March 30, 2009

(J)Amal

A brief comparison of two movies I watched in the past week: Slumdog Millionaire and Amal.

SM: set in Mumbai, a mix of the slums and the slumlords' mansions
A: set in New Delhi, a mix of the slums and the rich's mansions (some of whom are involved with slumlords)

SM: follows the story of Jamal Malik, a child of poverty
A: follows the story of Amal Kumar, a lowly auto-rickshaw driver

SM: Jamal might win 10 million rupees*
A: Amal might inherit billions of rupees*

SM: English, with some Hindi and English subtitles
A: English, with some Hindi and English subtitles

SM: central characters include a poor beggar girl named Latika
A: central characters include a poor beggar girl named Priya

SM
: brothers turn rivals - who will triumph?
A: family drama may result in death...

SM: will he win the heart of lovely Latika?
A: will the beautiful & feisty Pooja be his?

SM: bittersweet, but hopeful ending
A: bittersweet & ambiguous ending

In short, they are surprisingly similar, for all their differences. I have to recommend Amal as a great example of Canadian film. And my infatuation with India is only growing.


*I learned from my Indian (and India-knowledgeable) friends that Indians don't actually count in millions. There is some alternative unit that I can't recall and is not a "base 10" type for numbers this large.

March 25, 2009

Making Shepherding a Little Bit Sexier...

You have never seen anything like this before in your life.

I promise.

So watch it.

Be amazed.

March 23, 2009

Much Music Monday

I've been listening to and thinking about music a whole bunch this weekend. Not that this is unusual at all.

Because of the rain, I have three musical video shout-outs for your viewing pleasure.

My friend Selina - or was it Aban? (both like to send me links to random things!) showed me this video to a song I already enjoyed. Now I like it doubly. What an ingenious music video idea!


This song is ridiculous because it is true. In that, girls think like this and we are weird. It is also catchy. Props to Nadine for the Bedingfield sharing.


And finally, my roommate Manuela is going places. You heard it here first! She went to LA in the fall to make this video. Enjoy!

March 20, 2009

In the News Today

I like having a little headlines application on my google homepage. Today I learned that an adult movie theatre in Vancouver may be closing, someone is putting sewing needles in food where my mother shops, and there really is a pink elephant, which may or may not live a very full life.

Winding Down From Being Wound Up

Work, work, work. It is coming fast and furious these days. My email is finally down under 50 in the inbox. I just sent the last one of the evening. It's 11:02pm and I am ready for bed.

Oh wait, I stayed online too long and people are talking to me. People I can't brush off.

I was relieved that my friends cancelled on our Office watching party.

Outside of work, I may have unintentionally offended a friend of a friend. I feel terrible about this, but it is beyond my control at this point. Sigh. I wish I could make people know when I commit a faux pas unintentionally, and that I could make them respond maturely. But I can't. I can only try to do the same when the roles are reversed...

Okay, I am not saying anything more because I'm losing coherence.

March 16, 2009

Swimming With Your iPod

Last night, I had some more vivid dreams. I don't remember most of them, but one moment stood out to me.

I was stretching - doing yoga or situps - on a dock. It was an urban waterfront, and I may have lived in the building right behind me. It was a cold and blustery day, kind of like this past weekend. As I was exercising, a girl jogged into sight. She was wearing appropriate jogging apparel and had an iPod in her hand. . She ran from the street onto the dock (it ran lengthwise along the waterline, not jutting into the bay) and then ran across it. She continued toward the water and stepped off the dock as if she was stepping down onto another level of street.

Obviously, she was not. She fell into the water with her iPod, floundering and surprised. All of us on the dock and street noticed, but before we could help she had lifted herself back onto the dock.

Embarrassed, she seemed ready just to run away. In my mind, I was about to call out, to offer her some dry clothes (I lived in the row of warehouse-converted-condos right behind) or something...

Then I woke up.

Moral of the story: don't swim with your iPod. One of my friends did (unintentionally) a few summer's back. He was fairly annoyed with himself when he realized just how many GBs of music he had lost.

March 13, 2009

I Don't Care

Yesterday, I learned a new Mandarin phrase. When one of my friends stole it and tried impressing our Asian friends with her new-found knowledge, I was playfully upset. When she said to me, "Tianqi hen hao," (The weather is good.) I wanted to retort, "I don't care." But it would be so much more impressive if I could say it in Mandarin...

