Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another Israel Joke: Cats

Ok, so I just heard a bunch of the neighborhood stray cats get in another argument/fight…which is basically them making their most annoying meowing noise that goes like (mimic cat noise for aud.) and it made think: what are some options for taking care of this semi-important problem of this massive legion of unnecessary-yet-occasionally-adorable stray cats in the Land of Milk and Honey?...
   option #1: kill all of them in the most humane and cleanest way; perhaps with some kind of poison and then post-mortum clean-up crew so none of them rot in the are already ostensibly dirty, smelly areas/neighborhoods in which they predominantly habituate.
   option #2: kill all of them in the quickest, not-necessarily cleanest, but most-cost effective way e.g. genitically modified super cat-predators, like mega-dogs or super-wolves or something of that ilk. And then have the necessary clean-up crew for that type of method
(oh and by the way, any option where you kill the cats, I say you either a) turn them into food for another animal – i.e the dogs or wolves b) just incinerate the dirty annoying superfluous little creatures, etc)
   option #3: try to catch them first and then kill them if they respond with too opposition # and/or after catching them, after a certain period kill any cats in the catching center/animal shelter that it can’t afford to support and take care of and haven’t been able to get adopted.
   option #4: take catapults or those t-shirt launcher-guns they have at professional basketball games and just fuckin jettison them back into Egypt from whence they came! – At least, I’m pretty sure that’s where they came from, cuz, you know, like, that’s sort of what they told us in elementary school social studies….or launch ‘em into the sea if, you know, the Eyptians aren’t cool with that (which I’m guessing they wouldn’t be, but it’s definitely worth a shot).

Hope you enjoyed this little farcical rant. And for any of you are offended, just know that these are just ideas I’m tossin around here. You know, the blog doesn’t necessarily condone killing animals, but I figure if I eat chicken, cow, pig, lamb, fish, etc and therefore implicitly condone some forms of animal slaughter, why not throw the strays into the mix? 

Friday, January 8, 2010

OK I have a theory

Israelis will almost never admit it, but they actually need the conflict - psychologically speaking. Like, I think if there was peace, there would be at least a good 10-20 years where Israelis had some kind of mass depression or malaise trying to recreate and reinvigorate their identity. Like, they could no longer be pushy and use the excuse "oh, well, we're at war, so this is how we are in everything" and get away with it. Logically, they would have to change in at least some of their attitudes and mentalities in life. I really do believe their will be peace in my lifetime, and so I like to project in my mind what may happen in the post-conflict era. What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Policeman and the Heroin Addict

I have some brilliant realizations to share: I am a playwright. I have not written in a long-time, but that still doesn't disqualify me from being considered one, seriously people. I hear a lot of motorcycles and scooters around here through my thin walls. I have realized less is more. That you cannot give a child candy, and you cannot always have what you want. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should kind of konundrum, you know? Well you should definitely check out my acting class. It's good enough for now...It is taught mostly in, literally 80% in Hebrew. A girl named Adi was nice enough to translate on a legal pad for me for a while. I'm waiting patiently to see how the actual acting exercises/activities feel for meh. The teach did inspire me to form the idea of actually doing a hebrew play. Maybe I could learn things that way.  Like, I could learn the Hebrew script with help and a lang. dictionary. But after that it'd be just a matter of repetitiong. aAh it feels good writing again. You, can, interpret, that however you want. And this is the least I've exercised in a long time. getting back into that too.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Top Movies of the 2000's

Best Films of the 2000’s

Requiem for a Dream 
Almost Famous
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 
American Psycho

AI: Artificial Intelligence
Freddie Got Fingered
Vanilla Sky
Donnie Darko

City of God
Gangs of New York
Talk to Her
Bowling for Columbine
Punch-Drunk Love
Minority Report

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Kill Bill Vol. 1 
Matchstick Men

Kill Bill Vol. 2
Farenheit 9/11
The Last Samurai

The Aviator
The Corporation
Sin City
40 Year Old Virgin
Brokeback Mountain

Stranger Than Fiction
The Science of Sleeping
The Fog of War
Pan’s Labyrinth
The Fountain

There Will Be Blood
Little Miss Sunshine
Little Children
Michael Clayton
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
No Country for Old Men
Into The Wild

