Entries from March 2009 ↓

The Visitor

I often say that I just wish I had a weekend to myself where I can just chilliax n’ watch back to back to back movies ….and I finally got my wish this past weekend. Despite invites from friends to head out “with a table waiting” this past Friday night, I declined for being tired of the same ol’ same ol’ (plus, the cold/rain combo is no bueno to me)…and instead, chose to kick off what became a Magnificent Movie Marathon Weekend!!

I rewatched some classics as well as checked into some newbies that have been in queue for a while now – a total of 13 films! From Sleepless in Seattle to a fantastic lil drama, entitled The Visitor. This one was a super surprise to me. First of all, I had heard NOTHING of this film; only flipped upon it in the DVD store ….and for some reason, despite the plentiful flicks out there I have not seen… the cover and description of The Visitor really grabbed my attention, so much I paid my $1.17usd and took it home…. SOOO GLAD THAT I DID!

The write up that got me:

This is an incredible heartwarming and heart-breaking movie. Its power lies in its simplicity. In some ways its a coming of age movie about a middle-aged professor coming to terms with his life and allowing himself to finally be who he is. Or perhaps a re-birthing movie in which, having died psychologically and spiritually, he emerges from his cocoon. A series of random events coincide to bring about a life-changing event (isn’t that always the case?). The unfolding of the story occurs at a slow and steady (but never boring) pace that as in perfect keeping with the tone of the movie. It operates at many levels at once, presenting a comedy, drama, social statement and lesson, manificently intertwined. Without much fanfare viewers are carried along quietly and about.

But seriously, I was quite moved by this film; Perhaps it’s all the sensory buttons that it pushed and/or the NYU connect, hehe, but this is TRULY, a fantastic, heartfelt, humanistic film that deftly explores identity, immigration, multiculturalism, post 9/11 – giving light to the true meaning of compassion and how one’s life can be completely changed in an instant!! A Must See!! Check the trailer here and be ready to open your doors and hearts for The Visitor. :-)

. . don’t burn the day. .

A FREE Life

Oh how I miss it so! >> NOW, more than ever!! (Read my previous rants for my rhyme and reason on that one.)  But for those of you who ARE fortunately outside Comm-lines, and in (what I still believe, despite allllll my travels) one of the greatest cities in the world, that is NEW YORK, NEW YORK! ….. Apply your libertarian birthright and check out some fresh music @92Y – Tribeca, showcasing: The Shake, Article A and The Fire and Reason, hosted by the FREE fellas…because I said so, and if I were in NYC… I’d be there… soo you should go and report back!!  More info on the line up here.

Not convinced? Check the video montage below for a taste of what the night may bring forth – taken from the FREE team’s recent launch of:  A FREE Life web series at the Yoo Lounge at Dwell 95 on Wall Street…. I say: Fab, FREE…and now F.L.Y…….!!!

. . don’t burn the day. .

I Told Y’all I Feel Like Marjane….

Sooo sitting here at worky work (being counter-productive), testing out different proxies and came across one vpn that hit me back with this direct message… no more/ no less:

Sorry we do not allow traffic from China and Iran at this time. My apologies. We hope to have a solution in the future.

Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!?%^%#%$^**%

FCNAVOIRHHHJJVHAUGFUIEGFUHJGURUIG!!!^$%#@#^&*^*^*&%!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS. Author and protagonist, Marjane is an NYU Alum… Holler!!! (thanks Janee, my fellow NYU’er for the tidbit reminder!) :-)

And thanks to Phil, here I am in my captured state as proof…. burka and all! So Brilliant! LOL!

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. . don’t burn the day. .

Feeling Persepolis’ly Suppressed

UGH. A REAL BIG UGH!  Sooooo for the last 2 days and some change, Youtube has been blocked here in Comm-Country and I am barely hanging onto my sanity! (Youtube has been shotty before, but never for this long a period!!)

And to add fuel to my fury, the powers-that-be have decided to block Facebook usage at the j-o-b too. This is soooooooooo UNCOOL man!  I mean, ever since, let’s say umm last November’ish, I started to really get into the FB world after finding it best to post up photo albums up there to share with Stateside peeps…. and now it’s become a daily routine to be kept “up to date” with Statesiders in addition to all my new friends I’ve managed to rack up in my global travels.

