Monday, December 31, 2012

Stuffs I liked this Year (lists)

Favorite Albums
10.  Life is People (Bill Fay)
9.  I know what Love Isn't (Jens Lekman)
8.  Heaven (Walkmen)
7.  C.A.R. (Serengeti)
6.  Gossamer (Passion Pit)
5.  Cancer for Cure (El-P)
4.  Skelethon (Aesop Rock)
3.  Blue Chips (Action Bronson)
2.  The Big Inner (Matthew E White)
1.  Mr. M. (Lambchop

(I also liked the new Brother Ali, the new Japandroids, and the new Beach House Album.  The biggest disappointment for me was "God Forgives, I don't", hahaha)

Favorite Songs of 2012

10.  Laura (Bats for Lashes)
9.  Manny Pacquiao (Kool AD)
8.  The Never ending Happening (Bill Fay)
7.  Sweet (Danny Brown)
6.  Gone Away (Matthew E White)
5.  The House that Heaven Built (Japandroids)
4.  & it was U (How to Dress Well)
3.  9/24/11 (Action Bronson)
2.  Never my Love (Lambchop)
1.  Climax (Usher)


Favorite Movies:

10.  This is 40
9.  Les Miserables
8.  Argo
7.  Anna Karenina
6.  The Avengers
5.  Dark Knight Rises
4.  Skyfall
3.  Moonrise Kingdom
2.  Lincoln
1.  The Master

(Still have yet to see Django, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Holy  Motors, Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Favorite TV Shows this year:
1.  Boardwalk Empire
2.  Mad Men
3.  Louie
4.  Breaking Bad
5.  Veep
6.  Game of Thrones
7.  Parks and Rec
8.  An Idiot Abroad
9.  30 Rock
10.  Downton Abbey


Books I read during 2012:
Unbroken
All the Pretty Horses
Listen to This
Storm of Swords
Feast for Crows
Dance with Dragons
Anna Karenina
Sex on the Moon
The Last Werewolf
Cain
This is How You Lose Her
Drown
I'm Your Man
Ready Player One
11/22/63
Mocking Jay (hated it)
Catching Fire (hated it)

Some books I want to read this next year:
Carter Beats the Devil
Brothers Karamazov
Swamplandia!
Telegraph Avenue (Started it)
The Snow Child
Kraken
Blood Meridian
Cannery Row
Thelonius Monk Biography
Mark Twain Autobio
American Gods
10000 years of Solitude
Some other stuffs.......


Happy new year all

Sunday, December 9, 2012

wedding, christmas things, lecter

Finally snowing for reals here in Utah.  It makes things prettier, but also very cold.  Yes, even though Alaskan, I reserve the right to complain about the cold.  Also, it is December and Egg Nog is back on the shelf, so that is something to be very happy about.  I got all my Christmas shopping done before December even hit and in one week I will hit the Christmas Break.  So life is good.  This last week I had my Endocrine and Circulatory test and that all went well.  We celebrated by eating an enormous 5 guys burger and about 10 pounds of fries.  Oh yeah, and my sister Lori and kids is coming to visit next weekend for a few days.  Plus I just got started reading Telegraph Avenue and it is great so far.
We had a fun weekend spending time with the Eltons, some of Natalie's friends from Vancouver.  The youngest Elton, Byron, got married on Saturday in the Salt Lake temple, so they were all in town.  The reception and Friday night dinner were a lot of fun and Natalie was in heaven.  We also got to spend a lot of time hanging around in Salt Lake at Christmas time, which is always a plus.  The lights at temple square never fail to get you in the Christmas spirit.  
We also stopped by a record store where I found a good copy of "In the Wee Small Hours" and the reissue of Donnie and Joe Emerson's "Dreamin Wild".  Good finds.
Tomorrow we are having a little Christmas party here for my study group at school, and we are going to do a white elephant exchange.  Should be a blast.  I have some great ideas for my exchange items.
This week for the Criterion pick I watched "Silence of the Lambs", which remains the scariest movie I have ever watched.  I still find myself covering my eyes at the scariest parts, even knowing what will happen.  I have never seen any of the sequel/prequel nonsense, and will probably keep it that way so that I don't ruin my idea of Lecter being the scariest thing ever and not an exaggeration of the first film's character.  Here are some of the things that stuck out this time.
-The characters, especially Lecter, are often delivering their lines directly into the camera.  They aren't really breaking the 4th wall, but they definitely are staring right at you as the movie's suspense builds.  I've often tried to figure out why this movie scares me instead of coming off as just cheesy or too much, but maybe this has something to do with it.
-All the acting is pretty great...including Buffalo Bill.  I can hardly stand to think about him either.
-Hopkins always states that somehow Lecter has gained "Boogie Man" status.  He is a villain without any apparent weakness.  He doesn't lose, he never even really comes close.  And the whole movie they repeatedly they keep telling you how terrible and unpredictable he is.  In the end when he escapes, all that comes to a head.  And then he doesn't do anything!!!  It was enough to just leave him out in the universe, because you know he is capable of anything.  He somehow feels like more than a human being, he feels like some otherworldly menace.  It's frightening.  Still doesn't make me want to see any other Hannibal movies though.
Next week I will be watching the first part of the Samurai trilogy.
Calvin. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cohen, Drown, Spinal Tap

