm saying this as someone who had a hamburger for lunch today.

As George Carlin said, we made up the sanctity of life. Why? Because we're alive. This might seem like a ploy to make humanity sound selfish, and, honestly, humanity is pretty selfish, it's not a bad thing. We came up with rights and a goal for equality because most of us generally like to not die and creating these things can maximize the not dying part that people really want. Most of us have agreed to not kill each other and that's a system I'm sincerely okay with. But to call these "natural human rights" just sounds incredibly bizarre to me. How are they natural? Where are they coming from? Do we really mean it's sacred?

And some people we use humanity as a way to make some people feel worse about themselves. "That person is a robot, void of any sort of human emotion", "Talking to him is like talking to an alien, very un-human." I've heard variations and sayings like that as a way to criticize something or someone, even from people who I really respect. I get the point of what these people are saying, but doesn't it just sound a little too demeaning? It almost feels like it's being used as a way to decide which people deserve rights and which ones don't. I know, it usually isn't, but, when I start thinking about the semantics and how people actually use it, I wish we came up with new terminology for it all. If there's at least one reason why I hope we get to meet aliens one day, it's so I never have to hear the term "humanism" again. Maybe we'll come up with a new term. Interplanetarianism.

Honestly, I can get behind that kind of word. 

So, what does that long though process I had have to do with how I feel? Well, maybe a lot of things.

If there's a reason why I'll take one side over another, it's because one side can just be stupid. If one side is coming up with insane conspiracy theories or using baseless information to hold on to their beliefs, I'm choosing the side that's not doing that. It's why I support feminism, LGBT rights, and race equality. Because the people against these things are ignorant and making up the craziest things to stay ignorant. Supporting these causes is a fight against ignorance.

But, then, stray thoughts start shooting through my brain. This line of thinking I have can also come with purposelessness. Once I've come to think in Existential terms, it's not hard for me to just start asking "What's the point?" I don't believe in any sort of divine goals for me, others, or the universe in general. I just believe it just is. Things happen without rhyme or reason. Events occur due to circumstance. It really is possible for the world to keep turning without the people ever really progressing towards some sort of singular goal. If only I did believe there was some external force to guide things along in the right direction.

There was a time in my life in High School where I was really sure that I wanted to be a musician. I had my own band for a while, I constantly dreamed of being on tour and performances, and it was really something I felt like I could do. I had a passion, but, somewhere along the way, that passion died right before I left High School. Ask High School me what I believed in and I probably would have come up with a definitive answer, especially after watching The Dead Poet's Society or finding a lot of internet things that tell me to just do what I love.

But what do I love anymore? There hasn't been a lot to really "spark my fire" or to make me think about what I'd love to do in life. There are things in the past that I have liked doing, but I'm not sure if I can find myself doing it for the rest of my life. Or even maybe something I'd like to keep on doing for a while. I'll get temporary enjoyment out of things, but nothing seems to prevent me from thinking that it all just doesn't really matter.

Maybe it's not something I want anymore. A lot of the elated feelings I got also came with an equal amount of lows, and I just hated experiencing them. They didn't help me appreciate the good times, my mind just thought about every crummy little thing that has happened to me. So, just after so much pain, I guess I just decided to shut down. No more emotions, but it seems to be the thing that was driving me to do...well, anything.

Maybe, some day, I'll find something. After some incredible missteps of how I started going into college, I eventually learned about other things I could be able to do. It would have been nice to know about these things back in the beginning, but if it hadn't been for these missteps I wouldn't be on my current pursuit in the first place...probably, I really don't know.

Life is circumstantial and it is what you make of it. I'm not sure what to make of it anymore, but I hope I can find a reason to keep going again.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

What to Talk About?

Some o'y'all some depressin' mofos.

Or maybe it's reflective conjecture. But, how am I suppose to feel when people 10 or 20 years older than me are more or less in the wandering, clueless position that I'm in. But, as someone once told me, it seems like you never really "figure it out." Something that was said to me when I told someone I wish I was 30 by now because maybe, by that time, 30 year old me would have something figured out.

But, I guess that's really it, isn't it? I can't hold myself accountable for...well, myself, but 30 year old me probably could. But, I don't really think of 30 year old me as me, he's a different guy. He's me in the future, not me now. But, future me has always had my back before...I mean, most of the time. Why do I procrastinate so much? Because future me knows how to get things done while under pressure. At least, short term future me knows how to get things done. Would long term future me be able to prove himself?

Well, maybe. I have vague ideas. I'm more or less preparing. The future doesn't scare me(too badly).

So, I'm going to balance the scale a bit by trying to talk about, I guess.

Okay, here's something...just bear with me.

Indulge me in letting me talk about a Korean drama.

I've been watching one recently. It's on Netflix and, honestly, you might want to give it a go.

It's called City Hunter.

So, the story behind me watching this is that I'm learning Korean right now and finding a show might help me out. I've had a run in with a drama before and, just from reading the plot summaries of the dramas, I was convinced that all of them were running from the same kind of formula. Just set some complex stories in the background of two characters who happen to be male and female, have them hate each other at first, and then have them eventually fall in love or something. I haven't really gotten that far to see if the two characters eventually got together, but after seeing my first Drama where a smart alien from outer space dealing with a rich spoiled brat only to follow a superstitious tradition she follows because he starts to have feelings for her kind of makes guessing how it all turns out kind of not that hard.

Reading the plot summary on this made me think I was in for a different ride. The main characters father is killed and now he's out for revenge Kill Bill style. And, yeah, this movie provides a lot of the hand to hand brawling I could ever wish for in any kind of series, this is still the background for a love story where the main character and the female lead have to work together, even though they bicker all the time, so they can eventually fall in love...probably, I haven't gotten that far yet, but I can't imagine this going in any other kind of direction.

How does it all play out? Well, of course the whole thing is based off of misunderstandings. Of course the main character is told not to fall in love because it will blow his cover. Of course the female lead gets involved in a kiss from the main character due to him trying to get out of a situation only for him to find out that it was the female character's first kiss.

But I'd be lying if I said the whole thing just didn't work for me because I'm sort getting caught up in the whole experience, even if there are a lot of parts that don't make any sense to me. 'Tis a weird time where a complicated government conspiracy plot makes more sense than some of the main characters actions involving his love interest. But, even with some parts that make me scratch my head, I'm still engaged and even touched by some of these parts. It kind of brings me back to my middle school days when I actually cared if Jim and Pam from the Office got together(those soap opera parts from The Office just kind of bore and sicken me now), and if you can imagine Jim and Pam up against the kind of plot setting that involves government conspiracies with some hand to hand action scenes, you might get an idea of what this show is like.

There was this once scene that reminded me of the Bond movie, Licence to Kill(if there is at least one other person in that class who saw that movie, please say so so I can give you the ultimate prize), where Bond is bargaining with the main Bond girl over something and, as they discuss prices, they decide to kiss each other for not much of a discernable reason. It's scenes like those that just make me question everything, but maybe I just need a normal human being to tell me how I'm suppose to feel during those scenes so I won't get confused.

Even though I feel a little duped that this still has some conventions of other Korean dramas, it's still incredibly enjoyable and fun to watch. It's rare that you get to see action scenes filmed in this way on a TV show and it's even rarer when action scenes are done this well. Even the love story behind it all find its place decently into the story. If you need something slightly different in your life when it comes to watching something on Netflix, you might want to give this a go.