Plus!  More importantly, it keeps me sane at work as well. I excel in multi-tasking situations; I neeeed to have the music cranking, the chats flowing and the work in front….. that’s how I AM MOST PRODUCTIVE. None of this…… only-have-your-work-in-front-you BS!!  If they think it’ll “increase productivity” at the job by blocking, I’ll either be checking into good proxies and/or will be taking more “walks outside…” and contemplate on coming back in time for the next class..

Oh! And what’s with the Persepolis connection, you may ask? Welps, right before I departed NYC last year for Shanghai, I checked this lil indie flick. And I had made a comment on my own post:

…theres is a specific scene in the film, when Marjane returns from the “free-er” world of Vienna back to Iran…and at customs desk, she is asked something along the lines of, “Do you have any illegal foreign objects, anything against the moral conduct of Iran.. culture, music, film, art, porn?” I chuckled as I prep for my way to well, ya know… land of restrictions… This flick made me that MUCH MORE excited to tell my OWN tale!!

and I can say that RIGHT NOW, I am OFFICIALLY FEELING SUPPRESSED!!! And this is NOT A FUN TALE TO TELL!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! I feel lil’ Marjane……

. . don’t burn the day. .

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

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Happy Birthday to my lil’ mini-me niece who turns 11 today! I can’t believe so much time has passed; I recall every little detail of the night/morning of her delivery…. as if it were yesterday!  Happy Birthday “Munzers,” from Auntie “Captain Meemo!” :-)

Just a couple days ago,  my sister emailed me a scanned copy of my lil’ babe’s homework assignment on usage of Subject and Object Pronouns. At first I thought, “oh boy… there must be a trick question on her assignment that she needs help in”… but nope! Farrrr from it!  Read and see for yourself below. (This apparently made her teacher cry upon reading.) And I must say, as I stand in a pair of teacher’s shoes…. this lil’ kid’s got skills!  She’s taking after her cool aunt with some fervently, captivating writing!! :-D

The directions were to: Write a paragraph about a unique person you know. Use subject and object pronouns correctly. Check it below and be ready to insert your “Awwwwwww’s.”

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T – Auntie Captain Meemo MISSES YOU AND LOVES YOU!

And even though you are far away,

I KNOW THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS IN MY HEART!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! An awesome package is on your way! :-)

. . don’t burn the day. .

Lie In Our Graves

I’m not quite sure what it is exactly, but it seems as though this year, I’ve been hit with more notices of passings and hospitalizations. From family to friends to business colleagues etc. — people who I’ve crossed paths with in my lifetime.

Some news make more sense than others (ie. old age), but many don’t make sense at all. I mean, from taking ones’ own life… to …. how does one live an incredibly healthy lifestyle and out of the blue, fall victim to an organ disfunction/breakdown of the internal system….and/or freak accident… and it’s a wrap?!  Sad. Unpredictable. Uncontrollable.

Out of respect to those who are dealing with these heavy weight realities firsthand, I don’t want to get into detail of the incidences that I’m referring to. (Though, KNOW that my thoughts, prayers and condolences are right there, alongside you.)

Sure all of the above stirs up a heavy load of emotions within….. but the loudest of them all…. is the screaming reminder t0:

LIVE Each Day: From Sunrise to Sunset, and Sunset to Sunrise.

LOVE Everyday: Appreciate the NEW Day; Spread LOVE: Tell those who mean much, that you LOVE them.

TAKE A Chance Each day: Aim for what you truly desire and put your best foot forward.

GIVE A Chance Everyday: Open up and allow someone/thing new to enter into your coveted world.

And I sing…

I cant believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering if we had spent our living days well.
I cant believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering what we might of been.
I cant believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering if we had spent our living days well.
I cant believe that we would lie in graves
Wondering what we might of been.

- djm

. . don’t burn the day. .

Spotlight on Shanghai

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A few days ago, New York Times featured Shanghai as the “Next…”

NOW that the Beijing Olympics are but a memory, the spotlight in China is moving to Shanghai as that city gears up to host the 2010 World Expo. With an anticipated 70 million visitors and 200 participating countries, the six-month World’s Fair will be enormous by any measure — not that Shanghai has ever needed an excuse to party. While the global economic slowdown has had its impact, Beijing’s naughty sister is still up to her tricks: from the flashing neon signs and light-bedazzled skyscrapers to the throbbing clubs and houses from the foreign-concession era hiding their decadent secrets. But beyond the clichés, mainland China’s most cosmopolitan city still offers a breadth of experiences.

