Friday, May 2, 2008

Jack Bauer, The Little Tramp, and Princess Jasmine

Jack Bauer - Why? Because he's invincible but at the same time he's a real person. He cries when Tony dies (although he admittedly does recover quickly), he pukes when he has to shoot Curtis, he is overprotective of his daughter after his wife's death, he makes (a few) mistakes, and yet we can count on him. I think this is why Jack has been able to keep TV viewers enthralled. CTU has limits, there are only so many moles and nuclear bombs threats that can go off (it has been getting repetitive in the last few seasons) but Jack provides a security blanket. In a post 9/11 world, a new technological advance every day, we wish there was someone like Jack who can sacrifice everything and save our country. And that's why we keep watching him.

The Little Tramp - Charlie Chaplin is one of the most amazing actors of the millennium. He says nothing and yet he does so much. The character of The Little Tramp (which now has dawned upon me as well) is always the Little Tramp, he isn't getting anywhere in society. He is always going to be the lovable little mustached, funny-clothed, bowler-hated, big-shoed clown. A gentleman, and yet a bum. He's hilarious, and we don't feel annoyed by him, we agree with him, we want to help him, and support him.

I think that Princess Jasmine is the most underrated princess ever. And I think in today's society a lot of women will see her role and see themselves in her. Jasmine is very independent and strong-willed. She has a very strong set of ideals, things that she knows and thinks that she is looking for. She will not waver for some superficial prince who has a lot of money, she wants true love. A lot of women in todays world are very independent and career-oriented, which is a slight change from the "stay-at-home-mom" stereotype. Jasmine is not Snow White, waiting for her prince to take her away. She picks and choses and finds her own prince. She also changes a few laws doing it.

And plus, she has a pet tiger. How cool is that?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Part 1: I think that childhood is the time period when everything is coming into form and you start understanding stuff. Reading good stories to kids at this point in time will help them mold into what the stories are telling them. Also I think that creativity is rampant during the growing years. Give a five-year-old a piece of paper and a box of crayons and it's amazing what they'll come up with. The experience of reading, is something that makes them feel older as well. My mom's cousin, Dineth, is now almost seven and a half. I have grown up watching him grow up. When he was younger he watched a lot of TV. He still does now, but he can read now too. He feels proud when he reads a book because he has to achieve and work for it. Anyone can watch TV, but only big kids can read.

Part 2: I love reading stories because I enjoy learning from and being inspired by stories. I think we can still learn alot from reading, just like little kids with their moral-oriented Arthur books. The meanings and what each person gets out of different books is just more subtle. It doesn't specifically say, "and that's why Arthur never lies," but we usually end up getting something out of it. One of my favorite authors (who I regard as a storyteller) is Salman Rushdie. At the end of every chapter of every single book, I learn something or I want to find out more about something he has written about. This is a trait that keeps books in hands and not dusty on bookshelves.

Part 3: I think America values the idea of books, more than the books themselves. A lot of people live hectic lives where everything is at the touch of a button, but reading is slow and something, again, that they have to work for. I think that Americans are also very career-oriented and individualistic. To sit down and look into someone else's life and look at it from an outside perspective (and critique and revel about it) is something that is very intersting. As far as the NY Times Best Seller list is concerned, I think that it is also one of those fast-track, touch of a button things that is a part of the culture. If it's good enough to be at number one on the Times List, then it must be a good read. Stories, overall, are keys into looking into things that we aren't able to see. Take the book "The Pursuit of Happyness" for example. If you are living in the Upper East side, I highly doubt you are poor, or even close, or have even seen someone who is poor. If an Upper East-sider reads this book, they look at poverty and think about it, something they would never have done before if they hadn't read the book.