I finished "I'm Your Man" today.  It was really well-written, and kept my interest for most of it's 500 some pages.  With all biographies of somebody that is still living, the end of the book kind of tapers off.  When I read "Life" by Keith Richards, he gets to the point where he is talking about his favorite foods and how to make them.  Because "I'm Your Man" is a biography, it doesn't have those self-indulgent qualities, but towards the end you just feel things dragging a bit as the author goes into details about Leonard Cohen tribute albums and concerts  The most interesting bits had to do with him recording with Phil Spector at the height of his madness.  The guy supposedly had guns everywhere and on one occasion held one up to Leonard's face and told him, "Leonard, I love you.", before running off.  He also had a habit of locking people in his house when they came to visit.  I also enjoyed the descriptions of his transition to making Casio keyboard inspired music, and how the book's titular album was conceived.  There are several great stories of other artist's becoming obsessed with "I'm your Man", including some really fascinating stuff from Frank Black.  Also, I found myself fascinated by his obsessions with various religions and his years spent becoming a Zen monk.  It's the kind of stuff that you might guess could be true from listening to the slow, deliberate, cyclic, and even meditative qualities of many of his best songs. 
I read Drown by Junot Diaz over the weekend as well.  The guy has a way of really getting deep-everything I ever read by him really depresses me.  I liked it quite a bit more than his newest book.  I stayed up late last night trying to finish it.  Next I've got Telegraph Avenue, the new Chabon to read.  Excellent.
Yesterday I made French Dips in the Crockpot and took them over to a Dental school friend's house for dinner.  They turned out real good.  Another friend brought chocolate cheescake that was pretty spectac too.  We played a card game and I think I came out the overall victor?  Natalie won one game and I won the other.
School this week has been great, I got to use my handpiece for the first time and drill on a learn-a-prep.  Also learned all sorts of stuff about Endocrine and the heart.  It's hard to concentrate fully, with Christmas break being so close, but I'll get there.
Tonight we are going to a little mini-TED talk conference and Natalie is speaking for about 7 minutes.  She's going to do great.
I have been listening to Handel's Messiah all day long.
This week for the Criterion pick I watched a movie I had seen a time or two before, "This is Spinal Tap," the 1984 mockumentary comedy directed by Rob Reiner, errr- Marty DiBergi.  I watched an interview with Stephen Colbert once where he was talking about the nature of good satire.  He said something about how the more ridiculous the news is, the less imagination he and his writers need to put it.  The perfect situation for great satire would be if he could just read the stories and presentation verbatim...the set-up would be the punchline.  He also said that the closer the news is to what he is doing, the less you should trust it.  I had that in mind this time when I watched Spinal Tap.  Maybe the reason the film resonates so much through the years is that they didn't have to stretch the truth really all the much-Spinal Tap didn't have to be more ridiculous than your average trend-hopping band that has found some sort of longevity.  Supposedly many musicians upon seeing Spinal Tap didn't find anything funny about it.  Some even thought it was a real documentary, others, (like Van Halen) related it to so much they stated that it could have been a movie about their band.  Several musicians pointed out the scene where Spinal Tap is lost somewhere backstage as something precisely that had happened to them.
I like This is Spinal Tap because it makes you want to take whatever you do so much less seriously.  I think a documentary of most people's lives would show us to all be petty and overly invested in the minute contributions we have to society.  That a fake documentary can make me feel this way is pretty amazing.  Here are a few of my favorite moments:
-Nothing beats the scene where the bass player gets trapped in the pod and gets out at the last minute just to have to get back in.
-I really wanted to hear more of the experimental jazz piece, Jazz Odyssey.
-Is it just me, or is Spinal Tap's Flower Child phase actually pretty good?
-I hope someday I can hear Shark Sandwich in it's entirety.
-I can't believe how strangely the movie is similar to the real documentary "Anvil".  I watched Anvil a couple of years ago and thought it was weird, but there are even more coincidences than I thought.  Particularly how they both end in Japan, being mildly popular.
-I wonder who has that mini-stonehenge model right now?  It's got to be in a museum somewhere.  Or maybe on Rob Reiner's mantle?




Saturday, November 24, 2012

pizza thanksgiving, crock pot, seventh seal

Thanksgiving was great.  We had Canadian Thanksgiving just like a month ago with turkey and potatoes and stuff, so for American Thanksgiving we just made a bunch of Pizza with one of Nat's friends.  We also set up our Christmas tree and listened to Christmas music all afternoon.  One thing we completely avoided was the shopping, thank goodness.  Today we are going to maybe go for a little bit in Salt Lake.
I studied a bit over the week and read more in the Leonard Cohen Biography.  I also worked on a few songs...one of which I posted earlier.  Monday it's back to the grind.
I got into cooking a bit with a crock pot this week.  I made some delicious Cafe Rio style pork, some chicken dish, and tomorrow we are going to try a pork roast.  I don't know why I didn't use the thing more in college.
This week I watched "The Seventh Seal", which is a 1957 Swedish film by Ingmar Bergman that takes place during the dark ages, specifically the Black Plague.  There is this card in a board game that we play that asks the player, "Would you rather live in Medieval times, the Old West, or Modern day."  Whenever this card pops up in the game we laugh about how much of a no-brainer the answer is.  Why would anyone ever choose a time in the past?  Maybe if you chose a time in the future, that would be a bit more complicated, but nobody would actually want to go backwards.  This movie reinforced this idea.  The time period portrayed in The Seventh Seal is so dark and despairing, I felt like I was watching a movie about the apocalypse.  Doing the obligatory wikipedia browsing after the film, I guess the tone is about right.  People literally felt that the world was ending.  I mean, 75 to 200 million died by the end of the 14th century.  You never knew who was next, and when you got it, you only had about a week to live.  Death was literally around every corner.  Things were even made worse because people couldn't understand why it was happening.  They didn't even know what a virus was.  Sickness was either from God or the Devil, and so the tendency was to either run into the shelter of religion or run out of it.  In this film, the self flagellation scenes were gruesome and difficult to watch even though they weren't all that graphic.  I find it disturbing that people could be so desperate that they would buy into the notion that by preemptively punishing themselves they could escape some sort of worse divine punishment.  And this is all only just the setting for the film's narrative.  Here are some things I enjoyed about the film:
-Death was a creepy character.  The costume and make-up was very simple but somehow  memorable.  I think much credit is due to Bengt Ekerot is due, he made the whole thing work to his advantage in portraying the character.
-I guess one of the lessons is that you can never really cheat death.  It knows your time, it doesn't matter how you try to distract it, or yourself.  You can't move the pieces back.  Somehow I had a hope that maybe Antonius would win the game during the film's opening.  You realize quickly that it's not possible.  Nobody ever wins, we are just on a reprieve.
-The other striking thing is that although the characters all thought differently about religion, politics, and love, the end result was the same.  Death comes the same way for everyone-it is a great unification.  We can all live differently, but we all have death in common.  It consumes everything uniformly, nobody is special. What happens afterwards is not part of the discussion in this film.  We leave seeing them all carried away with death.  All linked together.
-As mentioned above, if nothing else, this move made me really want to think about the time period and how it effected people and culture.  Yeah, I know Ring Around the Rosy is a song about the Bubonic, but I want to read more about how the people, culture, and attitudes were effected by the massive death toll.  Any good book recommendations?
Later I'll write about Spinal Tap.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mola Ram

Happy day before/thanksgiving/black friday all

I had a few days off, so yesterday i made this little rap song.  Doesn't have much to do with Thanksgiving except I talk about food alot.  It is not really in the spirit of being generous and charitable, but I am those things nonetheless.  I didn't realize that it's been like over half a year since I made any music, so it was time to blow the cobwebs off a few of my toys.  School starts again monday and I will have to put them back in the closet for another while.  Jared Hansen played the trumpet bits for me.  It was fun.
So excited for thanksgiving, but will write more on that later of course.  Food is always good, and I like being reminded to be grateful.
Peace.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Jamie Lidell, Obscenity of the Jungle, Walkabout

Just starting a much need break from school.  After doing a whirlwind study of Occlusion over the last 3 days, I passed the exam and got to get out of school 2 days early.  It's a beautiful thing.  The strange thing is, almost out of habit, I found myself spending most of the morning studying for the exam that will occur after we get back.  At least it's studying without stress.  Then I decided to take a second to update blog.

