June 8, 2001

Friday June 8. 2001

crouching, hidden

So I'm back in Lebanon again, for the third weekend in a row, for no reason other than there's nothing else to me to do. Oh yeah, I'm going on vacation in a week and there's nothing for me to do...

Tonight my parents and I went out to eat at one of the many Chinese buffets that dot the strip malls of Lebanon, PA. This particular Chinese buffett is actually better than most because they have do it yourself stir fry. You get a bowl and pick your choice of raw meat and vegetables, and then douse it with one of a dozen different sauces (the ginger is to die for) and hand it to the guy behind the counter, who grills it all on an enormous round griller, slaps it on a plate and hands it back to you. It is SO good.

Of course, this "Chinese" buffet contains things that you would not think of as inherently Chinese - like Jello and crappy soft serve ice cream, and those hot dog slices wrapped in bacon. And, believe it or not, some rudimentary sushi. There was no fish in them, just vegetables, the wasabi looked more like guacamole than anything, but it gave me the barest glimmer of the way sushi should be. It was very odd to eat it with a fork, though.

To dovetail perfectly into my next subject, I went out to Best Buy bright and early this past Tuesday to purchase the dvd of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (this bringing my total dvd collection to 4). It's rare that I ever purchase something on the day it's released. I think the last time I did that was when I bought Fiona Apple's When the Pawn....

I'm just beginning to realize how complicated the plot is. The ideas and passions that push and pull the characters throughout the movie are fascinating. But I just can't get out of my mind the entry Arendel wrote about how much of the movie's dialogue gets lost in the translation from Mandarin to English. I did find some of the subtitles simplistic and occasionally bordering on the ridiculous, now that I've viewed it a couple more times. I also noticed that, in being momentarily distracted by reading the words at the bottom of the screen, I've missed out on many of the minute details - a gesture, a look, a turn of the camera.

I think it's the perfect balance of fantasy and reality. I read in reviews and heard people say that they found all the flying in it unnecessary and stupid, but to me, it seemed like the next logical step, a completely natural extension to the aggressive ballet of martial arts.

This movie encompassed so much - love, romance, passion, betrayal, loyalty, tradition. The blurring of fantasy and mythology and reality without bothering to deliniate between all of it was a nice break from the western tradition of fitting movies into neat little boxes - it's a "period drama" or an "action-adventure" or a "romantic comedy". Surprise, you end up with boring, formulaic, and spectacularly bad movies (see Pearl Harbor).

And while I am on movies, I came across this absolutely hilarious quote about Moulin Rouge in our very own Philadelphia Weekly:

"Baz Luhrman rabidly Hoovers up a century or so worth of pop culture detritus and then projectile vomits it all over the screen with a vengeance."

After a quote like that, I'm not sure I want to see it.

And finally, a confession.

I must have way too much time on my hands, because I've spent the last two weeks or so reading the entire archives of Rob. And this is a guy who's been keeping a journal with a vengeance since 1997. It's weird, I haven't done that with many journals - most of them simply don't hold my interest for such a long period of time (only two others that come to mind are Sara Astruc and Scott). It's weird reading a journal someone has kept for years, and see how they've changed and grown and gone through ups and downs, and taking some sort of vicarious joy from that. I particuarly enjoyed Rob's tales of The Monolith, because I worked for The Monolith myself for 9 months. And in music, even.

So Rob, if you were looking through your logs and saw some person who spent four hours at a time reading your page, well, that schmuck was me.

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One Year Ago:
I hate tangerines.