Terri's Cellar Door

Stuff that happens to me, Terri.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Chinglish and Me

So, I speak Chinglish. This is when I carefully construct an entire sentence in Chinese, and say it, only to end it with an English phrase, or word, that I just don't know the equivalent to in Chinese. Wikipedia calls it codeswitching, but I just call it not knowing the Chinese word for stuff. Granted, I'm not bilingual, but I'm getting there. Also, don't you just love how you're trying to go to bed. And you'll go on Wikipedia just to get a detailed episode list of the Prisoner, and then, three hours later, you're reading about how Napoleon couldn't get an erection? I mean, this thing is crazy. Um, sorry, back to the point. So, I've been trying to practice my Chinese again, you know, get back on the old wagon while I've got some time for myself, and while I haven't completely forgotten everything I learned, I'm certainly not getting any better at speaking it. People always ask me if Chinese is hard. And I always tell them, yeah, it is. But, it's easier to me than Spanish that I've been learning for almost a decade. It's like any language. You practice, you get better, you don't practice, you get worse. It takes practice, hard work, and dedication. If you don't have all of those, you won't get any better. I'm trying to work at it, one day, I hope to truly be fluent. Until then, 我 是 study.

There is an Old Chinese saying, "Study is like paddling upstream: If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward."

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Forbidden Kingdom Review and Why This Movie Should Have Starred Me

This is slightly old. I started it on April 19th, and am just finishing it now. Does that say something about me? Maybe. Meanwhile, I'm constructing an Iron Man review which is probably pretty old (sometimes), which I will post in the near future. Or past. Or something. Anyway:

So, I saw the Forbidden Kingdom last night, my birthday (look for the DixieChicksaversary post later), and I am here to offer up my experience so that all of you can share in my joy, or heartbreak, as the case may be. Anyway, the first thing I noticed to my chagrin, or happiness (I can't figure out which one) was that the theater was almost empty. I mean, what is wrong with you people?!?!?! The on-screen pairing of Jackie Chan and Jet Li?!?!?! The thing we've been waiting for for decades?!?!?! And you stupid Americans can't ever stop drinking your Big Gulps and sitting in your Lazy Boys to go out and see it, huh? Well, I'm telling you, you don't know what you're missing. Okay, granted, I've been excited about this movie since I heard about it maybe three or four years ago, but I was still ready to make a true, honest and completely representative review. I just want to start out by saying that THIS MOVIE IS ABOUT A MODERN DAY WHITE KID FROM CHICAGO OR SOMETHING, WHO LIKES MARTIAL ARTS MOVIES. Didn't know that did you? Watched the trailer a hundred times and didn't see one person resembling a white person did you? Well, we were all too busy focusing on the awesomeness of Jackie Chan and Jet Li to see this little white kid, poking his head out from behind a pillar or something, generally sucking all the air out of, um, I dunno, life. It's basically Agent Cody Banks. If Cody Banks had been sent back in time instead of a spy, and Agent Cody Banks had also starred Jet Li and Jackie Chan. And you're thinking, who cares? I mean, it's still has Jet Li and Jackie Chan in it right? Yes. And they're kicking butt, right? Yes. So, what's the problem? There's no problem. I had no problem with the fact that little Ralph Macchio decided to get sent back in time and kick some evil butt. I just wished I had known. I would have gone to see the movie anyway, but to actually think you're in the wrong movie for a couple of minutes, and the Jet Li fight you just saw was a preview that they incorrectly tacked onto the front of another movie, well, that's a harsh reality to deal with. I don't mean that this movie was worse with him in it. Okay, maybe I do, I dunno about all that right now, but I do know that I did not know that he was going to be in it. So, that's the first hurdle you have to cross right there. So, basically the plot is that Agent Cody Banks gets sent back in time to deliver a magical staff to the Monkey King who has been frozen into stone, blah-dy, blah. But you don't care about all that, do you? No, you want to know about the fights. Well, there are a bunch of great fights, focusing on the two lead actors main strengths. Chan has a nice prop filled fight in a tavern, in which he even uses Agent Cody Banks as a human torpedo. Li has a nice fight early on where he kicks some bad guys off of a mountain. They're characters seem to fit as well. Chan is this wise cracking drunk guy, while Li is a serious, monk. I dunno if they're like this in real life, but these are the characters they consistently seem to be playing on screen so you feel at home with it. Finally there's the big fight scene between Jet and Jackie, which, I don't have to tell you, is pretty awesome. In a scene befitting these two giants of Chinese action cinema, very little wire work is used. It is (for the most part) a down and dirty, fist to face, bare knuckles kind of brawl, and it lasts just long enough to leave you out of breath, but begging for more. First Jackie has the upper hand, then Jet, then Jackie, then Jet, then Jet again, then Jet some more. Nevertheless, they fight and it's awesome, and then it's over and they're friends. Now look. This isn't Citizen Kane, alright? There's an ending you see coming from a mile away, and it's not a cinematic masterpiece, okay? But it was good. Pretty good. And if you're just going to see it for Jackie Chan and Jet Li, then all that other stuff doesn't matter, does it? And if you're like me, and have spent the greater part of your formative years watching kung fu movies that your grandad brought to the house and let you watch even though you were clearly too young to be watching some of those movies, and have subsequently become hooked on that very type of movie, then you won't care. I mean, I watched a movie where a princess married a monkey for crying out loud! (This movie was not predictable) Just go see this movie. It's going to be awesome, and you're going to love it, trust.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