Some new Jamie Lidell to the right there ====>


On Friday Nat and I went with some Dental school friends and saw the new James Bond movie.  It's amazing to me that this character has been around so long.  It's one of the few series of films with sequels that we don't roll our eyes at so much.  Maybe Bond was like that for a while and just had to get over the hump.  Or maybe every couple films was actually pretty good, and so people just learned to put up with it.  Are there any other film series that we just expect another installment to come out every few years?  I can't think of anything besides 007 that does that.  Anyway, we liked it.  Good popcorn flick, Home Alone rip off or not.
This last weekend we had my sister and her husband come to visit.  Nat made Tortilla Soup and we hung out in our freezing cold house and played games and tried to stay warm.  It actually makes us more likely to go work out just to get out of the house and get blood moving a bit.
This week I watched Walkabout, a 1971 film set in Australia directed by Nicolas Roeg.  Roeg uses this technique throughout the movie where he intersperses images from the outback throughout the movie to break up the story.  The images have a tremendous effect on you while watching the film and change with tone as the story grows darker.  The beginning of the film almost felt like watching a horror movie.  Things start out very dire and only get worse for the protagonists until the aborigine shows up.  Watching the brother and sister start to get more and more worried cut against shots of the harshness and indifference of nature makes things even more tense.  The way that Roeg treats nature reminded me a lot of Werner Herzog's style.  He loves nature, but against his better judgement.  He does not see the outback as an evil place, just as a place without a real order that we can understand.  It is chaotic; it has no investment in the well-being of the characters either way.  The absence of purpose actually makes nature as a presence in the film more scary than if it appeared to be against them.
When the aborigine shows up and his tragic story plays out, the shots that are interspersed seem to change in tone and intent.  The outback seems more like a place to be understood and adapted to than a place to escape from.  Aside from a few scenes like the butcher chopping meat, it all is very subtle.  And then again the tone switches as the aborigine boy begins his dance.  You see this from the girl's point of view even though as a viewer you can guess what is actually happening.  The results of their inability to understand each other brings the movie full-circle.  The depressed father at the beginning of the film couldn't fit in his world and exited in a terrible way.  The aborigine couldn't fit inside the new world he discovered on his walkabout and made a parallel decision.  Very sad illustration of culture clash and not fitting into the societies story.
Some random things I liked:
-The cinematography was awesome.  You could watch the movie with the sound off.  Even the scenes where the kids were just walking among the sand dunes were shot in an interesting way.
-I really liked the soundtrack.  Like I mentioned above, the beginning looked like a horror movie, and the soundtrack sounded like one.  The actual main theme was beautiful though, something to get stuck in your head.
-The little boy's monologue about superheros was interesting, but I'm not sure I can figure out how it fits into what the film was trying to convey.
-The final scene with the girl back in the city and remembering her time swimming in the outback was also a great, bittersweet moment.  Now that she has experienced what she has experienced, maybe she will never fit into society either.
-So the verdict on this one is that I would watch it again.  It was highly enjoyable and felt like it deserved repeat viewings.
Next week I am watching the Seventh Seal.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jonathan and Darlene Edwards

The awful piano singer duo:
There is a story behind it of course
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_and_Darlene_Edwards_in_Paris

Action, The Killer, Hard Boiled


We are studying Neuroanatomy  and Occlusion during this block.  Thank goodness I took anatomy this Summer!  Nothing has been too bad so far, I don’t think this will really be any different.  I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Break.  I will be reading, writing, studying, getting outdoors, and lounging.  Just need to make sure I pass the next test so I won’t have to be stressed.
Started reading a really good Leonard Cohen biography called “I’m your Man”.  It tends to put Natalie asleep when I read out loud, so whenever I start she starts accusing me of trying to knock her out.  I just thought she would be interested in the Canadian stuff.  Ha ha.  Reading some of his early poems and excerpts of stories…it’s pretty impressive.  It’s like he always could write.
Gonna go see James Bond this weekend.  I loved the first Daniel Craig one, not so keen on the second one.  Supposedly this one will be great.  My expectations are high.
This past week I watched both The Killer and Hard Boiled, directed by John Woo.  I figured since they feature the same actor director and genre I should just watch them in quick succession to get the most out of it.  Watching these films took me back to High School, a time where my brother and I were obsessed with bad action movies and replicating a version of them ourselves.  If we had a free afternoon, the only option for us was to pull out my Dad's clunky old black camera and start piecing together some sort of Kung-Fu movie.  When there were only two of us, one had to hold the camera, and we had to get creative with the action scenes.  In one short in particular, we fight each other without ever being in the same frame even once.  It was an intense shoot out, and ended with the twist that we had been fighting over a pair of high heels.  We also filmed a few with our cousins and friends.  These always turned out the best because, like the Killer and Hard Boiled, the body count could be high.  With just 4 extra people playing multiple people, the henchmen could become infinite.  In every scene, every extra would get killed before the camera would cut away.  Rinse and Repeat.  Although we never pulled out the ketchup to make fake gore, it was clear that we had an unhealthy penchant for violence.
The other funny thing about those early movies we made was that the plot was always just an afterthought.  It was something obligatory only to get you to the next scene where Keith would come at me with some sort of household appliance turned weapon.  In one scene, 4 people were all fighting each other.  Strangely, one was using a thigh master as some sort of bludgeoning device while another was strangling people with a pair of my sister's grey sweatpants.  When choreographing action scenes, we spent time and paid attention to all the details.  We would think about them weeks ahead of time and practice the whole thing long before we hit the record button.  With the editing system we had, you were much better off if you could film all the scenes in order, and preferably only the once.  The story lines, on the other hand, were an off the cuff generic mess.  Generally a secret agent had to infiltrate some base and eventually fight the end boss.  Often there would be a partner who was a double agent on the inside who would join forces with the hero, and usually end up getting killed towards the finale for dramatic effect.  There were just reheated standard plots from the kung-fu and cop movies we had been watching.  The reason I write about all this in conjunction with John Woo's two movies is that if I would have kept making films this way my entire life, I believe I would eventually have become some sort of version of John Woo.  
I understand terrible action movies because of those experiences.  The directors aren't bad or dumb people, they are just overly excited about the action and don't really get an adrenaline rush thinking about character interactions.  They just want to see stuff blow up, like my brother and I did.  These days, I have less appreciation for shoot-em-up style movies if they don't have anything else going for them, but I at least feel like I sympathize with the director’s mania.  To John Woo the action scenes are the art, the rest is all periphery.
He does some cool stuff as well.  Here are some of the things that stuck out:
-The whole final scene of The Killer is great because of the contrast.  Shoot-out in a church, blood on the white suit, blood on flour, doves flying around during the violence…it’s all great.  As a kid I would have loved to come up with stuff like that, I would have thought it was hilarious.  It makes everything so much more dramatic.  Same thing in Hard Boiled, the last scene is in a hospital with crying babies and sick people running for the exit.
-Out of the two movies, I think I preferred Hard Boiled.  Keeping everything I wrote about above in mind, it was because it seemed that Woo was a bit more concerned with making the characters more complex.  Amongst the cops and criminals there are characters with honor and some without.  The Killer tried to build this dynamic, but I didn’t feel like Chow Yun Fat’s character really was all that tragic.  I didn’t feel bad for him as a repentant assassin, and the last scene felt even more videogame like.  There was way more joy in finale of Hard Boiled because of the unexpected nature of some of the character’s actions.
-Watching the movies through my young director’s eyes, I loved all the sliding on the ground shooting scenes.  Or sliding down bannisters.  Or sliding around on gurneys in the morgue.  Or sliding in to a building on a motorcycle and shooting the entire time.  Somebody needs to replicate the slide shoot in some video game.  Best move ever.
-Nobody ever, ever, runs out of bullets. 

