Recent Entries

04/29/2004 Coming Down
04/27/2004 I Met Him!
04/26/2004 Totally New Experience
04/21/2004 New Appliance
04/14/2004 Easter
04/08/2004 Postponed and Canceled
04/04/2004 Wish Me Luck
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The most recent entries are first. If you haven't been here for a while scroll down or click on a date. And remember most pictures are links to a larger version.

Comments? Your movie reviews? I would love to hear from you!

Enough about you, let's talk about me....

April 29, 2004

Coming Down
I have been so distracted. I am not sure what day it is. I almost ran out of gas tonight. I've had trouble working. Part of the problem are the visits and phone calls from autograph seekers who think I can get them onto the set. I can't stop thinking about how exciting it was to be part of the film shoot. After working my shifts on Monday and Tuesday I went to the set for a short time on Wednesday. They were filming a more complicated scene so everyone was busy. I watched for a while but I did not really get to talk to anyone. I had to get back to work so I handed a couple of crew members a stack of stickers from the satellite project I used to work on (EGRET) and left. I have no idea if they got passed around. Supposedly, they finished everything this afternoon. Anyway, tonight at yoga class when I was instructed to lie in corpse pose and not think about anything, which I never do, I felt a little corner in my busy distracted mind open up and guess who was guessed it, Homestar Runner. He has been waiting there like when Strong Bad decided to go wide screen and there was Homestar waiting behind the black.

April 27, 2004

I Met Him!
My friend Saima, who is Pakastani, and I arrived at the location at about 10:45. It was the same location as last night so I was showing her around. I looked in the makeup room and there was Shah Rukh sitting there. He looked up but I could tell immediately that he was not interested in talking to anyone. One of his "handlers", who was not very nice, said that he did not want to talk to anyone until the day was over which would be about 6:00pm. That was disappointing. But I thought, well at least I saw him and I will be able to watch him being filmed.

I was assigned to bathroom security detail. I was to make sure the crew that went to the bathroom came right back to the film location and did not wander anywhere else in the building. This was fine with me. I had met most of them last night so depending on their english abilility I either smiled or talked a bit as they went by. Saima speaks the language so she had a definite advantage. There was not alot of activity and I was getting a bit bored when I sensed someone coming. I looked up and it was Shah Rukh. He looked at me sort of sheepishly like "she probably does not know who I am" but I smiled a big smile and gave a little wave. He smiled at me and moved on to the bathroom. My day was made. I could die now.

But Saima was convinced we needed to talk to him and get an autograph. I was not so sure. There were some people coming up to him outside and in the hallways trying to get his autograph. He signed most but he was not happy about it. I did not want to approach him if he did not want be approached so I decided I had enough. We had lunch with the crew and then we were posted along a route to direct cast and crew back to the shoot. Shah Rukh walked by with a smile. Saima was posted next and apparently she had made friends with his male handler and he told Shah Rukh that she was a nice helpful volunteer and it was OK to give her an autograph. Saima was very excited. He was very nice to her.

I still did not want to approach him but I too had interacted with his handlers (the 2 male handlers were nice) so I decided I needed to be patient. My time came a little later when I was guarding the door outside of which Shah Rukh was smoking and talking on the phone. When he came inside I held the door open for him. He smiled at me and I said "May I?" and handed him a picture I had. He asked my name and signed "To Laura, Lots of Love, Shah Rukh". I thanked him, said "Chaiya, Chaiya" and gave him two thumbs up. I felt like a dork. Saima was standing near by and told me about how much I blushed.

