May 31, 2013

Happy birthday Nicolle.

Dearest Nicolle,

Today is your birthday. I have yellow tulips in hand and have lit some candles for you. I wish you a beautiful day in Malawi as I celebrate here in America with people who love you.

I also made you a video. But first, here is the blooper take. And yes, that is a cardboard cutout of a horse. You said I couldn't have cats in the apartment while I am living here, so some friends brought over a horse for company. Perhaps I should name her Grace or Majesty...or Debbie.

But I digress. Onto the blooper take.

And here is the actual video.

I hope your birthday is great and that the beginning of your 21st year starts with much excitement and happiness. 

With much love,
Mystery (who was sadly taken away by said friends)

May 30, 2013

Life is Art, You are the Artist

Oh hey there! I'm Sarah Swan, today's lucky guest blogger. Here's my deal. I'm from Seattle. I like puppies, cars, movies, music, and camping among other things. I usually make dumb faces when people take pictures of me. I always dance like nobody's watching, because they usually aren't.

And here's the deal with this post. I graduated from BYU in Film in December 2012, but walked early at the graduation ceremony in August. Then I was asked by the Film Department to speak at the graduation ceremony in April, which December graduates usually attend. So, I had two fake graduations. My first one was fake because I still had a semester to finish. My second graduation was fake because I'd already graduated and attended a ceremony. It was a big surprise and a huge honor to be chosen by the people I respect the most, my professors and advisers, to represent the department at the ceremony.

This is what I said at my second fake graduation.

Life is Art, You are the Artist 

Good afternoon everyone! My name is Sarah Swan. I’m from the Seattle area. And I’m honored to be speaking to you today as an official graduate of Media Arts Studies or, in other words, Film.

Like many of the graduates here today, I finished my course work in December. So, I’ve been out in the professional world making a living in film art direction. Art Direction or film design is the process of creating the sets where the story is filmed. Most of the people I work with have not gone to college. One of my co-workers has been pretty vocal that he feels it would be a waste of time to get a film degree. Perhaps some of the graduates have had similar discussions with some members of the audience. In my discussions at work, I kept quiet until I felt it would be appropriate for me to speak up. I think I surprised everyone when I said, “I wouldn’t trade my education for anything.”

It may be true that you don’t need a degree to furnish a film set. But it’s also true that my BYU education has been much more than just learning how to create and interpret films.

Professors and classes expanded my mind in ways I could not have done on my own. In history classes I was challenged with abstract films whose visuals read like poetry or international documentaries that made it clear there are usually more than two sides to every story. In theory classes I worked hard to wrap my mind around the metaphysical side to film interpretation and creation. The art that professors had us view, read, listen to, and discuss brought new insights that I’m glad to say have stretched and reorganized the way I see the world. I would be a very different person if I had skipped all of this and gone straight to working for a living.

May 29, 2013

Guest #5.

This is Sarah.

We're new friends, but I love her a lot. Before we kindled our friendship, I admired her from afar and thought she was the funniest when she conducted Sunday School. I don't remember what she said, but you can bet it was funny. We were, and still are, in the same Family Home Evening group. FHE has never been greater.

Sarah has one of those senses of humor that puts you at ease, making her super approachable. She graduated in Film, which is something that I also want to do in my life. At some point. She also drives a big truck, which is something that I also want to drive in my life. At some point. She makes killer enchiladas. Basically, she's super cool.

She hasn't witnessed my awkwardness yet. Maybe I'm getting less awkward. But I highly doubt that. In due time, though, Sarah. It'll come. And you'll laugh it off with me.

We rented a puppy named Miles once.

Sarah's great and I love her.


Update 5/30/13: Sarah's post

May 25, 2013

The Great Gatsby.

Before I begin my review, I had a panic attack in the theatre during this trailer

Talk about every person's worst nightmare.

Onto my review. My delayed review. And it's a short one too. Ehh, sorry!

First things first, Baz Luhrmann is incredible. He really is. And I loved many things about the film and his vision for the whole thing. The cinematography, the music, the characters--everything was so beautiful. And in the end, I give the film two thumbs up. It does the Fitzgerald classic proud. 

However, I felt two things, or rather characters, were underdeveloped. 

Baz could have done so much more with Daisy. 

Daisy, the center of Gatsby's obsession, the reason why he did all he did, why he tried so hard to break out of poverty in order to provide the extravagant lifestyle that Daisy always dreamt of.

To me, it seemed that the film simply just grazed the fact that Daisy didn't wait for Gatsby because he was penniless. I felt Baz could have inserted little comments here and there to further enhance Daisy's superficiality. He could have also had her seem more unsettled with her life because she hasn't yet realized that what she thought would make her happy didn't make her happy.

Jordan Baker. I don't know who that actress was, but she looked like a stretched, length-wise, version of Emily Blunt. And was a lot taller than Nick. Now, I haven't read the book in a while (so I guess that undermines my review), but from what I remember, Nick admired her because he thought that she was different than the people that surrounded them. Then he was incredibly let down when it turned out that she was just like everyone else.

I also am not the greatest fan of pointing out the symbolism so when Nick was all like, "the eyes of God were watching us" as the camera panned across the eyes of TJ Eckleburg.

Moving on.

May 13, 2013

Conversations with strangers.

Over the last year, I have been stopped multiple times on campus by random people as I am walking. Everytime, without fail, these bold people ask, "Where do you come from?" Honestly? I'm rushing to class. This isn't the time nor place to be asking me about my ethnicity. Years of answering this question has allowed me to quickly, and clearly, state. "Imfromconnecticut, myfamilysfromhongkong."

"Oh, I just got back from a trip/mission to China/Korea/Japan," is usually their reply.

Blah blah blah. Don't get me wrong, I like talking about my heritage, but in a three minute conversation while I am trying not to be trampled by students, nothing profound can come from it.

The weirdest experience was when I was speed walking--because running makes you look like a fool--to work at the SWKT when I hear steps behind me quicken, each step sounding closer and closer. Suddenly, out of my peripheral, I noticed this guy matching my pace and stride. As I sped up, he sped up with me. I slowed down, he did the same. I finally looked at him and acknowledged him. I heard him ask, "Are you from Chinese?" and thinking he meant Chinese class, I said yes.

In retrospect, I think he either asked, "Are you Chinese?" or "Are you from China?"

"Well neat. Did you serve Chinese speaking?" expecting him to be yet another return missionary.
"Nope, I went to Peru."
"I work at Chinatown."
There it was. "Neat."
He then attempted to speak Chinese.
"Sorry, excuse me?"
"Oh, ni shi mei guo ren," I said, correcting his tones.
"That's what I said, woshimiegoren."
"You should come by Chinatown sometime."
"Bye." Then he turned around and walked back the direction we were walking away from.
And there we go. We're probably going to be best friends forever.