Next week is Walkabout.  Stream it on Hulu.    

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween, Tempest, Night to Remember

Happy Halloween!
I have missed a week or so and need to do a quick catch up.
I really loved the Buck 65 show in SLC 2 weeks ago.  He did a lot of the classics and even did Pants on Fire as an encore.  There was something really melancholy about the show in general, a lot of sad songs.  Luckily those are generally my favorites.  Also into the stranger stuff to, and he mixed that in there. Here is a bunch of demos from the making of Situation that just got released from 5 years ago:
http://www.skratchbastid.com/buck-65-situation-5-years-ago-today-the-demos/
I think I like the sampled versions muuuuuchhhh better.
School is going really well.  Passing tests and stuff, spent hours last week making a cast and mounting it to an articulator.  Everything is really interesting and time usually passes quickly.
I played Risk on Sunday, match two with friends, and was again the first out.  This time it was all a fluke.  I don't even want to talk about it, I want a rematch.
Natalie and I went to the school Halloween party on Friday and could not come up with costumes.  We eventually put on knit sweaters and went as College English Professors.
Last week I watched "A Night to Remember" which is a 1958 film about the Titanic directed by Roy Ward Baker.  Funny, I had just finished listening to Bob Dylan's new album, "Tempest".  The title track is about a 10 minute ballad about the sinking of the Titanic, and Dylan even references Leonardo DiCaprio in the song as if he was someone actually on the Titanic.  It's really long and totally worth listening to maybe before or after watching this movie.
Back to the film.  It wasn't the most enjoyable to watch, mostly because the director seems fixated on the facts and doesn't extract a lot of story other than the monolithic historic event at it's center, but maybe that is the point.  It just makes it a bit harder to hang in there the entire time.  That being said, focusing only on the event and the facts surrounding it maybe makes it seem all the more horrible.  You are not following any specific character really, just checking in on all sorts of different people in terror and how they dealt with the awful prospect of death.  A few things I really liked:
-Even in black and white and a low budget, the actual sinking of the ship really stirs up some stuff inside of you.  It kind of made me realize that the idea is always more terrifying than the image itself.  I never once thought that it looked fake, all I could think about was something that big disappearing.
-I guess the movie did what it intended, because I immediately opened up Wikipedia and looked up all sorts of statistics and facts about Titanic.  I really wanted to know how many children had gone down with the ship because the movie has a really sad scene with one of the kids being left on the ship accidentally.
-The playing with the ice on deck, although re-created in James Cameron's movie, seemed to have more screen time here.  It made me think about people playing with the object of their demise just an hour or two earlier.  
-A lot of these old movies end with some grand statement from one of the characters.  In this one, the "main" character says, "I'll never be sure of anything again."  And scene.  I think film makers felt like they not only had to sum up the movie, but sum up the entire effect the subject had or will have on it's watchers.
You can watch the whole thing on the right there.
Next week I will write about "The Killer" and "Hardboiled" at the same time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Clean up Woman

This seems very sample-able.  That probably means that it has been.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book reviews, Weekend, Beauty and the Beast

This week I finished the Anatomy muscles and bones section and passed the test.  It was nice, ended up having a 3 day weekend because of it.  It almost makes it harder to come back to school today, but totally worth it anyway.  Today we are moving onto Occlusion, Dental Anomalies, and Peridontia.


I finished reading Dance of Dragons this week, took me about 2 months with school going on.  I liked it, kind of made me sad it will be a couple years before I can get the cliffhangers resolved.  It's nice to see Martin beginning to pull all the threads in for a conclusion.  I just hope he doesn't decide that he needs to throw another 200 characters in for some reason and therefore have to write another few.  Having said that, I can't think of anything else I've ever read that has been so expansive in scope.  He just keeps expanding and building out.  It seems like the author lives more in that world than this one.
I also read the new Junot Diaz book, "This is how you lose Her".  While definitely not as good as Oscar Wao, it's worth reading if for nothing but the writing voice.  It's got some killer prose.  Also, it's fun knowing Spanish, I can't imagine a non-speaker getting as much out of it as there is so much slang and conversation snippets that don't carry the same weight without knowing the meaning.  Oh yeah, and the whole thing is pretty depressing, so there is that.  A really glum look at several different kinds of relationships that all take place in somewhere the main character's have a hard time truly calling home.
On Friday night we went and had a barbecue with some old friends from Alaska, one I hadn't seen in several years.   I tried my hand at pool and realized that I've not improved over time at all.  Something I wish I could instantly get better at.
On Saturday we woke up and went to the Salt Lake Market, bought some really good pluots and popsicles, chicken sandwhiches, and tried to go see "Chicken with Plums."  Unfortunately, the theater had a malfunction and they had to cancel the show, so we went shopping for groceries and headed home.  
Saturday some friends had us over for scones and introduced us to a game called "Words on the Street." and thoroughly destroyed us twice.  I felt so much rage about it that I immediately ordered the game and vow to NEVER lose again.  I'll let you know how that goes.
Sunday we went to church and took care of some housework.  We went to some ward members' house for dinner and just had a nice quiet evening.
Monday I went to lunch with a friend, did some studying, laundry, worked on a song for a while, and started a new book.  It was a relaxing day.  That night we went to Natalie's friend's house for dinner and I played some accordion for FHE.  Five Green and Speckled Frogs.
This week for the Criterion flick I watched Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast from 1946.  It was a bizarre experience.  Definitely the director values form over story.  It almost felt like watching an old horror movie at certain parts instead of a fairy tale.  It seemed like a Lon Chaney monster movie.  While this was definitely not one of my favorites, there were some redeeming qualities:
-Dude knows how to do atmosphere.  Everything felt different when you were transported from the little villa to the Beast's castle.  Call it an outdated effect, but I loved the moving statues and busts and the hands sticking out of all the walls.  The two settings contrast each other so well without the tricks available today.  It actually does a better job than most movies where you are plunged into some other world, because directors today can't resist trying to even make the mundane world look great.  Go watch the newest Alice and Wonderland or something like that, and try and tell me that the contrast in Beauty in the Beast isn't better.
-The Beast is sufficiently creepy.  The scene that really sticks in my mind is where Belle sees him after a nighttime kill and he is smoking and yelling at her.  It's not even all that realistic looking of a mask, but it is strange enough to feel uncomfortable, like you are seeing something you are not meant to see.  Also, when he is drinking out of the stream and Belle's hands, you get that same sense of discomfort.  I like that the movie ends with Belle wishing that he was still the Beast, it kind of cracked me up by how little sense it made.  If I remember correctly, she states that she loves Avenant and is glad the beast looks like him, but kind of wishes he was still the Beast.  He seems kind of annoyed by this.  What a weird twist.  
-My brother and law likes to talk about all the loop holes in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.  Something about how the appliances sing about how they have been rusting for 10 long years, and the beast is supposed to be turning 21 at the end of the movie as the rose blooms, and therefore, the kid was only like 11 when the witch turned him into a beast.  What was he doing in the castle alone at 11?  Where were his parents?  And maybe his parents just told him not to let strange old women into the house!  Anyway, if he has a problem with that version's plot issues, he should never watch this one.  All sorts of stuff happens that is never really explained, including golden keys, Belle somehow falling in love with the Beast, buildings filled with treasure, people turning into beasts, the beast looking like Avenant, what happened to the father, and the flying off among other things.  Because of all this, like I said above, I think it's best not to worry at all about the story and just enjoy the bizarre imagery.
-The slow motion scene with Belle running into the castle was extremely cool looking.