Dark Knight
Iron Man

500 Days of Summer
The Watchmen
Where the Wild Things Are

"Where The Wild Things Are" review

      So I just saw the film adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic kids' book "Where the Wild Things Are." When I first heard it was being made into a movie, I got a little excited. And when I discovered on that Spike Jonze was directing, I knew it would be good, if not great. He did not disappoint. And so without further chattering, here's my take on one of my favorite children's tales:

The Wild Things in Human Nature

I have to admit that I went into this movie expecting a certain kind of retelling I had in mind from the age of 4, when I first read the book…and I couldn't imagine a better way to transfer the children's classic to celluloid. You know a film has a left an indelible mark on cinema when you think it's good or great…and yet, you can't quite categorize it. The movie is truly in a category unto its own. If I had to place it, I would describe it as a fantasy movie that touches on certain aspects of the human condition. A sort of American-style magical realism on film. Or to use a parlance of our times, it's “The Never-Ending Story” meets “Hook.”

Everything about the picture is top-notch, with the visual presentation being the most outstanding aspect. I would be surprised it if it doesn't receive Oscar nominations for costume design, art direction, set design, and perhaps even for best writing – adapted screenplay. From the moment Max first makes his way to the fantastic island home of the "wild things" we are transported into a crisp, autumnal, vivid, and yet simultaneously subdued and sepia-hued landscape. And the meshing of full-body creature costumes with nearly seamless-looking, CG mouth movements and facial expressions is truly remarkable.

As for the acting, first mention goes to the voice actors. It is commonly taken for granted that voice acting is easier than live acting. But to say anyone or any actor could play the characters in this movie is a stretch – it's easier said than done, no pun intended. The voices delivered by Chris Cooper, Paul Dano, James Gandolfini, and the rest are so nuanced that they convey just the right and proper amount of the tonality of dialogue. And I was impressed by the young Max Records. He was quite believable as Max (character has the same name coincidentally), and I think a lot of child actors would have wanted to over-act and show too much emotion or scream too loud in Max’s querulous moments. But I felt he showed just the right amount, and managed not to go over the top in physicality and line delivery. Catherine Keener, being the exceptional actress she is, was excellent in her limited time as Max's mother.

The only negative thing I could claim for this film is that this is not your typical children's movie or average children's book adaptation. It's quite depressing and melancholy calamity at times, and manic in general (many instances of joyful play quickly turning into catastrophe). Yet this is also what drives the main message home. Once you get used to the wild things' fantastic, larger than life frames, the monsters appear more human than creature, and quite childish in the way they behave and view the world – perhaps even more so than Max. They are big and powerful, and yet they don't seem to appreciate or fully understand their own strength, and easily misuse and abuse it. They love to play, but they throw tantrums, and appear to believe the only way to solve their problems is to eat or hurt the thing they think is making them suffer. Carol is the worst example of them all – he's the most powerful and the least mature, and is prone to tantrums and fits of rage as well as being the most gullible – but in the way a child is naïve and easily convinced. To be fair, some are more calm and mature than others. But they are all like children in the bodies of ten-foot tall beasts.

Probing further, the monsters can be interpreted as representing human nature and the struggle that is the human experience. They embody some of our most primal fears and simplest desires: fears of loneliness, rejection, of the unknown, of sharing, and the desire to be accepted and loved, and ultimately, to be happy and without fear or worry. They also remind us of how we often resort to childish aggression or self-victimization, unleashing our pain upon others or placing the blame on them when we feel we've been wronged or we don't get what we want. And what's more, they remind us of those who possess more power than they know how to deal with responsibly, and consequently misuse it by destroying things or hurting others unjustifiably. It's not such a stretch of the imagination as to liken the wild things with their massive, but poorly controlled strength to world leaders using their militaries unethically, or executives unfairly punishing employees, or someone with a gun who kills an animal or a person out of rage alone. Of course some wouldn't read all of this into it, but I believe these are at least some of/related to the moral messages and motifs intended by director Spike Jonze. (I don't include author Maurice Sendak, because I read an article on recently in which he said something like 'though I approve of Jonze's interpretation, the story was originally inspired by my crazy and fear-mongering immigrant relatives I had to deal with as a child')…and that basically Jonze and others have extrapolated from the story much more than he intended originally.

