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.

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!

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,