Part 4: I remember this book of fairy tales I had when I was seven or eight. I remember two stories one was called "Toot, Toot" about this weird lady who always wanted her driver to honk the horn at things she didn't like (like hats or a cow or people with twins) and she gets arrested when she pulls out her own horn and creates havoc. The other one was like "the Devilish Imp" or something, about this imp who is making trouble in this town and he gets caught and is told he can never be bad again. I don't know why I remember these two specifically (there were at least 50 stories in that book) but I do. I also remember oral stories about my family. My extended family is really zany and my mom would always tell me stories. I especially liked stories about my grandfathers (paternal and maternal) because I have never met either of them (my father's father died when he was 20 or so and my mother's father died in Sri Lanka when I was a few months old - we went for his funeral)

Part 5:
- Stories need to have relatable characters that you will always remember
- There should be a thinking factor, besides just a superficial story
- The events that happen should make sense in the scheme of things
- The surroundings of the character should be creative and force the character into specific things
- The story should be exciting and gripping
- The telling of the story should be even more exciting and more gripping (you can have a good story but kill it by the way you tell it)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bothers, Jealousy, and Lunch

Faulty water faucets, drop by drop spilling precious water at a rhythmic plopping noise.
Long, red fingertips clicking in bothersome complacency against the whiteboard of knowledge.
Overflowing sidelines of chocolate liquid drying on the plastic bottle of Hershey's syrup.
People passing wisdom about things that they don't know squat about.
Marching ants eating my sandwich, rigid in their attempts to spoil a perfect outing.
These are just a few things that bother me.
Why? I really don't know. Psychological ineptitude, perhaps, maybe a bad experience as a child, or in a past life? Doesn't anyone?
Does it actually matter, the main thing is that it bothersome.

I really want to travel. I feel kind of trapped because I haven't left the country in three years now. I don't know what I felt when we didn't have green cards and were stranded for five years here. I suppose I was little then, and ignorant to the amazing places that exist outside of my home. But now, it's different. I have a long list of places I'd really like to visit someday:
Tunisia (to see where they filmed Star Wars)
St. Petersburg
(This is just the beginning)

I feel really ADD/unable to focus today...
That's probably why this blog is very random....

My dad's going to India in three weeks. I'm incredibly jealous. I'll have to give him a list of movies to bring back. I feel bad when I do this, I feel like a materialistic child. But he feels guilty and this helps relieve some of it. I also don't trust the movies that come to the stores here. They sell for $10 but they are often copies of copies imported from India to Malaysia to LA and shipped by truck to Minnesota. It's like the middle of nowhere. I love going to Cerritos in LA because you can get original DVDs and actually have a decent selection.
They are building a South East Asian Mall in Dallas. I think it's called Everest Heights. I'm jealous of my uncle (who lives in Dallas). I'll have to visit sometime. But they should come here too once in a while. We saw the new "Nickelodeon Universe" theme park at the Mall. I feel threatened by the impeding Nickelodeon characters hanging in cloth circles above the park. It'll always be Camp Snoopy to me. They have a cool-looking new skateboard ride and another ride which I couldn't see the name of from where we sat. The Kite-Eating Tree (my favorite ride) has now been repainted into some Backyardigans Adventures. Please.

I don't know what else to write about, exactly. Perhaps lunch. Lunch sounds good right now. I think we have first lunch today because we're practicing with the full orchestra. I'm hungry. I think I have a PB&J. I wonder how many PB&J Sandwiches the average American will eat by the end of their high school career. It's a very American thing. When I go to Sri Lanka, they kind of laughed at me when I asked if they had Peanut Butter and Jam. They started weirdly when I put the two together between two slices of fresh baked bread my uncle had bought from the market that morning. It wasn't exactly the same. There is no subtitute for Jiffy, Smuckers, and Wonder Bread. And a glass of milk. That's another thing I can't stand when we go to Sri Lanka. They don't have liquid milk, only milk powder. And if it is it's in like this little plastic packaging. And it's usually flavored. I just want a glass of milk.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Writing Prompts 2

William Butler Yeats

The unpurged images of day recede;
The Emperor's drunken soldiery are abed;
Night resonance recedes, night walkers' song
After great cathedral gong;
A starlit or a moonlit dome disdains
All that man is,
All mere complexities,
The fury and the mire of human veins.

Before me floats an image, man or shade,
Shade more than man, more image than a shade;
For Hades' bobbin bound in mummy-cloth
May unwind the winding path;
A mouth that has no moisture and no breath
Breathless mouths may summon;
I hail the superhuman;
I call it death-in-life and life-in-death.

