Friday, July 27, 2012

Movie Review ~ Thirst (Bakjwi)

 I recently watched the Korean film, Thirst, (Bakjwi) from 2009, written & directed by Park Chan-wook, & I was really impressed. You may recognize Mr. Park's name. He is responsible for the popular "Venegance Trilogy," writing & directing all three films: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, & Lady Vengeance, as well as one of the three segments in the film "Three ...Extremes," (the segment entitled "Cut".) These may be some of his more well-known films & perhaps even most recognizable to casual Western audiences, because of the critical praise & fan attention they garnered. I am still making my way through the "Vengeange Trilogy," having seen & enjoyed Oldboy a few years ago & I loved Three...Extremes. As I am discovering, Mr. Park, (a former film critic,) is quite a prolific screenwriter, director & producer, with a career that has already spanned over twenty years & 15 films, making him one of the most popular & acclaimed Korean filmmakers. His distinct style, sensibility, vision, taste, & choices are all obvious reasons for the aforementioned critical praise. After having only seen two of his films I can't claim to be any kind of "expert" on the man or his methods, but I was very moved by this film, "Thirst." I honestly can't stop thinking about it & I feel that some real art was made by everyone who participated in it's creation. At least I was touched & want to share my thoughts about it.

 In writing the screenplay with Jeong Seo-Gyeong, Mr. Park was inspired by the Emile Zola book "Therese Raquin," (of which I was not initially familiar with, but which involves a tragic love triangle - the "Vampire" aspect is Mr. Park's idea.) Thirst follows the devout Priest Sang-hyeon, who participates in some radical clinical trials meant to discover a cure for a deadly, disfiguring  disease & as a result is left as a vampire. Without giving too much away I will say that the film then morphs in ways that are symbolic, haunting, unexpected, sad, quirky, humorous, shocking, disgusting, even tender & romantic. There is violence, gore, a lot of blood, (of course,) & nudity, including some very realistic, yet not gratuitous depictions of lovemaking. The special effects were nicely done although not overused. (I liked the use of color & light to alter & convey mood.) It was classified as a horror movie by Netflix, where I saw it, & it is very horrific, but it is classified on as a comedy, drama & fantasy. It's a very complex tale. At it's core, for me, it's about the desire for love, escape versus required duty, sacrifice versus selfishness, guilt, forgiveness & redemption & the basic desire for happiness & how hard it is for some people to attain, no matter what terrible lengths they are willing to go to try to attain it.
 The main actress, Kim Ok-bin, who plays the desperately unhappy Tae-ju, (opposite the quietly nuanced Song Kang-ho, who plays the well-intentioned Priest,) comes into the movie rather unkempt & shabby, but really evolves before your eyes. She becomes absolutely stunningly beautiful & gives a fantastic performance. Alternately fierce & vulnerable, bored & rabid, she was completely mesmerizing. She really threw herself into the role & totally blew me away. Mr Song, (who has worked with Mr. Park in the Vengeance Trilogy & who some may recognize from the movie The Host, ) is sometimes so reserved in his delivery as to seem like he's underacting, but he is actually a very fine actor & really anchors the entire small ensemble, who are all outstanding, (including Tae-ju's sickly husband, Kang-woo & especially her overbearing Mother-in law, Lady Ra.) 

 I watched it in an odd mood one early afternoon & found it equally oddly paced at first, (but it could have just been me,) so it took me a just a few minutes to get into the groove but after I did & especially after the Tae-ju character & her family were introduced, the time started flying by, (& that says a lot since it's a longer movie at 133 minutes running time.) By the sad, strangely comic, yet almost inevitable conclusion of the film I felt as if I had been taken on such an epic ride I was in tears & I wished it hadn't ended. Highly recommended. (*Editorial Note: I have since seen the Park films Lady Vengeance & I'm a Cyborg But That's OK & they were both equally excellent.)

