I went to my first Portland concert last night. It was Chromeo and they were playing at a really small venue called Berbati's Pan, so named because it's the back section of a restaurant called Berbati's. It was cool show, full of weird moments thanks to the bros and hoes that always manage to like the same music that I do.

Here's a short clip of the concert. Enjoy.


I miss my friends.

Things haven't been the best this week. My good friend decided to take her own life. I wasn't mad at her when I found. I always see in films and television that people are angry at those that take their own life. I feel like I can't be mad at her because I know how it is to feel so low. I keep thinking that at least she's not in pain any more. According to the five stages of grief, I might feel Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Depression, but I felt like I was headed straight for acceptance. I'm not being callous, but I loved her very much and it hurt me to see her in pain. Depression only came after, when I spoke with a close friend on the phone and really broke down. Her funeral is starting right now, and I can't be there, so I wanted to do something for her in her memory.

To add injury to injury, my sweet little hamster Wicket also died on Thursday night, the same night I found out about my friend. I believe that Wicket was scared to death by my housemate's dog. I found Wicket lying in my walk-in closet and nearly lost it right there. I kept it together enough to dump the contents out of a shoebox and place her in it. I buried her this morning in our backyard. I dug a hole and put a layer of her Aspen bedding in it. I laid her on top of it and petted her a few more times. During her life, she never let me pet her so much. She was always so squirmy and just wanted to run around, but now she just lay there. Her fur was still soft. I put another layer of bedding around her and then on top of her, said goodbye and then filled in her hole. Though my housemates offered to help, I did it by myself. I think it was best that way, because I got to say "goodbye" alone.

I miss them both very much.

Wicket at home.

For your viewing pleasure, some images of my adorable hamster in her new home.

That's Dane's dog Jack playing with her in the ball. He found her utterly fascinating.

My 100 favourite films. Entry #20: Silver Streak.

Silver Streak (1976)
directed by Arthur Hiller
starring Gene Wilder, Jill Clayburgh, Richard Pryor, Patrick McGoohan and Ned Beatty
country: USA
genre: comedy (technically)

Visuals: 6
Writing: 6
Everyday watchability: 6
Number of times Gene Wilder gets thrown or jumps from the train: 3

I say that Silver Streak is technically a comedy because it's really an experiment in how many genres you can cram into a film. It starts out as a romance film. Then suddenly it's a thriller. Then they throw in some comedy, then there's some mystery thrown in and oh hell, this movie's all over the place.

The thing that makes it so good is the chemistry between Wilder and Pryor. This is the first movie that they starred in together, and they went on to make many more films together. They're perfect comedic foils for each other. They both seem so natural and relaxed together and that really helps them make great comedy. The funniest scene might even be one of the funniest ever. Realizing they're not going to make it past some cops, Pryor dresses Wilder up in shoe-polish-blackface and attempts to teach him how to be black. It's got other funny bits and even one of the most famous climaxes in movie history where an Amtrak train crashes through the wall of a train station (pretty big budget for a comedy), but the blackface scene really steals the show.


Great movie endings.

I recently found this list of The Best Movie Endings Ever, which I thought interesting. While I thought many of them good (albeit obvious) choices, such as Casablanca and The Sixth Sense, I thought the list missed out on a few opportunities. I find that a film's ending need not be epic (Gone with the Wind) or tense (Seven) or a surprise (Les Diaboliques) to truly be a great ending.

I mentioned the closing shot of The Searchers in my post regarding the film: It's the kind of ending that almost overpowers the film with its perfection, an ending that sums up the whole movie better than any piece of dialog could.

Here are some other great movie endings that were left off this list.

