Tuesday, April 27, 2010

^5s: The Last 5 (x2) Movies I Watched

I haven't done a ^5s post in a little while but I figured a good one would be the last 5 movies I watched...'cause of the wedding and work and school I haven't really had time to catch up till recently. So here they are, and I recommend watching them all. The only order they are in is chronological, starting from the one I watched the longest time ago till the one I watched last weekend.

Sherlock Holmes
Guy Ritchie is back up in this bitch, which I said after I saw Rocknrolla, but even more so after checking this out. It was really good. It's a damned good modern adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and before anyone out there tells me that the movie wasn't true to Holmes' origins, think again. The movie was true to the WRITTEN origins of Holmes, as a matter of fact, and I love this version of him, not the snooty-my-shit-don't-stink-and-I'm-smarter-than-you Holmes. I hope they do make some sequels, as I've heard they might.


JCVD
What the what? Who knew that Jean Claude could actually act...let alone make FUN of himself and have a good sense of humor about his rise and fall as a celebrity? I really enjoyed this one a lot because it was just so REAL and heartfelt, and that's not something you can really say often about an action star, let alone Jean Claude Van Damme. If you ever watched his movies and liked them as a kid (or as an adult, whatever, I won't judge you) then you really need to check this one out.


Inglourious Basterds
Pretty sure anyone who reads this blog has already seen this movie but if you haven't seen it yet, then you really need to for the following reasons: 1, its a Tarantino movie. 2, Brad Pitt's accent. 3, Christoph Waltz's performance as Colonel Landa. Fucking amazing.


Thirst
I am not sure what I think about this movie. It's the latest Park Chan Wook movie, good cast, interesting story, but I'm really not sure if I even liked it or if it weirded me out or what. I will say this though, way more interesting addition to the vampire genre than the Twilight shit, that's for damn sure.


Religulous
I have not been more amused and entertained by a movie that was about religion since Dogma, I think. No matter what religion you are, if you're open minded and a free thinker, then you need to watch this movie. It's hilarious and educational.


In the Loop
When I first heard the premise for this movie, I was kinda like "wtfdonotwant" because it sounded SO DULL. But, there have been a lot of movies that sounded dull as hell (Michael Clayton anyone?) that ended up being amazing, so I decided to give this one a try. And I have never been more glad that I did, because this movie has reached "fucking awesome" status for me. I'm not going to spoil it by telling you what its about because you might feel the way I did, and I really think this movie is just SO good. My favorite character was Malcolm Tucker. Go watch the movie and tell me if you don't agree.


Solaris
My boy Mundo put manz and I up on this movie. It was a little seen movie done by the production team of Clooney and Soderbergh. Kinda sci-fi, kinda suspense, kinda psychological thriller, kinda wtfisgoingonhere, its a very interesting movie. At the end you're kind of left thinking, "whoa wait what??" If you check this out, let me know because I have QUESTIONS.


Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid
One of the most brilliant concepts for a movie EVER. It's a movie that's made up of edited together clips of other movies. It stars Steve Martin at his most funny, and the movies its made up of are old film noir and old Hollywood films. Very, very well done. I wish I had thought of this shit myself.


Let the Right One In
When I first saw the trailer for this movie I thought to myself that it could be either awesome or horrible, but nothing in between. It took me a while to actually watch it, but I finally checked it a few weeks ago, and really liked it. Also a very interesting and cool addition to the vampire genre, and it was so well done. I think one of the things I love most about foreign cinema is that other countries do not feel the need to beat you over the head with the point of the film.


Departures
Here's another movie that I knew would be good, but the synopsis I read of it on every site made the movie sound horrible. I mean, why not write something that makes the movie sound interesting and compelling, which it is? I hate to say this because it sounds totally gay, but the only word I can use to explain this movie is "moving". It really, really is. Makes you think about a lot of your own preconceived notions and misperceptions and the choices you've made in your life. Or at least that's how it made me feel. In any case, if you have any feelings at all you should go see it. It made me feel like I had a little something in my eye, if you know what I'm saying.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mawwiage.

So I think most of you are aware of the fact that I got married on Saturday, and it was really great and everything went well, good weather, good food, good liquor, good music (none of that bullshit you hear at other weddings, we played everything from Muse to Mos Def) so all in all it was amazing. Only thing I think would have been better is if I coulda drank more and not had everyone wanting to take pictures or dance with me and shit.

