Friday, May 23, 2008

Don't look any further than your own backyard

That's it, I now belong to the Oz-luminati, and I have seen Oz the Great and Powerful, in my own backyard, Dolores Park. As with most masterpieces, I had some idea of what to expect (L had briefed me quite a bit beforehand so that I would be ready), and I was still surprised. One thing I did not expect was the sudden switch from black-and-white (sepia, actually) to color; it is particularly effective, especially as it happens at a moment when the movie kicks into a scene that looks straight out of a deranged pothead fantasy - Munchkin land.
Munchkins in their natural habitat.

Munchkins sighting in Los Angeles.

Anyways, it was really fun. The open-air showing created a great ambiance; there was quite a crowd, strong whiffs of exotic plants being inhaled, and L and I had a big bag of popcorn and a great time. The movie is quite literally for all audiences: the dog of our grass neighbors really got into the movie, and strongly identified with the adventures of Toto the dog; at the same time, there is quite some exegesis around the movie, and its interpretation as a commentary on the relevance of the Gold Standard and other monetary policy considerations in the US. As a novice freshly initiated, I won't dare to comment on this question, but I definitely recommend this movie to fellow companions who want to gain a better understanding of America!

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Foundation books

When I was in high school, our philosophy teacher gave us parts of the Bible as a reading assignment. His opinion was that, regardless of one's opinion about the contents, it was a worthwhile read because of its huge influence on occidental thought and writing. At that point, I had largely parted ways with catholicism, but I actually really enjoyed the experience. I had attended catechism as a kid, but there the book was studied as a source of guidance, and I had largely missed (or forgotten) that it was also the origin of numerous popular expressions.
I had a similar experience much later as I attended a class in graduate school in California. The professor made a reference to a road of yellow bricks, which was absolutely unintelligible to me. Looking around in the classroom, I could observe a divide: while most foreign students looked utterly puzzled, it seemed to make sense for Americans. Later on, it was explained to me that it referred to "The Wizard of Oz" - and I discovered that, while maybe less influential on western thought overall, Oz permeates the American language, with its set of references, covering topics from Kansas to what's to be found over the rainbow.
I haven't had the opportunity yet to watch Oz, but this will finally change, as tomorrow, the movie will be played in open air in Dolores Park. I have great hope this will help me figure out some of the missing keys in understanding America!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

We all scream...

for ice scream! Sunny days are here again, the days when it's so nice to have an ice-cream right after dusk, when the temperature slowly cools off. L and I are just back from Mitchell's - where we found out we were not alone thinking that the evening is a perfect time for an ice-cream!
Besides Mitchell's, another area was packed with people tonight, and that's the Castro, where people were celebrating the California Supreme Court's ruling.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Workaholics unite

As a recovering workaholic myself, when I saw this ad on the walls of the BART, my first reaction was to be slightly offended. So workaholics are not likeable?

The initial shock was followed by some confusion. Am I supposed to understand that, with the help of Claritin-D, anyone can start cleaning up windows like a maniac wearing a yellow construction worker hat? Is this why people really like workaholics - because they keep their office windows so clean? Very confusing.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Some more urban strip

On my way to the Cinco de Mayo party in Dolores Park, I had a good surprise; at the corner of 19th and Guerrero, I found another stencil on the sidewalk, which belongs to the series of small stories I had begun to follow. I had hit a dead-end and was stuck without indication as to where to look for, and was very glad to find this one out of sheer luck.
I could still not fully decipher it, any Champollion-esque expertise is appreciated!

An owl swoops by her,
a mouse clutched in its talons,
and flies towards Dolores park.
a. Compelled, she follows it.
b. Flustered, she continues on.
[Edited May 14th, with the help of the Resident Champollion, and Master of Words, Elif.]

b. leads to the illegible one, and then to this one.

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tres de Mayo

Yesterday was May 3rd, also known as Tres de Mayo. Tres de Mayo is a date of some significance in the history of Spain, and, apparently, of Poland and Lithuania. On the other hand, from a Mexican perspective, Tres de Mayo isn't particularly memorable; what matters is Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates one of the numerous times the French army got smashed, this one taking place in Mexico in 1862...
This year, Cinco de Mayo falls a Monday (tomorrow), which isn't that convenient to party and celebrate, so the Mission Neighborhood decided to celebrate it on Saturday in Dolores Park. It was pretty nice, albeit a bit windy, and I think the discrepancy between Cinco and Tres may have confused some people, because the park wasn't as packed as I expected it too be. Anyways, it was fun, and I got a few nice sunburns.

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