Le notti di Cabiria (The Nights of Cabiria)
Most of this 1957 Fellini film didn't really captivate me. Cabiria just gets trodden on for much of the running time, which is tiring. At the start of the movie, she's dumped by her boyfriend, who steals 40,000 lire from her and leaves her for dead in a river. And things don't get much better. Near the end, she meets a man who she thinks really cares for her. But he leads her to the edge of a cliff and forces her to give him all of her money. Once again broke and far from home, she starts her long trek back to her shanty of a house. It's during this walk that she briefly looks directly into the camera, with a slight smile on her face. The smile reads that Cabiria knows she's going to be okay. That she can get by. It's a heartbreaking ending that Fellini and Giulietta Masina play perfectly.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
If you haven't seen Liberty Valance, here's a sum-up:
James Stewart is Ransom Stoddard, a cityboy who comes to a small town in the West with high ideals and high virtues (he opens the town's first schoolhouse and openly despises guns).
John Wayne is Tom Doniphon, local hero, gunslinger and essentially town heartthrob.
Lee Marvin is Liberty valance, douchebag.
Stoddard finally stands up to Liberty Valance, shooting him dead in a shootout. What we don't find out until later is that Doniphon is the one that actually shot Valance without anyone knowing it. Stoddard's been struggling with the fact that everyone thinks he killed a man; he's practically famous for it (Valance being such a royal douchebag). At the very end of the film, Stoddard is riding a train home and the conductor informs him that they're holding his connection for him. Stoddard thanks him for this and conductor replies, "Nothing's too good for the man who shot Liberty Valance." Stoddard's face sours as he slowly snuffs the lit match he's been readying to light his pipe. The camera lingers on him and his wife for a moment before cutting to the train riding into the distance. The line's so exquisite because it's said so casually, so off-handedly, yet it has so much impact, practically summing up a man's fears of who he is and how he got there in one fell swoop.

Monster's Ball
Forget Halle Berry, Billy Bob Thornton should have been handed the Oscar for his performance in this film. He's so quiet and conflicted and hopeful and she's so loud and weepy. He's the perfect Rowan to her Martin, Martin to her Lewis. At the close of the film, she's just found out that he's the one who pulled the lever on the electric chair that killed her husband. He doesn't know she knows, and he sits down on the step of his house with a cup of ice cream and a plastic spoon and says, "I think we're gonna be alright." She has a look of incredulity on her face and the camera pans up to look at the stars. His hopefulness and optimism seem to outweigh any skepticism, no matter how great. The idea of a grown man wilfully being so purposefully naive and optimistic has a great power, that it's still in fact possible that we can do whatever we want, however hard.

Any other suggestions?

A walk around my neighborhood.

I got a little bored today, so I grabbed a digital camera my parents sent to me (thanks!) and went for a walk around my neighborhood. Here's some of what I saw.

CIMG1004Just thought it looked interesting is all. No real significance here.
02. Junk truck.Some truck full of junk. Not sure what it's all about.
03. Richmond.The adorable school behind my house. It's made of brick like many of Portland's schools.
07. Locked shopping cart.Somebody keeps this personal shopping cart constantly locked up to this bike rack. It folds up, you know. You can probably keep it in your house.
08. Stop eating animals.Good advice.
09. A!.I don't know what this is for either, but it looks cool. It really makes me want a Big A burger from Smart Alec's back in Berkeley.

Well, there it is. Hope someone found it at least partially interesting.

Tokyo Graffiti #007.

It's taken a while, but I've finally found something to post about. Oh joy.

On my second trip to Japan, which was in March of 2005, my brother and I were stopped on the street by Matsushita Ryoko, an editor for a new Japanese magazine called Tokyo Graffiti. For inclusion in the magazine, she asked us to draw pictures of what we thought of Japanese people. I believe I drew a Japanese schoolgirl uniform (pleated skirt, white shirt, tie). I'm not sure what my brother drew. She then took our pictures.

Luckily, she handed me her business card, which included a sticker notifying us of the issue we would likely appear in. At least I hope so, because I just ordered it online. I ordered it from a Japanese website called KK Longsellers, although I have no idea what a longseller is. I managed to read some katakana on the website, but mostly I Babelfished my way through it, entering my address and clicking "next," thinking I'd eventually be told a shipping total and asked to enter my credit card info, but I never was. The last page told me to pay within a week of receiving my magazine. I'm not sure I'll ever get it, and if I do, I'm not sure how I'll pay for it.

RyokoThe business card that got me going.

A note about me.

I know it's been a while since I've posted. I apologize but I have been busy, dear reader(s). Since moving to Portland, I've been lucky enough to find a great place to live but I have not found a job, friends of my own, or a hot bike-riding girlfriend. I guess I've put these things above my blog to some extent (and for obvious reasons). I'll try to post more soon, but if I don't, please accept my apologies and wait patiently for the utter hilarity of my fabulous posts.