Miracle, bird or golden handiwork,
More miracle than bird or handiwork,
Planted on the star-lit golden bough,
Can like the cocks of Hades crow,
Or, by the moon embittered, scorn aloud
In glory of changeless metal
Common bird or petal
And all complexities of mire or blood.

At midnight on the Emperor's pavement flit
Flames that no faggot feeds, nor steel has lit,
Nor storm disturbs, flames begotten of flame,
Where blood-begotten spirits come
And all complexities of fury leave,
Dying into a dance,
An agony of trance,
An agony of flame that cannot singe a sleeve.

Astraddle on the dolphin's mire and blood,
Spirit after Spirit! The smithies break the flood.
The golden smithies of the Emperor!
Marbles of the dancing floor
Break bitter furies of complexity,
Those images that yet
Fresh images beget,
That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.

2. I chose this poem, for a few reasons. First I was looking for a Pablo Neruda poem, but they all sounded better in Spanish and I didn't want to look around for the best translation of the poet so I scraped that idea. I also thought that it would be a waste to read something that I have already learned about so I went to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Her poems were great but there was this feeling of Shakespearean-ism to it and I'm not a huge fan of Shakespeare's sonnets so I gave up that idea and went onto Yeats. I have read a few of Yeats' poems so I decided he would be a perfect fit. Next, the first thing that drew me to this poem was the title. A poem written about an amazing Greek empire, what could be better. I love poems with allusions, as well, because I have this narcissistic feeling of knowledge and when I saw the references to Hades it kind of made my day. Finally, I liked the diction and assonance/diction of the poem in various places.

3. The title, as I mentioned above, was very attractive. I wouldn't have even bothered to look at the poem. The image and idea of Greece is present in this poem, so I think it overall does fit the title.

4. One of my favorite lines is "Night resonance recedes." The consonance of res and rec is really cool when you read it out loud. I also like the last line and the image of the "dolphin-torn, gong-tormented sea." It's sort of like an indirect way of looking at the battle of the seas. Words and short phrases are sort of the piece he tries to get us to look at, but reading a verse out loud together has a very lulling sound as well. He must read and write at the same time. The feeling of the poem overall is very set and very calming yet flowing and graceful.

5. The tone is very mechanical and straightforward. There is no rhyme scheme so to say but there are occasional blurbs of rhyming in a verse. The tone is very heroic. Throughout the poem makes me see Odysseus at the table of a grand hall eating meat, bread, and wine. The sound reminds me of sort of an ocean, benevolent and rocking and soothing and evil all at once. Like the Phoenicians and their supreme naval technology.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

Writing Prompts 1

Prompt 1:

I'm going to do this very methodically, because I'm kind of tired.

1 - I like to read novels mostly. Mystery is one of my favorite genres. Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express, the movie is fantastic too) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Hound of the Baskervilles, etc.) are probably my favorite writers. I also like the Magic Realism theme in books. I think the best authors that work with this are world writers. Garcia Lorca, Gabriel Marquez (I wish I could live in Macondo), Salman Rushdie are some of my favorite authors from this genre.

2 -I have written a few scripts so I'd probably say that is my favorite, but I write a lot of short stories and poems and novels. I have yet to finish my first novel although I have probably started hundreds. I am currently working on four novels and five scripts. It is fun yet difficult to do all of these at the same time, but because I get so little time with schoolwork, I am able to keep it together. I have written many short stories. The problem I have with short stories is how short is short? It's difficult to get a complex theme into three or four pages, but I can do it too.

3 - I write a lot outside of school. I mean A LOT. I've written for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book when I was five or six, called "Spot the Dog." I even illustrated it myself. I wonder if I still have it. I get random spasms of inspiration a lot so I can't precisely say what topics interest me. I have recently resurected my fanaticism with 24. So a lot of my stories revolve around government offices and terrorism and national security. I also have this ongoing passion for Hindi films so many of my stories involve films in India and/or my favorite actor, Shah Rukh Khan. It might be a lesson that I just learned, some part of history we learned in school, or a line from a film or tv show that intrigues me to write. But it does. So I write.