But anyhow, I thought I'd put it out there that I had to get married in true nerd fashion. So here's our vows from the ceremony. And yes, we really DID use these:

Mine:


I vow:
To believe in you, even if my job was to debunk your work and you believed in crazy alien government conspiracies.
To still love you and want to be with you even if you were a member of the Thieves Guild and I couldn’t even touch you because I couldn’t control my powers.
To be your psychologist and then help you escape from Arkham Asylum.
To understand that, "As you wish" really means “I love you.”

His:


I vow:
To protect and serve... To keep you safe and happy as long as their is still air in my lounges, or longer yet if I ever become part robot an no need air.
To cherish you above all else... For you shall always be my most epic of loots.
To hug you and squeeze you into itty bitty pieces
And know this...
I will always come for you. Be it if held captive by Prince Humperdink or imprisoned by an interstellar gangster and frozen in carbonite.

I don't care if this brands me as nerdy beyond redemption for the rest of my life, but shit, the vows if anything were totally US. I mean, we covered almost ALL of nerd/geek culture in one fell swoop. The only thing we didn't put in (for obvious reasons) is references to math or science.

Now tell me that shit is NOT fucking awesome.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Conversations With...

This is a segment of my blog where I talk about discussions I've had with other people. Or perhaps they're conversations I overheard, or conversations other people have told me they had. But basically, these are all going to be about shit I find interesting or thought provoking or funny in some way.


Convo #1:
A few weeks ago my Samoan cousin Pago and I were talking about the fact that we don't really know many people who like the same music we do, especially when it pertains to real hip hop. Then we started talking shit about people who don't know anything about hip hop...And it went like this:
Pago: One of the reasons I never bring my ipod to the party. "Shon, you got any Chris Brown?" "Nah, sorry."
Sun: Do you throw up a little in your mouth when that happens? "Who's Eric B. & Rakim?"
Pago: More like wanting to knock them the fuck out. 
Sun: "What's Boogie Down Productions?"
Pago: "What is a KRS-ONE?" "Is that Kriss Kross' brother?"
Sun: "What does EPMD stand for?" "Oh you have Biggie! Can we play Hypnotize? Like a thousand times?" "2pac killed him after he made that one single right?"
Pago: "Can you play that Sega Genesis song by Biggie?"
Sun: I might have to hit someone that said that. "Why do you have African music in here Shon, I mean Talib Kweli?" "What language is that in?" "And who is this Mos Def guy?" "Oh he's that actor! He was in Next Day Delivery!"
Pago: "He's the guy from Italian Job" "The stuttering guy is a rapper?"

Convo #2:
This one was hi-larry-us because it was a totally random transition from subjects but it ended with complete comedy genius. It started out with me telling Pago about a conversation I was having with one of my minions at work, and how the minion was talking about how Bush was so gangster, and I was telling him that it was really Cheney pulling the strings. He kept insisting that was the case, and that he KNEW it was. And then it went like this:
Sun: I said, "Oh, and you know that 'cause someone TOLD you? Why don't you get some real academically verifiable information, you act like you know 'cause someone told you and maybe you saw that Oliver Stone movie...that's bullshit"
Pago: HAHAHAHA
Sun: and he goes, "what about you, you're just saying what other people told you too, those aren't facts" and I was like "uhh yeah...like PROFESSORS AND RESEARCHERS WHO STUDY POLITICAL SCIENCE" and he says "that's the same thing I'm doing but you're doing the opposite"
Pago: Who were you arguing with Tracy Jordan?
Sun: LMAO!
Pago: that's the same thing I'm doing but you're doing the opposite <- That right there is some Tracy Jordan if I ever heard it.
Sun: Dude, right, seriously
Pago: It was like the special olympics with you two.
Sun: LOL
Pago: You ever watched that Big Love or know anybody who has seen that show Big Love?
Sun: No and yes
Pago: What did they say?
Sun: They seem to like it
Pago: It looks interesting. Juggling 3 wives sounds like a chore.
Sun: I mean, I guess it's like super drama oriented and that's why its interesting, and yeah exactly, one bitch is ENOUGH
Pago: Then you add the fact that they each have kids. Ahh shit, you know there's gonna be tension.
Sun: Indeed
Pago: I'd feel sorry for manz if he ever brought the topic of polygamy up. "Nigga, you want what?"
Sun: ...
................
HELL TO THE NAW
I WILL KILL THEM BITCHES
Pago: "I will beat the wonderbread outta yo ass before you even think of pullin that stunt on me."
Sun: ROFLMAO!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Racism in LA: Black v. Yellow

This post is brought to you by the letter P.