So Next week I am watching one of the many movies about the Titanic without Leo and Kate, it's called "A Night to Remember".  
Thursday I will go see Buck 65 in concert.  I am way excited.  Maybe too excited.



Satan is Real

this is always really strange to me

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Teeth, 400 Blows

Pretty good week, now relaxing on a Saturday in between General Conference, reading a bit, doing a bit of homework.  This last week at school we had to sort out a huge pile of teeth, when I first saw the plate they were on I thought it was pasta or something.  There is nothing worse than thinking something looks tasty and then realizing that is is actually the last thing in the world you would ever want to eat.  Bleeeccchhhh.
Other than that, we have been doing Anatomy and a bit of Physiology.  I just took an Anatomy class over the summer and am feeling pretty good about that material.
Last night for the week's Criterion movie I watched Francios Traffaut's 1959 "The 400 Blows".  It was probably my favorite out of the films from the collection so far, would give it a full recommendation to anyone.  There aren't many movies that do adolescence in an honest way, in fact, the only other movie I can think of that really gets it right in my opinion was "Where the Wild Things Are".  Even the brief moment's of happiness Antoine experiences feel queasy and uncomfortable.  This is not a blurry look back at childhood like "A Christmas Story", or even like last week's movie "Amarcord."  The experience is pretty much painful, confusing, and frustrating.
I'm not saying that I identify with all the actions of the protagonist, I think my childhood was a pretty comfortable place to be.  There was none of the destructive nature of Antoine in me, but there definitely existed the confusion trying to figure out the world, and I definitely felt that adults were usually incomprehensible.  Everything seems unfair, and emotions are a roller coaster.  Natalie says that when she was younger she remembers thinking that her feelings were "too big for her body".  I think that is a great description of the way most kids feel but can't describe.  Here were some of my favorite scenes:
-I liked the part where Antoine and his friend skip school and go on that spinning ride.  We had something like that at the Alaska State Fair called the Gravitron.  I used to love it as a kid, the idea of being weightless in any way was so exciting.  Sticking onto the wall was like heaven.  Now that I'm an adult, it's the last thing on earth I would ever want to subject myself to.  I think that is somehow a great metaphor for the film and how the adults and Antoine are each ciphers to each other.  Also, the dizziness and disorientation of the ride just feels like childhood.
-The most heartbreaking stuff were all directly shown from Antoine's point of view, such as him overhearing his parents fight about him and getting in trouble at school for the plagiarism or Balzac.  It's one of those things, because you know the whole story, and the intentions, you can identify with the child more than the adults.  In real life you may not sympathize as much with the delinquent, but because you travel through the entire movie with Antoine, you ONLY really feel for him.
-Not much to say about the last shots of the movie, except that they were amazing.
Next week I'll be watching Beauty and the Beast.  Not the Disney version.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gary the Whip

This is a great performance of one of my favorite Geti songs.  Also one of the best redemption songs ever:


The best line in my opinion is "You don't know anything what the octagon is about", a weird little bit of bizarre misspeak that gives you a funny insight on the character, it's really genius and weird all at the same time.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fitness Challenge, School, Amarcord

Having a nice relaxing weekend due to successfully passing my 2 exams on Friday.  Haven't cracked a book yet this weekend, but that might change soon.  On Monday I have a waxing competency, will be recreating tooth #14, a Maxillary First Molar which I feel like I'm going to dominate.  School is going sweel.
Started doing the Kenley Family Fitness Challenge this week.  It is just basically a weight loss competition where you get points for different healthy habits.  You have to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, drink 48 oz of water, not eat 2 hours before bed, and no treats except for one day a week.  The other part is you have to exercise like 250 minutes a week to get full points for exercise.  I don't know if I'm going to win this time around, but I it is definitely helping the health.  The only thing that is hard so far is drinking that much water.  My body can not handle it.  I am in the bathroom like every 20 minutes.  I use the working out as a break from school everyday, it's a good one.
On Monday evening we are having a big southern barbecue with my team at school.  Should be fun.  I'm bringing my famous bacon babyfood baked beans.  I know it sounds gross, but it is delicious.
On Friday night ran home and cooked some dinner for Nat, made some Chipoltle Salmon and Asparagus.  Then we watched the Criterion movie for the week, Fellini's Amarcord from 1973.  The movie is kind of a nostalgic look back at a small Italian town in the 1930s.  All the characters are extremely cartoonish and exaggerated, as they would be in somebody's childish memories.  All the stories within the movie are very loosely connected by themes and the characters involved, but they do not add up to a larger story at all.  Taken as a series or loosely connected short films, I enjoyed at least 75% of them.  As a whole, the modern movie goer inside had a hard time keeping checked in throughout the whole film.  Here are some favorite bits and pieces.
-The Nina Roto score alone is worth it.  I have heard the music used many times in other tv and film, but never knew where it came from.  The music is really beautiful and matches the film so well that now it will be inseparable in my find with some of the movie's best scenes.
-I think my favorite scenes in the film involved Aurelio's family.  Specifically the dinner where Aurelio confronts Titta for urinating on  the neighbor's hat.  Aurelio is such a great, hot-blooded character, and watching him try to tear his head in half at the mouth was amazing.  Plus, in the middle of it all, the grandfather leaves the room to pass gas.  It's an amazing scene.  I also loved the scene where the uncle escapes and climbs a tree screaming "I want a woman!" is one of the better short stories.
-All the school teachers were amazing, circus-like stereotypes.  My very favorite was the Italian teacher.
-The cinematography throughout the film was amazing.  Specifically during the night with the fog, the colors were so bright and the shots were really impressive.
So I liked Amarcord, but probably not as much as I should have.
Next week is The 400 Blows.
Calvin

