annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
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I'm not a fan of Christmas movies. I'm actually kind of a Grinch about them, but I could watch "A Christmas Story" for 24 hours straight. Luckily, TNT usually runs a 24 hour "A Christmas Story" marathon every Christmas.

I wasn't a fan of this movie until just a few years ago. I think what appeals to me is how it encapsulates the experiences we all have. It isn't just a Christmas movie; it's a movie about expectation, disappointment, and those silly fantasies that we all had as kids. Who didn't fantasize about how sorry their family would be for being so mean? Or all the cool things you could do if you could only have that one toy that would change everything.

One of the brilliant things about it is how you don't outgrow it. It isn't just about Ralphie; it's also about his mother and father. There isn't a dinner that goes by where I don't think about how poor Ralphie's mother hadn't had a warm dinner in years because she keeps getting interrupted to get things for her sons. Or how about the time Dominic said his first swear word when he lost his crayon on a crowded airplane and knowing exactly where he picked that word up? Or the differences in how a husband and wife might want to decorate their house (I haven't yet figured out how to get the kitchen cupboard Justin bought for DVDs out of my living room)? Or how Justin yells "BUMPUSSES!" whenever my neighbor's dogs act up?

I cannot wait for that 24 hour marathon. I am ready!
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
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Firstly, I want all donatable organs donated. I'm not particularly comfortable with the idea of burial or cremation, but I'm leaning towards cremation. I'd like to have my ashes scattered at Buffalo Eddy. Of any place in the world, that's the one that is the most essentially me.
annissamazing: The ubiquitous Nine/Rose shipper icon (Nine and Rose)
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For years I wanted a Coach purse. I had carried a Coach messenger bag when I worked for the jewelry manufacturer and had to take shipments to the post office. I didn't even know what Coach was, but that messenger bag always made me feel so chic. I just could never justify the cost of owning one for myself. One day, (my husband's birthday in fact) he came home with a bag from the Coach store. Inside the bag, closed inside a box, wrapped in tissue, inside a pouch was a brand new, beautiful Coach purse. He had been saving the small bonuses he gets for tire sales at work for months to buy me that bag and gave it to me on his own birthday. I've carried it with me every day ever since. It's been about five years since then and the bag is starting to look a little dingy. The leather is starting to discolor, there are ink marks from times I've been careless dropping a pen in, and it's lost its shape from being stuffed in my backpack while I'm at school, but I can't bear to part with it. And not because it's Coach. But because of the sacrifice behind the gift.
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Nine's happy face)
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That bit where Jackie smacks Nine. Every time.

My husband, when he's not pissing me off.

My son, even when he's pissing me off.

The response, "U mad?" when people on the internet get upset.

This picture:
annissamazing: Troy Barnes only wanted an autograph! (Troy is scared)
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Mars Attacks. Yes, I know it was supposed to be a comedy, but I had nightmares for weeks.
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Books)
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An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro

(This is the text from a paper I wrote for History of Civilization II class. I highly recommend this book to everyone. This post contains spoilers.)

A reader just beginning to read An Artist of the Floating World might wonder why the author chose this as the title. The meaning of “the floating world” is defined when the main character, Ono, and his sensei, Mori-san, are discussing Mori-san’s visiting friend, Gisaburo. Gisaburo appears at first to be a jovial man, but Ono sees underneath the guest’s affable exterior to the sad and ruined man underneath. Mori-san explains Gisaburo’s enjoyment of the pleasure district. For one night Gisaburo could enjoy alcohol and women and believe that he was still loved and talented. In the morning, he would no longer believe these things, but that did not diminish the meaning of the night before (pg. 150). Mori-san called these fleeting moments “the floating world.” Mori-san is an artist of the floating world, but as the reader continues through the book, it becomes evident the floating world is not confined to just the pleasure district.

Ono seems to understand that a pupil learning from his sensei then developing ideas of his own and moving on is the natural order of things. He says, “…it is this same leading pupil who is most likely to see shortcomings in the teacher’s work, or else develop views of his own divergent from those of his teacher,” (pg. 142). Mori-san had rejected traditional Japanese painting styles of heavy black outlines, instead opting for a more European style (pg. 141). This gave Mori-san a distinctive style that he insisted his pupils emulate. Ono believes, “a good teacher should accept this tendency – indeed, welcome it as a sign that he has brought his pupil to a point of maturity,” (pg. 142) but concedes, “the emotions involved can be quite complicated,” (pg. 142).

Ono’s departure from his sensei is particularly painful. While exploring the slums with his friend Matsuda, Ono sees three boys dressed in rags torturing an animal with sticks (pg. 167). He uses this image in a painting, posing the boys in traditional kendo stances and juxtaposes it with an image of “three, fat, well-dressed men sitting in a comfortable bar laughing together,” (pg. 168). The painting suggests the young revolting against the old in order to establish their own honor. Mori-san does not see Ono’s divergence from his style as Ono coming into his own as a painter. The painting, and the rejection of Mori-san’s aesthetic, angers Mori-san and Ono is forced to leave the villa (pg. 180).

Ono is frightened for his future when he leaves Mori-san’s villa, but he eventually finds success and earns a great deal of respect for his patriotic work leading up to and during the war. He returns to Mori-san’s villa sixteen years after his departure and while viewing it from a distance tells the reader what eventually became of his old sensei. The popular aesthetic had turned away from the European style and Mori-san’s reputation diminished to the point where he began illustrating magazines to earn his living (pg. 203). The tone Ono uses to recount this is smug. He is in the prime of life, popular, well-respected, and has pupils of his own while Mori-san’s time had passed.