A Nice Day

*MY UGLYDOROTHY - Bee Skin 01 in Saddle Tone. I got this when it was given as a group gift in all tones & makeup styles & they are all absolutely gorgeous. If you haven't been to My Uglydorothy in a while, do yourself a favor & go now.
*.amato.* eyes 12 June Rainy small 0L
D!va Hair - Diva2 Red Amber (More than 30,000 Group Member Gift,) 0L, Comes in all tones. Really Beautiful, totally customizable & the flowers come off & are color change!
U.One - Short Mesh Overall, 1L. Great Bargains here!
::Duh!:: Colors of Summer Necklace - Old Seasons Hunt Gift 0L
Candy Nail Seashore Rainbow Summer bag, nails with ring & wood beads bracelet, (Early July Gift.) Group is closed when gift is out. Join group now for next gift! Great store. I love their nails - I have bought so many!
IMANI Yellow Neon Bracelet. I do believe this was a gift from the old Imani store. Cannot locate these items anymore.
[Gos] Espadrilles in Tie Dye - TOSL2B, 0L (look for a little teal bag)

Of course I must add this video by my lovely friend Angelina of the awesome band Persephone's Bee's. This is from their first album back in 2009. They have put out a lot since then. Be sure to check them out & see them live if you get the chance. Super talented doesn't even begin to cover it. Have a "Nice Day!"

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nico's Kitten Suckling Behavior

I can has cotton?
So, Nico, (the kitten I found starving & flea-ridden on the street on 4th of July,) sucks on my shirt around the collar, like, every night. As in sucking the cotton, kneading & purring, as if he is feeding on it. I read some articles & I guess this is pretty common in kittens who are taken from their mothers too early. I have had a few cats in my life & I have never experienced this before. I thought it was really cute at first & it actually made me feel really happy & "needed." (Childless, crazy cat lady here.) But, apparently I do have to keep an eye on this.

According to the majority of the many articles I read, unless he starts becoming obsessive about it, or actually eating/digesting the fabric or gnawing on himself, he is simply exhibiting a soothing behavior because he was abandoned so early & he should grow out of it & will probably be ok.

Here are a couple of short articles:
By the way, At our latest Vet visit to get his shots we learned he already gained a pound! He's really doing great; potty trained, well-adjusted, relaxed, happy, playful...really fitting in. Now, if only our other cat, Butters, would be more welcoming to him. She's very uncomfortable with the whole situation. Quite growly & hissy, in fact. She's even swatted at Ted & me. I really feel bad for her. This must be very confusing for her. I just want the whole family to get along! Time to read more articles...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hand on My Heart

It's been a while since I've made a Second Life fashion post & there are a lot of reasons why. I haven't been on SL lately because I had a major falling out with a couple of my SL "friends" & I got a bit disillusioned since this is not the first time I've had a falling out with some people I thought were my internet "friends." I had to take a big step back & examine myself & my role in the events & the people I tend to gravitate toward & the drama I attract & participate in & produce, as well. It's not always just "everyone else" - it's also me, I have to take responsibility.  All of this "drama" was going on in the midst of some Real Life heath crisis I won't get into detail about now, but as some who REALLY me know, I am dealing with my own chronic illness, & other members of my immediate family have also unfortunately had to deal with their own types of sudden onset illnesses. I am in the role of caretaker for some of them, so there are a lot of stresses. I don't get into details as to preserve my loved one's privacy but let's just say I have been extremely consumed with grief & worry lately & it's very hard.

Even thought I tend to talk & share a LOT, I am actually a pretty private person & I don't tell many people ALL the details because everyone doesn't need to know everything. Everyone has their own major troubles they deal with every day. Anyone who knows what I'm talking about will know. If you don't know, then consider yourself lucky. So yeah, I needed a breather to asses all this "drama" because it really did hurt me & I needed to re-evaluate if I even wanted to continue to participate in the virtual world of Second Life, which suddenly seemed silly & like such a waste of time & money in the grande scheme of things when there are life & death matters on the table. My poor little hurt feelings & the so-called "friends" who were mean & just "didn't understand me" seemed like a waste of my emotion & honestly I don't feel like I have that many emotions left to spare.

Obviously, after about a month & a half of a break, I tentatively got back on SL, but it's a whole new experience now. I don't spend NEARLY as much time as I used to. I used it as a total escape from my life before, but now my life, as complicated as it is, doesn't need escaping as much for some reason. Just like in Real life  situations - maybe I realized that what I was escaping TO wasn't giving me the relief I was expecting anyway? I think I have a better perspective. I kept looking for deeper connections with people & failing. I'm not saying I hate humanity, but I think I am just coming to terms with reality better. I feel profoundly changed by the pain & I think it might be a positive thing. 

Yesterday, while sitting, cuddling with Nico, my new rescued kitten, on my patio in the warm Summer afternoon, listening to the mellow sounds of community radio, I actually wept because I was so happy. In spite of everything that has happened & everything going on I was happier than I had been in longer than I could remember. Hand on my heart.