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Call me a dog when I'm gone

Saw this guy Frank Fairfeild in Salt Lake about a year ago.  One of those times where you realize that the opener is probably more amazing than the show you are there to see, and you for some reason hadn't heard anything about them.  Here's a good representation:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend, Pho, Lady Vanishes

This week in school I learned how to wax up maxillary and mandibular molars.  I think I'm finally getting the hang of the waxing thing, just in time to leave it behind.  We started a unit on Oral Development this week and I'm feeling pretty caught up at this point.  I also got my huge package of Dental Decks in the mail to start my studying for the Boards.
Friday night Natalie had her friend Sarah Elton over and we somehow found ourselves watching a terrrrrible movie on BYUTV called Midway to Heaven that took place in Midway, Utah.  One of the funniest lines came from the main character, who was a widowed father.  At one point in exasperation at his daughter he yells, "I've got 20 casseroles in my refrigerator with marriage proposals on them!!!"  Only in Utah.
Saturday morning Natalie and Sarah ran a half marathon up in Big Cottonwood Canyon.  They both did really well, although Nat has been limping around everywhere and moaning a little bit.  I have been making fun of her a bit.
Last night we went and watched The Master.  I liked it, and like it even more in retrospect, but it was a very heavy film and a lot to grasp.  Definitely not recommended unless you really want to be challenged as a viewer.  Phoenix and Hoffman were both incredible in it.  Afterwards we went to a ward activity for a while and then met up with a friend from Dental School to go and eat Pho and walk around Temple Square.  He taught us how you are "really" supposed to eat it.
This week for the Criterion selection I watched "The Lady Vanishes" which is a 1938 Hitchcock suspense film.  This was supposedly the film that really brought him to Hollywood, therefore the last of his essentially British films.  Although this wasn't my favorite thing I've ever seen by Hitchcock, I definitely enjoyed it.  The story itself is very straightforward, heck, just look at the title.  What I found most interesting about the film was the way that it starts off as a straight-forward romantic comedy.  You honestly wouldn't know that you were about to watch a mystery/suspense film unless you were already familiar with Hitchcock's M.O.  Then, all of the sudden about a half an hour in, the whole thing switches up on you and all the sudden you are watching the two main characters choke out a strange looking magician in one of the rail cars.  The way films are made and marketed today, it is harder to pull of the genre switching in the middle of a film.  Films are supposed to state what they are within a minute preview so that people interested know what they are getting themselves into.  The opening sequences usually only serve to create a mood that will support later events.  This film was almost more frightening because of the unexpectedness of the events in the second act.  Here are a few other random things I liked:
-One of the most frightening feelings for a human being is being completely alone.  It is critical that we have a group supporting us at all times.  Hitchcock portrays this through the events with Iris after Froy disappears.  It's not so much that something sinister has taken place to Froy, it's the fact that Iris is all alone in this knowledge.  Iris eventually even begins to think her own mind is unreliable, she would rather change her story than be alone in the truth.  I think this is why the last scene in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" is so frightening, it's clear that everyone will think he is insane and he will truly be alone in his knowledge.
-The duo of Charters and Caldicott provided most of the comic relief.  They are a parody or stereotypical Brits of the era, but when it comes time to actually do the fighting, they happen to be the most skilled.  Nothing seems of great importance to them except for the cricket game they might have to miss.  They also have a strong aversion to rudeness, even if they are being put out for the most important of reasons.  
-The Pacifist on the train is killed almost immediately.  Probably a reflection of Britain's Pre-WW2 sentiment toward Germany?  Although the country in this film is made up, the antagonists seem a lot like Nazis, especially the doctor himself.
-I can't believe they actually hired a magician to make the woman disappear on the train.  I mean, they had a big cardboard cut out of him and everything.  Was that really necessary?  Couldn't they just have got a regular soldier to do a job like that?
-I do not usually enjoy modern horror, but I could see several aspects that have used over the decades to frighten an audience.  Trains as claustrophobic inescapable areas, the vanishing of a friend, everyone thinking you are crazy...directors still mine this stuff all the time.
-My favorite scene of the whole thing was when they sit down to eat and Iris sees the word Froy written in the dust on the window.  It vanishes just as quickly as it appears, and it further cements in Gilbert's mind that Iris must be crazy.  
So I liked "The Lady Vanishes", go check it out and see what you think.  Next week we are watching Fellini's Amarcord.
Have a nice week.
   

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mr. Pleasant

There are not a ton of great live videos of the Kinks, but this is definitely one of them.  The song is one of my favorites as well.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Risk, Seven Samurai, Deer