My time came again a bit later when half the crew stepped outside and I was assigned to be out there with them to make sure they did not wander off. The director was trying to decide whether to take outdoor shots even though it looked like rain. And then it started raining. It looked like it was going to blow over so vans were arriving to take cast and crew to the new locations. Everyone was just standing in the doorway. I was holding the door open and turned to my right. Shah Rukh was standing right next to me and he smiled. I proceeded to tell him all his movies I had seen. He just sortof repeated the names looking surprised. He told me I would like his next movie that comes out in July. He then told the director something in Hindi. I understood it to be "Laura here likes Hindi movies." The director said "I know". and I said "Yes I already told him I liked Lagaan". I was assigned to escort one of the vans to the new location and I watched them do some shots where Shah Rukh was just walking around. It was fun. I took a couple of photos but did not want to be too obvious so they are not good. We returned after about an hour. I then left after shaking hands with the director. I told him that I was looking forward to the finished movie and got his autograph. He asked me for my phone number.

Filming The Director
Shah Rukh is on the leftAsh Gowariker, the director (on the right)

April 26, 2004

Totally New Experience
Today was my first day as a volunteer on the movie set of the Bollywood movie Swades. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time to let the director into the building. He was very nice and unassuming. I told him how much I liked his last movie Lagaan and he seemed surprised that I knew it. Lagaan was nominated for an Oscar so it is probably the most known Bollywood film here in the States. So I and the other 2 volunteers took turns letting the film crew in and helping them get their badges. When not guarding the door we watched the shoot, one scene shot from various angles. We were able to stand about 10 feet away from the action. Everyone was very nice and professional. Because of the high security of the location I could not take pictures. I am hoping I can get some photos tomorrow, maybe outside the building. Shah Rukh was not scheduled to be there today but hopefully I will get to see him if not meet him tommorrow.

So since I do not have any pictures of a multinational cast and crew I leave you with a picture I took from my balcony tonight as a fog rolled in and out.

rolling fog

Some more movie/DVD reviews
The Quiet American
This movie is based on a novel by Graham Green about the time just before the Americans got involved in Viet Nam. It is a thriller and a romance but when I think back I mostly remember the slow but thoughtful pace and style of the movie. Brendan Frasier and Michael Caine are excellent.

Chutney Popcorn
Independent film about an Indian/Canadian lesbian who offers to have a child for her sister who cannot conceive. Complications ensue. I thought the movie was bit all over the place. It did not know whether to be serious or lesbian hip. The acting was not that good either.

April 21, 2004

New Appliance
Spring has arrived. We had a beautiful warm weekend. Despite the nice weather I spent all day Saturday inside spring cleaning. It was actually very nice. The windows were all wide open. There was a wonderful cross breeze and now the place is no longer overrun by dust bunnies. Sunday we did a bike ride and I took my first trip of the season up the dreaded Tilden Avenue hill of hell and humiliation. Here's a bit of spring on top of our brand spankin' new space-age microwave that has a Popcorn button.

hot sauce and flowers

Some more movie/DVD reviews
He's a sadist. She's a masochist. He's a bit obsessive compulsive. She has low self-esteem. You'd think that they would click immediately when she becomes his secretary but they each have other issues. They eventually do find a love they can both live with. The actors do a good job of keeping things real. Edgy and sweet.

April 14, 2004

I went to Austin and William's for Easter dinner. It was delicious - garlic/cheese soup, leg o' lamb, asparagus, jasmine rice, tomato/fresh mozzarella/basil salad, deviled eggs, irish cheese, stuffed mushrooms, cherry pie, pineapple cake, pomegranate ice cream. I may even be forgetting something.

One of the guests was a cute 2 year old, Juliet. I am not around kids much and since she was the only child there I was struck by the contrast in rhythms. In the couple of hours I was there she went through short cycles eating, being happy and talky, whining, crying, being pensive, playing, demanding. (Her napping cycle occured before arriving) This was in sharp contrast to the 2 adult cycles- getting the dinner on the table and then eating and relaxing.

And all that eating and relaxing made for a very nice afternoon. And I got an Easter basket! Wanna see some pics?

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Kill Bill Vol. 1
Wow! After the first few minutes I was not sure I would be able to watch this movie. It is very violent. Off with their heads, limbs, scalp! But it's quite good. The look, the costumes, the actors, the weapons, the music, the scenery - all good. There is no real plot. It is all about revenge. And Uma Thurman's character is not going to stop until everyone is checked off her list.