As with all things in the floating world, Ono’s prime cannot last forever. After the war, he carries a stigma about him. The popularity and recognition of his work supporting Japan’s war effort has transformed into disgrace and distrust. Ono’s pupils begin to defy and deny him. His old pupil, Shintaro, asks Ono to write a letter to Shintaro’s prospective employer confirming that he had “openly expressed [his] disagreement” with the work he was expected to do for Ono (pg. 103). Ono advises that Shintaro should “face up to the past” (pg. 105), but Shintaro rejects the advice and insists Ono write the letter. Kuroda, a former pupil of Ono’s and a sensei in his own right, simply refuses to talk to Ono at all (pp. 77 & 114).

Ono experiences changes in his standing with his family members as well. After the war, Noriko complains about taking care of her father. By this time, her mother has passed away and Noriko seems to consider sharing the home with her father a considerable burden. She tells Setsuko, “Father takes a lot of looking after now he’s retired…You’ve got to keep him occupied or he starts to mope,” (pg. 13). The role Ono filled as caregiver has shifted to one in need of care.

Ono worries that the stigma of his professional life is bleeding over into the lives of his family. After Noriko’s first arrangement falls through, Ono begins to believe that it is her relation to him that is the problem. On Setsuko’s suggestion, he visits Matsuda to ask him to “answer any queries which may come your way with delicacy…Particularly, that is, with regards to the past,” (pg. 94). While trying to make a good impression on the parents of his daughter’s suitor, he says,

“There are some who would say it is people like myself who are responsible for the terrible things that happened to this nation of ours. As far as I am concerned, I freely admit I made many mistakes. I accept that much of what I did was ultimately harmful to our nation, that mine was part of an influence that resulted in untold suffering for our own people…All I can say is at the time I acted in good faith. I believed in all sincerity I was achieving good for my fellow countrymen. But as you see, I am not now afraid to admit I was mistaken.” (pp 123-124)


Long after the miai, Setsuko suggests Ono may have overcompensated in this admission of guilt (pg. 191), but neither she nor her sister understand that Ono’s admission had nothing to do with his work and everything to do with turning Kuroda‘s name in to the Committee of Unpatriotic Activities. Kuroda is an acquaintance of the Saitos, a family who, at least in retrospect, did not support the pre-war government. Taro says, “We needed new leaders with a new approach appropriate to the world today,” (pg. 185). The family needed to be assured that Ono would not turn their family into the authorities the way he had Kuroda. His admission of guilt eases the Saitos and the remainder of the miai continues successfully.

Behind the layers of stories about Ono’s family and career is the changing backdrop of the city around him. The pleasure district of Ono’s youth has been rebuilt and in its place modern office buildings and parking lots now stand (pg. 205). Ono’s home is old-fashioned, spacious, and reflects the prestige of the people who live there. When Ono comes into possession of it, the family of the man who formerly lived there make sure the house is well cared for (pg. 10). This stands in sharp contrast to Ono’s daughters’ attitude toward the house. They opt instead for apartment blocks, preferring the “’modern’ qualities” of the Western style kitchens and bathrooms (pg. 156).

As Ono continues to tell the stories of his life, the reader slowly begins to understand the changes that have occurred in his world. The times he has lived through are as ephemeral as a night in the pleasure district depicted in Mori-san’s paintings. In his personal life, he marries, has children, becomes a grandfather, and a widower. In his professional life, he churns out paintings for Master Takeda’s firm (pp. 65-66), is accepted as a student at Mori-san’s villa, rebels and strikes off on his own, becomes a teacher, and watches his own students rebel. The moments in Ono’s life are fleeting, but the changing perspective does not diminish the importance or impact of any of them. In this way, Ono is the real artist of the floating world.
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Default)
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Numerology = crap.

Do I think number sequences can reveal future events? Not even a little.

However, in celebration of the pretty sequence 10/10/10, I'm going to hunt down some 10th Doctor fic to enjoy during study breaks.
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Me)
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I actually had a conversation about this with [livejournal.com profile] gement the other day.

After I'd lived in Ohio for about two months, I moved into a little apartment in the slums of Akron. It would have been difficult to find a worse neighborhood. The place was tiny. It consisted of only 3 rooms, a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen. There was a tiny water closet off to the side of the kitchen that contained a toilet and a small sink. To give you an idea of how small it was, when I sat on the toilet, my knees hit the wall (so, maybe 3'x4' square?). My bathtub was next to the refridgerator in the kitchen.

I quickly made friends with Angie, the woman who lived across the hall. She was a former prostitute turned pot dealer. Half of her face had been paralyzed when someone stabbed her. She took a liking to me probably because she thought I was funny. I didn't belong in that place and she knew it. Hell, all of my neighbors knew it! And they all worked to keep me safe and to help me get out. But it was from Angie that I learned the most important lesson in my transition to adulthood.

She said to me, "You gotta get your shit together."

I've had some pretty awful lows in my life and that phrase has always come back to me. For all the pretty words people have fed to me my whole life to give me wisdom and strength to do what I needed to do, it's these ugly ones that have given me the most strength. There's a beautiful simplicity to them. When things get bad, it really comes down to this: Do what you've got to do to fix the problem. Get your shit together and move on.
annissamazing: Ten's red Chucks (Books)
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I celebrate US Independence on July 4.

But that's not why I'm responding to this Writer's Block question. Cinco de Mayo isn't Mexican Independence Day. It's commemorating the Mexican victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla.

The more you know...

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