Good week, fun weekend.  I was able to pass both my tests on Friday so that I only had to do little to no studying this weekend.  On Friday night we had some friends over to eat dinner and chat and whatnot.  On Saturday I invited two old mission friends, Chris Smith and Jesse Quigley, over for a good old fashioned game of Risk.  We used to play Risk every Monday in Guatemala, so this was just like old times-except for the fact that I lost.  I started strong with large holdings in North and South America and a truce along the South American/African border.  I decided to make the truce with Smith on that border because Quigley was holding Australia with nobody contesting it.  I eventually got overconfident and worried about Smith growing too strong in Europe.  In an effort to take his country points, I spread myself too thin and vulnerable to an attack from Quigley on my Alaska Border.  Then Smith came back with a vengeance and wiped out the remaining strongholds of my forces.  I need to make sure that for the next game a hold back a bit more and build forces before striking and spreading thin.
For the Criterion selection this week, I watched the Seven Samurai, a 1954 Japanese film by Akira Kurosawa.  The movie has been the source for multiple remakes and retelling in different settings, including Magnificent Seven, Oceans Eleven, The Dirty Dozen, and even A Bug's Life.  The archetype of recruiting a specialized group to help solve a problem is a versatile one, and I think that it works because it is very character focused.  The battle scenes are intriguing in the film, but not half so much as the different characters that are created and the interactions between them.  A few of my favorite things:
-Most action movies today don't do a great job showing fear in the main characters.  You would think that stoicism is just something that all people just innately have.  Characters who you are invested in usually seldom show cowardice.  Generally, it's the cowards who actually lose in the end.  The hero's are the ones who keep calm under the most terrifying circumstances.  In the Seven Samurai, even according to the film's last line, the villagers are the winners.  Yohei has a face that is constantly molded into an expression of hopelessness.  He is by far my favorite character in the film.  There is no stoicism for him, even when he overcomes his fear and defends his post, his face never changes.  It's perfect.  We need more of this in film.
-On the same note, all of the villagers are people you would not want to really be friends with.  The have 2 volume settings, they are either screaming at each other or bowing in cowardice.  Yet somehow they seem to be more interesting than the cool-headed Samurai.  Which brings me to Kikuchiyo.
-Supposedly Kikuchiyo wasn't going to be in the film originally.  They were just going to have 6 samurai, but the director felt that they needed a more volatile character to make the movie watchable.  Obviously this was some real inspiration.  Kikuchiyo provides many of the films very best/funniest scenes.  His interactions with Yohei feel very true to life.  You can tell that he is singling Yohei out not just to teach him a lesson or make fun of him, but because he likes him more than the other villagers.  This is confirmed later in the film.  I also loved the scene of him riding Yohei's horse and falling off, and of course his insane plot to steal a musket so that he could be as revered as Kyuzo.  His insane laugh makes you never really quite sure of what he is going to do next.  You can hardly wait for him to come back on screen.
-This movie is superior to imitators like Oceans Eleven because of the characters with volatility take front and center.  It's fun to watch characters be cool under pressure and have all the right responses in every situation, but it's way funner to have a character who is the complete contrast take center stage and threaten to ruin everything, only to actually end up becoming the true hero.
 Anyway, go rent Seven Samurai if you haven't seen it.
Downton Abbey started in the UK last night.  Natalie and I watched it and she cried at least three times.
Sunday night we also had Blair Pettijohn and Sarah Low over for dinner and tire changing.  We finally got our car cleaned up from last week when a deer decided to fun into the drivers side of my car.  Actually, I should be getting a call sometime soon to take my car to get a new mirror put on it.  Whoo hoo!
Calvin
       

Monday, September 10, 2012

Master Trailer

Can't believe this comes out this month.
So excited for Joaquin's return.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Concert, Sleepwalk, School

Here is a few songs my friend Cory made this week using a bunch of little mini-synths.  I think they are pretty cool, especially for the time frame they were made in:

This weekend was pretty heavy on the studying.  Pretty much just went over a load of flashcards I had made and tried to eliminate them from the massive pile.  Learning a bunch of stuff I have learned in previous classes long ago, but it moves very fast and I have a hard time recalling all the old info.  Tomorrow I have a competency exam waxing up a maxillary central incisor.  Wish me luck!
On Tuesday night Natalie and I went and ate some Japanese noodles and then to go see a concert with Serengeti, Jel, and wHy?.  Show was great as expected, and I got to exchange some words and buy some stuff from Geti afterwards.  He was very chill and gracious with my fanboy-ness.  I told him I thought he was the best of the best and geeked out over some of the new stuff he is doing.
I stayed late on Wednesday and Thursday at school studying with a few people.  Gotta get down that embryology and histology before Friday.
Instead of watching a Criterion Collection this week, Natalie and I went to the Broadway Theater in Salt Lake and saw "Sleep Walk With Me", which is Mike Birbiglia's first film.  He wrote and starred in it.
It was pretty funny, especially good for somebody's first film, and although it had it's flaws we both enjoyed it.  The film is about a budding comedian finding his voice while simultaneously dealing with anxiety about his relationship.  I actually really like his stand up, and he recycles some of it for the movie.  It really is held together by his personality more than anything else.  It is fun having a theater close that plays good movies.
Last night we watched "All about my Mother", which is a Spanish Film with Penelope Cruz that won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1999 or something.  Natalie enjoyed that one a lot more than I did.  If you decide to watch it ever, just know it is very bizarre.
Today we went to church and Natalie made Potato and Leek soup and I made brownies.  I pretty much perused my flashcards all afternoon....
It's going to be a very busy week.
 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

jens lekman

Nat and me like Jens Lekman alot.  His new album is really good.  Check it out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Gone Away

I like this song alot.  I like this whole album, really.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dental School begins, Alaska, La Grand Illusion,

Dental School has started, life is starting to get a little more hectic.  I spent about 4 hours on Friday waxing up a maxillary central incisor.  Although it can kind of get tedious, I actually am enjoying the time spent in lab and in class.  Although I think I have pretty good small motor skills, I definitely don't have an artist's eye, so some of the fine stuff is legitimately challenging.  I will get it down eventually though, and I'm having fun practicing.
We had a great time in Alaska with family and friends.  We biked the coastal trail, hiked up in Hatcher's Pass, went up to Lake Louise and spent the night in my parents' cabin, and did some of the Lynx Lake Loop by canoe up at the Nancy Lake trail system.  It was great to be home for a while and see everyone, and especially great to be outdoors without burning up.
To try and keep a little sanity outside of school, Natalie and I have started watching the Criterion Collection in order.  Last night we watched "La Grande Illusion", a 1937 French film by Jean Renoir.  The film is about a couple prisoners of war during World War 1 in Germany and some of their escape attempts.  The movie deals with the futility of war and treats all the characters from a humanistic perspective.  I haven't watched many films that are this old, so at first it was kind of a struggle to get into it.  Eventually we both caught up with the plot ended up loving it.  There were definitely some laugh out loud moments and great scenes.  Instead of typing up a full lengthy review, I'll just encourage you to watch it and make a list of some of my favorite bits of the movie:
-At one point while the French prisoners are putting together a theatrical production and are trying on wigs and women's clothing, one of them looks out the window at a bunch of young German soldiers marching on the parade field and states, "Out there children are pretending to be soldiers, in here soldiers are pretending to be children."
-Rauffenstein was definitely my favorite character.  The film is really villian-less.  He definitely looks like he will be playing the part of the bad guy, with his back injury and strict speech about escaping when the prisoners get to Wintersborn.  Actually, the first shot of him at his desk in Wintersborn is almost frightening.  By the end of the film however, the only real emotion you feel for him is pity.  He is bound by duty and actually resents what he has to do.  You also feel sorry for him because of status in the collapsing social order.  It was refreshing to feel like everyone in the film was a real complex character, including the captors.
-I really enjoyed the escape scene with the flutes being played in unison, both Natalie and I cracked up at the French soldier earlier in the film who, watching the Germans out on the parade field, states, "I loathe fifes."
-There is a famous scene in the film that inspired part of Casablanca, where the French prisoners all break out in unison singing the French National Anthem during their play after discovering that a fort has been retaken.  My brother in law always says that the U.S. has the best National Anthem, I would say the French is maybe a close second?
-If you have time, look up a bit of the history of the film itself.  It was declared cinematic enemy number one by Joseph Goebbels upon release, and was eventually banned in France because of the potential effect it might have on morale.  The original nitrate of the film was lost and thought to have been destroyed for decades and eventually restored only in 1990.  
Anyway, the film is well worth your time.  Next week we are going to watch Seven Samurai.  I have seen Magnificent Seven, but never the film it was based on, so I'm excited.