So I asked a student, "Hey, how do you say 'I don't care' in Mandarin?"

She looked perplexed, "Why would you want to say that?" I explained. She thought about it. "I don't know...I have always avoided saying that."

Wow. What a polite kid. So I moved on to another student. Two of them, actually.

"Hey, how do you say 'I don't care' in Mandarin?"

She laughed. "I don't know - I've never said it...[in my culture] you always care!" Her friend nodded. They thought for a moment and came up with a suggestion - which I took to a fourth student.

"Is this how you say 'I don't care' in Mandarin?"

She looked surprised, but she corrected my pronunciation. I turned around, triumphant and ready to tell my friend that I didn't care about the weather, when my helpful teacher put her hand on my arm and said kindly, "You don't want to say that though. It's very rude."

March 11, 2009

Children, Popcorn & Cellphones

If you like children and funny quotes, read this article.

If you like cell phones and science, watch this video.


I read one and watched the other this morning. I laughed with the kids and went WHAT!? with the cell phones. Is it science or is it a hoax?

March 10, 2009

C'est La Vie

I recently discovered Chromeo, and when I heard this song*, I couldn't help but compare. Apparently, I am into the funk-electro-dance scene.

Unfortunately, I can't embed the video...but please note the sweet dance moves and Yoshi-esque egg.

(*thanks, Jonathan!)

March 8, 2009

The Voodoo Room

The dream started out with the two of us walking into a store. It was also a cafe/club, and I found the owner behind the counter. I smiled and gave him my CD, saying we'd love to play a show sometime and here was my album so he could hear what we sound like.

"Any chance you can play tonight? Our band just cancelled on us..."

"Yeah! Well, we're not exactly dressed for it - don't you need to hear us first?"

"Right. Yeah," he seemed a bit distracted, "I will take a listen. Why don't you two just take a look around the store?"

We wandered around and I spotted a table of hoodies and reached out to touch a light blue and brown one. "Ooooh, if we get this gig, I am buying this hoodie. I love it!"

We wandered around until the owner came back to us...we were a go.

"But I need a hair elastic. And some make-up..."

"Oh," he said, "No problem. If you just head into The Voodoo Room, there's extra makeup in there. I'm sure there'll be a hair elastic too."

"The Voodoo Room?" I asked, confused.

"Yeah, right over there," he pointed and I realized that a sign hung over an open door, declaring in red letters The Voodoo Room. I thought to myself, That's a crazy creative name for the bathroom.

Inside, sure enough, there was some random make-up. My friend started getting ready and so did I. It was like a bag of all the collected leftover make-up from the past five years, yet it didn't bother me. I sorted through and found a great black eye-liner. No hair elastics though...I had to settle for a piece of string. Which was fine, since my amazingly wavy and long hair looked great no matter how I wore it.

We were putting on the finishing touches when I saw the reflection of two guys walk in. Oh, I thought, it's a co-ed bathroom. They stopped right behind us, and one of them made some sort of pick-up attempt. I glared at his reflection, my fully-unimpressed-look-of-coldness telling him to back-off and stay put. I may have said something along the same lines. He laughed and smiled to his friend, then back at me.

"You better be careful. If you're going to be a musician, you need to know who you're talking to before you start..."

I replied with something along the lines of, "Psshh, as if."

Just then the owner walked in. "Oh, I see you've met the band - these will be your back-up guys..."

My face dropped a little, and I caught the cocky one grinning at me in the mirror. They left and my friend went too. I put on my eyeliner.

Walking out of The Voodoo Room, they were ready to start. As I walked up, I sat in front of the guitarist and pianist. My friend and I both held mics, and I realized a few things simultaneously:
1) I was part real-me and part dream-character.
2) Real-me didn't know what we were about to sing. But dream-me did.
3) The other girl was my mom. Not my actual mom, but someone else who was my mother.

We started singing, and I discovered that I was the back-up vocalist. I knew the harmonies, and when to hum. We started off with our first song.

Apparently we were awful. Two songs in, the audience was almost booing us. My friend/mom was oblivious. Real-me was confused. So were the musician guys.