Those of you that know me or that have read the blog for a while now know that I've been wanting to write a post about the racism in LA focusing on the issues between the Black community and the Korean community. I have personal reasons for doing so, because the rift between both communities has been something that has affected me personally. I could never find the time to do the research or write it, but I finally figured out how to make it work. This last semester for me in school has been mainly focused on my thesis, but I also took an Intercultural Conflict class as well. I decided to just make this conflict the subject of my final paper in the class, so I'd have the time to do all the necessary research and to put something together that would answer the questions or confirm the suspicions I've had to the origins of this conflict.

For those of you that are members of the TL;DR crowd or are simply not interested in reading academic writing, stop right here. For the rest of you, here's an edited down version of the paper I turned in. 

“Intercultural sensitivity is not natural. It is not part of our primate past, nor has it characterized most of human history. Cross-cultural dialect usually has been accompanied by bloodshed, oppression, or genocide.  The continuation of this pattern in today’s world of unimagined interdependence is not just immoral or unprofitable – it is self-destructive. Yet in seeking a different way, we inherit no model from history to guide us.” This quote from Milton Bennett of the Intercultural Communication Institute is a blunt and honest description of the reason behind the existence of intercultural conflict. In a city as diverse as Los Angeles, it is no surprise that there seem to be intercultural conflicts happening somewhere in the city every minute of every day. However, I must say that although the time I lived in Los Angeles was rife with conflict of people from different cultures, the one conflict that has stood out from amongst the rest for me personally has been the conflict between the Black and Korean communities.  It existed prior to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, but it became a huge and painful rift during and after the riots. Much of the conflict between the two communities has arisen out of lack of cultural understanding between the two groups, which led to intolerance, hatred, and finally, violence. Understanding of the origins of the conflict as well as where the two communities seem to be clashing is the first step towards healing the rift, and here I will propose a solution that could be implemented to achieve the goal of further understanding and harmony between the two groups.

Origins of Conflict
Trying to decide which party first had issues with the other is another chicken/egg sort of discussion, but in my own personal history and from my own observations, Korean prejudice towards Blacks has been an issue for decades. Sumi K. Cho discusses the origins of this prejudice in her essay “Korean Americans vs. African Americans: Conflict and Construction”. Cho states, “The dominant U.S. racial hierarchy and its concomitant stereotypes are transferred worldwide to every country that the United States has occupied militarily. Korean women who married American GIs and returned to the United States after the Korean War quickly discovered the social significance of marrying a white versus an African-American GI. American racial hierarchies were telegraphed back home. Let us also not forget that the Korean War was also pre-civil rights movement in the United States. When Koreans immigrate to the U.S., internationalized stereotypes are reinforced by negative depictions of African Americans in U.S. films, television shows, and other popular forms of cultural production.” Assimilating this prejudice towards African Americans is not something that most Koreans would struggle with in any way. For many years in Korea, as well as in China and Japan, the darker your skin is, the lower down you are on the class hierarchy. People with darker skin have traditionally been those who spent time outdoors, most likely as farmers, and certainly not as members of the upper classes. This unconscious prejudice towards those with more melanin in their skin has existed for centuries in the Korean culture, and was further enforced with their limited exposure to American society during the Korean War. Koreans easily adapted these stereotypes, and brought them along as baggage when they immigrated to the United States. Additionally, Koreans were most likely not prepared to live in the multicultural society in the U.S., after being members of homogenous society for so long.

After assimilating these prejudices and then moving to the United States, it became a matter of course that Koreans would attribute any negative interactions that they had with members of the African American community as being due to a character defect of some sort, and the more negative interactions they had, the more these were attributed to a cultural defect. Much of the interaction between the two groups happened in the area of South Central Los Angeles, where Korean immigrants bought liquor stores or convenience stores. The negative interactions that members of each community have with each other start out as intercultural miscommunication, and quickly evolve into intercultural conflict.

African American Community Feelings/Beliefs
In the neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles, most of the members of the community are African American, and while many of the shop owners are Korean American, the Koreans do not live in the neighborhood, but rather in Koreatown or other areas of Los Angeles.  When Korean immigrants come to the United States and take over stores and shops in this neighborhood, they do so because it is much cheaper to do business in this neighborhood than in other areas of Los Angeles, but they do not realize the impact this financial decision makes on the African American community. Sumi K. Cho says,  “Korean Americans who open stores in the neighborhood are resented by long-deprived residents and are seen as "outsiders" exerting unfair control and power in the community. The interaction between the two racial groups is structured strictly by market relationships: one is the consumer, the other is the owner. This market structuring of group relations has influenced the Korean/Black conflict...”