Read the full article here, detailing the must see and do’s if all you had were 36 hours in the ‘Hai.

Interestingly enough, after reading highlighted suggestions, I can quite confidently say that I can check off Shanghai off my list, in addition to remixing the list for the real must sees and do’s.  :-) So who wants to come, to give it a go?

PS. Photo Credit goes to Cinderz’ view from The Rad + Article Credit goes to Sharon for passing it along to my inbox. :-)

. . don’t burn the day. .

Oh Noodle Man, Where Art Thou?

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Dear Mr. Noodle Man,

Ni Hao!

You were a tease for a period of 6 weeks in November/December and vanished without a trace. No forewarning, nada!  Where oh, where have you gone??!! Sure there are other vendors cooking up the same type-noodles and fried rice dishes in the ‘hood, but they lack the finesse, the passion, the heart, the LOVE and tastiness that you put in the twists of your wrists when working up the wok!

Sure, major raids and arrests were made on numerous vendor folk on our corner (smelly tofu, vegetable and meat terriyaki, dumplings, roti-esque pancakes etc.) a couple weeks leading up to Christmas, but you held bold and firm in your X-marks-the-spot.  Then, upon my return from my Good Xmas Mornin’ Vietnam trip, you were no where to be found!!

Yes, we (roomies, et al)  also understand that major construction has overtaken your territory, but PLEASE come back!!! or at least tell us where we can find you!!  We expats need to eat… eat deliciously… and inexpensively!! 4rmb dinners are the best..but even better when super yummy! (that’s about 60cents usd)

You never cheated me despite my obvious foreign demeanor, and for this I appreciate!!  I also appreciated you asking if the amount of rice/noodle was enough. It was always these little things that kept me coming back for more. Plus, I thought we had a deal… I’d teach you English, if you’d just cook all my meals!

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In the meantime, you can find me supporting the noodle lady on the other end of the street. She’s aight. She’s been there since Day 1 of us moving we nto the ‘hood… (but she lost major business in the 6 weeks you were there for us). So I’ve gone back to her…..and came to find out… that she had been cheating me 1 rmb per dish in the past! She was charging me 5rmb. Ugh!! And I thought she was smiling to wish me a good day…. But what can I do? She’s my only option right now. And I’m only paying 4 with her! It fills the belly…. but it’s not the same. It’s just not the same….

So again, Oh Noodle Man, Where Art Thou?

. . don’t burn the day. .

I Don’t Know ~ Colbert ~ Once ~ U2 – My C’s

Out from nowhere, it’s been quite the Irish week. I even “celebrated” my first ever St. Patty’s Day with a few folks…here in the ‘Hai… at a British pub, called “The Bulldog.” Random, random, I know. But even before that, the line up of “all things Irish” actually started last week. Here’s the count:

Numero Uno:

Cute, candid and pop-folky were my automatic remarks when I received this lil song from a friend (thank you Lundy) last week, called “I Don’t Know” – performed by Irish singer and instrumentalist, Lisa Hannigan. After hearing the catchy tune and frank lyrics telling the sweet tale of “girl meets boy” (or vice versa), who falls under the spell of that warm, fuzzy, tingly feeling and becomes completely enamored to the point of wanting to know every dotted i and crossed t about boy/girl…,my fingers went to work on the keyboard and was educated on her previous collaborations with Damien Rice (I love, love his “The Blower’s Daughter” from Closer soundtrack), as well as having had collabos with Herbie Hancock and Snow Patrol……………

……….annnd was further tipped on her last week’s bump by satirical, cool-man Colbert himself – who me likeys, and miss being fed news via his report. (Well shoot, while I’m at it… I miss NY1 Weather on the Ones & The Today Show with Matty and Friends as well.) But for real, plus, I recall being told a random factoid by a friend (hi Phil), that with the size of my fam’a'lam,  I’m “like a female version – Colbert..,” — though, I actually beat Colbert’s youngest of 11 count; IIIII’ve got the up of lucky # 13.

(Sorry, that was ALL over the place….My mind is goin’ a mile a minute at this late hour…)

Anyhoots, so yeah… she got the approval nod from Colbert, so I figure I surely can give her the Mimi Bump too; watch her get bumped here…

PART I: Lisa Hannigan on The Colbert Report – Interview

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

Part II: Lisa Hannigan on The Colbert Report – Performing “I Don’t Know” – Listen to the lyrics, folks. It doesn’t get any simplier than this….