This is certainly not a movie for everyone yet anyone can relate to it on some level/s. It's understandable that not everyone would like the style or even the genre, but anyone can learn from/relate to its themes. Definitely recommended viewing for any fans of the book, parents, children with their parents, or anyone in need of a reminder to have fun and hold fast to our inner child, but at the same time, to play nice and to restrain oneself from taking anger out on others and/or abusing one’s powers, whatever they may be.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                     -S.G.S. Williams

Monday, December 14, 2009

Latest and Greatest

Sometimes you feel like a retired insurance salesman. Sometimes you don't....or maybe that's just me.

And now in other news!...I had a nervous breakdown today. It was quite therapuetic. I weeped quite a bit and moaned and felt sorry for myself, but I feel so much fucking better now. I still need to destroy something though for aggression-release....maybe I'll take an old piece of furniture or electronic device from our basement and beat the hell out of it! [thanks to "Office Space" for that brilliant anger mgmt strat].

So I think I'm go for a style of writing where I interpose high-level language with txt msging speak. It;s what I do already in my facebook IM's and wall posts, so why not do it here to?! That includes this new rule I just invented: it's ok in some online communication to do this "it;s" or "Thompson;s" that is to say, using a semicolon in place of an apostrophe. Why impliment this rule too, you might ask - because I say so. No actually, it's becuase I find myself doing it by accident fairly often in IM'ing and the wall posts once again, so might as well make it a new unnoficial rule and see if it catches on with the masses. Well, I'm a bit sleepy, and I just rented Vanilla Sky (2001, Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruze, dir. Cameron Crowe) on my iTunes. Great movie if you haven't seen it, but not a widely-appealing genre. In a nutshell it's about a rich and powerful high society guy who has a major traumatic experience and his non-linear, lucid dream-like way of dealing with it and his lovers. Or something along those lines, heh.

Peace to the Muthaland, yo,

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First post, more to come, and all shall rock...

So my very first legit blog is here! Don't even know who's gonna read it! Ok since people have millisecond attention spans now, I'll get to something interesting....

Lets see. Hmm, a lil about me and what I'm up to now. I'm 22 and from San Rafael, CA, near SF on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. (funny how EVERYONE knows about the SF side, but most ppl don't stop to discover what;s on the OTHER side). I am obsessed with the Lakers, I like to cook, write (mostly poetry, but I can write almost anything at least decently and some things expertly), and I love to crack jokes as often as possible. Of course there's much more about me but more will come in the posts to follow.
Right now, I'm a first year Com. major at Israel's only private university: it's called the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) and it's situated in the city of Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv. I will probably be mentioning this place a lot is this what comprises most of my life atm. There are so many things I could tell you all about this place (the country and culture and what not's) that you will almost never find out from mainstream media. Since I have a strong, but not always active interest in politics, I guess I'll share some of my own clever and astute [I think] observations about the idiosyncrasies of this unique little-big country.

I think one of my best and most interesting observations is that you could definitely classify Israel as a 2nd world country. I don't even know if there is such a thing recognized in academia/the academic world, or anywhere else, but if there is then Israel would be it! Basically, you have here many of the attributes of a developed, Western-style country, and yet there is a lot that's third-world and less civilized about the infrastructure and culture. Things most definitely do not work here like they do in California! I say this because you have an odd juxtaposition of things like ubiquitous cell phone and computer use and ownership, and yet legally, the government owns all the land (anyone can have all the legal rights of ownership of land, build whatever they want within those rights, but it's under a 99-year lease from the govt. No joke!) For comparison, the country is only 61 years old, so if you just built a house in Tel Aviv or bought acreage for a farm in the Arava (southern Israeli desert) this year, you're good to go till at least when your grandkids are around, most likely. There is a level of socialized medicine here, but there is also no cash-back option from in-store cash registers. Also, there are TONS of unfinished buildings littered throughout the country (and a few bombed out ones from the last couple wars). Not like, the majority, but enough to notice. Things like that I would say are what make this place not quite fully post-industrial and not quite stone-age either, but a hazy shade of gray betwixt the two. Well, gotta get up for class in the morning, so peace out ya'll.

S.G.S. Williams