Sorry no SLurls this time... I'm so lazy tonight! (Most of these stores are already Slurled in my blog on other posts, in my groups or profile picks OR just use search inworld!)

Wasabi Pills ~  Alice Non-Rigged Mesh Hair Ash
Mother Goose's ~ Ai Skin (Lucky Board)
L.Fauna ~ Dimples Freckles [Pale]
MADesigns ~ Eyes_Nature Furry Hills
ni.ju ~ Eyeliner Visual Edge
DeeTaleZ ~ Teeth
Jetcity Fashions ~ Blackpearls Necklace V2 
COCO ~ Handprint Tee - Group Gift
SAKIDE  ~ Slide 'em off panties Sequin
Acid & Mala ~ My Fav Bracelet Black Pearls
Riddle ~ I Heart You Tights Sheer Red
Kick/PuncutE ~ Apple Ring 
Candy Nail ~ #P045 Swallowtail Nails
Amplify ~ Bow Leg Tats
Dilly Dolls ~ Bastian Boots

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Fourth of July Kitty!

After we watched the spectacular local fireworks display, my boyfriend Ted & I decided to drive by the Cal Water Office to drop our payment in the night slot on the way home. Upon entering the drive, Ted starting yelling, "Stop, Stop!" so I put on the brakes. There was a TINY kitten in the middle of the driveway that I hadn't even seen, just frozen there. It didn't move. I waited for it to run away but it remained. I finally urged Ted to get out & get it. When he got all the way up to it, it ran. I pulled in the parking lot, got out to drop my payment, pulled back around & got out to find Ted, sitting cross-legged, holding the kitten. He was a tragic little orange bag of bones. We looked around the whole small "strip mall" (it's one Papa Murphy's take & bake pizza, The Cal Water office & an Engineering Office surrounded by some flowers with a few parking spots,) but couldn't find any sign of a nearby litter, (there are groups of feral cats that thrive several blocks over by the banks, but they are usually a lot healthier.) We both decided quickly that he needed our help & we took him home. He was surprisingly calm in the car & in our home. He seemed very good-natured & of course I started falling for him instantly. We bathed him in warm water without too much difficulty, (I got just a few scratches on my wrist,) cleaned his ears & he ate like a champ, (we have a three-year old cat so we have a lot of treats, wet & dry food & even toys & bedding around.)

The next day I called the Animal Hospital & alerted them that we had found a lost kitten. I didn't want to take him to the other animal hospital which serves as the "pound" because it's not as clean or nice & they really have their hands full with so many strays. Anyway, the folks at the AH told us to use some regular Dawn blue dish soap to bathe him to get rid of more fleas so I bought some & it worked pretty good. Fleas were jumping ship as we poured the soapy water on him - it was really gross! He was still pretty covered, though, so we had to wait for our appointment at 2:15 on Friday the 6th to get him completely free of his infestation. The Nurses took his temperature, weighed him, (he is one pound, one ounce,) & then the Doctor soaked him with Frontline spray & all the rest of the fleas abandoned him. We have an appointment in two weeks two get him wormed & get some shots. He is already so much happier to have all the fleas gone. He was frolicking so much more & sleeping more peacefully the afternoon after his Vet appointment.

We have an enclosed screened porch & the weather is very warm during the days & cool at night so he is staying out there now. He has a radio, a couch, a kitty bed, food, water, toys, & we go out there & stay with him & open the doors to the back yard during the day, (he has the litter box for the night time.) As soon as our cat, Butters, gets more used to him, (she's a bit hissy so far,) we will start bringing him into the house more & try to house train him better. He is so smart he was already alerting us when he needed to go. I think he will be a great addition to our family. We have been tossing around names: Nico & Landon are the frontrunners so far but we are open to any suggestions. He is just so precious, lovable, mellow & has a wonderful personality for one who has had such a rough start. I feel very lucky & fortunate that I decided to go pay my water bill so late at night & that Ted yelled for me to stop & I didn't run over that poor little kitty. Everything happened so perfectly by chance. He really needed some people to love & take care of him. I feel so happy & emotional seeing his progress, even just over a couple of days. He looks so much better. He's happier & he's healthier. He's fun. It might seem silly to some people, but this really makes me feel good. It feels good to be needed.