This relationship of Koreans as the owners and African Americans as consumers is difficult on both sides. Benjamin Bailey’s interviews with members of the African American community shed light on their beliefs of members of the Korean community: “When I asked African-Americans in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles, for example, about relations with Korean immigrant storekeepers, I commonly got responses such as the following, from a man in his 30s: “In my experience deal­ing with Korean merchants...the one basic problem is: no respect. No respect. Period.”  This perceived lack of respect has been stressed in African-American accounts of tensions, and it is considered a serious offense by many.”
            
He further elaborates that overall, the people that he interviewed consistently brought up the issue of lack of respect, and focused instead on what the shopkeepers did not do as opposed to what they did do. The storeowners do not smile at their customers, make small talk, or maintain eye contact; essentially, they do not personally engage their customers. The lack of these actions was considered rude and disrespectful. Additionally, the shopkeepers frequently watch their customers, which is seen as even more offensive, especially after the lack of personal interaction. Unfortunately, since many African Americans have been negatively conditioned to view negative interactions as racism or discrimination, (because it frequently is) they have a tendency to perceive these negative interactions in the same light. They will not generally look past the possibility of racism and see that these negative interactions occur because of cultural differences.

Korean Community Feelings/Beliefs
While the African American community attributes these negative interactions to racism and discrimination, the Korean community sees these interactions in terms of inappropriate behavior and communication.  This differing interpretation of the reasons behind negative interactions coupled with the potential for assimilation of racial prejudice causes much hostility towards African Americans as a whole. Lucie Cheng and Yen Espiritu explain, “…in the United States they [Koreans] may have further assimilated the racial prejudice against blacks – especially when these are reinforced in real life encounters, no matter how selective they may be. For example, a Korean robbed by a black would tend to interpret that experience as one that proves the rule. Koreans often refer to the physical size of blacks and “menacing” gestures as threatening.”

In consideration of the research done by Benjamin Bailey, there is an interesting conflict of thoughts between the African American community and the Korean community, for while the African American community members focus on what the shopkeepers do not do, the Korean community members focus on what the African Americans do. Koreans see African American behavior as being not educated in social graces and good manners, and of having no sense of decorum or class. They do not generally seek to establish any personal contact with their customers, since they see interactions with their customers as business transactions, where money and goods are exchanged. As a matter of course African Americans interpret this negatively as rudeness.

Resolution
Sumi K. Cho makes a statement at the end of her essay that easily sums up where the two communities can move forward from intercultural miscommunication and conflict. She says, “Korean-American organizers and intellectuals must work with communities to reject prejudices and stereotypes about other people of color that have been adopted from the mainstream culture. Korean Americans must address seriously the complaints that too many storeowners are rude and disrespectful to darker skinned customers, and search for ways to improve relations. The community cannot use the reality of high crime rates that shop owners face to rationalize unacceptable behavior, but must openly communicate with the residents they serve.” What community organizers from both communities must do is get together and form a coalition, where they would meet in a “Sustained Dialogue” setting. The concept of Sustained Dialogue was developed by Hal Saunders, and is a process of changing intractable conflicts and negative relationships into positive ones. It is believed that by bringing the same group together repeatedly over a duration of time, that the relationships can change and move in a positive direction.           
            
Another thing that could be done is offering seminars and training on how to deal with intercultural conflict at community mediation centers in South Central and in Koreatown. The training and seminars would focus on teaching members of the community about the concept of “mindfulness” would also be beneficial, as it consists of  “(a) learning to see behavior or information presented in the conflict situation as novel or fresh, (b) learning to view a conflict situation from several vantage points or perspectives, (c) learning to attend to the conflict context and the person in whom we are perceiving the behavior, and (d) learning to create new categories through which this new conflict behavior may be understood.”
            
It is hoped that if these concepts are implemented in the African American and Korean communities that understanding could be gained by members of both communities, and perhaps both communities would move away from feelings of hostility and ethnocentrism, and towards feelings of unity and acceptance.

Humpday Quasi Pron

I just realized I haven't really posted anything in about a week. Mostly because I was finishing my god damned thesis, and also because I've been sick since like Friday. So, to make myself feel better, (and because my boy Pago is also sad its only Wednesday) I thought I'd post some quasi pron. The chicks might not be naked, but its still pretty hot.


I don't even know what this chick looks like, but I think the photo itself is a combination of awesome and hot at the same time. I would eat those cookies right off her leg.


The bishes never understand why dudes think Scarlett Johannson is hot. I don't much care for blondes, but even when she's blonde she's still hot to me. She's just very well formed. She's got a fair amount of ass and tits, and such a beautiful face. Not to mention those DSLs.


If you don't think this picture is jizz in your pants worthy, there is something wrong with you. If I could be anything in this photo, it would be the left side of that sweater.