Tarantino is a very interesting person. He pays homage to (ie., steals from) many genres but makes them his own. He is a fanboy and he uses his influence to create/incite other fanboys and fangirls. I will always be grateful to him for bringing one of my favorite movies Chungking Express to the US. And now I want to rent some old 1970s Shaw Brothers Hong Kong action films. And I can't wait to see Kill Bill Vol. 2

April 8, 2004

Postponed and Canceled
I hit the 10,000 mile mark on my car and took it in for its first scheduled maintenance. I was thinking that no one really stares and stops me so much any more. Every now and then someone might slow down and sit just to the side and back of me before passing on the beltway but people no longer talk to me at stop lights. Well just when I thought that those days were over a woman came running up to me one morning this week after I parked and asked how I liked my car. She had test driven one but had decided to get a larger VW Passat. She was still very enthusiastic.

Bad News: My anticipated encounter with ShahRukh Khan has been postponed until the end of the month. Another good TV show, Wonderfalls, has been canceled.

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Mystery Men
I recently lent a friend my DVD of the movie Snatch, one of my favorite movies. She brought it back and it was obvious that she did not feel it was the most fantastic, funny, clever movie that I thought it was. I was a little hurt. I was reminded of this when I set out to write this reveiw of Mystery Men, which several family members encouraged me to watch. No one said it was the best movie ever but I was still skeptical when I rented it but I had a open mind. Well it was ok. I felt that it was a kids movie pretending to be an adult movie. I did not find it clever nor did the characters seem interesting. The vain superhero played by Greg Kinnear was the only character that had any depth or clever lines and he only appears at the beginning. I have liked superhero stories. Ask me how many times I have seen the first episode of The Tick. And I have liked most of these actors in other movies. So this one did not work for me but I hope that the Mystery Men promoters continue to recommend movies to me. I know our tastes overlap. We all like Sex & the City, although I don't think we all agree how boring and how wrong for Carrie Aidan was.

April 4, 2004

Wish me luck
I pay Apple $100 a year to let me have a web site and an email address. It's called a .mac account. As a member I get special offers for discounted hardware, free software, games, etc, many of which I've taken advantage of. Well, recently I got email announcing a contest where I could win a new 40G iPod. All I have to do is send in a movie less than 5 minutes long that was made with the Apple video editing software, iMovie, which comes free with Apple computers. I thought, hey, I have made movies. I can enter. All my little trailers are less than 5 minutes long. Judging is based on originality and creativity (25%), quality and craftmanship (25%), and overall appeal (50%). Despite the fact that none of my movies excels in any of these categories I decided to enter the 2nd trailer from last year's Christmas Contest. I feel it has some of that stuff going for it.

Well, there was one catch that I had to deal with. I could not use music that I did not own. Well it turns out that Apple makes music editing software called GarageBand. It has all sorts of music samples that you can loop and mix. Now, I know nothing about music but after listening to about a hundred of these little samples and playing around a bit I put together a piece of music that had somewhat the same feel as the original. The original was a beautiful orchestral piece from the Japanese animation movie Princess Mononoke. It was perfect for the trailer. The new "music" I had "written" was acceptable. Take a look/listen

Well, I uploaded the movie and then went to a special web site to fill out an entry form. I obsessed over the name of the movie file and the name of the movie and the description for what seemed an eternity. (Joe can attest.) But it is done. On May 15th the winners will be announced. While I was at the site I decided to look around to see what other people have done with iMovie. The ones I saw were not necessarily ones that were entered in the contest. The main function of the site is to provide a place for people to share things they have made with their Macs. Well the first thing I noticed was that a lot of teenagers made movies. The other thing I noticed was that the many of these 15 year olds were using GarageBand to make their music. And the last horrifying thing I saw was a home video made by 13 and under year olds that used the same sound samples in a similar way as I used them and I believe this was entered in the contest. I AM COMPETING WITH TWEENS AND TEENS. Well in the approximate words of William Hung "I gave it my best. I am not a professional. I have no regrets".

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