泰丽 写 得。

Having to choose an author for an oral report is like being a kid in the candy store for me. I love so many great authors that choosing just one is the hardest thing to do. I chose Ray Bradbury because I had just read a very interesting article about Fahrenheit 451 and wanted the opportunity to share it with the class. When I read that book in high school I thought the plot was simply about burning books. It was much like when I read Animal Farm in fifth grade and thought the book was just about barnyard animals revolting. There is the top story, but a rich subtext. I came to realize that the Fahrenheit 451 wasn’t really about the people burning the books, or even the act of burning the books. The story is really about the society that created an atmosphere where no one protested the destroying of the books. It’s about a world that is so culturally starved that burning a book is no more than lighting a match. In the world created by Bradbury, and increasingly being seen today, people are cut off from the outside world, and interactions with other people. A person can put on a iPod and not have to talk to another human being all day. It is in the most normal and banal of activities that we retain our humanness. It is in those moments of small talk, and dealing with people that we don’t want to (but have to) deal with that makes us who we are. The society in Fahrenheit 451 does not have that. They have the world created by Jerry Springer and reality shows, and the world that says all you need to know is encompassed in a little screen; be it a television or computer screen. The people in that future are not only cut off from each other, but their cut off from themselves. They can’t display the normal human emotions that we have today, and are medicated against them. They live their lives in a stupor filled with television and drugs, and when someone tries to break free from that life, through books, they are burned alive. Perhaps the woman who killed herself along with her precious tomes was the most alive of all the characters in the story. Certainly Montag, before he discovered himself, and certainly all of the drones who degrade their minds by staring at a television screen all day. The answer to this future doesn’t just lie in books, but what the books represent; free thought. The books were just a gateway. They opened the door to the flood of emotion and free thought that can set a society and a people free. The books themselves aren’t important, even what’s inside of them isn’t the most important thing. A society doesn’t cease to exist because the records of its’ past are gone. A society becomes stagnant because its’ people, on their basest levels have forgotten what it means to be truly human.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Make Everybody Twins OR Electric Toilet