After the third song, the owner took a mic and said, "Great, thanks, folks! We'll just take a break and then have a band change..."

My mom got off her chair and headed back to The Voodoo Room, content with her performance. I turned around and took an available guitar, saying, "I'll just sing one song first."

Real-me was thinking, What the heck is going on? while dream-me knew exactly what would happen. I started strumming the guitar - D, G, C - no! D, C, G (Real-me hasn't played a guitar in three years). The pianist started accompanying me.

I opened my mouth and sang. It was a lovely acoustic song. Simple, catchy, universal. Lyrically almost-predictable, but actually fresh and sweet. By the last chorus, the whole cafe/club was singing along.

I smiled and thanked them, and took off my guitar as the owner walked up to me.

"What happened!??!" he asked, obviously trying to understand the transformation. I took his hand and led him into The Voodoo Room.

I realized, suddenly, that I was wearing a completely different dress. It was lovely - strapless, cream-coloured, knee-length, lace overlay...

In The Voodoo Room, there were couches and chairs (like those half bathrooms/half lounges at a fancy restaurant). The owner sat on the arm of a chair and I stood close to him. We looked over and noticed my mom asleep on one of the couches.

Real-me thought, This is like in the movies. It's one of those pre-kissing moments.

Dream-me started leaned in to whisper in his ear. I didn't want to wake my mom..."I am so sorry about that...but you see, my mom has two dreams in life. One is to marry a pirate. The other is to be a rock star. I usually bring her with me to drop off my CD, but I end up lying about when I get gigs...because I know she's terrible. But when you invited us to play right away...I couldn't say no to her. She's my mom - I have to let her be a part of this."

He looked at me. We were still close-talking. "That is the sweetest thing I think I've ever heard," he said. Real-me thought, This is bad news.



I woke up singing my amazing acoustic song. The tune and the lyrics to the chorus were catchy enough to survive my transition to the alert world. But an hour later, I coudn't remember anything more than, "Even when you're gone.....(something something) song." Which is somehow not quite a number one hit.

March 4, 2009

A Long Day

When a day starts and I am already behind, I tend to panic. But time and time again, I remind myself that panic and anxiety are not the ways that Jesus wants me to live my life. So I take a break and stop thinking about all that I need to do, and think about who He is.

Some days, it enables me to persevere through the details and the lists and check things off. And other days, it enables me to set the list aside and focus on people, relationships, opportunities.

In the middle of a conversation, when someone says, "Yeah, I'm a friend of so-and-so's. They told me about you," and this is a positive thing - I am encouraged.

When I answer a question and someone says, "Wow, that's a great way of explaining it," I feel relieved that I am understood.

At the end of the day, when someone says, "Talking with you (your organization's people) has really changed my perspective on religion. I really respect your integrity and your thoughtfulness," I go home content.

March 1, 2009

Sunday of Sweetness is Almost Here

That is how I will be thinking of Sundays from now until Easter. (When you observe Lent, you get Sundays "off" as a day of celebration.)

Growing up, we didn’t observe Lent; I didn’t know that anyone other Catholics did until university. The last couple years, I’ve found it a helpful and encouraging discipline, even if it is “extra-biblical.” I could go an as to why, but I will save that for another time (if anyone is interested).

This year, I have given up dessert. My prayer, in doing so, is Jesus, I want you to be as sweet to me as the sugar I crave.

It has been four days.

I have been failing miserably.

On Wednesday, I ate three bites of a chocolate bar on the coffee table before I remembered that Lent had just begun.

On Thursday, a friend brought me cupcakes as a celebration of our friendship’s “one-year anniversary.” It would have been rude to refuse her thoughtfulness.

On Friday, I offered to take a guest for bubble tea before I remembered it was Lent. Again, it would have been rude to renege on my offer. And does bubble tea count?

Today, I ate a small piece of dark chocolate. Knowingly. And because I haven't officially ruled it out.

And in my failing miserably, I am finding great success. The night before Lent began, I watched Chocolat, which is my favourite Lenten/Easter movie. It reminds me (to paraphrase Pere Henri) that my goodness is not found in what I deny myself, what I am not, and what I exclude. And even if I've managed to make a mess of every day this week, there is still grace and forgiveness for me.

Which means that tomorrow, I will eat dessert without guilt.