Sunday, June 21, 2009


I got a job! Yes, I did!

It's at a brand new firm. I'm starting out as contract worker for the first month and if everything works out they'll hire me full-time. I accepted the job last Monday and my first day was on Wednesday. I was so tired on Friday from getting used to a regular work schedule that I felt like I'd been physically beat up. A couple of people have already told how happy they are to have me and there's a TON of good work to do. I'm soooo glad to be there and I think my enthusiasm is showing.

When I got off the phone after accepting the job I cried my eyes out. I was so relieved and happy and then they called me again about five minutes later and I had to do my best to sound normal. I'm keeping my fingers crossed but I'm already feeling really comfortable there. I never really felt comfortable at my old job because of their history of firing people.

I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm getting there. I hope it works out.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Move Musings: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

As you can see this movie is an homage to the Sergio Leone movie "The Good The Bad and The Ugly." This movie is a kick in the pants. Jee-Woon Kim is one of South Korea's best directors with an impressive list of films under his belt including "A Tale of Two Sisters," one of the best horror movies to come out in any language in recent years, and "A Bittersweet Life," a beautiful insanely violent gangster revenge movie.

Let's talk about the actors first. Song Kang-Ho plays The Weird (the guy on the right) and is my favorite actor on the planet. There are no American, British or any other actors I like better than him. Other actors have better range and many others, including the two men in the poster above, are better looking but this guy really floats my boat. Fortunately, he's in a lot of Korean films and plays a huge variety of characters. Although he's standing on the right in this poster he gets the most screen time and carries the film. Why is he The Weird? Probably because he's funny.

Lee Byung-Hun is The Bad (standing in the center) and playing the role of a sociopath for the first time. He does a great job with the glazed insane eyes look and creating a feeling of "Oh my God he's here. Something bad is going to happen." Even though he looks a lot like Prince with his emo haircut, eyeliner, and earrings, our brilliant director takes advantage of the fact that Byung-Hun is not only unbelievably good-looking but also has a cat-like elegance about him, a trait both the director and actor used to full advantage in "A Bittersweet Life." Byung-Hun's elegance is highlighted with perfect white shirts, black leather gloves, and magnificent tailoring.

Jung Woo-Sung is The Good (on the left). Though he gets the least screen time he gets to play the deadly accurate hero by swinging above a western town on a rope while shooting bad guys with his shotgun and brazenly riding his horse through the Japanese army while firing away. His "Good" guy is a bounty hunter in it for the money. He looks fantastic in his long coat and laced up boots. He does a great job and I'm finding myself becoming more enamored with each viewing of this movie.

What, you want to know about the story? Uh, there's this map that's found in several languages by The Weird guy and a mad chase ensues because everyone wants it. Trust me when I say the story isn't that important here. What is important is there are fantastic action sequences including an extended Mad Max style chase involving horses, jeeps, canons, and motorcycles with sidecars through the desert. People are shooting each other, canons are firing, there's a lot of dust, and horses are running for their lives. On top of that it looks like Byung-Hun and Woo-Sung are really riding their horses like crazy with one hand and firing their weapons with the other at the same time. It's badASS!

The movie was never released here and isn't available on DVD in this region so if you manage to get a copy play it on your computer.

While it's true that this movie isn't Jee-Woon Kim's best film story-wise it's a good time anyway so what are you complaining about?

Just so it's clear what this post is really about I'm closing out by posting a picture of the three heartthrobs, er actors. From left to right: Jung Woo-Sung, Lee Byung-Hun, and Song Kang-Ho (my FAVORITE). And to think that before I started watching South Korean films I wasn't attracted to Asian guys. Well, that's all changed now.

Friday, June 05, 2009

"I Really Need This Job. Please God, I Need This Job."

Take a look at this trailer for the documentary "Every Little Step."

I was in high school when I saw "A Chorus Line." Afterwards I had mixed feelings. It was widely acclaimed, even won a Pulitzer prize, but I wasn't prepared for the very honest issues it had brought up: being a gay man, talking about masturbation, and discussing the advantages of silicon enhancement as a way to get selected for a show. It seemed too serious and not enough dancing for me.

"A Chorus Line" is the groundbreaking Broadway show about dancers auditioning for a spot on...the chorus line. We see these people singing and dancing, telling their stories, and betraying their fears. I was used to musicals like "Hello Dolly" and "Gigi" and I decided I didn't really like the show even with all its acclaim.

That was the first and last time I saw it.

My theater going friend suggested we go see "Every Little Step," a documentary on the audition process for the 2006 Broadway revival of "A Chorus Line." I wasn't completely into the idea but I figured it would be fine.

First, I was surprised that I still remembered all the songs even after only one hearing decades ago. Second, I was blown away by the film in general. I laughed. I cried. I rooted for these people. And now that I'm older I can truly appreciate the real themes of this show. The subjects that startled me in high school are nothing now. Instead, I was moved to tears over these incredible professionals putting everything out there for a part in this show. They auditioned 3,000 dancers for 19 spots. Talk about impossible! Through it all the refrains of the song "I Hope I Get It" poured through me like an anthem.

"God I hope I get it. I hope I get it. How many people does he need? Look at all the people! At all the people! I really need this job. Please God, I need this job. I've got to get this job!"

And when Cassie, one of the key characters, performs her big number she says "I need a job. I haven't worked in almost two years. Not really. Why should I teach others what I should be doing myself?" then she belts out, singing to the roof "GOD, I'M A DANCER. A DANCER DANCES." Even thinking of her belting out those lines makes me want to cry.

All of these feelings are mirrored in the real auditions. Everyone needs a job. Some of these professionals have been dancing and waiting their entire lives for a chance to be in "A Chorus Line."

For here in this Broadway show, at last, is the real deal. Here are people exposing themselves, showing their desperation, showing their passion, and a lifetime of hard work. They are begging for a job. Begging for a chance. These are all things that people, especially employers, don't want to hear.

I've said it before and I'll say again: people are expected to stay "up" and "positive" and not be desperate during job interviews but all that fakery is bullshit. If I sang out the title of this blog post in the middle of an interview they would escort me out of the building but it makes me wonder what price am I paying for not being truthful? What price are all of us paying for not being real? Everyone knows it's terrible out there but no one wants to see the humanity of all of us who are unemployed, all of us who are still employed but are terrified that we will be next, and all of us who are attempting to transition into something better during these crazy times. Instead, all we have is a Broadway show, and this documentary, to speak those feelings for us.

A wonderful film. I loved it. Go see it.

Monday, June 01, 2009

12 Things In My Apartment

A watercolor I made of a scene from my novel. I decided not to use the scene after all, but doing the watercolor was still very useful.

Beautiful little pillow handmade by a dear friend.

Jar of movie tickets going back at least five years.

My notes on a copy of "Paradise Lost" by John Milton

Dunker the Penguin's egg (I got to watch him being hatched out).

Wine fridge of kick ass wine.

Miss Dog

A sign from the old aquarium belonging to a 100,000 gallon tank that no longer exists.

A pair of very expensive Italian driving moccasins, purchased in London a few years ago.

An original watercolor that lives in my bedroom.

Art books with plenty of religious imagery.

A crayon drawing made by my stepdaughter when she was 6 years old. She's likely forgotten all a bout it. I rescued it when the house was being cleaned out so it could be sold. I was afraid if I let my ex throw it in a box it would be lost forever. My stepson did his own drawing of a frog on the same day (age 4) but it's now lost even though I did my best to find it that day.

Feeling Better Now

Thanks everyone for giving me the time to be on my own. I'm feeling a little better now.