Part 3:

Ode to Carlos: Thank you for Tony


October 12
Evanston, Illinois
Carlos Bernard Papierski
You dropped the last name
It is a mouthful
Half-Spanish, Half-Polish
(Carlos) (Bernard)
It makes sense

You were in other TV shows
In films
In theater productions
But those are just a part of your credentials

Because to us you'll always be Tony
as we've seen you through the years
of 24
You were supposed to be called Tonio, and wear cargo pants a large baggy shirt
But Kiefer couldn't say Tonio, and you looked goofy in those cargo pants and baggy shirt
And you became Tony Almeida
Jack's friend, Jack's brethren
Our support our humor, our hero

We watched you mature through the seasons
As did we, as did the show
On Day One you were just another expendable CTU Agent
But you soon became second only to Jack
On Day Two
We saw your Quick Feet and your ability to Govern CTU
We also saw your infatuation with the one and only Michelle Dessler
By Day Three
You were married and sacrificed a life in prison for hers
You managed to save the country from a Biomedical threat somewhere in between there too
On Day Four
You were a Rougue, but you came alive, and we healed those wounds
(Did I mention that you were bound, tazered, and held hostage today, too?)
Day Five Came
The impossible occurred, you and Michelle were gone,
We missed you on Day Six
You could have helped Jack so much during this time,
You would have gotten him out of that Chinese prison
But you were gone

But, in the end,
Tony Almeida is
So they are resurrecting you
Yes, that's right, Tony's back for Day Seven
The anticipation is disheartening

But why are we talking about Tony so,
You are not Tony, you are Carlos'
You are married to Sharisse Baker, not Michelle Dessler
(Did you know you were born in the same hospital as Reiko?)
How about that?
You have a daughter named Natalie, in real life, that is,
She must be four now

What life you live without 24
is unfathomable, unreal to us
You play your character so believably
We can't see you as anyone but Tony Almeida
Thank you, Carlos
for making us root for just another CTU agent
for letting us question our own judgment in impossible situations
for breaking protocol and going off-book
for creating a persona to live up to

Thank you, Carlos
Thank you for Tony

Monday, February 25, 2008

Writing Assignment 3

Prompt 1:

I thought that the play writing was really exciting. It was intersting to try and convert creative writing energy and thinking into a play. The format was fun to learn, but I thought it was really hard to write, because it was difficult to image what the audience would be able to get out of my dialogue and actions. With a narrative, you know that the reader is going to see everything that you write and so you intentionally write down what you need the reader to understand. I have written a few screenplays before (when I was younger I was certain I was going to be a screenwriter) so I am used to this dialogue-heavy sort of a story. However the difference is that there is a lot more possibility with movies (I like film more than stage, sorry) I like sort of going big with action and storyline, which is hard when you are confined to a stage. I will still write scripts, when I find time, but I do appreciate playwrights more, now that I have gone through the difficulties and possiblities of the stage.

Prompt 2:

I think that giving advice to a five year old would be hard, so I'll stick with a ten year old. I think that I would tell them to be indifferent to various viewpoints. I am very observant and I have been since I was young, so now when people around me are having discussions I have the ability to listen to their information, not respond, yet repeat and comment on the information when necessary. I also think that it is necessary to read, especially current events, and be knowledgable beyond just what's happening in school tomorrow or at home. 10 years are sort of on the brink of complete childhood and youth. You can comprehend more at 10, and it is probably the best time to learn. I give this advice from my personal experience (I think that people who give advice because they just felt like it is a smart thing to say is weak) Why would you give information if you don't know how it should affect you. I think this advice should be used in their lives all around, and should not be confined to school or to home or to practice.

Prompt 3:

I think that great literary works are ones that pertain to universal themes that do not have bounds based on circumstance. Despite the obvious time period in Pride and Prejudice, it can be used in theory in today's world. Great literary works also have to be written well, it's hard to image a crappy novel surviving more than a few years. Jane Austen's novels are vey beautifully written. These books have less to do with personal like towards it but more with relatablity. I remember storylines of books more often if they relate to me, than whether or not I liked it. I wish I could write something that would become a great work of literature, but I don't think that I would ever. I would like to publish a work that maybe has some relative sucess, but I don't think even Jane Austen or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle or Homer knew that they would write something that would be read for hundreds or thousands of years. It is more of a manifestation of the book itself, less of an author's expectations.