Natalie is off picking pears this morning.  We are living in Draper in the top floor of an old mansion and we are loving it.  It doesn't have air conditioning, but it is finally cooling off and it is getting more bearable to be inside.
Don't know what I'm going to do now that Breaking Bad has ended until next summer.
Tomorrow night after school I am headed to Salt Lake to go see Serengeti, Jel, and wHy?  It's gonna be great.
Gotta run,
Calv

Thursday, June 28, 2012

yeah

this on repeat

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Good news and rambling about life and stuff.///

For the past three years or so on the corner of this blog I had posted that I was applying to Dental School. Today I got to change it-I found out yesterday that I got accepted to Roseman University to start Dental School in August. Needless to say, I am incredibly excited to have gotten in somewhere. It feels like a major load of my consciousness. Now that I am in, I don't feel any regret about it taking so long, I got to do a lot of great things over the past 2 years that would not have happened otherwise. But somewhere in the back of my mind, this thing has always been eating at me. Here are are a few things I have been thinking about.

I don't think I've ever written about this here before, but this was my third attempt at applying. During my pre-dent class in college, the professor told the students "you'll eventually find that you are going to get what you want in life." I think that was really great advice, although I don't know if I believed it for a while. Timing sometimes makes things look like they are not going to happen, but persistence really does pay off.

If your not sure what you really want, try doing something that you really don't want for a while and you'll figure it out. For the past year and a half I have been working as an eligibility specialist for the Utah State Government giving out Food Stamps, Medicaid, and Financial Assistance. There is no shame in taking a job to pay the bills...and really I think that doing something like that for a year is really going to benefit me during the rougher years at dental school. However, the prospect of doing something like that for the rest of my life was a very grim one. I thought the job was interesting, I would say especially because of it's eye-opening nature. Work a week there and, conservative or liberal, your opinion will really change about our welfare system...it's an incredibly needed and simultaneously flawed system. Working at a place like that really complicates your beliefs about government assistance.

Seeing people grasping for anything to make a difference in their economic situation is humbling and maddening. Depending on who you are speaking to, you wish we could either do more to help them, or wish that we weren't helping them at all. Lots of conflicting emotions. One thing was very clear to me though, I am damn lucky to have been raised in a good, fiscally responsible, and yes, privileged family. It's almost an ungrateful act to not take advantage of the opportunities that I have been given. I'm not referring to money here at all. It would be wasteful to not find a way to be happy with all that has been given to me.

A lot of people in hard times would be thrilled to be doing what I have for the past year, you can live a semi-comfortable life, but I think it would be a waste of my potential. The job is so repetitive and mind-numbing. Most of my job probably should be automated, but the interest of the department is of course tied more to keeping jobs than efficiency.

Over time I have realized that I need a job that will be continually challenging. Challenging is different than frustrating...my job now is frustrating, there is no getting better at it. Many outside factors influence your ability to succeed. Dentistry will fulfill this I think. From what I understand, there is always more to learn, areas of the practice that you can develop and improve. It's what excites me the very most about going into the field. I don't want to waste my potential sitting in front of a computer screen clicking boxes any longer.

Part of the dental application process is taking the DAT. I'm not too embarrassed to say that I took it 3 times. The first 2 times I got the same score, which wasn't horrible, but obviously not good enough to get into a school. The third time my wife Natalie urged me to take a Kaplan course to prepare for it. I did not want to do this at all. First off, it was expensive, and secondly, does not offer anything really that you couldn't do on your own if your very disciplined. After a bit of discussion I agreed to take the course. I did very well in the structured environment and studied the materials while working full time. Without a doubt, the course allowed me to greatly improve my score and is probably the reason I was able to get in this year.

This brings me to my next point: You have to allow yourself to do what you need to in order to succeed. It's weird that I made excuses not to do something that could have only been good for me. Sometimes I guess we all are impossiblists, but I am trying hard these days to accept answers that people give me to my problems. Suggestions from someone who is a little removed from your situation are usually solutions waiting to be implemented. There are times I chat with friends who have some sort of burning problem and they are asking for advice. To me, the answer seems fairly straight forward, and the course that they should take seems clear. More often than not, when I give advice, people will shoot it down immediately and explain all the many reasons that what I have said can't possibly work for them in their situation. At work, I often spend time trying to help the clients do what's necessary to get out of their current situation, but to them what I am suggesting seems impractical and sometimes outright insane. I am fully aware there are times when I reverse roles with these people. I'm working to be better at accepting solutions offered from clear headed third parties.

The third thing: You can't beat yourself up too much. I think depression can be a vicious cycle whether your dealing with unemployment, rejection, or any other situation where your hopes get constantly dashed. When someone says effectively tells you that you are fantastic but not what they are looking for, it is hard not to take it personally being devalued. The more applications you put in, the more rejections you get, and the more you feel crushed. Any encouragement from others makes you feel like they are being unrealistic. I mean, you've put it 30 applications and not heard back at all, what makes them think the next one is going to be any different? Haven't they taken statistics?

I felt this way as the third application cycle was coming and slowly going without any interviews. Friends and family would tell me, "You just need an interview and you'll get it!" I doubted this because even though my DAT score had increased, it seemed like the results had not changed. When I did finally get a call for an interview, I still had low expectations for it. Luckily, the day of, the fire awakened inside of me. I realized how badly I wanted to go to this school and confidence came rushing back. I was able to rely upon my years of preparation for the moment. I was lucky to be able to get an interview, and in hindsight I realize that my friend's and family's encouragement was well....just encouragement. They actually had more faith in me than I had myself. Sometimes you need that. Maybe allow the people around you to tell you what they think about you...it's often more accurate than what you think about yourself.

Enough rambling. If you can't tell, I'm just excited to start this next phase of life and wanted to think about some things I'll do differently from now on.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Over

This last month Andrew, Cory and I each made our own version of the Roy Orbison song, it's over.



The new mixtape, KKVB2:Mark of the beast will be out in 1 week from today. I worked on it much on Saturday, just finishing a few things and waiting for the cover artwork from Quigley. Quigley did the artwork for part one, can't wait to see what he is doing for #2.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

happy valentines day.

new rap mixtape coming real soon. I promise. Just a few tweaks left to do.
Also I have a bunch of my old albums if anybody wants one. $2 plus shipping for copies of whatever.
listening to much classical music these days, reading the new Alex Ross collection of essays, "Listen to This"
Also finished reading Anna Karenina and it was real good. Posting stuff on goodreads about the books I've been reading lately.
Here is a randy newman cover i did.

Happy Valentines day!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

greatest flo on earth vids

Last night took part in a show in Kilby with a bunch of local emcees and djs. had alot of fun. i look a little crazy when i'm rapping, but that's okay...here are some vids nat took.