I don’t know what you smoke or what countries you’ve been to,
if you speak any other languages other than your own,
but I’d like to meet you.
I don’t know if you drive,
if you love the ground beneath you.
I don’t know if you write letters or panic on the phone ,
still I’d like to call you all the same,
if you want to, I am game.

The Colbert ReportMon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c

But after hitting my resources and checking out the album… I can say that I dig… my FAVE being a lil song, called “Pistachio”… oh! and the band is dope too! (dammit, i miss live music!!) Check the video here and watch ‘em jam:

Numero Dos:

And while I’m at it, because I was put on to her via her original video on youtube, the Irish pub setting immediately reminded me of a lil’ indie flick, set in Dublin, entitled, Once (2006).  I remember checking this out on a bright and balmy day in NYC at good ol’ indie film theatre, Sunshine Landmark in the Lower East Side with my bud, (hola George!) after another day of hard work, pushing music. I didn’t know much about the film till I got there… and left the theatre having “Falling Slowly” stuck in my head – Ironically, the first verse of of this song is …

I don’t know you
But I want you
All the more for that
Words fall through me
And always fool me
And I can’t react
And games that never amount
To more than they’re meant
Will play themselves out

About Once:

An (unnamed) Guy is a Dublin guitarist/singer-songwriter who makes a living by fixing vacuum cleaners in his Dad’s Hoover repair shop by day, and singing and playing for money on the Dublin streets by night. An (unnamed) Girl is a Czech who plays piano when she gets a chance, and does odd jobs by day and takes care of her mom and her daughter by night. Guy meets Girl, and they get to know each other as the Girl helps the Guy to put together a demo disc that he can take to London in hope of landing a music contract. During the same several day period, the Guy and the Girl work through their past loves, and reveal their budding love for one another, through their songs.

Check the video:

Numero Tres:


I got word that U2 has a new album, No Line on the Horizon?!?! and that it’s a goodie (thanks Vera)…….. I gotta get on this…….  For a pre-listen to the album, click here.

Numero Quatro:

Disclaimer: Since landing here, I’ve totally fallen off the map of the sports world….

So, while switching trains last week, I noticed that my bball boys were being highlighted on the flat screen. This took a bit of coordination between the regular knocking down folks ala me bowling a strike and keeping my eyes up on the screen….. all the while, I sniffed…because I miss watching sports….  Man, I’d love to re-watch last year’s Game 4 Celtics v. Lakers right about now.. Hell, I’d love to re-watch the whole series right about now. (I think my new mission is to find the dvd box set here…) Sooooo just because I can and plus, it put a smile on my face, I am reposting the video of when I went nuts, celebrating Championship #17 Parade. Stay Green! :-)

. . don’t burn the day. .

SHANGHAI to SUZHOU Shenanigans > Flicks

And soooo about 3 weekends ago, Summer of Shanghai ’08 Funness returned via E and his his Euro buds!  PHEW! All I recall is returning from Nanjing on Sunday, February 22nd night… the boys eventually landed and arrived at my apt closer to midnight.. got them all settled with keys and hand drawn map of my ‘hood (YES, I am a NERD like that!.. Plus, I wanted to minimize the phone calls of lostness and questions etc. while I at work.)  I did up the work thing that Monday, and met up with the fellas for dinner….which eventually led to “one drink” down the street…..which led to major debauchery.  Summer had officially returned, despite cold-ass rainy weather back at that time. Soooo that was the START of that week………. I was pretty much sleep deprived, taking many for the team throughout the week………and we somehow managed to get ourselves to Suzhou (about an hour and 45min outside of Shanghai) at the end of the week. LUCKILY, the boys had arranged for a van to come pick us up, private tour guide and return. I/We would not have been able to do it any other way.

Anyhoots, Suzhou is a lil spot just outside of the ‘Hai for when one wants an escape to the calm(er) from the crazy. (often referred to as the “Venice of the East” because of the canals and all….. but after having been to both…ummm Venice is Venice! Suzhou is Suzhou!) Some sights that we hit: Humble Administrator’s Garden, Chinese Gondola Ride, and Suzhou Silk Museum (which was a real, cool pleasant surprise!)… and some other spots (gardens, temples, outlooks) that I can’t remember… yeah… that pretty much sums up that week as well. LOL!

Enjoy the slideshow!…

. . don’t burn the day. .