So, I saw Baby Mama a couple of hours ago, and this is what I do, I go see a movie and then nine times out of ten go tell you to go see it, this is what I do. Actually, while we're on the subject, don't go rent One Missed Call. It's basically the aborted fetus of the Ring. But with 100% less sympathy. Seriously, I saw this horrific masterjunk the other day, literally wanted to claw my eyes out. It was exactly the ring, except with a cell phone, and more stupidity. Listen, I know that people tell you go see this movie, don't go see that one, but seriously, don't go see this movie. You'll go to Blockbuster (yeah, right), or you'll start lining up your movie queue and you'll think, "Terri couldn't have meant all she said about One Missed Call. Aborted Fetus? Yeah, right!". And then you'll rent it and somebody could end up dead, and THAT'S WHAT I'M TRYING TO AVOID PEOPLE!!!! So, please, don't go see it, it's basically a terrible movie. (Another digression) I used to say that stuff was 'the worst movie ever'. Like, "Don't go see Starsky and Hutch, that's the worst movie ever!" (I dunno if that's true, I've never seen it). But then, I saw the worst movie ever, and you know what? I've never found a movie worse. And I've seen some bad ones. One Missed Call for instance. Anyway, Baby Mama is not on that list because it was hilarious and I loved it. You probably already know the plot, yeah? Tina Fey plays this slightly uptight, career oriented woman who wants to have a baby, but can't because PC doesn't like her uterus. (Don't get that sentence, watch a TV for crying out loud!) Anyway, so here comes Amy Poehler, a less than classy lady who can't stop getting pregnant. Let the hilarity ensue! Seriously, it does. It couldn't have been a more generic formula, but it actually worked. Tina and Amy have this kind of closeness (they're close friends in real life), that makes it easy for you to see the kindred spirit that both of their characters share. It doesn't seem to far fetched when they start hanging out and getting to like each other. The only problem I had with the main characters is that while Tina's character is pretty fleshed out, Amy's character seems a little flat. You never really know her motivation, and apart from being a 'baby mama' she doesn't seem to have anything else going on in her life. Meanwhile, the side characters really make this movie hilarious. I mentioned John Hodgeman as her fertility doctor, Steve Martin as her hilariously offbeat, new age boss, Sigourney Weaver as a smug but knowledgeable fertility doctor, and Dax Shepherd as Amy's no good boy friend. Sure this movie is a little formulaic with an ending that you can see coming from a mile away, but it is darn funny. The jokes come fast and hard, and you know what? I spent the greater time in the theater laughing my butt off. So, on Terri's Scale O Movies with 0 being Doo Brown 2: Electric Boogaloo, and 10 being the Matrix and the Matrix Reloaded, I'd have to give this movie a 7. It was funny in all the right places, and I think that it was paced very well. So, go see it, if you will. At the very least, don't see One Missed Call.

"She's expecting."
"Expecting what, a social security check?"
Tina's character to Amy's character about Sigourney Weaver's latest pregnancy.

**Don't take it badly that I can't remember anybody's character's names. I just know them all so well as their real life counterparts, it was hard to think of them as anything else.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Sexy Chocolate Minotaur

There are some shows I refuse to watch on principle. Grey's Anatomy is one, that show about Tila Tequila is another, Desperate Housewives. This usually doesn't have anything to do with the buzz, or the actors, or anything as noble as that, I just haven't and won't. I mean, I haven't this long, why change now? Well, I might be lying about the Tila Tequila thing. I really feel dumber just flipping past that one on the TV, but nonetheless. Anyway, I've been hearing alot about this show called Gossip Girl. I don't know what it's about, and I don't want to, all I know is that it's another show about pretty white kids with problems. Most of this white kids are rich, and most of these problems don't matter. I mean, this thing is pretty much everywhere! You can't turn on CNN without seeing how they had billboards that said OMFG, or something like that. Can't I turn on my TV without hearing about this show? I spend a lot of time avoiding shows that I think will hurt my spirit. And no doubt, my friends, this is one of them. But I can't walk down the bloody street without seeing somebody with their finger to their lips in a shushing motion, or some guys torso, and the Gossip Girl logo beside it. Well, here's what I'm promising you. This is the last time that you will hear me mention that show on this blog. Seriously, this is now a Gossip Girl free zone. And I can promise you that. Like the presidential candidates, I am giving you something you want, no, not universal healthcare, or like jobs, no, just less of a show you don't watch, on a blog that you don't read. You're welcome.

Amidst the mists and coldest frosts,
with stoutest wrists and loudest boasts,
he thrusts his fist against the posts
and still insists he sees the ghosts.

(Isn't that a creepy kids rhyme? Not even, Rock A Bye Baby creepy, but there's this dude, in what I can only assume is a fishing village, who nobody believes and everybody thinks is crazy, and the only way that he can get his point across about these ghosts is by punching a pole. I mean, what? I think the point of this whole thing is to make you seem less crazy, dude, and if I were you, I'd start by stopping my assault on the woodwork.)

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